Model Artist: Ed Ruscha at Work and Play

Ed Ruscha has a way with words and a sharp eye for typefaces (the sleek and squared-off sans-serif that appears frequently in his paintings is “Boy Scout Utility Modern,” his own creation). He delivers thoughtful insights in a distinguished voice that shimmers with the broken short vowels and gentle cadence of his Oklahoma upbringing. Turns out he also makes a great fashion model. That’s Ruscha in the spring-summer 2012 lookbook for Band of Outsiders, Scott Sternberg‘s beloved Los Angeles-based label. The photos, shot on vintage Polaroid film, show the artist hanging around his L.A. studio: he juggles paintbrushes in a chambray shirt, studies a copy of Acrylic Painting for Dummies, dons a cherry-red anorak to attack a Sudoku puzzle, samples the contents of a ramshackle refrigerator, and points westward, to the future, where there will be a dog and a motorcycle for everyone. It’s enough to make us want to string together Ruscha’s exotic textual feats into a song that tells the world how much we want to hang out with him. Oh, wait, someone already did that. Hit it, Richard Bell and David G.A. Stephenson: