Documentary Recommendation: Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)
Quote from Exit Through the Gift Shop by Thierry Guetta: “That’s why I call myself Mr. Brainwash. It’s because everything that I do… somewhere… it brainwash your face!”
Producers: Zam Baring, Holly Cushing Jaime, D’Cruz, Robert Gastman, James Gay-Rees, Meldoy Howse, and Andrew Palmer
This is the documentary of how a French man, Thierry Guetta, living in Los Angeles gets to the elusive artist, Banksy, by means of he knows this artist who knows another artist. His cousin, Space Invader, connects him to Shepard Fairey, who then connects him with Banksy when he visits Los Angeles. As they spend time together, Banksy forms a more personal relationship with him despite knowing Thierry is filming street/graffiti artists as a means to a different end. With the documentary in its final form by Thierry, it is what you’d call garbage according to Banksy. It has no order and the editing is worse. Salvaging some of it, he works on creating a documentary people will actually watch. With this project on his mind, Banksy encourages Thierry to dive head first into creating his own art. Thierry has now become Mr. Brainwash. This leads to MBW to paint his way to his first show, but with him being preoccupied with interviews and marketing, the task of pulling it all together at the last-minute falls on the shoulders of others. There is no denying by the end of his debut, Life is Beautiful , MBW had sold over a million dollars of artwork. This is what basically happens in the documentary. It left unanswered questions beyond the primary ones of would he last and was this art. There were people who thought Mr. Brainwash was Banksy when Exit Through the Gift Shop was released. These same people thought it was a ploy by Banksy and Fairey in order to strengthen their place within the art and street art scene. It was a basically viewed as a hoax, and whether you believe it or not, it will be a mystery until someone spills the truth beans. Life usually is weirder and crazier than fiction, and I believe this story fits both molds no matter where it falls on the continuum.