Mr. Brainwash is a French street artist and videographer known for his large-scale installations and prints of celebrities like Madonna, Kate Moss, and Marilyn Monroe. His practice of subverting cultural iconography and appropriation borrows from Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and Bansky. Fellow street artist Alec Monopoly has said that he considers Mr. Brainwash a mentor. He is perhaps best known for his role in Banksy’s documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010), which features Mr. Brainwash’s rise to success in the street art scene. Born Thierry Guetta on November 11, 1966 in Garges-lès-Gonesse, France. He moved to Los Angeles when he was 15, where he attended high school before dropping out. The artist later ran a successful vintage clothing store in the city. His interest in street art was spurred by a visit to France in 1999, where he learned that his cousin was the famed graffiti artist Space Invader. Having developed a knack for filming, Mr. Brainwash started to record the nightly escapades of Invader and other street artists, such as Shepard Fairey. In 2013, he was included in the exhibition “Art Wars” at Saatchi Gallery in London.
A number of critics have observed that his works strongly emulate the styles and concepts of Banksy and have speculated that Guetta is an elaborate prank staged by Banksy.
His work sold for five-figure sums at his self-financed debut exhibit Life Is Beautiful, due, it is thought, to a mixture of an overheated and hyped street art market. In 2009, Madonna paid Guetta to design the cover art for her Celebration album.