Where are you from?
So I grew up in Hawaiian Gardens, and then moved to Ohio, came back and lived in like Southgate, Bellflower, Norwalk, Paramount, and then to Long Beach. I kept moving. The new kid in school dude, it was the worst! But Long Beach is where it’s at right now.
When did you move here?
Like, freshman year of high school. I went to Poly, Wilson, and Cabrillo. But I graduated from Cabrillo. I got in so much trouble for having x-acto knives at school, like for Getta Grip. Like cutting, you know all this shit in my backpack. And they’re like “you can’t have that!”. I’m like “Dude, what do you mean, i’m in art class.” Shit happens though.
Where did the name come from?
I don’t know where it came from. Oh, you know what, I know exactly where it came from (laughs). When I first started, I called it Unicorn Grip. I was like “Oh yeah, I’m gonna just draw shit with a pen”. And then I started getting into stencil art. And I was like okay, I need a name, it can’t be Unicorn anymore. I had a bunch of people, a big house party, and I’m like painting right there on the floor dude, and everyone’s like “That’s so sick, whats the name?”. And I said “it’s Unicorn, but I wanna change it”. And all these names were tossed around like getta griptape and I thought getta grip sounds so good. It just means so much shit, like get a grip of yourself, get a griptape, a bunch of shit. And that was it, I googled if it was possible for that to be the name, and there’s getta grip Doc Martens, getta grip sewing clips…and I said okay, there’s no skateboarding shit, so I’m definitely going with it. Yeah and then a couple days later I got the fuckin tattoo.
Yeah, what’s up with the tattoo?
I just got it. No Instagram for it yet, no nothing. I just kind of sprayed the first sheet of Krusty, then put the getta grip in this exact font. I freehanded it. The P was just so weird and I just loved it. When I saw it on the griptape, I knew it was gonna become something, so I gotta fucking go all out. And then I got the tattoo, got the Instagram going, got a bunch of buddies, and just got it running.
You said your ex was pissed about it right?
Yeah, everyone was pissed about it. They were like “what the fuck are you doing, getting a tattoo of something temporary?”. And I was like no, this is forever dude. I mean everyone was pissed, but I was so hyped. I envisioned, like five years in the future. That’s why I went with it.
Right now you have Dylon Blackledge, Skyler Barney, and Brice Maguire on your official team roster. How did their participation come about?
When I first started, I was just giving out free shit. I would never charge anyone for griptape. Then people started wanting to buy it from me. The shops wanted to buy it from me, pro skaters were hitting me up. So I was like okay, I’m gonna start sponsoring people and charging. And then Cody McEntire was on for a while. Justin Damer. A bunch of homies. Right now, these dudes, I could see them potentially being a pro skater. And being a full on skater, that’s exactly what I want, one-hundred percent. These are the guys I sponsor, these are my homies. One hundred-percent skaters.
How was the process with branching out and getting into stores?
It mainly just came naturally. Sometimes I’d hit people up. It can be tough, but it’s really exciting every time.
I imagine a lot of them had heard of or seen your company already.
Yeah. Whenever I call someone, like if i’m calling a shop and talking to the manager, they’re like “Oh, getta grip? Yeah we’ve seen your stuff around!” So now it’s not that hard to get into, but I fucking love it, every time. Like Unmodern just picked up for the first time. And he was so hyped, he was like “Dude, you wanna have your own art show, you wanna do like a day where you spray live?”. These people love skateboarding, I love these kind of shops, and shit happens for a reason. They just love skateboarding. Skateboarding is beautiful man.
So what have been some of the biggest setbacks?
Dude, so many.
Any lost relationships, being broke, anything like that get in the way..?
Dude, being broke. Oh, yeah. Sometimes I wouldn’t have money to buy a spray can but I’d make it work. Or someone buys something online, boom I’m able to make more. Shit happens dude, and getta grip has got my back.
Do you think the general lessons and mannerisms from skateboarding apply to your business also?
Yes, it’s exactly like that. I mean, you’re gonna eat shit a bunch of times, but you will master it eventually. I’ve fucked up a bunch of stencils, cutting it out, spraying it, just frustrations. Just like on the board, exact same thing.
So what’s a regular day in the life look like for you?
During the week, just paint cars, hang out with the boys and drink, and then come back home, and go straight to the studio. If i’m not here all night I’ll be out skateboarding, playing pool, or creating something. Just trying to do something, I love being busy.
You also like to work with wood and things like furniture right?
Yeah, yeah. I like doing everything.
And for the griptape designs, do you have any routine for how the ideas come about? Or is it something that just catches your eye…
Well I’ve seen a lot of stencils in my life, you know, you see them on Google, and then there are these other companies, and I try to go for the exact opposite. Everyone was like hitting me up when the movie IT came out, like “oh, make IT.” I’m not gonna do that cause someone’s gonna do it the next day. I’m not gonna do Marilyn Monroe or something. They’re so straightforward, everyone still does them. Whatever. I like going for the funny shit, like Snoopy looking through a Playboy magazine. Some of them have stories behind them that no one knows about. I’m getting creative with it, and it has a meaning and I’m just fucking around. But something that’s definitely the opposite of what everyone else is doing.
What have been some of the more popular ones?
The Snoopy one for sure, and El Barto. Dude, Bart setting up a board, he’s all focused… everything about it is fucking great. And everyone’s hyped on it, the colorway and everything.
What about your personal favorite?
Damn, that’s a good question. I think the Itchy one is my favorite right now. The pool balls… These kids are riding it, buying these sheets of grip, but the mom doesn’t see the 69 on there. It’s so sick. But I love the colorway and everything. I wanted to do another simpsons character and I love playing pool, but I didn’t want to just do a pool table. That one came out awesome.
So what’s next? Anything cooking?
I got a new line of griptape coming out, which is sick. I got big ass sizes, small ones. New stickers, collaborations, my shirts getting done, just a bunch of shit. Art shows, more art, more shops. You name it.
Damn, the list is like, endless. So if you guys know, you know.
Getta Grip Playlist:
- Marty Robbins – Tall Handsome Stranger
- Marvin Gaye – Trouble Man
- Johnny Cash – All Over Again
- Shannon and the Clams – I Will Miss the Jasmine
- Billy Boyo – One Spliff A Day
- Rudimentary Peni – The Cloud Song
- Bob Dylan – Visions of Johanna
- Brotha Lynch Hung – Rest In Piss
- Merle Haggard – Silver Wings
- Earthless – Sonic Prayer
Purchase Getta Grip at your local skate shop or gettagripmovement.com
* After this interview, he also told us he wanted to be a clown. We wish him the best in all of his future endeavors.