This past week my teacher for my Graphic Design II class was on an away trip in New York City with his graduate students in the Get Your Masters With The Masters MFA Program so instead of normal class, we got to watch the movie, Exit Through the Gift Shop. Like what I have experienced with in the past with most movies teachers leave when they are away, the students tend to not pay attention to it and they just focus on getting the assignment that goes along with the movie done as quickly as possible. But this time for me, that was not the case.
I really enjoyed this movie, and it surprised me how invested I became in it by the end of class. To sum it up, this French man named Thierry Guetta had a growing obsession with street art, a.k.a. graffiti, after filming his cousin, a street artist named Invader. He eventually started following other street artists around like Banksy and Shepard Fairey, and filming their travels, and then Thierry decided to become a street artist of his own under the name of Mr. Brainwash. The videos Thierry filmed showed the street artist’s struggle with avoiding the police to put up their art, and how all of their art had strong and sometimes controversial political and social messages. I think that is what made them so cool. Banksy’s work really stuck out to me in that sense.
Here is some of Invader, Banksy, and Mr. Brainwash’s work:
It was really awesome to see all of their work, and how the success and popularity of these artist’s street art helped them to book actual art shows in galleries where people bought their work. I found it very interesting to learn about Shepard Fairey as well because I had seen a lot of his work prior to this movie without even knowing who it was by. He is most well known for his Obama “Hope” poster that became the face of our past president’s campaign. Shepard Fairey’s Obey poster featuring the famous wrestler, Andre the Giant, also became a very popular piece of his.
My parents even came across a piece of his art on a vacation trip a couple years ago to California. They sent me this picture of his mural that I loved and saved it to my phone, and after watching this movie I looked up more of his work and came across it! I have always had a love for murals, so it is really neat to see how I have made connections to past work I have seen.
I also did this with one of Mr. Brainwash’s pieces! I wrote back in the summer about my visit to the Union Market in D.C. in my article Union Market Murals, and it turns out Mr Brainwash is the artist behind the murals I was obsessed with there!! Who knew! I am really happy that I came across this movie in class, and I will most definitely be on the look out for more street art I might recognize in the future.