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Meet Hanksy, the Pun-Loving Graffiti Trickster With a Serious Cult Following

Some artists thumb those noses at the establishment. This New Yorker thumbs his nose at those artists

Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone Jun 11, 2015
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Earlier this year, an anonymous graffiti artist named Hanksy took over an abandoned bank in downtown Manhattan, filling the space with a skateboard ramp, plenty of his pun-related pieces and as many fans as could fit inside. The most devoted searched the city for golden tickets that would allow entry; the rest formed a line that stretched down the block and around the corner until police ordered everyone to disperse.

Hanksy, a New York transplant who requested that we cover his face with a cartoon of Tom Hanks in order to avoid “threats on his life by highbrow artists,” began his career with a simple idea: Put the Forrest Gump actor’s mug over an iconic image made by Banksy. Rather than Photoshop it and send it to his friends, he decided to make his piece public. “I thought it’d be more hysterical if it was actually on the street,” Hansky says. “The next day someone snapped a pic and it went viral, and I was like, ‘Ah fuck, let’s do it again.'”

Follow a pair of twentysomethings devotees searching for their golden tickets, then check out the scene inside the bank – the “Best of the Worst” exhibition – while the artist tells his story, explains his mission and looks ahead to what’s next. “I don’t know what the future has in store,” he concludes. “I don’t know if I wanna be drawing George Clooney holding a banana that looks like a dick – and call it ‘Bi-Curious George’ – I don’t want to be doing that when I’m 50 years old.”

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The film was directed by Nicolas Heller, with cinematography by Oliver Lucian Anderson, music by Falside and additional photography by Jesse Vega.

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