Ron English (b. 1959) is a pioneering American contemporary artist who explores the intersection of street art, brand imagery, superhero comics, art history, advertising, and politics. His cheeky interpretation of Pop Art comes alive in vibrant drawings, paintings, and murals. English’s imagery is found on the street, in museums, in movies, books, and television. His irreverent, imagined characters include MC Supersized, the obese fast-food mascot featured in Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 documentary Super Size Me, and Abraham Obama, a mischievous hybrid of the 16th and 44th U.S. presidents. Sociocultural commentary underscores his work, exemplified by his iteration of Ronald McDonald as a western culture "Buddha" gorging McDonald's to expose the insatiable slothfulness of consumerism.
English transformed his early experience as an art reproducer to become a founding co-creator of illegal public art campaigns in the early 1980s. His controversial street art activities are the subject matter and explored extensively in POPaganda - The Art & Crimes of Ron English, a documentary directed by Pedro Carvajal. An acclaimed outlaw artist, English never became an official member, but he has participated with the Billboard Liberation Front, which practices culture jamming by altering billboards to change keywords and radically alter the message, often to make an anti-corporate statement. He frequently targets corporations and their mascots, including Joe Camel and Mickey Mouse. English seeks to inspire people to question consumer capitalism through his exaggerated, grotesque characters.
English is a masterful oil painter working in a photorealist style. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of North Texas in Denton, and an MFA from The University of Texas, English moved to New York City, where he apprenticed with several artists and started selling his own work. English reworks art historical imagery, such as depictions of Picasso's Guernica, as a template to explore universal issues. English’s work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Paris, the Whitney Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Paterson Museum in Paterson, New Jersey. He has exhibited at the Station Museum in Houston and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Washington DC. In November of 2021, English's enormous immersive installation Sugar Circus opened an exhibition at The Nest in Q Plex in Nanshan District in Shenzhen, China. His work has been featured in solo and group shows around the world.
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