Mr. Brainwash ("MBW") is the pseudonym for the graffiti street artist Thierry Guetta.
Mr. Brainwash was born in France in 1966, and has become one of American's most popular 'street art' artists. Originally a videographer, Mr. Brainwash began his career in 1999 documenting the lives and artwork of various graffiti street artists such as Banksy and Shepard Fairey. Mr. Brainwash has collected hours of footage often risking his own neck following graffiti artists creating their street art.
Shortly after his initial introduction to Banksy, Mr. Brainwash made the decision to transition from art lover to artist as depicted in the film "Exit Through the Gift Shop". Mr. Brainwash soon graduated from a few hand drawn stickers to making giant sized paste–ups, and his iconic pop graffiti art is now seen on the streets and art galleries of New York and Los Angeles.
The film "Exit Through the Gift Shop" as well as Mr. Brainwash and his relationship with the street artist Banksy is shroud in great controversy and mystery. There has been debate over whether the documentary is genuine or a mockumentary, although Banksy answers "Yes" when asked if the film is real.
Mr. Brainwash's uniformly subversive style fuses historic pop imagery and contemporary cultural iconography to create his own pop art – graffiti hybrid. The development of this style has catapulted Brainwash to international stardom. Mr. Brainwash's first solo show 'Life is Beautiful' was held in Los Angeles in June 2008, showing over 100 artworks. In addition to Mr. Brainwash´s widely recognized iconic art images, Life is Beautiful featured larger than life art installations which included a 20–foot robot made of old televisions, and a life–size recreation of Edward Hopper's Nighthawks and a pyramid made from 20,000 books. Originally scheduled to open for only two weeks, the art exhibit was extended for three months, attracting more than 30,000 visitors.
Mr. Brainwash's graffiti –styled art has continued to garner recognition from art collectors and street art enthusiasts alike. In 2009, Mr. Brainwash collaborated with Madonna on her Greatest Hits album, creating the cover art for Celebration.
In 2010, Mr. Brainwash opened his second art exhibition ICONS in New York City. The show featured Mr. Brainwash´s paintings and silkscreens of world icons such as Madonna, Charlie Chaplin, and Albert Einstein, as well as portraits of music legends constructed of broken records and large–scale sculptural installations such as a giant boom box and a NYC cab in a life–sized Matchbox packaging. The sold–out art exhibition was extended until early May 2010. Not only were major art collectors acquiring Mr. Brainwash's paintings and prints but also prestigious auction houses. In the Fall of 2010 Mr. Brainwash made two significant auction sales for his unique paintings. The smaller of the two pieces featured a portraiture style depiction of model Kate Moss selling for $67,000. The larger piece continued Brainwash's fascination with Albert Einstein and featured the historic physicist in a front of a graffiti adorned wall holding a sign reading "Love is the Answer". The work sold for well above the pre–auction estimates for $120,000.
Mr. Brainwash currently lives and works in Los Angeles.