SAN FRANCISCO GALLERY OPENINGS
FIFTY24SF - LOCURA - BLUE ROOM GALLERY
SUPERVISOR ROSS MIRKARIMI - SAN FRANCISCO ART INSTITUTE
AMPERSAND INTERNATIONAL ARTS
Fifty24SF Gallery: Mr. Cartoon, Estevan Oriol, Rob Abeyta.
Comment: Mr. Cartoon, Estevan Oriol, and Rob Abeyta are up from Los Angeles. They work solo and collaborate on projects including CD packaging, music videos, fashion, tattoo art, murals, film, photography, graphic design, lowrider design, painting, and more. In fact, I can't find much that these three don't do. Furthermore, they do what they do extremely well, and they do it for some extremely recognizeable names including Eminem, Justin Timberlake, 50 Cent, and Beyonce Knowles, to name a few. Mr. Cartoon is a renowned tattoo artist, perfecting a type of tattoo that originated in the California prison system; he also paints murals and designs and makes lowriders. Estevan Oriol is a photographer, music video director, and filmmaker who purveys honest urban insight with his intense imagery. Rob Abeyta is a photographer, layout artist, painter, and designer, creating misty collagy compositions that occasionally verge spiritual.
Most notable about this show is the documentary aspect of Los Angeles street life, revealed convincingly through the photographs of Oriol. His work points up the fluid transformative continuum of lifestyle that germinates deep downtown ultimately to sculpt the minds of millions of pop culture partisans the world over. Those of you who go out of your way to live lives of comfy gated unfettered obliviousness may wish to tootle on down and broaden your perspectives.
Originally composed of six Samoan-descended brothers from Los Angeles, the Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. offered a distinctly authentic brand of gangsta rap. Sons of a Baptist minister, the brothers Devoux -- lead rapper Paul aka Ganxsta Ridd, bandleader Ted aka the Godfather, Donald aka Don L, Roscoe aka Rosco, Danny aka O.M.B., and David aka E.K.A. -- grew up in a rough neighborhood, and were drawn into gang culture as a survival tactic, joining up with the Mob Piru Bloods. They all served prison sentences at one time or another on drug and/or weapons charges, but it wasn't until brother Robert Devoux was killed in a shooting that they determined to leave the lifestyle. Quitting cold turkey, all six brothers left Los Angeles and moved to Japan to live with their cousin, a sumo wrestler. There they formed a rap and dance troupe dubbed the Blue City Crew, and performed regularly to enthusiastic response from Japanese audiences.
Encouraged by their success, they returned to Los Angeles in 1988 and began working on original material, issuing a 12" single called "Coming Hard to America" later that year. They re-christened themselves the Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E., with the first part of their name taken from a slang term that mimicked the sound of a shotgun (prior to becoming a more general shout of exuberance); the last part, meanwhile, stood for "Too Rough International Boo-Yaa Empire." After a guest appearance on the Club Nouveau track "No Friend of Mine," the T.R.I.B.E. signed with Island's 4th & Broadway subsidiary, and released their debut album, New Funky Nation, in 1990. Earning positive attention for its use of live instrumentation, it spawned a minor hit single in "Psyko Funk," and climbed into the Top 40 of the R&B album chart. A second album, Good Times Bad Times, was recorded in 1992, and featured guest appearances by George Clinton, Ice Cube, and Living Colour; however, despite some well-received appearances on that summer's Lollapalooza tour, the record was never released. In 1993, they collaborated with Faith No More on "Another Body Murdered," one of the all-star metal/rap teamings on the Judgment Night soundtrack.
Signing with the smaller Bullet Proof label, the group issued two more albums, Doomsday and Occupation Hazardous, in 1994 and 1995, respectively. By this time, three members had adopted new aliases: Danny was Monsta O, Roscoe was Murder One, and Donald was Kobra Konvict (or just Kobra). Searching for a new musical direction, the T.R.I.B.E. formed their own Samoan Mafia label and tried their collective hand at rap-metal on 1997's Angry Samoans, albeit to little attention. Another effort, Mafia Lifestyle, appeared in 2000, with guest spots from Layzie Bone, Yukmouth, and Naughty by Nature's Treach, among others. By this time, David Devoux had left the group, and was replaced by Vincent Devoux aka Gawtti. Gawtti landed a small but memorable role in the 2003 film The Italian Job, and the T.R.I.B.E. further increased their visibility by snagging a rare guest appearance from Eminem on their subsequent album, West Koasta Nostra; it was released on Sarinjay and produced by Battlecat. Angry Samoans, an all-metal affair, was released three years later.
Estevan Oriol began his career in the entertainment industry in the late 1980's as a club bouncer at several of Los Angeles' most popular Hip Hop clubs and infamous Hollywood hang outs. It was at these clubs that Estevan first linked up with his Soul Assassin brothers from South Gate, Cypress Hill. Eager to expand his knowledge of the business, Estevan took a job as tour manager for the rap group House of Pain in 1992.
It was in 1992 that Estevan first ventured into the clothing industry. He and Everlast, then the front man of House of Pain, began Not Guilty clothing and specialized in t-shirts and hoodies. Soon after, Estevan ventured out on his own creating the Scandalous line based on his experiences as a DJ.
In 1995 Estevan took up photography, cataloging the outrageous experiences he was having out on tour. When off tour, he began to take pictures of his homies from the neighborhood.
He soon discovered that he had a gift for capturing the raw essence of street life with his photography. Estevan took the opportunity seriously and with in a short time, he became one of the most sought out photographers of the Hip Hop community. His work has been featured in dozens of magazines world wide including The Source, Details, Vibe, The Fader, and Rolling Stone.