Linda Hughes, also known as Fuzebox Photography and co-founder of Austin Fusion Magazine, literally has an uncanny knack to balance a million and one things in her life and make it all look natural. In addition, she is also a nurse, a student and a wife — but that is only a small glimpse into her busy life. The picture below says it all.
For each artist, Austin Fusion Magazine likes to go all out and create a photo shoot that exemplifies the artist. Linda was reluctant but we sat her in front of the camera. With the talented Sheeana Singer and Kym Smoak assuring her she wouldn’t come off as a tool, we got the images we needed to create an image that shows just how many things this woman is juggling on a daily basis.
Linda was raised in a small south Texas town, and she learned early in life the importance of strength, responsibility and selflessness. She lost her mother to cancer when she was only 13. By the time she was 17, try as he might, her father did his best to support his family.
“He was the best father I could have imagined, he did his best financially, but sometimes it just wasn’t enough and I couldn’t let him work his fingers to the bone,” she says. “I felt I had to step in and help the man that had always been there for me and always told me I could be whatever I wanted to be.”
So at the age of 17 she withdrew herself from high school and got a job to help make ends meet. Her father was livid, but he calmed down when she promised to make something of herself and got her G.E.D. a month later. It was in this small town at the age of 18 that she met her husband Steve, whom she married in 1999. From the beginning, he was there for her through thick and thin and that has never changed. He has been her biggest supporter and their love for each other is lifelong.
Her father passed away when she was 20, but not before he saw her graduate from nursing school with her LVN degree. She says, “If there is anything I am proud of, it’s that my father saw me succeed.”
Linda and Steve moved to Austin in 1995 and the adventure began. She has accomplished much since then, including achieving her R.N. license.
She has always been a very ambitious and passionate woman, always up for trying new things. Her favorite saying is “It never hurts to ask, all they can say is ‘No.’ Don’t live life with regrets, anger or sadness, life is just too short.”
It was about five years ago that she began to play around with photography. She has now been working at it professionally for two years. It was about that time that she began her business, Fuzebox Photography. She has had her photos in a couple of galleries in town, works as a freelance photographer for Austin Lifestyle Magazine and has gained many fans of her work in those few short years.
It comes as no surprise though that Linda was not stopping there. She began to notice that there were not many outlets for all of the talented people in her life. She kept seeing everyone post their stuff on Facebook. She would comment to herself how amazing their talent was and wondered why they were not receiving the recognition they deserved.
There are limited amounts of places in Austin to get showcased if you have never been published, have not booked many gigs, have no studio space, etc. There are many factors and it can be a bit of a popularity contest too. Also, due to family and work life or just having no time to head downtown to events, not everyone gets out to meet all the “right” people. After hearing the same old story from many artists, Linda set out to find a way to help her talented friends and acquaintances succeed in their work, achieve their dreams and be recognized for all of their creativity.
She found that it wasn’t easy to find a partner with the same vision and drive as her. Then, while doing a shoot for an Electric Frenchie look book, she met Chonie Bradley. Luckily, Chonie was totally on board with the idea and was equally as excited about the thought of launching a platform for Austin artists to shine. So, that is where it began, where Austin Fusion Magazine was born. The magazine officially went online September 2010. The artists in Austin are really eager to be a part of something new and fresh. The magazine is still young and realize there is always room for improvement but Linda says, “Chonie and I make a good team, we balance each other out. She is a maven on the business side of things she keeps me grounded. I prefer to be creative, play, organize, shoot and find new talent.”
In addition to her artistic successes, Linda is also excelling in her career as a cardiac nurse. She eventually plans to return to school next year to complete her masters in nursing. She says she will always be first and foremost a nurse, something she has been doing for 17 years now and loves it. She considers her photography and magazine as a creative outlet, a place to de-stress. It is her caring nature that she applies to both her career and her creative endeavors.
Austin Fusion Magazine began as a tribute to all of her talented friends who have influenced and inspired her in one way or another. Austin is not as big as you think, whether it’s the medical world or the world of photography, she is sincere, fair and professional. She genuinely cares about all the people in her life, and in every aspect of her life. She volunteers her time for several local charities by donating her photography services and artwork. She has a gift of paying it forward.
Sure, you can call me biased. I have known Linda for 25 years, and was excited when she asked me to tell her story. Also, the two pups in the photo above, those are her rescue dogs. In my mind, she is unstoppable and I am very proud to call her a friend.