Earlier this week on an episode of the eponymous Colbert Report, faux-news anchor Stephen Colbert extended a backhanded invitation to British street artist Banksy to put up street art on the wall of the New York studios where the show is taped. Banksy is in NYC for a month-long street art exhibition in which he is revealing a new piece of artwork somewhere in the city each day of October.
While Banksy didn’t respond with fresh street artwork at the W. 54th Street studio, New York street artist Hanksy did, putting up a wheat-paste image of a grizzly bear with Colbert’s face. The image is another one of Hanksy’s signature visual puns involving celebrities likenesses. Hanksy’s name itself is a play on the name Banksy.
In this case, the “Col-Bear” is a play on the pronunciation of Colbert. (It’s also apt insofar as Colbert’s on-screen persona is famous for hating bears.) The Col-Bear is sporting a necklace with an “I Heart JS” inscription, which is a reference to Jon Stewart. We caught sight of the Col-Bear Thursday afternoon on while running an errand (our project offices are nearby), and wondered if Colbert would mention Hanksy’s work on this show. Sure enough, he did.
Nearby, on the same, wall somebody has spray-painted “Sorry I’m not Banksy.” (See below.)