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Ed Ruscha, Woody, and the World’s Hottest Pepper


If you asked me who my favorite Los Angeles artist was, I likely wouldn’t say Ed Ruscha. For whatever reason, he seems like the underline beneath “Los Angeles Art”: he is so engrained in my experience of Los Angeles art that I don’t actually consider him to be a part of it. In a way, he is what I see Los Angeles art to be and everything else is contextualized by his ongoing legacy. He’s a stylemaking artist who processes our city through painting (images that are “frozen” as he says) and is a constant source of intrigue. He was recently the subject of Park Pictures‘ short subject film Ed Ruscha, Woody, and the World’s Hottest Pepper. If you have any interest in Los Angeles art and Ed Ruscha, take eight minutes and watch this.

The film deals with process and the influence of Los Angeles on his work. From the sunny, mountainous, desert environment to the movie industry, Ruscha delves into his interest in the city and how it interacts with his work. The two are inseparable, much like how I see him and Los Angeles art. The film’s title is a bit of a red herring as Woody–his pup–is a background studio assistant and the Ghost Pepper is a symbol of what can also grow out of our rich landscape, one that Ruscha toys with in his work and in real life. There’s a particularly touching moment where he explains that a hobby of his is documenting and celebrating the life of his plants by way of a collection of tombstones he’s made for them in metal.

Lance Acord directed and shot the film with absolutely perfect musical accompaniment by Mike Mogis. It’s a brilliant visual treat and has to be one of the best art videos of the year because it’s made by Hollywood types who know a thing or two about the medium. It’s always great to see “The Industry” crossover into art, stirring the pot of creative juices that fuel LA. Our biggest dream is to interview Ruscha for our Featured Interview. Seeing this video fills our desire to want to speak with Ruscha because it is so damned good and backhandedly about art through the lens of Los Angeles. Please watch the video below.

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