My son and web designer, Jeff Moon, suggested I post some blogs about artists that I like who have inspired me and influenced my work. The first one that popped into my mind was Ron English so I brought up his web site and wow I can see why I was so attracted to his work and I would like to tell you why.
I first saw English’s work in Juxtapoz Magazine and was drawn to it first by his skill as a painter, and secondly by the fact that his images held my attention for a long time because they made me think. I was caught up by all his work, but one that sticks in my mind is an image of Lee Harvey Oswald as a boy. Maybe it was because he didn’t paint him as a man, and by presenting an image of him as a child it made me think and question: was Oswald always a killer, even when he was young or was he a man who never grew up? Did his mother love him when he was a child like I loved my son or was he the way he was because she didn’t? I could ponder things like that endlessly.
Not only does English’s work make me think, it makes me feel. One of his popular subjects is clowns. I had no idea until recently that I have an intense fear of clowns and after hearing about clowns on the podcast “Things You Should Know” I understand why. One of my favorite clown paintings of Ron’s is “Coulrophobic Clown” because it reveals a lot of the same information I heard on the podcast. This has helped me to get beyond my fear and appreciate the role clowns have played for centuries.
As a painter I feel I have a lot to learn from English; his use of color combined with dynamic compositions knocks my socks off. And I can’t even find the words to express the complexities of his creative expression. Since I live in a very conservative place where tourist art rules, his art reminds me that I don’t have to think about what others in my town like. So when I go into my studio to work what comes out is what wants to come out. No censoring allowed, and that is true freedom. Art is not and never has been simply decorative although there is nothing wrong with purely decorative art.
That said, some of you might, at first be repelled by some of the darker images, but I invite you to linger in his online gallery because you might see something that flips your wig rather than wigs you out. Or maybe both.
Besides being a master painter, Ron English is known for his street art, toy designs and digital images. You can spend hours pouring over his web site http://popaganda.com. You might recognize some of his images from museums, books, movies, and television.