Young Guns 19: Raphaël Ajuelos

By Alixandra Rutnik and Brett McKenzie on Oct 27, 2021

Featuring the creative stars of Young Guns 19

A year and a half of uncertainty across the creative industry and beyond has finally given way to a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel — a spotlight with a great big "YG19" standing in the middle of it. After more than 70 acclaimed creatives from around the world and across a multitude of disciplines reviewed hundreds of submissions, whittling them down to a formidable finalist list, we can finally reveal the phenomenal winners of Young Guns 19!

This year, we welcome a diverse class of 32 inductees into the exclusive Young Guns family, a collection of young creative talent that is already near the top of their game — and will only get better. These are the designers, the art directors, the illustrators, the filmmakers, the animators, the multidisciplinary artists whose names you'll want to know — if you aren't already following their every move, that is.

Ahead of the Young Guns 19 Ceremony + Party taking place on Wednesday, November 17 — our first in-person event since the pandemic began — we are featuring the future legends who will be stepping into the spotlight that evening.



Los Angeles, California


Paris, France


When did you first hear about Young Guns?

I often collaborate with past Young Guns winners. It’s definitely one of the most interesting platforms to get introduced to some of the most exciting up and coming or already established creative minds of this generation.

"It’s definitely one of the most interesting platforms to get introduced to some of the most exciting up and coming or already established creative minds of this generation."

What made you enter this year?

Jackson Tisi who was one the super talented winners from last year nominated me, so it was the perfect opportunity to enter the competition and try it out.

Since you are only allowed to submit six projects, how did you decide which pieces were best to enter and truly reflected you and your work?

I chose the projects I felt attached to the most and that represented my overall approach and sensibility at this point in my creative career.

How did you celebrate when you found out you won Young Guns?

Thanks to the time zone difference, it was in the middle of one of these late Parisian summer nights, while I was working on NY/LA hours. It was a cool surprise for sure!

If you had to pick one of the six projects that you entered as your favorite, which one would it be and why?

I love the I Love NY film for Vogue directed by Bardia Zeinali and narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, mainly for what it represents. Even if I don’t live there anymore I’m still super attached to this fascinating city and its unique people.

If you had to describe your creative style, the part of your work that’s most distinctively “you,” what would it be?

I start every project with a unique approach based on discussions with the creatives as well as its specific needs, and a good amount of instinct as well. Whether it will benefit from natural, honest but elevated sound design, or more vibrant, contrasted and immersive soundscape, it’s always essential to find the right balance that will elevate the storytelling with style and taste without denaturing its tone.

On another note, my favorite tool to play with is definitely contrast. Quiet to loud, dark to bright, intense to toned down, close to distant, or even left to right are aspects of a mix that I enjoy experimenting with. Anything that basically makes you experience the story in an immersive and unique way.

Who are some of the biggest influences on your work and career– people who may have had a hand in mentoring and supporting you?

I’m constantly inspired by the whole Musique Concrete movement, that emerged in the 50s, and the overall idea of using real life recordings to turn them into expressive -tonal or melodic- elements. This is an endless source of inspiration.

Regarding mentors, I owe a lot to some of the amazing people I’ve worked with over the past five years at Saturday Night Live, who are some of the most resourceful people I’ve rubbed shoulders with.

In addition, I’m forever grateful for all the super talented directors, producers, editors, composers, etc. that I’ve been collaborating with over the past years and whose work keeps on inspiring me.

Now that you’re in the Young Guns family, are there any past winners you look up to and admire?

A lot! Too many to name, but glad to all belong to the same Young Guns family now. Also glad to see some more familiar faces nominated this year.

The pandemic of 2020 is slowly starting to taper a bit, so do you have any big goals moving forward into 2022?

There might be a new Sound Design Studio in town soon...!

Name a professional dream that you have yet to fulfill — hey, maybe Young Guns can help propel you in that direction!

I haven’t done a super bowl commercial yet!

Any thoughts about winning YG19?

Excited, appreciative, and inspired.




Go check out all the Young Guns 19 Winners in the archive!

Young Guns 19 Archive



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