Street artist Wanksy spray paints penises around potholes to get them filled
An anoymous U.K. artist is forcing city officials to take action against potholes by making them obscene
Pesky potholes have been known to stick around for years in some cities before crews are finally sent to repair them. Obscene graffiti, on the other hand, will often disappear as quickly as someone can phone in a complaint.
With this in mind, an anonymous U.K. artist who goes by the handle Wanksy began spray painting giant penis shapes around the potholes in his Greater Manchester town.
His goal? To attract the attention of local council and get the potholes fixed.
"The roads of Manchester are in an appalling state... I have cyclist friends who have been hospitalised," he told the Manchester Evening News last week. "They damage vehicles. Sometimes it's hard to know which pothole caused the damage because there are so many."
It appears as though his efforts are paying off.
The Evening News reports that within 48 hours of Wanksy's first tagging session at the beginning of April, "many of the potholes" he'd drawn around the town of Bury had been filled.
Dozens of before-and-after pothole photos of can be seen on the artist's Facebook Fan page, with many of the recently-filled ones with bits of Wanksy's art poking out from under the pavement.
The page enjoys over 17,000 likes, following a rash of international news coverage about the project, but it's unlikely that any of his local council members are among them.
"The actions of this individual are not only stupid but incredibly insulting to local residents," said a Bury Council spokesman to BBC's Newsbeat. "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?"
In his defence, Wanksy told the BBC that his drawings are made with temporary, professional road-marking paint that washes off within a week or two, and that those who are offended by the drawings "must be very prudish."
"It's not an actual photograph of an anatomical part, it's a drawing, it's artwork," he said. "The naked body is a thing artists have painted for years. There are sculptures that don't wear clothes. It's artistic expressions."
While many around the web are now hailing Wanksy as a "hero," it appears as though his newfound fame could be starting to work against him.
In an interview with The Independent this week, the artist speculated that his phallic pothole drawings might now actually be hindering pothole repairs.
"They don't always get filled," he said. "In fact, I think the council maybe deliberately not filling them in now."
Whether Wanksy's drawings led to faster pothole repairs earlier this month or not, the Bury Council spokesman made it very clear to the BBC that this type of art will not impact scheduled road work now.
"We understand and accept that residents are unhappy with the number of potholes in the borough, and we have a programme of scheduled works to fix them," he said. "Painting obscenities around potholes will not get them repaired any quicker."