Noé Barnett’s art can be found throughout the city. From his mural at the food hall Green Jeans, his hall of fame at Volcano Vista High School, to his murals in Downtown in tribute to civil rights leaders and dedications to New Mexico United, Barnett has continually made art for the community to enjoy. This year, he became a City of Albuquerque Creative Bravos Recipient and was selected as an Albuquerque Business First 40 Under 40.
“At the age of 22, I was at work for APD for three years, I wanted to be a police officer, and didn’t really do much art throughout that time and I wasn’t really interested in it. After everything didn’t work out with the police department, I was at ground zero.” That’s when Barnett went back to UNM and changed his major to fine art. “I was looking at just the list of majors and degrees and for some reason, fine art caught my eye,” he said.
“As a freelancer, especially for me, I think a big proportion of why I am able to make a living off of this now, is because I just said yes. And if I didn’t know how to do something, I’d kind of figure it out,” Barnett said. Barnett has only been in the professional art scene for three years and it all started with saying “yes” to a friend while he was still at UNM.
Barnett had never created a mural before, but when a friend brought him on to work on a mural for A21, a group dedicated to ending human trafficking, he found a way to pay the bills and enjoy himself. “I stumbled into it, and then enjoyed the process, enjoyed the community aspect of it, and I still enjoy it,” Barnett said.
Since that first mural, Barnett has produced 26 more per his website. Despite his vast experience with murals, Barnett said that he would like to move into creating more canvases. “You just have more creative freedom. You don’t have to worry so much about the community that it’s going up in, or how the community will respond to it or the building that it’s on. You can really make whatever you want.”
Something that tends to stay consistent in the media that Barnett works in is his use of flowers. “It’s this whole play with light and life…The transient nature of our life and how we could be gone tomorrow. So just getting people to realize that and capitalize on the time we have.” Barnett explained that the beauty of life is represented in the flowers he creates.
Barnett is continuing to expand his work outside of Albuquerque. He has done work in Miami, Fla., and North Carolina. Barnett will also be going to Fort Collins, Colo., to work and hopes that by next year he will have a space to present his canvases. As of now, he is continuing his work for Volcano Vista High School.