Reproducing Other Artists’ Work ‘Honors’ Them, Says Brainwash | Ents & Arts News
He is an amateur street artist turned professional who counts the Obamas, comic book legend Stan Lee and the Pope among his prominent fans.
Known as Mr Brainwash, he insists he pays tribute to artists such as Banksy, Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons by reproducing their work.
“You kind of honor them… because there are parts you can’t get; it’s impossible, so I think it’s loving and sharing.”
Mr. Brainwash, who was born in France and lives in Los Angeles, rose to prominence in Banksy’s documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop. In it, the prolific graffiti artist, with his identity hidden in the shadows, said: “This guy tried to make a documentary about me – but he’s actually a lot more interesting than me.”
The man Banksy refers to in the documentary is Mr Brainwash, whose real name is Thierry Guetta.
Guetta’s lead role in the academy-nominated film catapulted him from amateur videographer and second-hand clothing store owner to a global pop artist who has sold millions of pounds of work.
Speaking to Sky News at the Clarendon Fine Art Gallery in Covent Garden, the impact of the film was not lost on Guetta.
“Twelve years later I can meet people on the street and they say ‘Oh my God I just saw the movie yesterday’ … and I’m like, that was 12 years ago … and you go on and on. “
He added, “It was amazing. I mean, it’s a journey that, you know, it’s like when you dream and live… something that you think isn’t possible.”
But he points out that Mr Brainwash’s potential global appeal and success has always been with Thierry Guetta, even before Banksy focused on him.
“It didn’t change my life, but it continued my life because … you know my life has always been, you know, ever since I was a kid … they call me crazy.”
Once a part of Banksy’s art, the man also known as Thierry Guetta is now a bona fide artist in his own right. And with jaw-dropping exhibits and a celebrity fan base many would envy, Mr. Brainwash’s future looks bright.
“I feel like I want to give a lot more. This is really the start of what I want to give,” he said.