The movie heavily features Thierry Guetta – a Frenchman living in LA, travelling the world and filming famous street artists doing their thing. In the second half of the movie Thierry, within 6 months, turns into a successful street artist himself with the tag name Mr. Brainwash (MBW). He launches with a show called Life is Beautiful.
Here are a few marketing tips regarding building hype for his show I got from watching this movie.
Mr Brainwash spent years following leading street artists filming their art such as Shepard Fairey (Obey) and Banksy. Over that time he watched and learnt how they made their art and then translated their technique and talent into his own.
Mr. Brainwash borrows and mixes ideas from famous and historic art. Warhol’s Tomato Soup can becomes a spray can. Shephard Fairey’s ‘Obey’ poster work is morphed into a self portrait of Mr Brainwash himself (pictured above).
Guetta states himself that his work consists of simply “scanning and photoshopping” and in the movie you seen a team of graphic designers helping make his art come to life. This is completely OK and famous artists today are renowned for hiring factory like teams of professionals to help produce their work.
The whole premise of street art is finding high exposure places where people can see your work. Mr Brainwash goes all over New York and LA tagging walls with his style of poster art.
Before the opening of Life is Beautiful, Mr Brainwash asks for quotes from his friends – two of the most famous street artists in the world. He uses the quotes as testimonials for his show and supplies publications with these awesome sound bites.
Shepard Fairey said:
“Mr. Brainwash is an enigma. I want to hug him one second and smack him the next. He is awesome, infuriating, almost impossible to define, but if an artist is defined by relentless, obsessive passion, then MBW is definitely an artist.”
“Mr. Brainwash is a force of nature, he’s a phenomenon. And I don’t mean that in a good way.”
The week before the opening of Life is Beautiful, Mr Brainwash scores the cover of LA Weekly. It has a circulation of over 190k. That’s a hell of a lot of impressions for ‘free’.
Most artists start small and work their way up to success and recognition – this was not the path for Mr Brainwash. He rented 125,0000 square feet of space in the form of a disused CBS studio. He cleared the interior of the studio and launched with over 100 pieces of original art.
His launch party had a live jazz band, bar and DJ’s including Shepard Fairey.
People love a freebee. MBW chose to give away an original piece of art to the first 400 people that came to the show.
7000 people came to see his show, he made over a million US dollars in sales and a prolific artist was born.
Author: Christine Bridge