Ron English is an American contemporary artist, who is famous for exploring brand imagery and advertising. His website, Popaganda, currently promotes recent shows titled Universal Grin and Delusionville. He certainly looks cutting edge, is clearly successful and seems to know what he is doing.
However, if reports are to be believed, he may be about to make a significant and costly mistake.
In the wake of the media frenzy surrounding Banksy’s shredding of his celebrated work Girl With A Balloon at Sotheby’s, English has spent $730,000 on another Banksy – this time a mural – and has vowed to destroy it by painting it over with whitewash.
English is reported to have bought the piece at auction as a protest against the commercial exploitation of street art. However, he also says that after he has altered it he intends to sell it for $1m. This seems confused thinking at the very least.
Whatever his motives, what English has failed to take into account, as far as I can see, is that while he may have a large following, he is not Banksy. When Banksy shredded his own work, art market experts believe he added to its value by creating a new work as a result, Love is in the Bin. English overpainting a Banksy with whitewash is not the same thing at all, so the $1m is probably a pipedream – not to mention the $730,000 he has just paid out.