Ron English (artist)
English at the 2012 New York Comic Con.
Ron English is an American contemporary artist who explores popular brand imagery and advertising. His signature style employs a mash-up of high and low cultural touchstones, including comic superhero mythology and totems of art history. He is also widely considered a seminal figure in the advancement of street art away from traditional wild-style lettering and into clever statement and masterful trompe l’oeil based art. He has created illegal murals and billboards that blend visuals with political, consumerist and surrealist statements, since the 1980s.
Culture jamming is one aspect of English's work, involving 'liberating' commercial billboards with his own messages. Frequent targets of his work include Joe Camel, McDonald's, and Mickey Mouse. Ron English can be considered the "celebrated prankster father of dollar-pop", who wrangles carefully created corporate icons so that they are turned upside down, and are used against the very corporation they are meant to represent. Ron English 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 (artist).
English has also painted several album covers including The Dandy Warhols album cover "Welcome to the Monkey House". He painted the cover of the new Slash. He later painted the cover for American superstar Chris Brown's Album (F.A.M.E). Some of his paintings are also used in Morgan Spurlock's documentaries Super Size Me and POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. Following the credits, he receives special thanks and is credited as "The Greatest Living Artist."
English is as well known for his photorealist technique and inventive use of color and comic book collage as he is for his unique cast of characters, including sexualized animals, skeletal figures, Marilyn Monroe with Mickey Mouse breasts, the corpulent fast food spokesman MC Supersized, and one of his most significant creations, Abraham Obama, a fusion of America’s 16th and 44th Presidents. During the 2008 Presidential Election, he combined the features of Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln for a popularly-distributed image entitled "Abraham Obama."
Songs In English is the world's first blog-as-you-go recording project. It is based on the lyrics of Ron English and Brooklyn songwriter Jack Medicine.
On the March 4, 2012, episode of the television program The Simpsons, “Exit Through the Kwik-E-Mart” English (along with fellow artists Shepard Fairey, Kenny Scharf and Robbie Conal) appeared as a guest star, having earlier recorded his voice for the cartoon's animated version of himself.
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 Jersey 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.
Personal life 
English previously lived in New York City, but moved to Jersey City, New Jersey after the cost of renting studio and living space in New York City rose too high. He appears 111 First Street, a film about the loft buiding in which he resided.
See also 
- Drake, John C. (2008-07-08). "Street artist inspires too much enthusiasm". Boston Globe.
- Borrell, Alexandre (2010-06). "Peut-on greffer le visage d'une icone ?". Parlement(s), Revue d'histoire politique.
- Dodero, Camille (2008-11-14). "Ron English Might Still Have That Last Unreleased Wesley Willis Record". Village Voice.
- "Ron English Covers Art Nouveau Magazine’s Summer Issue". Art Nouveau. May 17, 2010.
- Musat, Stephanie (March 3, 2012). "http://www.nj.com/jjournal-news/index.ssf/2012/03/artist_ron_english_who_resides.html". NJ.com.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Ron English (artist)|
- Abraham Obama - Art Project
- VIDEO Ron English talks about his work on ABC FORA
- Opera Gallery Collection
- Ron English - Surreal Art Collective
- Songs In English - Music Project
- Fringe Galleries
- Ron English: Abraham Obama DVD Trailer
- Group show of street art curated by Ron English