When my favorite living artist, Ed Ruscha, spoke at The University of Texas at Austin, I had the opportunity to interview him.
Here's our Q&A.

 

You once said "success means death," a surprising remark for a Walt Disney fan. How do you feel about success now?
That is a drastic thing to say. Did I actually say that? Nevertheless, I think success can bite or not bite – the latter being much better. We know one thing – it’s an illusion.

Was there ever an art form you couldn't conquer, or never cared to try?
I never cared to try sculpture but often thought that even flat paper and books and paintings are still 3-dimensional – so that makes them sculpture.

Is there a book idea on your mind now, and will you tell us about it?
I’ve had a long-standing dream to make a book out of the novel “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac – maybe some day.

What are you working on? Reading? Listening to?
Am always painting, drawing. Reading the Life of Edgar Allen Poe and listening to blue singer Sleepy John Estes.

If you would, tell us a scene from your first teaching job in 1969.
I taught for one year at UCLA and regretted the time away from my studio. I envied people who could teach art and finally, the best students seemed to be the skeptics.

What's your personal motto?
Do unto others aa……..no kidding!

Do you like to cook, and what's your best dish?
I cook chili – recipe enclosed (will send when I find it!)

What's your studio's #1 rule?
#1 rule is that there are no rules

What advice to student artists would you offer?
Be influenced by things you don’t like.