Chris Noel is the founder of Particle, a graphic design firm in Maryland that has enjoyed a reputation for excellence since 1987 (www.particlefactory. com). For over 25 years Chris has been working with clients to produce print collateral, product packaging, educational material, branding and identity systems, and integrated marketing campaigns that include web site design. 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 is a former partner and the Creative Director for the web site, a directory used by art directors, designers, creative directors, and other art buyers to locate professional illustrators’ web sites and stock illustration. He has taught senior level graphic design classes at American University in Washington, DC and entry level design classes at Montgomery College in Rockville Maryland.

In 2003, after turning 50, Chris’s interests turned to painting. He has always been fascinated with the raw emotion and unending sense of discovery that abstract painting offers the viewer. His first attempt to create fell short, in his eyes. It wasn’t until after running out of canvases and being unsure about continuing to spend money on paintings that were not that unique, Chris started looking around the house for things to paint on and discovered a whole new genre of image making that is much like graphic design.

He soon realized his art was unique, thought provoking, and worth pursuing further. All of it has a very spontaneous quality that is arrived at through a well thought-out design process. In fact he considers his paintings to be more graphic design than painting, blurring the line between fine art and design. He refers to this style as Post-Consumer Realism for obvious reasons.

Today all of Chris’s work involves some form of recycling of unwanted material and he makes a point of making that clear to viewers who attend his shows. His paintings and objects have been on display in many shows and he has been profiled in numerous publications.

Curating and Gallery Work:
In 2008 Chris, along with two other committee members, directed and coordinated the IC14 Exhibition, a juried illustration show sponsored by the Illustrators Club of Washington, that featured the work of 47 professional illustrators on exhibit at Edison Place Gallery in Washington, DC. The show was profiled in a feature article on the front page of the ON Exhibit section of the Washington Post.

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).

Chris has designed many portfolio web sites for creatives and is currently a member of The Artists’ Gallery in Frederick, Maryland where he is involved in organizing shows and gallery promotion and operation.