Wrap up: The Art of Comedy

gilf!. Photo by Tali Blankfeld.

Last weekend we finished up The Art of Comedy with The New York Comedy Festival, Little Italy, Ron English, Hanksy, and gilf! with a tour around New York’s Little Italy to see all the new work that Ron, Hanksy and gilf! have painted there. We were even joined by comedian Jim Gaffigan and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez. For those who couldn’t make it, here’s what’s new on Mulberry Street:

Ron English. Photo by Luna Park.
Hanksy. Photo by Jake Dobkin.
gilf!. Photo by Tali Blankfeld.
gilf!. Photo by Tali Blankfeld.
Hanksy. Photo by Tali Blankfeld.
Hanksy. Photo by Tali Blankfeld.

Jim Gaffigan was so taken with Hanksy’s piece staring that the two had been tweeting back and forth and Jim took his kids to see the wall. Hanksy knew that Jim would also be coming by the art crawl, and so he came prepared with a painting to give to Jim…

Jim’s new painting, Hanksy, Caroline Hirsch, Jim Gaffigan, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, and Ralph Tramontana. Photo by Tali Blankfeld.
Ron English. Photo by Tali Blankfeld.

Photos by Tali Blankfeld, Luna Park, and Jake Dobkin

The Art of Comedy “Art Crawl” Saturday at noon


Come by NYC’s Little Italy tomorrow (Saturday the 10th) at noon for some food and street art at The Art of Comedy Art Crawl. We’ll be meeting at Caffe Roma on Mulberry and Broome and walking down to Sambuca’s Cafe by Mulberry and Canal. In between, we’ll be checking out all of the spots that gilf!, Hanksy, and Ron English recently painted along Mulberry as part of The New York Comedy Festival‘s art component, The Art of Comedy. Jim Gaffigan will be there to check out Hanksy’s piece depicting Jim at Mulberry and Grand, and Ron English will be putting a few finishing touches on his 30-foot-tall mural.

The event is free and open to anyone, but you can RSVP on Facebook.

Photo by Rhiannon Platt

Hanksy Wraps Up “The Art of Comedy” with a Collab

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, both gilf! and Hanksy returned to Little Italy to find parts of their walls for The Art of Comedy damaged and in need for repair. Pieces of the artist’s wheatpaste had been ripped in the storm and another artist had also added some work of their own to the street artist’s wheatpastes. Wedged between two of the final pieces in the panel, a stick figure girl had been draw in peach chalk on the wall beside the word “poop.”

Through the magic of Twitter, Hanksy confirmed that comedian Jim Gaffigan had in fact taken a stroll in the neighborhood past the wall recently. When paying a visit, his children decided to try their hand at some of their own childstyle street art.

Before the artist began buffing the wall I took a picture of the character that Gaffigan’s kids collaborative work next to Hanksy. Working from this photograph, Hanksy recreated the young artist’s drawing on mural, this time making it permanent through spray paint. The stencil is intended to be given to his daughter with the note “for the world’s youngest street artist.”

In addition to repairing existing walls, Hanksy also comepleted the final piece in his series for the New York Comedy Festival. Taking the imagery back to its roots, the artist chose to stencil an “OG Hanksy Rat” between two Italian restaurants. With handwriting similar to that of Gaffigan’s daughter, Hanksy doused the freshly primed space with red paint, bringing a more literal meaning to the saying “caught red handed.”

Photos by Rhiannon Platt

Ron English’s Temper Tot in Little Italy

Photo by Wayne Rada

As Hurricane Sandy made its way towards New York City, Ron English and his assistant Beau Stanton worked feverishly to paint Ron’s first mural in Manhattan in about 25 years as part of The New York Comedy Festival and Vandalog’s The Art of Comedy. The Temper Tot is a character that Ron’s fans will be familiar with from past paintings, murals and an upcoming toy.

If you want to go see the mural for yourself, it’s on Mulberry Street between Canal and Hester in New York’s Little Italy. Or, stop by on Saturday at noon for The Art of Comedy‘s art crawl and we’ll be walking by all of the murals that Ron, Hanksy and gilf! have painted in Little Italy.

PS, thanks to Montana Cans for all the paint that made this wall possible.

Photo by Wayne Rada
Photo by Lois Stavsky. Click to view large.
Photo by Wayne Rada
Photo by Wayne Rada

Photos by Wayne Rada and Lois Stavksy

Who wants to win some NY Comedy Festival tickets?

Hanksy’s piece on Mulberry Street inspired by Jim Gaffigan

Since The New York Comedy Festival is behind The Art of Comedy, the series of indoor and outdoor art installations that Wayne Rada and have been organizing recently in NYC with Hanksy, gilf!, and Ron English, Vandalog has three pairs of tickets to give away to New York Comedy Festival shows.

We have two pairs of tickets to see Marlon and Shawn Wayans at Carolines on Broadway on Thursday November 8th, Friday November 9th or Sunday November 10th. On Thursday and Sunday, they have shows at 7:30pm and 10:00pm. On Friday they have shows at 8:00pm and 10:30pm. The Wayans Brothers have starred in a number of films including Scary Movie, White Chicks, and Little Man.

We also have one pair of tickets to see Jim Gaffigan at The Apollo Theater on Saturday November 10th at 10:15pm. In case you don’t know Gaffigan’s stand up, here’s a great sample.

To enter our contest to win any one of these pairs of tickets, just leave a comment on this post or tweet @vandalog with the reason that you should win tickets to one of these shows. The winners will be my favorite three responses out of those received before midnight on the east coat on Wednesday November 7th and I’ll get in touch with the winners soon after that to sort out the details.

Hanksy’s piece on Mulberry Street inspired by Jim Gaffigan

Photos by Rhiannon Platt

Hurricane Sandy delays The Art of Comedy murals and gallery openings

Ron English’s mural on Mulberry Street

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:

Also, in the past week, we’ve had interviews by Rhiannon Platt with gilf! and Hanksy, and Rhiannon also took some photos of Hanksy working on two of his three murals.

Photo by Wayne Rada

The Art of Never Growing Up: An interview with Hanksy

Hanksy at Freeman’s Alley. Photo by Rhiannon Platt.

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.

Photo Courtesy of Hanksy

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.

Hanksy on an Abandoned Church in Bushwick. Photo by Rhiannon Platt.

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 –

Knock Knock

Who’s there?

I eat mop.
I eat mop, who?

Say it one more time. Get it?

Work put up near Krause Gallery for Hanksy’s last solo show. Photo by Rhiannon Platt.

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.

Young Puns 2: Now with More Pun flyer

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.

Photo Courtesy of Hanksy

“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.

Photos by Rhiannon Platt and courtesy of Hanksy

The Art of Comedy with Ron English, Gilf!, and Hanksy

From left to right: Hanksy, Ron English and Gilf!


The New York Comedy Festival, in association with Vandalog, Little Italy and Montana Cans, are bringing street art into this year’s New York Comedy Festival with The Art of Comedy. The Art of Comedy is a series of indoor and outdoor installations around Manhattan by some of New York’s funniest street artists: Ron English, Hanksy, and Gilf!. The installations include murals in Little Italy on Mulberry Street between Canal and Broome, and work inside of the historic comedy club Carolines on Broadway. I’m very excited to be a co-curator on this project alongside Wayne Rada. Caroline Hirsch, of Carolines on Broadway and creator of the New York Comedy Festival, says,”We’re always looking for new and creative ways in which humor is represented in art. These talented artists add a really unique element to this year’s festival, literally taking comedy to the streets.”

The installations inside of Carolines on Broadway by all three artists will be up from November 7th-11th, so if you’re going to check out The Wayans Brothers or maybe one of the other New York Comedy Festival shows at Carolines, be sure to have a look around the Carolines Lounge before you get seated for the show.

Over on Mulberry, the artists will be painting a mix of temporary and permanent murals. Ron’s mural is of particular note since it will be the first mural he has painted in Manhattan (excluding billboard takeovers) since 1987, and this one is going to be big enough that it may just be worth the wait. I’m also looking forward to seeing the election-themed work that Gifl! will put up and work by Hanksy starring some of the performers in this year’s New York Comedy Festival.

I hope you’ll join us on Saturday, November 3rd November 10th at noon on a short tour of the completed murals. We’ll be meeting at Caffe Roma (385 Broome Street).

The Art of Comedy and The New York Comedy Festival also line up nicely with solo shows from all three artists opening on November 1st November 10th. Ron’s show, Crucial Fiction, opens from 6-9pm at Opera Gallery NYC (115 Spring St) and runs through November 29th. Gilf! will be showing at Galerie Swanström (136 Sullivan Street, 3rd Floor) opening from 5-9pm. Hanksy’s show, Young Puns 2 – Now With More Pun, opens at Krause Gallery (149 Orchard Street) from 6-9pm and runs through November 28th.

As for the main events at the New York Comedy Festival, this year has some amazing headliners performing all over the city including Aziz Ansari, Bill Maher, Robin Williams and more. Personally, Caroline and I are going to try to catch Jim Gaffigan. The full schedule can be found here.

Photos courtesy of the artists