Interview with JR, a Street Art Master


He won a TED prize by sticking enlarged pictures on walls in the street. Get here a little private interview with JR, a master of street art.

Hello JR, how are you? Life is good?

Very good thanks!

JR / Exposition Paris 2009 – Ile Saint Louis by JR

Who is JR?

Two letters.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Nobody inspired me when I started 10 years ago because at that time I knew nothing about the artistic scene. I then started getting into it, along with other movements, progressively through the years. I love the work of Georges Rousse, Ernest Pignon Ernest, Blu… for their use of space and streets.
We live in a world of images and just this fact was a source of inspiration.

How do you choose a particular combination of photograph and building?

As a function of the message given and the symbolism of the building… There’s no typical example, it all changes according to the context, the country, etc…

How do you approach your models, what do you tell them to get such nice portraits?

As an ‘urban artivist’ I try to create an infiltrating art that gets posted on walls. I am not a mercenary. My projects talk about people, they are the ones interesting me, those of daily life.

I come with a precise idea that I submit to them, and the process begins. I listen to their reactions, I adapt to it. Then, there never is a moment where I have to convince them, everything goes like a constant dialogue.

During sticking actions, inhabitants naturally get involved in the artistic process. Anyone can join the sticking if she or he finds it meaningful. In Brazil for example, children transformed themselves into artists for a week. In these artistic actions there is no scene separating actors from spectators.

My anonymousness allows me to leave a free space for a meeting between a subject/actor and a pedestrian/comedian, which constitutes the essence of my art. Photography has always been a vector of meeting and social link to me.

You are apparently a philanthropist who trusts Human kind, believing in the possibility of a collective effort towards a common goal. For my part, I worked on the effects of global warming in the Arctic, and I must confess I have lost hope. Please convince me to keep hope, believe in Human kind…

With the project Inside Out (, anyone becomes an actor of this collective effort, which doesn’t aim to save the world, but to change the vision we have of it. This participative art is to me a concrete way to sensibilise Human kind to any causes that deserve to be defended!

Do you have a particular story to share with us?

When Rosiete, the main character of the movie, one of the most implicated in the succeeding of the favela project, she was cooking every day for us, came to the exposition opening in Paris and cooked for the visitors! Her trip to Paris transformed her as much as our trip to her favela.

Why do you want to stay ‘pure’ and avoid depending on a sponsor?

Because working for a brand would annihilate the meaning of my work: if there was a big cosmetic brand in the generic of the movie Women are Heroes, while this movie is dedicated to underline womens’ dignity around the world, what would be the strength and value of this message?
I think it is important to stay, as today, in self-funding, in order to never reach a self-imposed limit and never be associated with advertisement for a brand.

For you, everything started with a camera found in the subway, what camera was it?

It was back in 2000. It was an automatic camera with an over-powerful flash, I still have it. Black and white film of all brands, the important thing is the image.

Analogue or digital photography, or both?

I shoot with both. All my portraits are analogue, but the need for reactivity in the cities where I stick made me convert to digital. The very tense context in Brazil’s favelas didn’t give me time to process and scan my photographs to enlarge them. When I shoot digital, I can shoot and stick the same day!

You won a TED price, how was it?

It is interesting to see how nowadays art has invaded streets: barriers were abolished. Artists are getting out of the frame, out of the museum, and use the urban landscape. The fact that TED recognizes my vision of things is an honor, but it will particularly help me take a turn. I will be able to cross even more limits. TED’s vision is close to mine. I never asked for any authorization, people are the ones allowing me to do what I do. TED’s strength is the community. That’s why we are going to push the limits together, associate our strengths. It’s a little bit as if they were coming with us in the streets to stick with us.

Until now I was going around the world with a small team. Now we have to sit and determine how to implicate two million people to do something good.

I’ve heard about the TED prize for years, but I never attended one of their talks, except on the internet. It is very interesting to see how people want to change things, change the vision we have of the world. This collaboration with TED pushes me to try something new. I always self-funded my projects by selling in galleries and I never accepted that brands were associated with my work.

Download Hi-Res TED video:
TED Page:

A few related links:
Article in Beaux Arts magazine:
Link to JR site:
Link to inside out project site:
Link ‘Women are heroes’ official site: Women are Heroes

All photos ©

written by stouf on 2011-04-29 in #lifestyle #ted #art #jr #poster #brazil #enlargement #interview #street-art #portrait #france #street


  1. naqi
    naqi ·

    very inspiring.. :D

  2. bulletofmine
    bulletofmine ·

    wow, JR is a man. His artworks were really inspiring ! thanks for sharing this !

More Interesting Articles

  • A Salute to the Masters: Paestum (A Tribute to Serge Moulinier)

    written by sirio174 on 2015-05-23 in #world #lifestyle
    A Salute to the Masters: Paestum (A Tribute to Serge Moulinier)

    This article is dedicated to Serge Moulinier, a largely unknown French photographer who won one of the most important prizes in France with a book on Greek architecture. Strangely, little information can be found on the Internet about this great photographer whose work had also been published in an important essay written by the famous John Szarkowski, former Director of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

  • Markus Andersen Talks 'At the Edge of the Earth'

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-04-08 in #people #lifestyle #videos
    Markus Andersen Talks 'At the Edge of the Earth'

    "At the edge of the Earth" is an ongoing yearlong project by documentary photographer Markus Andersen in which he captures the coastline of Sydney, Australia on black and white film with the Diana and Lomo LC-A cameras. In this interview, the Sydney-based photographer opens up to Lomography about his latest endeavor as well as on shooting on the streets of his city and the importance of photographing in analog.

  • Through New York City with Markus Hartel and the New Russar+

    written by zonderbar on 2015-09-11 in #people #lomoamigos
    Through New York City with Markus Hartel and the New Russar+

    New York City-based graphic designer Markus Hartel has a passion for street photography. On one of his last strolls through the city, he captured some scenes on the busy streets with the New Russar+ Lens. Read on to learn about his experience photographing with the Russar+ and get insider info on how it is to be a street photographer in the Big Apple.

  • Shop News

    Check Revolog 36exp Plexus Effects!

    Check Revolog 36exp Plexus Effects!

    Feeling experimental? We have the perfect film for you. Load up a roll of Revolog Plexus 200 on your favorite 35mm camera and shoot as you normally would.

  • Meet our LomoGuru: sirio174

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-03-21 in #world #lifestyle #videos
    Meet our LomoGuru: sirio174

    We all know him as the man behind some of the striking street photographs in the community and the inspirational "A Salute to the Masters" series in the magazine. But did you know that he is also an engineering and electronics teacher and a ham radio operator? In this interview, Davide Tambuchi opens up about his fascination with radio, bikes, Subbuteo, and of course analog photography!

  • Neil Krug: Pulp, Rock, Color

    written by lomographymagazine on 2015-10-27 in #people #lifestyle #videos
    Neil Krug: Pulp, Rock, Color

    In 2009, Neil Krug uploaded a commercial for Pulp Art Book on Youtube. In the comments section someone asked, “Does anyone know what kind of camera he uses or how he gets his pictures to look the way they do?” Krug was on to something. He did something wildly intriguing, one that looked to have a secret formula.

  • The Lomo LC-A 120 and C.S. Muncy

    written by givesmehell on 2015-03-17 in #people #lomoamigos
    The Lomo LC-A 120 and C.S. Muncy

    C.S. Muncy is a freelance photojournalist based in New York City. He has done some incredible work for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Newsday, among others. In this short interview, we will find out about his experience shooting with the Lomo LC-A 120!

  • Shop News

    Get a Perfect Instant Selfie with Fuji Instax Mini 70!

    Get a Perfect Instant Selfie with Fuji Instax Mini 70!

    Get the perfect self-portraits or group photos with your friends with this instant camera! This camera allows you to be picture ready with its mirror next to the lens and gives you an idea where is best to smile!

  • Petzval Amigo: Davie Tidd

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-04-01 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval Amigo: Davie Tidd

    We lent David Tidd a Petzval Art Lens to test its full potential. He gave us some tips on how to get the most out of this beautiful portrait lens. Read on for the full interview.

  • Down in the Streets with the Lomo LC-A Minitar-1 Art Lens

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-05-06 in #gear #news #lifestyle
    Down in the Streets with the Lomo LC-A Minitar-1 Art Lens

    Whether analogue or digital, the Lomo LC-A Minitar-1 Art Lens brings life, love and color to every shot. Here is a little taste of the power the LC-A Minitar-1 has on the streets!

  • Lomography X Carol Rumble

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-11-20 in #world #competitions #videos
    Lomography X Carol Rumble

    Starring Academy Award-winner Cate Blanchett and Academy Award-nominee Rooney Mara, CAROL is the beautiful new movie by acclaimed director Todd Haynes. To celebrate its release in cinemas on November 27 we have some great prizes to be won including our Lomo’instant Sanremo camera, 5 x copies of Vivian Maier’s Street Photography book, 10 x pairs of cinema tickets to see this fantastic film and x 10 Carol posters!

  • Shop News

    Shoot recognizable images with the Petzval

    Shoot recognizable images with the Petzval

    You want your subject be the center of attention? Petzval lens photos are recognizable for sharpness and crispness in the centre, strong color saturation, wonderful swirly bokeh effect, artful vignettes and narrow depth of field that will make your subjects stand out!

  • Photography as Statement Graffiti

    written by lomographymagazine on 2015-07-20 in #world #lifestyle
    Photography as Statement Graffiti

    The artist known only by his initials, JR, pastes blown-up faces on city walls and roads. These challenging—often illegal—installations are his version of a goodwill act. Women as heroes, wrinkles as history, and enemies as smiling neighbors are just some of the themes this gutsy artist has aired to the whole world.

  • Remarkable Film Photographs Captured by the Homeless Featured on Cafe Art 2016 My London Calendar

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-09-02 in #world #news
    Remarkable Film Photographs Captured by the Homeless Featured on Cafe Art 2016 My London Calendar

    Armed with disposable cameras, a number of people affected by homelessness in London trooped out in the streets and captured life from their individual perspectives. That was in July; now, 13 photographs have been selected via public vote and will be featured on the upcoming calendar by Cafe Art, an initiative that "[showcases] artwork created by people affected by homelessness or are socially vulnerable."

  • A Salute to the Masters: Unstuck Posters (A Tribute to Aaron Siskind)

    written by sirio174 on 2014-12-13 in #lifestyle
    A Salute to the Masters: Unstuck Posters (A Tribute to Aaron Siskind)

    After writing a series of articles dedicated to arguably some of the greatest street photographers, this time I wrote one dedicated to the American abstract expressionist artist Aaron Siskind - a master of immortalizing details of nature, body parts and architecture, as well as walls and objects found in the streets - and his series of photographs of unstuck posters.