NEW KDHamptons Featured Artist: Sagaponack Painter, Noelle Giddings
“I started coming to the Hamptons on summer weekends from Manhattan, about 20 years ago. I would get off the Jitney in Wainscott, and walk to my rental house knowing that the relaxation was about to begin,” shares Sagaponack artist Noelle Giddings (above). “I moved here full-time just after my daughter Pearl was born14 years ago. Her March birthday is always a reminder of why I moved here, and what a wonderful decision it was. Through all of the changes that can take place internally and externally over the course of two decades, I can honestly say that I still feel as excited to be here as I first did way back then.” KDHamptons recently met Noelle at a Sag Harbor dinner party, and was curious to learn more about her work as a resident artist for the hit television show, The Good Wife, which she shares below in this new featured profile:
KDHamptons: What does a typical winter day on the East End look like for you?
Noelle Giddings: I have run and/or rode my bike almost daily for all 20 years, and on all of those trips I look around with appreciation for the beauty of this place. A typical day begins early. There is a lot of discipline involved in being a successful freelance artist, and one thing that works for me is getting to work before the day starts around me – when it’s nice and quiet. I grab a coffee, feed the pets (lots), and hit my studio to set up or check in on my work for the day. Then I start waking up the kids, get a little breakfast together, drop them to school and either hit the gym in Sag Harbor or ideally, weather permitting, go for a 6 mile run outside, sometimes along Long Beach. After a green juice at Provisions or another quick coffee at Sag Town (below), I head home to work for the rest of the day. Kids get home anywhere from 4 to 6:30 – then dinner at home, help with homework, and take in an episode of The Good Wife. On Wednesdays, I have a date night with my husband Kent at Tutto Il Giorno in Sag Harbor.
KDHamptons: Can you please describe your role as resident artist for The Good Wife?
Noelle Giddings: The role I play as an artist for The Good Wife is surprising, as it’s very unusual for a television show to maintain an artist to continually create original cleared art for it. Typically, a show would rent cleared art from a prop house where they would find a generic style of art for the walls/ sets. Early on, The Good Wife invested in an elegant, unique, and artistic look for the show. The set decorator Beth Kushnik has a Twitter feed while the show airs (9:00PM, Sunday nights) fielding art and design question coming at her in real time from the shows fans. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams even have a Good Wife Collection, named after pieces from the show, including: Alicia’s Couch, Florrick Agos Chair, etc. About seven years ago when the show was just starting they needed a room full of comic book art for a particular episode. It had to be original because you can’t just borrow Batman or Spiderman art, for example.
I had been a comic book artist with DC comics for many years – doing Batman, Superman, Aquaman to name a few (above image via Noelle Giddings). Beth remembered me, and called to ask if I could do the job – about 30 pieces to be around the ‘studio’ of a character. After that they asked if I could do some Frank Lloyd Wright ‘style’ architectural drawings of Chicago (where the show takes place). I found myself saying, “I can do that too….actually, I can do any style of art that you need”…..And that’s how it all began!
KDHamptons: What inspires your works for the television show?
Noelle Giddings: The inspiration starts first with the description of where the art will be used on the show. Art in a judge’s chamber, for example, would need to be kind of monochromatic, masculine – nothing too colorful or exiting… so lots of antique looking architectural renderings of government buildings or iconic Chicago buildings, like the Chicago Library or The Navy Pier (above). For the very successful high-end law offices, they opt for typically modern, bold, large colorful works. Chicago cityscapes are popular, I think I’ve painted The Chicago Theatre with that beautiful red sign 4 times, 4 different ways. When Peter Florrick became the governor, I created very large, old master style paintings (below) – with big ornate gold frames one might see in The White House. That was fun…it’s challenging and I love it.
KDHamptons: Do you have a favorite East End artist?
Noelle Giddings: While I don’t have a favorite – I have enjoyed growing an appreciation for the yard full of sculptures I’ve been passing on Merchants Path for years when I run. I had an opportunity to meet the sculptor Hans Van de Bovenkamp. I think he’s great. As for pictures, I like the local artist Scott Hewett’s work – it’s bold, bright, colorful – his paintings make me smile. And though only a local for the last 25 years of his painting life, I often enjoy looking at Fairfield Porter’s work – in books as well as the Parish. You can see the light of the Hamptons in his landscapes.
KDHamptons: What kind of personal works are you creating right now?
Noelle Giddings: Not a lot of time for personal work, but I have been working on a series of paintings in a style that is inspired in me when I look at some of the Wyeth paintings – father and sons. I appreciate the skill and beauty in so many of their paintings. My theme is a young woman growing up, maturing, just at the brink of stepping out of adolescence – she is ‘kind of’ becoming who she thinks she wants to be. But, in that not-so-sure place about her inside emotions and intellect, and the maturing body that’s happening around her. She’s shown in different dress that affect how she feels about herself and how she moves. The setting is always in front of old Hamptons barns and farm buildings that have just the right amount of color and texture to make them so interesting and beautiful. They are matured and stable. All the elements of the painting are telling a story of age and beauty that began one day on a long run from my house to Sagg Main Beach, when I passed an old maroon barn, then a faded turquoise blue one a few miles later in the beautiful dimming daylight. One of the pieces was shown at RJD Gallery in Sag Harbor, and I hope to have another (when I finish!) there soon.
KDHamptons: Can fans of the show purchase your work?
Noelle Giddings: Most of the work I’ve done for the show is still with the show. The works may come my way when the shows are over, and I will decide what to do with all of it. In the meantime, I do commissions for people much the same way I do commissions for the show. I can work with specific of size, color scheme, a style etc. and give fans a re-do of any of the pieces I’ve done for the shows that they like, or I can create something completely original. My website is a collection of some of the different kinds of work I have done. * For more information please contact Noelle C. Giddings; 732.606.2428; www.noellegiddings.com