“I felt when I got going on the books that it was really the red meat of my work. It was the choice bit. Although I was painting pictures at that time, I felt that the books were more advanced as a concept than the individual paintings I had been doing.” – Ed Ruscha
Ed Ruscha is an American painter and photographer who uses his art to explore the fluidity of language. His work is often association with Pop Art and beat generation. Yet the originality and diversity of Ruscha’s output means his work defies categorisation. He gained recognition for his innovative use of words and phrases as the subject of his paintings and for the many photographic books he has produced. Ed Ruscha’s training as a graphic designer is evident in his self-conscious use of typography. He plays on words through his use of colour, layout, and font, about which Ruscha said: “I like the idea of a word becoming a picture, almost leaving its body, and then coming back and becoming a word again.” In creating these works Ruscha paints and draws with unusual material such a gunpowder, Pepto Bismol, and even blood. Ed Ruscha’s practice draws attention to the deterioration of language and clichés of pop culture. Through his diverse output he continues to influence artists worldwide as well as questioning and encouraging the altering of the essence of human communication.
American, b 1937, Nebraska, United States. Based in Los Angeles.