Comic Artist Hanksy Moves From Street to Gallery for LES Show

By Serena Solomon on October 26, 2012 12:56pm 

LOWER EAST SIDE — It's street art with a smirk.

Humorous graffiti artist Hanksy's second solo show, "Young Puns 2: Now With More Fun," is opening at the Krause Gallery on Orchard Street Nov. 1 — bringing the tongue-in-cheek vandal's Banksy-inspired works indoors.

Hanksy works anonymously using streets, walls and other urban objects canvases, making light of popular culture with pun-filled stencil designs.

"Art always has to be deep and conceptual, but with Hanksy it is about people walking by and they smile," said gallery owner Benjamin Krause. He first tracked the artist down in January of 2011 after noticing Hanksy's work dotting the Lower East Side.

"It is funny, and it is OK for art to be funny," Krause said. "No one else is doing that."

Hanksy first started working in 2010, creating a name by satirizing the work of famous British street artist Banksy and remixing it with references from films starring actor Tom Hanks. 

This gallery series, featuring photographs of the street art, includes celebrities such as actors Bruce Willis and man-of-the-moment Ryan Gosling.

In an email, Hanksy claimed to be a Brooklyn resident who dropped out of a law school before moving to New York two years ago. The artist did not reveal a true identity because of the criminality involved with graffiti.

"Of course when you strip away all the glitz and glamor, all the fancy galleries and complimentary Yellowtail wine, street art is and always will be illegal," Hanksy wrote. "You’re putting up work on property that isn't your own, and it isn't always with permission."

Hanksy, who also declined to cite a gender but gave an age range between 20 and 30 years old, wrote that few people know the artist's true identity "apart from my circle of friends."

The artist wrote that using the urban environment as a canvas was the right fit for the satirical art form.

"Years ago, when I first started producing art, it only seemed logical to display it on the street," Hanksy wrote. "There's no need to frame your work, and the open air isn't stuffy or pretentious like most galleries are.

"And if you don't like it, you can always look away," the artist added.

"Young Puns 2: Now With More Fun" runs Nov. 1-28 at the Krause Gallery, 149 Orchard St.

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