JR is a semi-anonymous French street artist whose highly political large-scale street art projects have made him one of the world’s most visible contemporary artists.
At the age of fourteen, JR began tagging his name on the streets of Paris. He considered his work inferior to that of his contemporaries so decided to start taking photos of them and their work. Fascinated by how human his photos made those, often anonymous, artists seem, JR turned the images into large black-and-white photographs which he could paste in public spaces. This was to become his trademark.
When riots broke out in the Banlieues in 2004, JR created his first major project, photographing the faces of the rioters and pasting up large prints of their faces around the city. Through his public photography projects, JR has humanised the stories of the marginalised and voiceless by addressing political conflicts. His aim, as he states, is to use “art to turn the world inside out.” In celebration of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, JR covered the streets of the city in large-scale art installations, depicting a variety of athletes and sports.
He has traveled the globe for his Inside Out Project, which has covered walls and buildings in 129 countries, including a spectacular illusionary art piece that made the Louvre, Paris “disappear.”