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Pre-order our book YOU ARE AN ARTIST (which includes new assignments!) here: Peggy Noland, Garry Noland, and Sarah Urist Green discuss some of their favorite responses to the Under the Influence assignment:

Thanks to all who have participated in this project. And here are the talented individuals whose projects we discuss in this video:

Spencer Welch:


Cortlandt Matthews:

Tania Drewitt:




My Year By Design:

roses on my windowsill:


Empty Disco / Odetomyday:
Peggy: Hi, I'm Peggy Nolan.   Gary: My name is Gary Nolan.   Sarah: And I'm Sarah Urist Green, and today we're here to discuss your responses to The Art Assignment episode Under the Influence. Peggy and Gary Nolan have generously agreed to review your responses and talk to us from Kansas City. We all really enjoyed your contributions, and if we talked about them all, it would be like a five hour long video, which no one wants to see, so we've chosen a few that we thought would be fun to discuss.     Peggy: One of my first favorites was, um, the Pong shirt, by Spencer Welch. I thought it was really cool, because his take on technology and the game Pong, which is really nostalgic for a lot of people, including myself, I thought was really innovative. One of the things that I thought was especially nice about his contribution was sharing the code that he had written for his Pong shirt. I thought that that was incredibly generous. I think that that's a hard thing sometimes, when an artist's ego gets involved about ownership of a design or a process, and I think that it's especially inspiring to, um, not have that be a part of your process.   Gary: My favorite piece was by AnonymousPrisoners, it, uh, reminded me of the work of one of my favorite artists, Anselm Keifer, the kind of brutal vision of the landscape, but this artist presented a brutal vision of the landscape but it was done so, so delicately, and so, so lightly colored.   Sarah: We received a fair number of music and composition responses to this assignment, and I especially like this one by Cortlandt Matthews.     (Plays Under the Influence for String Quartet)   Sarah: He experiments with techniques by Lamont Young and Phillip Glass, among others, and we see him work through a variety of ideas. It's almost like this assignment has given him permission to play, permission to copy, a rare privilege in this, the age of copyright infringement.     In general, I found that to be one of the most productive aspects of this assignment, that you're given the freedom to copy in a world where it's usually frowned upon.     Peggy: One of my favorite responses to the Under the Influence video was Tania Drewitt's video of her painting Picasso's Two Women Running on the Beach with Adventure Time characters. And I watched her video and I thought that it was really sweet. I'm glad that you gave yourself permission to kind of just start from a place of being unsure of where your influence was coming from or if you were copying Picasso's or why you were influenced by it and just, like, let yourself do it, because what you came up with was something really beautiful and I feel like sincere to you and your stories that you told while you were making the video. You've obviously illustrated that, you know, that-- that our references are coming from all different types of history and all different types of medium and art, none the less important.     Gary: The-Hole-in-the-World submitted a knitted piece about Monet's watercolors. I was intrigued by the switch-over of the mediums on the original, the oil painting, and when you look at it in the history of what we were finding out about the path of light in the late 19th century and what the Impressionists were doing as far as the science of optics. To me, it acted as a metaphor about how light hits the surface of a painting.   Sarah: Next up is a video by pixelsbyraundor, about his friend and fellow camp counselor, Alex Chibante. I thought this was extremely charming, and I was less struck by what exactly they were making than their motivations for doing so. Alex speaks really wonderfully about how great it can be to give art to someone, and how special it can make them feel and also about the patience needed to do ceramics. This tribute video shows me how much joy Alex takes in handling material, and I loved how unpretentious and warm of a studio environment he clearly creates.     Peggy: JadeAria had another submission that I really liked.  I liked what you made and reading about why you made it and how friends with you gave you an opportunity to see artwork in a fun and happy way, and I think that sometimes we can take ourselves too seriously and it can get really heavy, and really complicated, sometimes for no good reason, and can actually stop you from making things at all, and so I liked how far you went with your project, that you gave it a set, and that you were very thorough in your, um, using what you had around the house, and not making it too hard, and so, that was something that was inspirational to me as well.   Garry: I also liked the work that myyearbydesign put up. He or she asked if any of us remembered the come-ons for drawing lessons in the bubble gum wrappers and in the backs of comic books. I think that was the first time that I thought maybe art could be an occupation.    Peggy: Another favorite of mine was myyearbydesign as well. It's funny because my dad and I didn't talk about the submissions before making this response video, so I remember being a kid and watching, you know, reruns of whatever show was on at the time and seeing this commercial come on in between about Tippy and Pirate and Tiny and those funny little turtles and similarly to my dad, that was my first exposure to kind of thinking like, "Whoa, someone, I guess like someone's actually sitting down and drawing these characters." Although I never sent away for a Tippy Turtle drawing, I definitely remember being influenced by that, so I was happy to see that other people found that nostalgic as well.   Sarah: I really appreciated the series of photographs by rosesonmywindowsill influenced by the artist Jenny Saville. Saville is known as a painter, but she collaborated on a series of photographs in the mid-1990s with Glen Luchford of bodies pressed against glass. Rosesonmywindowsill cleverly just pressed herself against a scanner to create these photos. What I can't help but think here is how lovely these images are, in contrast to how disturbing and hard to take Saville's paintings and photographs can be. But what I enjoy about these images is not just their beauty, but that they make me think about the body and how we present our bodies and how far we're willing to take our bodies in the name of art.   In a somewhat similar line of thought, I enjoyed these photos by Ginny that she made in the style of Warhol's Polaroids. These are deliberately deadpan, deliberately made with harsh lighting. This artist doesn't explicitly say that these are images of herself, but I made that conclusion anyway because they feel very honest and straightforward. But then again, I could be wrong. To me, in the gaze and in the style, she's captured the original Warhol photographs impeccably.   Garry: I have another response to one of the YouTube comments, and I thought about this a great deal. It was Courtney Gibson's comments about looking at artwork versus making the artwork, and I too have been in that sort of position, especially in this digital age when so much artwork is available to us all over the world, and it becomes nonproductive.    I had a couple of thoughts about that, and one of them involves Saul LeWitt's letter to Eva Hesse. Sol LeWitt wrote a letter to her to encourage her to get going. His basic message to her, you know, was just to do, just to get out and do the work. So as far as an artist just working, getting the pencil to the paper, or the images made on video, whatever the medium is, we have to bring forth those qualities that make us who we are. It seems like the creativity is like a two-fold process. It's bringing forth the qualities that we have, which will be influential in and of themselves, and then to quote Sol LeWitt, you know, we just have to do. We just have to get in and, like, do the work.   Sarah: I love that Garry mentioned that letter from Sol LeWitt to Eva Hesse because, actually, it's been on the bulletin board in my office for quite a while. I think it's tremendous inspiration to not overthink, to just do, to experiment and try new things.    We are so grateful for all of your responses to this assignment, and now, odetomyday is going to take us out with their song, made under the influence of John Darnielle and The Mountain Goats.    The first time I saw you in the lotus-eaters' lair, You looked unusually lovely with your dark dark hair. Your sisters all around you with flowers in their teeth,  And I stammered and I stuttered but then you heard me speak. What is this place where sky’s dark green, And the skin on all your bodies has a sweaty glowing sheen? It is beautiful and terrible in its own way,  But I know just from looking that I can not stay. Going to Ithaca. Going to Ithaca.