Three Joey Skaggs Bios

Full Bio:

Joey Skaggs, the master of media manipulation who has been hailed as "The Godfather of the Media Hoax", the "Archbishop and Chief Theorist of Pranksterism," and "a piece of countercultural mythology," was formally trained as a fine artist. He is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts, where he also taught. Although he has continued to paint and sculpt throughout his life, starting with his iconoclastic and controversial performance-art protests in the Sixties against the Vietnam War--a Vietnamese Nativity scene in Central Park threatened with annihilation by American soldiers, obscene Statues of Liberty displayed in downtown New York on the Fourth of July-his more public work took on a new direction.

Skaggs realized he could use art to challenge the system. Appalled at the cultural hypocrisy he saw around him, especially how it was blindly supported in the media, he began to satirize social issues with brilliantly contrived hoaxes. The media in turn became an unwitting collaborator in his concepts, reporting his satire as news. The media became his canvas, the medium through which he communicated, and the streets of New York his theater.

Joey Skaggs quickly acquired an international reputation as a prankster, cultural satirist and media critic. His early work incorporated guerrilla tactics and traditional public relations techniques to promote elaborately staged performances, such as the Celebrity Sperm Bank (have a child with your favorite celebrity), the Cockroach Vitamin Pill (roach extracts provide a miracle cure), and the Fat Squad (armed guards keep you from overeating). Later, keeping up with technology, he launched Sexonix, the world's first Internet hoax (a sexual virtual reality experience), and the Solomon Project (jury verdicts rendered by computer). Then came hoaxes with sophisticated websites, The Final Curtain (a Disney-like cemetery theme-park), and Stop BioPEEP (a whistleblower reveals a conspiracy to detonate a deadly genetic weapon). Few media outlets over the last four decades-TV news, Internet, and print-have not fallen for one or another of his hoaxes.

Skaggs has been covered in newspapers, magazines, and on radio and television programs, in some cases many times as different people, including CNN, Entertainment Tonight, Good Morning America, Phil Donahue, PM Magazine, Geraldo, National Public Radio, and in The New Yorker, Newsweek, Life, WIRED, TV Guide, New York, People, Stern, Spiegel, Veja,, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Seattle Times, Corriere Della Sera, and the London Sunday Times. His work was featured on ABC-TV's 20/20 and in the A&E television special Scams, Schemes, and Scoundrels.

At the School of Visual Arts Joey Skaggs taught Media Communications including "Culture Jamming and Media Activism," a course of his creation. He also taught at Parsons The New School for Design. As a professional speaker he focuses on media literacy as well as divergent approaches to addressing hypocrisy and social injustice through art. Lectures include those at Beijing Broadcasting University, the Influencers Festival in Barcelona, the Espai D'Art Contemporanio of Castellon (EACC) in Spain, and the Extreme Arts Festival in Tromso, Norway. He was Artist-in-Residence for the Media Literacy Forum at the Taos Film Festival and was guest speaker at the Canadian Association of Journalists in Toronto.

A Joey Skaggs presentation, illustrated by video documentation of his media work, is a unique and exhilarating experience for audiences of all ages. A master storyteller, he shares creative insights as well as the tools and techniques that foster independent thinking, media literacy, and creative activism. Just like the Wizard of Oz, he reveals the man behind the curtain, showing, in a visceral way, the influence mass media has on society.

A list of some previous appearances is available at Selected Engagements on this site.

Short Bio:

Joey Skaggs, hailed as "The World's Greatest Hoaxer," created such internationally known pranks as The Cathouse for Dogs, The Celebrity Sperm Bank, Portofess, Cockroach Vitamin Pill, The Solomon Project, and The Fat Squad.

Using techniques that range from guerrilla theater and press conferences to the creation of elaborate websites, Skaggs holds up a mirror to society, showing how hype, hypocrisy, and disinformation is disseminated by the media to an unsuspecting and vulnerable public.

A prolific media satirist, Skaggs' commentaries on media literacy and efforts to foster independent thinking are provocative as well as entertaining. A lifelong educator, he has reached millions on a global scale.

Really Short Bio:

Internationally notorious media prankster Joey Skaggs is an artist whose work is unorthodox, provocative, and iconoclastic. In his hilarious and informative lectures he deconstructs today's critical social issues and shows how to manipulate the media and rock the status quo.

© 1997-2011 Joey Skaggs