MBW (Mr. Brainwash) is an awesome street artist, and is definitely right up there along Obey aka Shepard Fairey, Banksy, BAST, and others. The other day, I ran into some of his pieces in SoHo by accident and flicked it up via iPhone. In my head, I was like I hope this don't come down or get painted the next day, so I went back the following day with my camera and BOOOOOOM MBW just hit the same spot with more eye candy.
Shepard Fairey on MBW:
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. Which kind of artist though? When I first met MBW he was a film maker. He started documenting me putting art up on the streets and in galleries back in ‘99. He has hundreds of hours of footage and often risked his neck climbing with a camera to very dangerous spots. MBW’s camera was ALWAYS on… Theoretically MBW is coming out with an OBEY documentary eventually. Somewhere along the way I introduced MBW to Banksy, which seemed to lead him to transition from just a voyeur to a participant, and he began making his own street art. MBW told me he used to paint and had actually sold his art to Michael Jackson years ago. Knowing this art background and his obsessive nature, it does not surprise me how quickly MBW rose to prominence with his street art, becoming one of the most “up” people in LA in a short amount of time. Not all of the work was magnificent, but it improved steadily, reflecting the maxim that practice yields results. Meanwhile, in addition to his street art, as flows logically, MBW was also making canvases and screen prints that could be shown in a gallery. In his usual style, MBW could not just do a small art show, he had to go completely over the top and put together one of the largest, most ambitious, non-museum shows I can think of (more detailed description below). Of course nothing can go smoothly with MBW and over the weekend he wrecked his car and fell off a billboard breaking his foot. A less insane person would have postponed their art show, but he instead postponed his foot surgery and is continuing work. With the ambition and commitment MBW has, I’m pretty sure he’ll pull the show off, but if he doesn’t, to paraphrase Malcolm Mclaren, a glorious failure is better than an underwhelming success. I will be playing records and a jazz band will perform, so it is going to be a good party.
BANKSY on MBW:
MBW has spent the last nine years attempting to make the ultimate documentary about graffiti art. But whilst filming many of the world’s most renowned street artists at work MBW began putting his camera aside and making art of his own. He has graduated from a few hand drawn stickers to giant billboard sized paste-ups, eventually becoming one of the most prolific street artists in California.
MBW does not fit the stereotype of your average street vandal. His artistic process chiefly consists of throwing random modern cultural icons into a blender and turning it up to eleven. The results are by turns profound, provocative and inspirational.
“Life is beautiful” is the first exhibition ever mounted by Mr Brainwash. It takes place in a former Hollywood studio complex and will feature over three hundred paintings, sculptures and prints alongside an installation made from 100,000 shoes and a life-size re-creation of Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks”.
“Mr. Brainwash is a force of nature, he’s a phenomenon. And I don?t mean that in a good way.”
MBW's website is www.artshow2008.com
Quotes from Shepard Fairley & Banksy via ObeyGiant