Biography of Mr. Brainwash
Internationally renowned and Los Angeles-based street artist Mr. Brainwash is an enigma. Thierry Guetta (b. 1966), previously a shop keeper and videographer, became captivated with street art in 1990s France. After filming the world’s greatest street artists at work such as his cousin Invader, Shepard Fairey and Banksy, he decided, with Banksy’s encouragement, to host his first exhibition Life is Beautiful under the pseudonym Mr. Brainwash. Opening in the summer of 2008 in a former T.V. studio, the show gathered a lot of attention from the press and helped to catapult Mr. Brainwash into a well-known solo artist in a matter of weeks. It even inspired Banksy’s Oscar-nominated 2010 documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop which was centered around Mr Brainwash’s artistic evolution and rise to fame.
Mr. Brainwash characteristically re-appropriates iconic imagery through subtle, often playful, alterations. He believes that “art has no rules” and has developed his own form of “graffiti hybrid”, bringing together Pop Art and Street Art. He often uses well-known and copyrighted images from popular culture and art history, undermining the work’s original context through his adaptations and fusion of iconography.
Producing multiples is a key element of street art. Stencils are used to reproduce variations on an idea across cities, countries and even continents. Mr. Brainwash has brought street art imagery to paper, using silk-screen printing methods that resonate with stencilling to reproduce his work in series of editions. He is known for taking over monumental spaces with his works, including the Opera Gallery, The Old Sorting Office both in London and a warehouse during the 2010 Art Basel. Mr Brainwash made his major auction at Phillips auction house in 2010. Since then his works have regularly fetched six figures. He has also collaborated with Madonna, Michael Jackson, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Wycleaf Jean.