“Corporations find me a nuisance…”

"Corporations find me a nuisance..."
Charles Manson thinks different, on a billboard for Apple computers

Here’s a short film about the activities of the prankster painter Ron English, who "jams" the culture.

Culture-jamming, also called subvertising, is a type of hoax or prank with a message.

It tries to subvert popular culture by altering media images, to make commentaries on advertising, question the status quo, or to criticize corporations.

Many of these new images use juxtaposition to connect two dissimilar images to try to provoke a strong reaction.

These images can make you laugh, get angry, or feel disgust or discomfort. Ultimately, they try to make you think.

Ron English believes that art has been taken away from the people and elevated to a level where the ordinary person cannot "understand" art, and therefore doesn’t try. Part of his mission is to bring art back to people.

He specifically reworks billboards:

"My solution for reaching the public was very simple. Everywhere I looked I saw billboards, so I just kinda hijacked billboards, to put my art on them and use them as a vehicle to reach the public."

What’s my take on it?

I have to admit my inner prankster likes it when little guys take on big guys.

But when it becomes too political or strident, it doesn’t work as well.

I think I lean more towards Mel Brooks. Here’s his quote about his movie The Producers, about a bunch of Jewish guys scamming old ladies into backing a musical about Hitler:

"If you stand on a soapbox and trade rhetoric with a dictator you never win… That’s what they do so well: they seduce people. But if you ridicule them, bring them down with laughter, they can’t win. You show how crazy they are."

Visit Popaganda – Ron English’s site>>

The film POPaganda: The Art and Subversion of Ron English, was made by Pedro Carvajal.

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