Ruben Gerardo Ubiera Gonzalez (born October 19, 1975 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) is a Dominican neo-figurative artist, known for his strong use of the line, who has been drawing and painting ever since he had use of reason. Ruben paints and draws in a style considered by many as Pop-surrealism, but he prefers to call it urban-pop, since he has lived most of his life in the urban, populated areas and most of his inspiration is derived from the interactivity between man and his urban environment. He was educated in drawing, painting and art history by his uncle; a self-taught artist and art teacher, priest and principal of his school (San José de Calasanz, Sto. Dgo., Dom Rep.). At the age of 15, his family moved to the Bronx, NY, where he was heavily influenced by the grafitti art that surrounded him, something he wouldn't realize until much later in his life. After a year of absorbing the urban landscape, he went back to the Dominican Republic for another year, until finally finishing his high school studies at Salem High School, in Salem, MA. Heavily involved in art, Ruben managed to win silver and gold medals in the Boston Globe's Scholastic Awards, a Union Latina Scholarship and a full-tuition Fernando Botero's International Scholarship to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in Fort Lauderdale, FL., for which he competed against 60,000 students from over 32 countries. Although his portfolio was stolen two months before graduation, Ruben accomplished to not only create a new collection of pieces, but win Best Portfolio of his graduating class. He strives in all his work to capture an essential part of his past, his present and his subjects through the use of the line and form. His work includes still-life and city landscapes, but Ruben tends to primarily focus on situational portraiture. His paintings are, on first examination, noted for being charged with "skateboard- isms", paint drips and the constant presence of grafitti in some shape or form. But, after closer inspection, one notices the detail, sarcastic contrast, the social commentary and human struggle that's felt by the technique and subject matter. "I love art. Grafitti, typography, photography, print... the medium does not matter. If the message and the concept are strong, the final end result will always be strong. The key is to find the medium that will complement the concept. I like to paint on wood and found objects. They carry a rustic appeal that I find to be beautiful. Mixing graphic design on printed pieces with brightly colored paint onto old, worn objects, makes the final art look antiquated, decayed and very interesting to the eye and to the touch. I paint what I see, what surrounds me. The fact that I skateboard everyday keeps me close to the streets, the cosmopolitan city with all of its wonders and aberrations, the life of a Latino in the United States, and any piece of popular culture that comes to mind. But what I really like to paint is portraits. I love using collages to describe people and the history that got them to where they are today, the mix of hard graphic shapes, typographic elements with anthropomorphic surrealistic images. Contrast in concept, and in execution..."
Ruben's ArtPrize Entries
These are Ruben's official ArtPrize entries from this year and past years.
Ruben's Past Work
These are images of past work that Ruben has done.