Pop artist Ed Ruscha was born in Nebraska and moved to Los Angeles in 1956 to study at the Chouinard Art Institute with the intention of becoming a commercial artist. Quickly recognized in the 1960s as an important representative of the thriving Pop Art movement and a successor of the Beat Generation for his collages and text-based pieces, Ruscha exhibited his work at the Ferus Gallery, the Leo Castelli Gallery, and Gagosian Gallery. As a painter, drawer, and filmmaker, Ruscha has been heavily influenced by the city of Los Angeles and by his initial interest in graphic arts. As Ruscha incorporates text and urban as well as Western landscapes into his work, he comments on myths of American Romanticism, commercial culture, and urban life with humour and irony. He sometimes uses unusual media in his work, including fruit and vegetable juices, blood, gunpowder, and grass stains, which is seen in works such as his Stains series. In the 1980s, his style became more mystical, as he worked with rays of light, constellations, and other celestial themes. Ruscha is best known for his witty and enigmatic use of text in his paintings, which he continues to incorporate into his works today. He has held several retrospectives in New York; Washington, DC; London; Paris; and Munich and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001.