In 2014, we interviewed Michael Brunswick for the first time. The interview was what you would expect from the Canadian-born, Venice Beach-bred artist: a little strange, a lot of fun and full of reverence for craftsmanship - whether in art or in eyewear. 2 years later, we're proud to share that we're not only still tight with Brunswick, but we've also just released a limited edition lens collaboration with him. The magic lenses 'activate' under moisture (like, say, when you breathe on them) to reveal a secret design by Brunswick. With Garrett Leight frames and Michael Brunswick lenses, you'd be hard pressed to find a pair of shades more perfect to cruise around Venice Beach in. All proceeds from the lenses go to support Arts for LA, our city arts advocacy group.
(Also, listen to Brunswick on Ron Moon's RON-ON-ONE's podcast. The pair make for a hilarious interview. We've embedded it down below, so you're welcome).
Michael Brunswick is very familiar name around Venice and especially around A. Kinney Court. Brunswick is a friend to many in the Venice Beach community. He’s a connoisseur or Renaissance man, if you will, particularly infatuated with the color and beauty of art and eyewear. He’s a Canadian born oil painter, usually found in a band t-shirt, camouflage jacket, army boots and an interesting ‘mask’ to shield his eyes. Brunswick is quite the character and expresses his individuality through abstraction by using raw pigment, Galkyd, and stretched canvases. He was originally drawn to Los Angeles for the sunshine, surf-culture, and Otis College of Art and Design, but has ultimately found success, love, and eyewear. Most recently, Brunswick has considered changing his name to “Lens” in honor of his profound obsession with mirrored lenses.
Michael Brunswick is very familiar name around Venice and especially around A. Kinney Court. Brunswick is a friend to many in the Venice Beach community. He’s a connoisseur or Renaissance man, if you will, particularly infatuated with the color and beauty
I am Brunzee: Rapper, Artist, Electric Guitarist!! (Part of being an artist is performance). But really, the answer is always different. I am not interested in defining or categorizing myself. Still, I am an artist of the community who works expressively, conceptually, and of course performatively.
What mediums do you work with?
I am a multifaceted artist. I work all across, in and around the spectrum of art media. I just recently had a solo show in LA at Gusford Gallery, comprised of a custom-made oil based paint that I make in my studio. The main medium in that paint is called Galkyd.
How did you get into oil painting?
I never had the chance to use oil paint, only water based paints, until I moved to California and had my first experience with oil paint when I was 23. I vividly remember the way that the colors looked when they were coming out of their tubes and onto the palette. They are the most intense colors I have ever seen and way more vibrant and organic looking than acrylic and watercolor.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration from my family, nature, music, and beauty. Some of the particular artists, musicians, and film makers that I like are John Lennon, The Beatles, British Invasion, Jeff Koons, Michelangelo, Clint Eastwood, and Peter Jackson. Of course, there are more but there’s way too many to list.
When did you start collecting eyewear?
Before I get into that, eyewear is something that I feel very comfortable wearing and I am drawn to the feeling I get when wearing the frames on my face. That being said, I remember the day that I became a true eyewear collector. I had just seen the U2 Pop tour concert in Toronto and was so pumped up by all of the fashion, specifically Bono. His glasses were already something that I was looking for, but this experience sparked something inside of me. The next day I was out of school early (around 10am) and I took off in my car that my grandparents had gotten me. I drove around the city to almost every eyewear store that there was, looking for very specific frames. I don't think I knew what I was in for either, since then I have amassed a large collection and a wide variety of pieces.
What are your favorite eyewear brands?
To begin with, I love GLCO. I love to collect vintage brands such as Porsche Design and Carrera, Matsuda, Jean Paul Gaultier, Mikli, and Oliver Peoples. Some of my favorite non-vintage brands are Theo, IC Berlin, and Mykita.
Do you have a favorite from your collection?
I can’t narrow it down to one frame, but I love the Matsuda 2809, my custom “Clark Kents”, the Carrera 5621/5623 and my GLCO Horn Rimmed Hamptons.
What have you learned about eyewear and lens technology from A. Kinney Court?
First of all, AKC is the best eyewear store that I have ever been in and by far the best eyewear store in Los Angeles. For me, the lab work and willingness to experiment with new ideas sets them way apart from their competition. I have learned a lot about GLCO and Oliver Peoples Vintage. Plus, AKC has a great group of people with a solid knowledge base. They create an awesome atmosphere for people to become a part of.