|Born||Edward Joseph Ruscha IV
December 16, 1937
Omaha, Nebraska, United States
|Education||Chouinard Art Institute|
|Known for||Painting, photography, printmaking, film, book art|
|Notable work||Large Trademark with Eight Spotlights (1961)
Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966)
Standard Station (1966)
|Spouse(s)||Danna Ruscha (nÃ©e Knego)|
|Awards||Guggenheim Fellowship (1971)|
Traveling to Europe and traveling in the U.S.A. was a much different experience. 'On the Road' exemplified everything glamorous that was happening on this side of the planet. The book puts off some kind of sweet melody – part hope for the world, part nostalgic.
When I drive, I check out everything I see, and just taking in all those observations helps me think. So I draw and write a lot as I drive, and I know that's dangerous, but I manage to do it off to the side, with my notes on the seat.
Basically everything I've done in art, I was in possession of when I was 20 years old. I use a waste retrieval method of working. I'll go back and use something that disgusted me 15 years ago but that I had enough sense to think about. Some artists change dramatically. I see my work more like history being written.
I wasn't captivated by the romance of Paris or London. I love visiting, but I'd rather be in L.A.
I was attracted to the concept of Hollywood and the lifestyle here. But I've grown to mistrust it because it has changed. I didn't bargain for digital access parking in some concrete structure. Real heaven for me was to drive somewhere and park right in front. Now the city is going vertical.
I'd read about Los Angeles and this fact stuck in my mind: that the city gained 1,000 new people every day. In 1956! A thousand people every day! I felt: 'I want to be part of that.'
When you're on a highway, viewing the western U.S. with the mountains and the flatness and the desert and all that, it's very much like my paintings.
Work takes different forms. I can spend two or three days without completing anything, and it's choppy: it's filled with all kinds of irrationalities and stupid actions. I have some notion, and then I drop it because something else comes along. I'm forever darting from one side of the room to the other.
Traveling is irritating to me, but not driving. Going to the airport makes me nervous, but when I set out to just take a leisurely drive, it's blue skies and puffy clouds and time.
I knew I wanted to be some kind of artist from about 12. I met a neighbour who drew cartoons, and I had an idea I wanted to be a cartoonist – or something that involved Indian ink, at any rate.
I barely knew I wanted to be an artist. I liked my art classes and painting was fun, I guess, but I didn't realize that seeing the country was going to inspire me to further explore that… but that's what it did.
People refuse to believe that I've never been to Starbucks or Disneyland.
The one thing I miss is hitchhiking. Now there's no more of that. When's the last time you saw a hitchhiker? It's not that I consider it a great sport, but it was my way of seeing the country. The open road, especially in the western United States, is still very pristine, but everything else around it has changed.
All my artistic response comes from American things, and I guess I've always had a weakness for heroic imagery.
The big pay-off was to work as an artist and gain some shred of respect from your friends, who were also artists. But there was never any notion that you could make a living out of art. On the rare occasions you had a gallery show, and sold a little work, well, that was just gravy.
I don't watch TV, so I feel like I'm left out of the American fabric or something.
The difference between psychedelia and digitalia ages will seem like a smooth blending in years to come and will be a mere blip on the screen.
I was raised with the Bible Belt mentality, and by coming to California, I came out of this dark place and unlearned a lot of things I'd been taught.
My friends and neighbors were always fixing their cars. Soldiers who felt restless wanted to work on something, and they understood cars. Me, I like to look at cars but I was never really a mechanic.
Part of ego is displaying the ego. I've got ego, and I think I'm really good. But maybe I fall down in trying to sell it to people.
I'm very stodgy. I'm always looking at old photos of California and Los Angeles, knowing that what I'm looking at is now full of houses. There used to be vacant lots in Los Angeles, now all taken up by three-storey boxes – it's all getting infilled.
I don't do social media of any kind. If I did, I may as well join Scientology.
I'm interested in glorifying something that we in the world would say doesn't deserve being glorified. Something that's forgotten, focused on as though it were some sort of sacred object.