Published Dec 29, 2010Fucked Up have got a lot of ink over the years. From their earliest, old-school hardcore-influenced singles to their epic, experimental masterpiece The Chemistry of Common Life, many have written on the Toronto outfit's musical merits. Considering frontman Damian "Pink Eyes" Abraham's rowdy, blood-soaked, mangina-revealing performance style, maybe you've talked about how awesome their live show is, or maybe how you don't want to get too close to the stage because of it.
One thing that seems to get glossed over, however, is Fucked Up's art aesthetic. With countless singles, EPs and albums under their belts, the group have had to craft a number of covers over the years. With that in mind, the troupe recently posted some in-depth descriptions of their artwork up on their blog.
Of early single Baiting the Public, which features an illustration of vermin scurrying atop a woman's bed, the group had this to say:
"The front image is meant to be a metaphor for what we thought we were in punk, and what punk was in the world (we were really into punk at that point) -- a pack of rats running over a proper looking young woman in bed," the post reads. "The inside was more to the heart of what this record was about, which was more or less a tribute to the Actionists, a radical art group in 1960s Austria. The inner picture depicts one of their 'events' which is basically a naked man aiming a naked woman at a roomful of people. The Actionists, along with the Situationists, who were another big 'influence' of ours at the time, were admired because of their blatant attempts to challenge and shock rather than pander to their audience."
Other findings explain that Fucked Up put out a seven-inch single for The Chemistry of Common Life number "Royal Swan" mainly because they found a really cool picture of a flock of swans at sunset, while the artwork for the album proper, a photograph of a crowded New York street taken by the band's friend Mimi Cabell, actually tied into the record's concept quite nicely.
"The shot [for The Chemistry of Common Life] is supposed to represent the main idea behind the record, which is the unity between culture and nature, and the idea that the literal source for all human culture and life is the sun. Even though the title is taken from a 19th century book on wild mushroom identification, what it means for the album is how everything thats cultural about our lives has its source in nature and science, and that there really isn't a divide between the two spheres."
You can read much more of Fucked Up's art history lesson here.