Noel Danforth is a graphic designer with a sense of style that not only influences her work, but her whole lifestyle. Enjoy the interview!
Art Life: Since “design is a state of mind” how is that you keep your mind in the creative spirit?
Noel: Staying in the creative flow, that is being receptive to and ready for inspiration, means keeping things open and allowing for space to exist within a project. I keep my mind in the creative spirit by working on something and then letting it be, allowing the dust to settle and for the ideas to grow. Changing ‘scenery’ is important to the process, too, as is changing my blood flow. Taking a walk, going for a run, listening to music, playing music, and practicing yoga are all ways for me to keep in flow. They are practices that can help me alter the way I see or approach a project.
Art Life: What is the balance you find necessary between the world of the computer and the world of hands-on? How does one affect the other?
Noel: It’s true, the computer is my main tool. It has also become an interface through which we lead part of our lives. I find it important to remind myself in a more tactile way why I love what I do. Picking up another media and working with color, shape and texture in an intuitive way helps me to connect to a less directed problem-solving. Whether it’s drawing, painting, sewing, or beading, I love to work in a way that allows more freedom for my intuition to connect with an unconscious flow. We all carry ideas around that sometimes need a little coaxing into the light.
Art Life: How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Noel: My design aesthetic leans toward smart (with a wink and a nod), organized, colorful and crafted. But I am also drawn to work that’s sometimes a little dark, and I love the unexpected . . . that spontaneous line.
Art Life: How does your dog, Gaiter, influence your creativity?
Noel: By being present. Gaiter reminds me to be in the now. Animals have a rhythm that they connect with–when they eat, when they sleep, and a love of routine, but they live in the present, the here and now, and I think that’s important when you want to really see something. I have a tendency to push toward completion, i.e. think about the future and deadlines, but the process is so important. I think it’s where the creative stuff happens, in that awkward liminal space between the known and unknown. Being aware, being present, allows us to be receptive to what is sometimes more interesting, more intuitive. Work that’s not obvious but gets at some other level of meaning through our subconscious is so interesting to me. And that’s all about how you perceive something. Ya gotta be open to it.
Art Life: What is the art life all about to you?
Noel: For me the meaning of living a life in the arts is about being fulfilled by creating and seeking beauty. Not the superficial beauty lauded by our increasingly consumer-driven world, but the beauty that transports us, transcends time and connects us to our best inner and outer worlds. I believe a sense of fulfillment in life is easier to achieve when you strive to connect with your inner world, to your thoughts, your dreams, and the things that don’t get expressed in other ways. In a sense, the art life is about tapping your inner light.
For more information on Noel Danforth visit Gold Star Studios.
To view the entire photo shoot go to Boston Art Life gallery.