September 1, 2011
Well, the studio of an unprepossessing Los Angeles highway seems real – with its vivid exterior mural of two boys, one on the other’s shoulders, painting the words, ‘Never never give up’, above a riot of spilled paint. Inside the studio the artist himself is splattered with more paint (even his beard and sunglasses) and he seems real, despite rumours to the contrary. Mr Brainwash, aka Thierry Guetta, says he delights in mothers photographing the mural to show their children. ‘I never give up and never will give up,’ he growls more than once.
Guetta, who is French, has found his calling – ‘street pop art’, he calls it – and he isn’t planning to stop any time soon.
His pieces, which sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars, include reworked images of a Madonna album cover, Britney Spears with shaved head and lipstick, the Dalai Lama with sunglasses, Barack Obama as Superman, the Mona Lisa in a denim jacket and a morphed picture of Kate Moss and Brigitte Bardot, as well as a giant rubber Mickey Mouse. Inspired by Azerbaijan and Baku, he created one of his trademark collages, complete with references, titled The Colour of Love, which is published exclusively in this first issue of Baku magazine.
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