- Words and Photos by John Domine
Hanksy, The Next Evolution
If you've been following street art over the last few years, you are familiar with the work of the HANKSY; the artist whose moniker is a mash-up between the silliness of actor, Tom Hanks and the anonymity of Banksy.
When asked his personal definition of an artist, he replied, "It means different things to different people. Any explanation I'd be able to give would be half-built, as I spent years drawing dick jokes and dad humor. Is that art? Am I an artist? I still don't know."
"Beyond childhood afternoons spent replicating cartoons I’d seen earlier before school, I never had a real background in art. I did spend a decade of my life throwing creative shit against a wall with my fingers crossed something would stick. It wasn’t until I moved to NYC in my mid-twenties that something finally did. The city is so vibrant and full of visual stimulation, I felt the need to add to it."
Aside from pasteups of various colorful characters well-known in pop culture, such as "Karnye Asada", "Bill Murrito" and "Hamuel L. Jackson", he's the guy who painted Donald J. Trump as a giant steaming turd, (known affectionately as "Dump Trump"). This piece lasted for quite some time on a wall in Chinatown before being buffed shortly after the real piece of shit rose to power as the 45th President of the United States. This piece took on its own life during the 2016 campaign with a "Dump Across America" project. Too bad it didn't do the trick, our current commander-in-chief doesn't know the difference between poop & potatoes.
Still Steaming, Hanksy's "Dump Trump" in Chinatown
But recently, we have seen a shift from this tongue in cheek style to something quite different and unexpected. Something a little more serious in tone, and perhaps more sophisticated. What has transpired in your life which led to this change in the form and focus of his work?
"This may sound cliché, but traveling throughout the country during the primaries to various political rallies changed me a bit. I’ve always been the funny art dude, the guy who drew funny pictures that went viral. But it’s 2017 and it’s my opinion that if possible, art should say something. Subtle or overt, I’ve always believed that art had the power to spark change, and to address issues that don’t necessarily always have a voice. I just never thought I was in the position to do so. I’ve since changed my tune a bit."
Hanksy's wall to replace "Dump Trump" which speaks to a more global issue,
where 200 refugees fell from a boat in the Mediterranean
Maybe we do need more from our art. Maybe it takes the sobering reality of the recent election to put things in perspective. Toilet humor is great and makes us all laugh, but when the object of our amusement sits in the highest seat in the land, maybe it's time to take a new approach...
With the name HANKSY, there has always been an understood message. A one-liner that resonates with the masses. This new facet for his work is at odds with all that we've come expect from HANKSY. So now in addition, he self-identifies under his given name, Adam Lucas. When asked what inspired the change:
"Some grow up, others grow down. I feel it was a little bit of both."
"As of now I’m not killing off the moniker or disregarding it. I just have an urge to create things that don’t necessarily make sense under the HANKSY name. It’s been a great five years, and now I’m looking to lay a little groundwork for the next. I will revisit it when appropriate. I still love dumbs jokes after all."
Tonight, his show opens at the Krause Gallery on Orchard Street.
"They’ve been a good friend to me throughout the years. Never one to beat a dead horse (although some may argue that’s my whole career), I was ready to call it a day on the little HANKSY experiment when they offered me a little mini-exhibition. That was back in early 2012. It did extremely well and we’ve continued to work on projects together ever since."
"The show is titled “29 Paintings I Painted Last Summer When I Tried to be a Painter” and the heading speaks for itself. A few years back I decided I needed a change in my weird career. Both in style and execution. This exhibition features a collection representing the beginning of that change. They lean more towards my traditional HANKSY output with colorful imagery and topical one-liners fully visualized."
So, what's next for HANKSY and Adam Lucas?
"After taking roughly two years off from larger endeavors, I’ve got a solid line-up of scheduled projects and exhibitions. Some serious, some not. I’ll be painting a few large murals coming up, including one with The L.I.S.A. Project, as well a very large solo-exhibition in NYC this October. Despite a life brimming with anxiety over our current administration, I’m incredibly excited about the future. It’s looking bright."
Anything else you want to share with our readers?
"You can’t get struck by lightning, if you don’t walk into the field."
There you have it, wise words by Adam Lucas. Check out the latest collection opening tonight at Krause Gallery through July 13th, and find him all over the internet at: hanksynyc
Press Info (photos & video in link):
29 Paintings I Painted Last Summer When I Tried to be a Painter
Krause Gallery 149 Orchard Street
July 7-13 2017
Opening Friday July 7 6-9pm
New York City based artist HANKSY uses the streets as his canvas, employing clever puns and turns of phrases to delight fans and observant passersby. Shortly after moving to New York in 2010, HANKSY began noticing the city’s vibrant street art scene, in which hand painted works of art, elaborate stencils, and detailed screen prints enrich blighted spots and capture the attention of urban dwellers. Wanting to contribute to the ever growing movement, but determined to maintain a light-hearted approach, HANKSY began satirizing British street art legend Banksy by mashing up his most famous works with references from Tom Hanks films. His clever remixes delighted New Yorkers, turning HANKSY into a social media phenomenon and quickly earning him a place in the competitive New York street art world. HANKSY’s new work broadens his satirical scope, lampooning pop culture icons like Bruce Willis and Ryan Gosling, while staying true to his punny origins. With HANKSY on the streets, no celebrity is safe.