What Noah knows about art, business and life
If You Go …
What: Business of the Arts – Success Story: Noah Fine Art
When: Friday, Oct. 10, 1-3 p.m.
Where: Red Brick Center for the Arts
More information: http://www.aspenart.org; 970-429-2777
Thirty years ago, Noah set out on his bike at age 16 in Orange County, California. with business cards he’d printed at home, and began selling his artwork door-to-door.
That initiative, and a workmanlike devotion to his artistic practice, has helped give him a level of creative independence and financial success that most artists crave. Working with an airbrush out of high school, he supported himself painting skateboard decks, signs and illustrations for Los Angeles area businesses. Out of his studio these days, he paints as a licensed artist for Disney, creating collector’s prints with his own interpretations of beloved characters from “Aladdin” to “Frozen” and all the classics in-between.
He’s become a go-to painter for corporate outfits like Lexus, Toyota, CBS and Fox TV, an artist for theme-park designs and the tours of entertainers like Pink, and you may recognize his work from the pool and trailer on MTV’s “Rob and Big” or in the cars on the TLC show “Rides.”
Going from door-to-door art peddler to sought-after artist, however, wasn’t always a smooth road.
“It was trial and error, a lot of risk and failure, but the grand slams did come,” he said.
Today, Noah — who goes by just the one name — comes to Aspen to close out the Red Brick Center for the Arts “Business of the Arts” workshop series. The Red Brick snagged Noah to lead the workshop while he is visiting the valley to speak at the annual Marble Retreat’s annual gala.
Along with his artistic practice, Noah functions as a sort of motivational speaker and strategic planner for artists. His Noah University is an online mentorship program aimed at providing artists business skills and plans for success. His workshops, like today’s in Aspen, offer a condensed version of the blueprint he’s designed, with tips about building an artistic brand and building an audience.
“Whenever I go speak live, it’s about helping creative people who want to be entrepreneurs — about how to take an idea out of your head, out of your garage and into the world,” he said. “So it’s about tactical stuff — social media, websites, marketing — and how that’s actually working today.”
He doesn’t believe much in luck. Most success, he said, is planned.
“I believe things begin to happen — whether you call it luck or opportunity – when you are in a position to see it, receive it and capitalize on it,” he said. “It’s possible to do what you love, live where you want to live and make money while you’re doing it. But it’s countercultural to the idea of ‘Go get a job.’”
Along with his commercial and Disney work, his ongoing passion project is “The Kid in Me,” a series of cartoon-like paintings that tell stories through the eyes of a child. He’s found subjects by talking to people about what they wanted to be as kids, and finding universal themes in their stories that he can tap into in the work. Noah said he is inspired by artists like Norman Rockwell and Bill Watterson, who similarly found universal stories in work focused on children. He’s also working on a series based on his autistic son, which he hopes to use as a storytelling tool for the families of special needs kids.
While designing tattoos for celebrities and doing the Disney work keeps Noah busy — the new “Star Wars” movies are likely to create a whole new galaxy of subjects — passion projects like “The Kid in Me” are most important to him as an artist.
“I’m grateful for those opportunities,” he said. “But ‘The Kid in Me’ is closest to my heart.”
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