"The stars shall fade away, the sun himself grow dim with age, and nature sink in years, but thou shalt flourish in immortal youth."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

ESTEVAN ORIOL: California Love

by: Adi Renaldi

A photographer perhaps not just an artist who plays with lens or colors, but also can be considered as a messenger that has something to say about a culture or something that happened with passion and love. Thus, a photographer may speak through the lens to state his/her point of view toward everything around and for the love of something that he/she believes.

Began his career in the late 80s, Estevan Oriol became a tour manager for Uber-Hip-Hop group House of Pain and built his connection with the Cypress Hill - another LA-based hiphop superstar group – that a decade later will create Soul Assassins (a production house which is supported by various artists and musicians) with Oriol as one of the masterminds. During his tour with the group, he invoked his unique and outrageous style to capture the experiences and then started taking pictures of his crew/homies and the lowrider culture in LA that influenced him a lot.

California is very well-known for its one-of-kind and unique lifestyles. The diversity of cultures and races made it very rich of influences and soulful. The Mexican immigrants (latino/hispanic/chicano) have a sole way of life that truly inspired Mr.Oriol to do his “magic”. He had a gift for capturing the raw essence of street life through his photography. He took pictures for various magazines such as FHM, Anthem, Mass Appeal, Juxtapoz, Juice and many to mention. Most of his photographs appeared as front covers. He has a raw and honest style of photography with a delicate sense of street spirit that has been very rare nowadays.

He also do artworks for CD covers and sheets from various musicians and many collaboration projects including his notorious project along with Mr.Cartoon, a world famous Los Angeles based artist. The two skillful artists joined forces in 1995 to establish Joker Brand, a giant brand which provides clothing to support hip-hop and chicano culture, which is now rock-like solid and gained fans world-wide.

A decade later, Mr. Cartoon and Estevan expanded their empire, using their unique talents to assist brands and companies in reaching the coveted Hispanic Urban market place through the establishment of SA Studios Agency, a multi-cultural multimedia design/art company. SA orchestrated a highly successful collaboration art show sponsored by Nike called Cultura, based on the line of shoes completed for Nike. SA's clients include Harley Davidson, Nike, Toyota, T-Mobile, and Rockstar Games. Today, to widen his career, Estevan directs music videos for groups including Eminem, Cypress Hill, D12, Linkin Park, Blink 182, Paul Wall, P.O.D., and Xzibit. He devised shooting campaigns for Nike, Rockford Fosgate, and Cadillac. A few to mention, he has directed new media projects for My Cadillac stories, MTV, and Apple Computer. 

Never enough and won’t ever stop, he stepped into film industry as a director. Brian Grazer and his company, Imagine Entertainment, along with Universal Pictures, chose to partner with SA studios by requesting from Estevan a three picture deal in which he could direct three movies of his choice. The first one will be the life story of his partner, Mr. Cartoon, set for release in 2008.

Moreover in late 2007 and early 2008, Estevan Oriol released three separate publishing book projects that he has been working on for the past decade: Ink, a retrospective of his last ten years with Mister Cartoon, Adidas 1979, a collaboration with Adidas originals chronicling street ball through his lens in an 80 page custom book, and East of Havana, a book about Cuban hip-hop, plus playing-card set and calendars. Last, Estevan Oriol starts with his own world and beloved culture around him to legitimate his skills and gains experiences. After all, it will give positive feedbacks to the culture that raised him. He absolutely won’t stop trying and learning.

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