Shepard Fairey Delivers Banksy Movie Spoiler

01.22.10 Bucky Turco


While everyone’s speculating about the details of Banksy’s new documentary, “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” and its connection to universally despised street artist Thierry Guetta aka Mr. Brainwash, Shepard Fairey openly discussed details of the soon to be premiered Sundance film in a 2008 video, while sitting on a panel at Bonhams auction house. So what did we learn? Quite a bit, but overall, Mr. Brainwash is the human, performance art version of this Banksy painting and that’s mostly Banksy’s doing.

1. Mr. Brainwash is cousins with world renowned, French street artist Space Invader, which explains how he got access to the Shepard Fairey and Banksy in the first place.
2. Mr. Brainwash is rich and has lots of assistants. This is important because he owns a lot of property and was more than happy to allow street artists to legally paint there.
3. Shepard really doesn’t like Mr. Brainwash’s work and thinks its too derivative and not done by the artist himself, which madethis endorsement all the more puzzling, until you realize that he is in on the prank.
4. Shepard introduced Mr. Brainwash to Banksy in 2005 and MBW “fell in love with Banksy.”
5. Mr. Brainwash set out to make a film about street art and shot lots of footage of Banksy, Shepard, and others.
6. Banksy flipped the script, literally, and convinced Mr. Brainwash to let him direct the film and make it about MBW, allowing Banksy to take control of the footage, protect his identity, and turn their roles 180 degrees.
7. Banksy set the agenda and was instrumental in helping Mr. Brainwash execute an over the top gallery exhibit in Los Angeles, that had some wondering whether it was a hoax.
8. Banksy has a “sick sense of humor” and, in Shepard’s words, the “coup de grâce of the film is Terry transitioning from being just a voyeur and admirer of street art to being a street artist.”

So there you have it. Video footage of Shepard’s discussion below (7:01 mark is when he gets into it).

Transcribed below from 7:01 mark.

He’s cousins with Space Invader, he lives here. He owns a lot of property around Hollywood. And he got hip to my work through Space Invader, went out with me and starting documenting me, and then in 2005 I introduced him to Banksy and he really fell in love with Banksy, and he wanted to make a film about me, a film about street art in general with several artists including Banksy in it.

And then it just turned into his obsession with the art form switched over to him becoming an artist, but the thing about him is, is that he is motivated, but he also has a lot of money and a lot of assistants and so a lot of that work doesn’t even have his own hand in it. And I have mixed feelings about all of that.

But His show was a very manufactured thing, in that Banksy, in order to try to get Terry’s film that he never completed to come out said ‘why I don’t make this film about you and I’ll direct it and then can I get the footage of me back, so I can put that into the film.’

So the coup de grâce of the film is Terry transitioning from being just a voyeur and admirer of street art to being a street artist which I think is part of Banksy’s sick sense of humor. It’s a very complex situation, but I personally think he kind of rushed things to suit Banksy’s agenda and a lot of his work was derivative of Banky’s work, Warhol’s, my work, Damien Hirst, But anyway I don’t know it’s weird….