Mr. Brainwash


Thierry Guetta

Mr. Brainwash (‘MBW’) is a pseudonym for Thierry Guetta in the film ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop,’ directed by Banksy. Guetta is presented in the 2010 film as a French citizen who now lives in Los Angeles, having been a proprietor of a clothing store and videographer who evolved into a street artist and gallery artist, influenced by the street artists he documented through video over the years.

According to the film, Guetta was first introduced to street art by his cousin, the French street artist, Invader. The film includes authentic documentation of Space Invader, Shepard Fairey, Banksy, and other well-known street artists at work on the streets, and is directed by Banksy with significant participation from Fairey.

The artwork attributed to Guetta strongly emulates the styles and artistic concepts of well-known street artists including Banksy and Shepard Fairey. Like Banksy, Guetta employs famous artistic and historic images, many of which are copyrighted, and amends the originals in slight or significant ways. Unlike Banksy, who is shown in the film creating his own work, Guetta states in the film that his work largely consists of ‘scanning and photoshopping,’ acts which are carried out by hired assistants. Guetta further admits in ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop’ that most of the actual artistic process is carried out by hired graphic designers to whom he describes his ideas. In the film, he is not shown creating much artwork himself.

Since the release of the film there has been much speculation that the story of Mr. Brainwash is a hoax concocted by Banksy himself. When he is shown ‘working,’ he is only seen splattering paint using aerosol cans to haphazardly color images and clumsily attempting to paste up a poster. Other aspects of the Mr. Brainwash character seem deliberately comical, such as his being pushed in a wheelbarrow after supposedly breaking his foot.

The low evidence of sales on also supports the argument that the art world hasn’t really been as exploited by media-hype as the film suggests. With both shows held outside of commercial galleries, no professional dealers have had their reputation on the line in making fake claims of high sales. However, if Guetta is a hoax, there also exists the possibility that these artworks are actually produced by Banksy himself, in a style deliberately intended to suggest inferior artistic skill.

One Comment to “Mr. Brainwash”

  1. I completly agree with your article, Mr Brainwash work is only a mix between, wharoll, bansky, basquiat, tehos, kokian jonone, speedy graphito and many others artist,

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