The word paintings of Edward Ruscha

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You know those pictures all the cool kids post on their Tumblrs – the ones with a seemingly profound phrase overlaid on some nostalgic photo? If you ever wondered who’s to blame for this trend, you might have to look back a little further than 2009…

The very first of Ed Ruscha’s word paintings were created as oil paintings on paper in Paris in 1961. Since 1964, Ruscha has been experimenting regularly with painting and drawing words and phrases, often oddly comic and satirical sayings alluding to popular culture and life in LA.

So, yeah, Edward Ruscha’s been making those type of images since the early 1960s, only he didn’t use Photoshop. In fact, paint was also way too mainstream for Ed:

Ruscha experimented with a range of materials including gunpowder, vinyl, blood, red wine, fruit and vegetable juices, axle grease, chocolate syrup, tomato paste, bolognese sauce, cherry pie, coffee, caviar, daffodils, tulips, raw eggs and grass stains.

Here are a few examples of his varied typographic artworks:

The art of Edward Ruscha

1938
1958. Oil & pencil on canvas.

The art of Edward Ruscha

OOF
1962 (reworked 1963). Oil on canvas.

The art of Edward Ruscha

N.Y.
1965. Oil on linen.

The art of Edward Ruscha

Raw
1971. Ivy on sized canvas.

The art of Edward Ruscha

Pure Ecstacy
1974. Tea on moire.

The art of Edward Ruscha

A Blvd. Called Sunset
1975. Blackberry juice on moire.

The art of Edward Ruscha

SMELLS LIKE BACK OF OLD HOT RADIO
1976. Pastel on paper.

The art of Edward Ruscha

ARTISTS WHO DO BOOKS
1976. Pastel on paper.

The art of Edward Ruscha

Boxer
1979. Oil on canvas.

The art of Edward Ruscha

Friction and Wear
1983. Oil on canvas.

The art of Edward Ruscha

The End
1991. Synthetic polymer paint and graphite on canvas.

The art of Edward Ruscha

Tulsa Slut
2002.
Synthetic polymer paint on canvas.

The art of Edward Ruscha

Pay Nothing Until April
2003. Acrylic on canvas.

The art of Edward Ruscha

DAILY PLANET
2003. Acrylic on canvas.

Find out more about Ed Ruscha and his work:

One Comment

  1. tam
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    wow that is incredible