March 2, 2010
That Banksy Street Art Movie.
‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ is a documentary produced by the elusive king monkey of graffiti himself, Banksy. Promoted with the tagline ‘The Worlds First Street Art Disaster Movie’, it’s an intruiging look into the closely guarded world of urban artists.
Instigated by Thierry Guetta, a mentalist guerrilla French filmmaker, the organic filming process followed various artists across the world using, to be polite, a fly by the seat of your pants approach.
Guetta finally tracked Banksy down and persuaded him through sheer persistence (and crazy man antics) to be part of the project. Banksy has been both denounced as a vandal and celebrated as iconoclast, agitator and instigator of artistic debate. When it came to watching the footage back however, it transpired that Guetta had been slightly too random and anarchic in his techniques, the result of which wasn’t a film but an incoherent jumble of great images that lacked any discernable narrative structure.
But Banksy saw something in the raw footage and collaborated with Guetta to make his own film. As street art is site specific and by its nature, temporal, the only way to preserve it for posterity is through the photographic image and as such this film is really the first of its kind. Watching these guys in action is adrenaline pumping stuff as they skulk about in the dead of night with faces obscured, get chased and casually perform death defying stunts in order to get their pieces done. This is committed shit.
Banksy himself has been criticised for ‘selling out’ but many don’t realise that the quietly spoken Bristolian (by all accounts) has made no revenue over the merchandise that is sold in his name nor through many of the galleries that purport to sell his work.
He recently gave a long interview to the Sunday Times through an elaborate slew of emails as he still refuses to divulge his identity. Cynics view this as a publicity stunt, presuming it’s all about myth building. But in practical terms, were he to expose his real identity he would be setting himself up to a barrage of vandalism charges.
As street art remains unendorsed by official organisations, it’s the one truly remaining democratic art form unbastardised by the capitalist art market. It encourages free speech and satirical comment, engenders surprise and often inspires laughter. Blek le Rat would be proud.
Source: Clash Music
Keeping tabs on the art of product promotion with this occasional ’stunt of the day’ blog ….