Comic book characters and figures from popular culture fascinate us. Think of Superman, Batman, and the Green Lantern, just to name a few, and realize how they invade every aspect of our culture, including movies, clothing, and music. Famous figures, like the Beatles, also gain a kind of superhero status.
Noble’s inspirations further combine with his varied skill set, including metalworking and graphic design. “I feel that everything an artist learns in life affects their art. Every skill or experience just adds another ingredient to the recipe of who the artist is. When I learned how to program and operate machines used for shaping metal, I took the boring mathematical approach of the engineer and added the skills I learned while practicing Adobe Illustrator. The computer interfaces were quite similar, and it wasn’t long before I was able to produce complicated shapes (like those used in graphic design) composed entirely out of plate aluminum. Then, I applied what I had learned about painting and composition to add color and the illusion of depth to the pieces. The process was smooth and organic, with each new idea leading to the next with a fluidity that I rarely experience. Even better, the designs could be saved and recreated as many times as necessary at a reasonable cost. It was art that was smarter, not harder and still comprises much of what I do today.”
Does the artist consider this knowledge of diverse media an advantage? “The more that you familiarize yourself with various media, the more opportunities you will able to seize. Certainly anyone who dedicates themselves to one medium might become a master in that craft, but they are separating themselves from other industries. Not everyone is meant to be a master painter or sculptor, but there are many avenues that a creative mind may take to create beauty. I think that the more you experiment with unconventional mediums, the more you will stand out from the rest and, hopefully, you will one day create something that no one else has thought of.”
How does Noble directly deal with these market challenges? “I keep track of my time and development costs so that I can gauge a fair and accurate price. I Never short myself. If you have a good work ethic, and you do whatever it takes to advertise your work (internet, art shows, student/volunteer projects), then someone somewhere is going to see and love your work. If you truly love what you do, and it makes you happy, then you should be able to take on any challenge that you face.”
With such a work ethic, it’s not surprising that Noble does not focus on one project at a time. “I’m always doing ten things at once. I like the metallic luster that the silver on black sheet aluminum offers, and I love a more graphic, hands-on look that painting provides. Sometimes I combine the two. Sometimes I’ll leave something on the side for weeks, months, or years while I wait for some epiphany to show me the way. Whenever a client has a specific idea about what they want, it helps me out about a million percent.”
Among all his various projects, the artist favors portraits. “I think that faces are the most expressive, empathetic subject that an artist can capture. When you look at someone’s face you can almost see a roadmap of their life. I think that’s why I love older faces the most; every wrinkle and crease tells a story that experience has detailed into their appearance.”
What advice does Noble have for burgeoning artists, portraitists or otherwise? “Well, like I said before, unadulterated, shameless self promotion is key. You can be the greatest artist in the world and no one will know it you don’t show them. Also, be sure that art is what you love, because it sure isn’t an easy way to make a living. It takes a lot of discipline, practice, and long hours in order to succeed, but making a connection with people who love and admire your work is priceless.”