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Documentary follows Banksy and graffiti artists

Jennahway Huerta
Staff Writer

Legendary graffiti artist Banksy has captured a secretive and humorous inside look about the underground world of street art and its artists.

Banksy’s film, “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” allows the viewer to gain different perspectives on the creative works of the street artists.

The film follows an eccentric filmmaker in Los Angeles named Thierry Guetta.

Guetta was introduced to the scene through his cousin, who is called, Space Invader.

Guetta set out to record this unknown street art world. For over eight years he explored the world meeting graffiti artists and captured their infamous vandalism.

He would capture scenes like Banksy and Shepard Fairey working in alleys and dangerous rooftops which generally took place late at night.

It was not until meeting Banksy when things began to have an unexpected twist.

“Exit Through the Gift Shop” exposes intriguing street art perspectives.

The film takes the viewer on a roller-coaster ride of unexpected situations.

Banksy is a British stencil artist with a global reputation who always hides his identity, especially from the camera.

His biggest fear is getting in trouble for displaying his dangerous visual stunts. When interviewed he wears a dark hoodie with his face blacked out and his voice distorted.

“Exit Through the Gift Shop” has brought insight on street art elements. Street art has established itself as the most significant cultural art movement of this generation. The street art captured in the exhibits are remarkable. It has become part of our culture and has a twisted meaning to it. Everyone has their own interpretation of the art and the film.

If a person enjoys art, they will appreciate the creation process. The film uncovers the artists’ creativity and shows the artist spraying the paint or stenciling the image and magically it transforms canvas and walls into remarkable art.

There has been controversy of whether this new form of art is acceptable.

In this case, for many, there is a gray area.

It is a gray area because it is art work. A meaning of expression is allowed, but at the same time creating these images on other people’s property is considered vandalism.

The film captures incidents where the artists conflict with the law. Police officers get involved when they come across artists displaying their work which may include posters, stickers, stencils and more. This is why many artists try to maintain a low profile while they are working.

Overall, Banksy’s film has done extremely well. It has received many awards and was a sensation at the Sundance Film Festival.

“Exit Through the Gift Shop” is even nominated for Best Documentary for the 2011 Academy Awards. On Sunday many hope to see if Banksy receives an Oscar for this documentary.

Jennahway Huerta can be reached at jennahway.huerta@laverne.edu.

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