ABOUT GRIP FACE.
Grip face is visual ar.st David Oliver’s alter ego.
“Sandpaper head”-thats how his rollerblading fellows used to call him back in the early 2000s in La Palma. Like a significant number of ar.sts belonging to the millennial genera.on, he ini.ated his visual and aesthe.c educa.on: rollerblading in the streets, reading comics, watching anime, listening to Anglo-Saxon music and thoroughly studying book, cd, and fanzine covers. Under the auspices of the 1990s American underground wave, the graphics used by the Punk movement in the 1980s and the Asian naive art, Grip Face dived into the ini.a.on rite of graffi. plas.cs as well as in its subsequent deconstruc.on; very early on, the insurrec.on of the media itself allowed
him to understand art as a means to survive. Drawing and pain.ng turned into weapons of mass destruc.on against the anxiety of the contemporary world.And thus began a mul.faceted ar.s.c career that would revolve mainly around constantly reexamining the very contempla.on of his own pleiad.
With this voca.on to being an ar.st-engineer, Grip Face bridges the gap between contexts, elements, techniques, spaces and people. He draws part of his primal language, built mainly within the public sphere- represented by projects like Doors without des-na-on and Black faces (published in 2016 in book format under the same .tle)- shiZing it instead to private spaces like galleries of contemporary art through site-specific installa.ons, sculptures, pain.ngs or tapestries.
Projects like Not rented to humans or Black rubbish is the future reflect the angst and the distress incurred by being both actors and witnesses of our own home’s self-destruc.on. His sketch books, which he keeps with him since his teens, and which cons.tute the purest as well as the darkest side of his work, are a prelude to most of his finished works.
Moving around with ease among the nooks seems to be an idiosyncra.c quality of this visual ar.st, maybe because he always perceived himself as outsider, never feeling quite comfortable with any tag whatsoever, while feeling equally anxious and always in the expecta.ve when faced with the prospect of a society constantly in disguise. A society that seems irretrievably compelled to technological massifica.on, to communica.on through devices, to superficial rela.onships and to the concealment of truth.
Similarly to a screen that repeats staggeringly an “error” message in fivefold overlapping windows, Grip Face’s pain.ng provides a playful space full of layers within which one may dissect the concerns of an impa.ent genera.on, hungry for informa.on- reliable or not- and to whom the internet landscape seems to be the best pla]orm onto which one may learn the savoir-faire properly. His cloths are not familiar with the impa.ent indexes pommeling on the mouse’s leZ side; every layer of every piece of informa.on is processed in a precise and me.culous way, and the technique is never trivial.
Every layer is submi_ed to interven.on, is crossed off or covered, thus shaping a meta universe riddled with aesthe.c references that are intrinsic to genera.on Y (and to genera.on Z, and, most probably to all future le_ers to come too for that ma_er) and implemented with a technical precision of its own, through which he learned to paint under the yoke of immediacy. They all belong to an endless series and an evolving explora.on, both part of the
author’s learning process craZing them. What’s meaningful to Grip Face is con.nuity, this inability to see the end-product, and the uncertainty as to whither the pain.ng will lead it. It’s about living the ar.s.c expression the way we live in the world, transiently and in a doub]ul present.