Mr. Brainwash Talks Fashion, New Documentary And Upcoming Art Projects

French artist Thierry Guetta, best known as his art moniker Mr. Brainwash, is no stranger to immortalizing pop culture in his artwork. The Los Angeles-based artist, who was discovered by Banksy, saw a surge of interest with his recent portrait of King Charles III, which was released for the Coronation, and has collaborated with Madonna and Rick Ross on album covers, not to mention hosting a charity project with Michelle Obama for International Women’s Day. His artwork is collected by Al Pacino, Rihanna, Lionel Richie and he famously painted a portrait of LVMH chief, Bernard Arnault.

Now, Mr. Brainwash is hosting an event at Clarendon Fine Art in Westport, CT, on February 1 (a day after his 58th birthday). “It’s a new year, it’s 2024, we’re moving forward,” said Guetta. “This year is going to be a beautiful year. Every year is a beautiful year, but 2024 is going to be an incredible year.”

He will be unveiling new artworks. The artist says it’s a surprise. “It will be something that’s going to stay forever and something that’s fun.”

Over his decades-long career, he has drawn inspiration from the music world (portraits of Bob Marley and Bob Dylan), celebrities (his portrait of Marilyn Monroe as the queen remains a standout), and movie icons (like Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in the Suicide Squad). But one key, underlying influence is fashion, especially having grown up in a fashion capital like Paris. He has painted portraits of iconic supermodels like Kate Moss.

With the arsenal of fashion weeks coming up this season, fashion is often on his mind. “Fashion is part of the culture we’re living in, in the world of brainwashing,” said Guetta. “Fashion is a lot of brainwashing and it’s about people being able to create a look from different countries and sharing together the culture of fashion.”

The artist has worked with brands like Ray-Ban (it makes sense considering his portrait of the Queen has her wearing a pair of aviators), Levi’s and Nike, as he designed a hand-painted pair of sneakers that paid homage to DJ AM. He also collaborated with the French department store Printemps for a Michael Kors window display during Paris Fashion Week.

“Fashion is part of everybody’s world; it’s a cult,” he said. “I feel that having fashion with art is something that works together because people who make fashion are artists. They create something as art for you to wear. I feel that both can live together.”

When asked who the biggest fashion icon is, Guetta can’t decide. “There are so many, and each one has an exclusivity of touch and something incredible,” he said. “I feel that it’s too early for me to tell.”

Clarendon Fine Art has 80 locations across the US and the UK, and their Westport location is their first in the US. Guetta’s event on February 1 not only marks his post-birthday celebration, but the gallery’s one year anniversary at their Westport location, as well.

The gallery was first founded in 2010 by Helen Swaby, who wanted to make an art collector-friendly gallery for both beginner collectors and seasoned buyers. It was born out of her own experience of art collecting, finding that London art galleries can be frosty to new buyers. She wanted to open it up, and Clarendon Fine Art is now known for offering top-rate service for art collectors, something the art world needs.

Among the new works by Mr. Brainwash, the gallery will feature a new sculpture, alongside exclusive limited-edition silkscreens. The silkscreens riff off well-known art history pieces, from Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, to Andy Warhol pieces, whether it’s his Hibiscus-inspired Flowers of 1964 or his Campbell’s Soup tin from 1962.Next up, Guetta is going to keep the Mr. Brainwash Art Museum open for another year in Los Angeles. He is also working on a documentary that will come out later this year, but the details are under wraps. Guetta is also planning on unveiling a project at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. His favorite decade for car design is the 1950s. “They were making extraordinary cars in America back then, the shapes and colors were really making cars art,” he said.

Guetta is an eternal optimist. “I’m very grateful and thankful for all these adventures that are going to happen this year,” he said. “My goal is to take the year of 2024 and make it the best I can make it and to get the most out of it. I dream things and I make them happen. I want to bring a lot of love and happiness to everyone.”

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