Born and raised in Orange County, California, the artist known as Noah has emerged as one of the hottest talents to hit the fine art market and custom art scene. Noah first earned local recognition in the early 1990s for setting up his easel in neighborhood coffee shops around Costa Mesa and painting portraits of famous celebrities for throngs of fascinated patrons. His portraiture caught the eye of collectors like Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Craig T. Nelson, ZZ Top and the Black Crowes.
Soon after, corporate clients came knocking. Lexus Motor Cars, Levi’s and Toyota, among many others, commissioned Noah to enhance their corporate collections, and in 2004 he painted the famous pink “Suki” car in Universal Pictures’ 2 Fast 2 Furious. Noah’s “body art,” created for clients like Red Bull Energy Drink and recording artist Pink (he adorned her body with tattoos for a recent music video), has similarly exposed his talent to a broader audience.
Among Noah’s most recognized achievements are the “rolling canvases” created for Alpine Electronics. These radically altered vehicles have won numerous automobile awards, such as “Best Paint” at SEMA in Las Vegas for four years running. His art is featured in every episode of A&E’s Inked and he’s the official painter for Arturo Fuente Cigars. In addition, Noah has partnered with 10 world-renowned French wineries to showcase each producer in an elegant, limited edition of prints. Perhaps most impressively, Noah recently became the fastest selling artist for the Walt Disney Company. His limited edition Disney character prints can be purchased at the Disneyland Resort and Disney World.
Noah spends much of his time producing original paintings in hisprivate home studio and running Great Flood Publishing Inc., the exclusive publisher of Noah Fine Art. He lives in Southern California and his time away from work is shared with his wife and two young children. All aspects of Noah’s products and projects may be viewed by visiting www.noahfineart.com.
We took a minute to ask Noah a few more personal questions about his life, creations and future.
LRA: What kind of medium do you like to work with?
Noah: My work consists mostly of brush, airbrush, rags and solvents. I try to mix it up as much as possible. I really love photorealism and making things look real, but love to contradict the look with a lot of texture, weathering and aging. Imagine an old wall of a church or ruin, and then a painting over it. For some reason, I’ve always been attracted to that look. It seems to show a lot of emotion and feeling.
LRA: What type of art work did you first start doing?
Noah: I started my company when I was in high school. I was doing lettering, signs and promotional banners for businesses and restaurants. I also did a ton of illustrations in pen and ink. It kept me really busy. I remember my business card was in the high school yearbook. I remember riding my bike from business to business handing out cards to promote. Once I saw the reaction, I was motivated to hit it even harder. Around 21, I started setting up at coffee houses and night clubs to get in front of people. I would paint famous celebrities on sweatshirts and canvas. Once people saw the quality they would then ask to be painted. Canvas was the ticket for me. It allowed me to spend a great deal of time on a piece and generate income. God opened doors to amazing companies like Levi’s, Toyota and Lexus early in my career that allowed me to paint some amazing products and projects. What became the real challenge was that every job, sale and outcome was in God’s hands. It was and still is the way that He operates in my life. I’m not the operator of this corporation. Christ sits at the head of it all and I paint. That’s my job. I have found that artists and businessmen get into trouble when they think that “they” have influence over the outcome.
LRA: You have your own creative way of writing. How did this come about?
Noah: For years, I’ve been attracted to the Middle East and Asia. I especially love the writing. Science fiction movies really do a great job of showing different dialects written in really cool ways. For me, I write in English, but make the letters using my own font, usually reading from top to bottom. It allows me a way and vehicle to spread messages without it being so easy to read. It makes it more thought provoking and interesting. Letters are interesting. The moment you add words to an image it changes everything. A lot of artists don’t take the risk because it really changes everything. It’s a huge commitment.
LRA: What project if any has been the most difficult?
Noah: The most difficult project was creating the Budweiser ad for the “Dem Jeans” music video for Chingy, but lately it’s been painting the mural on the bottom of the pool on MTV’s Rob and Big. That thing was challenging because it began to rain, the project had to be done within hours and things were a hassle with logistics. The result was great and we had a huge response with our collectors and the public. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with MTV. Rob and Big are characters; a lot of fun to be around.
LRA: How did you start doing work for Disney?
Noah: Disney was and is still a blessing. They allowed me to do my own style of art with their characters. It’s a blast. I enjoy continuing the magic of Walt’s dream and being a part of something so special. It really brings me back to being a kid. Great memories.
LRA: What, if anything, do you consistently draw inspiration from?
Noah: My relationship with Christ is hands-down the most important thing in my life and reason for being. He reminds me how much He loves me through my wife and our children. I have the privilege of spending time in the studio at home and watching the kids grow up. It allows me each and every day to be with my wife and drive the kids to school. My inspiration comes through daily experiences and my pursuit of Christ’s character. There are days that are extremely challenging with certain projects or paintings, but it’s on these days that I get to learn more about myself and what God wants to accomplish through me. I want to make my life about helping Him accomplish His plan.
Most people are too busy hoping and asking that He “blesses” their plans, dreams and hopes. Eventually, they will realize dreams, hopes and plans are in vain without God being involved. God gave each of us purpose and a calling designed specifically for each of us that no one else can fulfill. My hope and prayer is to impact the lives of people with whom I come in contact with who buy or experience the art. Each painting is an opportunity to show people a hope in Christ and that life can be so much more if you surrender your life over. Paintings like “The Invitation” and “Exhale” are just a couple of examples.
Every human being is designed with a place in their souls that only God can fill. However, God usually is moved out and people try to fill that void with “something else.” It might feel fulfilled for a moment, but always comes up short and empty. My hope is to encourage and to let others know of “the good news” through my art and relationships. Following Christ is a path that leads to a peace that surpasses all understanding. Think about it, if you could have fixed yourself and your life, you already would have. How’s it working out for you?
LRA: In what ways do you stretch yourself to make your work grow?
Noah: An important way to stretch myself is to make each painting different than the last and to not fall into a comfort zone. A lot of artists paint one subject, one medium and one style. I like so many different materials and looks that I like to change it up. Also, I believe it allows me the chance to reach different industries and types of collectors.
LRA: Who in the art scene are you a fan of?
Noah: Now that’s a huge question. Are you talking both living and deceased artists? One of the most talented individuals to ever grace the planet earth has to be my friend OG Abel. He’s one of the few artists I know who lives in his head a similar world as mine: one we created but can bring forth in our work. Most artists replicate or copy a picture. My favorite stuff is out of the imagination and originality of their personality. Abel is hands-down one of the best. That’s probably why I had him completely design and create my entire right arm sleeve tattoo. It’s my personal life testimony. He brought it to life.
In return, I painted him a 6-foot painting which was a memorial to his young kid brother who was shot and killed. This painting is the cover piece of this magazine called “The Hurting.” I’m also a huge fan of Bob Elias (my dad; check out his work at bobeliasstudios.com), Rick Griffin, John William Waterhouse, Rick Reitveld, Franco Vescovi (that fool is nutty with a tattoo machine), Chuy (Tattooland), Big Chuy (Mentally Twisted), Craig Fraser, Norman Rockwell, Gil Bruvel, Gil Elvgren, George Hurrell, “Cartoon,” Dezeinswell and many others.
LRA: Do you have any new projects coming up?
Noah: I have a ton. More paintings for the galleries, creating for Arturo Fuente Cigars, Disney. I’m really excited more than anything about my new metal hologram paintings. I started painting on metal with this process 12 years ago, but technology didn’t allow a way to produce limited edition prints. This year, we released the first prints now available. They’re on metal and move as you walk through a room. Limited edition prints are now made in small editions.
LRA: We saw the mural that you did in the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. Is there a store coming soon?
Noah: The relationship with Hard Rock is wonderful. We have a lot of ideas brewing.
LRA: Where can our Arte readers see more of your work?
Noah: We are in various galleries around the world, but the best and most current info and new work can be found at the website www.noahfineart.com.