After (Art) School Special: Lydia Hudgens

Curiosity and creativity go hand-in-hand. And as we get older, we start to lose that need to question everything or create for that matter. We no longer want to swim against the grain but instead, want to blend in. But why?

In order to produce unique, new ideas one has to be open, curious, and stay creative. Let your imagination run free. 

And with that, I welcome you to my newest series that will spotlight some of my favorite people who continue to push their own boundaries when it comes to creating. Photography, installation, designing, painting - anything and everything. 

First up to the podium is Lydia Hudgens.


I've known Lydia for years now. I started as her photo intern years ago and the rest is history.

You may have seen her name receive photo credit for an image whilst scrolling through your Instagram feed. But what you may not be so familiar with is her personal portfolio. It has a completely different vibe - moodier, bold, and with a hint of homage to film. Fuel your fascination with our Q&A below.

Lydia Hudgens
San Francisco -> Brooklyn, New York
Academy of the Art University for Fine Art Photography

Who inspires you and how did they influence you? 

Lately, I've really been into really quiet photographers. Artists like Erika Astrid, lililand, sabrinasantiago, paradisonyc and Christina Emilile (the last being a close friend and an amazing minimalist photographer). I've shot street style for so long, so photographers like this interest me directly because it's so different than the fast speed that I've come accustomed to shooting. It's quieter, more thoughtful, poignant and I respond to it. 


What do you want viewers to take away from your work? 

I want to start going in a more thoughtful direction with my work because the photography I personally enjoy is quiet, almost brooding and nearly always serious. I want people viewing my work to think, not only about the shape and fabric of the garment I'm shooting but the story I'm trying to convey. I'm working on rebranding currently, so this is the direction I'll be starting to gear my personal work towards.


What is the difference between beauty and vulgarity? 

I think it's a fine line honestly. I see some photos where the subjects are clearly naked but they're more poignant and raw than someone completely clothed. I personally loved photographing the human form for years so I find beauty in the skin, regardless of the shape - whether it be fat, thin, muscle-bound, etc.. People can find something vulgar in any image but generally that vulgarity is personal. Something about the photo causes them distress but that response differs from person to person. It's not necessarily a negative but can become one if it's voiced online - an issue that is becoming more and more normal in this day and age. People feel like they can hide behind their computers and pick other people apart and it's honestly disgusting. If you don't like something, look elsewhere. It's not for you.


Black and white or color?



Do you miss film?

Yes, 100%. I shot film this weekend and will start incorporating more into my work. Unfortunately, it's very pricey so that's the only hurdle but I have been seeing more and more brands paying photographers to shoot film so maybe there's hope it'll have a resurgence!


If you could take your art / photographs in any direction without fear of failure or rejection, where would it lead? What new thing would you try?

I may have already mentioned this before but I'm rebranding myself and created a new photography account @LydiaHudgensPhoto. I think people have sort of pigeonholed my work to bloggers and I know I have the bandwidth to do so much more. So that's what I'm working on - expanding, experimenting, slowing down, etc. Getting back to my roots! 


Hope you enjoyed the first After (Art) School Special installment featuring Lydia Hudgens. Be sure to give her Instagram account a follow at @LydiaHudgensPhoto. My goal is to have these installments have their own consistent schedule, but until then you can stay up-to-date on all my blog happenings on Instagram and Twitter!

My Top 12 Instagrammable Murals!

Growing up in NYC I was surrounded by art. The thing is, the museum wasn't the only place you could find inspiration. If you took to the streets you'd be able to see art on the sides of abandoned buildings, trains parked in the long island city rail yard, billboards, and even on the sidewalks.

During the summers, and still to this day, I take joy in my private walking tours looking for new murals. And yes, some of them make it onto my Instagram and even become the backdrop to my outfit posts.

I do have my go-to spots so why not share them with y'all! Do it for the 'gram and don't forget to tag the artist. (Keep in mind, some these locations may showcase a different artist than the one shown below).

1. Kenmare & Mulberry Street - consistently changing and always worth the trip!

2. The Rainbow Gate in LES - 87 Rivington Street (go before they open or after they're closed)

Photos by Lydia Hudgens

Photos by Lydia Hudgens

3. First Street Green Art Park - 33 E 1st Street (this public park is filled with murals!)

Photo by Lydia Hudgens

Photo by Lydia Hudgens

4. Harry's Corner Shop - 64 Macdougal Street

Photo by Lydia Hudgens

Photo by Lydia Hudgens

5. Emojis Mural - 15 Prince Street (across the way from Cafe Habana)

Photo by Erin Andres

Photo by Erin Andres

6. Tic Tal - 90 Orchard Street

Photo by Jana Rose Carrero

Photo by Jana Rose Carrero

7. Bowery Mural - 76 E Houston Street

Photo by Lydia Hudgens

Photo by Lydia Hudgens

8. Flowers Mural - 250 Mulberry Street

Photo by Lydia Hudgens

Photo by Lydia Hudgens

9. Chinatown Photographs - 150 Lafayette Street

chinatown photo wall mural.jpg

10. Long Island City - 43-01 21st Street, Queens

Photo by Mark Kim

Photo by Mark Kim

11. The Rainbow Wall in Dumbo - York Street between Adams and Washington

the rainbow wall dumbo.jpg

12. The Bushwick Collective - St Nicholas Avenue in Brooklyn

Photo by Patrick Fahrner

Photo by Patrick Fahrner

Feel free to add to this list by leaving a comment down below or by sharing your favorite murals via your Instagram link too!

NYC: Weekend Plans

A few amazing things to include in your weekend plans before the summer season ends.

1. Hamilton's Soda Fountain & Luncheonette

I've heard, seen, and tasted so many great things from this historical luncheonette. The whole place is kind of like a time warp taking any that dare enter to a more simpler times. The interior is basically every fashion blogger & Instagrammers' dream - everything is so white and retro. If you somehow resist the urge to capture a snap make sure to order a fizzy drink or a milkshake. I like to drop in on less-than-stellar days and treat myself to happiness in a glass - it's cheaper than therapy ;).

51 Bank Street, Greenwich Village - get more info here.


2. Frida Kahlo Exhibit @ New York Botanical Garden

I have not yet been to this exhibit and it's driving me bonkers. However, it's on the must-do list and will definitely get accomplished before it's over. For those like-minded fans visiting or in NYC, we have until November 1st to view her reimagined garden and a dozen of her paintings. Getting to view an artist's surrounding (even if it's a replication) is one of the best ways to learn more about what goes on beyond the canvas. Also, I'm excited to learn more about my culture as half-Mexicana.

2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx - get more info here.

3. Baohaus

OK, so I totally added this eatery to my must-eats after viewing it on the Layover. I have passed by Baohaus millions upon millions of times and have never once pondered the thought of venturing inside. You guys, if I could I would go back in time and stop "past Aileen" in her tracks and demand she order the Birdhaus Bao & Taro Fries (please note the delicious things you should order) I would. Instead, I cry myself to sleep at all the missed opportunities of Birdhaus Baos. Don't let this become you! If you walk/drive/fly by Baohaus, just stop, take a break and eat there. Avoid my misery.

238 East 14th Street, Stuy Town - get more info here.