Ron English Billboards

I watched a documentary on the contemporary pop artist Ron English recently. He is probably most famous for defacing public billboards in America. He covers legitimate advertisements on prominent billboard with his own version of pop culture.

I recently mentioned that graffiti artists should go out and buy canvases like the rest of us, but this guy should be allowed to deface any billboard he chooses! It’s probably a contradiction to support an artist that covers advertising billboards with his own “POPaganda” and not artists that paint buildings and trains, but Ron English is trying to make people think.

ron english popaganda

He pokes fun at the Bush government, McDonalds, Religion, cigarette companies, and popular culture.
See more of his billboards here.

“The modern day Robin Hood of Madison Avenue, Ron paints, perverts, infiltrates, reinvents and satirizes modern culture on canvas, in songs, and directly on hundreds of pirated billboards.”
He also paints more traditional paintings that look at popular culture and painters of the past. The Homer Simpson painting like Jackson Pollock is interesting.

I like artists that help us to see the system for what it is.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. Anonymous says:

    At least his work is displayed in designated areas for one type of properganda or another (billboards).

    Ron English also benefits from the controversies too though, so it’s not just about being pure. He sells very expensive paintings also.

  2. Is he PAID to ‘deface’…or is it an activist/rebellious type of act? His billboards do make you think; but I get the feeling he’s got some sort of support to do it. I like his Homer-Pollock painting.

  3. He doesnt get paid for them, he gets fined and locked up for doing them (if he is caught).

    In the documentary his wife was complaining that he was addicted to doing it. He even promised her on national tv that he would stop doing billboards for a year, but was doing them again not long after the promise.

  4. IF he’s caught? But don’t they know his style by now? I like that he gets punished for his art…makes it feel more worthwhile.

  5. Well it sounds like he does get caught a bit. Here’s an excerpt from a story about him..

    “I consider it a success if I don’t go to jail,” he explained. He should know. He has had two very unsuccessful days in the past.

    You may have seen Mr. English, a 43-year-old father of two, wandering around the streets of Manhattan or New Jersey with a bucket of glue, a set of rollers and a crew of accomplices. He plasters his original paintings in broad daylight on billboards he does not own. This is a conscious decision, because billboarding in the dark would only look more suspicious. “If you’re out at night,” he said, “it’s obvious that you’re not supposed to be there.”

    It is worth being careful. Though he has posted more than 1,000 illicit signs, Mr. English says he has been chased while half-drunk by the police in Texas, has been the object of death threats and barely escaped an angry mob in Jersey City.

  6. I always enjoy satiric interpretations of the american lifestyle.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Defacing the work of a fellow artist is WRONG. If you don’t like the message, don’t shoot the messenger.

    Artists sell their creative efforts to make a living (if they are so fortunate).

    The creators of those advertisements have a right to profit from their efforts, JUST LIKE RON ENGLISH DOES.

    Maybe we should deface RON ENGLISH art .. I am sure he would not mind.

    … redirect his web site to KOOL tobacco product’s web page
    … cover his DVD’s with McDonalds coupons
    … cover his car with G W Bush bumper stickers


    Somehow I doubt he is that understanding.

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