- Published on Wednesday, October 24 2012
- Written by RJ Williams
There’s a good reason why prolific street artists tend to keep a low profile – what they do isn’t always exactly legal! Even the most famous of the current street artists out there today, Banksy, is so elusive that people don’t know his real name or even what he looks like!
That caused quite a bit of controversy during last year’s Academy Awards, when a documentary that Banksy directed was nominated for an Oscar. The Academy refused to permit Banksy to keep his identity concealed if he attended the ceremony and, especially, if he won. This was a deal-breaker for the artist, so he declined to attend (he lost anyway), but he still made his presence known by blanketing L.A. in Oscars-related street art in the lead-up to the big night.
The documentary in question, Exit Through The Gift Shop, told the story of a fellow street artist named Thierry Guetta, AKA Mr. Brainwash, a French clothing store owner living in L.A. who became obsessed with street art when he discovered that his own cousin is the notorious artist called Invader. The film itself caused controversy, with viewers and critics alike certain that the film wasn’t completely on the level, that was all part of an elaborate prank by Banksy. Some have even speculated that Guetta is Banksy himself! Both artists have denied these claims.
Brainwash is not as much of a hands-on artist as Banksy, preferring to be more of a “conceptual artist” who passes his visions along to a team that fabricates the artwork into being. But make no mistake, Brainwash is the real deal, with his pieces selling collectively for millions of dollars! His work has become so prominent, in fact, that he has collaborated with the likes of Michael Jackson and Madonna! I don’t think it actually gets any better than that if you’re an artist!
If there are any lingering doubts as to Brainwash’s legitimacy, I think we put them to rest recently when we actually got to visit the artist’s L.A. studio! We sent our own Nikki Novak to the scene of so many creative crimes to get the scoop on this rather mysterious figure. It turns out he’s a pretty average guy with not-so-average vision. He has a playful point of view about life, seeing the rainbow for its colors and finding beauty in things most of us take for granted. But, at the end if the day, even Guetta himself admits that he himself is Banksy’s “biggest work of art”.
Check out our exclusive with Mr. Brainwash below!
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