On Saturday, June 11th world renown artist Noah will be appearing at Treasures in Paradise in Disney’s California Adventure park for the release of his Vinylmation inspired by Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. He created 12 hand painted 9″ ($595) and 12 hand painted 3″ ($150) figures. He recently sat and talked with us about Vinylmation, his art and his inspirations.
Destination Vinylmation: Tell us about these amazing 9″ Ariel Limited Edition Vinylmations.
Noah: I chose to make this a two part art piece. I wanted the stand to be complimentary to the vinyl and for them to work together. The painting of Ariel was created for the opening of the attraction and a Noah collection of merchandise. Its a huge honor and privilege. Total dream come true.
Noah’s 9″ The Little Mermaid LE 12 ($595) Copyright Disney
DV: When you make a piece like this, how much pre planning goes into it?
Noah: I see all designs done in my head. Its a visual thing. I cant describe it but see it done in my head sitting in the resort on the shelf and on the guests shelves at home. I’ve been creating like this over 25 years. You tend to figure out quickly what you can do and can’t do quicker and quicker each time. More than anything, I want to always take risks and think way outside the box. Trying to keep it really fun to look forward to.
DV: When designing a vinylmation, are you always able to accurately translate your concept onto the canvas?
Noah: Yes. They are tricky and a challenge though. I won’t deny that. However, using the airbrush helps when painting on 3D objects. The key for me isn’t just the concept, its the finishes and quality of products that I really research and get into. Such as the World of Color pearl colors and clearcoat. I love creating those new ideas and color pallets.
Noah’s World of Color Vinylmation Copyright Disney
DV: What have you learned about designing a vinylmation since your first piece to now?
Noah: Sky is the limit. each one reveals another step as to how far out I can go. Metal Mickey was mass release for D23 two years ago and was fun to design but things really changed when I started painting the one of a kinds.
Metal Mickey Copyright Disney
DV: A lot of your work seems to be inspired from old-school Disneyland. Talk to us about your Disney inspirations.
Noah: I grew up going to the park 1-3 times a week during the Summers spent with my Aunt and Grandparents. A lot of my family were cast members in the resort. Later on, once the partnership happened with Disney I really wanted to herald the legacy of what Walt was about. I love making sure we remember the foundations of Walt’s dreams and ideas. I love the old vintage black and white cartoons and designs. I just really care for the true essence of Walt’s vision and motives. It was all for other people and families. He really created something special.
Noah’s Pirates of the Caribbean Painting Copyright Disney
DV: Do you make it to Disneyland often for fun? What are you favorite attractions?
Noah: My wife and I take the kids as much as possible. Great place to let the kids walk and run. Great exercise. Building connection with them not just memories. Favorite area is Casey Jr. and Storybook Land. Although, time spent in Club 33 is hard to beat. Sitting on the terrace watching Fireworks, the sounds of the park and the train. Its really awesome. I have to thank my Aunt Barbara who was key in the time we spent there as kids. I remember being there at 12am when the park was closing and we would be hittin the rides, as many as possible in a row. Hours spent in the arcade under space mountain. When we spent summers at my grandparents in Anaheim I’d climb the roof of their house and watch the fireworks. As I watched them I’d be thinking what was happening in the park and all the good that was happening there.
Noah Working on a Mickey Painting Copyright Disney
DV: What is your favorite Disney character to work with?
Noah: Hmmmm. don’t know if I have a favorite. I love portraits. So obviously I love taking the characters to a new reality but keeping them rooted in their identity and story. However, painting Walt’s portrait is my favorite. I’m humbled every time.
DV: How about the newer Disney films, and any chance we’ll see some art based on them? (Tangled, Princess and the Frog, Pixar films)
Noah: Your’re funny. Keep a look out. I have some ideas.
DV: Tron Legacy vs the original Tron.. which is better?
Noah: Yes. :)
Noah’s 9″ Tron Copyright Disney
DV: There has been a lot of talk of bringing Mickey Mouse back to his more “mischevious” roots from his early cartoons, instead of the do-gooder we know today, as evidenced in the Epic Mickey videogame. How do you feel about Mickey being a bit darker, and does that influence your work at all?
Noah: I would say that there has been a lot of interpretations and variations and there are some I like more than others. I am currently working on some things that I’ve never been this excited about. Super pumped and excited.
DV: A lot of our readers know you through Vinylmation and Disney, but that’s only a small part of your work. Outside of Disney, what inspires your art?
Noah: Good grief… How long do you have!!? My sole purpose for being here on earth is to bring glory to my heavenly Father for giving me this gift and opportunity to paint. My main priority is to serve my wife and kids and others. I have a great deal of styles I love painting: Disney, Angels, Mermaids, Fairies, Florals etc. They are all different parts of me and have different meanings for different seasons of my life. If I painted just one thing I think I’d go nuts.
A Sample of Some of Noah’s non-Disney Work Copyright Disney
DV: Any advice for create-your-own Vinylmation artists out there?
Noah: Risk. Risk. Risk. Don’t do what “anyone” can do. It has to be “you”. Go waaaaay outside the box and give us something that we haven’t seen. Tell a story. Let us inside your head and create something that you don’t care what “other people think” matters.
DV: Ninja vs. Pirate – who wins?
Noah: Jedi. Everytime.
DV: You have a lot of fans in the Vinylmation world that cannot afford to spend hundreds on one of your amazing, yet very limited, custom products. Have you ever asked Disney, or been offered by Disney to design a Vinylmation for a mass release?
Noah: Yes. It’s talked about all the time however I get excited about pouring my time and passion into one of a kind creations. I know its a premium price but I’ve worked as hard as I can to keep these original works down in cost. The mass releases seem most appropriate for really large events. We will see.
DV: Any plans or wishes to make it to Walt Disney World on the East Coast?
Noah: We have some ideas brewing. Keep a look out on our Facebook and Blog.
“Flippin’ Switches” by Noah Copyright Disney
DV: Anything else you would like to add for the Vinylmation and Disney audience?
To be creating and being a part of Disney is truly a blessing. I’m so grateful. There isn’t a day that goes by without me thinking about this honor. I think about the Vinylmation and Disney fans that have used their super hard earned dollars to collect the work and it drives me to keep creating something special. It’s so much fun to collect and I want to stoke everyone out with something to look forward to. Thank you so much for your loyalty and support. The fans span the globe and I hear each one of you and appreciate your communication on facebook and twitter. I’ve heard stories of them flying from great distances and that means the world to me. Blessings to each of you and your families.