CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Some people have a claim to fame; perhaps, an interesting accomplishment or just an overall fascinating story.
Musician Benji Hughes of Charlotte has a little of both. And maybe some panache.
Lately, he’s focused much of his energy on art. As it turns out, he’s mastered the art of first impressions.
When we met him on Halloween, who knew we were off to see the “Wizard?”
Hughes showed up to the interview wearing a cloak and carrying a wooden stick, figuring they would add to the entertainment value of our story.
“I can just suddenly appear from around the corner,” he told us, choreographing the wizard’s grand entrance on camera.
And that was our introduction.
“Just throw on a cloak and ha-ha, have this really cool stick,” he said of his idea. “It is pretty awesome.”
Hughes is best known as a rock musician. He’s also written commercial jingles like “Got A Little Captain In You?” for Captain Morgan rum.
“And I was happy about getting checks,” Hughes said.
“It was kind of awesome,” he told Queen City News. “I just didn’t even know. I was just going in to do something at the studio. I didn’t know [the jingle] was going to be successful.”
His music has been used in TV shows from “Beverly Hills, 90210” to “How I Met Your Mother.”
While music is his calling card, as you’ve probably gathered by now, he’s almost beyond description.
“Maverick, renaissance man,” he said.
For years, he painted houses. Then, six years ago, he picked up painting canvases to give his endlessly creative mind another outlet.
“Yeah, I never thought that I’d be doing an interview about me painting pictures,” Hughes confessed.
And yet, he’s come so far.
“The worst thing that could happen is I get paint on my clothes,” he said of his artistic philosophy.
At Tip Top Daily Market in Plaza Hills, Hughes has an art installation called “Hughes Your Illusion II.” It will be on display there until Nov. 9.
“Vibe,” he said, describing his style in one word.
Every piece is up for interpretation.
“It’s a psychic snail,” he said of one piece.
“Like a unicorn-type creature,” said Hughes, pointing at another.
“Like some kind of weird elf creature,” he described, looking at one of his other pieces in the collection.
“It really is about being in the moment, having some color, some different paint, and seeing what happens and kind of going with it. I don’t really plot and plan too much.” Hughes said of the process.
All the while, it was hard not to notice that he was in his wizard costume. But it was Halloween, and he was committed to the bit.
“I hope that it makes people smile,” he said of his installation. “That would be great, especially if it’s a pretty girl.”
Benji’s big wizard stick was quite a schtick, and we certainly couldn’t have foreseen this encounter with a crystal ball.
But beyond the hijinks, what we take away from his story is a quirky portrait of, well, stick-to-itiveness.
“Far out, man, that’s wild,” Hughes said.