Banksy speaks about Exit, Thierry/Brainwash, and filmmaking


When British street artist Banksy released his debut film Exit Through The Gift Shop it was interesting to see how much skepticism it met with among audiences and critics— many people instantly assumed it must be the punchline of a massive meta-prank. Understandable, given some of his history. But I knew many of the people in the film personally, and I knew it was completely legit.

(Backstory: I co-ran an art gallery and for many years worked closely with Shepard Fairey and Invader, and Thierry Guetta aka Mister Brainwash aka MBW was around frequently, camera in hand).

When talking to people about the film I constantly found myself trying to prove that Thierry really existed, which was amusing in its own right. Recently Banksy himself spoke with All These Wonderful Things about making the film, and some of the issues surrounding the project:

Thierry's entertainment potential wasn't difficult to spot – he actually walks into doors and falls down stairs. It was like hanging out with Groucho Marx but with funnier facial hair. Thierry arrived at a point when my world was becoming infested with hipsters and heavy irony, so his exuberant man-child innocence was fun to be around. Maybe I convinced myself Thierry was a good subject just because I liked him. I'd be lying if I told you the first time I met him I thought 'this man's life will deliver a good narrative arc'.

It's a great interview filled with some fantastic insight, well worth checking out. Story Link.