Damien Grivas

Fine Art and Workshops.


Photo credit: Kyle Goulden Commerical, Wedding, Lifestyle and Conceptual Photography in Johannesburg South Africa | www.kylegoulden.com

  • Born: 1967 on a very cold winter morning in Johannesburg, South Africa. Yes, I’m THAT old.
  • Early Education: Happy Valley Nursery School where I learned that fingers make very good paint-brushes, afternoon naps are the best and not everyone could cook as well as my mum.
  • Middle Education and Big School: Saheti School 1975-1984 where I realized that my artistic skills weren’t that bad, I sucked at Latin, as a page boy in Romeo and Juliet my legs looked really good in tights, Greeks invented almost everything, and our tuck shop made the best tuna salad rolls and toasted mince sarmies. SAHETI also encouraged us to explore our multi-facet-ness, so there I was able to wear a school uniform in the morning, a pair of rugby shorts in the afternoon, and a Roman toga in the evening.
  • Bigger School: School of Art Ballet Drama and Music 1985-1986 (now the National School of the Arts) where I found my tribe, a renewed passion for life, and myself. My passion for painting, design, and sculpture was shoved next level out of its comfort zone.  Also, I discovered a whole new world of music and that I really loved to dance. But that’s another story.
  • Biggest School of all: Hello life!! 1987-1989 I did my compulsory 2 years of national service as a chef in the Navy. I mastered the art of making the perfect bed with the sharpest corners, shining my boots ’till they were as reflective as mirrors, and making the butteriest scones…..oh yes, I also discovered that Richard’s Bay has the biggest spiders and is fucking hot in summer. From 1989-1990 I went to Europe for nine and a half months where I milked cows and picked mushrooms on a farm in France, cooked meals for the guests and staff of a small family-owned hotel in London, spent 2 days in a monastery outside of Jericho in Israel where I discovered that organized religion was a sham and then almost worked as a tour guide in Greece before returning to South Africa where I briefly worked as a waiter. *Side note: please be nice to waiters, you won’t believe some of the shit they have to put up with. 
  • First big career move: I discovered that I was way too precious to be a fine artist, so I learned how to do paint finishes and plaster effects instead. I had a lot of memorable clients but my highlight projects were the:

Home of South African businessman William Barlow 
Palace of King Masweti III of Swaziland
Function rooms at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre
Maputo Holiday Inn
Johannesburg, Airport Sun Inter-Continental Hotel
Home of Mr Bill Venter
Head office of Deloitte and Touche
Home of Mr Kaiser Motaung
Ceiling of the food court at Sandton City
Italian produce section at Woolworths

  • I also painted sets and backdrops for many films and some rather dubious infomercials including:

The Wild Coast Sun Casino
Brutal Fruit
Automobile Association

  • Second career move: I began experimenting with silicone and mould making after which I designed and manufactured a small range of home decor products out of concrete, plaster, and resin which I sold to shops and from a small stand at the Roof-top Flea Market in Rosebank. It was there that I was approached by interior designers and architects to manufacture bespoke decor items and decorative installations for hotels, corporates, and restaurants. Notable projects:

North Island Resort – Seychelles
1886 restaurant – Sandton
Nando’s – Umghlanga
First National Bank – Johannesburg
West Bank – Randburg
Nedbank – Sandton
Walnut Grove – Sandton
Nando’s – Menlyn

  • Here and Now: Having so much fun. Sometimes I think I must be one of the luckiest people alive to be doing what I do. No two briefs are ever the same, I get to play with a huge diversity of materials, my “studio and office” are always in a different location,  and my clients constantly push my creative boundaries into unchartered waters. 

Hinterland restaurant – Pretoria
Herman Smit Optometrists – Waterkloof
Rust en Vrede – Stellenbosch
Development Bank of Southern Africa – Mirdand
Charles Grieg Collective – Nelson Mandela Square
Nando’s – Savoy
Nando’s – Sun City
Nando’s – Kyalami Corner
Marble restaurant – Rosebank
Chobe Water Villas – Namibia
SAINT restaurant – Sandton
The Leonardo – Sandton
Abelana River Lodge – Phalaborwa