Behind the Scenes with artist Deann Hebert
August 6, 2015
Behind the ScenesArtworkAt Work
Deann Hebert is equal parts crazy talented artist and true beauty with a charming work space that pairs chandeliers with gobs of paint in what was once an abandoned stove and mattress factory. Step inside her studio for a behind the scenes interview with this uber talent shot by Paige French  and sit tight because up next we have the cozy spot this lovely lady calls home.

SMP: Tell us a little about your business.

For the past ten years, I have had an open studio located inside what was once an abandoned stove and mattress factory just outside of Nashville, TN. My studio is where I create and sell my work and it’s afforded me the opportunity to meet and form relationships with many of my collectors, as well as giving folks the opportunity to see me working and to get a better look at the process behind the work. In addition to my original paintings, my work is available as prints, which I just started offering this year. Over the past several years and looking into the future, I’m excited to be sharing my work more and more beyond my local Tennessee audience. I’ve been lucky to have collaborated on some fantastically exciting projects like the 2014 HGTV Smart Home in Nashville and the 2013 “All American Cottage” showcase home presented by This Old House and Southern Living Magazine and more recently, the #paintmybarn contest in conjunction with Country Living Magazine. I’m looking forward to more and more collaborations with brands, bloggers, designers, and publications! It truly excites me that my work is being shared and appreciated through so many different platforms!

SMP: Some words you live by?

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant. -- Robert Louis Stevenson

SMP: What's your best tip for balancing work and personal life?

I strive to fit in work around family time, not the other way around. The work will always be there, family must come first in order for the work to be worthwhile.

SMP: One thing every style savvy homeowner should have?

A crystal chandelier.

SMP: If you could buy yourself a single gift of any cost, what would it be?

A round trip plane ticket to anywhere in the world, redeemable at any time.

SMP: Do you have any secret talents?

I can play ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey on the piano like nobody’s business, and do a mean yoga headstand. I also love to water ski!

SMP: If you could dine with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

As a Southern girl, Dolly Parton shows the world what it means to be a strong, Southern woman who is more than the way she is packaged. Dolly writes beautiful music celebrating the culture and life we live here in the South and interprets that life in song the way I interpret it in paint. Plus, wouldn’t she just be the most fun dining companion? What a hoot it would be!

SMP: If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?

Well, in today’s world, simply with an iphone and an internet connection, I do have that opportunity, we all do! I believe that art is not about thinking something up, it is about the opposite--getting something down and for me, each painting is putting a part of myself on the canvas. When I paint, I may begin with a plan, but I follow where the paint and the palette knife lead me, working from intuition rather than a preconceived notion of a finished product. I build up layer upon layer, then begin scratching into the surface to reveal what is hidden underneath, the texture reminiscent of tree bark or peeling paint. I think we are all living our lives that way-- building up knowledge, experience and relationships and our true selves become gradually revealed. We each need to find a way to reveal ourselves, whether in words, or music, or paint, or however we can.

SMP: Stranded on a desert island question... what's the one cocktail you would take with you?

I’d probably need some whiskey.

SMP: What's your favorite quote that describes your creative process?

Oh I have so many favorite quotes and phrases, one of my favorites, that I have written on my chalkboard in my studio is a quote by Diane Mariechild, “Trust that still, small voice that says, ‘This might work and I’ll try it”...Learning to follow my intuitions is something that I think as a painter and an artist is so important.

SMP: Number one interior design tip?

When designing your home, collect things that reflect who you are and what you love--YOUR brand, your likes, who cares what everybody else is doing. Your home is your story! I love collecting antiques, and mixing it in with my existing decor. Also, actually live in your home, and enjoy it and don’t worry about “messing it up”. Especially if you have kids. If you have kids and you want a white couch, go for it. There’s always OxiClean.

SMP: What’s one thing you really want to do, but have never done?

I would absolutely love to collaborate with Anthropologie brand.

SMP: What is your favorite item in your home?

We love hanging out on the back porch bed swing!

SMP: What is the hardest lesson in business you've ever learned?

Learning to fail often, and fail fast, and not being afraid of it. If you are not failing, you are not advancing. There is a sign that’s hanging on the wall inside The Factory at Franklin where my studio is located, that reads, “Missing the Mark is one of the ways in which we learn to hit the target, failure is a vital part of achieving success” It’s a daily reminder for me.

SMP: One place everyone must visit in their lifetime?

St. Peter’s Basilica. Rome, Italy.

SMP: The best job you ever had?

Doin’ it!

SMP: Advice you’d give to your younger self?

Keep doing what you’re doing! Hang in there girly...the best is yet to come.

SMP: Your favorite instagrammer?

Now you’re talking my love language! Love me some instagram. As a creative, this is the place. I have made the most amazing connections to like minded individuals and I couldn’t possibly name just one favorite but right off the top of my head @HouseofBelonging--Tiffini is an amazing person with beautiful painted signs, and I am proud to say we have a collaboration in the works for fall! @fivechicksandafarmer--Lynsey and her husband farmer Jason (@yonderwayfarms) are 2 of the most geniune folks you’ll ever come across and you can’t help but fall in love with their story. I recently did a painting of a Texas longhorn for Lynsey and it was perfect!

SMP: Best moment of your career so far?

Well, being featured here on Style Me Pretty is up there! But besides all the accolades and collaborations, the absolute best and most fulfilling moments for me are when I can make a personal connection with my artwork, and then it truly speaks to the viewer. I pour my heart into each layer of paint and when folks respond to my work, they are responding to my heart. It is a connection that is more valuable to me than any amount of money or success.

SMP: Three things every home should have?

A porch, a rocking chair, and original art of course!

SMP: Your most prized possession?

My gallery wall collection. It’s a collection of artwork that I have acquired after over a decade of art shows. I have had the opportunity to not only trade paintings with other artists but to build relationships with many of them. The wall is a visual memory of years of work and friendship, each piece carries with it associations far beyond its place on the wall.

SMP: Your most memorable moment?

Painting for Willie Nelson and meeting him in person to give it to him! It was a painting of Willie’s beloved Luck, Texas chapel. What an incredible special day when I was able to meet him in Nashville and talk to this living legend. I’ll never forget it.

SMP: One thing you can’t live without?

My iphone.

SMP: Your secret to success?

Having a complete positive attitude and vibe and how you think about things is every. thing. I have always had an attitude of “well, let’s try it, who knows what might happen!” The moment you tell yourself you can’t do something, you probably are not going to do it.

SMP: One small design change that can make a big impact?

A $20 gallon of paint can transform any room--It is sometimes the simplest adjustment that can make the most radical difference!
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SMP: If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?

There isn’t much about my journey I would change, because I think with each step something is learned, experience and knowledge is gained that leads you to the next step. But the one thing I do regret is not taking good quality photos of my earlier work. I was so excited to sell my first paintings, I didn’t even think about archiving the image! (duh!) A lesson for all beginning artists-- it is never too early to begin the good habits that you’ll need later on!

 SMP: Where do you see yourself in five years?

I hope to still be creating work that touches people, but on a larger, wider scale!

SMP: Why do you think your business has done so well?

Physically I set for myself small and gentle goals every week, every month, and meet them. These small goals start to add up to big goals. I’ve stayed pretty consistent, putting myself out there and showing my work. Surrounding yourself with a team (whether that is simply your spouse) to encourage you, support you, is also crucial. As an artist, you don’t need to be rich but you do need to be richly supported. I have consistently worked at it, showed up at my studio, done the work over and over and over again. Showing up for the work is the win that matters. Pretty soon people will start to realize and see for themselves that you are doing what you are meant to do in this world! There was a lot of “sweat equity” put into those early years of setting up a tent at outdoor festivals, enduring rainstorms and freezing and burning weather, but it is all a part of the journey, my journey. Everyone’s is different and uniquely theirs. Emotionally and spiritually, when you act on behalf of your truest dreams, a beautiful thing happens. Some might call it coincidence, some might call it luck, call it anything but what it is--the hand of God, good, upon you! xx