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The Heavy Mental: Interview with Erik Brunetti

The Heavy Mental recently sat down with FUCT pioneer and founder, Erik Brunetti, for an exclusive interview. Brunetti’s recent move from Los Angeles to Marfa, Texas, prompted a series of questions that delve into the deep political and social awareness of Brunetti, the Love Awareness Program, as well as the past, present and future of the FUCT brand. Well known for his contribution to both the fashion and art community, Brunetti has earned himself a coveted seat among some of the most respected counterculture individuals through his brand and various art projects. Check out an excerpt from the sit-down below and read the interview in its entirety here.

OK here goes… I can’t begin this conversation without acknowledging how strange things are in the world right now. Wall Street is down the road from where I am but it is also happening everywhere. I know this is a heavy question to start with, but have these upheavals influenced your thinking and your work?
I have always been politically aware. Always. I knew this was coming years ago. The USA has entrenched itself so deep with Middle Eastern affairs [that] it has finally come to bite us in the ass; Middle Eastern affairs meaning: supporting murderous hostile occupations throughout the Middle East. For example, Palestine – who are finally trying to climb out from under the apartheid of Israel [and] the USA – are finally seeking statehood at the UN, rightfully so. Obama has said he will veto this move. This has, in turn, isolated America from the rest of the world. Obama has completely lied in regards to Palestine statehood (see his speech in Cairo). Americans need to realize that Republicans and Democrats are the same exact thing. The US government is controlled by AIPAC: they make the decisions; they are the shot callers. With every election, every candidate panders to AIPAC due to campaign contributions, and the power they harness. Currently, the US government is trying to “Wag the Dog” and invent these ludicrous stories of Iran teaming up with the “Mexican drug cartel,” who are “plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador.” This is fabricated to distract people from looking at the real problem: Wall Street. Israel [and the] USA are just itching to attack Iran, war is big business. All of this is directly tied to the criminals on Wall Street.

Tell me more about your political awareness and your art. How do they relate?
FUCT is not my art. It is a brand, with well-thought-out graphics and illustrations applied to garments, advertisements, photos etc. If you look at the entire entity as a whole, in theory, it could be considered art. I guess my mere being itself is the art. As I stated prior, I have always been immersed in politics, the government and world affairs. As a human being I feel it is my obligation to be aware. It is the force which controls the world, the economy, the people. I cannot walk around blindly being fed the news via the Western media. I have an immense library, in which I have read every book. I love to travel and meet people, I am the guy at the dinner table that will indeed bring up the forbidden topic of “politics and religion”.

Yes, I changed the orientation of that first question a little bit because I realised I wanted to know more about how political awareness fits into art for you, rather than how it fits in with FUCT. It makes sense to me that being aware and continuing to evolve – personally, politically, artistically – are key. I also think that this is especially difficult to do right now. There is always an option to close off because the world feels too messed up. Why do you think it’s important to stay open, stay evolving?
For me personally, I have a four year-old daughter. I want something left for her in 20 years. At the rate the government / economy is going there will be nothing. Everyone needs to evolve, and research what is taking place. The USA are the masters of deception, tricking the citizens via the controlled media. People close off, because they feel betrayed by their government. They were lied to. Most of the US citizens that pay taxes do not even know were it is going.

Can you explain a bit more about your art practice as separate to FUCT, and your plans for that?
I began FUCT while I was young, my thinking process had not developed to the current state it is in. My art and FUCT are different in the sense that FUCT is a brand, strictly for commerce and making a living, whilst my art is something I do daily, instinctively. Draw, paint, sculpt, photograph and so forth. However, my taste and thoughts cross over into some of the FUCT content. Currently, I am very much into theory, and the process of my art. When I make it, I I always need a synopsis or meaning or it is not relevant to me. Art is very subjective, depending who you talk to. I was born an artist, it is what I do. It’s that simple.

I moved to Marfa, Texas, to concentrate more on making art. I felt I had too many creative distractions in my peripheral to work in Los Angeles, so I left. My close friend Matt Jones turned me on to Marfa a while back. When I went there I felt a strong sense of support in the arts community. Marfa’s popularity is primarily based on the Donald Judd Foundation. [The Chinati Foundation is the contemporary museum founded by Judd in Marfa]. The town is very small, population 2000, everyone knows each other, etc. Christopher Wool lives and works in Marfa, Emmelie is always talking with Boyd Elder, the illustrator who did the Eagles album covers throughout the 70s, he lives there. It’s a great place. Los Angeles, at least to my knowledge, is too caught up in ‘street art’ and hype-driven openings, which produce the worst piles of shit I have ever seen. Just dreadful to look at.

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