Hermine Granberry has always had an eye for art, but it wasn’t until she started making banners for Kappa Kappa Gamma when all eyes were on her work.
Granberry is a junior integrated marketing and communications major from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. From a young age, Granberry gravitated to art classes, until the woes of high school took away her free time. Once Granberry came to the University of Mississippi, however, her love for art resurfaced again and drew her toward painting banners.
“Growing up and going to Ole Miss games, my favorite part was walking down Sorority Row and looking at all the banners,” Granberry said. “I remember being like 10 and going through the Kappa house because my mom was a Kappa and looking at the banner room itself, and it’s cool because it’s full circle because that’s where I’m working now.”
As a freshman, Granberry was the assistant banner chair for Kappa Kappa Gamma. However, this role was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fall 2020, she was promoted to co-chair.
“When I got back my sophomore year, I hadn’t painted a banner or even bought the supplies for what a banner would need,” Grandberry said. “I was basically thrown into it, and it was always something I wanted to be a part of. I’ve just been really grateful that I am able to be a part of (making banners for my sorority).”
Granberry works on the banners with her co-chair, Hillary Kaniecki, a junior integrated marketing communications major.
“My favorite banner we did was last year’s Lane Kiffin and working on it together was a blast. She is so easy to work with and such a nice, humble person. She absolutely crushed last year’s Care Walk banner all on her own.” Kaniecki said. “I love how we feed off of each other’s ideas and how we can give each other the creative freedom to do projects on our own, while still working as a team.”
Making a banner is more than what meets the eye. Granberry said it takes her about six hours to paint a drop cloth that is 9 feet by 12 feet. In addition to painting, she uses a program called Procreate on her iPad, which allows her to digitally design the artwork.
Grandberry walked through the steps of making a banner. First, she must create the design for the banner. She is typically given the banner’s theme but puts her own spin to it. Granberry painted banners with Lane Kiffin, Meet you at Swayze, Cheetah Girls, Sigma Nu and more Kappa Kappa Gamma themes. Once she has an idea in mind, she draws it on Procreate, which allows her to play around with colors and shades. Granberry tries to ensure that these designs are readable to onlookers.
“When you’re driving by houses you can’t stop and look, so you need to be able to have a clear image, make sure it’s clean, make sure it’s readable, and that people know exactly what it is,” Granberry said.
Once she has finalized her design and figured out what colors will be on the banner, she then takes a trip to either Ace Hardware or Home Depot, where she buys the drop cloth, paint and paintbrushes. Some designs call for unique color shades that can be hard to find, Granberry said.
Granberry does not just paint banners, though. She has an art account on Instagram that showcases all of her banners and commission work. Her commission work ranges from birthday posters to cornhole boards, and her recent projects have been champagne bottles.
Walker Jay Patterson, a sophomore public policy leadership major, purchased a personalized cornhole board from Granberry.
“I would see her art online and out front of the Kappa house, and I was really impressed. I figured she was someone who could commission artwork to my liking, and she did just that,” Patterson said. “I’m a huge Ole Miss Baseball fan, and Hermine was able to turn some blank boards into something really neat for my friends and me.”
Granberry said the key lesson she has learned about creating art is collaboration, which allows Granberry to look at her art with a new set of eyes. Art also gives her the ability to challenge and push herself to do difficult things.
“I love the mental challenge of it and my mind kind of evaluates and figures it out. It’s like a puzzle to me,” Granberry said. “When you challenge yourself you continue to get better and so that’s just been really rewarding to see and then also it makes you really proud because you’re like, ‘I did this, I came up with this and I produced it and it was something that I did myself.’ So it’s always very rewarding.”
Although Granberry does not want to pursue art as her career, she said she will always use inspiration from it as she continues throughout her life.
“(Art) will never be something that will be my job. My income will not rely on it. It will be a place for me to create and do my own thing,” Granberry said. “I just love the skills that you can continue to build. You don’t have to stop at a certain level, you can continue to get better. So it’s something that I’ve definitely been grateful to kind of re-enter my life.”