Hannah Thibodeaux, an Eunice artist better known as Hannah Gumbo, received the spring edition of the Be Kind box from Ellen DeGeneres this weekend.
The seasonal box includes seven “socially conscious” products chosen by the TV host and comedian. And while it’s usually the mystery of what’s inside a subscription box that excites the recipient, Thibodeaux was more thrilled to see the familiar design on the outside of the box.
“It was a pretty surreal moment,” she said.
Thibodeaux, 32, created the whimsical illustrations that decorate the box.
Its design was inspired by the last season of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Artwork includes smiling suns, dancing shoes, heart-slapping hands, DeGeneres’ signature undies and bottles of champagne with the number 19 – a nod to how many years the show has been of DeGeneres airs. Confetti and the words dance, laugh, celebrate and farewell the season also adorn the box.
“Most of the work I create centers around color, positivity and joy, and this box was no different,” Thibodeaux said. “The hardest part, as is often the case, was getting the ideas down to the final design. It’s also special because Ellen is a Louisiana girl like me.”
Thibodeaux did not have the opportunity to meet or work directly with DeGeneres, a native of Metairie, on the project. The box will be featured in an upcoming April episode of the talk show, Thibodeaux said.
The opportunity to work with the DeGeneres team came rather by chance.
Thibodeaux’s friend tagged her in a call for artists on social media last year for another DeGeneres project. Thibodeaux submitted her portfolio and was selected along with a handful of others to submit a design for this project.
“In the end it didn’t work out. I wasn’t selected,” Thibodeaux said. “They were really nice. They sent me a little thank you packet just for hanging out and talking with them or whatever. I thought that was a very generous gift – cards- gifts and other little things – with a handwritten note.”
Thibodeaux said she was touched that a company of such scope took the time to send such a personalized package.
As a general rule, Thibodeaux does not apply to competitions and denounces those who need initial work to have a chance at a paid concert, or worse a concert which only pays in the exhibition of the artist.
“Competitions and things like that don’t pay the bills,” Thibodeaux said. “It’s rare that I apply, and I’m pretty vocal when companies I know or respect do. Even if it’s done well, the artist stops their schedule to apply and submit something and everything what you receive is an email saying ‘Thanks for applying.’ It’s the norm.”
So when the thank you package and handwritten note arrived, Thibodeaux felt compelled to send her own thank you.
“I reached out and said, ‘What you’re doing is awesome. I’ve never received this from any other company,'” Thibodeaux said. “They said, ‘We almost cast you. Do you want to do this other project?'”
The answer, of course, was yes. It all sounded like something could happen in South Louisiana, where everyone is connected in some way.
Thibodeaux worked with the DeGeneres team to create the spring box design throughout January. She didn’t tell most of her friends, family or fans about the paid project until the box arrived on her doorstep this weekend. It was then that it became real enough to be shared with the world.
“For me as an artist, it’s been pretty amazing,” Thibodeaux said. “They asked me to do a social media takeover, and they used my design for promotions elsewhere, animations and the website and different things. Even though it’s a big company , they never made me feel like what I was doing wasn’t important or valuable Even small local places sometimes don’t think of the artist, but I feel like they do. did.
The Be Kind Spring Box includes two pages of a product publication dedicated to Thibodeaux and his work. An email about the woman behind the box design was also sent to seasonal box subscribers.
“Hannah caught our eye as she beautifully captured the spirit of Ellen and the theme of the farewell season,” the email said.
DeGeneres’ Emmy-winning talk show premiered in 2003. The final episode is scheduled to air May 26.
Thibodeaux’s work as an artist dates back to her childhood when she held a sketchbook filled with drawings of cats dressed up as mannequins. She took her first art class in high school and now works as a full-time freelance artist.
“For me, art has always been a way for me to connect with myself and with others,” Thibodeaux said. “I often think of it as a language I speak fluently. Words are sometimes tricky for me, but the doodles always seemed to express my thoughts a little more clearly.”
At a time of renewed interest in minimalism, Thibodeaux considered herself a “maximalist”. When in doubt, she chooses to add polka dots, patterns and glitter to her work.
Learn more about Thibodeaux’s work as an artist at hannahgumbo.com or the spring edition of the Be Kind box, which is still available for purchase, at bekindbyellen.com.