We had the good fortune of connecting with Grace Noel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Grace, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk taking is a big part of my thought process. I analyze every project and partnership knowing that a certain level of risk is involved every step of the way. Perhaps its the part of me that enjoys facing my fears or taking on the impossible — I see the world around me and think that nothing was ever accomplished without taking risks or learning to trust. I see risk taking as gaining trust in myself and others. It’s learning to trust in yourself and your team are capable of something others thought was difficult or challenging. This generates a stronger person and team with a mindset that is confident, optimistic, and wise. I see this strength of mind, body, and spirit as a way to support my community and, I hope, the global community.
Being an artist conveys this message of confidence from risk taking. It is important to me on a core level to take a path less traveled, overcome the obstacles and know that I am creative, clever, and strong enough to take on a career as an artist. This is a crucial message that is more universal than art — it applies to everyone who takes the risk to be themselves and pursue their vision. Ultimately: it addresses equality and inclusiveness.
To me, 9 times out of 10 the gain outways the risk and everything works out making my team and I stronger for it. That being said, the losses are hard when they happen, but that is life and no one will ever be exempt of that. Loss offers perspective and, regardless of the hardship. A new chapter is always born from loss and whenever I have lost from taking a risk, the loss brings out a better situation than I had before and was worth it in the end.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My journey as a creative has been a lifelong path. As a child — I had a talent and thirst for growing my artistic skills in visual art. I worked on honing my skills at home and school. In high school my art teacher encouraged me to enter art competitions of which I won first place every year and was recognized on the national level. I doubted a full time career as an artist, and thought I could do it in tandem with my secondary interest: medicine and healing arts. The further I pursued any other career, I found only dead ends and art always provided me with the next level of progress graduating with my Bachelors of Fine Art Degree in 2011. Finally, after my last attempt at a “practical career” in landscaping and permaculture design, I re-centered my focus to be a full time artist. Since then, I have achieved growth and found my true path building multiple businesses along the way.
My artwork resonates this winding journey in the rainbow pallet that weaves each piece together. The rainbow pallet represents the four elements: fire, earth, wind, and water. Inspired by my scientific background, it is the four elements that makes all of life’s beautiful moments possible. These beautiful moments come from being outside in the sunshine. As the natural world supports life on earth, my artwork celebrates that foundation by expressing: We are all made of sunshine. Sunshine makes the plants grow, the water flow, and the wind blow. So now, and every day, is an opportunity to go on a magical journey through the rainbow.
I began my professional art career making political art. Political activism concerning human rights, environmental stewardship, equality, inclusiveness, and the like were themes in my life since early childhood. I began my professional art career at the end of the Great Recession in 2012 — frankly art buyers were not interested in purchasing political art and I had to reinvent my style and message. I did soul searching: I explored self-sufficient communities, alternative lifestyles, and exploring my indigenous roots connected to the native tribes: Ute and Hopi-Tewa. I also committed to a yoga and meditation daily practice in 2014 after receiving my 200 hour yoga teacher certification. Since then I have strengthened my yoga practice and reached over 1000 consecutive days of meditating 30 minutes, morning and evening. My yogic lifestyle allowed me to see the rainbow-lining in the world around me. Yoga and meditation also gave me the discipline and mental shift to recognize my priorities and accomplish them. My magical journey through the rainbow took the political statements of my early art and connected them to the four elements of fire, earth, wind and water.
My love for astrology adds another narrative layer to my artwork. The Chinese Zodiac collection featuring the Four and Five Element series provides a visual guide to the signs of the Chinese Zodiac. The Chinese Zodiac Four Elements Series bridges east and west or Chinese and Western Solar astrology through the four elements of fire, earth, wind, and water. The Chinese Zodiac Five Elements Series is a 60 painting series featuring all 12 signs of the Chinese Zodiac in the five elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Astrology: metal, water, wood, fire, and earth. This is the first time I have ever seen a visual correlation of the five elements with the signs of Chinese Astrology. I hope to release a book detailing the meaning of the signs and element by the end of 2021.
I have accomplished all of this and more since I started my career as a professional artist in 2013 in Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe Dr at the Denver Art Society– an entirely volunteer run, art cooperative and nonprofit. I have had my studio at the Denver Art Society since 2014 where I have helped grow the nonprofit alongside my own business: Grace Noel Art, LLC. In addition to being a professional artist I have been a Board Member for Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe as the event committee chair, executive director of the Denver Art Society, and gallery manager of Spectra Art Space. I have performed every role in arts administration and I use this knowledge to help artists and arts organizations develop their businesses.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
What would my Denver and Colorado itinerary be? When showing friends around Colorado, we would start in Denver. My favorite sushi restaurants are: Tatsu Izakaya on University Blvd and Rocky Yama Sushi on Santa Fe Dr. Tatsu is over by my favorite art gallery: Spectra Art Space which has an immersive art experience to do and artwork from over 500 artists — it’s incredible. Rocky Yama is over by my studio and the Denver Art Society in Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe Dr. In addition to viewing my studio, we would tour Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe Dr. In the district we would get our hair done at My Hair Trip Salon — Denver’s #1 Organic Salon. Also in the art district is amazing Jamaican food at: The Jamaican Grille. After hair styling, we would refresh with a massage from Awakenings Therapeutic Massage and/or Zap Zing Bodyworks. As for a mountain experience, we would book a yoga and meditation retreat at Shoshoni Yoga Ashram in Rollinsville. For skiing we would go to Copper Mountain Resort and summit county for summer hiking. For more activities: we would go to Easton Training Center for Muay Thai Kickboxing and/or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. If there is an opportunity for live music — Spectra Art Space and Red Rocks.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Truly this is a difficult question to answer as there have been so many supporters along the way, I truly could not do it without SO MANY friends, family, teachers, mentors, etc. My network is the foundation I create from. l dedicate recognition to my mom and dad: Chris and Jim Noel. They have always supported my endeavors be it emotionally, financially, physically — they have been my support since day 1 and still are! In Dec 2020, I became a parent after giving birth to my son and first child. Now I am juggling working and owning my own business as a full time mom — it’s a lot as you may know. I absolutely could not do it without the help of my mom and dad. Both of my parents are self employed as social security disability lawyers. They taught me from a young age to stand up for the underdog. My mom is a true success story rising from intense poverty, discrimination, and violence to a career as an social security disability attorney raising a family in Boulder, Colorado. Mom and dad work as a team in their law practice and raising a family regardless of the hardships. Parenting is the hardest job though, and they have done tremendously!
Linkedin: Grace Noel
Photo credit Devi Photos, Polly B. Photo, Caitlin Ryan