REVIEW: A-DOT Media (COMPANY)
A-DOT Media is a product of its time. I mean that in the most complimentary, groundbreaking terms possible. It’s unusual to find a creative collaborative agency that utilizes some of the biggest pop culture conduits, be they YouTube or other forms of online product development initiatives, to in effect maintain unusual and atypical relationships such as Ron English in the public consciousness. The founders of the enterprise, Damir A. Romano and Mark A. Wagner, are artists themselves — so this is likely why the enterprise had adopted this particular approach and mantra. The idea of ‘art’ in its literal, abstract exhibitionist form, is under attack in an increasingly commercialized world. It’s a welcome relief that Romano and Wagner are simultaneously utilizing modern commercialization techniques to keep the decidedly alternative, sometimes semi-underground nature of artists like English, or disciples of the likes of Basquiat, Ono, or even Carroll Dunham alive. English is a particularly pertinent example of Romano and Wagner’s M.O., someone who keeps his feet firmly planted in the gritty, urban art scene he arrived to in nineteen-eighties New York City.
English is someone who simultaneously is part of the current, 80s-inspired counterculture movement, as he is someone who feels like in the best possible sense a relic of that time. He and his work feel like something that almost is a needle in a haystack, an uncovered treasure in a time where the word ‘art’ has unfortunately become synonymous with the term ‘pop culture.’ English displays an almost Asian manga-type feel to his creations, mixed with a distinct punk rock Basquiat influence, along with a little of the bit of the stylized Daft Punk look in their music videos. The latter figures in particular because of English’s involvement in the film industry.
RELATED URL: https://www.adotmedia.co/
He brings a sense of cinematic quality to each piece he crafts, even the smallest figurine, totem, or character appearing like they’re an ambassador to a unique and quirky world only English understands the full machinations of. In an interview with The Guardian, English summed up his process as resulting in the “trading (his) health for (his) art.” As someone who works in the arts myself, this couldn’t be more true. And you can see it in the painstaking details. Particularly when it comes to the conception of English’s most recent character design for the NELK Boys. Specifically — Fullsend, and — pun intended — his Smoking Grin…
Another aspect that intrigues me about English is how he blends social commentary and social activism seamlessly into his characters. Take, for instance, his interview with Street Art News where English describes the correlation between his character Temper Tot and the United States of America: “…Temper Tot is us. Temper Tot is America. He’s all misdirected anger and prideful immaturity. He’s more self-possessed than self-aware, both jealous of and threatened by the image of himself he presents to the world. He’s confused by all the ballyhoo that passes for political discourse; his belief system is crafted by the cynical mercenaries of Madison Ave. His faith is based on fear and fables. His desire for constant attention and validation leave him vulnerable to snake oil advertising campaigns, intrusive corporate and government expansion, and the degradation of rights he barely knew he had. He is sadly unaware of his own strength and he may well have just pooped his pants.”