This is old news, but (I think) evergreen, about the graffiti artist who styles himself as Wanksy (wank + Banksy: on masturbatory wank, see this posting; Banksy is the celebrated British graffiti artist) and identifies himself as a “road artist” — someone whose canvas is the roads of greater Mancherster (England), where he uses yellow chalk to create cartoon penises around potholes. A simple example:
The glyph above the chalked penis is the artist’s signature, seen here more clearly on his Facebook page:
from his page:
Wanksy – Road Artist: taking direct action by using art to highlight the dangerous potholes that damage our vehicles and harm cyclists on a daily basis
Another example (at Christmastime):
And a before and after:
Wanksy’s (two-part) manifesto on his website:
Making the world a better place, one pothole at a time.
Why draw penises on Potholes?
Potholes are dangerous. Not only do they wreck vehicles, cause accidents they also injure cyclists and are a danger to pedestrians.
I highlight dangerous potholes by turning them into temporary works of art, making them more visible and prompting the council to repair them.
The council are not too happy, but all my work is created using non-permanent, chalk based line marker, the same type the council use when doing repairs. The problem is that despite each and every vehicle owner in the land paying road tax, fuel tax and council tax, that money does not seem to be being spent on our roads, or at least not effectively.
I understand the council are stretched and may not have time to highlight big potholes with yellow paint,
but luckily, I do 🙂
How do the penises help people?
Do I think my art is offensive? No. I am a qualified artist, the naked body and its anatomy are commonplace in art. The drawings themselves are cartoons, not photographs. Art should provoke a reaction and these pieces do that, generally a positive one.
Potholes are very hard to see you tend to forget about them until it’s too late. But draw a big yellow willy round it, you can’t help but notice them and hopefully avoid it too, saving the vehicle from damage or the rider from injury. Usually the council will either notice it, or it actually gets reported and then gets repaired.
Local officials responded just as you might have expected, treating the penis grafitti as symbolic assaults, as vandalism of public property and as a penis displayed in public. From the Telephraph story:
“The actions of this individual are not only stupid but incredibly insulting to local residents,” a spokesperson for Bury council said. [Bury is a town in Greater Manchester]
“Has this person, for just one second, considered how families with young children must feel when they are confronted with these obscene symbols as they walk to school? Not only is this vandalism, but it’s also counter-productive.
“Every penny that we have to spend cleaning off this graffiti is a penny less that we have to spend on actually repairing the potholes.”
The spokesperson added: “We urge the perpetrator to stop defacing the roads immediately, and ask anyone who sees this sort of criminal damage being carried out to report it to the police and the council.”