Can Anyone be an Artist? Banksy vs. Mr. Brainwash.

Via Diana Mercer
on May 24, 2011
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Exit Through the Gift Shop began for me as a mind-expanding dialogue about art, its meaning, and the role of the artists who create it. The Oscar nominated film chronicles the path of an eccentric shopkeeper (and wannabe artist’s) rise to stardom in a alarmingly superficial art world where his supporters seem to be following the herd rather than thinking for themselves.

As an art egalitarian, I believe everyone has the potential to express themselves meaningfully and creatively, and that we carry a responsibility to think deeply about the issues brought up by art and culture. I have also believed that one needn’t have a Picasso-sized talent to do so.

This film turned me all on my head. What do you believe about your inner artist? Do you have one? What makes an artist?


About Diana Mercer

I've been delighting in and learning from children for almost 20 years as a teacher, and former owner of Clementine Studio: Art Space for Children. I love to watch a child's spirit emerge and develop through the process of art. I'm also a big fan of stilling my mind with yoga, meditation, and the art of mindfulness, cooking up a fresh, local and organic dinner from the Farmer's Market, making sweet music with my friends, and baking fancy birthday cakes.


3 Responses to “Can Anyone be an Artist? Banksy vs. Mr. Brainwash.”

  1. diana says:

    loved your thoughts ari. whether the story about mbw is true, or an elaborate construction, the challenge for me is not to go to the "he's a phony rip-off" place. like you said…who am I to judge? its a creative process, whatever he's doing…

  2. Jen says:

    I have not seen the movie, but am anxious to do so! I truly believe everyone is an artist. It is so important to express ourselves, whether it is through movent, paintiing, singing, or drawing. In "1,000 journals" , the narrator makes an exelent point that if you go into a Kindergarten class and ask who is an artist, every single kid will raise their hand. This number dwindles as children enter middle and high school, and if you were to ask a room full of adults if anyone was an artist, the majority would laugh and say that they could not draw a straight line. As we get older, we become SO self critical and so self censoring! We need to let our ego go and just express ourselves.

  3. Dani says:

    I think that there are "artist" and then there are "true artist." I saw the film and thought it was quite interesting in many different ways..sociological, psychological, artistic, etc. In my opinion Banksy is a true artist…. because he is original, he paves the way for others, his statements are original and he puts deep thought into what he wants to express with his art. On the other hand, Mr. Brainwash.. well.. it was like he got into the inside world of these secret artists in their secret underworld –performing at night in hidden places on the edge. He lied to be with them to say that he was working on a documentary and he was a film maker… I mean if he had actually made the film —-and well –he could have really become an artist for his original documentary! But he wasn´t either an artist or film maker at heart… Instead he took the artist route.. which was not based on anything original –isntead he used all of the techniques that he had learned from being with the "true artists" the ones with originality! He used their ideas and techniques, and other ideas from other artists to create his "own" art… which in my opinion was all a bit "cliché." I thought that everything he did was very unoriginal and it seemed like he used all the orginal artists to get to where he got…