A mural appeared last week behind the Delavan Fitness Center, a piece of street art that would be more at home in New York City.
It has become a bit of a curiosity for what it means and who created it.
Titled, "Small Town to-do list," it includes advice to see what else is out there, including such things as, "varied skin colors, good/bad art, credit card debt and big city lights ..."
At the bottom, it is signed, "Hanksy."
We posted a photo of the piece on our Facebook page, and a few who commented seemed to know right away that it was a variation of the work of British street artist Banksy.
But who is Hanksy, and why was he in Delavan?
A tipster sent me a link to a February article by John Leland in the New York Times on the artist, which included this paragraph:
"Over strong coffee and loud indie rock, Hanksy, 30, spoke on the condition that he be identified by his artist name. (New York magazine wrote that he was "rumored" to be Adam Himebauch.) The son of a retired FBI agent, he wore a baseball cap over his longish blonde hair and spoke in a self-deprecating voice full of Delavan, Wis."
Anonymity has been part of Hanksy's allure in New York, but in Delavan, it's pretty easy to connect the dots.
Not that we'd want to blow Hanksy's cover, but the only former FBI agent in Delavan who is a Himebauch would be LeRoy, a one-time Delavan municipal judge. An Adam Himebauch graduated in 2001 from Delavan-Darien High School.
So I tweeted @HanksyNYC, who replied,
@DanPlutchak I was just passing through last week…!— Hanksy (@HanksyNYC) July 21, 2014
Hanksy also posted a photo of the mural to his Instagram account, Hanksynyc, with this explanation:
"I grew up in a tiny Midwestern town. I had a very comfortable and traditional upbringing. I didn't grow up writing graffiti nor go through any terrible hardships.
"Then my younger brother was killed at age 16.
"I decided to both drop out of school as well as my expected life plan. For years I played music, wrote stories, traveled the world, and painted dumb pictures.
"Then I found myself in NYC and everything started to click. I'm not hating on people who live in small towns, I just get bummed by those who never took the chance to see what else life has to offer.
"I pasted this up in my aforementioned small home town yesterday.
"I shouted out a bunch of my favorite people/places that I've met and visited since moving away all those years ago. It'll be gone by tomorrow for sure.
"LOL HANKSY SUPER SERIOUS BUT FOR REAL."
The mural still is there, last I checked. That's most probably because it's Delavan, not New York.
From Leland's article, here is a brief Hanksy history:
"In April 2011, a law school dropout in Bushwick, Brooklyn, newly arrived from the Midwest, had an idea that he thought might make a splash. He admired the street artist Banksy; he grew up on the movies of Tom Hanks. Why not mash up the two? Using simple computer software, he downloaded a Banksy painting of a rat holding a paint roller, then added an image of Mr. Hanks's face. The whole thing took 10 or 15 minutes to create. He printed a cutout and pasted it on a wall at Mulberry and Kenmare Streets in Little Italy, signing it Hanksy. It was a stupid pun, he knew, but he was a sucker for stupid puns. Isn't everybody?"
He posted a photo of his creation online, and before he knew it, he was a viral Internet sensation.
Since then, he's had a variety if solo art shows, from L.A. to New York, with is pieces fetching anywhere from $50 to $4,000.
Hanksy also has organized several projects in New York where he collaborates with other street artists.
Each event has created new buzz in the city's art world.
According to Leland, Hanksy plans to visit nine cities in the next year to collaborate with local street artists and bring in others from out of town, documenting the whole enterprise as an Internet video series.
And maybe he'll be back in Delavan?
(Scroll to bottom for video of D.A. Dan Necci's comments)
WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- Steven Zelich, the former West Allis police officer accused of hiding bodies in suitcases and dumping them along a North Como Road in Geneva Township, was bound over for trial July 3, 2014 by Walworth County Circuit Court judge Phillip Koss.
In the University of Texas affirmative action case, the U.S. Supreme Court declared, in effect, that racism has been eradicated in the United States.
Not so fast.
For the majority of Congressman Paul Ryan's town hall meeting in Milton, there wasn't a whole lot anyone -- Democrat or Republican -- could argue with.
And that's been a successful strategy when he's back home.
Gone are the partisan punch lines that get the faithful riled up when he's out East speaking at political events or as a guest on TV news shows.
Instead, he presents a more measured tone, one that his Democratic rivals have been unable to exploit in his previous eight elections.
The listening session at the Gathering Place March 21, 2014 was the last in a series of nine town halls the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee held throughout his district this week, including his hometown of Janesville and the Republican stronghold of Elkhorn.
MILTON -- State Rep. Andy Jorgensen has decided against a run for a state Senate seat, and will instead run for re-election in his 43rd Assembly District.
Jorgensen, a Democrat from Milton, had been mentioned as a possible candidate for the 15th Senate district seat, which is open following Sen. Tim Cullen's decision to not run for re-election.