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Meet Gustavo Oliver of Oliver Creative Space in Mid City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gustavo Oliver.

Gustavo, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My journey is more about being a rebellious spirit rather than some profound artist. If there was a rule, I’m breaking it and finessing my own way whether that be in sports, school, or the art world. I’m not happy unless I do it my way.

I grew up on the east side of San Jose which is probably most known for meth busts and Google than anything else. I didn’t really fall anywhere on that spectrum so I played football in hopes it can help me get a scholarship and get me the hell out of San Jose. Even though I was a really good player I spent more time getting yelled at by my coaches for turning my jersey into a croptop or spending practice sessions at our school photo studio. None the less it was art not sports that got me out of San Jose, I got a scholarship to FIDM in San Francisco with a focus on marketing. My first year at FIDM was eye-opening, I was introduced to a whole new world of possibilities. It really helped me become educated in the field of high fashion and how to navigate a world that was completely foreign to me. I linked with one of my classmates and we started to design hats together. I quickly realized I couldn’t afford to finance people to help with the brand so I had to figure out how to acquire the skills necessary to do it all myself. So at the start of my second year, I walked into my deans office and asked if I could redesign my schedule to give me the skills I need for real life as I didn’t care about a degree and would rather be well versed than have a marketing degree. She told me I wasn’t able to do that at FIDM and needed to be in a program so at that moment I dropped out of school and decided I’d figure it out on my own.

I think this is the moment I evolved from entitled kid to someone who is taking control of their life. I started watching docs, taking online workshops, and diving into every creative medium I possibly could. To make money I finessed a marketing job at a gym in San Francisco which eventually helped me find my way to LA doing marketing for Equinox. I still felt like something was missing I felt I was still selling myself short. At this moment, I left Equinox and took a chance on myself as a Creative Director utilizing the different skills I’ve acquired over the years.

Has it been a smooth road?
Fuck no! With this journey comes so much self-doubt and insecurity. But the one thing that has kept me afloat is that I’ve gotten the opportunity to see what it’s like to be on a nice safe career path and I know that’s not why I’m here. I know my purpose and if I don’t serve that purpose I’m letting myself, my family, and my community down.
Through this journey I have had to completely change the way I treat myself to keep from losing it, I’ve started to see a therapist (which I recommend to everyone especially artists) because moments get really dark and I’ve questioned my self worth because my art wasn’t where I envisioned it. But at the end of the day I’ve learned it’s the scariest moments in life that lead us to where we need to be. Finding genuine friendships are hard to come by but I’ve built a community who support each other spiritually, emotionally, creatively, and beyond the shitty “let’s build” narrative.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Oliver Creative Space – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
My “Title” would be Creative Director so with that comes a lot of different roles based on what my clients needs are. Having such a diverse skill set allows me to put on a different hat everyday some days I’m a photographer, casting director, brand strategy consultant, film director, marketing consultant, etc.. Being able to play so many roles keeps me forever evolving while still educating myself and that makes me feel complete. I have been very blessed with such a strong overall catalog ranging from cast directing for Dram and HER’s ‘The Lay Down’ music video, Shooting a fashion campaign for ICOSAE menswear in collaboration with Fucking Young Magazine in Paris, Directing my first fashion short for Puma, and creative directing Keith Charles headlining US/Euro tour. Over the past two years I have been blessed with a marketing role with Subvrt Magazine who have been pivotal in expanding my creative strengths and also connecting me with different communities. I wanna be 75 still learning and providing value to the culture. My mission in everything I do is to give a voice and put money into the communities who have been neglected. If we’re talking hood culture really bring the hood out, consciously give visibility to different ethnicities, queer people, trans people, disabled people, we are all out here and we all deserve our faces to be seen and voices to be heard.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
What I like best about LA is that there is something for everyone. You can wake up every day and literally decide who you want to be with no restrictions or judgment. What I hate is the entitlement that comes with our industry. We all are out here tryna get it and there’s no time or space for ego.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Collin Casino @collincasino (for the portrait of me)

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