Hannah Gumbo is an artist, illustrator, maker and freelance designer. She’s passionate, resourceful, intelligent and creative. Gumbo's work reflects who she is — an artist with Cajun roots in a modern world. It’s full of color and life, just like her.
You may have seen her work, whether it’s her mural in Eunice, her illustrations for St Landry Parish Tourism, her many projects around the area or at her art stall at many local festivals.
Hannah has an exhibition opening on Saturday for Art Walk in Downtown Lafayette. It’s called Pinky Promise, a collection inspired by the color pink. There will also be music, a pop up portrait collaboration with Brittany Boudreaux and treats. It sounds like a whole lot of fun. It’s at Gallery R (Russo) by Parc Sans Souci. (116 E. Congress Street) from 6-9pm for the rest of September.You can find out more about Hannah and her work on her facebook page (Hannah Gumbo).
What was your first job? Sonic carhop. Besides the annoying customers, it was basically a dream: free fried food and ice cream all day, skating was encouraged, and they paid minimum wage but you could also collect tips.
Describe a typical day in your life. My husband makes us his “signature smoothie” and fancy pour-over coffee. He drinks his in less than 5 minutes and I sip on my beverages throughout the day at a snail’s pace (yes, I drink room temp coffee — it’s just as delicious). Then it’s off to work, which is a long commute of about eight steps into the back room of our apartment. There is no “typical” workflow as my projects are usually a mixed bag, which is exactly how I like it. But usually, it’s some combination of drawing, painting, designing, emailing and bedazzling. Lately, we started ending the day with evening walks to “wind down,” aka force us to stop working (as you know, creative people rarely turn off their mind at 5 p.m. sharp), where I finally make the switch from that morning cup of coffee to something a tad stronger and try to befriend the neighborhood pet population.
What advice would you give the younger you? You don’t have to make everything yourself. Just go buy it from Hobby Lobby and call it a day, girl.
What event in your life most shaped who you are now? My very first art lesson was as a sophomore in high school through a program called Arts Academy. I am so grateful that my first experience with academic-focused creativity was with someone as amazing as Kathy Reed. Her teaching methods were challenging but also encouraged deep thinking and exploration. I came out of the womb making stuff, but the seriousness of how she approached our work and led her class made a big impact on me, helping me to place a greater value on my skill sets. By the way, I think this is probably true for many Acadiana area artists that had the opportunity to study with her. Mrs. Reed, you rock.
What values do you live by? Love deep, work hard, always keep a spare jacket in the car.
What do you most appreciate? People who are true to their word, roadside attractions, a well-stocked fridge, a nice hug, tiny versions of normal-sized things and traveling literally anywhere.
What is your favorite journey? Anywhere with a goofy friend and/or great audio book. Ville Platt’s Dirt Cheap is a favorite destination.
Where is your favorite place to be alone? I love being in my car alone. I kick my shoes off and the party begins. I sing, dance, pray, cry, give myself pep talks, nap on occasion — it’s a good time.
What living figure most inspires you? My parents are top of the list. They are grounded, dependable, hilarious and always up for an adventure (like raising four kids on a shoestring budget). I also think about Richard Simmons a lot.
What was the best advice you were ever given? Upgrade to the Wacom Cintiq. Talk about a game changer. (Thanks, Rob Guillory.)
What book would you tell everyone to read? "The Glass Castle"
What is the best thing about where you live? Slow paced living and lots of crawfish.
How do you "let the good times roll"? Traveling with people I love and eating good food. My goal is to visit all 50 states by my golden birthday next year and I’m having the best time making that happen.
What did you want to be when you grew up? A cat. That dream has not yet died.
What is your motto? How can we make this fun?
How would you like to be remembered? Helpful and wildly amusing
What do you say to yourself when you doubt yourself? I haven’t come this far to give up now.
What three things are vital to BEing YOU? Spontaneity, dedication, fun
What is your favorite word? YES!
What do you collect? I have a pretty extensive stash of costumes (you never know when you’re gonna need to become a pirate at a moment’s notice) and cardboard (my favorite thing to paint on).
What food could you live on for a month? Any kind of soup
What would you change about yourself? Increase focus, decrease self-doubt.
What literary, movie or cartoon character do you most identify with? Amy Sedaris in anything
Describe yourself in five words. Short, sassy, colorful, curious, silly
What is your idea of happiness? To continue pushing forward toward improvement while remaining internally content/grounded. My cats and my husband also make me ridiculously happy.
What is your favorite movie? "The Sound of Music"
What music defines who you are? Passenger
What do you most regret? Mistakes totally suck, but I always try to focus on what I can change moving forward. Shame only weighs you down. Taking ownership and learning from the past lifts you up. (This would be an excellent fortune cookie if I do say so myself.)
What question do you wish I'd asked? “Which answer did you totally lie about?”
What would the answer be? Truth be told, I would probably get tired of the soup in a week or so. BUT ice cream I could live off of for a solid year. And if I missed the soup, I could just eat it melted.