Art Basel Miami Beach

Chris Brown and Ron English's Fancy Toys and Necklaces at Wynwood Walls

​Artist Ron English is no stranger to iconic imagery. Creating paintings from a mishmash of familiar faces and images like Marilyn Monroe and Mickey Mouse is part of what he does. So it was no surprise that English joined forces with mega-superstar Chris Brown to create the cover of his album F.A.M.E.

The two collaborated again on the Dum English astronaut series, a line of necklaces and vinyl toys as well as a sculpture on display at Wynwood Walls. Plus, Brown actually shot one of his videos in the 305 in front of English's mural at the same space.

"We were talking about what it was like to be famous," English says. "It seems like something that's very attractive. But it can also be very isolating in ways."

They chose the image of the astronaut to represent this experience because just like a spaceman, Brown is in the spotlight but lonely at the same time. "An astronaut doesn't go to space just for himself or his family. The whole country is behind him," English explains.

"Most artists listen to music when they paint," he says. "A lot of famous musicians don't know about art. Kanye West has gotten really into art. David Bowie got heavily into art." He thinks there's room with this project to expand audiences for both of them.

The designer toys will be available at specialty stores like Kid Robot, necklaces at retail stores, and the sculpture at galleries.

English's F.A.M.E. painting is being sold at Scope Art Fair at Corey Helford's booth, F03. It'll cost a whopping $90,000. But if you buy it, a portion of your almost-million dollars will benefit The Symphonic Love Foundation, which funds music and arts programs for kids.

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Liz Tracy has written for publications such as the New York Times, the Atlantic, Refinery29, W, Glamour, and, of course, Miami New Times. She was New Times Broward-Palm Beach's music editor for three years. Now she plays one mean monster with her 2-year-old son and obsessively watches British mysteries.
Contact: Liz Tracy