Visual Artist and Director Sammy Rawal Joins Westside

//  03.22.23

Westside Studio welcomes award-winning visual artist and director Sammy Rawal to the roster for exclusive Canadian representation.

The dynamic, multidisciplinary commercial and music video director has worked with artists such as Lizzo, Cardi B, Kelis, and Elton John, and directed campaigns for major brands including The Bay, Converse, and Lululemon. Rawal brings a fresh, forward-thinking energy to the studio’s growing roster of directors.

“Sammy is an incredibly inspiring person in both life and work,” says Amanda Morrison, Executive Producer, Westside. “We could not be more thrilled to have him join our growing roster, and we are humbled by his trust.”

Rawal’s powerful, hyper-stylized work integrates influences from his rich cultural heritage alongside his background in multiple creative disciplines. From the exuberance of Bollywood to the anatomical detail of African sculpture, his work is deeply informed by colour, vibrance, and design.

“My parents are from India and Kenya, and I grew up immersed in music and visual art from these cultures,” he says. “I’ve always been interested in anatomy, dance, and fashion.”

Rawal makes liberal use of high-impact visual effects, enhancing the beauty and power of his subjects with thoughtful integration of technology. Meanwhile, his background in fashion photography and DJ-ing—Sammy co-founded and is the resident DJ of Yes Yes Y’all, Canada’s largest queer hip hop and dancehall party—lends a rhythmic note to his visuals. Music production inspires the cloning, multiplication, and graphic sensibility of some of his projects and much of his work is beat-driven and musically informed.

His “Life’s A Ball” Pride campaign for luxury gym Equinox celebrates the power and athleticism of Black trans women in the New York Ballroom scene. The campaign pays homage to legends and icons of the scene who rise above adversity daily. Rawal maintains a presence in the ballroom world. After shooting the Equinox campaign, he joined the ballroom collective House of Gorgeous Gucci.

View Sammy Rawal’s reel.

Diversity and representation are integral to his work. Keen to create opportunities for queer people of colour like himself, he is committed to centering QPOC voices and stories wherever possible—both on-screen and behind the scenes.

“Taking cues from my work as a curator of community and culture with Yes Yes Y’all, it’s really important for me to prioritize people who haven’t had a seat at the table,” he says.

Rawal is excited to inject his progressive sensibility into the heritage studio’s roster. “Westside is an icon in the city, and we align in terms of direction and cultural reference,” he says. “They understand my aesthetic, as well as the power and commercial viability of my work.”

“Sammy’s work and overall energy represents where Westside is heading,” adds Ellie Winston, Executive Producer, Westside. “His versatility and openness to pushing boundaries set him apart. We look forward to watching Sammy continue to innovate and supporting him every step of the way.”