Ron English is a contemporary pop artist who explores popular brand imagery and advertising. One aspect of his work involves ‘liberating’ commercial billboards with his own messages. Frequent targets of his work include Joe Camel, McDonalds, and Mickey Mouse. Ron English can be considered the “celebrated prankster father of agit-pop”, who wrangles carefully created corporate iconographies so that they are turned upside down, and are used against the very corporation they are meant to represent. Ron English is considered one of the fathers of modern street art and has initiated and participated in illegal public art campaigns since the early eighties. Some of his extralegal murals include one on the Berlin Wall’s Checkpoint Charlie in 1989 and one on the Palestinian separation wall in the West Bank in 2007, with fellow street artists Banksy and Swoon.
Ron English has also painted several album covers including The Dandy Warhols album cover “Welcome to the Monkey House”. Some of his paintings are also used in Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Super Size Me. During the 2008 Presidential Election, he combined the features of Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln for a popularly-distributed image entitled “Abraham Obama.”
English takes inspiration from Andy Warhol and references him in his work. He also references the band KISS, and various cartoons. Also inspiration comes from the large billboards and posters he sees outside his city apartment, usually fast food companies.
English also references Picasso’s Guernica. He has created dozens of versions, transforming the original Spanish civilian characters into Disney characters, Peanuts characters, soccer players, schoolchildren, and many others. He also painted the world’s largest version of Guernica at the Station Museum in Houston. It is one foot longer and one foot wider than Picasso’s original and features schoolchildren playacting the violent scene of the original.
Ron English’s website: http://www.popaganda.com