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Ron English

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Ron English
English at the 2012 New York Comic Con
Ronald English

1959 (age 64–65)
Decatur, Illinois, United States
Occupation(s)Pop artist, illustrator

Ron English (born June 6, 1959)[1] is an American contemporary artist who explores brand imagery,[2] street art,[3] and advertising.[4]



English has produced images on the street, in museums, in movies, books and television. He coined the term POPaganda to describe a mash-up of high and low cultural touchstones, from superhero mythology to totems of art history, populated with his original characters, including MC Supersized, the obese fast-food mascot featured in the movie Super Size Me, and Abraham Obama, the fusion of America's 16th and 44th Presidents. Other characters in English's paintings, billboards, and sculpture include three-eyed rabbits, cowgirls and grinning skulls – visual, with humorous undertones.

English was interviewed for the documentary Super Size Me (2004), which showed his McDonald's-themed artwork—inspired by his belief about the effect of fast food franchises and restaurant chains on American culture – "MC Supersized".[5]

"Abraham Obama", made during the 2008 US Presidential Election, was a "portrait-fusion" of America's 16th and 44th Presidents.[6][7]

English has painted album covers for the Dandy Warhols' Welcome to the Monkey House, the 2010 album Slash, and the Chris Brown album cover for F.A.M.E. Some of his paintings were used in the Morgan Spurlock documentaries Super Size Me and The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. English has collaborated with Daniel Johnston and Jack Medicine in the Hyperjinx Tricycle project.[8] In 2010 he created the artwork for Art Nouveau Magazine's first print issue.[9]

English is the subject of a Pedro Carvajal documentary titled Popaganda (after one of his art books).[10][11] He is also a subject of "The Art Army" action figures by Michael Leavitt.[12] English and his fellow artists Shepard Fairey, Kenny Scharf and Robbie Conal guest-starred on the March 4, 2012, episode of The Simpsons, "Exit Through the Kwik-E-Mart". In 2015 he was a guest judge on the Oxygen Network's reality show Streetart Throwdown created by Justin BUA.[13]

In November 2021 English's giant immersive instillation Sugar Circus opened in Shenzhen, PRC marking the beginning of the exhibitions world tour.[14][15]

Street art


English has an early background as an art reproducer. English has initiated and participated in illegal public art campaigns since the early 1980s and for this is often referred to as the 'Godfather of Street Art'.[16] Ron English street art activities are the subject matter and covered extensively in the Pedro Carvajal documentary titled Popaganda.[10]

Culture jamming is one aspect of English's work. Although never an official member, Ron several times joined with the Billboard Liberation Front, which practices culture jamming by altering billboards by changing key words to radically alter the message, often to an anti-corporate message. Frequent targets of English's work include Joe Camel, McDonald's, and Mickey Mouse.[17]

English intends his culture jamming technique to inspire people to question consumer capitalism. English does this by using his over emphasized, grotesque, and to some, offensive, characters to intrigue the consumer, luring them in to reveal the truth behind the product.

Later English focused on another form of advertising: product packaging. He recreates several different kinds of packaging (cereal boxes, milk cartons, cigarette packs, etc.), to reveal truth in advertising. After designing the packaging English and his Team POPaganda infiltrate different retailers around the country and "shop gift". Some of English's product packaging designs include, "Cap'n Corn Starch", "Duncan High Hash Brownies" and "Camel Kool's" THC Enriched Tobacco Cigarettes.

English has created murals a locations throughout the world.[18]

Fine art


English is a fine art painter specializing in oils. He received his bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. He moved to New York City and apprenticed with several artists, beginning to sell his own work. His style is characterized by extreme photo realism, use of secondary color and appropriation of pop imagery. Frequent themes are revisiting and reworking childhood with adult skill as well as examining the darker meanings behind garish pop surface imagery. English also uses historical imagery as a template to explore universal issues. He has frequently reworked images of The Last Supper, Starry Night, and Picasso's Guernica.[19]

English has appropriated many well known images and characters from pop culture,[20] reworking them into his own images. These include a reworking of Charlie Brown into his "Grin" character and one of his famous "MC Supersized" based on the idea that Ronald McDonald ate his own product. Another image of the idealized American female is that of Marilyn Monroe with Mickey Mouse breasts.[21]

In 1980, English exhibited "Grade School Guernica",[22] one of his versions of Picasso's Guernica, at the Station Museum of Contemporary Art in Houston.[23] The painting depicts the scene acted out by his children viewed from the point of view of the bomber airplane. His largest collection of "Guernica" paintings was on view at Allouche gallery in New York City from September to October 2016.[24] Guernica Trilogy (2008) is shown in different temporary exhibitions in Colección SOLO museum in Madrid (Spain).

"Lazarus Rising" was English's first exhibit in the UK, at Elms Lesters Painting Rooms in London.[25] His exhibition "Season in Supurbia" took place in 2009 at the Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City.[26] In 2011 he exhibited "Skin Deep: Post-Instinctual Afterthoughts on Psychological Nature", a new body of works exploring the inner lives of iconic figures, at Lazarides in London that represents the artist.[27]

Designer toys


In 2005 English began creating designer toy versions of his creatures. Ronnnie Rabbbit was English's first designer toy, produced in 2005 by Dark Horse.[28] In 2013, he joined Slash to create a limited edition fiberglass bust of the image used for the Slash and Friends album artwork.[29] He also joined singer Chris Brown to launch their "Dum English" toy; a 10-inch turquoise and pink Astronaut Star Skull.[30]

In 2013, English collaborated with rock band Pearl Jam to produce "Falla Sheep", a blind box line-up with seven color variants of 3.5 inch sheep in wolves' clothing toys.[31] These were sold in stores and also at shows during Pearl Jam's 2013 tour.


  • Original Grin: The Art of Ron English (2019)[32]
  • POPaganda: The Art & Subversion of Ron English (2004)[33]
  • Ron English's Fauxlosophy (2016)[34]
  • Ron English's Popaganda Coloring Book (2017)[35]
  • Ron English's Vandalism Starter Kit (2014)[36]
  • Lazarus Rising (2009)
  • Art for Obama (2009)[37]
  • Abject Expressionism (2007)[38]
  • Son of Pop: Ron English Paints His Progeny (2007)[39]
  • Abraham Obama (2010)[40]
  • Art is a Horrible Waste of the Imagination (1988)
  • Status Factory (2014)[41]
  • Death and the Eternal Forever (2014)[42]


  1. ^ "Saturday June 6th, Happy Birthday to Popaganda Artist Ron English, That's Today!". sampselprestonphotography.com. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  2. ^ Queenan, Joe (2006-08-11). "Joe Queenan on art guerilla Ron English". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  3. ^ Miller, Jonathan (2003-04-13). "His Art Hangs, and Trespasses, in the Most Notable Places". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  4. ^ "Street artist Ron English vowed to whitewash a $730,000 Banksy mural. Then things got even weirder". Los Angeles Times. 2018-12-03. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  5. ^ "An Exclusive Look at Ron English's "East Meets West" Exhibit". Highsnobiety. 2017-05-11. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  6. ^ Drake, John C. (2008-07-08). "Street artist inspires too much enthusiasm". Boston.com. Boston Globe.
  7. ^ Borrell, Alexandre (June 2010). "Peut-on greffer le visage d'une icone ?". Parlement(s), Revue d'histoire politique.
  8. ^ Dodero, Camille (2008-11-14). "Ron English Might Still Have That Last Unreleased Wesley Willis Record". Village Voice. Archived from the original on 2010-10-19.
  9. ^ "Ron English Covers Art Nouveau Magazine's Summer Issue". Art Nouveau. May 17, 2010.
  10. ^ a b Popaganda: The Art and Crimes of Ron English (2005) at IMDb
  11. ^ "POPaganda: The Art and Crimes of Ron English". Youtube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  12. ^ "Mike Leavitt Has a Posse". KidRobot. 2011-05-20.
  13. ^ Musat, Stephanie (March 3, 2012). "Artist Ron English, who resides in Jersey City, will appear on the next episode of The Simpsons as himself ". NJ.com.
  14. ^ "Ron English's 'Sugar Circus' Immersive Artwork Expertise". 20 November 2021.
  15. ^ "Ron English "Candy Circus" World Premiere Landed in Shenzhen". 2023-01-07.
  16. ^ Harris, R. Anthony (2014-09-05). "POPaganda! A conversation with Ron English, the godfather of Street Art". RVA Magazine. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  17. ^ Kuesel, Christy. "The fraught business of removing and selling street art murals". CNN. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  18. ^ "World-renowned street artist Ron English brings his 'POPaganda' to Jersey City (PHOTOS)". 2019-08-09.
  19. ^ "Death and the Eternal Forever" Korero Press, 2014
  20. ^ "D*Face & Ron English to Unveil Collaborative Sculptural Edition at DesignerCon 2019". HYPEBEAST. 20 November 2019. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  21. ^ "Ron English: If it hadn't been for Ron, there'd be no Banksy". The Independent. 2011-07-03. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  22. ^ "Juxtapoz Magazine - Mojo Voodoo & Heavy Metal Muzick: Ron English Brings Some Pop to New Orleans". www.juxtapoz.com. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  23. ^ "Power Pathos". Archived from the original on 17 April 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  24. ^ "Ron English Reimagines Pablo Picasso's 'Guernica' Painting for Latest Solo Show". Highsnobiety. 2016-09-20. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  25. ^ "Ron English: Lazarus Rising book". Elms Lesters Painting Rooms. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  26. ^ Dambrot, Shana Nys (Nov 21, 2011). "Ron English's 'Seasons In Supurbia' at Corey Helford: Artist's Perverted Spoofing of Disney, G.I. Joe and Charlie Brown". LA Weekly. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
  27. ^ "Lazinc – Skin Deep: Post-Instinctual Afterthoughts on Psychological Nature". Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  28. ^ "3D POPAGANDA HISTORY TOUR!". popaganda. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  29. ^ "Slash x Ron English Bust Sculpture". Hypebeast. 31 March 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  30. ^ "Juxtapoz Magazine - Ron English x Chris Brown "Dum English" @ Toy Tokyo NYC". Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  31. ^ Miranda (22 July 2013). "Ron English x Pearl Jam: Falla Sheep". Clutter. Beacon, NY. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  32. ^ English, Ron (2019-07-16). Original grin : the art of Ron English. Paris. ISBN 978-2-37495-093-8. OCLC 1060583463.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  33. ^ English, Ron. (2004). Popaganda : the art & subversion of Ron English (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Last Gasp of San Francisco. ISBN 0-86719-615-7. OCLC 56715382.
  34. ^ English, Ron (May 2016). Ron English's fauxlosophy (First ed.). [Darlington]. ISBN 978-1-908211-45-3. OCLC 928121529.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  35. ^ RON ENGLISH'S POPAGANDA COLORING BOOK. [Place of publication not identified]: LAST GASP. 2017. ISBN 978-0-86719-851-5. OCLC 988167737.
  36. ^ English, Ron. (December 2014). Ron englishs vandalism starter kit. ISBN 978-0-86719-794-5. OCLC 1023205267.
  37. ^ Art for Obama : designing Manifest Hope and the campaign for change. Fairey, Shepard., Gross, Jennifer (Jennifer Lynn). New York: Abrams Image. 2009. ISBN 978-0-8109-8498-1. OCLC 318415569.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  38. ^ English, Ron. (2007). Abject expressionism. Spurlock, Morgan, 1970-. San Francisco, Calif.: Last Gasp. ISBN 978-0-86719-689-4. OCLC 154697915.
  39. ^ English, Ron. (2007). Son of pop : Ron English paints his progeny. San Francisco: 9Mm Books. ISBN 978-0-9766325-1-1. OCLC 178066631.
  40. ^ Abraham Obama : a guerrilla tour through art and politics. Spurlock, Morgan, 1970-, Goede, Don., English, Ron., Bagwell, Stuart. San Francisco, CA: Last Gasp of San Francisco. 2009. ISBN 978-0-86719-722-8. OCLC 318421212.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  41. ^ English, Ron (2014). Status factory. Nahas, Dominique. San Francisco, California. ISBN 978-0-86719-789-1. OCLC 864411271.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  42. ^ English, Ron (June 2014). Death : and the eternal forever. London. ISBN 978-0-9576649-2-0. OCLC 868078912.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)