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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.