One of the most celebrated contemporary artists working today, Ron English has saturated the cultural landscape with unforgettable images. Now English brings his signature style to a creative collaboration with the biggest brand in cannabis: HIGH TIMES.
English coined the term POPaganda to describe his signature artwork—it’s a catchphrase for his style of manipulating commonly recognized brands and logos to start a wider discussion on everything from obesity to the elections. Now he’s taken the leap into cannabis-inspired work with POPAGANJA, a major artistic endeavor to thrust cannabis and decriminalization into the forefront of pop culture.
It’s an important conversation to have, and a very personal one for English. His mother suffers from Parkinson’s disease, and cannabis is one of the only things that eases her symptoms. “It’s crazy to me to think that by society’s standards, my mother, who before this never smoked in her life, is now considered a criminal,” English says. “I’m 56 years old. When I was a kid I assumed that by the time I was like, 20, 25 that weed would be legal.”
POPAGANJA is set at an authentic bodega on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. English has taken his signature style and given it a cannabis twist for the consumer: think a KFC container that says THC, or “Shredded Weed” emblazoned on a Shredded Wheat cereal box. It’s a gallery of gleeful ganja parodies. Visitors can also check out one-of–one Ron English x HIGH TIMES clothing items designed by HIGH TIMES merchandise creative director Brian Wood.
Plans are already underway to bring the pop-up to the West Coast and beyond. “We really feel like this is something people across the country will be able to appreciate, even if they’re not familiar with the idea of the bodega per se,” says Jon Heredia, who is part of the team running the HIGH TIMES clothing brand. “We’re thinking about switching it up, localizing as we travel—a fishing bait shop in Seattle, or a hunting store in Colorado, for example.”
The buzz is just beginning.
The Ron English x High Times POPAGANJA pop-up is open to the public on 147 Orchard Street and runs until November 8, 2016.
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