Juxtapoz 15th Anniversary Art Auction: Ron EnglishJuxtapoz // Thursday, 10 Sep 2009
Ron English (Juxtapoz #79) has made an internationally known name for himself with his instantly recognizable satirical images of Ronald McDonald, KISS members, and more. We’re proud to have Ron on board as our next featured artist participating in our 15th Anniversary Art Auction.
Greg Escalante: You’ve said that you’ve done your last billboard ever, right? And you’re doing a moving kinetic sculpture, and animatronic dummy of Ronald McDonald?
Ron English: Well, I was working with the Billboard Liberation Front. We knew the animatronic Ronald feeding the fat kid would be difficult to install, so we devised a diversionary stunt to distract the police. We got 40 of our friends to dress up like Ronald McDonald, and hide in the park across the street from the billboard. We also had 15 getaway cars parked around the corner and about a dozen or so lookouts with walkie-talkies. When we arrived at the billboard, there was a guy from the billboard company on the board. We waited around the corner in our van until we got word he’d left. We then pulled the van under the billboard, posted the backdrop, and then installed the Ronald and boy robots. We had come out the night before and wired into the billboard’s electric system to save time. We got everything up and running, and we had one detail left: a magnetic sign that changed the Viacom logo to “ENGLISH/BLF.”
I lost my nerve a bit when we finished. Thank God I did. Just as we exited one side of the parking lot, the cops entered the other side. The Ronalds flooded the scene, and we pulled around the corner and put on Ronald suits, then walked back into the chaos as just a couple more Ronalds. More and more cops were showing up, then the fire department. The Ronalds all ran across the street to the McDonalds, followed by the police who kicked us all out. We all ran up the street to a sports bar, then out the back door and into a hipster bar, where shots of Jack were waiting for us. We got word there were now over 30 cop cars at the scene, and the cops were going to start arresting the Ronalds. They were coming up the street going door to door looking, so everyone declowned in the bathrooms. We sent them back out into the street in pairs where cars picked them up and whisked them away to another bar 20 blocks away. Jack Napier and I were the last two out, and the cops pushed past us to get into the bar looking for “those damn Ronalds.”
--Excerpt from Juxtapoz # 79, August 2007
Interview by Greg Escalante
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