I don’t think Thierry played by the rules in some ways; but, then there are not supposed to be any rules. So, I don’t really know what mine is. I mean I always used to encourage everyone I met to make art, I used to think everyone should do it. I don’t do that so much anymore. Banksy
Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010) the documentary film directed by the enigmatic street artist Banksy has been on my “to see” list for a while now. Listed by Megan Youngblood on Hyperallergic as #2 of her Top Ten Art Docs to Watch on Netflix, I recently borrowed a copy from one of my favorite Wilmington haunts, the library at DCAD.
The movie is worth finding online, or at your local library. It is an insight into the graffiti culture as seen through the eyes of a somewhat strange and eccentric French shop keeper in Los Angeles, CA who acquires a video camera and proceeds to video every aspect of his life. Through his cousin, a Parisian street artist, Space Invader, Thierry Guetta finds himself drawn into the world of street artists, often leaving his wife and 3 kids at home while he doggedly follows, shoots, and even assists these nocturnal creatives all through the world. It’s fascinating “to meet” Shepard Fairey and eventually, Banksy in the film.
The twists and turns of the movie, culminating into Thierry’s own foray into the art world as he transforms himself into Mr. Brainwash raises questions once again about what it takes, and means, to be a successful artist in contemporary culture.