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Who is Hanksy?

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Dan Plutchak | July 22, 2014

A mural appeared last week behind the Delavan Fitness Center, a piece of street art that would be more at home in New York City.

It has become a bit of a curiosity for what it means and who created it.
According to a tipster, the mural, about 3 feet wide and five feet tall, appeared within the past week

Titled, "Small Town to-do list," it includes advice to see what else is out there, including such things as, "varied skin colors, good/bad art, credit card debt and big city lights ..."

At the bottom, it is signed, "Hanksy."

We posted a photo of the piece on our Facebook page, and a few who commented on the page seemed to know right away that it was a variation of the work of British street artist Banksy.

But who is Hanksy, and why was he in Delavan?

Our tipster also included a link to a February article by John Leland in the New York Times on the artist, which included this paragraph:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/16/nyregion/a-parodist-who-calls-himself-hanksy.html?_r=1

"Over strong coffee and loud indie rock, Hanksy, 30, spoke on the condition that he be identified by his artist name. (New York magazine wrote that he was "rumored" to be Adam Himebauch.) The son of a retired F.B.I. agent, he wore a baseball cap over his longish blonde hair and spoke in a self-deprecating voice full of Delavan, Wis."

Anonymity has been part of Hanksy's allure in New York, but in Delavan, it's pretty easy to connect the dots.

Not that we'd want to blow Hanksy's cover, but the only former FBI agent in Delavan who is a Himebauch would be LeRoy a one-time Delavan municipal judge. Adam Himebauch graduated in 2001 from Delavan-Darien High School.

So I tweeted @HanksyNYC, who replied, "I was just passing through last week...!"

From Leland's article, here is a brief Hanksy history:

"In April 2011, a law school dropout in Bushwick, Brooklyn, newly arrived from the Midwest, had an idea that he thought might make a splash. He admired the street artist Banksy; he grew up on the movies of Tom Hanks. Why not mash up the two? Using simple computer software, he downloaded a Banksy painting of a rat holding a paint roller, then added an image of Mr. Hanks's face. The whole thing took 10 or 15 minutes to create. He printed a cutout and pasted it on a wall at Mulberry and Kenmare Streets in Little Italy, signing it Hanksy. It was a stupid pun, he knew, but he was a sucker for stupid puns. Isn't everybody?"

He posted a photo of his creation online, and before he knew it, he was a viral Internet sensation.

Since then, he's had a variety if solo art shows, from L.A. to New York, with is pieces fetching anywhere from $50 to $4,000.

Hanksy also has organized several projects in New York where he collaborates with other street artists.

Each event has created new buzz in the city's art world.

According to Leland, Hanksy plans to visit nine cities in the next year to collaborate with local street artists and bring in others from out of town, documenting the whole enterprise as an Internet video series.

And maybe he'll be back in Delavan?



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