Shalom Life | April 16, 2014

All the World's a Canvas - Profiling Jewish Street Artists

Mr. Brainwash, Broken Fingaz and JR are making this world a more beautiful place

By: David Shear

Published: November 9th, 2012 in Culture » Art » News

All the World's a Canvas - Profiling Jewish Street Artists

Street artists are known for valuing their anonymity, for fear of getting arrested. Their art - whether it’s created by stencils, photography, LEDs, stickers, street installations or spray paint - is often beautiful and carries a strong political message, but is presented on private property, and often without permission.

This lack of information makes it difficult to find out the most minuet personal details about the most famous street artists but we were able to find three world-class artists with Jewish background representing the most powerful artistic platform for reaching the public.

Mr. Brainwash


The most polarizing of the three artists featured, Mr. Brainwash is the nickname of Paris born, Los Angeles based filmmaker and street artist Thierry Guetta.

MBW, as his name is often stylized, first hit the public scene in the Banksy-directed film Exit Through the Gift Shop, where MBW started off as Mr. Guetta, a clothing store owner and rabid videographer who would film everything happening around him at all times. This passion for filming led him to meet Banksy, one of the world’s most famous street artists, and eventually, through his time spent with Banksy and a suggestion made by the artist, Guetta took up the moniker MBW and became an artist himself.


Madonna mural, Los Angeles

The polarization of MBW mostly comes form the film, which depicts a person who knows little about art but does know how to market himself. Sadly, that can be said about many successful artists today, so MBW is not alone. What MBW does know is what people like, and although he is rarely involved in the physical creation of the pieces, he does provide the ideas to his team of artists and graphic designers who take those ideas and make them reality.

And that reality often translates into beautiful art. Mostly pop-culture infused, not overly political, but often cheeky and playful, MBW uses cultural icons like Einstein, Superman, Chaplin and Bob Marley and mixes them with Warhol-ian like, new media styles to create pieces that are fetching in the six figures.


Charlie Chaplin 'Life is Beautiful'

While MBW’s real name is known, many have speculated that MBW is nothing more than a hoax, a prank brought on by Banksy himself. Others have even gone as far as to speculate that MBW is in fact Banksy, since his face and voice have never been made public. What is for sure, is that MBW has now become an international star, for better or worse, and is the most well known Jewish street artist in the world.

Click next to read about Broken Fingaz and JR

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