New Orleans artist Shelley Hesse on her latest line with Anthropologie

Shelley Hesse says painting in her studio is “bliss.”

Shelley Hesse's art hangs in collectors' homes from New York to the Galapagos Islands and spurred her eponymous Anthropologie line. But the native New Orleanian never set out to be an artist. "It was completely unexpected," she says. "One of those things you can't predict in life."

  Two years in Paris in her mid-20s exposed Hesse to the work of the masters. Though she studied journalism in college, she was driven to paint. "I had this overwhelming desire to express myself through lines and color rather than through words," says Hesse, who is self-taught. "It took over my whole life."

  Her career as an artist launched in an equally serendipitous fashion in 1999. Hesse was at a PJ's Coffee shop when she saw a woman peering in her station wagon, where framed art sat waiting to be hung in her apartment. "I thought, 'Oh Lord, she probably rear-ended me,'" Hesse says. 

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