Mr. Brainwash is the moniker of Street Pop artist Thierry Guetta. Born in France and based in Los Angeles, Mr. Brainwash has been pushing pop culture’s envelope for almost a decade, bringing his art to the street, the gallery, and onscreen.
Armed with wheat paste, spray cans, brushes and paint buckets, Mr. Brainwash started attacking the streets in 2006 with stencils and posters of beloved icons from Billie Holiday to John Lennon. In Paris and Los Angeles, his work quickly caught the eyes of the public and Mr. Brainwash had emerged from the underground, quickly becoming a renowned figure in the burgeoning street art scene.
Mr. Brainwash’s first solo show, Life is Beautiful, opened in the summer of 2008. Mr. Brainwash’s signature style was soon garnering the attention of everyone from fine art critics to journalists and celebrities. In 2009, when Madonna was set to release her greatest hits compilation, “Celebration,” she asked Mr. Brainwash to design the cover. He designed 15 different covers for the wide release, singles, DVDs and special edition vinyl. Mr. Brainwash was now not just commenting on pop culture, he had become a part of it.
New York was the next stop. In 2010, Mr. Brainwash invaded the Meatpacking District with “Life Is Beautiful: Icons”, his first New York solo show. This show was bigger than ever, covering a 15,000 square foot, multi-story warehouse. Prestigious auction houses and collectors, including Christie’s and Phillips de Pury, took notice by putting his work in high-profile auctions.
Mr. Brainwash then set off to Miami for one of the art world’s most respected Art Fair, Art Basel. Without any announcement or notice, Mr. Brainwash took over a 25,000 square foot building in South Beach with a colorful pop up show entitled, “Life Is Beautiful: Under Construction”. The show was his trademark style, playful and positive, but on a huge scale. Once the show opened, it exploded, becoming the must-see attraction at Art Basel.
2010 also saw the release of one of the most talked-about documentaries in years, Exit Through the Gift Shop. Using footage shot by Mr. Brainwash himself, and directed by fellow street artist, Banksy, Exit Through the Gift Shop followed the evolution of street art, with Mr. Brainwash at the center of it all. The film was nominated for an Academy Award and received numerous prizes, including an Independent Spirit Award for ‘Best Documentary.’ The success of Exit Through the Gift Shop catapulted Mr. Brainwash to worldwide fame as he persisted in breaking down pop art’s walls.
Mr. Brainwash continued to bring his art all over the world, making his Canadian debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011. Mr. Brainwash’s installations were placed all over the city. They included his signature 8-foot tall spray can sculptures, each one a different film genre, and life-size Canadian Mounties cutouts, armed with boom mics and cameras. In addition, he created all of the Street marketing material for the Grace Kelly TIFF exhibition: “ Movie star to Princess”. Everywhere Mr. Brainwash went, he was able to create a pop art conversation with the city he was creating for.
Not only does Mr. Brainwash create and foster art in his community, but he also gives in other ways. Mr. Brainwash continues to be a frequent donor to important causes such as the Children’s Cancer & Blood Foundation, Free Arts NY, The Prince’s Trust, The Black Ball, 0 among others.
Following the massive LA show, 2012 only got bigger. Sotheby’s featured Mr. Brainwash in a private contemporary art exhibit in Mexico City, solidifying his popularity with collectors and with the world’s most well-known art houses around the globe.
When the Summer Olympics arrived, and the whole world had its eye on London, Mr. Brainwash made his UK debut by invading The Old Sorting Post Office, a colossal space, steps from the British Museum. His love of British pop culture icons rang out through the streets, as Mr. Brainwash adorned the side of the Sorting Office with a 6 story tall Queen Elizabeth II, in her coronation attire, holding a Union Jack spray can . The show was a retrospective and a re interpretation of his classic and iconic images. Large crowds filled the gigantic space each day. It became Mr. Brainwash’s most attended show to date.
In addition to the art and film communities, Mr. Brainwash is also an in-demand name in the music industry. He has designed art for the album campaigns of some of the world’s most influential artists: Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Keys, and recently Rick Ross to name a few. In 2013, in collaboration with the Hard Rock Hotel, Mr. Brainwash attacked the pulse of the music industry: Coachella. He adorned the festival with towering murals, adding an additional element of surprise and wonder and solidifying his already strong connection to music.
Mr. Brainwash is unlike any artist today. His shows are journeys – self-guided tours through a pop culture wonderland: colorful and beautiful. His message always positive. His artwork is a pure sensory experience and like so many of the subjects depicted in Mr. Brainwash’s art, his works are timeless, reflecting human aspirations and the voice that screams, “Follow Your Dreams.” Life Is Beautiful!