Los Angeles-based artist Mr Brainwash has gained international acclaim in recent years for his bold and beautiful graffiti-style artwork, earning numerous accolades and celebrity collectors around the globe. Formerly a French street artist, whose real name is Thierry Guetta, he first made his mark on the art world with his debut 2008 show ‘Life Is Beautiful’, and has since grown notoriety for the impressive spectacles associated with the exhibition of his art. Resultingly, he has amassed a staggering number of art auction sales to his name, exceeding the $2.5 million mark. His belief is that there should be no restrictions when creating art, and that anything is possible: “Art has no rules. There is no manual.”
Mr Brainwash employs equal amounts of vibrant colour and provocative humour in his artwork, combining street art and collage techniques to create witty messaging on the canvas. Famous images and icons from history and popular culture are commonplace, scattered amongst paint splatters, sometimes juxtaposed with messaging; one of his latest pieces, ‘Open Your Mind’, features a piece of text which seems particularly fitting with the life-altering events of the past year in a pandemic world: “This is not the year to get everything you want. This is the year to appreciate everything you have.”
The striking block colours of his recent ‘Bitcoin’ series are reminiscent of Warhol, a clear inspiration for Thierry, and his past experience as a street artist has an undeniable presence in his creations – his technique of combining screen-printing and stencilling results in the effect of a refined, contemporary graffiti wall, inundated with culturally-relevant iconography.
Perhaps one of Mr Brainwash’s most significant inspirations and ties to the art world is his relationship with Banksy. He initially featured in Banksy’s Oscar-nominated 2010 documentary ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’, and it has even been speculated that he is in fact actually Banksy himself, with Thierry Guetta being a cover – one magazine stated that his work “looks like Banksy trying not to look like Banksy.”
Whatever is to be believed, Banksy has praised Mr Brainwash, describing him as “a force of nature, he’s a phenomenon”, and their friendship is well-documented. Having been introduced to the world of art through his street artist cousin, Mr Brainwash’s connections to this art style are intrinsic to his work today.
From humble beginnings, Mr Brainwash has now become a key figure in the contemporary art scene. He has designed album artwork for the likes of Madonna and Michael Jackson, and exhibited his work at a show during the 2012 London Olympic Games, featuring a distinct piece portraying a 6-storey tall Queen Elizabeth II holding a Union Jack spray can. Mr Brainwash’s latest work can be seen on our website, www.therosegallery.co.uk/collections/mr-brainwash.