29 September 2010

The Wonderful World of Street Art

Exit Through The Gift Shop – Banksy

This film has been on my one to watch list for pretty much most of the year since seeing the trailer in February/March time and i was instantly dumbfounded that a documentary like this hasn’t been made. It’s about a subject which has only been celebrated in the last ten years or so moving on from graffiti which offended people into it becoming an art form where people would pay for pieces of it for their own collection. The art form has come on leaps and bounds from when it first started appearing over the major cities in the world, especially in the US and London, where “criminals” would ruin walls or advertisements with writing or names which looked horrible and had no meaning behind it other than against the establishment. But now, because of the freedom of speech and the way these artists deal with current issues, many people believe in the guerrilla style tactics of artistic freedom which includes the images being placed around cities in any location they want. One of the main artists to emerge from this was the British born Banksy, an artist who led the graffiti art movement and someone who has made their name present in the press on many occasions with his wild antics like placing his own paintings in the National History Museum and stencilling political images around the streets of London. Now moving into a different medium, the legendary and unknown artist Banksy showcases a different form of art, creating a wonderful and genuinely interesting documentary about a guy who wanted to make his own documentary about the movement but couldn’t create a final piece. The story seems confused but it’s funny how real it feels in how a French guy wanted to film these graffiti artists at work and wanted to capture Banksy, but it was Banksy that ended up making a film about the French cameraman who feels in love with the art.

Using candid interviews with artists and friends of Thierry Guetta aka Mr Brainwash, along with an interview with the man himself, Guetta is portrayed as both a graffiti fanboy and a madman hell bent on what he wants to create. By the end of the film, you really see the transition from someone just merely interested in capturing the graffiti act into someone who wants to become the best in the world. Banksy also appears throughout to shed light on Guetta and his antics, using a weird voice and being blacked out, the mystery still remains. The voice over is narrated by Rhys Ifans and its informative and polite and works well with the images on screen. Some of the footage will blow you away and it’s truly amazing to see, an activity which is generally kept secret and not filmed being open to the eyes of the audience.

Being interested in this field, this film would seem to highlight the greats at work and would showcase a new side to what many people call “vandalism”. It’s a great pace, always interesting and offers new information about graffiti art. A great documentary that deserves a large following behind it.


Simon Childs

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