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JR's Biography and his Artworks

October 25, 2021 6 min read

JR's Biography and his Artworks - The Trendy Art

Who anticipated that an average teenage guy pursuing graffiti, will create a sensation with his artistic skills. But, on February 22, 1983, JR, born in France, popularly known as a street artist, was passionate about wall arts in the streets and enjoyed every moment in his life with utmost joy & felt complete. 

JR did his first major project by making large prints of a few faces of riots. 

Once, he happened to find a camera on the subway that changed his perception of street art. This allowed him to track down individuals communicating messages through walls and street art. He quickly began to track down people in forbidden areas like basements and rooftops in Paris, France. Finally, in 2004, JR photographed riots in the suburbs and launched his first major project.

JR has the most extensive art gallery in the world. His art talks about commitment, freedom, individual identity, and boundaries. He is a free soul to exhibit his skill on the world's streets and always allows people to witness the magic of his street art. He prefers to attract the attention of people who are not part of the regular museum-goers. His work combines Art and Action; Emotion and Education, his every art has the power to steal millions of hearts.

JR's Street Art

Gigantic mono photos and wheat pasting are the two new methods JR follows in creating street art. He often obtains faces from his subject models with a wide-angle lens of 28mm, resulting in unattended portraits that are funny, moving, and real, capturing the minds of individuals who usually go unnoticed. His artwork highlights the usual materials of everyday life. They are then pasted on roofs, buildings, bridges, and even trains with these magnified images. These characters challenge the audience, but they also assist in engaging the audience in unexpected ways. Introduce those that are dissatisfied to the rest of the world whenever possible.

Over the years, JR has presented several exhibitions and projects to engage with his audiences. His work often shows the culture, history, drama, and some memory of a particular place. His thoughts and opinions are executed in the form of art. As a result, it has touched the hearts of millions of residents of the city. His work is notable worldwide, and he has gone through cities such as Los Angeles, Shanghai, and Cartagena. 

Street Artist JR creates ubiquitous art that spreads unsolicited across slums in France, 

walls in the Middle East, broken bridges in Africa, and favelas in Brazil. He has traveled to remote and dangerous places several times and often puts giant wall prints addressing the dark issues that people often ignore. In addition, he recruits locals as role models or collaborations and befriends them.  

Large portraiture and paintings mix profound social messages in this artist's work. This fantastic piece by street artist JR, which has been likened to other politically charged works of art, earned him the TED Prize in 2011.

JR's Top Artworks :

All the artworks of JR are kick-ass. They all express emotion and tell a story that is unheard of by most people around the world. His art has the power to capture millions of eyes and realize all the barriers and red flags. Below are a few top artworks of JR.

1. Women are heroes

For this project to happen, JR has traveled to different destinations like the ones we see on television but can never go, which are not even available in tourist guide books. This project addresses a variety of women's shades, a woman who stares death in the eye, for example. It was about who cries a lot, who hides her fear and pain behind a smile, who are kind and generous, who are pale and have nothing to speak or share, who struggled a lot to build their career, who passed the test of pain and now leading a happy life.

During the research of finding the common point in all, JR got closer to the universal truth: the human being. As a result, women heroes have traveled to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Brazil, Kenya, Cambodia, and India. Moreover, JR's final work for Women Are Heroes was with the Le Havre, France dockers in 2014. JR and his colleagues performed the largest pasting project using a cargo ship sailing from Le Havre to Malaysia. As a result, he was able to share the stories of women from all over the world. 

Later JR attempted to convert this project into a feature film. The film would be the installation, pasting phase, and interview sessions of the women in the city. This was made as a documentary film. The artist shows the installation phase of women portraits in urban areas and the residents' reactions throughout the film. The film shows every detail of the images and the words of women he met and their daily experiences.


Women are Heroes

2. The Wrinkles of the City

'The Wrinkles of the City' project is based on the wrinkles of the elderly people of Cartagena, Spain, which is defined by the scars of its past, the expansion of the economy, and the changes in society. According to JR, the deepening of their forehead lines indicates the passage of time, and their lives are intertwined with that of the city. 

According to JR, this group of senior citizens represents a city changing faster than they can keep up. Each of their wrinkles and the passing day is engraved on the buildings and streets of old Cartagena that gave JR a motley crew of architecture.

As of 2015, this project has reached Spain (Cartagena); Shanghai, China; Los Angeles, California; Havana, Cuba; Berlin, Germany; and Istanbul, Turkey.


The Wrinkles of the City

3. Unframed

The Unframed project began in 2010. JR stated that the power of 'Unframed' comes from its location. This project revolves around identifying the history of a specific place by seeing pictures that are not revealed or archived by famous or anonymous photographers. Instead, new or old photos enlarged or cropped produce colossal works of art on the neighborhood facades and modify the personal and many traces of the city's history and collective memory that they leave behind them. There have been exhibitions of JR's unframed artworks in several cities worldwide, such as Baden Baden, Washington DC, São Paulo, Vevey, and Grottaglie.


4. Portrait of a Generation

The first portraits of generation actions were done in the buildings of Les Bosquets. JR and the team heard that the building would be demolished and didn't get authorization to paste prints inside. So they got plans from the residents and entered at night. There were twenty-five people, including JR. They went from floor to floor, sticking eyes in somebody's kitchen, a nose in someone's bathroom, and a mouth in someone's living room with masking tape. After the job was done, they came down and arrested the police for this illegal act. But, the police could not track down the real reason for JR to be inside the building, which would be wrecked. They couldn't see anything since the paintings were so large. Workers began demolishing the building the following day, and as they worked their way through it, they gradually discovered the portraits hidden there. People who happened to be in the area at the time got a front-row seat to the massive event.


Portrait of a Generation

5. NYC Ballet

During the New York City Ballet's second annual Art Series program in 2014, JR partnered. The Lincoln Center David H. Koch theatre hosted JR's works in January and February, including a massive installation on the promenade's floor that was interactive.

As a result of this hugely successful art series, the artist and the New York City Ballet have collaborated on more projects, creating a new medium for choreography.

During the 2005 Parisian suburb riots, JR collaborated with the company's ballet master in chief to create a "Les Bosquet" piece based on his beginnings.


NY Ballet Art Series



JR has won several awards like the 'Documentary film award' in the Open Doek Festival, held in Belgium; the 'Art and Culture Award' in the CMCA festival, held in France, and got massive recognition for his artistic work. Therefore, in his early career, JR attempted to travel Europe and meet a few like-minded creative people who showed the same interest and passion for outdoor wall arts. After listening to what they have, their thoughts, and opinions, JR pasted their photographs on the walls of streets and rooftops of Paris. 

All works of JR will be filled with lots of emotions. Once JR was arrested, and went to prison in California. He interacted with convicts, heard their stories, and started a piece known as 'give voice to the prisoners' to normalize their environment in the general public's eyes.

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