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Renell Medrano's On A New Level With Her Photography

Witness this New Yorker's artistic rise.

Chris Schwegler // Retna Ltd.

Late last year A$AP Ferg announced his forthcoming LP by premiering a then new single, appropriately titled "New Level." The instant banger was just a foreshadowing for the "fire" upcoming album, according to Renell Medrano, the creative mind behind his album cover artwork. Since his start Ferg has always showcased his unique taste through his aesthetic and fashion sense. Considering the importance of his sophomore project, he naturally sought to work with certain creatives who were...on his level.

One afternoon that path lead him straight to a café in California where he met Medrano. At the time she was a recent Parson's graduate, Harper's Baazar intern and freelance photographer for Justine Skye, none of which was known by her unsuspecting lunch date that day. Spotting her, Ferg waltz right up to her to express how much he loves her photography. In disbelief Renell graciously thanked him for his compliments, but is more taken back by the many screenshots he'd taken of the work she featured on her Instagram account. Both parties clearly being fans of one another, the pair began to work together shortly after.

How did you come up with the creative direction for this album?

He had a vision planned out and was very attracted to my clean aesthetic. My lifestyle photography can vary from being real clean to real raw. Then he showed me his inspiration so we ended up putting two and two together. Often we would go to the studio and have random shoots then we'd edit through them. Eventually he said, "This is it, this is the cover."

What's your next goal?

Within the music industry I want to start creating narratives for artists. I don't want to put together these random images of artist working in the studio I would prefer them to be more lifestyle and documentary. I would love to work with an artist like Nas using this my vision.

Explain some of the elements that brought this album booklet to life.

His album is about rebirth. He wants to present a whole new Ferg. We shot many photos of him in water to convey baptism but the water is black. Also, there are images to represent his past like the neighborhood he grew up in which is 143rd Street in Harlem that burned down and his grandmother's hands.

Have you been commissioned to do work for the A$AP Mob?

I do want to work with all of them but not as of yet, I am just getting to know the crew. I feel like once Ferg drops his album my work will support potential collaboration with more of the members from A$AP.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I think people believe because I work in music that my life is "lit." That is just not true, I still have to work very hard to be stable in this industry. I want to create conceptual art and not be forced to shoot as an event photographer to maintain an income. I do not want to be just another woman the shoots, so I am fickle in the projects that I pick up because I am building my name. I want respect from others both for myself and my art.

Renell's ability to navigate the social landscape of the music business and her talent make for a bright future. She cherishes her freedom as a freelancer, while also building trusting relationships with her clients. Her conceptual photography is both striking and thought provoking. For more of her work visit www.renellmedrano.com.

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