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Who are your influences? Who’s asking? Peggy Noland, a fashion designer, and Garry Noland, an artist who happens to be her father. We visit Peggy's shop in Kansas City, Missouri, and she and her dad give us the assignment to make an artwork in the style of someone whose work you admire.


1. Choose an artist or a maker.

2. Get to know their work and practice.

3. Make something in that style.

4. Upload it to the social media platform of your choice using #theartassignment, telling us who you’ve chosen and how they’ve influenced you.

5. Fame & glory. (Your work might be featured in an upcoming episode.)

Learn More:
Peggy Noland:

Garry Noland:

Find out more about The Art Assignment and how to submit your response:

Today we're in Kansas City, outside this hard-to-miss shop that's the brainchild of fashion designer Peggy Noland, who splits her time between here and Los Angeles. Peggy is well known for her fearlessness in fashion, using wild prints, bright colors, and sometimes, a plethora of logos. Her work is both a celebration of fashion as performance, as well as a critique of the ubiquity of branding.

We're gonna talk to Peggy, as well as her dad, Garry Noland, who's also an artist based here in Kansas City. Garry's had a long and successful career, and his most recent works include textile-like paintings that use tape and contact paper to form multiple layers, as well as inventive sculptures that explore surface and pattern.

I'm gonna be talking to Peggy and Gary about influence, and how we are and are not shaped by those whose work we admire. So let's go meet them.

Peggy: I'm Peggy Noland ...

Garry: I'm Garry Noland, and this is your Art Assignment.

Peggy: I think, like any high school girl, I have safety-pinned my clothes to make them fit differently, or cut stuff up, or, you know, but it was never something that I was originating looks on my own. Um, and then I started working at a boutique, um, after high school, and I feel like that that's where I kind of first learned, like, Oh! I-- I would like to see this, I would like to wear this; it wasn't until I opened my own store that I really started making my own clothing.

I think that I remember, um, being very impressed and influenced by designers like Vivienne Westwood, or Jeremy Scott, and-- and kind of growing up in Independence, you'd, you know, go to Barnes & Noble, and get a coffee, and-- and my friends and I would just pick up magazines and look at them, and, you know, and-- and those were the designers that would like repeatedly catch my eye.

I think that I-- my parents are used to me doing crazy things, [laughs], and I think that it's not crazy to them, really; having a dad as an artist, I think really helps that where, kind of having an individual spirit and an individual voice was always encouraged by both my-- my mom and my dad, and-- and, you know, feeling satisfied, and feeling happy with what I'm doing, I think was their first priority, whether I became an artist or not.

Garry: Well, Peggy and her brother Eric, um, were both amazing kids to have around, and for a little while I was a stay-at-home dad, and um, I had my studio at the house, so they both were immersed in what it was like to have a parent making, uh, artwork in the house, and I think that they just thought that that was a normal part of life. And I think that, at the time I was so indoctrinated with the ideas presented in western art history, that I thought there was only one way to do things, and, as I've aged in the process, and gathered experience, you know it's not only that western art indoctrination, but also the work of the-- the younger artists that I'm around, you know, including Peggy, and including so many others, around here and in other places that, you know, they're pushing me from behind, in a way, but then they also see that there's somebody who's 60 years old, still in studio every day, and so I know that that's important to them.

Garry: This is your Art Assignment. Find somebody who's in your close circle; it could be a relative, could be just somebody down the street who's a maker. It could be stamp art, it could be quilts, it could be painting. Find something out about their studio practice, what they do with their hands, with their heart, and, make something to get into their space.

Peggy: Or, it could be somebody that you don't know, um, an artist outside of your inner circle that has influenced or inspired you, and then make something in the style of their work. Um, and then tell us who they are, and how, or why, they've influenced you.

I think that I'm gonna make a work in the style of Garry Noland, my dad, and, um, try to get into his head using his materials, and make something that you would maybe make.

Garry: And I think that I'm going to work in the style of Peggy Noland. I've always been attracted to the glittery, to the kind-of aggressive fem quality of the work, a little bit of the glam, and I think that I want to employ some of her puffy paints, either on the materials that I already have existing in my studio, or in--in something that maybe that we find on the way to her studio. So I'm really looking forward to that.

Sarah: So what do you think of this one, John?

John: I really like it; it reminds me of that exercise where you retype a novel, like Hunter S. Thompson famously re-typed The Great Gatsby to learn what it's like to write a great book.

Sarah: Right. Did you ever do that?

John: I did, of course, yeah, I retyped large parts of, uh, The Catcher in the Rye.

Sarah: Oh, of course. But when you think about the idea of influence in art, there are so many examples of people you could talk about, but I think we should talk about Picasso. Everybody knows him, and he's hugely influential even today.

John: I don't think I'm familiar with his work actually.

Sarah: Jeez. [laughs] Well he talked a lot about his own influences, Rembrandt, Velazquez, and Matisse, and he was open about his debt to those who came before. He said a painter always has a father and a mother; he doesn't emerge out of nothing.

John: And I assume that Picasso was father and mother to many artists.

Sarah: Metaphorically speaking, yes. I'll show you.

While Picasso famously never set foot in the US, he still had a huge impact on American art. In 1939, the Museum of Modern Art put on a major exhibition of Picasso's work that drew large crowds and budding artists like Louise Bourgeois, who was so blown away that she said all she could do for a month was clean her brushes. But then she got over it, and took Picasso's style of fracturing an image into various profiles, and made this self-portrait, using his tactics to define her own mode of image-making.

Jackson Pollock also saw the show; you could see aspects of Guernica's composition, and the free brushwork and palette of Bullfight, in Pollock's 1946 painting The Water Bull. Challenged by Picasso, Pollock soon after found his breakthrough drip style.

Jumping forward to 1982, Jean-Michel Basquiat made this forceful portrait, Pater, which explores his relationship with his biological father, as well as Picasso, his art historical father.

You can also see echoes of Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon in this 2004 painting by George Condo. It may look familiar, because Condo painted a similar image on a bag that Kanye West gave Kim Kardashian. Proof positive that Picasso's legacy is strong, am I right?

Garry: I think we get a chance to learn about ourselves when we learn about something that we're not. And so, while I'm familiar with some of Peggy's techniques, and what some of her ideas are, I don't know what it's actually like to put, you know, for instance, the puffy paint on a fabric, or whatever material there is, so you know, that might open up some sort of door for me. Uh, maybe not next week, but maybe 5 or 10 years from now. And maybe I'm doing puffy paint, or, you know, that would-- that would be fantastic, because I just, uh, I don't want to rest in any one certain area.

Peggy: For me, if I was to make a work in the style of my dad, it would be something sculptural and it would be, um, with found materials, um, probably things that you might have in your studio or in your house already. So, not necessarily spending a ton of time thinking about, you know, 'What do I need to buy in order to make this happen?' but 'What can I use that already exists that I can turn into a piece of artwork now?'

Garry: So we're gonna pack up and we're gonna head over to my studio. I have a lot of materials there; Peggy's bringing some of her paints, and we're just gonna see what happens.

Peggy: I feel like that's something I'm always negotiating, that I'm still, kind of, learning from myself when to be influenced and when to, kind of, stop looking at others' work and really just making your own. Because it is inspirational to see people that are doing things that you aspire to, but then it also can be, like, really hard--it can be really damaging, I think, too. Um, because it's great to be inspired, but you don't want to be making work so closely to another artist's work that you're just straight-up copying.

Garry: I had a situation a few years ago where a family of four is walking in front of my exhibit and the father goes back, "I can do that," and at first I was, sort of, I was chagrined by the whole thing, but then it occurred to me that he was, on some level, questioning his, you know, what he could do or what he couldn't do, even if it was superficial.

Peggy: I mean, it's cool that their family was at a show-

Garry: Yeah, absolutely.

Peggy: -in the first place. And then, who knows what industry he's in. Like, I really love architecture, but I don't do that, you know, but... you could, you know, go past a building like "if I had the background or, you know, the experience, then I could make that building, too." You know what I mean? Of like, a little bit out of, like, what you expect of yourself, not necessarily out of place of, like, any sort of negativity towards your work.

Garry: Right.

Peggy: But it says more about that person like what you would like of yourself.

Garry: The thing that I'm most gratified by is how you're able to be fearless with the work.

Peggy: Thanks, Dad. That's nice.