Tony Puryear “gankstas!™ – Know Your Thug” Online Exhibition

Photos by Billy Bennight for The Los Angeles Beat

From January 6 – 7, 2018 Tony Puryear had an exciting pop-up exhibition at Jason Vass Gallery. The exhibition featured “gankstas!™ – Know Your Thug,” artwork in the Vass Gallery, which is also an ongoing, online series of satiric political portraits with commentary. The exhibition featured more than 20 prints and several paintings from the ongoing “gankstas!™ – Know Your Thug,” series. Because this exhibition of  “gankstas!™ – Know Your Thug,” is an ongoing, online series of satiric political portraits with commentary it can still be enjoyed on the web. Tony is best known for his iconic 2008 national campaign poster for Hillary Clinton. The poster is now part of the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian. This portrait of the candidate Hillary Clinton is winkingly celebrated in an Eva Peron style, which makes it as memorable as it is obviously iconic. The Pop-up opening was energized with Tony’s work and an up-close, personal experience of the art your online experience won’t lessened when you experience“gankstas!”. These are hilarious and insightful ideas fleshed out with cleverly conceived illustrations that bares the weight of marvelous sociopolitical commentary and insight.

Tony says, “This art is my hammer, my bell, my song. It’s my march and my sit-in, and in the days since Trump and his cohort of thugs and pickpockets came to power, it’s the work I’m compelled to do,” says Puryear.  “As an African-American writer, I come from a powerful storytelling tradition, and I’ve always done political art, but these characters, this extended crime family, cried out so strongly for naming and shaming that I started making “gankstas!” the day after the 2016 election, and I haven’t stopped since. In this series, I mean to show their true faces and tell their true stories to help you “know your thug®.”

I’ve added a photo gallery of the evening’s event, but be sure to plug into the online experience and Tony’s brilliant art and commentary of Tony’s “gankstas!™ – Know Your Thug,” 

Photo Gallery After The Break


Billy Bennight

About Billy Bennight

Billy Bennight is a writer and photographer with expertise and years of experience in these disciplines. His musical youth started as a Punk Rocker and has expanded into exploring many genres of music, with a keen interest in art, fashion, photography, and writing. He shoots celebrity and red-carpet events for ZUMA Press. He is also a member of the Los Angeles Art Association. His images have been published in The Los Angeles Times, People Magazine, Parade, Wall Street Journal, and French Elle, both Vanity Fair and Vanity Fair Italia. He's very engaged in life. You an see more of his work at ZUMA Press at You can follow him on his Facebook page at: and on Instagram and Twitter @billybennight
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