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Article: Ron English Interview

Entretien avec Ron English

Ron English Interview

On the occasion of the release of the Ronald model of the "More Evil Monkeys" trio, we had the privilege of speaking with Ron English.

You started your career as a street artist in the 80s. What interested you in this means of expression? The rebellion, the denunciation of the media system? A desire to break with traditional art?

The streets are where people actually are, without the tacit exclusion of institutions or of the monetary and critical exclusion of commercial spaces, advertising spaces in particular. I engage multiple spaces over the years with a particular penchant for billboards, for their place in the cultural hierarchy as officially sanctioned corporate shrines of capitalism.

Culture jamming is an art style that appears to be central in your work. Do you think all art is political?

Yes of course, even the artists who try to make art devoid of content create more visual monetary placeholder assets that support the capitalist monetary system.

Do you think it was a fight that got things done despite a "David and Goliath" aspect of "small artists" against "big corporations"?

Everyone has to be conscious of how their efforts land, the choice is to either use propaganda efforts to generate acceptance or ignorance about the impact of your business or create a more positive, earth friendly business model.

You have joined the Billboard Liberation Front several times without being an official member, do you value your independence?

Yes mostly in that I only like to do my own ideas. If you belong to a group you are honor bound to give the other members equal time.

You are also a fine arts graduate, and in this context you have reinterpreted many images of pop culture and even "classical art". Two questions arise: What makes you want to reinterpret works?

A famous painting or cultural object is already imbued with a widely accepted narrative. If you create something based on that piece you are able to start the conversation from a place of common ground rather than beginning a new conversation that would be too taxing on peoples’ attention spans.

And do you think that reinterpretation is a type of art in its own right?
All art is an ongoing conversation. There is no absolute originality or end game.

The first contact I had with your work was « Supersize Me » with your « MC supersized ». Do you feel that this passage through cinema has democratized your work?

It gives the art more access to the public. It creates a tip to the iceberg.

You have also become a master in the hijack of packaging. I would like to know, with these works you are attacking the increasingly underhanded advertising, the product which is not necessarily very healthy or maybe even both?

I think of it as more of an expansion of the conversation using the vehicle and language of consumer culture.

Your first Toy is Ronnie Rabbit, how did you come to this choice?

The rabbit has long been the representation of the proletariat in art. Ronnnie is my alien id as an artist that comes from another planet. The concept of a lower class alien creates a central character to whom which everything is foreign and seen through fresh eyes. The concept of a third frontal lobe also opens up the possibilities of thoughts outside the restrictions of the bi-lobal humans.

Was he the most obvious character to visualize in 3D?


Was it a request from Dark Horse (note: the publisher of this figurine)?


We have just released 3 "More Evil Monkeys" figurines in collaboration with you. Can you tell us more about the creation of these three monkeys inspired by the three wise monkeys ? Where the inspiration comes from? Can you tell us about the creation and design process?

The three monkeys, See no evil, Hear no evil. Speak no evil are so iconic and are constantly exploited but never really re imagined as the catalyst of a new paradigm.

It's not the first time you've designed a monkey figurine, we remember the "King Monkey Shiner Grin", is it an animal that fascinates you?

The monkey king is a huge character in Chinese mythology and also exists as a counter narrative in Delusionville, where everything is a through the mirror darkly reflection .

Four colors are planned for this trio of figurines, including one in the colors of a famous fast food chain. Do you think this fight against junk food will continue for a long time or that weariness could set in on your side?

The toys have worked as anti-advertisements, empowering a lot of young people to feel free of the power of corporate mascots and emboldened to control their own diets in defiance

Hijacking icons to become an icon yourself, isn't that a bit of a paradox?


In more than forty years of career, the world has changed. Do you still understand it?

The question implies that I understood it at one time.

And how do you manage to still be relevant after years of denouncing things that don't change?

But they do change.

Finally what would be the message you’d like to deliver to the people buying the More Evil Monkeys sets ?

Display prominently and let the monkeys start conversation

Find "More Evil Monkeys - Ronald" on 06/22 at 6:00 p.m.

More Evil Monkeys - Ronald

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