The secret origin of Exit Through the Gift Shop revealed


Back in good ol’ 2010, street art documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop was making headlines for the controversy surrounding it’s authenticity. Essentially, some people didn’t believe that the convoluted story of Thierry Guetta’s magical transformation from wannabe-artist punk to million dollar street artist could be real.

Well new stories have surfaced around the origin of the documentary, by way of artist Ron English, who has ties to Banksy and his crew. Check out below the jump for the details!

[Via /Film]

English said in a recent interview:

Here’s what actually happened: When we first met Thierry, he was supposed to be making a movie about Shepard. He was filming Shepard all the time, wherever he went. They made a deal, 50/50, we’ll make a movie. They shot for five years doing this, Shepard in his Spiderman prime, leaping off buildings and stuff. At the end of five years, Shepard says “Alright, let’s put the movie together,” and Thierry said “I’m not giving you the footage.” He’s actually quite smart and can be a little devious-he figured “I just took away five years of your fame,” because in his heart, Thierry always wanted to be the artist. He figured he was messing up his competition, in a way, and holding onto valuable footage. Shepard didn’t quite know what to do and filed a lawsuit against Thierry.

English goes on to say:

Then Banksy figured “I’m in the same situation, he has tons of footage for me.” He had some of the only footage of Banksy where you could actually see who he was. So he calls up Thierry and said “I’m sending you a first-class ticket to London, get on the plane, I have to talk to you.” That’s when he told Thierry that he would make a movie about him instead, in exchange for the footage, which Thierry turned over to Banksy. That’s when they realized that the footage wasn’t nearly what they thought it might be, but it turns out they did get a different sort of treasure trove, because you’ve got a portrait of this weird guy, Thierry.

There are a few other interesting tidbits in the interview, such as the fact that Guetta has a bunch of real estate in Los Angeles that he used to let street artists paint on in exchange for filming them, and the fact that Guetta’s filming didn’t really turn out the way that Banksy had expected it to. English said “Banksy first thought that Thierry had a collection of the greatest street art footage ever filmed, that all these major moments had been captured, but when they looked at the footage they said ‘he had the camera pointed the wrong way almost every time.'”

However, at this time these facts remain unverified, so while the whole thing seems pretty clear to me, I’m sure some people out there will be holding onto their conspiracy theories.