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.

Recent Stories

85 Bowery Landlord Responds to Vacate Order, Alleges Illegal Conversion of Apartments to SRO

The controversial landlord of two Chinatown tenements is now responding to the ongoing drama with the embattled tenants of 83-85 Bowery. You’ll recall that last Thursday evening, as part of the ongoing legal case between the two parties, the State Supreme Court ordered an inspection of 85 Bowery. An alphabet soup of city agencies and […]

‘Spitzer’s Corner’ Closes for Renovations

For the first time in a long time, the southeast corner of Rivington and Ludlow Streets is relatively quiet. Ten-year-old Spitzer’s Corner closed this week for a slight makeover. Signs announcing the onsite renovations appear in the doorway of the establishment. This is an expected development. As previously reported, hated Hell Square operator Rob Shamlian is […]

Saying Goodbye to the Sunshine Cinema Before its Imminent Demolition

Ain’t no sunshine when it’s gone. Nor light from that fabulous marquee. Landmark Theaters’ Sunshine Cinema ended its Lower East Side tenure Sunday night after nearly two decades on East Houston Street. We paid a visit on the penultimate night, and it was mobbed with moviegoers getting their last licks before another neighborhood favorite meets the wrecking […]

‘La Caverna’ Nightclub Heads to SLA for its Multilevel Expansion on Rivington Street

When La Caverna first proposed its concept for Rivington Street in 2002, it was presented as an Italian restaurant. In fact, it was a bait-and-switch club that still has some Lower East Side residents are still coping. Now ownership hopes to expand La Caverna with a multilevel experience. Fooled once, yes. Not again. Fifteen years […]

Chad Marlow Resigns from CB3 After Removal from Committee Chair Position Over Liquor Density Fight

Newly appointed Community Board 3 chair Alysha Lewis Coleman stepped into controversy last week when she reportedly sacked member Chad Marlow from his post as Transportation committee chair, a seat he’s held for little more than a year and a half. And today he is completely resigning from the advisory board. The major bone of […]