Born in 1959 in Decatur, Illinois, Ron English is an American contemporary artist considered as a great exponent of the “born-in-USA” Street Art. With a Master of Fine Arts received from the University of Texas, Ron English works in different mediums, including painting and sculpture, through which he expresses his interpretation of the mash-up of high and low cultural canons, described by him as “POPaganda”.
Grown up in the 60s, Ron English is sensibly aware of the strong impact of mass culture on people’s minds and way of life. He has initiated and participated in illegal public art campaigns since the early eighties, but he also brought his vision to many other commissioned murals. Some of these 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.
Through a complex visual language, English’s artworks humorously express his perception of reality. Three-eyed animals, seductive cowgirls, and Mickey Mouse dominate the scene, conveying strong political messages though an often sharp invective. Renowned characters of his are the robust spokesperson of MC Supersized fast food – the obese mascot described in the famous movie “Supersize Me” – and the image titled “Abraham Obama,” which shows the fusion of the American Presidents Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln, which was also used by the US President for his political campaign.
All of English’s characters are metaphorically elaborated as polluting entities that, while infecting the everyday life, remain pure and uncontaminated.
The artist's pop photorealistic technique sets extravagant creatures within renaissance compositions, deconstructing and re-shaping old and new subjects. The result is a representation of a pop iconoclasm that ironically makes use of the same symbols it wants to denounce. Ron English's art is a challenging and sophisticated expression of a deep meditation that makes the viewer aware of the present world and its values.