Meet an Artist Fellow: Illustrator, Hannah Gumbo

We created our Artist Fellowship Program to help creative people find the space and inspiration they need to bring their ideas to life. Earlier this year, we hosted illustrator, Hannah Gumbo, at Getaway Chattahoochee outside of Atlanta. Here’s what she had to say about her creative process, her relationship to nature, and her Getaway:

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I grew up doodling all sorts of weird things like cats dressed as fashion models and bedazzling everything I owned to look “fancy” but it wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school that I had my first official art class. Having access to new materials and learning to bring discipline into my art flow had an enormous impact on me. I’ve been HOOKED ON ART ever since, baby! Beyond it being fun, it also helped me communicate so much more than I was able to with words and connected me to a community of other quirky creatives.

These days I am a freelance illustrator/artist, working from my tiny home studio in the Cajun prairies of Louisiana. My work consists of drawing on my Wacom tablet (looks like a giant iPad with stylus pen), creating colorful murals (which allows me to paint much larger than my workspace), and a whole lot of playing around (I had the time of my life last year drawing iconic hairstyles for 100 days straight, lol). 

It is truly a dream to not only continue making artwork after all these years, but to make a living doing it. When I graduated from college, I was pretty certain I’d stop drawing forever (dramatic much?!?). I had just seen so many people before me get burnt out and let their practice fade away over time. I figured it could easily happen to me too, and so I began to guard my creativity like an over-protective mother. Even now, I try not to demand too much of it but at the same time, keep it in check, and make sure it doesn’t grow into a lazy brat. If one day, my creative work can’t pay the bills, I can handle that. But my biggest fear is that I would over-work myself to the point that I lose the love of what got me started in the first place.

I live out in the middle of nowhere. But this amazing little small town surrounded by farmland has given so much to me and my creativity. With less to do, distractions also decrease. Living in Eunice has produced a deeper focus in me and lit a fire in me to pursue all the crazy ideas that pop into my head. Plus, I’m surrounded by so much natural beauty including miles of crawfish ponds that attract amazing wildlife such as roseate spoonbills. If you aren’t familiar think: “flamingo, but in the sky”… and they have a curved beak like a spoon which is super cute.

I’ve been applying to artist fellowships for a while now, and Getaway was the first one to say YES! Not only was it a great experience to take my art for a road trip, but I felt so valued as an artist through the whole process. I love that Getaway encourages creativity alongside rest. My husband Jordan and I spent our first night just enjoying our spot, eating s’mores, and settling in by the campfire. It was a cloudy night but I woke up around two in the morning to an entire blanket of stars above our window. It was so magical I had to wake Jordan up too! The next morning we enjoyed listening to the radio over coffee and I explored some ideas in my sketchbook to pursue once I got home. 

Creating original ideas, keeping a freelance career going, and still finding time to seek out “inspiration” can really take its toll. I am so excited that places like Getaway exist to recharge our batteries and make space for resting in nature. After stepping away from my routine and carving out time for this Getaway, I was able to return to my work in a healthier and more intentional way. 

To learn more about Hannah, you can follow her work on her Instagram and check out her website. She also has a monthly email newsletter with studio updates, freebies, and colorful creativity to follow along, even if you’re off social media.

In need of your own creative escape? Book your Getaway today.