Drawing A New Conclusion
New Orleans Native Maggie Covert has successfully opened a studio gallery for her custom hand drawn art
Ask any artist, and they’ll tell you that making art is great, but being able to sell your art is even better. For one local artist, opening a studio space is a dream come true that has been many years in the making.
When New Orleans native, Maggie Covert graduated from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2008, she was working to find her voice and her signature style as an artist. Maggie has a degree in sculpture but specialized in handmade paper-making and book binding.
“I believe that having a wealth of knowledge in both mediums has allowed me to have a different eye than other illustrators or painters,” says Maggie Covert, owner of WalkingMan Studios. “I have a connection to the paper and the structure on a very different level.”
In college Covert began drawing what she refers to as ‘whimsical illustrations’ with her signature ‘WalkingMan’ figure and the birth of her business sort of evolved organically.
“In August of 2013, I was struggling to make the best wedding present for my best friend,” says Covert. “I had been playing around with multiple mediums and ideas to no avail. I finally decided to try to draw the home that she and her husband were renting at the time. Technically, that piece was constructed in a very different way than the current paintings, but it was the beginning! It was the first in the 100+ custom home portraits I've done since then.”
Many of Covert’s pieces are inspired by New Orleans architecture. Many clients request hand drawn replicas of their homes, or places that are meaningful to them, often times they even appear in the painting themselves.
“Like myself, I find that my clients are interested in the emotional connection to the art or product they purchase,” Covert says. “Clients can expect a very personalized experience [with WalkingMan.] They can count on having direct communication with me via email or personal consultations at my studio. Whether the project is a custom painting or illustration, custom notecards, art prints, wedding invitations or illustrations for books, magazines or newspapers, I'm the point of contact.”
Covert now shares studio space with Jewelry maker Rachael Adamiak on Magazine Street, and finds the new space to be both an inspiration and huge convenience.
“With a shared studio and retail location near my apartment, I have the opportunity to showcase my work and keep busy in the studio at the same time,” Covert says. “It's very convenient! Rachael's handmade jewelry is very delicate and linear which mirrors my drawings in such a wonderful way.”
As for how she’s bringing in clients, Covert has found that donating her art for auction has been a helpful tactic in having her pieces seen.
“Donating work to auctions and galas as well as doing work for the Preservation Resource Center's Shotgun House Tour was very helpful to getting my name out there,” she says. “This year I plan to do many more art markets and festivals to grow my audience and produce more products for those unable to purchase or not interested in custom work.”
Like all new business owners, Maggie is facing her share of challenges and the most prominent for her is making the right choices to help WalkingMan grow in both reputation and profitability.
“My business challenges lie mostly in finding the time and money to grow my business,” Covert says. “I will be making a lot of hard but important decisions this year to help push my brand in the right direction. In 2014, I easily took on about 65 clients. My goal this year is to double that number and expand products and services.”
If you’re in the market for custom art, stationary, wedding invitations, or you’re just curious, stop into WalkingMan Studios 5706 Magazine Street (between Nashville Ave and Arabella St) and visit Maggie’s website to see more of her work.