In a sense, Noble explore psychology-- specifically the psychology of identity-- within her work. The thoughts of her subjects are hidden and ambiguous. The viewer must look to the surroundings and other elements in order to solve the puzzle of what is in the subject’s mind. Noble strives to create work that conveys more than one meaning. Thus, her body of work is open to the interpretation of viewers.
Gwen by Allise Noble
Brian Sherwin: Tell us about your academic background. Did you study art formally? What about influential instructors that you have had?
Allise Noble: I always loved art growing up. My parents noticed this right away, as early as 3 years old, and from that point on I was highly encouraged. I have hazy memories of special craft days once a week when I was in preschool and kindergarten where my mom would get out containers filled with sequins, silk flowers, ribbon, pom-pons and foils and boxes of fabrics, paint, construction paper, crayons, markers … anything imaginable. Although the details over time have become vague, I still remember there was always something magical about that round plastic container.
I am currently a junior in college studying interior design as a major and art as a minor. Thus far, the majority of classes I’ve taken in my concentration are for interior design, which has led me to really think about how the colors and various facets of a figure’s backdrop or surroundings can be used as a tool to convey who the subject in a piece of work is.
Even within day to day life not on paper, a person’s surroundings can be an experience visually, and should be. Backdrops can easily change the entire meaning of a view. Someday when I have a house, it has always been my dream to have one room in it entirely made of cardboard. In this room, people would only be allowed to eat chocolate wafer cookies because they are the only food that looks accurately like corrugated cardboard.
I have been taking mainly 3D design classes lately involving sculptural work with materials such as textiles and fibers, wire, plaster, etc; just a mix of materials. I feel branching out in this way can help me incorporate 3D elements into my 2D work, and perhaps inspire some new techniques with my current textile work.
Through high school and even the beginning of college I strayed away from the 3-dimensional after some particularly traumatic experiences earlier in life involving a paper mache princess statue and later a replica of a gothic cathedral made of foamcore board. Interior design studio classes have also helped train my mind to think in this dimension that comes far less easily to me due to the fact that I am constantly working with space and having to imagine myself inside a flat drawing, and also due to the models of my own designs I have been required to build.
BS: Tell us about the thoughts behind your art. Can you give our readers some insight into any specific themes that you explore?
AN: I am most interested in some form of human figures as a subject in my work. I am fascinated by the subtle differences between individuals, both natural such as facial structures and chosen such as how people choose to present themselves visually to the rest of society and whom within that society they gravitate towards. I am also interested in exploring the differences between someone’s “alone” self versus their public or interacting self.
As well as the people themselves, whether they are realistic or abstracted, I am interested in the personal world they inhabit that depicts who they are, their unique personality and experiences. Emphasis is very important in how any entity is viewed, including one’s surroundings. Perception can visually alter how the world appears to different people just based on what they focus on or ignore, notice or choose to dismiss, and are drawn to or repelled away from.
I would love my art to be altered depending which viewer is looking at it, which is why I like to include more than one point of interest for the most part, and a fair amount of detail so that the viewer has the power to choose their focus, and draw meaning from that decision.
The Factory by Allise Noble
BS: Is there a specific message you strive to convey to viewers concerning your art?
AN: I always have a message in mind when creating something, since that is usually what spawns the idea. Still, I want the message’s formation within my artwork to be very unobvious and interpretive so others can make meaning based on their experiences and where they are in life. I am captivated by the idea of infinite ideas within a single image.
When creating my subjects, I don’t use exaggerated facial expressions or gestures. Their mannerisms are left very subtle, making it the viewer’s job to interpret the figure’s thoughts rather than the thought or emotion being blatantly expressed. I feel this keeps the viewer more involved, and allows them to relate to the subjects within an image much like they would to real people due to that level of ambiguity and uncertainty and hidden psyche. Most real people encountered in day to day life are not going to tell you exactly how they want or what they feel, nor will they divulge everything about themselves right away. Especially in first or second meetings, it is a process of risking inferences.
Something else I am interested in is communicating universal messages with very specific instances. For these sorts of concepts, I collect input by asking a single question of various individuals I encounter to make the specific instances I use even more personal, rather than just myself inventing scenarios. This way there is also a fun challenge for me in figuring out how to piece these scenarios together and make them fit.
I am currently working on a series of four pieces in which I’ve used this process, and have a second series floating around in my head (I am trying not to start too many things at once, as I always tend to do). The aim in much of my work is to take very distinctive visual and situational information and work it to convey themes that are relatable on many different levels.
Too many people go through life feeling like their minds are isolated from everyone else’s, and that just isn’t the case. The mere fact that so many feel isolated and alone in the way they view the world means that their human experience is in no way an outlier.
BS: What can you tell us about your process in general? Give us some insight into how you work… as in turning an idea into reality, so to speak? Can you discuss some of the methods that you utilize?
AN: When drawing, I always start with a sketch in a sort of “idea book” I keep that is only distinguishable in any way by me. After that, I turn this into a more perfected sketch, so lightly that normally only I who drew it can find where the lines are, on the piece of paper I am going to complete my final upon. These above steps are conducive in preventing the searing pain I feel when people want to see my work before it is at least relatively worked out to resemble completion, as people usually give up trying to distinguish my line work.
My detail is added for the most part when I shade or color rather than in the outline, though of course the opposite is true when doing pen work. I tend to work on the points of highest interest to me within a piece first unless such an order would be ridiculously impractical and cause issues later. Once I complete the most fun part of a piece, finishing up the less interesting parts doesn’t bother me because I am excited for the finished product. Almost always the background comes last because not only do I far prefer drawing living things, but the way these living things end up looking often determines the background.
As I said earlier, a figure’s surroundings are used as a vehicle to reflect more about them. When I work, I like being completely surrounded by my materials. I have to work on a table, never a desk with all those little rows of drawers on each side. If it is a desk sans drawers I suppose I can deal with it because it doesn’t look like a desk. I have a desk in my bedroom and I really only use it as a glorified dumping grounds. There’s just something utterly confining about using a desk. I feel like I should be reviewing my finances or drafting spreadsheets or some other craziness, not creating art.
For my textile work, I sit on the floor cross-legged for hours on end which has led to many parts of my body falling asleep that I didn’t even know COULD fall asleep. I have a highly organized Ziploc sandwich bag that I keep all of my trace paper patterns I’ve devised within, though for some of the smaller details or specific, one-use-only pieces I go pattern-less. I group all felt, fabrics, and possible adornments I will be using in a sort of collage on the floor in front of me to determine what to pair together, and then go to it.
My laptop being near me at all times is a must, not only for quick references but because it is currently my prime source of music and I cannot work without some form of song constantly infiltrating my ear canals. Oddly enough, I’ve also found recently I work much better when I have a beam of light from my desk lamp shining directly onto me. Maybe I’m genetically mutating into a plant, who knows.
Girltripped Contest- Morning by Allise Noble
AN: I have many artists whom I admire and whose work I adore (amongst them Ray Casesar, Chris Conn Askew, Alex Gross, Yoshitomo Nara), but I’m not sure if their work influences what I do as we have fairly different styles, subject matter, and reasons why we create the art we do.
Aesthetically, I am influenced by Japanese pop culture, especially the personification of inanimate objects or the likening of animals to humans with specific personas and modes of dress, utilized often in Japanese products and ads. This can be seen in my stitched octopi. I am also currently working on a series of ink and watercolor works featuring people in simplified, cartoon-like animal costumes.
Conceptually I have always been influenced by dreams, probably because I’ve had such vivid ones that I can actually remember in a fair amount of detail since about three years old. In 11th grade I began writing down my dreams in journals, and have done so ever since (I still remember the most impacting ones from childhood, and have since recorded those as well before I lose them).
Girltripped Contest - Mooncake by Allise Noble
BS: Where can your art be viewed at this time? Will you be involved with any upcoming exhibits?
AN: I attend Central Michigan University, and have been submitting work to some periodic student shows there. I hope to find more opportunities to exhibit in the near future, right now, whenever I can.
Also, I have a shop at www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6820200. I’ll be selling some of my textile work hopefully soon among other things. I meant to have it set up sooner but I do enjoy creating the inventory more than dealing with all the business setup. My only goal is to make enough extra money to keep being able to create things. A lot of times I’ll give stuff to people for free.
I enjoy what I do immensely, and I would never be doing anything else with my time regardless so cheesy as it may be to say so, I’m just excited for people to like what I do and to have it put a smile on their face for a little while. I suppose that is why I’m an artist and not a real estate salesman or CEO.
BS: Do you have any concerns about the art world at this time? There has been a lot of debate recently about copyright and the rights of artists. Do you have an opinion on issues such as that?
AN: I do believe that copyrighting is an important issue. Nothing that is born from a person’s mind that they have poured their hard work and soul into should become public domain and for use by any other with no permission or guidelines. I feel like it is one of those issues, however, that is so difficult to define.
BS: What about the internet? One could say that the art world is starting to catch up-- more galleries are turning to the World Wide Web in order to further exposure for their artists. How do you think the internet will impact the art world in say… a decade? Can you see a meshing between the traditional market and alternative (online) markets taking shape?
AN: The internet is a wonderful tool for artists (and not only to discover accidental idea stealing, haha). I have been exposed to so much inspiring art just from browsing various online art communities, much from people who were not well known or were just using art as a hobby, something to do after coming home from high school or work or over retirement.
I can certainly see a meshing between the traditional market and online market. No matter how grand technology becomes, the traditional market will never be lost. Online images, no matter how impressive the quality, can never replace the awe of seeing a work in person.
The Observer by Allise Noble
BS: Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your art or the goals that you have?
AN: If I ever became famous, I would definitely put out my own soft drink. Having your own line of bottled liquids seems the thing to do nowadays once a person is famous, and I don’t much care for perfumes. It would be like bubble tea, only the squishy rectangles floating within a fruity beverage would have tiny line art drawings of my work printed on them. Ok, so I’d be lying if I said this goal was always close to my heart. I just thought of it now upon contemplating this question actually but nevertheless, I quite like it as goals go and plan to stick to it.
Honestly, I love what I do and will continue to create and look for opportunities to use my creations so long as I live. To communicate something that awakens an emotion inside a person, to be able to draw a connection to someone who thought they were all alone in their thoughts, beliefs, values, feelings, or experiences … these are the only goals I can really say I have. The rest cannot yet be told.