Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Color of Passion and Camouflage



The fall is here, and with it are the familiar colors of the season. There are red and green holiday decorations in every store window, and black and gold Saints’ jerseys as far as the eye can see.

But since hunting season has opened, another color scheme has also made a stronger than usual appearance in Vermilion Parish. It’s called, “camouflage” and if you haven’t noticed the sudden increase in earth tone patterns on everything from clothes to trucks to boats, it’s because you’re not supposed to.

“Having a camouflaged boat that blends in with the terrain is an advantage when hunting,” says David Hebert, owner of Cajun Camo in Abbeville. “I’ve painted a lot of guns in camouflage. Some of my customers told me that sometimes they couldn’t find it if they put it down on the ground.”

Located in Abbeville, Cajun Camo paints almost any and everything in a camouflage print. Hebert has painted boats, trucks, four-wheelers, guns, trailers, golf carts, guitars, laptops and furniture. There are twelve different stock patterns to choose from, but Hebert will also paint custom ones.

“You name it, we paint it,” says Hebert. “I’ve even painted a high chair for a customer’s grandson. She liked it so much that she wants me to paint another one in pink camouflage for her granddaughter.”

According to Hebert, most of his customers are hunters. Camouflaged guns are painted with a marine coat that prevents rusting and makes it easier to clean. Some customers bring Hebert pictures of their hunting terrain so he can paint their boats to blend in. His customers are from throughout Louisiana, as well as Texas and Mississippi.


“The best part of painting is seeing the reactions on a customer’s face,” says Hebert. “One customer brought in an orange truck to be painted. He freaked out when he saw it after I camouflaged it. He couldn’t believe it was the same truck.”

Hebert was fifteen years old when he was first inspired to paint camouflage. He was hunting with his brother-in-law and decided to paint their guns. It was the first of many that he would put his artist’s hand to, and the beginning of a passion.

“I always had an interest in art,” says Hebert. “I also love to hunt and fish. That’s what gave me the passion to paint camouflage.”

I recently visited Hebert at his office/studio. He showed me the different stock patterns of camouflage he paints, as well as a bumper from the orange truck he camouflaged. The before orange color was so bright that it made my mouth taste like citrus fruit. But the finished product was a truck with intricate patterns of earth-toned terrain.

Hebert showed me the tools he uses to paint and let me try them out myself. I got to put on a gas mask and hold a high-powered spray paint can that was attached to a compressor via a hose.

“The most challenging part of this business is trying to meet deadlines,” said Hebert. “Last few weeks have been hectic because of hunting season.”

What I found most interesting about Hebert is that he has received no formal training. Although he has some experience in graphic design, he learned his art by doing. It was this drive and determination that gave him the courage to open his business and pursue his passion, a color more vibrant than the former orange truck, and so powerful that it couldn’t be hidden with camouflage.

Cajun Camo is located at 3020 Donna Road in Abbeville. For more information about their services, call 337-230-0599 or email David Hebert at cajuncamo@hotmail.com.

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