Artist JR Teamed Up With Current and Former Inmates to Create a Mural at a Supermax Prison Outside LA. The mural, which is 55,000sq feet can only be seen by air.
In order to do so, Colin Rich and Deer Dog Visuals was tasked with photographing the mural with a heavy lift drone using a 150 megapixel Phase One IQ4.
Named Tehachapi after the town two hours north of Los Angeles where the prison is located, JR’s installation depicts
48 current and former inmates looking upward in a composited collage. The monumental artwork is only visible from above—or through an app, where viewers can tap on each incarcerated person in the digitized picture and hear their stories told in their own words.
A friend approached the artist this fall with the idea of bringing his vision to a California correctional facility. “A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to do something at this prison,” the artist told Artnet News, noting that many of the “inmates were incarcerated when they were kids—14,15” and will be in there “for life.”
“Most of them haven’t killed anybody, they’re there because they had three strikes. I steal your phone, I steal your car, and one felony, and I get life,” JR said. “Now they’ve changed that law, but those guys are still stuck in there.”