Famed Los Angeles artists and Joker Brand co-founders, Estevan Oriol and Mister Cartoon, recently opened their first retail store, the Last Laugh, and they did it right smack in the heart of Downtown L.A.
It’s a risky venture that only these two street artists could do, and do with confidence and the support of their community. According to the duo, this store opening has been in the works for years, and has just now, finally come to fruition.
“Me and Toons have been planning to open a store for a couple years,” famed photographer and director, Estevan Oriol, told BallerStatus.com. “We were trying to figure out where to do it and when to do it. We finally came around to doing it about six months ago. We finally found this location right here on Los Angeles and 6th Street, two blocks away from Skid Row.
“The reason why we did it here was because everybody is burned out — like Fairfax and Melrose. Anywhere else would have been too far. Right here, we’ve been down here since 1996. We feel comfortable down here,” he added.
The pair had previously purchased three spaces where their retail store stands, and when they finally decided to move forward with their plan, they brought popular streetwear boutique, Upper Playground, aboard to utilize one unit, while opening their first retail store in the other, which they’ve named the Last Laugh.
The Last Laugh is a boutique style store that carries all of the Estevan and Cartoon’s lines, collaborations, photos, and art.
It is separated into two sides — one for Cartoon and the other for Estevan. On Toon’s side, it houses the custom shoes he’s done for Nike and Vans, his limited edition toys, as well as his tattoo clothing line. On Estevan’s side, you will find his complete line of t-shirts (for both men ad women) and hoodies, all of which showcase some of his most popular photos.
While both Oriol and Cartoon stayed true to their Los Angeles upbringing from the beginning, opening their store right next to Skid Row wasn’t just about staying consistent, it was also about bringing more business to the hood.
“We try to help out in the community down here,” Oriol explains. “We brought these stores in here to help uplift the neighborhood, and to show them you can do a boutique in a neighborhood like this … We got the Versace from the hood type of clothes. We just wanted to show that we could do sh** in the same realm as them.”
The Last Laugh and Upper Playground are located in Downtown Los Angeles at 125 6th Street, between Main and Los Angeles.
In addition to giving us a tour of his new store, Estevan also showed off his latest accomplishment — the movie poster for “Righteous Kill,” a film starring actors Robert Deniro and Al Pacino.
Holding back his excitement, Oriol revealed the story behind the photo he snapped of the star actors for the poster, and how he’s dreamed of the day he could shoot them, which finally came.
“I told my old lady that after I shot Dennis Hopper, if I got to shoot Robert Deniro and Al Pacino, I’d be cool. I’d never have to take another picture again. Like, that was my dream. Dreams come true,” Oriol says. “It’s sick man. I never thought that I’d shoot these two dudes, especially together.”
The veteran photographer is proud and happy with the final product, but revealed that the four-minute shoot that produced the film’s poster, almost didn’t take place. Staying positive and a little encouragement from his wife is what ultimately helped him fulfill his dream.
“It almost didn’t go down. I waited all day at the set,” Oriol says of the shoot that almost didn’t happen. “I called my wife and I was like ‘Man they had me standing around for eight hours and nothing happened. Now the lights are gone and I’m pissed. Sh** is over.’ She’s like ‘No it ain’t, that’s your dream. You gotta make that sh** happen tomorrow. Go back tomorrow and let them know, you gotta get that shot.’ I did. I went back and said ‘I just need five minutes with these guys, and believe me, I’ll make you proud.'”
That’s all it took. After Cartoon put the finishing touches to the poster, they received a surprise. The poster that was originally to become an art style poster to promote the film, became its official one and can currently been seen everywhere the film is being promoted.