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Getta Grip

Interview

Artist Feature: Emmanuel Camusat for Getta Grip

We loved our previous collab with Damian from Getta Grip so much that we knew from that day we had to do it again. Meanwhile, we were extremely lucky that Manu, the art director behind Diligent Skateboards [remember the collab’ wheels we made last Xmas?], was inspired by our logo and he sent us some awesome twisted versions we loved so much. We reached out to him and asked to put one on grip tape, sprayed by Damian himself. We included the grip in our 3 Years box along with this interview in issue #19 of KrakMag.

Hey Manu, could you introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is Emmanuel Camusat AKA Imaurf Emmanuel_Paul; Emmanuel_Paul and Emmanuel Polymorph. This is an old thing from my days at Beaux-Arts [French art school] in order to justify why I was doing very different things. I graduated from the Beaux-Arts in Qimper [north west part of France] in 2000, I’m 46 years old, and I’m an artist and a teacher at the art school in Chateauroux.

How long have you been skating? How did you start?
I started skateboarding in 1986 and I skated straight through to 1992. When my father died that year (I was 20 years old) I put skateboarding aside, my mind was somewhere else. I consequently stopped for 20 years. During that time, I was still landing some ollies every month just to tell myself ‘you’re still a skateboarder’, so I never completely stopped but that was still a proper pause. Then I really went back into it in 2012 when my first son started walking. I put him on a board, then myself, and bang: I missed it too much so I became addicted again.

How long have you been drawing/painting?
I’ve been drawing for as many years as I can remember. I was hungry for comics and I didn’t get out of my bedroom really often when I was a kid so I drew. Nothing crazy but it was non-stop. Then I started skateboarding and I made some logos on my griptape, then on my clothes, etc… Then I started working. And then again: my father’s death, 3 years of being lost, and it clicked. The act of creation was way too important to me. I couldn’t forget that, so I consequently applied to a prep school in order to enter into the Beaux-Arts later on. I was enrolled in the same prep school in Chateauroux in which I teach right now. Then I moved to Quimper and I’m fully into creation now.

What inspired this Krak graphic?
That one was part of a huge series of different logos. I had my little eye-based characters in mind and they started to invade my skateboarding pictures, then I got some geometric forms, then some logos, and in the middle of all these things, the Krak logo. It’s always an evolution for me, I jump from one thing to another, always in motion.

You’ve surprised us many times with some twisted/hijacked logos. Do you especially enjoy this type of drawing? Why?
As I was saying above, I always try to be in motion. I’m also a bit of a workaholic so once I draw something, I have to test it many times, I have to try a lot of different combinations, I have to literally run through the whole thing. So I make a lot of tests, I twist things, and since the thing is in my mind all the time, I need to take it out. Otherwise it consumes my days. I play with the different versions, I fill out the inside of the logo, then I fill all the negative space. The Krak logo was perfect for this little game and I can tell you: you haven’t seen most of the drawings, haha!

I love these drawings because they’re instinctive to me. It’s a kind of meditation. I don’t think… it’s like I draw them to warm me up before going into more complex work. Drawing and skateboarding are the same to me. One paper, one picture, it’s like an obstacle. My pen, my paintbrush, they’re like my board. I have some tricks in my bag that I know, that I manage perfectly, so I start with them to warm up. Then I try some bigger stuff, harder, until I reach the point where they become warm-up tricks; that’s what happened with my logo-based drawings.

We actually see a lot of hijacked logos out there, what do you think about this trend?
In my opinion, it’s because we’re literally surrounded by logos and brands all the time. So quite naturally, the logos are one of the first things that come into mind. That actually proves the strength of those who created them in the first place. I like the idea of ‘invading the invaders’. It’s not a battle, per se, but rather a way to identify yourself, to highlight where influences lie.

Some of the drawings you do remind us of Ed Templeton graphics. Do you draw any inspiration from Toy Machine?
Hmm yes and no. I really like his work, there is something very strong in it but his characters are typically derivatives of themselves. It starts with a monster which eats some skateboards, then step by step it becomes something more liquid with some extra mouths, then extra eyes, then the extra mouth disappears just to leave the extra eye. I’m totally aware that there is some similarities, especially around the cyclops family. But to be honest, and without faked humility, I think that while the design is often similar, the content is not. And he’s doing things way better than me isn’t he?

What are the pros and cons of using boards as a medium for art?
Pros: the form factor. You have to keep in mind where the trucks will be, the used and scratch zones, and the result is a huge and very interesting challenge. It’s always super cool to see your drawing under a rider’s feet. When you think about it, they liked your work enough to buy a deck. The skate shops become sort of art galleries to showcase your art.

Cons: I can’t think of any. I could say the fact that you destroy the canvas over time but I actually find that pretty cool. Consequently, it gives another meaning to your design. For instance, I drew some cows for an American company named ‘Crucial Skate Company’ and at the end, that became a ‘roast beef’ series that I really enjoyed.

What do you like to draw aside from skateboarding?
Everything. I like drawing everything; all the little daily things. I always have a pen and a notebook with me. I draw in waiting rooms, during conferences, during meetings, I draw everything and everyone I see. I enjoy ‘series’ of things, like drawing something so many times that you make it disappear.

How did you connect with Diligent?
I’ve known Florent for a while. Hey, he even told the story in his interview in the KrakMag. I used to ride with my friends in front of his house and then sometimes he rode the mini-ramp that we built ourselves, just next to an abandoned factory near the train rails. Then we sort of lost each other, and recently we bumped into each other. Since I was doing a lot of different things, he asked me if I was down to make something for Diligent and voila, here we are.

Who are your biggest influences in art?
Wow, there are so many. My biggest influences come from literature: W.S. Burroughs, Georges Perec, Jack Kerouac; then from music: Pierre Henry, Pierre Schaeffer, Steve Reich, John Cage. Then there is: Marcel Duchamp, Picasso, Ed Ruscha, Joseph Kosuth, Max Ernst, Botticelli, Le Caravage, Richard Fauguet, Wim Delvoye, the Chapman brothers, I could go on like this for hours. Bottom line is: I’m really into experimenting, innovation and the intention being more than the pure beauty of the realisation. Even though there are some wonderful things in the stuff I just mentioned, I also think it’s deeper than what we see, that’s what resonates with me.

If you could do a board graphic for any skater, who would it be?
Hmm if I don’t think too much about it I’d say: Natas Kaupas, Rodney Mullen, Steve Caballero and Ray Barbee; they’re my young age idols haha; and Louie Barletta as well. Then I think more about brands, in terms of mindset and the atmosphere: Toy Machine for instance (let’s go back to Ed Templeton) and Enjoi.

What is your biggest piece of advice for readers who want to make a living out of drawing?
To be honest, I’d love the readers to give me advice about that, haha, because I can’t say I live from my drawings. Jokes aside, I think you should work in an authentic way, be genuine and sincere, stay open and don’t focus on one thing only. Keep experimenting, always; and last but not least, find a real job on the side, haha!

This interview was originally featured in the printed KrakMag issue 19 that shipped with the 3 Years KrakBox. Want to get your hands on a copy of the next printed KrakMag? Want to receive epic skateboarding product every two months? Check out the KrakBox now!

Getta Grip
Interview

Founders Interview: Damian Hurtado of Getta Grip

We’ve had the pleasure of including Getta Grip in KrakBox not once, but twice now. It all began back we asked everyone of you to suggest brands/people you would like to see in our 6th KrakBox and some of you mentioned Getta Grip. We got in touch with Damian, the Founder to share this story with him. He was stoked. And we were more than happy to include his wonderful hand-painted grips in the box. We had never met Damian before so we started off with a Q&A. 

Age: 21.
Hometown: Hawaiian Gardens, CA.
Number of years drawing: since birth.
How did you start: pausing the movie I was watching on my VHS television, and drawing whatever I paused it at.
Drawing setup: give me a pen and I’ll draw on anything.
Skate setup: any board that’s an 8.35, Getta Grip stencil on Mob, Indy’s, Spitfire and Bronson’s.
When did you start drawing on grips: early High School.
When did you launch Getta Grip: 2012.
Who’s on the team: at the moment my team riders are Justin Damer, John Hill and Brice Maguire. I recently let Cody McEntire go.
First Getta Grip design you launched: Krusty stencil.

Getta Grip
Number of designs created so far: over 50.
One anecdote since the brand creation: I had a teacher that got so pissed off at me for always cutting out stencils in her class, and she grabbed the stencil I was cutting out and threw it away saying “These paper dolls aren’t going to take you anywhere!”.
Last video you watched: how to pop a shoulder back in.
Favorite trick: nosepick.
Favorite spot: any ditch.
What’s next: I’ll be having a new line of stencils coming out, new collaborations and handmade Getta Grip Coffee tables.
Thank you: my Friends, Family, LB Skate, Krakbox & Club 10.

Getta Grip

Damian Hurtado. Photo: Manny T

Then, fast foward to KrakBox #9 and we teamed up with Damian again, this time for a Getta Grip x Krak collab. I met up with Damian at Berlin Bistro in Long Beach, ordered some beers and got chatting. Enjoy. k. 

Icelandic Beer. Never tried that one before.
Oh you’re gonna love it man. It’s nice and smooth you know.

Cheers!!
Cheers!!

So, you grew up in Long Beach?
Kind of yeah. Like 10-20 minutes away from here.

Oh so that’s pretty much home right?
Kind of yeah. I also lived in Ohio. That was pretty cool, I lives in Columbus, OH, Dayton, like 2 years, that was not too bad.

For school? Or did you follow your parents?
My Aunt took care of me for a little bit, and my little sister. It’s so nice out there. It was like a retirement scene. All the kids there really hated me. I was so loud and obnoxious. It was funny though.

What’s the story with this tattoo?
Yeah. I got that and then started the company. I drew it out, made it and I was so inspired I was like ‘let’s do it’. I got it tattooed and then started the company.

Haha same for me. I got that one, it was the logo of my first company. Funny in fact you think about Jamie getting his company’s logos tattooed as well — when you’re really passionate about something it’s part of you, your skin.
All my homies thought I was stupid. haha! There were like ‘hey but you’re not doing anything’ but I was like ‘gimme some time’.

Is it your first one?
No second one. This is my first one, I did it myself. I did it when I was 16.

Yourself? Wow! That takes courage.
Haha I was shaking tho. But it came out good at the end.

Was it hard to draw it upside down?
Kinda. I just made the stencil and then put it out and I just had to follow somehow. It actually inspired me to draw. It’s like poetry it’s awesome.

And then you got all the other ones.
Most of them are crap though. I’ve got some of my leg too. Always dumb.

Funny when you start it becomes like a drug. Once you got one, you already have 15 different ideas in your head for the next ones.
Yeah I got plenty. I wanna have more. This one is like random chick. Cool stuff. But that part hurt so bad!

Did you tattoo some friends too?
Oh yeah I tattooed a lot. I’ve been tattooing a little bit lately but not too much, just stencil art. So I’m doing that and I work at the Pizzeria down the street. It’s part-time, for fun.

Getta Grip

Damian Hurtado. Photo: Manny T

Like cooking or serving?
Oh I’m a chef. So I’m working there like 30 hours a week and then just straight painting.

So that’s how you balance the day basically?
Yeah. Pizzeria, painting, skateboarding.. drinking as well haha!

Haha that’s a cool life man 😉

Oh I didn’t show you a picture of my dog here. Here that’s me and my dog. This is really cool. It’s in long beach. There are some really cool little street spots over there.

[showing me skate footage on his phone]

So you enjoy banks?
Haha yeah I love banks man. So many fun things to do.

Okay and that park isn’t far from here right?
5min. Always cool folks there. Everyone in Long Beach is very cool. I wanna stay here.

Really? I don’t know it at all in fact. It’s my second time here. Oh you wanna know one funny thing: my first time here was to meet Mikendo and we met right here, in the same coffee shop haha!
Oh yeah he lives down the street.

We were sitting on the terrace and just saw Geoff Rowley across the street.
Yeah all the pro skaters are here in Long Beach.

Ok so you love LB?
Oh dude I’m in love with Long Beach, so mellow, nice people, dog-friendly.

You didn’t even need to go outside of the neighborhood right?
You don’t need a car here. Just use a bike or your skateboard. But still I have a car haha! I needed one. I have a shitty Volvo.

Mikendo told me the same thing like here you just need a bike.
Well yeah I just use my car twice a week you know. Not too much. So it’s only to go outside. But today is like so hot, I’m not biking today, I’ll use the car.

Haha that’s true. You know that’s the type of weather where I always remind myself ‘hey ride slow’ but it’s super hard in fact to go slow when you ride a bike because you wanna go fast. But right now… arrgh it’s too hot.
Well it feels like in NYC right now. You know in NYC it could be like 105. Too hot.

Getta Grip x Krak

Where did you get the inspiration for the Krak collab drawing?
I first drew the kraken, then just put the box somewhere inside. It’s called preppy red; the paintbox.

The black will be hard to cut though. 30 layers.
I called the Pizzeria like ‘hey I’ll just work 2 days a week’ for while cause I have to draw and cut haha!

Do you speak Italian?
A little bit. My aunt speaks Italian so when we go over there to eat, she always speaks Italian.

Have you been to Europe already?
Nope. I’ll go next year. To Napoli, where my family comes from initially, and then I’ll spend some time around the rest of Europe.

What’s next with Getta Grip?
Oh I gotta a whole new line coming up. I have like a big Mohamed Ali stencil.

Ok so you’re paying tribute each time a cool dude passes away?
Well yeah. I wanted to do a Mohamed Ali one like 2 years ago and just never did. And now I was like ‘argh he’s gone I have to do it now’. No one has done it yet so I’m gonna do it. And then I’m gonna do my little sister’s art. Pretty sick. I got a lot of things actually. Oh I got one thing based on a Thrasher logo, you know the one with the flame. So doing that and a couple thing.

Okay so it’s a lot about new designs mainly?
Yeah.

Getta Grip

So your sister draws as well? Was it like a family thing? Did your parents used to draw too?
No. It just started haha!

[ordered another round] How did you start skateboarding?
I started when I was very little, barely walking. I was like 3. And then skated til I was 6. And due to my family religion, they were like ‘you can’t use these wheels anymore’. Yeah you can’t do skateboarding, biking… and any other shit. So I’m like ‘you’re kidding me’ and they were like ‘no, no’. So they took my skateboard. So I was just skating at my friends house and when I go back home, they yelled at me like ‘we told you not to skateboard’ so I was fucked and I stopped skating. At least until I was about 12. I fucking loved skateboarding so I bought one and used it until my mom found it & threw it away and I was screwed. But still from 12 til now I always have my skateboard. I would land a kick flip down 12 stairs and get home and hide my skateboard.

Wow first time I hear a story like this. But why?
This was the religion I don’t know. They found that religion and they were ‘no wheels’. They wanted to believe in it, so I don’t know, I had to listen to them too as their child. I always loved skateboarding though. You know at 16 I broke my shoulder and they were like ‘you see we told you’ but for me this was part of the game. And now I’m older and I popped it out a while ago and they’re still like ‘you see I told you’ but dude I don’t hide it anymore. I’ve got my own apartment.

Getta Grip

You wanna keep your design on griptape or at some point you wanna put them on t-shirts or something else?
I don’t know. Griptape for now. My roommate wants to start a headwear company. I said, ‘I’ll help you out’, I’ve so many ideas and sketchbooks.

Why griptape in the first place?
It started when I went to LA. I was about 15 and I drove to LA with some friends and I looked at buildings and there was some stencil art and I thought it was cool. I didn’t know anything about stencil art. I started to try, cutting and spraying everything at school; t-shirts anything. I wanted to put it on my skateboard but I didn’t want to fuck my deck so I put it on my griptape and then I called it something stupid like Unicorn Grip and 4 other different names. By high school I was so hyped so I got it tattooed and then started Getta Grip.

Are you stoked when you go to a park and see your griptape?
Oh yeah. Here in Long Beach a lot of kids have them but last time I was in NYC, and I saw someone with it and I was psyched!

The discussion went on and on for at least an hour. We were very proud to support Damian him with Getta Grip. He asked us at the end if our US warehouse was in Portland, OR because he wanted to drive there to deliver the griptape. And he did; with his dog of course.

Getta Grip

Damian and his dog in Portland

These interviews were originally featured in the printed KrakMag issues 6 & 9. Want to get your hands on a copy of the next printed KrakMag? Want to receive epic skateboarding product every two months? Check out the KrakBox now!