Chris Noel is the founder and president of Particle, a graphic design firm in Gaithersburg, Maryland that has enjoyed a reputation for excellence since 1987 (www.particlefactory.com). For over 25 years Chris has been working with corporate, retail and non-profit clients to produce print collateral, product packaging, educational material, branding and identity systems, and integrated marketing campaigns that include web site design. His interest in design started in high school, experimenting with the simple graphic qualities of abstract painting. He holds a BFA in Communication Arts and Design from Virginia Commonwealth University. Before founding Particle Chris held design positions in Chicago, Richmond, and Washington, DC.

Chris's design work has been published in Print, Communication Arts, Graphis, How, and Art Direction magazines, and his company has been profiled in Full Bleed magazine, and the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Newsletter, as well as, Novum magazine, a German design publication.

Chris has been recognized by design and client industries alike with over 200 awards for design and art direction for some very high-profile clients like the Smithsonian Institution, PBS, Honest Tea and the Internal Revenue Service and his work is included in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress. Chris stays involved in the design community with active membership in the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington, the Illustrators Club of Washington, and the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and is also a partner and the Creative Director for Folioplanet.com, a web site directory used by art directors, designers, creative directors, and other art buyers to locate professional illustrators' web sites and stock illustration. He has taught a senior level graphic design class at American University in Washington, DC and entry level design classes at Montgomery College in Rockville Maryland.

In 2009 Chris formed a committee and convinced the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington to sponsor the, first of it's kind, Private Arts Exhibition, that featured fine art work created by Washington, DC area professional designers, illustrators, and photographers. The show (140 pieces by 39 artists) was on display at the Artery 717 in Alexandria, Virginia (March/April, 2009). The tradition continued with a show in 2011.


Painting:
In 2003 Chris's interests turned back to painting. He has always been fascinated with abstract painting and his many years as a graphic designer have made him a perpetual student of color, form, and composition. His debris paintings, as he calls them, are collections of discarded elements that take on new meaning when reassembled and brushed, rolled or dabbed with vivid color. His very first show in January, 2006 at BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, Maryland was featured in the Gazette Newspaper and on Maryland Public Television's ArtWorks This Week. Since then Chris's paintings have been on display in many shows and he has been profiled in numerous publications.

Chris's paintings have a very spontaneous quality that is arrived at through a well-thought-out design process. In fact he considers them to be more graphic design than painting, blurring the line between fine art and design. He refers to his style as Post Consumer Realism because of his use of discarded items that most people would consider to be waste or trash. His latest three dimensional pieces are like lost relics of a civilization that never existed and stand as a reminder of how much waste our culture generates on an everyday basis.