BRUTE zine creator Mario Sandoval
Mario Sandoval, 27, of Folsom, has been into the Sacramento punk scene since high school. An artist since his youth, Sandoval created BRUTE zine out of a passion for that scene—and the horror genre. As his first public artistic endeavor, BRUTE sets out to capture the spirit of the world Sandoval loves. But this isn’t the Sacramento most folks know—this is a local punk nightmare fantasy replete with zombies in patched vests, spikes and battle jackets. Where an angry punk punches through a YOLO/swag bedecked bro’s head to get a cigarette, and where blood and guts flow as freely as cheap beer. While living up to its name in its artworks, BRUTE also features reviews of hardcore punk, powerviolence, grindcore and deathcore bands, and horror movies new and old. Distributed recently at Sacramento Zine Fest 2018, BRUTE has two issues out with a third issue planned for the summer.
The name expresses what’s inside of us. For instance, when you go to a concert and you mosh, or the way you draw—BRUTE defines what gives you a rush. That’s what BRUTE is. Cool pictures, cool drawings, monsters, characters. This first issue was not all planned out. A lot of these were drawings I’ve done in the past. I thought, “OK I don’t have a lot of drawings, I might as well grab some drawings I did a couple years ago and just throw them in here,” and it worked!
What is BRUTE’s reach?
It’s expanded from Sacramento toward San Francisco. I get a little help sometimes. I’ll give a good stack to bands that come around from L.A., from even Boston. I’ll get people that will take some and just kind of hand it out for me. I can’t say how well it does out in those areas but hey, it’s getting out there some way.
I see you have hidden jokes in your artwork, too—this cartoon has a band poster for Anal Trump, and there’s a Dead Kennedys Easter egg with a “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” poster.
Anal Trump is actually a real band! Just for a little while … I don’t think they’re together anymore. That’s actually their humor, the characters in that cartoon. Those are actually some characters I’m working on as a side project, but I’m sharing that within the zine for now.
What inspires your characters?
Honestly, most of the characters have different personalities. For instance, these two characters—Chug and Glug—Glug’s basically a D-beat. He’s not much of a punk, he’s basically a new-waver. He’s a guy, but he doesn’t consider himself a guy, he feels like a woman. A lot of these characters that I do have real personalities and feelings based off real people. People in my life that I know. I’m friends with people that are [born as] men, but they prefer to be considered women. Those are the kinds of characters that I’m going for.
Chug and Glug are a couple friends that hang around in this town. I’m still working on the story and the environment that they’re supposed to be in—basically the environment that I usually hang out at. Like, I go hang out at the Colony—that’s basically the kind of story I’m creating for them. It’s going to be fictional though, with monsters and villains. I did a drawing of the villain from Bad Taste and from Mad Max II. I’m going to mix it up and make it a little silly and kind of throw those in the mix.
What else do you have coming up in BRUTE?
Just recently, the lead guitarist of Anal Cunt, Josh Martin, passed away. And [vocalist and guitarist] Seth Putnam passed away [in 2011]. I’m creating a little side story for them, and they’re also going to be included with Chug and Glug. They both played in The Picnic of Love [an Anal Cunt album]. That’s basically what they’re going to be about. They’re going to be soft and kind. They’re not going to be hardcore or anything like that. They’re going to be gentle characters. That’s going to be featured in Issue 3.
What are your artistic influences?
A lot of people that are underrated, like Shawn Kerri is one of my all-time influences. She’s done artwork for bands like the Circle Jerks, The Germs. A lot of the early hardcore bands in the ’80s and ’70s. Her work was there, and it was recognized, but her name wasn’t really recognized. There’s very few articles about her. Another artist I like is Paul Felix. He’s a Disney animated artist. Did a lot of artwork for Tarzan and Lilo & Stitch. I also like Raymond Pettibon. He did a lot of artwork for Black Flag, and Fear and a couple other bands. His artwork is kind of violent. There’s a little bit of movement to it. That’s what I like about artwork. You get to express yourself and put whatever you want into it.
What is Sacramento’s zine scene like, and how did Sacramento Zine Fest go?
I didn’t even know there was a zine scene going on until I went to the Zine Fest. At first I thought I was the only one doing this in Sacramento. I thought, “I might as well put something out. I might was well express my art in some way.” So when I heard there was a zine fest going on, I had to go. There were some people from out of the area, and there were some people from within Sacramento. When I went, I thought, “Wow, there’s actually people getting involved!” There’s people doing artwork, people working on movement zines, there’s zines on human rights, or women’s rights. There’s just all these different types of worlds going on. It felt right to be there.