A photographer perhaps not just an artist who plays with light or colors, but also can be considered as a messenger that has something to say passionately about a culture or something that happened in daily basis.

Thus, a photographer may speak his/her point of view towards everything around through his lens and for the love of something that he/she believes.

Since late 80s, Estevan Oriol became a tour manager for an uber-Hip-Hop group, House of Pain, and built his connection with Cypress Hill – another LA-based Hip-Hop prominent group – that a decade later would establish Soul Assassins. It’s a production house which supported by various artists and musicians with Oriol as one the masterminds.

During series of tour with the group, he invoked his unique and outrageous style to capture the experiences. He then started taking pictures of his crews and homies, as well as the LA’s low rider culture that influenced him a lot.

California itself is very well-known for its one-of-a-kind and unique lifestyle. Its diversity in culture and races made the city very soulfoul. The Mexican immigrants, whether it’s latino, hispanic and chicano, have a sole way of life that truly inspired Oriol to do his ‘magic’.


The Mexican American man is gifted for capturing the raw essence of street life. He took pictures for various magazines, such as FHM, Anthem, Mass Appeal, Juxtapoz and Juice and many of them were appeared in front covers.

Many believes he has a raw and sincere style of photography with a delicate sense of street spirit that has been very rare nowadays.

He also did the artworks for CD covers and sheets for various musicians and many collaboration projects including his notorious project along with Mister Cartoon, a famous LA based artist. Both of them team up in 1995 to establish Joker brand cloting – which soon to be a giant brand provide clothing to support hip-hop and chicano culture and now gained huge fans world-wide.

A decade later, Oriol and Cartoon 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. It’s a multi-cultural multimedia design and 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.

[ estevan oriol ]

Lately, Estevan also directs music videos for 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.

Seems like it’s never enough, he stepped into film industry as a director. Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer, along with Universal Pictures partnered with SA studios and requested Estevan three picture deal in which he could direct. The first one was the life story of Mister Cartoon, which was released in 2008.

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.

Lastly, 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.

Visit Estevan Oriol latest work here


Tulisan ini merupakan bagian dari publikasi fur pada 24 Oktober 2011

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