Ed Ruscha has always been fascinated with language. Inspired by Jasper Johns's austere numerals and targets, he set out to transform text and cultural icons into high art. In 1967, he began making his "paper ribbon" drawings, which characteristically feature isolated words as objects set in three-dimensional space. He portrayed his subjects in a precisely rendered trompe l'oeil manner, relying on various drawing mediums, cotton swabs, and the palm of his hand to draw the subtle tonal gradations needed to establish the highly illusionistic effects he desired. Rushca maintained that he chose words for their appearance, sound, or spelling rather than for their meanings, or referential associations. In 1984, however, the unmistakable reference to George Orwell's futuristic novel stands at odds with the graceful line and elegant form of the ribbon.