Ron English, widely considered as the Godfather of Street Art and Seminal Pioneer of Pop Surrealism, has launched a new exhibit that promises to amaze and bewilder audiences with its pop surrealism.
His latest body of work, called TOYBOX: America in the Visuals, presents 36 new oil paintings, as well as sculptures, installations, and limited edition toys.
Currently held at downtown Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery, and running until December 20, the exhibit deploys Ron’s long-established visual vocabulary into multi-layered narratives of ambition and imagination.
“TOYBOX deconstructs the search for new meaning in a culture that is based as much on the imagination of its participants as on the physical realities these human concepts are played against,” the gallery explained.
“The toy based childhood imagination aesthetic of the work allows for a playful new look at a society in the throes of reinventing itself.
The show will also feature a special musical soundtrack co-produced by Ron himself and performed by his new character DJ Propaganda.
We recently had a short chat with the prolific pop-art visionary to learn more about TOYBOX: America in the Visuals.
What over-riding message is TOYBOX conveying about the state of culture and politics in America and beyond today?
“The overarching idea behind the work is the idea that the mythologies first revealed to a child become an inextricable part of their emotional and intellectual DNA. Loyalty to embedded myths cannot be undone, only altered or reconceived with a large part of the original concept still intact.”
Tell us about the conceptualisation of the musical soundtrack you’ve co-produced. How did this initiative come to be and what does it add to the mood your TOYBOX series is conveying?
“Since I am introducing new characters that are not parodies of pop culture icons these characters must have a story beneath the visuals. I need to create the emotional underpinning of the characters so they could function in the narrative of the paintings.
“I was able to find some amazing collaborators to help me to musically fulfill this mission. The Rabbbits in Delusionville functions as a stand-alone epic work of art that creates a fresh new space for the visuals to work in.”
How conscious are you of your ongoing legacy as the godfather of modern street art and how challenging is it at this stage of your career to find the motivation to keep evolving your work, as you consistently seem to do?
“Evolving the work is the joy of being an artist. Right now I am connecting the dots in a big way and a lot more people are starting to ‘get’ the work. That is very invigorating for me, it keeps me going.”