The French artist known as JR works relatively anonymous. After finding a camera in the Paris Metro, he began to study street art around Europe. Before winning a Ted Prize in 2011, JR created projects in Paris, Shanghai, Spain, Los Angeles.
The most interesting and socially engaging in my opinion is the Face 2 Face project in which he posted portraits of Israeli and Palestinian on each side of the separation wall of the two states. Many said it was impossible as it was high illegal, but it managed to be completed. The aim was to show how similar these two peoples were. I feel that though the images were humorous and light, they spoke about a much deeper level of unity. These people are brothers, yet they fight and kill each other.
After many successful but difficult projects, JR applied and was awarded a Ted Prize for his project, Inside Out. JR called for “a global art project” at the Ted Conference. This new project has extended what JR himself does with posting black and white portraits in urban areas. Inside Out allows for people around the world to submit portraits of their own. These portraits are then printed by the project and sent back in order to display in a public space. Guidelines have you group together with at least 5 other people with the same statement of purpose and then Inside Out makes it happen. The project is ongoing and submissions can be made on the site here. JR has recently brought a facet of his project that involves photo booths to Times Square in NYC. Check out the New York Times article here. I find this project so inspiring because you have so many voices just waiting to be heard all around the world. Many do not have the resources to have that voice heard. Inside Out gives these people the opportunity to share their stories with us, while creating a common ground.