Featured Artist – Mr. Brainwash
It seems only appropriate that we put Mr. Brainwash in league with this generation’s most illusive and notable street artists. Both Banksy and Shepard Fairey have paved the way for MBW to put together his first major Los Angeles showing, “Life is Beautiful.” Mr. Brainwash, a.k.a. Thierry Guetta, started his career as a French documentary film maker, transitioned into a rogue street artist, and has now emerged as one of the most prominent pop artists on the scene today.
He’s has put together the largest scale art happening Los Angeles has seen, rivaled only by Banky’s 2006 “Barely Legal” show held in downtown Los Angeles. To accomplish such a feat MBW called on Daniel Salin to produce the show, Salin also produced “Barely Legal,” and Swindle magazine co-founder Roger Gastman as a consultant. To promote the show MBW had been dropping samples of pieces all around town. We spotted wheat pasted images up in Hollywood, Silver Lake, Melrose and Miracle Mile for starters.
And finally on the evening of Wednesday June 18th we estimate approximately 5,000+ eager MBW enthusiasts lined up around the block several times over, waiting to catch a glimpse of the hype.
The work of “Life is Beautiful” is rooted in pop art. As Warhol looked to icons of consumer culture and celebrity, MBW looks to art and entertainment as the subjects of his work. Early pop art departed from art’s tradition in favor of images of popular culture. Mr. Brainwash includes artistic tradition and even prior pop art as the subject of his work.
Artistic icons such as Fountain (Marcel Duchamp, 1917) and American Gothic (Grant Wood, 1930) were revisited and remixed to create new works. MBW also references Robert Indiana, Claes Oldenburg, and Jackson Pollock. This could be viewed as a coopting of tradition by the street or an attack on pop culture.
The use of CBS’s studio is a work in itself. By housing his work at the venue and transforming the space into something distinctly his own, an icon of pop culture was turned into a installation of subversive street art. The pop art torch has been passed.
Check out our Gallery featuring images of opening night and of the work of Mr. Brainwash.
Neu Black: What are your feelings now that it’s finally opening night?:
MBW: I have no words to describe the feeling. I am surprised, blessed. I truly cannot speak. We never expected this kind of response. I am so happy to see such a mixed crowd there have been mothers, grandmothers, kids. Today feels more like a museum than an art show. I am touched that so many people would come to appreciate my work.
Neu Black: How do you feel about being compared to Bansky?:
MBW: I am blessed to be included in a category with such great artists. Especially in this my first solo show as an artist. This show is not just about the art but rather about the [people].
Neu Black: Will you be showing your work in other cities?:
MBW:Why Not. I am very glad that we did this first show in LA. People don’t see LA as a creative center. I feel that LA needed something like this, it’s even better that we did it in Hollywood. This building was the first motion picture studio in Hollywood. I Love Lucy started here and 50 years later MBW is bringing the world back.
Neu Black: What were your inspirations for the show?:
MBW: All of the artists I’ve seen inspire me. Banksy put me in the paper and said to me “you’ll do a show in June.” He brought me out of the box.
Know that nothing is impossible, if you really want to do something. You really have to want to do it. You think you see from your eyes but you really see from your heart. That’s why Life is Beautiful.
Neu Black: Now that this show is complete. What’s next for you?
MBW: Tomorrow. I try to appreciate each day and taken it one day at a time.