JR street artist – “Wrinkles in the City” Los Angeles

JR street artist – “Wrinkles in the City” Los Angeles

French street artist, photographer, and winner of a prestigious $100,000 TED award in 2011, JR recently hit the streets (and buildings) of Los Angeles, pasting his massive photographs around downtown and other locales.

Continuing “The Wrinkles of the City” project that he began earlier last year, JR has carefully chosen locals, photographed them, then plastered their black and white portraits in various locations in the city, with several near 3rd Street and Alameda. (His work was a part of MOCA’s “Art In The Streets” exhibit last year as well.)

JR first photographed older individuals from the city taken at range of 28 millimeters, creating gigantic prints of these images which are then wheat-pasted on to building exteriors in Los Angeles county as part of the L.A Freewalls Project.

He’s assembled an interesting cross-section of Angelenos who give thoughtful answers about aging, their various life experiences, and the impact that their physical appearance has had on others.

The video above features some of the stories behind the faces, behind the wrinkles of JR’s subjects.

Beginning early in 2012, the artist introduced to the city several large-scale public installations picturing individuals from the area, celebrating their aged faces and stories. JR plans to show 20 separate pieces through out the sprawling metropolis. the intentionally apolitical street artist leaves space for public interpretation– he presents a community within the massive, modern city and enables an encounter between the subject and observer, grounding the passerby in the humanity and history of this stereotypically unforgiving city.

Cowboy Couple – his fourth mural in L.A. which features, for the first time, a portrait shot of not just one person, but rather a couple.

images by Carlos Gonzalez

JR currently works on 2 new projects: Wrinkles of the City which questions the memory of a city and its inhabitants and Unframed, which reinterprets in huge formats photos from important photographers taken from the archives of museums.

It was early in 2011 that vaunted street photographer JR was seen gallivanting around Los Angeles, pasting up his signature large-scale photographs that coincided with his TED Prize acceptance speech.

As part of a worldwide initiative dubbed The Wrinkles of the City, that saw 20 walls given the JR treatment, we’re now treated to a wonderful short film of the same name (above) that spotlights some of the individuals that he crossed paths with during his time spent in LA.

The result is a beautiful tribute to a city that certainly tugs on people’s heartstrings as much as it leaves them in knots

About JR


JR owns the biggest art gallery in the world. He exhibits freely in the streets of the world, catching the attention of people who are not the museum visitors. His work mixes Art and Act, talks about commitment, freedom, identity and limit.

After he found a camera in the Paris subway, he did a tour of European Street Art, tracking the people who communicate messages via the walls. Then, he started to work on the vertical limits, watching the people and the passage of life from the forbidden undergrounds and roofs of the capital.

In 2006, he achieved Portrait of a generation, portraits of the suburban “thugs” that he posted, in huge formats, in the bourgeois districts of Paris. This illegal project became “official” when the Paris City Hall wrapped its building with JR’s photos.

In 2007, with Marco, he did Face 2 Face, the biggest illegal photo exhibition ever. JR posted huge portraits of Israelis and Palestinians face to face in eight Palestinian and Israeli cities, and on the both sides of the Security fence / Separation wall. The experts said it would be impossible. Still, he did it.

In 2008, he embarked for a long international trip for “Women”, a project in which he underlines the dignity of women who are often the targets of conflicts. Of course, it didn’t change the world, but sometimes a single laugher in an unexpected place makes you dream that it could.

JR creates “Pervasive Art” that spreads uninvited on the buildings of the slums around Paris, on the walls in the Middle-East, on the broken bridges in Africa or the favelas in Brazil. People who often live with the bare minimum discover something absolutely unnecessary. And they don’t just see it, they make it. Some elderly women become models for a day; some kids turn artists for a week. In that Art scene, there is no stage to separate the actors from the spectators.

After these local exhibitions, the images are transported to London, New York, Berlin or Amsterdam where people interpret them in the light of their own personal experience.

As he remains anonymous and doesn’t explain his huge full frame portraits of people making faces, JR leaves the space empty for an encounter between the subject/protagonist and the passer-by/interpreter.

This is what JR is working on. Raising questions…

carlos gonzalez

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