Be prepared to be repelled, intrigued and fascinated by this collection of well-known Street Artist Ron English’s works, through 170 of his very diverse and confrontational views of life.
He has in so many ways taken the familiar and changed it into the unfamiliar, lampooning to a point the way life and also art, can be reflective of society’s ills or otherwise, which is as always, dependent on your viewpoint.
It also raises the issue of what can be classed as art, art in any form. Is it reflective of the creators perspective, societies perspective or in this case, is it all of the above being used as a medium of protest against the far reaching effects of today’s culture.
In Death and the Eternal Forever there is a quote from English which makes you sit back and think about the message and the place one lives emotionally, which says, ‘I can no more imagine my demise than remember my birth’, which is profound. This is only one of many dotted throughout.
That his work is incredibly comprehensive is a given, the message he is trying to impart through his art is remarkable, as he says the things in life we take for granted are simply not what they seem to be; there are several dimensions to everything, no matter what the subject; death simply being one of those things that, although is unarguably final, can be construed in many, many ways and forms.
A broader social commentary is presented in the final segment of the book in ‘More Than Satisfactory Jamming’ where ‘Pop Marilyn Mickeys’ dominates the page, followed by ‘Abraham Obama Mural Performance’ and so it follows on with a number of other works aimed at the American political scene, something which holds either dread or fascination for peoples world-wide.
As you move through the pages there are sections written by English which help you understand better where he is coming from and where his works fit in with the traditional and non-traditional forms of Ar. This encourgaes you realise that, while he takes his work and its meaning very seriously, there is also another side to him, and by association his works that is tongue-in-cheek and says ever so subliminally, life is serious but if you look long enough and hard enough there really is a ridiculously, darkly funny side to it all.