“Exit Through the Gift Shop” is a thought provoking film about what is art, and what is imitation. The movie features the story of Thierry Guetta, a video tapping addict that becomes a self-proclaimed street artist. “Exit Through the Gift Shop” is not just about the life of Thierry; it is about street art as a passion. The film questions whether Thierry is insane. He starts carrying a camera with him everywhere and filming every aspect of his life. His fixation with video tapping leads to recording street artists.
It starts with his cousin, the Invader, who posts space invader mosaics all over the streets. Later, Thierry meets Shepard Fairey and starts filming his street art. Thierry follows Shepard on trips and films him creating his art. He tells Shepard and all the other artists that he films that he is making a street art documentary. Thierry has no real talent. He is just a guy obsessed with recording everything with his video camera that never really intends on making a street art documentary. Thierry became obsessed with the arriving street artist Banksy.
He is determined to find the street artist that never shows his face. One day, Thierry receives a call that Banksy asked for Thierry to record his street art. Banksy says that he “needed someone who knew how to work a camera. ” Thierry records Banksy’s works and after a while is forced to sit down and make the “documentary” he promised all the street artists. Banksy admits that the movie suckes, therefore, Banksy sends Thierry off to post some of his own works on the streets. It is then that Thierry turns from a recording addict, to a street art addict.
It is a question as to whether Thierry is a real artist or just another fake? Thierry skips the journey into becoming a street artist, and jumps head first into opening one of the biggest street art events. Banksy got word of the event and sends some of his guys over to help. Thierry is not a very active part in this gallery. It is as if everyone else is doing the work, and he gets the credit. Thierry finds inspiration from already existing art and uses Photoshop to create new works. His art serves as nothing more than pieces to please the eye.
His works even have Banksy and Shepard questioning whether art is real. Art is defined as a work of human imagination, but it is so much more than just a picture someone produces. Art has meaning and makes people feel a certain way. In order for a piece to truly be considered art, there has to be some sort of though provoking mechanism. Thierry makes art about the money, but as Banksy states “it’s not about the money. ” Art is having something to say, and saying it through an image. The question still remains, is art real or just an illusion?
Maybe art is all about what each person wants art to be. There are movies that do not require though, so why should any other type of art be different. Some things are just pretty objects used to escape life, while others provide an opportunity to examine it. “Exit Through the Gift Shop” reveals these two polar sides of art; Thierry’s eye pleasing works as well as Banksy’s and Shepard’s works of thought. The movie itself is an artwork filled with thought and passion that questions what it truly means to be a work of art; a question that is only answered through opinionated individuals.