One of the most prolific and recognizable artists alive today, Ron English has bombed the global landscape with unforgettable images, on the street, in museums, in movies, books and television. English coined the term POPaganda to describe his signature mash-up of high and low cultural touchstones, from superhero mythology to totems of art history, populated with his vast and constantly growing arsenal of original characters.
Famed for wrangling corporate iconographies into attacks on the very institutions they are meant to represent, his work addresses the “Disneyification” of America, the blatant commercialism of pop art, the uncontested corporate intrusion into people’s lives, and the nonstop barrage of advertising that forces itself upon us everywhere we turn.
Ron English has “liberated” over a thousand commercial billboards in the last twenty years with his own messages. Frequent targets include Joe Camel, McDonalds, and Mickey Mouse. His paintings are featured in Morgan Spurlock’s documentary SUPER SIZE ME. He painted several album covers including The Dandy Warhols album cover “Welcome to the Monkey House” and collaborated with Daniel Johnston and Jack Medicine in the Hyperjinx Tricycle project.
Ron English explains his passion for creating subversive art:
It’s been over twenty years since my first billboard and I’m still at it–and why not? It’s the ultimate form of free speech: no censors, art directors, editors, corporations, just direct engagement with the public. I’ve been involved with the liberation of over a thousand billboards at this point, each one a unique hand-painted work sacrificed at the altar of the collective conscious. They cannot be owned and they cannot survive. They are finite moments consumed in a quick glance. At their best they outrage the complacent sensibilities of the viewer; at their worst they temporarily sidetrack the thought continuum, sending it off into an unexpected direction, if only for a moment.
The paintings of Ron English have been included in prominent collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Paris and the Whitney Museum in New York, and exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide, from Japan to Europe to the former Soviet Union. Ron has designed murals for the Guggenheim Children’s Fund and created an anti-drug campaign for the United Nations’ International Drug Control Program in Kazakhstan.