For those who love film and street art there is no going past the 2010 documentary EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP. It was a project by a crazy yet avid video camera lover who physically wasn’t able to put his camera down.The documentary was my favourite film of that year and if you have yet to see it – then hunt it down by any mean necessary.
Here is the Trailer for this fine film:
By heading out into the Paris streets in the middle of the night to film some of the world’s greatest graffiti artists in action, he was somehow able to make his way to the very top – he got unprecedented access to the kingpin of graffiti – Banksy.
Banksy is a London street artist who has been able to keep his identity completely under wraps, yet able to sell his art for tens of millions of dollars.
The British press has made it a point to find out who he is and have made many attempts to unmask him to no avail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1034538/Graffiti-artist-Banksy-unmasked—public-schoolboy-middle-class-suburbia.html
Yet all articles state that they may be barking up completely the wrong tree – again fueling the fire of speculation of who Banksy actually is.
Well, the actual star of EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP ended up being the Frenchman, Thierry Guetta – who Banksy eventually told to get out of his face and do something – to which Thierry started doing his own street art, changed his name to Mr Brainwash and with an endorsement from Banksy (that he didn’t realise would get so much attention) set up a street art gallery in LA that celebs such as Brad Pitt et al turned up to view.
Banksy didn’t realise he had made a monster out of this mad frenchman. And then this week the monster landed in London for the Olympic games to put on a free exhibition.
We sent our London reporter @CrillDog along to document the show for us. He also has his first food blog post which is coming up soon. Here he is getting a print singed by Mr Brainwash himself and his report follows:
“Mr. Brainwash,” is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker, pop artist and alter ego of Thierry Guetta. He rapidly emerged as a renowned figure on the international street art scene. I was in London when he announced the opening of his first UK solo art show which started on Sunday, August 5th at 2pm at The Old Sorting Office which has been covered by his ‘masked beatles’, ‘Kate Moss’ and ‘Follow your dreams’ art pieces on New Oxford Street running until the end of the month. You can see these photos throughout this post.
In June 2008, Mr. Brainwash made his first debut with one of Los Angeles’s most unforgettable solo exhibitions; Life is Beautiful, organized at the historic CBS Studios on Sunset Boulevard.
Mr. Brainwash is a controversial artist on the Pop art scene. Fans or people wanting to make a profit were keen enough to set up tents a few days before the opening to ensure they were one of the first 250 people to take home one of Mr. Brainwashes personally signed and thumb printed limited edition canvases. For those lucky enough, like myself, who put the Olympic fever on hold and joined the queue to his exhibition at 10am for his 2pm opening was awarded print no. 213 of 250.
By 1pm the line snaked from the front door along the pavement and wrapped around the entire office building. Brainwash made his appearance to his dedicated followers by personally going along the line welcoming everyone in his paint splattered jeans and biker jacket wearing his customary trilby and aviator-style sunglasses.
By 3pm I was able to enter the colossal Sorting Office space, which Brainwash had commandeered for the show. His exhibition showcased giant installations, murals and other artworks. Just as you enter the building he decided to jump on the Olympic bandwagon by installing his very own version of the Olympic rings created from old paint tins. The show also included a giant boombox, giant cans of spray paint, and a giant gorilla made of recycled tires.
If you’re not into the street art scene you will easily get caught up in all the conspiracy that comes with it. Brainwash rose to fame after being the subject of Banksy’s Oscar nominated documentary ‘Exit through the gift shop’ and since then his career has been on the up and up. There is still a lot of speculation that the film was met with a storm of hoax accusations.
Is his work legitimate or is Bansky brainwashing his followers? The images do lack some of the spoof, rebellious bite of the best of Banksy’s work, but the absurd and eye-catching humour is the same. Overall a lot of people were fed up – with some being there for 7hrs queuing to get in, then queuing to get their complimentary poster, viewing the exhibition and then queuing again to get more posters signed by the man himself. Just recently Mr. Brainwash described himself recently as “Banksy’s biggest work of art”. Whatever comes of Mr. Brainwash, he will always be remembered by either his art or the conspiracy he has produced.
Buy EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP on DVD from Amazon: HERE.
JB HIFI: HERE.