Born in Paris under the name Thierry Guetta, street artist/videographer Mr Brainwash’s gap-filled biography has prompted conspiracy theorists to speculate that he’s a Banksy/Shepard Fairey/Invader project and that the acclaimed Banksy-directed documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop is a grand hoax and offers more grift than gift.










Mr Brainwash creates satirical twists on classic pieces, including some of Banksy’s ‘own’ stuff, and his lavish exhibitions routinely draw crowds of aficionados, detractors and the curious. Mr Brainwash is dedicated to spreading a message that is positive, colourful and – like Andy Warhol’s – accessible. Jean-Michel Basquiat said, ‘I start a picture and I finish it. I don’t think about art while I work. I try to think about life.’ From his California home, Mr Brainwash gives one small seed an exclusive interview, giving insight into undeniable passion for art and for life. Here’s a short snippet…



How have things changed since your first show in LA in 2008?

Time lets you get better at what you do. The show in 2008 was 18 000 square feet and this show is 80 000 square feet.

You created street art and then moved on to massive exhibitions. It’s just getting bigger and bigger. How do you pull it off?

I don’t sleep very much. Three or four hours a day is normal. I’m very passionate about my work… though I wouldn’t really call it ‘work’ if it’s something that you’re really  passionate about and have fun doing. We cry sometimes but it’s a pleasure when you finish a piece. 


How does your team handle it?

I’ve got a small team and I only use other people when I do bigger shows. It’s a small team but they are a hundred percent with me. They believe in me and where I’m going.

Do you see yourself sticking to a career as an artist? Do you think you’ll change direction?

I’m an artist. I always have been. An artist is someone who is passionate about what he does and does it from his heart. He can make it happen. An artist doesn’t have to be the best in the world and doesn’t have to listen to anybody. You just go forward with what you want, because everyone has their own life. When I made clothing, I thought like an artist and came up with something new that was only for designers. And it was the same when I started filming. I took that challenge up for ten years. I’d go out in the morning and have two or three cameras with me and I didn’t stop making it happen.

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Make sure you pick up a copy of the latest one small seed – issue 24 – to read the full interview and click HERE to read the full breakdown of issue 24!

In the above video, Mr. Brainwash shares the story of his journey to take over an abandoned industrial space in the center of Los Angeles for a massive art show. But before unveiling his own work, he invites the entire street art community to decorate the inside. The story behind Art Show 2011,

images: Mr Brainwash ©, interview: Jean Rene Onyangunga