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Interview with JR and Alastair Siddons

inside out ss05

HBO

Where did the inspiration for the Inside Out art project come from?

JR

I have been working in the streets of the world for more than 13 years. In all those projects, the community were not just involved but crucial to the process. So, with INSIDE OUT I decided to empower them fully, giving them full control to create their own projects, by taking the photos and doing the pastings themselves !

HBO

What was it you learned about the power of paper and glue? How did that inform your work?

JR

I learned that it is the process of an action that brings people together. I always make sure I protect this process, even if it makes some pastings so much more difficult. If I was just putting banners up I wouldn't have as much energy around from the people participating. Paper and glue federate!

HBO

The INSIDE OUT project has spanned over 91 countries. To what do you attribute this incredible response?

Alastair Siddons

I put it's success down to the fact that JR truly let people take ownership of the project for themselves. INSIDE OUT is essentially a platform for expression that can be interpreted in any number of different ways to fit any collective message or personal statement. Therefore it can be as effective for 500 people in Juarez in Mexico as it is for one person in Iran. Further to this, I believe that it is equally special to have your face enlarged to this size whether you are living in Hamptons or in Ethiopia. It is a unique experience seeing yourself or your friends like this, and a buzz to have the interaction with people by pasting it in the street. So its potency and impact can claim to be genuinely universal.

HBO

JR, you always wear sunglasses and a fedora in public and on camera  why?

I hope people come away believing in the power of art and the transformative effect it can have on anyone and everyone.

JR

I stay semi-anonymous from my graffiti-writer's "time."  I also want people to recognize the people on my projects, so I don't see what I'll get from having my face getting more famous :)

HBO

What were the biggest challenges you faced in documenting JR and the INSIDE OUT project, in the film?

Alastair Siddons

The biggest challenge in documenting JR is keeping up with him. He works harder than anyone I have ever met, with an unquenchable energy and enthusiasm for adventure and art. One minute he is in Marseille pasting a massive series of enormous photographs, and just as you think you have captured that, the very next day he will be on his way to the Northern tip of Japan with a photo booth truck and a new story to tell.


The challenge of documenting the INSIDE OUT project lay in the enormity of the project. It quickly grew into something so massive in its scope and story that it could have gone in any number of different directions. Over one hundred thousand people participated from every different corner of the planet. So which stories could really define it and whose story really was it?

HBO

What do you hope audiences take away from the film?

Alastair Siddons

A glue habit. Specifically, a paper and glue habit. And power. I love the idea that people can watch the film and become inspired to want to do something for themselves or their communities with INSIDE OUT. As JR is keeping the project going, they will have the ability to get involved. To be able to react to a film in this way is quite special. I also hope people come away believing in the power of art and the transformative effect it can have on anyone and everyone.

HBO

Where do you (JR) see the Inside Out art project going next?

JR

I want to see the Inside Out Project reach every country in the world. It's still a young movement, but it will grow, especially after the movie spreads on HBO :) Long life to Inside Out!

Inside Out: The People's Art Project