The unmarketing socially benevolent artist

Not that I dislike the idea of being an artist on and of the Great Plains, but this would be the life. It seems to have all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster. (Is that a good thing? Since it’s starting out in real life, I’m using it as a good thing in this context.)

Create for yourself a persona and carry out creative acts of artistry to bring awareness to social injustices around the world. JR, a French photograffeur, was awarded this year’s annual TED prize with accompanying “One wish to change the world.” The artist is very protective of his true identity, at first wearing sunglasses and a hat pulled down over his face in a Skype interview with TED.

A number of JR’s monumental photographic installations are “unauthorised,” pasted on the sides of buildings as inconspicuously as possible while officials who will most certainly object to the message go about their socially unjust business. One such installation was going up in China when he was being interviewed by the New York Times; JR was worried they might get into trouble. “We went into the building next door, and it was empty, and we went up to the tower, and nobody stopped us, so we just started working,” he said in the article. “It’s crazy. This city is so huge and overgrown, the more you’re in the middle of things, the more you feel transparent.”

The money the artist garners from sales and prizes go back into more ambitious projects around the world acording to the Times’ interview. See the artist’s installations on his website.

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About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at pcNielsen.com.

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