Banksy: Exit through the gift shop

There is much talk about Banky’s recently released film “Exit through the gift shop,” whether his main character Thierry Guetta, a middle-aged French videographer turned artist, is a real person or Banksy himself, mocking the modern street art culture. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. Otherwise, everything about the film is enjoyable to watch unwind.

The film takes us through Guetta’s obsession with cameras and how he filmed his life literally from dusk til dawn. Most observers would deem him crazy or even an idiot, and most did, but he continued filming with an obsession like no other. The phone was like an extended body part for him. But he needed more than filming random run-in’s with people. He needed “excitement.” His cousin “Invader,” who was a street artist that pasted Space Invader cutouts anywhere he could think of, helped feed his obsession.

He filmed everywhere his cousin went, meeting other street artists along the way. But Guetta got bored. He wanted someone who was not as easily accessible as his cousin. Low and behold came street artist Shepard Fairey, who is known for the infamous “Obey” stickers and images as large as billboards, that are posted all over the world. They went around the world, marking their territory as they went along. Guetta even helped Fairey on his late night Spidermanesque trips on rooftops and billboard signs.

Eventually, Guetta wanted more yet again. At this time the super-secretive unicorn of a street artist, Banksy’s popularity was at an all time high. He wanted to film alongside him. Through luck, he was able to stumble across Banksy through Fairey. To answer all of your thoughts, no, Banksy did not show his face nor did he use his real voice. Anyway, Guetta and Banksy went everywhere to film.

Hours and hours of footage later, Banksy forced Guetta to put together a documentary. The result: garbage. But like a kind-hearted mentor, Banksy encouraged Guetta to become an artist himself, something he was already getting into as he worked with more and more artists, and put together his own show. He learned their secrets. He knew where to go, what to do, and how to do it. But he missed one thing: Originality. But that still did not stop him from putting together an over-the-top, all out art show.

And what was this “street artist’s” name? Mr. Brainwash. Seriousness aside, I can make a whole blog on his name alone. But anyway, the argument becomes should I feel sad for the people who work under Guetta or do I feel sad for the gullible money-spending patrons who walk through the door? *Shrug.* His off the wall, horribly unoriginal art show was a success and it was all built from the hype Banksy and Fairey helped build for him online.

And Guetta ran with the idea and promoted more so than he worked on his “art.” Whether the even was real or not the result and build up equaled something that was entertaining throughout. So maybe the “crazy idiot” was really a mastermind after all, learning the tricks of the trade from the best and regurgitating it back to the public in order to exploit a subculture and make a quick buck.

So what does this film have to do with the graffiti culture? The graffiti culture is definitely an underground do-it-yourself scene and this movie showed pieces of it from the 30×40 feet paper images artists used to plaster onto buildings to the extreme lengths some take like climbing billboards late night to achieve their goal. But the film also makes you think whether street art is for money and acceptance or for self expression. It is hard to tell these days when artists are selling some of their artwork and making a decent living from it.

In the end the film was great. Definitely worth a watch. Though the film is not about Banksy, the main character in the film is interesting and well developed enough to watch and enjoy. And this is a side note, but I never even heard of a guy named Mr. Brainwash. Aweful name. Personally, I think Fembot is even cooler. Or so my mom thinks….Jeez.


~ by Mr. Fem-Bot on April 20, 2010.

2 Responses to “Banksy: Exit through the gift shop”

  1. Don’t forget Banksy’s (alleged) recent gifts to SF.

    • Thank you for for this bit of info! I had no clue that he even made an appearance out here…Kind of ironic

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: