Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada is a Cuban American contemporary artist.
He is a founder of the New York Culture Jamming movement and an innovator in the international urban art scene. Since the late 90´s he has been replacing the faces of cultural icons chosen by advertisers with the faces of anonymous people to question the controls imposed on public space, the role models designated and the type of events that are guarded by the collective memory. Rodríguez-Gerada´s unique direction was mentioned in Naomi Klein´s book No Logo and was a precursor of the use of anonymous portraits now common in street art. His spectacular interventions are created for the sake of bringing awareness to relevant social issues. His large scale time base works avoid negative impact on the environment, challenge the conformity in contemporary art and allow for a reflection that goes beyond the completion of the piece to focus in its concept, process, and the metaphor that comes forth because of the material chosen.
Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, known for his monumentally scaled portraits in public spaces. The image depicted is of an anonymous Belfast girl and is so large it can only be viewed from the highest points in Belfast or an airplane.
Several years in the making, WISH was first plotted on a grid using state-of-the-art Topcon GPS technology and 30,000 manually placed wooden stakes in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. The portrait was then “drawn” with aid of volunteers who helped place nearly 8 million pounds of natural materials including soil, sand, and rock over a period of four weeks. Rodríguez-Gerada says of the endeavor:
Working at very large scales becomes a personal challenge but it also allows me to bring attention to important social issues, the size of the piece is intrinsic to the value of its message. Creativity is always applied in order to define an intervention made only with local materials, with no environmental impact, that works in harmony with the location.