'This piece is San Francisco': the massive digital mural capturing the city's humanity

French artist JR’s massive digital artwork showcases every stratum of society in the city

San Francisco has been getting a bad rap lately. You don’t have to live here to know that homelessness brushes up against wealth and shiny technology, construction cranes are a staple in the landscape and articles citing cultural collapse duel on social media with love letters to this city by the bay. All of which is to say that there are lot of opinionated perspectives in this dynamic metropolis.

The French artist JR has captured 1,206 of them in The Chronicles of San Francisco, a massive digital mural he began in 2018. The crowd-depicting panorama is a technical marvel that captures the range of humanity seen in the peaks and valleys of SF. Using stills and video, JR photographed every stratum of society: from the down and out to tech bros to socialites and local celebrities (the Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, Governor Gavin Newsom, the Golden State Warrior Draymond Green and the writer Armistead Maupin, whose novel Tales of the City is echoed in the mural’s title).

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