For anyone who doesn’t remember this absolute renegade of the art world, ‘Wanksy‘ was a graffiti artist who came to prominence in 2015 and into the mid-late 2010s and his MO was pretty simple: find potholes and turn them into penis drawings.
Sometimes the simplest forms of comedy are the best.
The construction worker and surveyor turned professional artist went viral for his series of admittedly childish and simple drawings that resembled the kind of thing you’d see in a secondary school kid’s exercise book – only these were bigger and smack bang in the middle of the road.
But who says all art has to be high art? Even graffiti artists like Banksy himself would probably shrug off such a snooty label. His Manc counterpart got stick at the time, with many calling it nothing more than crude vandalism exposing young eyes to inappropriate imagery, there was actually a point to his work.
Speaking to the MEN back then, the mystery man said that “the roads of Manchester [were] in an appalling state, especially around Bury“, insisting that they were so bad that some of his cyclist friends were even hospitalised.
Noting that they were a risk to cyclists and damaging cars left, right and centre in his hometown of Ramsbottom and further afield, he claims his purpose was “to attract attention to the pothole and make it memorable, adding that “nothing seemed to do this better than a giant comedy phallus.”
It certainly got the attention he was hoping for.
As it happens, it would seem he is still up to his cheeky antics even now. The best part is that since the Facebook profile was set up as a community fan page, theoretically, anybody could have sent them in and posed as the man, the myth, the legend himself. He might never be caught.
Moreover, these quick spray jobs were all done with non-permanent paint, essentially rendering them about as close to vandalism as a child’s sketching with chalk on the pavement outside their house. The perfect crime (if you could even call it one).
Nevertheless, Wanksy acknowledges the naughty nature of his pastime, saying that part of its charm is that it’s “speedy”, confessing that he doesn’t want to spend too long on the road in case he gets caught.
However, his message was as clear then as it is now: “I just want to make people smile and draw attention to the problem.” Better still, his humourous albeit unorthodox methods continue to get results to this day.
As the years have gone by, Manchester’s roads and wider infrastructure have continued to improve and as exampled by numerous victories he has shared on social media.
As he told Bloomberg back in 2015, despite there being a rather futile ‘Fix My Street’ page designated for different regions across the UK, he found success and did so quicker by taking matters into his own hands. If you want a job done, do it yourself and all that.
So, if you’re one of those people who have always questioned what impact art can make in the world, think again.
Still, if you’d rather see some of his namesake’s work instead, a massive exhibition including one of his rarest works arrived in 0161 this month.
As for us, we’re off in search of the latest Wanksy masterpiece.
Just like last year, festivalgoers are in for an “explosive series of shows” from some of the hottest names on the comedy circuit.
Multi award-winning comedians Adam Buxton, Ed Gamble, Sara Pascoe, and Alan Davies are just some of the famous names on this year’s jam-paced lineup.
They’ll be joined by the phrenetic Russell Kane, the legendary Dylan Moran, and Taskmaster stars Phil Wang and Fern Brady when they all take to the Castlefield Bowl stage over the five-day festival from Wednesday 6 – Sunday 10 September.
That’s not all either, as this year’s lineup is also stacked with flawless entertainers like cult comic/poet Tim Key, viral sensation Troy Hawke, ventriloquism queen Nina Conti, Father Ted hero Adrial O’Hanlon, and Mash Report host Rachel Parris, as well as a bunch of fast-rising breakthrough upcoming comedy names and homegrown talents.
Josh Jones, Dan Tiernan, Sharon Wanjohi, Ania Magliano, Celya Ab are just some of the newcomers you can catch over the five days.
And aside from the comedy, just like last year, the very-best eats from Manchester’s street food scene will also be on site to tuck into, as well as an exciting selection of bars serving signature beers, cocktails, and more.
Festival organisers are promising an “outrageously good time” for anyone heading down this year.
Laughterama is the latest venture by sibling duo Will Briggs and Cass Randolph of 57 Festivals, who have been bringing their unique blend of comedy programming in boutique-festival settings to sell-out crowds across the UK for the past 15 years.
And after their hugely-successful first year in Manchester, the pair are looking forward to returning later this year.
“Last year’s festival was epic,” Will and Cass admitted.
“The shows and crowds were electric, and we couldn’t have asked for a stronger first year, [so] for this year’s return, we’ve been focused on making sure we maintain that feeling by presenting lineups that will amaze and delight.
“We’ve added more even shows and are looking forward to welcoming back everyone that came last year, plus their friends and families too.”
Laughterama 2023 is landing at Castlefield Bowl from Wednesday 6 – Sunday 10 September, with tickets now on sale at £25 per person and already selling fast.
You can grab yours on the Laughterama website before they sell out here.
Featured Image – Supplied
Art & Culture
Manchester Day is back with a ‘summer holiday’ theme and lots of family fun next month
Mancs are being encouraged to “break out a deckchair and ditch the morning rush for a sun lounger” as Manchester Day returns his summer.
And this year, the theme is all about being ‘On Holiday’.
Already being described as “the day summer officially starts” in the city centre, the massively-popular Manchester Day is back once again next month, and after what have been successful collaborations in the past, Manchester City Council is joining forces with award-winning local arts organisation Walk the Plank to offer a jam-packed schedule of family fun.
The Council is promising that the city centre will be transformed to “bring the holiday vibes without having to go near the M60”.
Unlike in previous years, you can expect to see the celebrations city-wide this year.
Taking over on Saturday 29 July, Manchester Day 2023 will have attractions dotted all throughout the city centre in main social hubs such as Deansgate, Exchange Square, St Ann’s Square, and more from midday right through until 9pm.
Once the sun starts to set, the focus will shift over to the Northern Quarter, with festivalgoers able to continue soaking up the evening sunshine as the party continues.
The Council is encouraging the Greater Manchester public to keep their eyes peeled in the coming weeks as more information will be revealed about the event – including new events, stalls, street food traders, and family-friendly entertainment.
“If there is one thing this city knows how to do, it’s throw a party,” Cllr Pat Karney, Chair of Manchester Day at Manchester City Council said ahead of this year’s event.
“I’m incredibly excited for the public to see what we have in store this summer.
“We know that this year sees a change to the usual celebrations.
“But we are sure residents of all ages will come in their thousands to soak up the holiday atmosphere and have a fantastic day out.