1966 – Mr. Brainwash is the moniker of Los Angeles-based filmmaker and Pop artist Thierry Guetta. He has spent the better part of the last decade attempting to make the ultimate street art documentary. Meanwhile, inspired by his subjects, he started hitting the streets, from Los Angeles to Paris, with spray painted stencils and posters of his pop art inspired images.
He rapidly emerged as a renowned figure on the international street art scene. In June 2008, Mr. Brainwash made his art show debut with one of Los Angeles's most memorable solo exhibitions; Life is Beautiful, held at the historic CBS Studios on Sunset Boulevard. In addition to his widely recognized images, Life is Beautiful featured larger than life installations which included a 20-foot robot made of old televisions, a life-size recreation of Edward Hopper's Nighthawks and a pyramid made from 20,000 books. Originally scheduled to open for only two weeks, the exhibit was extended for three months, attracting more than 30,000 visitors.
Mr. Brainwash's work continued to garner recognition from art collectors and street-art enthusiasts alike. By 2009, Madonna approached him to design the cover of her greatest hits compilation entitled, Celebration. In addition to the CD album, Mr. Brainwash created 15 different covers for the accompanying vinyls, singles and DVD releases.
On February 14th 2010, Mr. Brainwash made his New York solo debut as he unveiled Icons, a 15,000 square-foot exhibition in the heart of Manhattan's Meatpacking District. The show featured paintings and silk screens of world icons, portraits of music legends constructed of broken records and large-scale sculptural installations such as a giant boom box and a NYC cab in a life-sized Matchbox packaging. The sold-out show was extended until early May 2010. Not only were major collectors acquiring Mr Brainwash's works but also prestigious auction houses including Christie's and Phillips.
Due to its overwhelming success, the show was extended until the end of September 2010 under the name ICONS REMIX. It featured the addition of 20 large-scale paintings using mixed media and sculptures made out of recycled tires, notably a life sized horse.
Considered as one of the most prolific and talked about artists of today, Mr. Brainwash is also the subject of Banksy's documentary "Exit Through The Gift Shop", which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2010. Using Guetta's street art footage, Banksy eventually turned the camera on the only man who ever filmed him. The collaboration resulted in a remarkable documentary that is part personal journey and part an exposé of the art world with its mind-altering mix of hot air and hype.
Mr. Brainwash ended 2010 with a bang by taking Miami Art Basel, the most important art fair in the US, by storm. Within 10 days, without any announcement or promotion, he turned a 25,000-square foot empty retail space in the heart of South Beach into another art spectacle entitled "Under Construction". Surrounded by cut-out Storm Troopers, and featuring a monster made out of traffic cones, the art show created an energy and excitement at the art festival and soon became the obligatory stop for collectors and art lovers during Art Basel. The show mixed the ever-evolving urban environment with Mr. Brainwash's trademark positive message and playful spirit. Show highlights include a giant 40 ft x 12 ft mixed media mural on canvas and the AmeriCAN flag made out of 1400 empty spray cans. After 4 days and thousands of visitors, Mr. Brainwash packed up Under Construction and left Miami almost as quickly as he arrived, in what some might call a successful art hit-and-run.