Noelle Anne Navarrete
WRAPPR: Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Noelle Anne: Yes, always. I crawled out of the womb with a paintbrush in my hand and a passion for creating art. I was 10 years old when I found out that being an artist, more specifically an illustrator, was a thing I could go to school for and have a full career in, so I made sure that that was the path I had to take.
W: Tell us a bit about your background, and how you got to where you are now
N: My need to make art is like an itch or a craving. It has always been something I needed to do since I was very young. When I was a kid, I would make bracelets and sell them during recess, as a teen I started selling paintings and custom greeting cards, then as I got a bit older I eventually took on commissions. Soon, I landed a full-time position as an in-house illustrator at a fashion company in Toronto right out of art school. I freelanced on the side until I reached the point where I wanted to take the leap to freelance full-time. My entrepreneurial mindset motivated me to create art and cultivate an audience to engage with while monetizing from it. Creating art for people has always been my business.
W: What type of work do you do for your clients?
N: Illustrative work that is mostly narrative or decorative textiles.
W: Which of those do you enjoy most right now?
N: I enjoy both. Sometimes I'll be doing a lot of narrative work so going back to decorative textiles is a nice breather and vice-versa.
W: What type of work do you do for your own enjoyment?
N: The type of work I like doing during my free time is still very hands-on. I like creating illustrations of personal pieces, and short comics that I often post up on social media and in my online shop. Additionally, as much as I love drawing fashion in my illustrative work, I like sewing my own clothes too. There’s something magical about bringing an idea into physical existence, which is why I love the arts and making things.
W: What work of yours would you like to be remembered for? Or is it something you are working on?
N: Most importantly, I want my work to make an impact on people's lives. My work is an expression that allows me to connect with others by conveying emotional feelings and hope. I aim to create pieces that are remembered as moments of escape, captivating people with a sense of enchantment. So, with every project I work on next, I try to bring more and more of that kind of impact, connection and charm.
W: What is your creative process?
N: Honestly, the biggest and most important part of my creative process is the thinking process. Whether I'm sitting, walking around, or laying in bed, I spend a lot of time meditating on any concepts, letting them marinate in my brain and refining it before I put it down on paper. Writing or drawing the idea down solidifies the concepts for me which then I can start playing and experimenting with colour, elements and media before I go into the final piece.
W: What are you planning to create next?
N: My next project is a graphic novel. It was a natural jump from my regular illustrative work since I tend to be very narrative. It’s certainly the biggest and longest project I’ve taken on so far, but I’m still excited to share my whimsical story with the world.
W: What is your biggest indulgence?
N: I'm obsessed with stories and learning new things, so I love to indulge in books and nature, which I think, are deeply entwined. What I love most about being in nature is, as an observer, I get to peek into moments of the natural world around me, and that’s where discovering stories begins. Libraries, bookshops, and nature are the places where I spend most of my time outside of my home.
W: Where do you find inspiration?
N: Nature, stories from other people, my own experiences, life. I often like to imagine, "what if..." For example, I'm walking through a park and I start to wonder, what if these trees could grow limbs and a face and started to have a conversation with me as we were walking? What if every time I draw the image comes alive? I take what I know and have experienced in life and find a way to twist it a bit.
W: How do you feel about being involved with Wrappr?
N: Delighted and also relieving. I've done work for companies where sustainability wasn't very important to them, which is uncomfortable to think about, especially since I jumped on the vegan/sustainability/love earth/climate crisis wagon in 2014. So, I've been a bit picky with who I choose to work with and offer my contributions for, thankfully Wrappr has a mindset on keeping those important sustainability goals as a core value! I'm so glad to know that there are companies like Wrappr who are addressing the matter and helping the world make that shift.
W: One last question: What are your thoughts on the climate crisis, zero-waste products, things you’re doing to be environmentally friendly, etc.
N: I think the most important thing we can do about the climate crisis is to educate ourselves. Being aware of the world outside of our comfy bubble, and allowing ourselves to be open to new ideas in which we can shift towards a better world. Education, research, reaching out to hear stories from people where the climate crisis is affecting them. The worst thing we can do is let ourselves continue in a path of that purely serves and benefits only ourselves. Thankfully the climate crisis is getting more attention lately because of social media, but I still believe that it is up to us to continue learning and researching the matter and making the decision to support those messages. Concerning zero-waste products, I think they are an amazing opportunity to allow consumers to take great steps towards green living. Consumers can reduce their carbon footprint by reusing good quality zero-waste products, which is a much better step than recycling. As for myself, I aim to continue to get educated about the climate crisis, support the environmentally friendly lifestyle and choose to work with clients who also support sustainability like Wrappr!