Last night I watched Inside Out - the documentary on HBO - about JR the social instigator, wall-tagger, interventionist or just plain “artist” who is literally changing the world using wheat pasted portraits and a silly idea: that people actually CAN change their world —- totally blew my mind last night.
Inside Out’s impact on post revolution Tunisia transforming a wall that used to have only the omnipresent image of the king into a cascade of images of regular people was true political, artistic, and cultural transformation. His interactions with Haitian artists who may never see his level of fame and money but who were every bit his intellectual equal was astonishing. JR also exposed the sadness and hope at the very fringe, the frontier, of America by bringing you into the home of a Native American family whose son had ended his own life.
In each instance the Inside Out project created more discourse, shed more light, broke down barriers and inspired me to be better.
Simple and crude and elegant; his insistence on listening and getting ordinary people to see themselves as extraordinary has resurfaced in me a yearning to be more committed than ever before to the basics: find, in every client and every engagement, the net positive benefit. Expose ways to push people to be their full selves. Uncover the tools to remind them of what they already know but have somehow forgotten. Bring back community and fellowship around an idea… a feeling.
Above all, listen, you will be amazed at how much you need to learn.