Edward Rusch’ Biography Essay

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Edward Ruscha is an American artist who specializes in making paintings, photography, drawings, book art, and films (Dean 116). Ruscha was born in 1937 in Omaha, the largest city in Nebraska, and is currently based in Culver City, California (Kantor 23). As a young boy, Ruscha often showed numerous signs of his strong interests in artistic work, as clearly manifested in his love for cartoons and numerous drawings (Ross 54). Ruscha was lucky to have supportive parents who always looked forward to giving him their best support.

Ruscha spent most of his childhood years in Oklahoma City, despite being born in Nebraska (Ross 77). In 1956, Ruscha made a bold step towards fulfilling his dream of becoming a commercial artist when he moved to Los Angeles. In the same year, he enrolled for a course in arts at the California Institute of Arts, which at the time was known as Chouinard Art Institute (Dean 119). While in school, Ruscha was involved in numerous activities such as editing and producing an art journal called Orb.

This helped him to develop a deeper relationship with artistic work and the use of texts in describing paintings. He also made a few connections with people that have played a crucial role in his career to date. He had also started displaying his work in various exhibitions across Los Angeles. Ruscha had gained fame for his close working relationship with numerous galley groups.

After completing his studies, Ruscha got a job in Los Angeles, working as a layout artist for two advertising agencies (Dean 124). Some of the famous artists that Ruscha worked with at the time include Ken Price, Robert Irwin, and John McCracken, among others. In 1969, Ruscha also worked as a guest professor of art at the University of California, Los Angeles (Dean 131).


Over the years, Ruscha has had numerous achievements, which have placed him among the all-time greatest artists in the world. Ruscha received his first award in 1956 when the Oklahoma City’s Chamber of Commerce recognized his efforts and skills in graphic design (Kantor 30). This happened before he started the course of the art, a clear indication of his talent.

In 1967, Ruscha received an award from the National Council on Arts, Washington, DC, for his exemplary paintings that gave people a different perspective about various elements in the society (Kantor 42). In 1969, Ruscha achieved another feat in his career when he successfully received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts Commission in order to expand his artistic projects (Kantor 48).

In the same year, Ruscha had a two-month-long partnership at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles, California (Kantor 53). Even in the 21st Century, Ruscha still has a huge impact on the American art industry and the world at large. In 2001, he became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters through an elective process that made him a member of one of its influential departments (Kantor 44).

In 2004, Ruscha reached another milestone in his career when he was elected as an Honorary Royal Academician of London’s Royal Academy of Arts (Kantor 61). Apart from this and other numerous awards, Ruscha has received three honorary doctorate degrees in art from American schools of art (Kantor 80). Edward Ruscha has been nominated on several occasions in awards that recognize influential people across the globe every year.

Early influences and some of his works

According to Ruscha, some of his greatest influences in a career as a commercial artist happened during his time growing in Oklahoma, his friends at teachers at the art school, as well as living in Los Angeles (Dean 168). Initially, his greatest area of interest was in graphic arts before changing to painting. This transformation was influenced by an artist called Jasper Johns. Johns had written a very informative article on artistic work in a magazine that Ruscha managed to read.

The landscapes of Los Angeles and California also influenced the work of Ruscha, especially in regard to the themes and styles developed in his paintings (Ross 200). Ruscha has also drawn a lot of inspiration from Hollywood. The film industry of the United States is very visible in the artistic works by Ruscha. This is mainly the reason why his works are closely linked with the pop art movement.

One of his earliest and most famous works is a movie called Premium. Ruscha produced the film while teaching at the University of California. His earliest publication was a 1966 book called Every Building on the Sunset Strip (Dean 179). This book was highly influenced by the southern California landscape, as it had numerous photos of the boulevard stretch.

Other notable books that Ruscha has published over the years include the 1964 Various Small Fires, the 1968 Business Cards, 1965 Some Los Angeles Apartments, and the 1962 Twenty Six Gasoline Stations (Ross 209). Ruscha also had a number of paintings that made him famous such as the 1966 Standard Station, the 1962 Large Trademark, and the 1982 Hollywood. Ruscha used his paintings to give people a different view of various elements about life and their environment (Ross 221).

Ruscha also admits that having a religious upbringing has influenced his works a lot over the years. Being brought up by Catholic parents has helped Ruscha to use the concept of religious imagery in his work. His most famous work that incorporated religious imagery is the Miracle series (Dean 200). Most of the artworks published and exhibited by Ruscha have influenced the development of the art industry across the globe. They are quite impressive and provided a lot of motivation for aspiring artists.

Type of art movement

The artistic works of Ruscha embody a pop art movement that was characterized by shifting allegories of life in the United States over the last couple of decades (Schwartz 60). He popularized the movement through art, which he used to represent various elements of life in America. Some of the notable elements that were commonly represented in his arts included Hollywood, stylized gas stations, as well as the impressive landscapes in Los Angeles (Schwartz 77).

Ruscha also incorporates various styles in the choice of words used in his works, which demonstrated the manner in which linguistic development was happening at the time (Schwartz 80).

Experts describe his artistic work as one developed along with the American reality of a colloquial speech that focused on describing feelings, appearance, and the role of people in influencing change in the society (Ross 240). During the time when Ruscha was joining the art institute, he had already started gaining popularity for his role in influencing the growth of the pop art movement (Dean 300). He received much recognition for his art pieces that were characterized by a lot of text.

Works Cited

Dean, Robert. Edward Ruscha: Catalogue Raisonne of the Paintings: 1983-1987. California: Gagosian Gallery, 2007. Print.

Kantor, Jordan. Drawing From The Modern. New York: the museum of modern art, 2005. Print.

Ross, Leslie. Language in the Visual Arts: The Interplay of Text and Imagery. New Jersey: McFarland, 2014. Print.

Schwartz, Alexandria. Ed Ruscha’s Los Angeles. New York: Cengage Learning, 2007. Print.

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