God save the people: Mr Brainwash Art Exhibition in London

Art cannot be criticized because every mistake is a new creation

If you’ve never heard of Mr Brainwash before, think of him as Banksy’s younger, Frencher brother.

His real name is Thierry Guetta and he’s a street artist from Paris. His big break was back in 2010 when he appeared in Banksy’s documentary Exit through the gift shop and, at the time, there was speculation that Banksy and Mr Brainwash were actually the same person.

I haven’t seen the documentary yet but I’ve heard it’s Banksy’s way of showing that ambition and charisma are just as important as talent is to success. Apparently, the documentary shows how easily influenced we are to jump on the latest bandwagon and, more often than not, the latest craze has no real value.

Mr Brainwash has been quoted as saying that he Banksy’s ‘greatest creation’ so you can’t help but wonder if it’s all a hoax and a great big joke, and we the audience are the butt of it. We’re the ones getting sucked into another craze and, ironically, I can’t help but feel swept up in the new Mr Brainwash craze.

Mr Brainwash has become known for taking famous works of art and giving them a Mr-Brainwash-Make-over. This basically consists of some special Photoshop skills and a splash of Andy Warhol style pop-art. It sounds pretty simple but the exhibits really make you look at art in a completely different way and it even makes you appreciate the original work that bit more.

His latest exhibition is held in the massive Old Sorting Office in London. With 200,000 square foot of floor space to play with, Mr Brainwash certainly had the room to be creative.

Even with all this space, the art work is plastered across the walls outside the building, proudly displaying the cheeky slogan, ‘God Save the People’ as thought our Liz had painted it herself.

Mr Brainwash has been criticzed for having brash, cluttered, unskilled artwork and also because he has a large team of artists and graffic designers who do a lot of work for him. But seriously, who could build an 10ft gorilla out of old tyres on their own?

Mr Brainwash might not be able to pick up a paintbrush and create a Michel Angelo style masterpiece but his work is just as impressive in my eyes. It’s just as beautiful, just as inspiring and about 100 times more entertaining.

So if you’re in London and you’ve got an hour to spare, I would definitely recommend checking it out.


  • It’s free!
  • You get a free can of souvenir spray paint, 2 free posters and 3 free postcards.
  • It’s open from 1-7pm Monday-Sunday
  • It’s a short walk from Holborn tube station

Want to find out more?

Mr Brainwash official website

BBC report plus video from the exhibition

Meet Mr Brainwash – an interview in The Standard.

Want to see more?

You can see more Mr Brainwash photos on my Tumblr blog where I post all my iPhone photos.

  1. Jen 9 years ago

    This is so cool! I love the giant “souvenir” taxi xx

    • TheTravelHack 9 years ago

      I know, I love that too! If only I had a shelf big enough to put it on!

  2. John 9 years ago

    Hate to say something like “Thank you for posting this” as it sounds awful, but as I’m in London on Wednesday I will definitely drop in on this exhibition.

    • TheTravelHack 9 years ago

      Hehe, I’m really glad to help 🙂 There’s so much going on in London so it’s hard to know everything that’s worth seeing. I saw your comment on TravMonkey too. It’s on until Wednesday 29th August so you have plenty of time. Hope you enjoy it and have a great time in London.

  3. Jodie Louise 9 years ago

    I’m definitely adding this to my list of things to see before I leave London, abstract art always fascinates me 🙂

    • TheTravelHack 9 years ago

      Me too. I quite often feel like I don’t quite understand it but I love it anyway.

  4. Sandra 9 years ago

    I am going to live in London next week for a year, so I think I’ll have the opportunity to see that 🙂

    • TheTravelHack 9 years ago

      Oh wow, how exciting! What will you be doing in London? The exhibition is only on until August 29th so I hope you make it!

  5. George 9 years ago

    If you watch the documentary this guy is the guy who decided he wanted to film the whole new street art scene. Banksy described him as absolute crap and as having no artistic talent and yet everyone eats him right up. It’s hard to know where to draw the line with art really, what is art? Is this art because it’s artistically pleasing? Maybe, or should he have some sort of meaning behind his “doing what he likes” style. Is it art merely because everyone claims it to be. Who knows?

    • TheTravelHack 9 years ago

      Interesting. When I first went to the exhibition I just saw it as a bunch of cool pictures but there is so much more to it. I really need to watch this film!

  6. Exit Through The Gift Shop - The Best Banksy Movies 9 years ago

    […] but interviews with Fairey refute this. You can now purchase the DVD of Exit Through The Gift Shop.Here are top suppliers of the Banksy Movie 'Exit Through The Gift Shop', Graffiti and Street Art wit…gh-the-gift-shop-12" src="http://banksyart.org/wp-content/uploads/exit-through-the-gift-shop-12.jpg" […]

  7. Wow…pretty cool exhibition. Love the one of Ghandi and Mickey:)

  8. OMG, I absolutely LOVE Banksy! So as soon as I saw your comparison to him on Triberr, I have to check out this post. His art in Israel, particularly by the Bethlehem separation wall, blew my mind when I travel there as I studied abroad in Egypt. Now this guy…

    Mr. brainwash is much tamer or so to speak, but I would still love to see his street art. I can’t believe I missed it the 3-4 times I’ve been in London! Thanks for bringing him to my attention, great great post 😀

    – Maria Alexandra

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  10. Daniel McBane 9 years ago

    I love the evilly grinning queen. And is the gorilla in the picture the one built out of tires (notice the “correct” spelling…)? If so, I would have never guessed that.

  11. Turtle 9 years ago

    Damn! Can’t believed I missed this when I was in London. I love this kind of artwork.
    And, yes, they could quite possibly be the same person…. Dum dum dummmmmm!

  12. I came here after reading your London summer festivals and street arts article. I must say, these are some funky creations. He may get help to do certain things but I think it’s the idea and visualization that produce the great art. I keep missing these exhibitions 🙂

  13. Ayngelina 9 years ago

    I have seen that documentary and I am all over going to this exhibit when I land in London next month. Great tip!

  14. Arianwen 9 years ago

    This looks really cool. I saw that documentary. It was really weird, but definitely worth watching!

  15. Interesting art exhibit. I’m a fan of Gandhi piece 🙂

  16. Roni Weiss 9 years ago

    You have to see the doc. It’ll explain a lot.

  17. […] who experiments with street art. I also headed to Kent for a ‘Literatour’.A Weekend in KentGod Save the People: Mr Brainwash Art ExhibitionI also went to Portugal in August and spent some time exploring the gorgeous city of Porto and the […]

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