“Life Is Beautiful”, a stunning mural of the American Jazz singer and proto-pop heartbreaker Billie Holiday, first appeared in Los Angeles on a bare wall punctuated by a cross section of iron bars. This drab and ominous locale was turned into an exuberant affirmation of the joy of being alive, captioned as it was with the motto ‘"Life Is Beautiful“’. Although not responsible for the piece, Banksy did have a hand in its creation, and indeed the creation of the career of its author. Completed by Thierry Guetta, also known as Mr Brainwash, “Life Is Beautiful” is the work of a bizarre and eccentric figure whose own personality and life story are so bewildering that many have claimed the figure himself is a creation of the notorious prankster, Banksy. Having shot to fame in Banksy’s acclaimed 2010 documentary film ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’, Mr Brainwash was portrayed as a savage caricature of Banksy himself: a wit-less chancer, poser, and egoist. But it was not all just an act. Ditching his lucrative marketing job, Mr Brainwash really did go from Banksy-fan-boy and documentarist to globally renowned street artist. In 2012 he put on his own show in London’s expansive Old Sorting Office in New Oxford Street, and sealed his career as a sub-par Banksy, but one with all the powers of iconoclasm and street branding that made the artist a household name. “Life Is Beautiful” is a poignant and affirming mural, and seizes the figure of Billie Holiday to remind us of the tragic beauty of heartbreak, the mundane, and the wild success story.