Yesterday I was browsing netflix for something to watch when my afternoon of work slowed. (Ahhh…the joys of working at home…ahem). I have a thing for documentaries. I love the avant garde film making style employed in a lot of them, the risky interviews and the need to exploit a controversy that fuels the film makers inspiration….it’s perverse and I love it.
So yesterday I happened upon a film called “Exit through the Gift Shop”. The netflix description read :
“Amateur filmmaker Thierry Guetta's project to chronicle the underground world of street art takes a fascinating twist when he meets Banksy, an elusive British stencil artist, in this Independent Spirit Award winner for Best Documentary. Unimpressed with Guetta's footage, Banksy takes over filmmaking duties while Guetta reinvents himself as a street artist and -- much to Banksy's surprise -- instantly becomes a darling of the Los Angeles art scene.”
Wow. What a fascinating into several subjects. The first is Guetta’s filming of the underground ‘street art’ movement. He was fascinated with it and just shot thousands of hours of footage with no real idea of how to make them into a film. One of the artists he followed, Banksy, took a look at his footage and his attempt to put it together into a film and encouraged Guetta to get on the other side of the camera and try some art for himself.
The results were shocking. Guetta took Banksy VERY literally and started producing art pieces on a massive scale, employing carpenters and computer graphic artisans in order to put out a gallery showing of epic proportions. What shocked me about the film is that while Guetta had a “voice” his voice was overlapped with so many artists he’s been inspired by. He simply did not let the fact that he wasn’t “an artist” concern him, and started cranking out art. Art people flocked to. Art inspired by Andy Warhol, Banksy and other street artists, pop culture, celebrity and the media.
I think the beauty of this film was the lack of Guetta’s inhibitions. Somebody said “go be an artist” and he did. He was fascinated with the world and so he filmed it exhaustively. He was unafraid, unapologetic and unrelenting when it came to profiting from his creations. No holds barred. Knock out drag out art. Art whose voice is muddled by the world around us. Art that sells. Art that speaks. Art that simply IS.
Who is Mr. Brainwash? Perhaps he’s a truly prolific genius poking fun back at all of us who think we’re not artists ourselves, just because our own voices and perspectives aren’t to our liking. Perhaps he’s just a guy who figured out the formula and capitalized on it? Perhaps he’s all of us?
Watch the film and decide for yourself who he is. It was fascinating to say the least!Check out his website here: Mr. Brainwash.