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X-Rated Alert Seals Pothole Response

Thursday, May 7, 2015

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND—Here's a pothole complaint that the local authorities can't possibly ignore.

An artistic Brit has taken to adorning those neglected axle-breakers with spray-painted genitalia.

And, for the most part, it seems to be working.

Road artist "Wanksy"—a nod to street artist Banksy, tweaked with a salty British insult—says that his tactic of outlining potholes with penises throughout the Greater Manchester metropolitan borough of Bury has resulted in fixes as quickly as within 48 hours.

And although Wanksy works with non-permanent paint, it's not surprising that borough officials are not pleased.

WARNING: The images in this story may be offensive, or at least not suitable for work.

According to his Facebook page, which is "liked" by over 17,000 people, Wanksy is "taking direct action by using art to highlight the dangerous potholes that damage our vehicles and harm cyclists on a daily basis."


"Been there 8 months at least. A bit of art, and they are filled in 48 hours. [W]ho needs canvas with roads like these," Wanksy commented on photo (above).


He said some of his own cyclist friends had been hospitalized because of the "appalling state" of Manchester's roads.

(One of Greater Manchester's roads was previously reported as having over 70 potholes in less than half a mile.)

"They damage vehicles," Wanksy told the Manchester Evening News. "Sometimes it's hard to know which pothole caused the damage because there are so many. When I've finished in Ramsbottom [a town in Bury], I'll move on to the rest of Manchester."

'Incredibly Insulting'

While not 100 percent successful, Wanksy's campaign has definitely worked numerous times. Some potholes that had been around for at least a year were filled within two days; others, within a week.

The Bury Council acknowledges that residents are unhappy with the number of potholes, but Wanksy's tactics are "stupid" and "incredibly insulting to local residents," a council spokesperson told the Manchester Evening News.

"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!" a Bury Council spokesperson said.

"Has this person, for just one second, considered how the 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 said.

Wanksy demurs, noting that his medium of choice is a washable spray paint.

"It's gone within a week or two. It's a step up from chalk," he said, according to BBC Newsbeat.

"I want my work to be destroyed. I like it when it gets dug up and replaced with fresh tarmac."


Tagged categories: Artists; Asia Pacific; Design; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Graffiti; Latin America; Maintenance + Renovation; North America; Repair materials; Roads/Highways

Comment from Paul Braun, (5/7/2015, 8:47 AM)

I love this story- spur the city to action by making them uncomfortable, with no lasting harm to the roadway. I do question whether this is X-rated, obscene ("WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?!") or in poor taste. It would only be inappropriate if Wanksy was a sculptor?

Comment from Sarah Geary, (5/8/2015, 8:07 AM)

Hate to break it to the parents, but the children probably don't even notice the so-called obscenity of it all. If they do, they are not as innocent as they would have you believe. I admire his/her boldness; and it doesn't seem as counter-productive as having a road worker throw a clump of small pebbles into a pothole so they can be shot all over the road with every passing car. It looks like Wanksy has beaten the system and officials are upset at what it took to get their attention.

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