History & Background
Mr. Brainwash is the moniker of Street Pop artist Thierry Guetta. Born in France and based in Los Angeles, Mr. Brainwash has been pushing pop culture’s envelope for over a decade, bringing his art to the street, the gallery, and onscreen.
Armed with wheat paste, spray cans, brushes and paint buckets, Mr. Brainwash started attacking the streets in 2006 with stencils and posters of beloved icons from Billie Holiday to John Lennon. In Paris and Los Angeles, his work quickly caught the eyes of the public and Mr. Brainwash had emerged from the underground, quickly becoming a renowned figure in the burgeoning street art scene.
Ideas & Inspirations
Mr. Brainwash’s first solo show, Life is Beautiful, opened in the summer of 2008. Mounted in a former T.V.
studio in Hollywood, it was the perfect place for the arrival of the art scene’s
rambunctious new player. The show was so eagerly anticipated that it garnered the cover of LA Weekly, one of Los Angeles’ most circulate publications. Life is Beautiful opened with a tremendous thunder, attracting thousands of people who lined the streets around the block. Featuring a 20-foot robot, a pyramid made of 20,000 books and a life-size recreation of Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks,” Life is Beautiful was an extremely
successful debut. The show extended for three months, attracting a total of 50,000 visitors, and went on to become one of the most memorable solo shows in LA’s Art history. This was just the beginning.
Mr. Brainwash continued to bring his art all over the world, making his Canadian debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011. Mr. Brainwash’s installations were placed all over the city. They included his signature 8-foot tall spray can sculptures, each one a different film genre, and life-size Canadian Mounties cutouts, armed with boom mics and cameras. In addition, he created all of the Street marketing material for the Grace Kelly TIFF exhibition: “Movie star to Princess”. Everywhere Mr. Brainwash went, he was able to create a pop art conversation with the city he was creating for.
Mr. Brainwash headed back to Miami for Art Basel in 2011 with a new show, Untitled. Occupying the same South Beach space, he constructed a vibrant world of fiberglass sculpture and mixed media canvases. Again, the show was a huge hit, attracting big collectors, worldwide galleries and celebrities, it defines Mr Brainwash as one of the most popular and relevant artist of today.
As the year came to a close, Mr. Brainwash returned to the home of his first solo show, Los Angeles, with Art Show 2011. This show was his biggest yet, taking over an 80,000 square foot building in the center of the city. Each day, thousands of people flocked to see this thrilling monster of a show, which embraced Los Angeles, the epicenter of pop. In addition to being able to attend the show, Mr. Brainwash also gave artists the opportunity to be a part of the show. For the exhibition, he donated over 20,000 square feet of space to showcase donated works from around the globe. Artists were invited to mail in their art or install the artworks themselves.
"life is beautiful"
When the Summer Olympics arrived in 2012, and the whole world had its eye on London, Mr. Brainwash made his UK debut by invading The Old Sorting Post Office, a colossal space, steps from the British Museum. His love of British pop culture icons rang out through the streets, as Mr. Brainwash adorned the side of the Sorting Office with a 6 story tall Queen Elizabeth II, in her coronation attire, holding a Union Jack spray can. The show was a retrospective and a re-interpretation of his classic and iconic images. Large crowds filled the gigantic space each day. It became Mr. Brainwash’s most attended show to date.
By 2013, Mr. Brainwash was truly one of the most in-demand artists, worldwide. He continued to play with pop culture and designed the décor for Seth McFarlane’s exclusive Oscar Party. He adorned the party space with his Rockwell, Botero, and Degas re-imaginations, as well as playful, large-scale sculptures.
2013 also saw Mr. Brainwash’s triumphant return to Art Basel. Taking up residency in Gale South Beach on Collins Avenue, a hotel on one of the most iconic streets in Miami, Mr. Brainwash staged a pop art takeover by installing large-scale oil paintings and sculptures, including a 3 story tall Mona Lisa with a Mohawk.
In addition to the art and film communities, Mr. Brainwash is also an in-demand name in the music industry. He has designed art for the album campaigns of some of the world’s most influential artists: Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Keys, Rick Ross and Michael Jackson’s posthume album Xscape to name a few. In 2012, to celebrate Mr. Brainwash’s London art show, David Guetta played the opening night party. The show also featured a 12 foot tall portrait of David Guetta, done by Mr. Brainwash, which read, “Music is my art.” David Guetta’s music video for Metropolis, directed by Mr. Brainwash and co-produced by Nicky Romero, currently has over 12 million views on Youtube. In 2013, in collaboration with the Hard Rock Hotel, Mr. Brainwash attacked the pulse of the music industry: Coachella. He adorned the festival with towering murals, adding an additional element of surprise and wonder and solidifying his already strong connection to music.
Madonna approached him, again, and asked Mr. Brainwash to take part in another collaboration, this time the opening of her gym, Hard Candy Fitness in Toronto. The Hard Candy Fitness opening featured the live on-site creation of an 11 by 30-foot Madonna mural, designed by Mr. Brainwash.
Mr. Brainwash continued to make his mark on the diverse art and music scenes in 2014, including a colorful, viral performance with pop sensation Rita Ora on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.” Mr. Brainwash also merged his passions for art, music, film and philanthropy by directing a video for “Divine Sorrow,” by Wyclef Jean, featuring Avicii for Coca-Cola and the (RED) campaign, which aims to raise awareness and money for the Global Fund’s efforts to virtually eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Mr. Brainwash also collaborated with Mercedes-Benz for The Evolution Tour, 8 intimate concert experiences, across the country featuring artists such as Alabama Shakes and Mayer Hawthorne. At each stop of the
Evolution Tour, Mr. Brainwash created a one-of-a-kind Mercedes-Benz 2015 GLA in his signature, splashy
In honor of September 11, Mr. Brainwash wanted to show New York the love he had for this special city by creating the biggest mural installation he’s ever attempted. A tribute to the victims of 9/11, the mural covered a full city block, facing the new One World Trade Center. The art piece provided native New Yorkers and tourists the chance to reflect on this tragedy and take pride in the people that make New York such a unique place.
In late 2014, Mr. Brainwash partnered with Swiss luxury watchmaker Hublot for a host of exciting fashion collaborations. To launch the opening of the new Hublot Galerie in Miami’s Design District, Mr. Brainwash created a one-of-a-kind Big Bang Unico timepiece and watch box. Mr. Brainwash was also behind an exclusive installation at Hublot’s Bal Harbour Boutique, in celebration of Miami’s Contemporary Art Week, wrapping the store’s façade in Mr. Brainwash’s vibrant mix of pop art and street art.
Mr. Brainwash’s adventure into fashion continued, collaborating with Sunglass Hut for their Artist Series. The collection was comprised of 250 one-of-a-kind designs rendered on Ray-Ban’s iconic Wayfarer, Clubmaster, Aviator and Round models. The sunglasses were packaged in a unique painted case placed in a custom-made spray can design in
Mr. Brainwash’s signature style. Sunglass Hut’s flagship store, located at 496 Broadway in New York, was taken over by Mr. Brainwash, and featured a mock studio with some of his well-known works.
To celebrate LA Pride, Mr. Brainwash constructed a large heart, out of recycled books and wood and covered in a spectacular shade of bright pink. The sculpture stands over 6 feet tall and is currentlyon display through January 2016 inside the City of West Hollywood’s public library. He also contributed one of his iconic Life is Beautiful sculptures in partnership with the Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission in the City of West Hollywood.
In Fall of 2015, Mr. Brainwash returned to New York City to create another September 11 memorial mural. The mural once again covered the wall of the Century 21 department store, facing One World Trade Center. This colorful and reflective piece proclaimed in giant pink letters “NEW YORK IS BEAUTIFUL,” acting as a beacon for native New Yorkers and tourists alike.
"follow your dreams"
During the Fall of 2015, Mr. Brainwash created an animated video, which occupied Coca-Cola’s world-famous Times Square billboard space, below the Times Square ball. Mr. Brainwash will return to that Times Square space in December 2015, with a new animated video chronicling the company’s rich and storied history with Santa Claus, which started in 1931.
Mr. Brainwash was also a judge for the #MashupCoke project which challenged artists, designers and illustrators around the world to recreate and reimagine the classic glass, contoured, Coca-Cola bottle. Select pieces were featured in The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100, an exhibit at the High Museum in Atlanta. During the exhibition’s run, Mr. Brainwash collaborated with Coca-Cola’s Global Design team and Speto Art to create a canvas 20-feet long, celebrating the bottle’s impact on the history of design.
Mr. Brainwash has also worked closely with Coca-Cola’s project (RED), whose mission is to end the transmission of HIV from moms to their babies, world-wide. Mr. Brainwash created a limited-edition screenprint, with proceeds going to (RED), which featured the iconic rock band, Queen. The print sold out in minutes. Mr. Brainwash collaborated with (RED) again, this time on a music video. “Divine Sorrow,” by Wyclef Jean, featuring Avicii, which was directed by Mr. Brainwash and featured his trademark street art style, with a focus on the mission of (RED).
2016 was an exciting year for Mr. Brainwash. He collaborated with EDM star Kygo for the marketing campaign and album cover of his latest album, “Cloud 9.” Of the many promotional materials created, one was a billboard created for Kygo’s performance at the Barclays Center in New York City.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, Mr. Brainwash unveiled a series of murals at Union Market in Washington, D.C. with First Lady Michelle Obama with the Let Girls Learn event. The Girls’ Lounge, a female leadership group, was the event sponsor and commissioned the Let Girls Learn themed mural.
For Art Basel Hong Kong, Mr. Brainwash set up his own “Life is Beautiful” solo exhibit. MBW teamed up with Lan Kwai Fong, one of Hong Kong’s biggest lifestyle company with investments in restaurants, bars and real estate, to host a cocktail party that ended with a live-painting performance.
Mr. Brainwash was one of 100 artists invited by The Brain Project, a program by the Baycrest Foundation in Toronto, to customize their brain sculpture as a way to raise awareness, support and research into aging and brain health, to be displayed in different venues across Toronto. The public was invited to vote for their favorite designs and the sculptures were sold at an auction with the proceeds going to Baycrest Health Sciences for funding.
During the 2016 Summer Olympics, Mr. Brainwash met with soccer superstar Pelé in Rio de Janeiro. Mr. Brainwash created a special print, for their meeting, depicting Pelé in the middle of one of his iconic bicycle kicks. Pelé, who is considered by many to be the best soccer player of all time, participated in this project with Mr. Brainwash to celebrate the Olympics in his home country. Pelé took the time to sign each print and and stamped his thumbprint on each print, adding an even more personal signature from the hand of a sports legend. He also joined MBW in one of his signature art styles by splattering paint on the artworks, creating this playful collaboration between athletics and art.
2016 also marked the debut of Mr. Brainwash’s spectacular solo shows in Asia. He opened his firstexhibition in South Korea at The ARA Modern Art Museum in Insa-dong, Seoul. Bringing with him some of his classic installations and mixed media artworks as well as some brand new works.
Some of the highlights include a massive 15ft tall wooden AT-AT from the Star Wars movie franchise, a room full of hanging vintage cameras, and a white room splashed with pink paint. Large mixed media murals were also on display showcasing Mr. Brainwash’s iconic artwork and larger then life scope.
Mr. Brainwash collaborated with musicians from the entertainment group YG, the label-home of K-Pop artists Big Bang and 2NE1 to name a couple, to create one of a kind artworks. PSY felt so inspired by Mr.Brainwash’s art that he shot his music video for his latest single, “I Luv It”, during the exhibition.