June 6th, 2012: Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)
Living in New York City, I have seen my fair share of street art. This rapidly growing movement is incredible when punctuated properly and I really appreciate the different ways people approach the medium. Exit Through the Gift shop is a documentary that stands apart from many others exploring the field as it is made by one of it’s pioneers: Banksy. As such, there is a unique feel to the entire film that makes you see the heart of the people involved. It’s relatively fun and while many people aren’t quite sure if it’s a mockumentary, I will say that it is a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously and understands that sometimes you have to be able to laugh at yourself in order to make it through people and their bizarre nature.
Best Part: I really dug the insight into the way a street artist finds a project and builds a name for themselves. My favorite segments of the film were those featuring Shepard Fairey and his continued attempts to shock and awe the world around him with his art. It is no small coincidence that I am a huge fan of his art, as I found the insight helpful in not only understanding his work, but appreciating it.
Worst Part: I did not like Mr. Brainwash a whole lot. He seemed to be somebody who needed to figure out the path his life was going to take and he continually stalled to accomplish this. When he finally does realize what he wants to do, he takes stupid risks and exploits those around him to elevate generic art to a higher level. I don’t hate Thierry, but I didn’t like him by the end.
Side Note: My stance on Mr. Brainwash is this: He does make art, however it is not good. Anybody can make art in it’s truest form, but since Thierry mimics so many artists for his style while also using others to make the pieces, his work does not have a lot of value. If he had taken the time to discover his own particular flair instead of copying and pasting others work, I would respect him much more.
Overall: 9 out of 10. A fantastic documentary worth watching again and again.