International graffiti artist Ron English wants to reinvent our billboards

Catch International Graffiti Artist Ron English here during Manila Design Week.

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International graffiti artist Ron English

The artist known for hijacking billboards and covering them with his own hand-painted sarcasm and commentary (think McDonald's billboards proclaiming "Supersize Your Thighs") is in the country for Manila Design Week. Catch Ron English, also the artist behind Agit Pop, socio-political artworks made from pop images, at the Manila Design Week events.

One of the 50 artists at the Public Art Project on August 8, he drew the theme Reduce, Reuse, Recycle on recycled bags made from tarpaulins. Guests who recycled phone parts at the Nokia e-recycling bins got the bags for free, while they were for sale to those without phone parts.

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Ron English at the Public Art Project

"[Back then, graffiti artists] were considered criminals. The art world and the rest of the society despised them," English said at the Public Art Project. "Thirty years later, it's almost exactly the opposite. The art is so valuable."

"I don't like to think in advance. When you come, the vibe is different. It's about the moment. It's like being a jazz musician; when you play with different people, maybe you're gonna play differently," English said in an interview before the event.

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Ron English reinvents a McDonald's billboard

Billboard owners better watch out because English wants to work on our billboards the next time he comes to Manila.

"The gigantic ads would be fun [to work on]… Yes, the underwear ads," he says.

English advises Pinoy graphic artists, "Do what [you] like, not what [you] think other people like because of the way trends go. If you try to do what you think is the popular thing, by the time you get noticed, it's not popular anymore."

For the Manila Design Week schedule, click here.

Photos of English' artworks are from popaganda.com and photos of English in Manila by Dyan Zarzuela and Trixie Zabal.

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