Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)


Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)I remember when this film was released, during my first year at art school, there was a sense of hype among us, but that was minor. I’ve only just viewed the film/documentary about Street Art, or how a wannabe street artist Mister Brainwash made it big. Coming from an outsiders view into a rising form of urban art, that has now become established in the last decade.

Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010) brought to us by the Britain’s foremost street artist Banksy who still divides opinion, having started to exhibit, and make this film. What starts as a look into his world, following American artist such as Shepard Fairey that allowed Mister Brainwash (Thierry Guetta) to film them in the act of revealing their work to the urban world.

The more I saw of Thierry Guetta, I could see his passion, and the madness that lay behind it. Followed by the amazing twist from amateur film maker to artist, almost over night (6 months) transformed himself to a creative person on the advice of Banksy, who wanted to keep him busy. I’m not sure how to quite word what I think of Brainwash’s work, other than an amalgamation other artist who have gone before, mainly Andy Warholhe couldn’t help but be inspired by those he followed. I saw no real imagination or originality, just crazy ideas that had no real context, than to imitate. Being sold to people who don’t really know what they are looking at, after being swept up in media-hype.

If the media are all that’s needed to create an artist, then why do emerging artists like me bother with the art school system, when all that you need is the connections the money to remortgage your house. He has no context, no direction, but to imitate others and get away with it, because he’s eccentric… that’s another issue completely though. I wasn’t surprised that the artists who contributed seem to overnight wash their hands of him, leading Banksy to not encourage another artist if that is the result.

To be an artist takes time, with passion, drive and determination to stick and what you do, the work ethic to see things through their natural end. Be open to ideas and suggestions. What we see in this film is a man who is simply lucky enough to put on an exhibition and make work on a grand scale. Going back a few paragraphs, I do know what to say about Thierry Guetta aka Mister Brainwash, as he himself has been brainwashed and swept up in a world, without putting any real effort into the work or the ideas. He should have stayed working on his home movies that may in time have led to a personal documentary of his life, which had a far richer context than that of culture brainwashing us. We already know that, NEXT!

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