Meet Guest Judge Ron English

One of the most prolific and recognizable artists alive today, New York-based painter, designer and street artist Ron English has bombed the global landscape with unforgettable images on the street, in museums, in movies, books, television, and album covers. English coined the term POPaganda to describe his signature mash-up of high and low cultural touchstones, from superhero mythology to totems of art history, to create a hilarious visual language that turns advertising into “subvertizing” and parody into illumination.

Ron is widely considered a catalytic figure in the advancement of street art away from traditional wild-style lettering and into clever statement and masterful trompe l’oeil based art. Creating murals and billboards that blend dazzling visuals with biting political, consumerist and surrealist statements, English has hijacked public space worldwide for the sake of art. He began painting billboards in the early eighties and soon progressed to murals on such unlikely targets as the Berlin Wall in 1989, the Palestine Wall in 2007, and the US-Mexico border in 2010. His reputation for masterful and enduring murals has earned him invitations to create officially sanctioned pieces all over the world.

  • Hometown: Decatur Illinois, birthplace of street art.
  • When did you first become involved in the world of street art?  In 1977 I started doing my first street art: fake shadows on walls, fake dinosaur skeletons in rock formations. I was 17. Later, in my 20s and in the 1980s I started doing billboards, the thing I originally became famous for.
  • Who inspires you? Anyone who dares to be an artist.
  • What advice would you give to up and coming artists?  Be yourself. No one else can do you better; be supportive of other artists and expect the same from them. You will be each other’s best assets. Never give up. Last place in one race is first place in the very next race.
  • What is something the street art world would be surprised to know about you? That I knit sweaters for alligators.

Tune in to Street Art Throwdown, premiering Tuesday, Feb. 3 at 9/8c!

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