Edward Ruscha is an American artist mostly known for his Pop Art. Ruscha was born in Omaha, Nebraska on December 16, 1937. He grew up in Oklahoma City and moved to Los Angeles to attend the Chouinard Art Institute. He built his experiences as an artist by associating with the Ferus Gallery group, working for the Artforum magazine, and teaching at UCLA. He has worked in various media of painting, printmaking, drawing, photography, and film.
Many of Ruscha’s works are simple, but to the point. As an artist from the Pop Art Movement, he uses bright and vivid colors in his painting as well as the use of typography. In his paintings, such as Scream and Oof, he combines the bright colors of Pop Art and typography to create a concise image with a straightforward message. Ruscha’s art works are simple, but very powerful .
According to interviews, Ruscha’s artistic influences came from the Southern California landscapes and the lifestyle of California in general, which are the themes for most of his art works. Ruscha converts his experiences and memories in California into art. For an example, in one of his interviews, he mentioned how he used to hitchhike before he was capable of driving. By hitchhiking, he was able to observe the scenery of California, which he later on transferred his observations into his paintings. Besides the influences of California, many artists like Jasper John, Arthur Dove, and Sam Doyle also had a great impact on him.
The common signs and logos in the Hollywood film industry, such as the Hollywood sign, mountains from the paramount pictures, and the twentieth century fox logo, also known as the Large Trademark with Eight Spotlights, are all designs by Edward Ruscha. Of course, Ruscha's influences for those logos are from the Southern Californian landscapes. Ruscha not only plays a big role in the Pop Art Movement, but also in the film industry in Hollywood.
Edward Ruscha plays a big role in the Pop Art Movement, but that is not my reason for choosing him for this research project. First, the simplicity of his works using bright colors caught my attention. They might look like plain texts or images on a bold background, but there is a lot more to it. By looking at Ruscha's works, one can see what he has experienced in his life time, his unique thoughts, and interests. His works may be simple, but they are very effective.