For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an artist — but not the kind that was content with the “look but don’t touch” approach of classic white-walled exhibitions. For me, art has always been an expression of passion and exploration: a wild adventure into the unknown land of creativity. So over the years, I’ve found myself gravitating towards projects that allow my work to live outside in the sun and humidity — deep-fried in glitter or proudly printed on a sticker and stuck to a rusty car bumper or student’s laptop. In short, I love making artwork that is outside the four walls of a traditional gallery space and accessible to all.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, first allow me to introduce myself…
My name is Hannah Gumbo. I’m a full-time muralist and illustrator creating work that embraces color, positivity and joy from my home in the Cajun Prairies of Eunice, LA. I use a combination of acrylic paint and digital drawing to produce a vibrant style that’s all my own. Whether I am creating a custom digital t-shirt illustration or painting a large mural on a business, the heart of all I do is connection and accessibility.
In 2019, I began dreaming of a way to create temporary murals that could exist in the most unlikely locations. What would happen if I could exhibit my paintings not only outdoors, but deep in the swamps or in the middle of a cow pasture? I began experimenting in small ways & playing around with materials to find what I was looking for. Making several prototypes out of lightweight cardboard, I was able to slowly distill my ideas into a single plan: a pop-up backdrop. This year, through ArtSpark, an individual artist stipend supported by LEDA and administered by the AcA, I am finally able to make this idea a reality!
My project, PopDrop Booth, is a mobile wooden backdrop that showcases my original paintings while providing an immersive art encounter that can take place anywhere. This rentable booth allows me to create hand-painted and curated backdrops for any photoshoot or event. To launch this project, I worked with local photographers to complete a series of portraits that highlight the booth’s possibilities while uplifting other women of small businesses within our state. The booth was re-painted with each portrait session, allowing me to use various mediums and techniques to match the artwork to the portrait subject.
I am so excited to share with you the photos and stories behind these incredible women over the next few issues of Lola magazine. So buckle up and grab your bug spray, because we’re going on an outdoor art adventure!
Get to Know Alecia Myers
Alecia Myers: A farm owner, small business boss and passionate candle maker.
It all started for her with a pink cat candle she made with her mom in 1986. From there, her vision and love for candles grew. In 2017, she launched her business: La Petite Bougie d’Acadiana. As a new small business and frequent vendor of many art markets, festivals and local events, the pandemic had a huge effect on her sales. Quick to adapt, Alecia pivoted to a small building she moved onto her 23-acre farmland to act as a shopping space. By utilizing her new “candle cottage,” offering porch drop-offs and launching a Facebook and Etsy online store, she is learning to navigate a difficult sales climate.
A typical day in Alecia’s life:
Do you have a minute…ok, so I live on a farm with 293720983 animals so my mornings are HAIRY… literally. I start my morning off with feeding the zoo, which includes: 6 dogs, at least 20 barn cats, 4 retired off-track horses and a sassy mini horse! Then I can feed myself and head to the candle cottage… which is a SUPER long commute of walking across my yard. 😉 On the best days, I get to make candles, listen to loud music and drink strong coffee. Life is good!
Values she brings to her work:
Love is the secret ingredient to all things in life.
The best part of running your own small business:
I love that it allows me the freedom to be as creative as I want. There are literally thousands of ways you can make a candle different and I want to do ALL of them!
The most challenging part of running your own small business:
Getting people to purchase something that they can’t smell online. If it is a returning customer, then it isn’t as bad because they, more than likely, have sampled most of my products, but new customers struggle with trusting what the scent is. Online has been a challenge, but through COVID I have had to step up my game and take some crash courses from other small business owners on online sales.
Where can we buy from you?
On Etsy and Facebook at @lapetitebougiedacadiana
Location: For Alecia’s PopDrop portrait, we chose the location of her family farm: Myers Racing Stables in Youngsville, LA. This farmland is not only where Alecia lives, but also where she hand-pours each of her soy candles. Many of her customers enjoy the added treat of seeing this beautiful country land when stopping by to make a purchase at her candle cottage.
Photographer: Jordan Hefler is a professional photographer that specializes in music, lifestyle and commercial photography for bands, brands, publications and individuals. She is also a creative entrepreneur, podcaster and branding educator based in Baton Rouge.
Hannah Gumbo: @hannahgumbo
Alecia Myers: @lapetitebougiedacadiana
Jordan Hefler: @jordanhefler