Ron English began hijacking public space via illegal murals and billboards in Texas in 1982. The now upstate New York–based artist has long subverted the language and medium of advertising by hand-painting 48-foot-long by 15-foot-high traffic-stopping posters skewering mainstream culture and calling out issues of social justice, then wheatpasting them up in acts of “billboard liberation.”
English coined the term POPaganda to describe his signature mix of high and low cultural touchstones, evident in a body of work known for its collectible designer toys as much as its surrealist oil paintings. His later murals appeared in such target locations as the Berlin Wall in 1989, the Palestine Wall in 2007 and the U.S.-Mexico border in 2010.
BEYOND THE STREETS New York, 2019. Photo by Dan Bradica.