Despite torrential downpour, many camped out overnight for the chance to meet the singer at the grand opening of his pop-up store in celebration of his new album. By 7 p.m. hundreds of fans lined the sidewalk for his autograph signing.
The Born and Raised pop-up store exhibit included seven photographs taken by Gari Lamar Askew II from two shoots including the Born and Raised recording sessions and a road trip with Mayer along the Pacific Coast Highway. Having worked with Mayer since 2007, Askew explained the concept behind the shoot.
“He told me he wanted it to be iconic. There was a time in life within music when it was more about the subject and the moment. He said, ‘I just want me and you to go and it to be a journey. You to capture me as if I was on a road trip by myself.’”
He said that the focus was the music and Mayer wanted to reflect that visually.
“That’s what it was about. Just about me and him going somewhere and taking some photos and trying to capture what is him and trying to be honest,” Askew said.
Portraying Mayer in his element, the photos are the visual representation to Mayer’s more rustic release. Having said the album will have “organic cowboy guitar sounds,” the photos showcase Mayer’s journey alone on the road with his guitar.
“We just went down the PCH and the 101 in L.A. and I captured him. It was just me and him,” he said. “For me it was a blessing because he’s one of the biggest artists in the world and for him to hit me up it was like, ‘Woah!’”
Citing Mayer as “stand up guy,” he said everything that he puts in his music is him.
“One of the reasons I became a photographer was because I love music so much,” Askew said, adding that he is a fan of John Mayer’s music. “You can’t really deny he’s such an amazing musician. He’s the voice of this generation.”
Photos of Mayer lined the walls at the Born and Raised pop-up store and were available for purchase as was his new album and additional merchandise. While some brought personal items like guitars, others showed up simply to meet the singer in the flesh.
Founder of Reed Space and Staple Design jeffstaple said this isn’t the first time a musician has reached out to curate an exhibit at the Orchard Street location. “We’re used to doing events here at our store. It’s always been a community center where we hold gallery exhibitions and launch events,” he said.
Celebrating their 10 year anniversary, he said he has a tight knit team who handles the business and gets things done no matter who it is.
“It just so happens to be a John Mayer event today. Last month we had Odd Future and they are big with a whole different demographic and community and John has his own world too,” he added. “It was actually because of Odd Future that John was like, ‘Hey, I saw what you did with Tyler, the Creator and I’d love to do something.’”
Because of his voice condition, Mayer can’t tour right now and wanted to do something special for his fans, 3,000 of which jeffstaple estimated made their way into the store Monday night.
The Born and Raised Store will remain open through Sunday, May 27th.
– Annie Reuter CBS Local