Mr. Brainwash Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

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Category: Art
Published on Friday, 14 December 2012 16:24
Written by Deborah Charles

While sitting in traffic on La Brea, just north of San Vicente, I glanced over to the west side of the street and my eyes were met with a collage of vibrant colors depicting Mt. Rushmore.

When I returned later for a closer look, I noticed the mural being photographed by a variety of people and quickly discovered Mid City is one of a series of international locations for the work of the controversial and prolific Los Angles street artist, Mr. Brainwash. The Rushmore mural was created by guest street artist, Brazilian born Eduardo Kobra.

Mr. Brainwash, is the nickname of Los Angeles based filmmaker and street artist, Thierry Guetta.   His life as an artist was documented in the highly acclaimed film “Exit Through the Gift Shop”. Shot by street artist Banksy, the film focuses on Mr. Guettta and documents the transformation of street artists from property vandals into acclaimed and valued members of the high end art world. It won Best Documentary Award in 2010 by New York Film Critics Online and was nominated for an Oscar for best documentary, in 2011.

Originally from Paris, France, Thierry has lived in Los Angeles since his teenage years in the 1980’s. He attended Fairfax High but soon dropped out and began a series of businesses organizing nightclub parties and vintage clothing stores that spun French vintage clothing into American gold.  By 2008, he had found his calling as an artist and organized a huge show of art conceived by him but executed by others as he focused onpromotion.

Despite the resulting controversy, the show was a huge success and within a week his work was selling for five figure sums.  He went on to develop an international career. Madonna has used his work as cover art (and was the subject of one of the wall murals) and he continued to court controversy through his use of appropriated work and speculation that his character, Mr. Brainwash, was really the invention of his associate Banksy.

Street art continues to make a name for itself in the art world, standing on its own merit with skillful imagery and messages for people on the street.  In Mid-City we have the opportunity to view the work by one of its more celebrated artists.


CLICK HERE to view our Rushmore Mural Video by staff videographer Dawn Kirkpatrick

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