The Academy Award nominations were released today and the film “Exit Through the Gift Shop” was among one nominated for best documentaries. Reading this made me so happy and provoked many questions in my little brain, much like the movie itself did. If you have no idea what I’m referencing to with this movie, first of all, SEE IT, and second, here’s a quick synopsis straight from the movie’s website: “This is the inside story of Street Art – a brutal and revealing account of what happens when fame, money and vandalism collide. Exit Through the Gift Shop follows an eccentric shop-keeper turned amateur film-maker as he attempts to capture many of the world’s most infamous vandals on camera, only to have a British stencil artist named Banksy turn the camcorder back on its owner with wildly unexpected results.
One of the most provocative films about art ever made, Exit Through the Gift Shop is a fascinating study of low-level criminality, comradeship and incompetence. By turns shocking, hilarious and absurd, this is an enthralling modern-day fairytale… with bolt cutters.”
Okay, so it’s a Banksy film and what I believe to be a master Banksy manipulation, a great achievement in the world of guerilla marketing. Banksy is like a rainbow. We can all see the beauty of refracted light arcing in the sky, but we can’t touch it, we can’t find it, it has no real tangible existence or location besides the bits of light left above us. We can all see Banky’s art, but he’s invisible, unknowable, hidden from our curious and greedy eyes. In an age where most everyone promotes themselves via Facebook, Twitter, Yotube, etc., Banksy is a true revolutionary, an individual who doesn’t quite care is what we think about his chosen anonymity. With all these celebrities that abound in our culture, people who actually do nothing and are famous for some reason unknown to me, pandering to the masses through glossy magazine covers and reality shows (again, about nothing), Banksy is more than refreshing. He is a breath of fresh air, seemingly dedicated to the art which has made him famous and out to make a point about our self-obsessed, fame driven, and, to be a bit blunt, empty culture. I’m not claiming to be above it all by any means, on the contrary, I watch these kind of movies to remind myself that all that glitters is not gold. He’s one of those people that I would love to know and be friends with, even though he’d probably hate me seeing that he’s anti-capitalism and anti-establishment. And I am a free trader in the capitalist market and run my own establishment. He’s not much into people advertising themselves and I send out a postcard monthly with my mug bright and glossy on it to show the world. Still, maybe he’d see past all this and get to know me on an inner level. On my wanna-be street guerrilla level. In any case, I’d love to know him and pick his brilliant brain. Not that I agree with everything Banksy says, does, or stands for, however, I do respect his uniqueness and vision. He seems a very interesting fellow, perhaps made more intriguing by the fact that no one in the media sees him or knows him.
I suppose the fact is that we will never know Banksy beyond what he wants us to know. His mystery is part of his magic and he’s no dummy, he likely will never give himself up. Wouldn’t it be wild if his film won at the Oscar’s and he showed up?! Don’t laugh, dreaming never hurt anyone! In any case, I applaud Banksy for his effort to show us all something we otherwise would not have seen. Here’s to your first Oscar Banksy!