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.

Monica is the founder and editor of The Travel Hack. She began the blog in 2009 when she left the UK to travel around Asia and Australia for two years. She's now a full time blogger and has travelled around the world in search of the best holidays. Monica lives in Wales with her growing family and now also blogs about travelling with young children!


  • Jen
    August 20, 2012

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

  • John
    August 20, 2012

    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.

  • August 20, 2012

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

  • Sandra
    August 20, 2012

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

  • August 21, 2012

    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?

  • Pingback: Exit Through The Gift Shop - The Best Banksy Movies
    August 22, 2012
  • August 22, 2012

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

  • August 23, 2012

    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

  • August 25, 2012

    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.

  • September 5, 2012

    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!

  • September 27, 2012

    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 🙂

  • October 3, 2012

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

  • October 5, 2012

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

  • October 25, 2012

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

  • November 2, 2012

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


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