burguer burguer urvanity lab


Grip Face

(Son Ferriol, 1989)

Grip face is the alter ego of visual artist David Oliver.

Grip face - or as his skate buddies called him in La Palma in the early 2000s - undertook his aesthetic and visual education like a significant part of the millennial generation of artists: by skating in the street, reading comics, watching anime, listening to Anglo-Saxon music and meticulously studying book covers, albums and fanzines. Under the auspices of the American underground currents of the 90s, the graphics used by punk in the 80s and naïve Asian art, Grip Face dives into the initiatory rite of graffiti art and its subsequent deconstruction; the very insurrection of the medium allows him to understand - from a very early age - art as a method for survival. Drawing and painting become weapons of mass destruction against the anxiety of the contemporary world. Thus begins a multifaceted artistic career that will be based mainly on constantly re-examining the look towards his pleiad. 

With the vocation of the artist-engineer, Grip Face builds bridges between contexts, elements, techniques, spaces and people. He extracts part of his primordial language, mainly grounded in public space and of which the projects Doors without destination and Black faces (published in 2016 in book format of the same name) are representative, and transfers it to the private space of contemporary art galleries through site-specific installations, sculptures, paintings or tapestries. Projects such as Not rented to humans or Black rubbish is the future reflect the uneasiness and discomfort produced by being both actors and witnesses of the self-destruction of our home. His sketchbooks, which have been with him since he was a teenager - and which constitute the purest as well as the darkest side of his work - are the prelude to most of his finished pieces.

Moving loosely among the nooks and crannies seems to be an idiosyncratic quality of this visual artist; perhaps it is because he always saw himself as an outsider, never quite comfortable with any label and feeling equally anxious and expectant about the prospect of a permanently masked society, which seems hopelessly doomed to technological massification, communication through devices, superficial relationships and the concealment of the true. 

In the same way in which a screen returns an error message in quintuplicate and superimposed windows, Grip Face's paintings offer us a playful space full of layers where we can dissect the concerns of an impatient generation, eager for information -whether or not its veracity is decisive- and for which the Internet landscape is apparently the best scenario for the correct learning of savoir faire. His canvases do not understand impatient indexes pounding on the left side of the mouse; each layer of information is worked on in a precise and meticulous way, and technique is never trivial. Each layer is intervened, crossed out or covered, thus configuring a meta universe, full of aesthetic references inherent to generation Y (and also to generation Z, and surely to all the letters that follow them) and executed with a technical precision typical of those who learned to paint under the yoke of immediacy. These belong to an infinite series, an evolutionary exploration that is part of the learning process of the same author who elaborates them. What makes sense to Grip Face is continuity, not being able to see the end, the uncertainty of where painting will take him. To live the artistic expression as we live in the world, transitorily and in an uncertain present.