Interview: Street Artist HANKSY Talks to Bowery Boogie

Posted on: January 10th, 2012 at 10:18 am by

Since arriving on the scene last year with a Mulberry Street paster, Hanksy has certainly turned heads and elicited laughs with his clever cultural mash-ups. Each piece is an irreverent mixture of both graffiti and pop culture – Tom Hanks movies and Banksy street art. The latest such work was spotted where it was first discovered, channeling both A League of Their Own and “Peeing Dog.”

In anticipation of the forthcoming installation at the Krause Gallery this Friday, we contacted the elusive street artist to learn more about his work.

BOWERY BOOGIE: Describe your ultimate mission.

HANKSY: To win an Academy Award in Hollywoodland for a cinematic ruse which details out the artistic charades of a certain mustached eccentric. Exit Through The Gump Shop will feature myself and Mrs. CerebralCleanse and the escalating Charlie Wilson’s Turf War between the two of us.

BB: What was the spark or inspiration behind mashing Hanks and Banksy?

HANKSY: I’m known to be a huge fan of the late Bronx rapper Christopher Lee Rios.

BB: Why bomb the LES?

HANKSY: When I was younger I used to tape pen-on-paper doodles up on my bedroom bulletin boards and walls. One can look at it that way. The Lower East Side is where I live and work and I’m just trying to dress up its walls a bit.

BB: How many Hanksy pieces have you created, and which is your favorite?

HANKSY: All told, I’ve probably created a couple dozen. Many of which have never seen the light of day let alone graced a decrepit LES brick facade. Too much of a good thing can quickly turn good milk sour, so I’ve timed out my work over the past year as to not saturate the market.

While You’ve Got Mail isn’t one of Tom’s bests, its title works nicely when mashed with “Fast Food Caveman” by Banksy. “You’ve Got Male” was put up in Chicago last December.

BB: So far, what has been the response to your work in graffiti circles?

HANKSY: I’m the Dane Cook of the street art world.

BB: How do you feel about graffiti artists going commercial a la Shepard Fairey?

HANKSY: Times and things are changing and people are able to make money in ways they weren’t able to before. Why shouldn’t Shepard Fairey make mountains of cash from his sometimes misappropriated revolutionary imagery? Maybe we all should. And if you’re hard-pressed for sticker ideas, you can always google “dead WWF superstars.”

BB: Is it selling out by going the gallery route?

HANKSY: I know it doesn’t seem like it as of late, but traditionally January has been known to be quite cold and I see nothing wrong with viewing art in a climate controlled room.

BB: Favorite Tom Hanks movie?

HANKSY: Tie between The ‘Burbs and Joe Versus the Volcano. Comedic Tom Hanks is the best Tom Hanks.

BB: Amen!

Photo Credit: Patrick Fahrner

The opening reception for the installation begins at 7:00 pm at 149 Orchard Street, and will remain open through the end of the month.  200 Tom Hanks masks will be handed out, and his son, Colin, is rumored to be attending.

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