"Like Father Like Son" Photographers Eriberto and Estevan Oriol Exhibit at Dax Gallery This Saturday
There was always something about Estevan Oriol's portraits of Los Angeles gang members that mesmerized the eye; a combination of a direct, knowing gaze towards the viewer, the starkness of black and white, and hard shadows that underlined the tough exteriors of his subjects. He and father Eriberto Oriol, a photographer and painter, are both cut from the same cloth; while Estevan documents the lives of inner city gang members, Eriberto has documented graffiti and street art, as well as the urban expanse of Los Angeles.
Both artists have curated their work into a traveling art show that has made hits in both LA and New York in a show called "Like Father Like Son." Joining together some of their most iconic works, from the elder Oriol's abstract paintings and photo prints to Estevan's infamous gang portraits, the show comes to Costa Mesa's Dax Gallery this Saturday, with both artists in tow to sign prints as well as Estevan signing his latest book release LA Portraits.
I spoke with both artists on their art and was surprised by the differences between their practices; from Estevan's purist stance on analog film to Eriberto's history of activism; both artists' paths and styles are deviations from each other but are suitably cohesive works of two like-minded artists from different generations. Presented here is a compilation of both their interviews.
OC Weekly [Aimee Murillo]: Can you describe what's going to be in the show?
Estevan Oriol: My dad's been shooting photography for thirty-five years, and I've been shooting for twenty, I started out doing street style. I shoot a lot of different things, but my dad pretty much shoots the downtown LA area mostly, so this is a type of work that we have mostly in common, and we got a good response from the first two shows, so when Dax Gallery asked me if i wanted to do another show with them, I thought this would be the perfect one to bring there.
I have a book out right now called LA Portraits, and since I'll be doing a book signing. I'm also gonna have a small collection of photos as well.
OCW: I'd like to know a bit about both of your guys' backgrounds. Eriberto, when you were growing up, were you interested in being an artist?
Eriberto Oriol: No, not at all. I started when I was living in San Diego, and the particular community I was living in which was called Barrio Logan, which is known for murals under the bridge, and after living in LA for a while I returned back to San Diego and they were doing a community plan of that area I grew up in, so I started checking it out and I ended up doing a photo essay of the whole community, basically showing what was there and what needed to be maintained, and all the assaults the community was receiving from the heavy industry there on the water front.
So through my photos and the photos of another photographer, we were able to open up a whole can of worms as to how that community was being assaulted and nothing was being done by the officials- even the governor came down and he was embarrassed.
OCW: Did you study photography before that?
No, I tried going to school but I think I lasted about a week, it just wasn't my thing being in a classroom. I just didn't like the idea of doing student projects, I liked going out and doing my own thing and whatever happened happened.
I'm not a technical person so I do mostly everything on digital, so I just set the camera on automatic, especially since I'm out in the streets, I never have time to be playing with the F-stops and all that other stuff. I don't even know them all that well, so why even go there? Most of my photos are kind of over exposed or underexposed so I take em to Photoshop and that's where the picture happens, its just like being in a dark room and that's where you make your image.