Noah Ptolemy pulls strongly from his upbringing in Japan. Today, working out of a small apt, he still finds himself utilizing the small space the same way, as if he were still back there. He also usually paints from the floor, as opposed to the more Western model of a painter standing at the easel. Through the years, he has distilled his tools down to the bare bones, allowing himself time to hone in on each one. The most important thing he learned from his time in Japan was patience, a painter’s essential skill. Noah finds the colors and general imagery of his work come from everyday people and popular culture from all around. Manga comics are very inspiring to him as can be seen with his use of bold lines and faces. As a child he would try to draw his favorites faithfully to the original, a skill that helped him to define his own style.
In his new body of work ‘Now Hiring’ Noah aims to reconcile his emotional ups and downs over the last few years. He feels as though he has been shedding everything he thought he needed, and replacing it with simple beginnings.
His work explores the musing of ‘once one knows one doesn’t need something, there is absolutely no use for it anymore and it falls away.
This collection also addresses the steep cost of living in the Bay Area, and how that has been forcing out many long time families and artists. Some of his pieces stem from his belief that there is still heart and vibrancy in the Bay area but many are being deprived of their opportunity because of the cost. His recent body of work sheds light on these issues, and attempts to start a conversation and find some resolution to these matters, which he holds close to his heart.
Ptolemy considers his works to be benchmarks or mile markers – measuring, weighing, recording and organizing the ebbs and flows of his time here.