Mr. Brainwash, often stylized as MBW, is the moniker of Paris-born, Los Angeles based filmmaker and street artist Thierry Guetta. According to the Banksy-directed film Exit Through the Gift Shop, Guetta began as a proprietor of a clothing store and videographer who evolved into a street artist and gallery artist after being influenced by the street artists he documented through video over the years. According to the film, Guetta was first introduced to street art by his cousin, the street artist Invader.
The artwork attributed to Guetta strongly emulates the styles and artistic concepts of well-known street artists including Banksy and Shepard Fairey. Like Banksy, Guetta employs famous artistic and historic images, many of which are copyrighted, and amends the originals in slight or significant ways. Unlike Banksy, who is shown in the film creating his own work, Guetta states in the film that his work largely consists of “scanning and photoshopping,” acts which are carried out by hired assistants. Guetta further admits that most of the actual artistic process is carried out by hired graphic designers to whom he describes his ideas.
Guetta’s first show Life is Beautiful opened in Los Angeles, California, June 18, 2008. In 2009, Guetta created the cover art for Madonna’s Celebration album.