We had the good fortune of connecting with Rebecca Noelle and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rebecca, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My business is a culmination of all the creative interests I have picked up over the years. I have always been one to have a hand in everything, and it’s amazing to have a business that serves as a platform for anything I choose to create! If I explain where I come from, maybe you will have a better sense of what I mean. I grew up in my mom’s flower shop in San Bernardino, experimenting with the materials around me, and I was lucky enough to attend Clare Cherry School throughout my entire childhood, an elementary school that offered art classes in all mediums. My first career was as a ballroom and tango dancer, and my mom and I spent those years designing and creating costumes and gowns for the stage. During my three pregnancies, I worked as a cake maker, and after retiring as a dancer, I dabbled in event design and then began studying oil painting. I attended Paul Mitchell the School in 2011 and got my cosmetology license with an intention to do hair and makeup for special events and theatre, but other things were calling me more. I felt an incredible urge to paint every day, and since then, I have been going out on location to paint the beautiful sites of San Diego and the places I travel. I also love working with a palette knife and creating abstracts, landscapes and still lifes with thick, juicy paint. In 2012, I built an online gallery for my paintings, but after a while I wanted to make more than just fine art. I also noticed how many visitors at art shows loved the work but could not afford original art, and I wanted to offer art at all price points. Many artists I know only sell original paintings, but I’d like my work to be more accessible than that. I want everyone to have beautiful images in their homes! In 2019, in an effort to expand the gallery, I transformed the R. Noelle Gallery to the Divine Punk Home Store. I began offering travel posters, art posters, pillows and giclées along with the original paintings. I designed greeting card and sticker sets with my images and witty t-shirts inspired by my favorite movies and television shows. I even made a line of sparkling “sugar plums” made from dried gourds. Last Christmas, I discovered that my Madame Alexander tree topper angel had disappeared during our move from Kensington to Sorrento Valley, and I began to search for a replacement. I wanted something antique or unique in some way, made with interesting dolls and beautiful fabrics. Nowhere could I find what I wanted, and so I set off to make my own-a porcelain rabbit angel in a tartan dress made with the silk my mom and I bought in Edinburgh when I was a kid. It was an interesting process to figure out and I got to use many skills I hadn’t used in a while-designing, sewing, crafting miniatures, wings, wreaths and decorative candies. I began to make more angels and ended up with a collection of 40! My next endeavor is a line of one-of-a-kind magic wands, and after that I will start on my collection of tiny pre-decorated, themed Christmas trees. I have ideas for ornaments, Christmas village accessories, tree skirts and more. I’m also inviting other artists I admire to create special lines of their work just for Divine Punk Home Store. I’m excited to have a business that allows me to be eclectic and diverse. But an online store is not the end of my dreams for Divine Punk. Martha Stewart has been my idol for decades now and I hope to grow my business into an equally inspiring resource and empire of beautiful things. I love to cook and share recipes, create playlists for holidays, seasons and moods, write articles about art, make how-to crafting videos and share design and decorating ideas. I envision Divine Punk becoming a platform for all of these things. I am currently studying marketing, sales and digital audiences at ASU and working on my application for the Venture Devils entrepreneurial program. More than anything, I want to be able to support myself with my creative endeavors and to encourage others to create freely and curate their lives consciously.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m definitely a diverse artist/craftsperson, but a lot of what I do is “plein air” or outdoor landscape painting. I adore nature and thrive on being outside, and I’ve spent much of my time in San Diego painting at Balboa Park. In fact, the Hotel Solamar in the Gaslamp houses most of those paintings, as their recent remodel was inspired by Balboa Park. I paint with brushes and palette knives, depending on my mood, and when I’m not painting landscapes on location, I work on colorful story illustrations and abstract expressionist works in my studio. I’m currently in the middle of a pen and watercolor series called “Elements of Nature” that mixes transparent watercolor orbs with intricate pen drawings of found natural objects. I began this series after I hurt my back and I was unable to carry all my painting supplies outdoors. I find it’s important for me to be constantly learning and experimenting, working with various materials and with different intentions. I study artists from N.C. Wyeth to Emiily Carr, from Hilma Af Klint to Georgia O’Keeffe, and everything I learn from them helps me come closer to discovering my own expressions. I’ve had people tell me that I need to decide on one medium and one style so that viewers know the work is mine when they look at it. I am coming to terms with the fact that I am the antithesis of this idea. I hope that my work in each medium develops a unique and recognizable style, but I am not about to resign myself to a single medium or process. I am proud of the diverse skill set I have developed and I want to encourage other artists to be equally versatile. Many artists scoff at anything that might be labeled as “craft” so I’ve had to stay focused on my own vision and remain true to myself as I navigate through these kinds of expectations and opinions. I refuse to turn my nose up at anyone’s creative expression, and I truly feel that every medium I have worked in from dance, to paint, to hair, to cakes has brought me an understanding of the core concepts of art-composition, design, color, value, texture, movement, etc. The biggest lesson I’ve had to learn throughout the years is that I need to embrace the diversity of my inspiration and interests and just keep creating without judgment. I have a beautiful quote hanging next to my bathroom mirror-something my theatre mentor gave me years ago. It a quote by the incredible dancer and choreographer Martha Graham who said, “You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ”
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Day 1: I would start at my favorite place in the city-Balboa Park! We would visit the museums and gardens and have drinks next to the sculpture garden at Panama 66 and lunch on the patio at the Prado. Then we would spend the afternoon at the San Diego Zoo, ride the sky tram at sunset, and then head over to University Heights for a delicious dinner at Pomegranate. Day 2: I would take her on the Old Town Trolley Tour, spend the morning in Old town and have lunch at Casa de Reyes. We would head over to Little Italy, walk up and down India and along the waterfront to Seaport Village and then head back to Little Italy and eat at Ben Cotto for dinner. Day 3: We would take a little day off from walking and traveling and sit on the beach in front of the Hotel Del Coronado. We would have lunch on the patio at the hotel and lounge in the sun on the beach all day. Day 4: Breakfast at Hob Nob Hill, then a visit to the Cabrillo Tidepools and Lighthouse and end with late lunch at the Liberty Public Market. Then we would head over to Extraordinary Desserts in Little Italy for some amazing desserts and coffee! Day 5: Head back to Balboa Park and do the Japanese garden, with lunch at the Japanese Tea House. Catch an afternoon showing at the Fleet Science Center’s IMAX theatre. Wander Adams Ave and have drinks at Clem’s in Kensington and dinner at The Rabbit Hole in Normal Heights. Day 6: Thrift shopping in Hillcrest and brunch at Chocolate. Later in the day, head to University Heights for dinner at Plumeria or and a show at the Diversionary Theatre. Day 7: Spend the day at La Jolla Shores Beach with a sunset dinner at Seasalt Del Mar.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The people who come to mind are my mom, my husband and my best friend. My mom is an intensely creative person who has taught me everything and encouraged me through every wild endeavor. My husband is my business partner and right-hand man who, despite my many failures, believes I’m brilliant. My best friend buys my work even though she knows I would just give it to her. She makes me laugh, scoffs at haters, and always has a way of making art fun. These three people have never once doubted my abilities even though I live in a world of doubt about myself. They remind me to stay unique and push me to forge on. I think that choosing an art career requires two things: stubbornness to keep going because your creative drive is so strong, and having a handful of people who truly believe in you. I also want to mention my two favorite business books, “The Martha Rules” by Martha Stewart and “Small Giants by Bo Burlingham. I have read these books multiple times and they have been instrumental in keeping me inspired and shaping my dreams of the future.
Other: Gallery website-www.RNoelle.com Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/paintdivinepunk/
Bill Protzmann Shannon Brady Elkayam