Monthly Archives: January 2012

Exit Through The Gift Shop – A real artists take on an art movie

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A Night Out (C) 2012 Jeremy Raglin

 

As an artist and art lover I recently got the opportunity to watch the hit 2011 film: Exit through the Gift Shop. This movie is about the world of street art as seen through the eyes of Thierry Guetta, a former Los Angeles based shop owner turned filmmaker who stumbled upon the underground world of street art and began to document it over a span of almost 10 years.

Underground Excitement

The first hour of the film is excellent as the audience gets a chance to follow Guetta as he travels around the world following street artists as they place their artwork on walls and bridges of cities like Los Angeles, New York, Paris and London.

Thierry Guetta

I admired Thierry Guetta’s desire to document something that nobody had ever seen before and I envied his opportunity to spend countless hours with great street artists like Shepard Fairey and Banksy. Guetta had so many awesome opportunities to literally stick his neck out on a limb with these artists as they sometimes put their personal safety and security on the line for art.

A Long Project

After about 10 years of filming, street artists like Shepard Fairey started asking Guetta what he was going to do with the thousands of hours of film that he’s shot and he responded by creating a documentary: Life Remote Control.

Once Banksy watched his documentary he knew that Thierry Guetta wasn’t a real filmmaker at all, instead he knew the reality that Guetta was just an enthusiastic guy with a camcorder who really loved street art and he didn’t have any real filmmaking talent.

Under the Golden Sunflower (C) 2012 Jeremy Raglin

Banksy did Guetta a favor and took possession of the thousands of hours of tape that he’d shot over the years and the result is the documentary: Exit through the Gift Shop.

Genius or Scam Artist?

The last 45 minutes of the movie chronicle Thierry Guetta as he turned from wannabe filmmaker to an “artist” in his own right. This turn of events happened as Banksy was working on Exit Through The Gift Shop.

No reliable picture of Banksy are known to exist

Banksy encouraged Guetta to “go back to Los Angeles and create art” and this encouragement turned Guetta into a man on a mission.  He ultimately emulated the street artists that he’d been following for years and ended up hiring a crew of other artists to create artwork using his name. Once the artwork was created, Guetta was able to have his first art show which was a huge hit and ultimately ended up producing over $1 million dollars in revenue for him.

A Monster and a Master Marketer

The interesting and crazy thing about the last 45 minutes of this movie is that it shows how one man can build enough hype and establish his name as an artist even if he has no artistic talent to speak of. Almost all of Thierry Guetta’s artwork involves the use of iconic pictures and images that he has his team of workers create into what he calls “art”.

Shepard Fairey with another awesome creation.

I laughed as Banksy and Shepard Fairey lamented the fact that they essentially created Thierry Guetta (aka: Mr. Brainwash) and are a part of the crazy establishment  that jumped at the chance to buy his art even if this guy doesn’t have any real talent at all. But then again, who am I to judge what’s to be considered talent and what’s not? Part of Guetta’s talent is being able to manufacture an art career out of nothing which has given him the opportunity to earn millions of dollars and do other things in the art world like design the cover for one of Madonna’s recent albums.

Hear No Evil (C) 2012 Jeremy Raglin

I wish the movie would have focused more on the streets artist creative process and also on the danger involved with street art. Hopefully some Hollywood producer will create a movie about Shepard Fairey or Banksy that will star Leonardo DiCaprio or some other young Hollywood star.

Every Artists Journey Starts Somewhere

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Oregon (C) 2012 Jeremy Raglin

Every artist got started in the world of art somewhere. For Picasso he started when he was just a little boy, for Matisse he started in his late twenties when due to illness he got started in artwork and his life was changed forever.

As for me, well, my passion for artwork started in 1994 when at the age of 17 I had to take an elective class for my senior year of high school, I decided to choose art over Spanish and I was hooked ever since.

Why Do I Love Art?

Art for me has been the one constant thing in my life that’s traveled with me through the ups and downs of my life and been my companion as I’ve gotten older, married and was blessed with two little girls (now ages 2 and 3).

Tulips (C) 2012 Jeremy Raglin

Now as a thirty something dad with a career, marriage and two kids one would think that it would be the smart thing for me to quit creating art and focus on the tasks of day to day life but funny enough, I’ve never felt the desire to create more than ever before.

Daily Inspiration All Around Me

I’m inspired by things that I see all around me from the sunsets that I enjoy from my home in Nevada to common things around my house. I first got the idea to start creating paintings of everyday objects from Mannny Farber, a great writer and artist who loved adding everyday objects like toy trains into his paintings.

Manny Farber

Once I realized that everything I saw could be a still life I couldn’t stop creating new paintings and felt the drive to work on my artwork even after long days at my job.

Dads Tool Cabinet (C) 2012 Jeremy Raglin

I’ve never shown my artwork to anyone but friends and family members but I am fortunate enough that anyone who’s seen my artwork loves it and has inspired me to continue on.

These days I try to create one new piece of artwork per week and even though space is a premium in a home with two toddlers I still like to create big paintings that my wife loves to hang on the walls of our home.

Arizona (C) 2012 Jeremy Raglin

I hope to one day have the opportunity to show my artwork in a gallery and be able to network with other artists but as for now, I look forward to sharing my work with you on this blog and hopefully connect with other artists around the world.