Mr. Brainwash, professionally known as Thierry Guetta, is an artist and videographer whose graffiti and contemporary pieces are highly valued by art collectors. Guetta’s uniformly subversive style fuses historic pop imagery and contemporary cultural iconography to create his version of a pop–graffiti hybrid, first popularized by other artists. Working primarily with layers of screenprint and stenciled images, his compositions are emblematic of a graffiti wall inundated with 20th century iconography. To add to his intentionally derivative persona, Guetta uses a special signature and authentication on all of his unique artworks, with his mantra “Life is Beautiful”, his thumbprint, or hand-signature.
Mr. Brainwash was born in Paris, France, but relocated to Los Angeles. His interest in graffiti was spurred by a visit to France in 1999, where he learned that his cousin was the infamous street artist Space Invader. The experience changed Guetta’s life. He was drawn to the immediacy, impermanence and the danger of this kind of work, and he became fascinated with the role of urban art in modern culture. Having developed a knack for filming, he started to record the nightly escapades of Invader and other street artists, such as Shepard Fairey.
In 2009, Mr. Brainwash met with Banksy and assisted him in launching his Los Angeles show "Barely Legal", which was attended by notable celebrities and art collectors. The two artists afterwards decided to make a documentary detailing life in the secretive graffiti art scene. The result was the Oscar-nominated documentary "Exit through the Gift Shop", which debuted at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. The film depicts the meteoric rise of Mr. Brainwash in the street art scene, with some of his works such as his Charlie Chaplin painting, estimated to be worth between $50,000 and $70,000. Following this success, Mr. Brainwash gained massive following with his exhibitions. Without a doubt, he’s one of the most creative individuals in the world.