Peggy Noland Makes Public Art

The host of the internet’s best car painting show plays with TRASH

Words by Trash
Photos by jess calleiro 

Peggy Noland (@PeggyNoland) makes over all the best cars in Los Angeles. There’s the one she wrapped in holographic material until it resembled a giant Lisa Frank sticker, the sedan she dressed in different shades of pastel fur and, of course, the pink Powerpuff Girl pickup truck.

As a fashion designer, installation artist and vehicular costume design expert, her latest enterprise of the three, Noland believes in making things as many people can experience as possible. She refers to her iconic store fronts in Kansas City and Los Angeles as an opportunity to “pay a monthly fee to have a 13-year solo show.”

Upon moving to L.A., nobody had to enter her studio, or have the money to browse her store, in order to be impacted by her art. All they had to do was drive down Sunset Boulevard, a standard task in this city, to experience multifaceted installations complete with giant, pop-art objects that screamed “Peggy Noland!”

Whereas Peggy first set out making artwork in L.A. that people could catch from their cars, in recent years she began exalting average cars into the art pieces. Before their makeovers, some of these cars represented more drudgery than joy to their owners, which makes for some majorly emotional moments when Peggy reveals their makeovers on her Youtube show “Peggy’s Cartoon-Up.” In using cars as her canvas, Peggy has expanded the geographical reach of her work and given countless onlookers something to marvel at.

TRASH caught up with Noland at her home studio (a total joy lab) in L.A. 

How did you learn to make things?

Creativity was encouraged in my household. My dad is an artist and my mom wouldn’t call herself one, but SHE IS! I didn’t go to art school, but starting trying and failing early. I loved clothes first, then installations felt right, then sculptures sounded fun, then cars seemed HARD and I would like to keep rollin through the mediums!

What do you love about playing with different textures in your art? 

Everything is slick and hard right now – our phones, cases, computers. I think gooey and soft feels good to artists right now… lumpy ceramics, experimental foods, clothing that is obviously hand made. We want goo! We demand squish! Imperfection spilling off the edges! 

I will say that although popping a Tide Pod is fun, it really doesn’t feel worth it.

I just heard on the radio that the top holiday toy for kids was toys that ‘surprise.’ So, like an egg that you open to reveal your mystery gift. We could do the same thing as TRASH App merch for adults. Like send out eggs with a mystery texture inside for people to use their fresh manicures to SMASH N FILM?! Like cottage cheese...

How did you get into painting cars?

The first car I painted was a ‘thank you’ present for Brock Bryan who had been working at my shop in Kansas City. I painted it in oil paint like a big skittles bag! Then I just kept going, trying new processes each time. My friends Jessica, Maryann and I started filming it for a YouTube series called ‘Peggy’s CarToon Up.’

I loved getting to be involved in this ‘before and after’ makeover moment and it felt like a natural extension of my studio practice. Cars are just the current medium. It feels like I’m putting rolling public sculptures on the streets, and I love everyone’s reaction. People are so excited by it!

Why is craft store giant Joann Fabrics one of your creative havens?

I mean, have you been there? I love the glitter. I love the stickers. I love the cricket stuff. I love the $7,000/yard sequin fabric.I love their restrooms. I love the Cherry Coke by the registers. I love the classes. I love the fairy garden stuff. I love the Husqvarna machine that is always running. I love the puzzles. I love the doll clothes.

I even love the long lines, because they give me time to try to desperately connect to their wifi to pull up the coupons they text me about 3 times a day. I Love My Aunt Joanns!

What is one of your creative intentions or goals for 2020?

I would love to be a guest judge on Project Runway, and holographic wrap an airplane and back-hoe and wind turbine and roller coaster and crane. And design a theme park.

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Cargo Collective 2017 — Frogtown, Los Angele