Mr. Brainwash writes a $3 million check in the Hollywood Hills

Although the sale has yet to officially close, Yolanda happens to know that a recently-rebuilt house near the northeastern corner of the Hollywood Hills and just above the Cahuenga Pass will soon be sold for the full and strangely-complicated asking price of $2,999,999 (otherwise known as 3 million bucks, of course). The new owner will be a guy named Thierry Guetta, better-known to street art fans globally as Mr. Brainwash.

For all of you might not be familiar, let’s give you the Yolanda’s QuickNotes version of Mr. Thierry/Brainwash’s bio. He is an interesting character, to be sure. Born in France back in 1966, it is believed that he comes from a wealthy family who made their money in commercial Los Angeles real estate or something like that.

Mr. Brainwash — also known as MBW — first came to public attention back in 2008 with a self-financed Hollywood art extravaganza entitled Life is Beautiful. The show — which through extensive hype attracted more than 50,000 visitors and lasted three hot months — made the cover of LA Weekly and also featured the (alleged) endorsement of street art phenoms Banksy and Shepard Fairey.

Then in 2009, the ol’ granny herself (Madonna) made him a bonafide celeb when she paid him to design the cover art for her Celebration album. Now Mr. Brainwash is one of the most bankable living artists in the world.

Here are a few examples of Mr. Brainwash’s work. Mind you, these pieces can trade hands for six figures.

Exit Through the Gift ShopBanksy’s excellent 2010 documentary about Mr. Brainwash, makes it clear that the London-based artist holds a thinly-veiled contempt for his French-American counterpart.

Oddly enough, it has also been widely speculated that Mr. Brainwash may actually be a hoax created by Banksy himself, with Mr. Guetta’s cooperation. Why would Mr. Guetta want to be part of this charade? Why would Banksy feel the need to employ this fellow? Who is Banksy? It’s all very confusing to a simple ol’ gurl like Yolanda.

But really, there’s no debate that Mr. Brainwash has become quite the art world figure, for better or worse. He has more than 800,000 followers on his Instagram doohickey. And he seems to be quite the celebrity magnet. There are photos of him hamming it up with everyone from Pelé and David Beckham to Kendall Jenner and Rihanna to Michelle Obama and the Dalai Lama.

Oh dear. We digress.

Although TMZ recently reported that Mr. Brainwash had filed for divorce from his longtime wife Debora, Yolanda happens to know that the couple are purchasing this property together. Perhaps a reconciliation is nigh.

And as it turns out, this is not the first time Yolanda has discussed this particular property. We wrote a brief piece on it a few months ago when we snarked about its current owner, young entrepreneur Chris “Drama” Pfaff.

chris_pfaff_rob_dyrdek
Chris “Drama” Pfaff and his (second) cousin Rob Dyrdek

For those of you who may not be familiar with the Rolls Royce-driving Mr. Pfaff (or Mr. Drama), he is the second cousin of pro skateboarder Rob Dyrdek and co-starred with him on various television programs over the past decade. Essentially, Drama is Mr. Dyrdek’s sidekick. Or as Rooster Magazine rather unkindly calls him, Mr. Dyrdek’s bitch.

Ouch! Mr. Pfaff won’t be crying over that descriptor, however. More like laughing while he rolls his Ghost all the way to the bank. The 20-something-year-old is really rich because he owns a clothing line called “Young & Reckless” that he promoted through Mr. Dyrdek’s shows and is now sold nationwide in thousands of retail stores.

But onto house discussions.

We’re not exactly sure why Mr. Pfaff/Drama is choosing to sell only a year after purchasing this place, which was completely rebuilt in 2015 by the previous owner. But even with the full price deal it looks unlikely he will make a profit on the pad. That’s because he originally paid $2,750,000 and the on-paper $250k profit evaporates quickly once taxes, maintenance, closing costs and the fat realtor commissions are taken into consideration.

Like many (if not most) of Hollywood Hills homes, the 3,579-square-foot structure sits rather hard up on the street. Still, it’s walled, gated, and hedged for max privacy. A wee courtyard has a small patch of fake-looking grass and a large tree. We’re ain’t an arborist, kiddies, so don’t ask us to identify the species.

As is also typical of most modern homes, the floor plan is spacious and open with the living room, dining room, and kitchen fused into one space. Light brown plank wood floors and recessed lighting complete the package.

The kitchen is chic and sleek all the usual high-end appliances (Sub-Zero, Viking, etc) and a boxcar-sized center island.

Although the house presents appears to be a single-story from street level, the sloped lot allows the property to drop down mullet-style to two floors out back. A discreet staircase just behind the front door leads down to the lower level, which contains all of the structure’s 4 bedrooms and 4.5 baths (save for one guest bathroom upstairs).

The master bedroom has the same wood floors as the public rooms and a hefty fireplace with a unusual and somewhat hokey-looking stone surround. Floors switch to a light ash wood in the adjoining bathroom, which sports dual sinks and a soaking tub.

One saucy feature is the huge, nearly floor-to-ceiling window in the bathroom that looks out into the backyard. It appears as though anyone in the pool or lazing about on the grass can peer inside to see the naked owner stepping in or our of his/her bubble bath. Goodness gracious!

Theater space is a bit cramped — with the screen shoved off to one side to accomodate the door — but it does have stadium seating and complete sound insulation, per the listing.

Out back, the .27-acre lot (large for this area) has been well-terraced for maximum usability. The dog-run ready grass leads to a stone-surrounded infinity pool with an inset spa and a “waterfall edge”, again per the listing. Just below that is another patch of faux grass with a built-in firepit and stone bench.

And finally, the crown jewel of the backyard, a sports court with a basketball hoop. The listing says “so many options for this feature – use your imagination!” Perhaps Mr. Brainwash will convert this into an open-air studio.

The niftiest feature of the micro-estate, however, has got to be the rooftop lounge, which is essentially an open-air third floor. With views of Universal City and connected to the lower levels by an outdoor spiral staircase, it looks like the perfect spot to host a VIP art show, no?

For a more comprehensive virtual walkthrough of the house, view this cool 2015 video.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03: Artist Mr Brainwash views his art works at the Opera Gallery on October 3, 2011 in London, England. Works by pop artist and film maker Thierry Guetta, known as Mr Brainwash, are on display at the gallery from October 6th to 31st 2011. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
Mr. Moneybags?

Now, whatever the deal may be with Mr. Brainwash — whether the real deal as an artist or an elaborate prank — he’s already a bit of an anomaly in the art world in that he does not hide (or shy away from) a bit of conspicuous consumption. At least when it comes to real estate, as was first reported by the Observer. 

A quick scrub through property records confirms that Mr. Guetta owns a substantial amount of Los Angeles real estate, including not one but two petite houses on the very same street in hoity-toity Hancock Park. The first was picked up way back in 1997 for only $460,000 and the second was acquired just this past February (2016) for $1,471,337. There was a Highland Park house that they just sold about a year ago for $695,000. Then there are at least three or four multi-family properties that we’d wager a guess are probably rented out. All told, Mr. Brainwash will boast a property portfolio that may be worth as much as $10 million. Perhaps even more, we’re not sure. Yolanda does not have access to Mr. Brainwash’s finances — natch — but we are sure his net worth must be pretty damn high.

And that ain’t no hoax.

Chris Pfaff’s agent: Laura Kellam, Berkshire Hathaway HomeService
Mr. Brainwash’s agent: Imraan Ali, Compass

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