Mr. Brainwash is the moniker of Street Pop artist Thierry Guetta. Born in France and based in Los Angeles, Mr. Brainwash has been pushing pop culture’s envelope for almost a decade, bringing his art to the street, the gallery, and onscreen.
Armed with wheat paste, spray cans, brushes and paint buckets, Mr. Brainwash started attacking the streets in 2006 with stencils and posters of beloved icons from Billie Holiday to John Lennon. In Paris and Los Angeles, his work quickly caught the eyes of the public and Mr. Brainwash had emerged from the underground, quickly
becoming a renowned figure in the burgeoning street art scene. Mr. Brainwash’s first solo show, Life is Beautiful, opened in the summer of 2008. Mounted in a former T.V. studio in Hollywood, it was the perfect place for the arrival of the art scene’s rambunctious new player. The show was so eagerly anticipated that it garnered the cover of LA Weekly, one of Los Angeles’ most circulated publications. Life is Beautiful opened with a tremendous thunder, attracting thousands of people who lined the streets around the block. Featuring a 20-foot robot, a pyramid made of 20,000 books and a life-size recreation of Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks,” Life is Beautiful was an extremely successful debut. The show extended for three months, attracting a total of 50,000 visitors, and went on to become one of the most memorable solo shows in LA’s Art history. This was just the beginning.
Mr. Brainwash’s signature style was soon garnering the attention of everyone from fine art critics to journalists and celebrities. In 2009, when Madonna was set to release her greatest hits compilation, “Celebration,” she
asked Mr. Brainwash to design the cover. He designed 15 different covers for the wide release, singles, DVDs and special edition vinyl. Mr. Brainwash was now not just commenting on pop culture, he had become a part of it.
New York was the next stop. In 2010, Mr. Brainwash invaded the Meatpacking District with Icons, his first New York solo show. This show was bigger than ever, covering a 15,000 square foot, multi-story warehouse. The downstairs displayed Mr. Brainwash’s evocative portraits of music legends, constructed from bits of broken records. The exhibit also featured a 10-foot tall boom box and a life-size NYC taxicab in Matchbox toy car packaging. Scheduled for 3 months, Icons was so popular that it was extended for another 6 months, as Icons Remixed, with new installations, Mr. Brainwash had now shown both coasts the force of his solo exhibitions. Prestigious auction houses and collectors, including Christie’s and Phillips de Pury, took notice by putting his work in high-profile auctions.
Mr. Brainwash then set off to Miami for one of the art world’s most respected Art Fair, Art Basel. Without any announcement or notice, Mr.Brainwash took over a 25,000 square foot building in South Beach with a colorful pop up show entitled, Under Construction. The show was his trademark style, playful and positive, but on a huge scale. Once the show opened, it exploded, becoming the must-see attraction at Art Basel.
Mr. Brainwash continued to bring his art all over the world, making his Canadian debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011. Mr. Brainwash’s installations were placed all over the city. They included his signature 8-foot tall spray can sculptures, each one a different film genre, and life-size Canadian Mounties
cutouts, armed with boom mics and cameras. In addition, he created all of the Street marketing material for the Grace Kelly TIFF exhibition: “Movie star to Princess”. Everywhere Mr. Brainwash went, he was able to create a pop art conversation with the city he was creating for.
When the Summer Olympics arrived in 2012, and the whole world had its eye on London, Mr. Brainwash made his UK debut by invading The Old Sorting Post Office, a colossal space, steps from the British Museum. His love of British pop culture icons rang out through the streets, as Mr. Brainwash adorned the side of the Sorting Office with a 6 story tall Queen Elizabeth II, in her coronation attire, holding a Union Jack spray can. The show was a retrospective and a reinterpretation of his classic and iconic images. Large crowds filled the gigantic space each day. It became Mr. Brainwash’s most attended show to date.
2010 saw the release of one of the most talked-about documentaries in years, Exit Through the Gift Shop. Using footage shot by Mr. Brainwash himself, and directed by fellow street artist, Banksy, Exit Through the Gift
Shop followed the evolution of street art, with Mr. Brainwash at the center of it all. The film was nominated for an Academy Award and received numerous prizes, including an Independent Spirit Award for ‘Best Documentary.’
The success of Exit Through the Gift Shop catapulted Mr. Brainwash to worldwide fame as he persisted in breaking down pop art’s walls. “Enthralling... riveting... eloquent and exciting” “mad spinning top of a movie” “perversely brilliant” Miami Herald Entertainment Weekly Time Out NY Time Out NY The Guardian The Times
The film not only became an instant cult classic but was also considered as one of the best movies of 2010, winning several awards and being nominated for an ACADEMY AWARD®.