Conversations with Muralist Devin Noel: Insights, Stories, and Inspiration
interior design

Conversations with Muralist Devin Noel: Insights, Stories, and Inspiration

Devin Noel, a muralist based in South Florida, channels the lush landscapes and rich wildlife of the region into her vibrant artwork. With a passion for transforming spaces into captivating visual experiences, collaborating with Devin on our first mural wallcovering, 'Palm Era,' was a dream come true. Now, let's explore Devin's journey further through an exclusive interview!

Congratulations on your collaboration with Chelsea Lane & Co. for your wallcovering line! Can you tell us about how this got started?

Thank you!  Honestly, it's the most darn exciting thing ever and hopefully, the world is not getting sick of me screaming my excitement for the metaphorical "rooftops!" Chelsea approached me with the wildly fun idea of creating a wallcovering line together and 8 months later, here we are! Chelsea had seen my murals and wanted me to create wallcoverings in my signature style of bold tropical foliage. Everything I do for my mural work is commissioned based per client, so to work with someone who was telling me "Do what you love!" was a magic moment. My artistry revolves around crafting full-room pieces that transform spaces into immersive environments. Collaborating with her expertise and guidance in the world of wallcoverings has been an absolute game-changer! The fusion of our talents brings forth a wealth of tips, tricks, and technical details, making it the ultimate dream team-up!

How does it feel to see your artwork transformed into a wallcovering available for sale?

It's such a cool feeling! Learning how to make wallpaper and design the 'Palm Era' collection took months and after our first install I was like "Oh my goodness I forgot we get to see this come to life over and over again."  The process was a blast, and to see a project like this fully come together is such a great feeling.  As artists, we are always trying to come up with new ways to diversify our work so it can be the perfect fit for someone. The coolest thing for me about 'Palm Era' is that it is made with so much love and attention, just like my murals, so it still feels like a personal piece even though it's available to anyone!  

Your bio mentions your early experiences painting and crafting with your mom. How do you think those experiences shaped your artistic style today?

I grew up in a Victorian home built in 1810, where gold-leafing the ceiling was a normal Saturday activity as a kid. My mom was always researching the history of architecture, furniture, and textiles. If we weren't doing a house project we were sifting through barns of antiques throughout the Midwest. She definitely showed me that your style can be a full expression inch to inch on your walls of your home, and defined my "maximalist" style at a young age. I still struggle with having items that serve a purpose of function over form. I just want everything to be as whimsical as possible! I started painting murals in every house we lived in after we moved from the Midwest. She always supported the aesthetic idea of "more is more" growing up and created an environment where creativity flourished. On that note, my mom's style has evolved into a more minimalist modern aesthetic recently, and you can guess that the dinner table conversation is heavily debated over more is more vs minimalism now. The conflict! 😂

Could you walk us through your creative process when designing bold patterns and botanical motifs for your artwork?

One of the things I love so much about creating is not only your art evolving, but the process to get there. In the initial first years of my professional career, the inspiration was fueled by trips to Guatemala to hike volcanoes and see wildlife and plants I could only ever dream of. Trips to Austria for the museums and art; traveling ignited using my experiences as inspiration for my art. As a working artist, it's so important to take time to refresh the inspiration catalog in our brains, whether it be rollerblading the Lake Trail to snap some photos of the palm trees, or visiting zoos if I need to reference a certain animal for a painting.  But in everyday life sometimes living that magical inspiration hunting doesn't align with the timelines of producing art and making a living. I have two giant bookshelves that have anything from botanical illustration books to old antique pattern books...Honestly diving into a pile of books with a coffee and a comfy sweater is just as great of an adventure as traveling. That's a really cool part about making art, some projects call for a deep dive into history, or some require justifying a trip to your favorite place to spark the ideas! Once I've got the idea of what I want to create, I sketch everything out on my iPad, using brush and paint techniques I would mimic in real life. It's super "painterly" even though it's digital and it is so helpful not only for me to get my ideas out there, but for the client to follow along and have a clear vision of the art!

What aspects of living in West Palm Beach, Florida, do you find most inspiring for your art?

My work is usually defined by lush tropical foliage, birds, and things you can walk outside every day and see here! I'll be driving and have to pull over if I see a giant traveler's palm to get a picture. It's really awesome living in an environment that your work reflects. Of course, I throw in occasional flora and fauna exotic to the area, but West Palm is the perfect scene to start the vision. The people here are so fun with their style too! In some places convincing a client to go with 12-foot palm trees in saturated tones would be a wild suggestion; here it's a no-brainer!  I love sharing the inspiration behind my art with clients—it's like planting their own special tree along a scenic walk.

You mentioned your appreciation for decorative elements throughout history. Are there any specific historical periods or styles that particularly influence your work?

Honestly, if I could have any superpower it would be time traveling! Give me all of the orange 70's shag carpet CAN I PLEASE HANG OUT THERE?  Art Nouveau into Art Deco is a favorite because everything was gold-gilded DUH!  I'm still trying to decorate my apartment into a Rococo pink and gold dream, I'll let the world know when I've found a way to make that work with Florida 70's architecture. It all sort of fits into the idea of murals and my wallcovering being bold and immersive, certain colorways totally give a more relaxed environment, but at the end of the day, it's still a statement! 

How do you approach the balance between tradition and innovation in your art, especially in projects like the Palm Era mural?

I definitely refer to Chelsea's expertise when it comes to the balance! I wouldn't say she holds me back in the least, but she always offers insight on where I can push further to something different, and how I can offer something still relatable to people. She embraces ideas to create something truly unique—whether it's playful patterns in palm trunks or bold, unconventional color schemes! We're taking a classic style and giving it an unexpected twist with daring elements and scale.

Collaborating on a project like the mural requires coordination and compromise. What was your experience like working with Chelsea Lane & Co.?

It's rare to find a brain like Chelsea's. Her support is never-ending, and her insight is an encyclopedia stack. I was so nervous when she reached out to me.  I seriously was screaming ARE YOU SERIOUS. I have worked with companies I wildly respect, and household names locally and nationally on mural projects, but when I first met with Chelsea I had to pep talk myself. It was an opportunity I knew I would do anything to pivot, learn, and make happen. The production process is nothing short of a dream come true. She's sort of stuck with me for life now, I've quickly come to need to talk over any art idea or project with her, even outside of Palm Era. She's just got that creativity and her drive is infectious.  

What advice would you give to aspiring artists who want to turn their passion into a career?

First, I'm here for all the tips and questions. I love to share any information I've learned along the way, whether that be with fellow artists or fellow business owners! It's a wild ride, you think you've got your vision and voice down as an artist and then boom you need to send an insane contract to protect yourself and you panic. Just know no matter how many years we have been doing this we still have those moments. Specifically to artists, I think the major thing to focus on at first is finding out what you can do especially for your region. Where does your voice fit locally, and if it doesn't seem like it fits pave a new trail. Also, comparison is so tough, finding a balance of admiring other artists work while not diminishing your self-confidence in the process is so important. Lastly, always talk about your art. Don't feel like because it's a passion or a hobby it doesn't deserve to be shouted from the rooftops. You are allowed to make space in the conversation and environment that you are an artist and your passion for it! 

Lastly, what's next for you? Any upcoming projects or artistic endeavors you're excited about?

We've just got started on showing you the range in Palm Era, so keep an eye out for some amazing colorways coming soon. My personal favorite hasn't even been released yet! Chelsea and I are always brainstorming coming ideas, so there is always exciting stuff on our creative horizon. As far as mural projects, holy moly I've got a lot of super exciting walls coming to life soon!  I'll be in Key West painting a massive mural this summer, and I have a bunch of local projects that I can't wait to share!
Follow Devin on her journey: