Photo by Candy Pilar Godoy


Artist JR in his studio in NYC. I interviewed and photographed JR for BURN yesterday. A hard man to catch is JR. Always on the move and always for a good cause. I have photographed my share of well known artists yet IMO this man is the real thing. Stay tuned.


28 Responses to “JR”

  • everything is shit, except you love…

    well, the sign is half right

  • I’m not sure I’ve ever heard about JR. I’ll stay tuned…

  • Paul, check him out, well worth it!


  • PAUL

    really? now for a man who keeps up, you are way off on this one!! JR surely has singlehandedly turned the photo world upside down in many ways…ok, no wrist slapping, but please do a bit of homework…

    cheers, david

  • marcin luczkowski

    well, I didn’t hear about JR also, but I know his work, I’ve seen his works. To many artists on the world to link every work with author. To many pictures seen every day to personalize them.

  • David and JR in one photo is impressive.
    There’s enough energy there to light up a city.
    JR is a great ambassador for photography.
    And David, so are you.

  • Guy’d doing some interesting work. Interesting on many levels. Don’t know that if the final result of his work changes the world much more than a child’s fingerpainting magneted on the refrigerator, but it doesn’t hurt to try, and it certainly must change a lot of people’s worlds from the participatory nature of the projects and economic fallout as well. Interesting also in the Basquiat/exit through the gift shop, evolution of street art context. And certainly great adventures and success in self-publishing. I let my kid take the IPad on his summer vacation, but when he gets back, I’ll definitely check out the (free) app.

  • there is an app for that ;-)
    joking aside….JR has a cool app for the iPad:


    puts most everything in one place. Really cool app….well done.

    Looking forward to reading the interview/conversation!


    Don’t forget about a wall pasting here in Miami of Based on A true story!
    if you are still interested of course.


    i forgot all about that …we are gonna do one in Rio as well…email me about that and refresh my memory please….

  • Sure will!

    but first check your inbox ;-)
    Have been trying to show you something for quite sometime now.

  • Thanks for the interview, I’ll stay tuned for sure. JR openened my mind some years ago with his astonising piece of work “28 mm”. Awesome close up portraits!

    I’m waiting for the interview, but I have already a few questions in the air:
    I wonder, which is his real name, and why he is always hidden with it’s sunglasses?


  • 28mm – PORTRAIT OF A GENERATION now that had a great raw energy about that is sadly lacking in some of the newer work


    in my “conversation” with JR you will not get the answer to those two questions…you must remember JR still considers himself a renegade artist who still chooses to do a lot of illegal stuff…he does not want to be known which is ironic yes because he is so well known….yet he really wants to be mostly anonymous….when i interviewed him he was not wearing his sunglasses yet when it was time for a picture, on came the glasses…

    when we asked him who knew his real name, he smiled and said “my mother and the police who have arrested me”.

    cheers, david

  • I dont mind the work at all and he can clearly play the ‘art’ game very well with all that psuedo anonymity nonsense al la banksy (er..Robin banks) that the art world love because it sells stuff…but when you said he put his sunglasses on for the photo I nearly pissed myself. looking forward to the interview (I think).

  • Never heard of him either until now. Thanks to Eva’s link, I see I did bump into his work a few years ago:


    This was taken near the Pompidou Centre, Paris. His murals were absolutely fantastic to see in such an environment; they provide super surrealistic rear frame elements for amateur street photographers.

    I look forward to the interview.


    i well know amigo you are a born skeptic..fair enough..

    yet, my impression of JR is that he is for real….

    celebs of all types i got “over” long ago….in his case surely the “celebrity” aspect helps him with commissions etc. and at the same time i never felt i was talking to a celeb “type” ..the man really has the graffiti artist mentality all around and i have photographed many taggers doing my hiphop work…

    what i like about JR are two things: first off he does not associate with any brands…no advertising…and why he was willing to do a rare interview w Burn…because we have no brand identification either…secondly, and the main thing, is that he uses art as a forum for discussion and action…

    i mean look at all the photogs who have shot in Kibera slum of Nairobi (me included) hoping like hell their photographs in a magazine would have some positive affect on viewers and somehow affect some action, and JR uses his “art” photographs to actually waterproof a slum house!! a JR photo actually keeps the rain out!!

    sure this is an extreme example, yet social causes are his causes…he brings people together, he makes things happen…as an artist..not as a photojournalist….yet he is doing way way more than most journalists…..

    anyway, i think there is no doubt he is surely one of the most prolific and influential visual artists of our time totally and singlehandedly turning upside down the roles of photography and art and making anyplace in the world an “art gallery”…i mean he uses public space for public art that anyone can see at anytime and it all disappears fast….

    the man is 30 years old…he has 50 people working for him all over the place all of the time….his core group of 10 have been with him all along since he was 20….hey any man who can literally take over Times Square must have something going…NOBODY can do THAT!!

    sure get the knife out John, but take a good look…you might be surprised..

    cheers, david

  • Think you read that all wrong dude. I said I like the work and I like the way he plays the art game( its the art game itself I find disagreeable). No, it was when he put the sunglasses on for an anonymous photo..thats when I had to change my pants. if thats a sceptic then I am more than happy to be labelled as one.

  • @ DAVID:

    Thanks for your answer, I guess JR if for “J”ust “R”enegade… ;-)

    Shine P.


    hey amigo i LIKE you as “skeptical”…and yes you did say you liked the work….well yes, at the beginning when i first met JR a few months ago i too was thinking maybe the hat and sunglass bit was a bit much….yet after meeting him again and doing this interview i picked up a different point of view on that whole thing….he has the classic “problem” of many popular artists in music and entertainment….he is a celebrity….and the focus of my “chat” with him was basically how or if the “image” and “celeb” status got in the way of the actual work….

    anyway, i hope you will enjoy the story upcoming which is still a way off…

    cheers, david

  • MW

    well i have no idea if JR will “change the world”..i doubt it…yet as an artist he seems to be doing way more than the photojournalists in terms of actual activist effort…he sees art as a neutral discussion ground…

    and for sure he has very successfully liberated himself from the traditional museum/gallery scene much in the same way as Gregory Colbert did with Ashes and Snow exhibits….you see that in New York?

    for me personally, JR is breaking new ground and shaking things up…the very role of art for centuries….

    cheers, david

  • I got just about all of my info about JR from his TED talks, which is why I was riffing off the “change the world” aspect. I am a skeptic in the dictionary sense that true knowledge, or even knowledge in a particular area, is almost always uncertain. Skepticism is about systematic doubt and suspended judgment. Cynicism, on the other hand, is about distrusting human motives.

    So although I may be skeptical about the ultimate meaning or effectiveness of graffiti artists such as JR’s approach, particularly when they gain acceptance by the authorities, I am not cynical about his motives. And it does seem like he really does manage to change the world in a positive way for many of the people he encounters, so as far as I can see right now, it’s all good.

    I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie “Exit Through the Gift Shop”? And are familiar with the career arc of Jean-Michel Basquiat?

    Both “Exit” and “Basquiat,” a movie by Julien Scnabel are currently available on Netflix, btw. Taken together, they provide an excellent context in which to consider the career arc from street graffiti artist to art world darling. I get the impression JR is trying very hard to avoid the associated pitfalls. Still, that career arc and those associated pitfalls can make for an interesting conversation. Albeit, one that requires quite a hefty bit of systematic doubt and suspension of judgement.

  • While you wait for the JR interview, thought you old school burn folks might be interested in one from Katharina Hesse

  • Katharina one great storyteller and seems to have a sense of purpose that flows from deep within her

  • Been going through JR’s early work on his free app and I don’t know…
    I quite liked 28mm Portrait of a Generation and I admit I’ve got a lot to go through yet, especially the latest stuff and the only motivation to keep on is just in case I’m missing something and obviously there should be something to set my heart on fire. I admire all his effort to help out those in need but as I said I’m not sure yet about the photographic aspect…


    i agree…but do you you remember what happened when we published her a few years ago here on Burn?


    i think you are trying to view JR as a PHOTOGRAPHER in the traditional way …and i do not think JR sees himself as a photographer…he uses photography for his ART work…has revolutionized the USE of photography imo…..yet if you are simply looking at JR as a photographer straight up you might be disappointed….JR at his base is a graffiti artist…a tagger in his youth…so think THAT mentality…

    for sure i am not saying you must love JR…yet his claim to have the worlds largest “art gallery” seems to be true…his stuff is all over buildings worldwide and in a few museums too…public art….free…for all…involving many…seems like a good thing to me…

    cheers, david

  • I think I misses that one just had a quick look then…..hmmmn

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