Ed Ruscha – challenge and influence

Ed Ruscha – someone that initially seemed like a producer of a very ordinary work to me and over time turned out to be a great inspiration.

Who is Ed Ruscha? – an American artist associated with pop art movement. His work includes photography, drawing, printmaking, painting and film.

Great introduction to his creativity and work can be found in this link:


How did Ruscha influence my work? My thought process? My vision?

  • Turning ordinary into extraordinary

Doing the assignment based on TwentySix Gasoline Stations turned out to be one of the best currently done exercises for my thought process. While initially I set out to photograph gas stations in the vicinity of my home, work and places that I visit regularly, I soon realized that this project was more than seeking out gas stations, making a photo, converting it into monochrome and be done.

This project made me pay more attention to ordinary subjects, items, locations, buildings and look for something special in them; something mesmerizing, something that made me think about them long after I drove away. Sometimes I came back over and over to specific location. Why? Hard to explain when you have an image in your head and the urge to see it again in reality after making a photograph. Perhaps to see if it changed while you were gone? Perhaps to see what is going on there now?

Busy station – Joanna Kurowski
  • Words and phrases

Some pretty eyes and some electric bills – his play of words made me pay closer attention to signs, advertisements and public notifications in general. Sometimes I come across signs that make me think; sometimes they make me laugh.

Service call – Joanna Kurowski
  • Black and white photography

I have always been fascinated with black and white images and his work just added to my fascination. Applying monochrome style to photographs of seemingly ordinary subjects takes away the distraction of colour and adds more depth to the subject and the story.

Can I help you? – Joanna Kurowski
  • Open my eyes to other art types

It never stops to amaze me how I research one artist or a creative piece and end up finding another inspirational piece about practitioners and contemporary pieces that are not even close to my original research topic.

While researching Ed Ruscha’s work, I stumbled across Vivian Maier’s work and have been since researching more of her and her work. http://www.vivianmaier.com/

I also came across images of work by Frank Gehry – an architect who designed some of the most spectacular buildings across the globe. His work made me think at photographing locations differently form my previous approach and instead of full subject display I started looking closer at lines, shapes, combination of colours.


Full House – Joanna Kurowski

Other links for future reference: