London based graphic and visual artist Rachel Noble is making waves in the digital realms of music cover art. I’ve had my eye on her hyperreal compositions for a while now, consisting of shattered pixel fragments and luxurious melts of irredescent tones. From designing the graphics for her own show on NTS, to producing artwork both 2D and video based for various club nights and music acts, audio aesthetics are always at the forefront of her design vision.
Have you always created graphics for music, or has that happened as a result of your style?
I think it happened as a result of my interest in music and the way I positioned myself over the past couple of years. Being a visual artist involved in the music scene, (JustJam/NTS) and my ‘style’, which seemed to resonate with producers and people in the music scene who I met along the way.
Where do you gather inspiration for your work from, there’s a lovely unworldly feel to it all?
It’s hard to say exactly where I gather inspiration from because I think it’s something that you collect throughout your entire life. I have been making art for about 10 years now in a conscious way, through education and art college and then on my own terms. It all grows out of having your own practice, experimenting, looking and learning in every aspect of your life. It’s like having an ongoing investigation defined by your own parameters and this can change and metamorphose into all sorts of things. When you say unworldly this really interests me as I have noticed a strong tendency of mine to hone in on spectacle and try to exclude reality a bit but I hope in a way that has an uplifting quality to it, like a kind of weightlessness, anti-gravity or something!
Transformation is something that inspires me, taking mundane everyday things and using them to make something mesmerising, beautiful or new. Like wanting to please your eyes, but in an intelligent conscientious way and that is hard to put into words as it’s such a visual / physical / emotional thing, kind of abstract like music maybe? I’m definitely influenced by nature, as in naturally occurring things that resonate with me and others universally like geometry and symmetry, landscape, water, colour and light, these all sound really basic! But yes, things that make up our world in some way…energy.
Although your work has quite a heavy digital emphasis, do you still enjoy bringing it to life in a physical format?
Yes of course! I’ve always been interested in the image as a kind of physical object, plane, material or however you might look at it. The crossover from the digital realm to the physical is something I find quite mysterious and relevant. I started off making digital images to exist as prints – it was this idea of solidifying light through photography, capturing something ephemeral, and turning it into an object, that I was really hooked on. But then printing is very expensive, especially when you want the colours to look as intense as the digital version! So for economic reasons I have been working mainly in the digital realm recently. I would love to balance it with a more physical side to making again at some point, partly because I don’t think sitting in front of a computer all the time is a healthy thing! You end up ignoring what your body is telling you because you are lost in the world on screen.
Do you think your style has changed or developed over time?
Most definitely. In a lot of my early work I was using pencil and paper, and everything was monotone…no colour whatsoever! So you can imagine how much has happened in between now and then. There will always be threads you could follow through my work though and that’s the exciting thing about building a body of work over time, seeing how it transforms and also what reoccurs years later in new manifestations.
Does the music of each project influence the design in any way?
In every way! This is one of the most important parts. I always talk with the producer about how they vision it or what kind of aesthetic they are interested in, I think listening to the music whilst you create the art or talk about ideas just makes sense too, it will just end up being in there in some way. I think if the design reflects the music then people will also trust that kind of aesthetic. It’s easy to make artwork that looks cool and eye catching, but if it doesn’t reflect the music in some way it almost feels like you have been mislead, or just that the thought hasn’t gone into the release.
Who would be your ideal person/people to produce cover art for?
Björk and Nguzunguzu! Although I really enjoy working with upcoming producers too.