News__ Q+A: Awol Erizku

July 18, 2012 | By

Photographer Awol Erizku has worked with everyone from David LaChapelle to Heidi Klum to A$AP Rocky

To visit Awol Erizku's studio you have to walk through a flower shop. It's the same concept behind so many "trendy" "secret" restaurants and clubs in New York these days but this time it's authentic, a matter of necessity. The adorable girls that work in the shop, know you're not there for a floral arrangement. "Here to see Awol?" "Yah." "He's downstairs." Descending the steps to Awol's studio you instantly get a feel for Awol's aesthetic. Prints with different treatments cover one wall, friends signatures are scrolled across the back of the door and then there's Awol working at his large desktop Mac blasting trap music. He invites you to come hang on his couch--giving you a casual moment to get settled.

Awol has his lens pointed straight at the emerging culture scene in New York as much as he does on creating his own original art. His work ranges from event photos with the likes of the A$AP crew to in-studio shoots with Mos Def to a modern take on The Girl With The Pearl Earring painting. A month ago AWOL opened his first solo artist show at Hasted Kraeutler (we were there--it was packed) and was also recently accepted to Yale for his MFA in Photography. As Awol gets ready to head off to New Haven he's got a lot to do. One of these many tasks, outside of closing up his studio below the flower shop, packing his belongings, finding a new home and answering some questions for us, he is putting on a new photo show--a farewell of sorts to the city.

The Rivington Design House Gallery Presents: Thank You Come Again! new works by Awol Erizkuwill open this Thursday July 19 from 6-9pm with the afterparty at Big Fun. Read our Q + A with Awol Erizku below and see the flyers for details.

You're headed to Yale (Congrats!), what will you miss most about the city?

The beautiful girls!!!

What will you miss the least?

This annoying guy who spray paints everything he finds gold on Lafayette.

What's one bit of advice you'd give to aspiring photographers?

Quit your day job and do what you love most.

Something you can't live without in your studio (equipment not included)?

My Mamiya RZ

Best way to get your subjects relaxed when shooting them?

A good playlist that best fits their personality.

Name three songs that you often play while you're working:

"Juicy J Can't" - Juicy J
"I Don't Like" - Chief Keef
"Cocaine Blues" - Escort

Funniest thing to happen on set recently?

That's a hard one. I would have to say Adrian dancing to "Mercy" (Check the gif.)

Hug or high five?

Kiss the girls and dap the homies.

If you could shoot anyone in the world who would it be?

Ansel Adams.

Tell us a little bit about the show:

I've had a lot of amazing memories from those who visit my studio, I want to show highlights of the best times I've had in past two years underneath the flower shop.

How did you find the gallery and select the photos?

My friend Brion Issacs owns the gallery and shows a lot of amazing artists he comes across. The curator, Katie Hayden introduced us and I just knew this show had to be there.

What can people expect?

Relaxed environment and tons of drinks!

What's next?

Making more New works at Yale for the next couple of years.

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