Awol Erizku, 24, is making a name for himself in the world of photography. Known for blending the Renaissance portrait style with modern subjects, Erizku has been featured in many articles and has recently had an exhibition at the Hasted Kraeutler gallery. Mr. Erizku has another exhibition on display at the Rivington Design House Gallery entitled “Thank You, Come Again!,” from July 19 to September 6, 2012.
by Ashton Cooper
July 19, 2012
“You can call Awol Erizku’s art history-inflected photographs whatever you want — just don’t call them ‘urban.’ ‘I hate when people label my work urban,’ he says. ‘Just because it’s African American subjects or people of color it’s not urban.’”
“His recent Renaissance-inspired portraits at Hasted Kraeutler replace the stiff aristocrats of centuries past with young New Yorkers wearing Louis Vuitton, Versace, and sometimes nothing at all. The pieces are poised and precisely lit while the subjects stand alone against a black background, boldly staring directly into the camera. Works like ‘Girl with a Bamboo Earring,’ ‘Boy Holding Grapes,’ and ‘Lady with a Pitbull’ take direct inspiration from Vermeer, Caravaggio, and Da Vinci.”
“Erizku was born in Ethiopia, but grew up in the Bronx. He started taking photographs seriously in college after an internship with David LaChappelle. In both his gallery work and on his very active Tumblr, Erikzu is working to insert a young black voice onto the white walls of the art world. ‘There are not that many colored people in the galleries that I went to or the museums that I went to,’ he said. ‘I was just like, ‘when I become an artist I have to put my two cents in this world.’’”
“Erizku updates his Tumblr, called ‘Thank You! Come Again,’ nearly every day. The Tumblr photos are more relaxed than his gallery work, foregoing perfect lighting and precise posture for silly, playful poses against a plain white wall. Everyone who visits his studio is photographed (including this reporter). The Tumblr photographs document Erizku’s extensive network of fashionable friends, people he calls ‘movers and shakers in the city.’ Street Etiquette style bloggers Joshua Kissi and Travis Gumbs, members of hip hop collective A$AP Mob, A$AP Rocky and A$AP Bari, and recently Mos Def have all made appearances.”
For the full Blouin Artinfo article, please visit: http://bit.ly/P3jaQ3
For more information on Awol Erizku, see his blog at: http://awolerizku.tumblr.com/.