Interview: Hanksy on His New Show, “Best of the Worst”

Best of the Worst

We checked in with one of New York’s favorite punsters (and street artists), Hanksy, in anticipation of his upcoming show, “Best of the Worst.”  It’s the biggest thing he’s done to date and he’s putting it together independently.  Look for large scale installations, a new series of Hanksy originals, and a specially curated group show featuring “over 20 up-n-coming blue chip art stars of tomorrow.”  Oh, and skate ramps. The show is a one-night only event so save the date and make sure to stop by the old Chase bank at 104 Delancey this Saturday night:

What motivated you to put this together, on your own, without gallery help?

I’ve had a few very successful shows at galleries and they were absolutely great. But when it comes down to it, I simply didn’t want to do the same thing twice. I’ve done the white walls and I’ve done the white wine. I wanted to try something a bit more DIY and show people that if some schmuck wordplay artist can put on a rad event, maybe they can too.

Has this show been a bigger undertaking than your “Surplus Candy” show in the E. Village?

Surplus Candy was outrageous. It was a crazy week-long illegal rendezvous that had everyone, both artists involved and otherwise, totally stoked to participate. There wasn’t any real strategy or plan. Just go in and paint. “Best of the Worst”  has a lot more foundation to it. Mucho time, mucho money. No legal risk though. So there’s that.

How did you decide which other artists you will be featuring?

While it is a solo show with lots of pretty hand-painted works for sale by yours truly, I’ve gathered a bunch of friends and a few foes to fill in the holes (which there are many). And I choose them fairly haphazardly with no real rhyme or reason.

What did you learn about the current state of the street art/graffiti scene after traveling to so many different cities for your excellent “Surplus Candy” series on The Hundreds? (now on youtube here)

From Portland’s mural issues to the family-style street kids of Austin, I learned that each scene is super unique. And if one isn’t afraid to scratch the surface, they can totally get their nails dirty. Coming from the Midwest, I know there’s a butt ton of stuff between the NY/LA shoulders and this web series was a nice way to sample it.

What’s different about this than what you’ve done in the past?

I’m basically trying to pump this show full of so much visual glitz and glam to load up one’s Instagram feed for a week.

What should your hard core fans look for at this show?

I’ve been very conscious of my shelf life for some time, so I’ve been actively incorporating new angles and avenues into my work. It’s still all very light-hearted and fun, but it’s not 100% focused on celebrities and their million dollar mugs.

What should people who aren’t familiar with your work (yet) look for at this show?

If they can get over their initial “Banksy rip-off” knee-jerk reaction, I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised. Not everything has to be super serious and somber. It’s okay to poke fun at the world.

What do you want people to take away from this show?

Love me or hate me, I want people to admit that I’m still doing cool shit, I’m still hustling. And while art may be subpar, you can’t knock me for putting myself out there.

It says the show runs for two days, Sat., the 28 and Sun., the 29th…What happens on Sunday — or is it just that the Saturday show will run into Sunday…?

To me there’s nothing more depressing than a gallery show experiencing death throes during the third/fourth week of a month-long run time. So I decided to pack it all into about twelve hours. It’s all about the opening anyways. Come for the free beer, stay for the art I guess.

What’s your favorite new pun?

Kanye Wes Anderson.