Who is this Hanksy guy?
A couple of weeks ago I went to an art opening for a local street artist called Hanksy who is quickly becoming one of my favorite artists. For the unfamiliar, his name is a mashup between street artist Banksy and actor Tom Hanks. Like Banksy, he tries to operate anonymously. When he first started out, he would do mashups of Banksy’s famous pieces, but insert the face of Tom Hanks into them. Now his work has expanded into general pop culture mashups, always featuring clever puns.
He’s been on my radar from the very beginning. I remember seeing something about his first works right before I moved to New York. I even have an email from my Mom (ever the trend spotter), from April 2011 pointing to an article on an obscure blog about him. At one point I was introduced to someone through a friend who claimed to know him, know his real name and know the LES bar where he worked. He unfortunately did not respond to my emails claiming to know this information and asking really nicely if he would sell me some of his work. Apparently friend of friend of friend status wasn’t enough to get him to reply, but that’s ok, I probably wouldn’t have replied either.
This show was particularly exiting because I actually managed to find out about it before it happened and get there and get in line before it opened. Also, I was finally able to get an original print, which will soon hang proudly in my apartment. I had missed out on his first two shows, both of which were within blocks of my old apartment and now I kind of regret not just buying all of the prints he had for sale at this show. Next time I’ll finally have learned my lesson.
Hanksy has received all sorts of media attention ranging from an appearance on Colbert, NY Times feature and a recent Rolling Stone video about his show. I’d also recommend checking out his personal site for a good rundown of his work and the Gothamist rundown of his show. Even through this success, my favorite things about Hanksy are how his work has remained fun and accessible. At the same time he’s incredibly humble and gets the whole absurdity of the situation. Hopefully he continues to have success and I’m able to continue to make it to his shows.