Is it true, or is it fabricated?
As we step ever-closer to the Academy Awards ceremony this Sunday, buzz around Banksy's 'Exit Through the Gift Shop' increases. A documentary crafted by a popular and shrouded graffiti artist known for questioning consumerism with titles like "I can't believe you morons actually buy this," it's easy to question the film's truth. Though the man himself swears the doc is completely true, his social commentary and hands-on influence over the course of the film have led to all manner of debate. Could the subject and Banksy be one in the same? Did it really play out like the documentary revealed? Could it be a cry-wolf type scenario? A real-life creation of the social commentary present in Banksy's artwork?
Now, in his first extended interview since the film was released last year, subject Thierry Guetta is echoing his famously mysterious friend: "This movie is 100% real."
The French filmmaker -- who became absorbed by the art world around him and ultimately had the camera turned on himself when he tried to make Banksy his subject -- talked with the LA Times about his life, and how he became Banksy's "biggest work of art." While the graffiti artist made waves re-framing popular art and using his graffiti to comment on world issues, Guetta was co-opting Looney Tunes characters and making successful fashion pieces with them, something that gave the émigré a career when Warner Bros. decided to make use of his talents. But filming his own life led him to filming street art (once he discovered that a cousin was a graffiti artist), and ultimately, to Banksy.
The man was paid a licensing fee for his footage, and went along with the artist's plan: "'He gives me a brush and a can, and he took the camera,' Guetta said, adding that Banksy went as far as to tell him what month the show should open. 'Go make your own show and have people filming it.'" Now, Guetta's artist alter ego, Mr. Brainwash, continues to boast solo shows, and was commissioned to make cover art for Madonna's "Celebration."
Where does truth end and fiction begin? Let the fight begin in the comments.