guerilla billboards

Ron English borrows billboards to advertise his politics.

Ron English puts up illegal billboards, so he has only one way of knowing if it has been a good day.

"I consider it a success if I don't go to jail," he explained. He should know. He has had two very unsuccessful days in the past.

You may have seen Mr. English, a 43-year-old father of two, wandering around the streets of Manhattan or New Jersey with a bucket of glue, a set of rollers and a crew of accomplices. He plasters his original paintings in broad daylight on billboards he does not own. This is a conscious decision, because billboarding in the dark would only look more suspicious. "If you're out at night," he said, "it's obvious that you're not supposed to be there."

. . . .

"Ron's kind of a one-man billboard hurricane," said Jack Napier, the founder of the Billboard Liberation Front, a San Francisco-based movement considered one of the first to alter such advertising. "He's done some brilliant stuff."

Two weeks ago, Mr. English pasted up three works in Jersey City, where he lives and paints. One reads: "Saddam's SUV's. Oil Dependence Day Sale." It ends with the Chevy logo and the tag "Like Iraq."

He frankly admits, in his own words, "I guess I'm a criminal. But I don't think I'm a nuisance to society."

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Published on April 13, 2003 11:57 PM.

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