We had the good fortune of connecting with Draven Fuller and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Draven, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I’m originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Exactly… WHERE!? If you have been to Iowa it’s because you have family there, almost guaranteed. Other than that I’m sure it wasn’t part of the “top 50 places to visit” article you read before taking a vacation.
Where I’m from severely lacks diversity, culture, artistic expression and opportunity: especially if you look like me.
It’s flat, quiet and boring. If it’s not a neighborhood it’s probably a farm, factory or a Walmart.
Cities like Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Omaha and Kansas City are all about 4 hour drives from my hometown. Visiting those cities is the only real life experience people get where I’m from. If it wasn’t for trips to those cities as a kid I would have never known there was more out there for me. I made a promise to myself never to get trapped in my hometown. That is the driving force behind everything I do. Exploration of the more.
My brand is Draven’s Blunt View (DBV). Despite a Billion Variables I’m able to show the world where I’ve come from and what I’ve experienced from my perspective.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What sets my art apart from others is the diversity of my upbringing. I have been blessed to come from a large family that is fairly diverse. I stayed with multiple members of my family and extended family throughout my upbringing as a child due to my mother being frequently incarcerated. I lived 2 totally separate realities when she was locked up and when she wasn’t. I could go from being in the trap house to a million dollar home the same day and not speak a word of it. I know some black kids from certain inner cities around the country that don’t see white people until they’re 10+ years old. I was somewhat fortunate to have white people married into my family and went to school with majority white kids which forced me to be confronted with the realities of racism, prejudice and unfair treatment at a young age while being educated on these issues by my mom, aunts and uncles. I had to learn how to carry myself in all sorts of different social situations which allows me now to relate to people of all walks of life. No matter what you’ve been through, seen or experienced I’m sure I can relate. As I’ve grown I’ve had to really dig deep into myself to find who I am because I was consistently in different environments with no stability. Playing different roles for different people. I had to hone in on who I am no matter who’s in the room. It’s difficult but necessary. You can’t allow anyone to tell you who you are. I tell my story in order to add perspective to the crazy world we live in and hopefully someone relates, can double down or refute what I’m expressing and share their perspective with the next person. That’s really all we can do.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
1. Visit all of the beaches.
2. The pregame to any night out should be Punch Bowl Social (downtown). Great drinks, good food and plenty of games to play for entertainment while you drink. It’s also a good place for a date or to meet someone for a casual get together.
3. Hit 664 TJ Birria in National City. (extra tortillas)
4. Smoke one at Sunset Cliffs.
5. Explore the private beach stretch at Ocean Beach.
6. Have a drink on the rooftop of Bay City Brewery downtown.
7. Go on a hike.
I’m a starving artist who stays inside so I’m not a great tour guide but this is what I have.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have a huge family to thank as the village that raised me. Too many to name but they know who they are.
Other: Link tree: linktr.ee/dbvdraven
All photos taken by Dejuan Davis-Criner.