I've been getting emails and texts all week long from people that want to know the 'inside scoop' on Banksy's Exit Through The Gift Shop, which has been nominated for an 2011 Academy Award/Best Documentary. Well, my 'inside scoop' is this:
-Yes, Thierry Guetta (aka Mr. Brainwash/MBW) is a real person. Yes, he lives and works in LA. Yes, he's a real Frenchman and I've known him since about 2002.
-Yes, I did illustrate and execute Thierry first stencils for him (above). This was several years ago and was done to help him promote his upcoming 'film', Life Remote Control. It was all 'pre-MBW'. I had absolutely no part in distributing, applying, or otherwise disseminating said image in anyway whatsoever. Once Thierry had his own stencil/sticker/poster to work with, it was all downhill from there.
-Yes, the unbearable and schizophrenic vignette of Life Remote Control shown in Exit is real.
-No, I have not done any additional work for Thierry or Mr. Brainwash since the above assignment.
-No, Banksy is not Thierry Guetta (or vice versa). No, Thierry is NOT a character 'fabricated' by Banksy. What you see in the film is pretty much, 100% objectively true and factual. Banksy is definitely a brilliant artist, but I assure you, all he did was allow the world to see the madness that is MBW. You know what they say, truth is stranger than fiction.
-Yes, I have met Banksy. No, I will not confirm his identity or speculate on alleged photos of him. Why keep trying to peek behind the proverbial curtain? You'll ruin it for everyone, especially yourself.
-Yes, I was invited to be interviewed for Exit by the director, but I politely declined. But, if you absolutely must have a sound byte from me (tongue-in-cheek), cut-and-paste your pick:
"Thierry is the Inspector Clouseau of street art."-JRF"MBW was that last bit of dead weight that broke the rear axle of the street art bandwagon." -JRF
-Yes, I'll probably be contacted by MBW's legal team (eventually) as a result of this posting...something about NDA's, copyright violation, and other such nonsense.
Here's to wishing all the best for an Oscar win to Banksy, Jaimie D'Cruz, Thierry Guetta and everyone else associated with the Exit. It's a great film.
(above image MBW©2011)