A mystery artist determined to rid his Manchester, England, neighborhood of potholes is doing the unconventional to get results. He’s highlighting potholes by drawing penises around them, and, so far, he’s actually gotten some results.
The pothole “designer,” who calls himself “Wanksy” as a nod to world-famous street artist Banksy, uses cans of washable spray paint to draw penises around potholes. Within 48 hours of drawing around potholes in the Ramsbottom area of the city, they have been filled seemingly overnight. Explaining why he chose to paint “giant comedy phallus[es],” Wanksy told the Manchester Evening News:
“It seems to have become my signature. I just want to make people smile and draw attention to the problem. It seems to be working, judging from the Facebook fan page.”
Drawing attention to the problem by drawing around them is his ultimate goal. The street artist took to solving the pothole crisis not only because he found so many roads in Manchester filled with them, but also because cyclist friends who’ve gone over the potholes have been injured or hospitalized. And he’s not going to stop until all the potholes are filled, as he told the Evening News:
“They damage vehicles. Sometimes it’s hard to know which pothole caused the damage because there are so many. When I’ve finished in Ramsbottom, I’ll move on to the rest of Manchester.”
Wanksy said he was inspired by artists such as Grayson Perry, graffiti artist Hazer and street artist Banksy. Their art had a message that “people got, but also had a bit of comedy value.” Hopefully, Wansky said, “mine does too.” But unlike those artists, the anonymous artist wants his work to be destroyed. The paintings usually wash away within a week or two, but Wanksy hopes that the potholes will be filled within that time, as his overall goal is for fresh tarmac.
Not everyone is amused. A Bury council spokesman told the Evening News::
“The actions of this individual are not only stupid but incredibly insulting to local residents. 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.”
Despite the fact that the paint he uses is temporary, the spokesman alleges that “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 spokesman added that he had the pothole crisis under control. He claimed to have a plan in schedule that would work on repairing the potholes in a timely manner, and that he had invested “substantially in new machinery” to enable workers to “carry out repairs more rapidly.“ Still, the spokesman issued a warning to Wanksy, saying:
“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.”
Sounds like someone’s on the defense.