Parlayin’ with Estevan Oriol

August 16, 2009


How are you?

Good, thanks

Your photography career has been amazing, you are one of the greatest and most sought after street and hip hop photographers and a definite inspiration for many photographers world wide. Who inspires you artistically? Do you have a driving force for your creativity?

Anyone who’s motivated and works and hustles hard, if your lazy and great, I’m not inspired, if your a hustler and ok, I’m inspired.


You have worked with some of the world’s greatest performing talent including Forrest Whittaker, Cypress Hill, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake and Method Man to name a few. Who have been the stand- out people that you have enjoyed working with? Are there any that you want to work with again?

Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Snoop Dog, Jessica Alba and of course Cypress Hill, all of them were cool though.


Was anyone particularly difficult to work with?  Did this have a negative impact on your artwork?

The person that gave me the hardest time was Faye Dunaway. I shot 1 roll of 120, 10 frames and said OK I’m done. After waiting on a movie set for over 8 hours, her attitude impacted my work, its hard to take a good photo of someone with a bad attitude.

Your photo of Danny Trejo so brilliantly captures an actor whose life has seen struggle and difficult choices. How is it working with those people who have grown up in some of the roughest parts  of America and have managed to step out of it? You know, working with (I hate this label but) the “success” stories?

He’s one of the coolest guys you could ever work with. Most of those guys get it , they realize its an art form, and it has to be done right, So they stick it out. If you make it in art your a success story because the odds are against before you start.


How do you find your work has changed and evolved from when you  first got into photography?

There’s a lot of bloggraphers now in the business, there’s blographers shooting ad campaigns. The digital era has changed it a bad way… everything is like fast food now in photography, everyone with a phone is a photographer, its wild. It killed the art form, its not special anymore, its watered down. I only use digital when the magazines make me. As far as my work changing, I’m still the same photographer I was before the digitals came. I shoot something everyday to build my archives I don’t care what I just stay active. I use a canon ae-1 .


You and Mr. Cartoon have created a phenomenal empire, with fingers in many pies. What artistic projects have you most enjoyed working on? Were there any projects that were totally unexpected and then ended up being genius?

I would say my L.A. Woman book for the obvious reasons, my music videos and documentary work.


You have a number of film deals that are in the works, “Ink”, a film about Mr Cartoon and also “Lowrider” which is in the works.  How did these projects come about?

Meeting, meetings, more meetings and then more meetings with a few months between the meetings.

and to satisfy my own interest can you tell me a bit more about  Lowrider?

That’s going to be a movie about the Lowrider culture I haven’t seen the script yet so that’s all I know.


When can we expect to see an Estevan Oriol exhibition in Melbourne?

Hopefully before the end of the year or in Sydney, waiting on feedback from galleries.

Any famous last words?

Thank you to everyone that has supporting me and cartoon and our movement, save the film!!!!


Words by Aidan Einfeld

For more info on Estevan’s work hit up

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