These last years we’ve seen how the world of art has adopted a new style that has been merging for decades in the streets. Maybe it was necessary that someone would come up and rebuild the idea of urban art and make it, on markets eye, in just that, art. That someone is Banksy.
Banksy is the pseudonym of a British urban artist of whom real identity is unknown and that has sold his works t in the most important galleries and auction houses worldwide worth for dozens of thousands of euros. He is responsible for the urban art to access galleries and exhibition rooms, being decontextualized from its urban media.
Even though he had shown his works before, maybe we find a turning point of what vandalism is and what art is in his exhibition “Barely Legal” in 2006, in Los Angleles. Thanks to this show, in a few days his prices and other urban artists’ shoot up. Is that the moment when art collectors from all around the world want to be in that new market.
But Banksy want to show that his work is not about fame or money, and for that he suggests Thierry Guetta to make a documental that tells what the real story behind urban art is. Guetta has been spending quite a long time with his camera following graffiti artists as Shepard Fairey or Banksy and had the material needed to explain the world the truth about this new artistic expression.
A few months went by and Guetta edited his 90 minutes film reel of a nonsense image bombing. When Banksy watched it, he realized that Guetta maybe wasn’t a film maker but “maybe was just someone with mental problems who happened to have a camera”.
Thierry Guetta adopted the alias Mr. Brainwash and starts to create his own murals in the streets of Los Angeles. Soon after that creates his own studio and starts to produce works to prepare his first show “Life is Beautiful”. For that he sold his business and bet everything he owned, he had never done any exhibition before and pretended to make himself an artist from one day to the next. And he did it. His show had an unexpected success and Mr. Brainwash, almost immediately had an international recognition and became a star of the most important counter-culture movement since punk.
Finally, that idea of producing a film that showed the reality of urban art ended up being a documentary ("Exit Through the Gift Shop", 2008), directed by Banksy himself, about how Thierry Guetta became Mr. Brainwash.