Erik Brunetti’s work is iconoclastic in its references. His pieces reflect his own ideas about nonconformity and freethinking in contemporary culture. Brunetti’s artistic thought is focused on extending the spectrum of radical ideas in art, raising fundamental questions about the limits of freedom of expression in an age governed by global media moguls inclined to regulate and censor information for corporate profit and political gain. Brunetti dissects the facts to rebuild a divergent system and atmosphere where counteraction is the dominant emotional force. After relocating to Marfa, Texas, Brunetti started creating works inspired by his environment as well as life in a small West Texas town surrounded by vast ranch land and mountainous skyline. The Branded Steer hide series blends sources from different eras, combining the craftsmanship of traditional blacksmithing with stereotypical pop culture elements, capturing a momentary equilibrium between two conflicting themes. The provocative nature of the hand-forged cattle brand emblems permanently burnt into sectioned hides represents a metaphoric comparison, with the act of branding symbolizing old-world ritual and the cliche figures on each brand suggesting the power of the collective unconscious. By appropriating common trucker effigy through formal cowboy style, Brunetti invites the viewer to observe the familiar suddenly become distant and wild. It is the abundance of allusions that creates the tension in the work as a sense of vulnerability settles, centering on natural elements of the untamed West.