“I was in high school in my graphic design class,” Pawtucket resident Dionte Noble, 24, recalls. “A friend and I were working on a project when he said, ‘Yo, that’s crack!’” Noble laughs. “Back then, that was the cool word of choice to describe dopeness. I then said, ‘We some crack artists’ and that was the start of the idea.” While still in high school, Noble began constructing iron-on designs. Once in college, at Johnson & Wales, he met co-founder Michael Ghattas and the two took it to the next level, producing and selling shirts and jackets under the brand name of Crack Artist.
Their playful nomenclature refers, of course, not to the addiction of drugs, but instead to art, success and impacting others to be successful. “Art is what you like to do,” Noble explained to the crowd during his collection release party at Sneaker Junkies on Thayer. “If you like talking, be the best talker. If you like walking, be the best walker... Just whatever you do, be the best at it.” It’s a positive message from a guy who does his best to give back to the community – currently a studio director at RiverzEdge Arts, Noble has volunteered at South Providence’s Neighborhood Ministries, helping with their anti-bullying conflict resolution group. “The kids are the future,” he says, “and I’m just trying to show them the ropes.”
Crack Artist has printed 24 designs for sale thus far and has recently brought on Providence resident Gibran Borbon to assist in the growing business after Ghattas moved out of state. Noble’s favorite design? “Our first... Crack was abbreviated as “CRK” and Artist was spelled out. Then our logo, the pencil, was clipped into the letters.” Crack Artist is currently available online on Karmaloop; prices range from $25-250. (A few pencils are included with every order.) “We just want people to know that everything we do comes from the heart and soul,” Noble says emphatically, imploring others to set and work towards their goals, too. “You won’t know until you try, and you can’t win if you don’t play.”