What would cause the world's most elusive and most illustrious street artist to make a film with never before seen insights into his own life? To get back at a man who used his name and took advantage of his friendship of course. The art world is abuzz with the latest work from the genius that is Banksy, Exit Through the Gift Shop.While the film is not about Banksy, as the hype would have you believe, it's worth seeing for the rare footage into both Banksy's physical and mental studio.
To tell you straight off, you're not going to see Banksy in the film. You're going to see a hooded figure, face blurred and voice disguised, that may or may not be Banksy, embedding the narration with signature Banksy quips. The most revealing clue into who Banksy is, who some sources peg as Robin Gunningham, is a wedding ring on a male hand, shown when the artist is at work. And that Banksy has a team of assistants, any one of whom could have played Banksy in the film, to help produce the massive work. But trying to peg the identity of Banksy is of course not the point of the film.
What you are going to see is a giant art world hoax surrounding amateur filmmaker, Thierry Guetta, turned amateur artist, Mister Brainwash. There's no information given on how involved Bansky was in the actual filmmaking, although by putting his name on the resulting work, it's clear he directed the narrative into a con story, a con named Mister Brainwash.
Thierry Guetta was a successful L.A. storekeeper who lived with a camcorder glued to his hand. After years of recording his day-to-day life, he stumbled upon something worth filming after visiting his cousin, the Atari-cum-mosaic inclined street artist Space Invader. He followed him for years, leading to his entry into the underground scene, filming the movement's multitude of stars: Swoon, Neckface, Poster Boy, Zevs, and Shepard Fairey. After failing to get any ins toward the most coveted subject of them all, Banksy, Guetta's luck changed when Fairey rang him up one day. Banksy was in L.A. and needed someone to show him around. Following his guidance into where to paint in L.A., Guetta gained Banksy's trust and friendship. As Banksy's entourage didn't contain a more worthy photographer, he began bringing Guetta into his more outlandish stunts, for posterity's sake, including the installation of a Guantanamo Bay prisoner inside Disneyland.