Pipe Dreamsmarks not only Sheryo and the Yok’s first exhibition together in the United States, but also a departure from what viewers have come to expect from the duo. As of late, the artists have been defined by their use of a red, black, and white palette to portray unique vision of reality. However, don’t be concerned that these changes mean that the work is missing the cartoonish, pop imagery seen in past pieces. The pizza, drugs, and other wild things are still present, just reimagined.
During their travels to through South East Asia, from Sheryo’s native Singapore to Vietnam, the artists began to infuse their work with the surrounding culture. Now, geishas and dragons have become central characters alongside smoking pizzas and skateboards. While visiting Vietnam, the artists took advantage of the opportunity to begin painting pottery, starting with vases and later expanding in the States to plates. Initially, the work appears a light air blue, mimicking the smoke emanating from elongated cigarette holders. After three coats, the plates begin to don the cobalt blue associated with Eastern ceramics.
Beyond these surface appearances, this influence extends to deeper meanings, including numerology. During the studio visit, patterns of 4 (4, 8, 12) began to emerge within the bodies of work, however intentional or not. Sheryo was quick to speak about the auspicious meanings of the numbers 4 and 8 in Chinese, representing wealth and death respectively. Other coded beliefs trace their way through the different media in the exhibition, including the Illuminati. The all-seeing-eye positioned atop a pyramid has become a widely recognized symbol for the alleged secret society. Through these allegorical codes, an air of mysticism is hidden within their playful cartoons. Continue reading “Pipe Dreams: Coded Meanings and Cartoons”
Sheryo and The Yok painted the above piece in New York’s Little Italy earlier this week as part of the Little Italy Street Art Project that Wayne Rada and I have been organizing there.
The piece comes just a few weeks before the duo have a show walking distance away at Krause Gallery. That show, Pipe Dreams, opens May 16th from 7-9pm and runs through June 16th. The show center’s on the couple’s recent travels in Asia and includes ceramic work from them in line with what you might have seen at Krause Gallery’s booth at Scope NY earlier this year. Should be a fun one.
In 2011 and 2012, Patrick Waldo aka Moustache Man tagged thousands of subway advertisements. His tag was simple and fun. He wrote the word “Moustache” on the ads where someone else might scribble a crude moustache. The intervention was simple but extremely popular and fun. Unfortunately, NYPD disagreed. They arrested Waldo and charged him with criminal mischief. Not surprising, but certainly disappointing and a waste of their time.
This week, Waldo is taking the Moustache Man identity indoors for his first solo show. The show will be held at Krause Gallery in NYC, opening on the 21st (7-9pm) and running through February 24th.
Well, now I’m not so sure. Part of Waldo’s show includes “Forced Collaborations” between himself and various other artists. In the case of Mr. Brainwash, Waldo has taken an actual Mr. Brainwash print and added his tag to it. Additionally, since Mr. Brainwash puts his thumbprint in ink on his prints, Waldo decided to dip his testicles in ink and the print has a print of Waldo’s left testicle next to Mr. Brainwash’s thumbprint. Mint and Serf tried something similar a few years ago, but I believe that was with the permission of the involved artists. I’m not sure if this is going to work, but it might, and I’m very curious to see how it goes.
I won’t be able to see the show in person though, so if you do go and see it, please leave a comment and let me know how it goes.
Last week we announced The Art of Comedy, a series of art installations and murals with The New York Comedy Festival that Wayne Rada and I curated. The Art of Comedy also coincided with solo shows by all three of the artists involved: Ron English, gilf!, and Hanksy. Due to Hurricane Sandy, both the official unveiling of the murals that these artists have painted in Little Italy and their solo show openings have been delayed by a week. So, here’s what the calendar looks like now for The Art of Comedy and those gallery shows:
November 7th-11th: The Art of Comedy installations by Ron English, Hanksy, and gilf! are up in lounge inside of the comedy club Carolines on Broadway.
Often working alone, this past year Hanksy has remained the mysterious comedian of New York’s streets. Without a typical striking pattern, the artist’s pieces can surprise you in desolate alleys and corners throughout the Lower East Side, always there with a quick quip to brighten your day. When we met for this interview in an equally-hilarious tiki-themed bar, what ensued was a discussion that was as illuminating as it was entertaining. Surrounded by top forty tunes and the kitschiest of decor, I sat down to talk with Hanksy about the million punny events the artist has coming up this month. From a show at Krause Gallery, walls for the New York Comic Festival and Bushwick 5 Points, a new shirt, and a scavenger hunt, Hanksy is prepared to demonstrate how to stay young at heart, one cheap punch line at a time.
Rhiannon Platt: You mentioned that you had written graffiti before you moved to New York. What made you want to start creating new work after you relocated?
Hanksy: After a good few years doing fun little street scribbles, stickers, and minimal stencils throughout the midwest, I took a break. Nothing was really coming of it. Maybe I got bored, maybe I tried to grow up. I went to law school but ended up dropping out. It wasn’t until I moved to NYC that I got inspired again. I guess it must be something with the city’s pulse. The vibrancy, the visual stimulation. The thousand or so 30-year-old semi-adults with Peter Pan Syndrome. I mean to hell with growing up, right?
R: And what keeps you going back for more?
H: It’s everything really. The public response both good and bad, the little adrenaline rush one gets from doing something moderately illegal. The fact that something I made and created gets viewed on a daily basis whether you like it or not.
Plus, everything I put out and up makes me laugh. That’s the bottom line. If I didn’t find amusement in my work, I’d stop creating it.
R: You’ve since expanded your work to other pop culture icons of your childhood. What determines who will be the next punch line?
H: I’ll never send up a celebrity or pop culture figure that I’m not a fan of or don’t admire. I grew up on The Cosby Show, so I worked Bill into a piece. Same with Vanilla Ice. As silly as Rob Van Winkle is, he was in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. “Go ninja go ninja go?” As far as I’m concerned, that dude gets a life pass.
But in the future that might change. I might do a riff on some celebrity that I despise. Maybe a Kardashian or some shit. But if I do, don’t be mistaken. It won’t be out of love or adoration, it’ll be out of loathing. Because being famous for a blow job or a grainy pre-iPhone sex vid is nonsense. I don’t care how many perfume bottles you sell or reality shows you’re on. A horse is a horse is a whorse.
R: Were you the class clown growing up?
H: When I’m comfortable and familiar with my surroundings, I’m fairly gregarious. Cracking jokes and whatnot. But I was never the class clown. That honor was bestowed upon someone else. His name was Gary. He was kinda chubby and dirty, came from a somewhat poor family, but was a fucking professional at physical comedy. Very roly poly and animated. Think of a young Chris Farley. As I switched elementary schools during my fifth grade year, I’ve always wondered what happened to him.
R: What made you decide to parody art, rather than the more serious path most street artists take?
H: I’m not a serious guy. I’ll laugh before I cry. Forever and always. Besides, life is so goddamn serious. All that political or solemn stuff? I’ll leave that to someone else.
But if you boil it down, you have to be reasonably talented to make the somber stuff believable. And I’m anything but talented. I’d probably get washed away in a sea of mediocrity as the cream always rises to the top. So I’d rather exist on my own or next to a few lighthearted painters than be lumped in with the other bunch.
R: What is your favorite joke?
H: It’s a knock knock joke. And a childish one at that. Read it out loud –
I eat mop.
I eat mop, who?
Say it one more time. Get it?
R: Speaking of jokes, you are creating work for The New York Comedy Festival this month and a solo show to boot. What can we expect to see from you in these next few weeks?
H: Yeah! The solo show will be a blast. The guys at Krause Gallery have all been champs when it comes to working with me. They put on my first show back in January and were incredibly accommodating to my schedule this time around. The show, which opens on November 1st, is also being coordinated with the NY Comedy Festival. I’m doing a bunch of legal walls in Little Italy, as well as a large piece in Times Square. There’s also a scavenger hunt being planned for the Lower East Side. Lots of free art and crap. Should be fun.
R: If you had to create a pre-wheatpasting psych up playlist, what would be on it?
H: Alan Silvestri, Operation Ivy, and Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited.” There’s also a band from Chicago called Yawn that I really dig. They get me all pumped up.
R: Anything else you want to say that never comes up in repetitive interview questions?
H: Despite the undying flame that burns in my very crowded heart, my love of all things Haribo have turned my teeth against me. Crumbling like shale, those fierce little gummi bears have dug various holes and tunnels and passage ways in my otherwise perfect smile.
I’ve required two root canals over the past three weeks. Not the most convenient pastime to partake in for a poor kid prepping a solo show with no dental plan. See, beyond my pearly white storm door incisors, it’s a fucking cavity party. Maybe I should just waterboard myself with wheatpaste.
“Young Puns 2: Now with More Pun” opens Thursday, November 1st, at Krause Gallery with an opening from 6pm-10pm, which will feature new Ice Ice Babies t-shirts as well as a metric ton of puns. Following the opening, you can be sure to see his new pieces on walls and doors in previously untouched parts of the city. For The Art of Comedy with the New York Comedy Festival and Vandalog, Hanksy will have work inside of Carolines on Broadway November 7-11th and murals up on Mulberry street between Canal and Grand.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: THE OPENING OF “YOUNG PUNS 2” HAS BEEN POSTPONED DUE TO THE HURRICANE AND WILL NOW TAKE PLACE ON NOVEMBER 8TH AT 6PM.
Hanksy‘s next solo show opens November 1st at Krause Gallery on New York’s Lower East Side. Young Puns 2: Now With More Pun is Hanksy’s second show with Krause Gallery. When I first saw Hanksy’s work, I was not (too) amused. But as he’s expanded beyond the Tom Hanks-themed work, I’ve definitely become a fan. He’s a friendly and funny introduction into street art. I’ll definitely be checking the opening of Young Puns 2, and we’ll have more news about a project that Vandalog and Hanksy are involved in together very soon.
Young Puns 2 opens November 1st from 6-9pm and run through November 28th.
A number of months ago a series of Banksy-like images with the face of actor Tom Hanks began surfacing in NYC. I didn’t think much of them, and thought they might be a somewhat clever way to promote Tom Hanks. I couldn’t imagine anyone even trying to spoof Banksy – one of the greatest satirists of our time! Anyway, the images are back again and this time coinciding with a gallery exhibit featuring a range of them. When I stopped by this afternoon, the space was quite busy. It looks like we – the street art aficionados or, at least, those of us who frequent galleries – are the target of this satire, and its creator may be quite clever. After I left, I overheard one passerby explain to another that there was a Banksy show at the gallery. Hanksy – not Banksy!
Here are two Hanksy images that recently surfaced on the streets of the Lower East Side: