Edition of 75
The King Pelé by Mr. Brainwash
Mr. Brainwash (MBW) is the pseudonym for the graffiti street artist Thierry Guetta. Mr. Brainwash was born in France in 1966.Rising to prominence due to a heavily hyped exhibition and a Banksy-directed documentary entitled, “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” the French artist Mr. Brainwash was once a clothing store owner named Thierry Guetta. He came to the United States with his family years before he would become one of contemporary art’s largest and most confusing personalities.
Originally a videographer, Mr. Brainwash began his career in 1999 documenting the lives and artwork of various graffiti street artists such as Banksy and Shepard Fairey. Mr. Brainwash has collected hours of footage often risking his own neck. Mr. Brainwash’s uniformly subversive style fuses historic pop imagery and contemporary cultural iconography to create a unique pop art – graffiti hybrid. The development of Mr.Brainwash’s style has catapulted Brainwash to international stardom. Mr. Brainwash’s graffiti -styled art has continued to garner recognition from art collectors and street art enthusiasts alike.
During his life in the United States, Guetta filmed absolutely everything. He had several cameras set up inside his house to document his family’s life and always carried his personal camcorder with him, logging thousands of hours of eventless footage that he kept in large plastic tubs.
On a visit to France, Guetta filmed his cousin, the street artist Space Invader. The experience changed Guetta’s life. He was drawn to the immediacy, impermanence and the danger of street art, and as he watched Invader install video game mosaics in Paris, he became fascinated with the role of street art in modern culture.
After dabbling in street art, Mr. Brainwash started planning a show, pouring his life savings into the venture. He hired local artists and contractors to create elaborate pieces under his direction. His first show, “Life is Beautiful,” received positive reviews, although Guetta’s team ended up making key gallery decisions while Guetta played the role of the hype man by calling in favors from Fairey, Banksy and other artists.
Guetta’s restlessness translated into an enormous art show with hundreds of pieces, created by a team of graphic designers under Guetta’s guidance. His work is a cavalcade of styles, themes and subjects, many of them borrowed from other artists.