Christopher McHugh trained as a painter at Bath Academy of Art and Manchester Metropolitan University (later completing MA studies at the University of Sussex).
He has pursued painting as his central practice ever since, while building a portfolio of other art activities including teaching, writing and artist-led projects.
He was a founding member of Manchester Artists' Studio Association (1982), Red Herring (1984 – artists' cooperative establishing studios and galleries in Brighton), Artonic (1990 – temporary public art projects), Video Virus (1992 – AIDS video art collective), and Fabrica (1995 – contemporary art gallery in central Brighton). He was an initial advisor and later a board member of eta (Empowering the Artist).
He is currently Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at the University of Chichester and Convenor of Art at the Centre for Community Engagement, University of Sussex.