Meet Hijack, the Street Artist Spawn of Mr. Brainwash, Who Wants to Save the World Through Art

The 27-year-old's new show in Malibu has something to do with climate change.

Hijack, "The Toppling Effect" (2019). Courtesy of the artist.

There’s been a lot of debate lately over the rise of KAWS and the mainstreaming of street art. If that sort of thing excites (or infuriates) you, here’s something that might push you over the edge: Mr. Brainwash has a son. He is 27, and his name is Hijack. Hijack has an art show in Malibu, in a gallery space at the Malibu Country Mart mall. The art show is called Eco-Librium (short for “ecological equilibrium”). According to a press announcement for the exhibition, Eco-Librium “attempts to bring awareness to the precariousness of our ecosystems worldwide and how they are being affected by both climate change and political policies.”

The promotional campaign for “Eco-Librium” includes a large graffiti mural, which shows a man in a suit on a tightrope, carrying a scale to balance him as he walks. On one side of the scale appears to be a tree. On the other side of the scale is a pile of green American bills. The man is blindfolded. This is all painted against a pink background. This flyer is on Hijack’s Instagram, @hijackart. It has 782 likes (at the time of publication).

Another image on Hijack’s Instagram shows a tiny man with a clothespin standing on a ladder underneath a line of laundry that is hanging to dry (or it’s a regular-sized man with a giant clothespin; it’s unclear). The Instagram post is a slideshow. Another image in the slideshow is a screenshot of the definition of “dirty laundry.” It reads:

“Definition of dirty laundry. : private matters whose public exposure brings distress and embarrassment. — called also dirty linen. [sic]”

Underneath the post, Hijack has written, “Don’t snip that line!! Instead, air out your dirty laundry. Our future hangs in the balance.”

One image in the show, The Toppling Effect, depicts two men wearing suits and pork pie hats hunched over a game of Giant Jenga, with the Earth perched on top of the teetering blocks. “The lack of seriousness nearly half the country has with issues like climate change makes me feel like we’re playing a cynical game with our future. A game where each block removed creates a progressively more unstable structure thereby leaving our planet in the most precarious of situations,” the artist pontificates in a press statement about the 7-foot by 5-foot painting.

An unspecified percentage of the proceeds of the sales of Hijack’s show—which will likely sell out, if his father’s art shows are any indication—will go to the Surfrider Foundation, “whose mission is to protect our local ocean, waves, and beaches.”

Hijack, as mentioned, is Mr. Brainwash’s son. Mr. Brainwash (a.k.a. Thierry Guetta) became famous after appearing in Exit Through the Gift Shop, a film about Banksy that Mr. Brainwash hijacks. Hijack’s art looks quite a lot like his father’s, which in turn looks quite a lot like Banksy’s—it’s a chain of influence that I’m sure someone can be proud of. Hijack (a.k.a. Jacques Guetta) uses similar stenciled, black, silhouetted characters, and he has the same tendency for pithy text: a stencil of a toddler writing on the wall, “YOu’Re NEvER ToO YouNG To dReam BIG”; a helicopter carrying a figure holding onto a rope with the words “THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT” in dripping paint next to it.

“Hijack’s works are a revelation in street art—imaginative, brilliantly constructed and seen in cultural hot spots all over the globe, from Los Angeles to London,” his publicist crows. “As he’s evolved as an artist, Hijack has crafted a persona, inspired by the spirit of music and the poetry of everyday life.” High praise, indeed. 

Hijack isn’t the only son-of-an artist sowing his own art seeds, of course. Consider Damien Hirst’s 19-year-old spawn Cassius, who has been spray painting on expensive sneakers and selling them to the likes of Virgil Abloh and A$AP Rocky. 

Hijack’s “Eco-Librium” opens on December 1st at 3884 Cross Creek Road in Malibu, California


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