A Louisiana native, Megan Hebert’s upbringing has always been connected to the heart of New Orleans. Inspired by her grandfather, her creativity stems from the city’s vibrant culture, tremendous oak trees and diverse architecture. We loved her painting of the St. Louis Cathedral so much that we created several products featuring it.
Megan specializes in painting home portraits for those needing a piece of New Orleans to take with them on a new journey, for couples wanting to capture life’s events both big and small, and for those who are simply holding on to a cherished memory. From crawling tree limbs to multi-colored brackets to asymmetrical porch columns, her paintings are uniquely twisted while focusing on intricate details.
Make sure you follow @meganhebert_art for her latest work and NOLA adventures.
Read on to find out when Megan started painting, her description of New Orleans, and her scary and satisfying small-business journey.
When did you start painting?
I started playing around with painting when I was a child. It was always a fun activity to do with my family or friends. I really picked it up as a hobby when I moved to New Orleans in 2012.
How would you describe New Orleans to some poor soul that has never even heard of it?
New Orleans is one of the most expressive, creative cities in the world. A city with a culture so rich and deeply rooted, she makes you feel at home. Like you're a kid again, sitting in your grandma's kitchen watching the screen door sway back and forth, while waiting on your favorite meal. It just feels right to be here. The yearly calendar of festivities offers a life style of constant celebration. Because that's what life should be right? Celebrated. I found my true self in New Orleans and I feel many others do too. You can be your most authentic self and be 100% accepted for it. There's a New Orleans for everyone and if you love her, she'll love you back. You may need a break from time to time, but she's always here to welcome you back with open arms, music, and an amazing meal that feeds your soul.
Tell us about your grandfather and how he inspired you.
My Grandpa was the most talented person I've ever known. You name it and he could sketch, paint, carve, build, sculpt, create it with his bare hands. If my Grams wanted a table for the gazebo, then there's grandpa in his shed, creating her a beautiful table. Artistry came so natural to him and he loved every second of it. He would tell me stories of him painting portraits of people in Jackson Square when he was a child. He had a side hustle once where he painted New Orleans sceneries on the inside lining of wooden purses that were once sold at the old DH Holmes. Although he was a WWII Veteran and later a career man, he always incorporated his talent where he could and I admired that. Because of him, I always fantasized about living in New Orleans, on St. Charles Ave. and becoming an artist. He opened my eyes to the world of painting when I was a child and always inspired me to explore and share my talent. During high school, I realized I had potential to grow and once he died, I bought my first canvas and paint kit. It's been a long and slow journey but Grandpas always know best!
How do you know when a painting is finished?
This one is hard... I get carried away painting details for hours. My main clientele is home portraits and several of my painting requests are of childhood homes, a home they just sold or a home that was destroyed in Katrina. I love to incorporate their favorite memories such as a dog on the porch, a cat that was always in the window... maybe a sign that was in their yard or their favorite rocking chair...the lists of requests goes on. I've found that my clients are more blown away by the little details I include. So I guess to answer this question, I just paint until I can't look at it anymore. That usually means there are enough details to make the painting complete.
When did you decide to paint full time?
I started painting as a side hustle in 2017. I would just paint little 5x7 quirky New Orleans homes that people would order around Christmas time. That grew a little each year and in 2019, I painted my first commission piece/home portrait. Once I shared that, I realized there's a market for this. People love to have their home painted! I then continued to paint home portraits as a side hustle and it wasn't until 2020 when I got laid off that I decided to paint full time.
What was the scariest part about starting your business?
The transition was scary. Before Covid, I worked for a company as an Event Planner where everything was structured with deadlines and I had to hold myself accountable for completing tasks usually within a 24-48 hour turnaround. I worked in hospitality for 10 years and if you know anything about the culture of that industry, whatever you were working on, the client needed it yesterday. Transitioning to working for myself and the influx of business I received once I went full time, I struggled with shifting my mentality from the quick turnaround expectations to now the artist world. I would receive several orders at a time and automatically felt I had to finish them all by Friday. Most artists are a one person show that handle all aspects of growing their business (marketing, client communication, branding, shipping, printings etc.) It's been a bit overwhelming but I hate to complain. I'm doing what I love and making a living out of it which is something I never thought was possible!
Was there an especially satisfying or rewarding moment once you started your business?
After being laid off, I had to move out of my apartment which I designed to be my art studio. It's a two-story loft apartment with a balcony overlooking Magazine St. and offers such a beautiful, inspiring space to create. After about a year and a half of working out of a few small spaces for free, my old apartment became available again and I got it back! It was scary to think about taking on bills again when I didn't have a steady cash flow like I'm used to. But I said ""screw it, let's do it. Let's make this real." I needed to exceed my comfort zone and put myself in a position to be pushed to grow and ""figure it out." It was the smartest decision I made not only for my business but myself!
What other places or subjects would you like to paint?
I love painting trees and I'm slowly starting to play around with abstract painting. It's what I turn to when I need to feel calm. It's therapeutic to just paint without trying to perfect a specific object. Allowing the paint and brush to almost guide me is fun and I plan to take some classes and see where that goes.
If we could only eat at one spot in New Orleans, where would you recommend and what should we order?
Oh gosh, I hate this question. Go to Jazz Fest and eat it all.
What do you like to do when you are not painting?
2 things I love most. Being in the sun on the water. And DANCING!
We are a gift company so we always ask: what is your favorite gift to give or receive?
Local Art! And a nice bottle of wine or champagne :)
Own a piece of Megan's artwork on our exclusive New Orleans Cathedral towel, journal, and mug.