Estevan Oriol is globally known for his photographs documenting Los Angeles street and music culture. I’m pretty certain you’ve seen his photography, artwork, clothing somewhere (If you know me personally, you’ll have definatly seen me wear his T-shirts)!
Firstly, you’re here for the Gumball 3000…how’re you feeling about it?
I feel great about it; it’s the third year. Every year is different, the first year it was LA to Miami, last year it was London to New York, and this time it’s London to Istanbul. Every one is a new adventure!
I know you’ve passed through London on previous occasions, do you enjoy it here?
I love London, it’s like another LA or New York to me. A big city, with the transport links where you can get around easy. You don’t have to trip out over language stuff, you can read all the signage, directions, notices, all that haha!
In the beginning, when did you realize you could make a living out of photographs and documenting LA street culture?
I’d say it was when I started getting money for album covers. Back in the day they were good budgets for that. You could actually make money from doing photography. Just doing what I did, but now, you can’t really do it anymore, unless you switch fields. The fashion business still pays money, the movie & film business still pays money. As far as music goes or magazines, it’s over.
Which album covers have you done?
A few for Cypress Hill, a few for Snoop Dogg…I also work with (Mr.) Cartoon a lot on the whole design packages.
Can you tell people how you hooked up with Mister Cartoon and a bit about the relationship and JokerBrand/Soul Assassins?
I met Cartoon in 1992, I was with my friend DC (Donnie Charles), rest in peace, he had his own record label called Hood Rat Records. He was the manager of WC and the Mad Circle, with Coolio and WC’s brother Crazy Toons. Me and DC went to Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records Penthouse Player record release party…Cartoon was there. Me and Cartoon were the only two Mexicans at that party. My homie was like “come over here, meet my other homie, he’s into lowriding too!’. All three of us were into lowriding, we got along good after that.
Anything exciting project that you guys have planned in the coming months?
Oh yeah, we always got projects coming out, we have our company together, SA Studios, we have Joker (Clothing), we work in the same office. I can’t really speak on specific projects because we like to keep everything under wraps. People copy our shit if we let it out!
Would you consider doing almost like a tour around the world documenting other countries street cultures?
I’ve been doing a tour for the LA Women book. I went to Mexico, Australia, Brazil and all over Europe. My next book is going to be the portraits and life style I’ve shot in LA. I’m trying to do a LA Women book 2, it hasn’t been confirmed yet, but they the things I’m working on at the moment, as far as books go. I’m still doing the EstevanOriol clothing line collaborations with T.I.T.S and Diamond.
Estevan – LA Women Book promo
How about some of you’re latest videos?
I’ve just done a video with The Transplants (Saturday Night), with Travis Barker, Skinhead Rob and Tim from Rancid. Just done a Tech N9ne publicity shoot, I like Tech’s work, he does good shit, he does his own thing, he’s not copying anybody. And, he puts on a real show. A lot of rapper’s these days seem to be playing a MP3 and lip sync over that, it’s terrible! It’s not what hip-hop was, it’s turning into Milli Vanilli. People use to shit on MilliVanilli and Britney Spears, Ashlee Simpson, the same people who use to shit on all them, are now lip syncing themselves! You go to see a live show, you want to see them doing it live, you don’t want to see them rapping over a fucking CD!
I’ve just done another video for a local rapper called Chino Brown. The video thing is like what we were saying earlier about photography, the budget is going! The quality, on the whole, is going down because you can’t afford what you could before. But, you just got to keep it moving, I have to go into other fields, do shit in other genres.
I’ve just done a viral video for a phone company in the States with Snoop Dogg, Brittany Dailey and Warren G.
Estevan Oriol shooting Snoop Dogg, Rosa Acosta and others for Colt .45 drink
I still want to do more Respect (Hip-Hop photography magazine) covers, I did the first cover with the 50 Cent shoot, but they always have new editors who bring in their own peoples.
You’ve taken photos of rappers and bands such as Eminem, 50 Cent, Cypress, Blink 182 and many more…who’ve your favourites been to shoot?
So far, my homies Cypress Hill, that goes without saying. Snoop Dogg is always dope to work with, he always hooks me up with good jobs. Blink-182, I did a lot of great work with them, Travis, Skinhead Rob. Rob introduced me to Travis, and ever since then, it just took off! 50 is always cool to work with, I did more jobs with him in the beginning. It’s who you know at magazines and record labels. You might not like something at a particular magazine, but if you want to work with someone, you gotta kiss their ass. Business.
Kim Kardashian, how was that?
I did a Famous Stars & Straps shoot with her and another for a project we are working on, which is still going to come out. Like everybody, I met her at the start, she’s great to shoot, real cool peoples.
You’ve done the Two In The Shirt collabo, any more in the future?
Yeah still doing them, I got some more coming up. Also got some stuff coming up with Diamond Clothing. Me and (DJ) Muggs are going to do a couple of shirts for Soul Assassins. We’ve always got to keep producing shit, because once you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind.
If you could assemble a group photo, consisting of no more than 6 artists, who would be in there?
Eva Mendes, Adriana Lima, Jessica Alba…you can see where I’m going haha! I wanna shoot some girls! It’s cool to shoot dudes, but it’s a lot better to shoot girls! I like that style…the Jessica Albas, the Eva Mendes, some of them Victoria Secret type girls, I love that shit. I’d like to do a Victoria Secret thing in Brazil or something. Imagine a Sports Illustrated special in Brazil…
Any last words?
Just want to thank everyone in London for always supporting us, representing. We been coming out here for years, I was talking to Bun B before, we use to come out here with Cypress, we’d do shows in Brixton, we’d do two shows a night in Brixton! Everybody would come out and support. The music scene here is always inspiring, there’s always something different going on here. The pirate radio type vibe, the grime, the dubstep, all that stuff is cool to hear out here.
Anyone in particular you’re feeling?
Our friends at D.T.A (Don’t Trust Anyone) in LA did a grime mixtape (By DJ Magic with Scrufizzer, P-Money, Rinse, Roxxxan, Kozzie etc…) , and that whole shit, from start to finish, all raw ‘hood, London shit! That shit was bomb, I still bump that shit today. Actually, Bun B was even asking if anyone bring it to Gumball this year! It was our soundtrack to the race all last year, that was the one CD that we listened to. We’re into that shit.
But, just please keep supporting, Soul Assassins, Joker Brand, EstevanOriol, we’re keeping shit moving! Peace.
The images shown here are just a few out of 100′s and 100′s out there, just type Estevan Oriol into any search engine and you’ll see the results!
…and I gotta say, Estevan is one of the coolest out there. Many thanks to him & DJ Muggs for letting me hangout with them all afternoon. True OG’s.