Thierry Guetta, best known by his moniker Mr. Brainwash, is a French-born, Los Angeles-based street artist. According to the 2010 Banksy-directed film Exit Through the Gift Shop, Guetta was a proprietor of a used clothing store, and amateur videographer who was first introduced to street art by his cousin, the street artist Invader, and who filmed street artists through the 2000s and became an artist in his own right in a matter of weeks after an off-hand suggestion from Banksy.
Guetta’s uniformly subversive style fuses historic pop imagery and contemporary cultural iconography to create his version of a pop–graffiti art hybrid first popularized by other street artists. Working primarily with layers of screenprint and stenciled images, his compositions are emblematic of a graffiti wall inundated with 20th century iconography. He is both sly and playful in his juxtaposition of the cultural idols of the past (Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe) with contemporary icons (Kate Moss, Madonna). The vibrant palette and imitation of pop artists like Andy Warhol and Keith Haring add a puckish wink. To add to his intentionally derivative persona, Guetta uses a special signature and authentication on all of his artworks. All unique MBW artworks have his mantra “Life Is Beautiful”, his thumbprint, hand-signature, and assigned dollar bill number sequence.