We had the good fortune of connecting with Ruben Gonzales and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ruben, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
I guess I know when to keep going is after we deliver a product or finish an installation and the customer finally gets to see it functioning or with there own eyes. The reaction they generally give us is something I can’t explain and definitely makes it worth the hardship of the build or job or print work or whatever the case maybe that allowed us to finish the job! The other factor is when we allow an Artist into our shop for a gallery showing and they have never had one, Its such an incredible feeling to watch them glow with excitement as the crowds of people come by to see their work and meet them etc. That is probably the coolest thing Ive been able to do with my store/shop. Every time we do a show we usually get excited AF hahah Its those moments of Auhhh its done and they love it that makes me wanna keep moving forward and producing cool stuff for our awesome customers!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I honestly consider myself a Craftsman Artisan vrs just an Artist per say. My art has always been evolving from back in the day Graffiti to Learning how to weld metal up and using old bike parts and chains to create fun upcycled art work that not only gives you something decorative but also hopefully inspires you to create with not so ordinary items such as bike chains, wheels, and even the handlebars. Im not sure what sets me apart from other artist besides my nose ring, hahaha. Maybe its the aesthetic of my process? I don’t know to be honest, but it is cool to hear people say. “thats totally Rubes style” lol! Easy is the least of what it was, hahaha, I was self taught after years of working in a VW body shop restorations shop. One day I just picked up the welder and said fuck it Im teaching myself. it took me probably a year before I even began to try and make art with it. Welding and transitioning anything from paper to physical form was def a challenge. I fucked up and burned and melted and even caught half the shop on fire at one point back in the day, hahahaha! I just stuck with it, we didn’t really have all these Youtube Tutorials back then either. I just watched my boss at the time, asked questions and after hrs would fuck around with the welder till one day It just all fell into place and i was making random bike chain art pieces. As I got better with it, I was randomly ask by Slakr from Legend City to put something in the Chaos Theory show. It was such a surprise to me to be asked cause I didn’t even think of myself as an “artist”, but he convinced me and I hung up one piece of art! My world changed from there on! I felt more comfortable with my work and started to add it to my store that had just recently opened as well. I learned that everything good comes with patience, time and practice. I learned that I can’t force creativity and that in the end its always a learning experience, every piece, every project, every job! I just want people to know that just cause we have grown up doesn’t mean we have to stop being creative, we all have talents and gifts, sometimes we just get lost in the “real world” is all. I would love for people to see my company’s name and learn/understand that we are all that 11th Monk3y, heheh! We are all unique in this world and it’s up to “Us” to take the steps to being free again. Id also like for people to know that running a small business isn’t all fun and games, most of us that have one are never not working but hopefully we are all enjoying life the best we can, when we can!
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?
Well It always depends of the time of year, but my ideal itinerary would be a trip to downtown phx, visti the usualls: Crecent ball room, Startdust, Valley bar, Melindas Alley, Hannys, The Vig Filmore, Fez, Sazaracs, Barrio Cafe and the best Bar Bianco, Justing will serve you right! Then after that we would venture uptown, hit up the Rock, Kobalt for some fun drag shows, Dick hideaway for amazing food, Durants for happy hr on a monday, The swizzle in for a little get away and even Shadys for some “us” time and a few good old fashions from Randal, or just chill on the patio at Bar1. I would also take a day trip up to Flagstaff/Showlow/Fossil Creek area because people usually expect just a desert landscape of well, homes, cacti, horses and lizards. but AZ is SOOOO much more then all that crap! We have Waterfalls and Lakes and nature is literally about 45 to a few hrs away! Hmmm Exciting people? I dont know thats a tough one, so many amazing and exciting people! Placed anything from, your daily dive bars like the Royale to a few fun drag bars again like Kobalt in Park Central on a Friday Night, 4some revue is def a shot to watch!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My shout out is pretty general, I belong to a city that rises from the ashes! My shout out goes out to all of us local, small, independent businesses that no matter how hard the struggle gets, THEY PULL THRU. Its inspiring to see them grow and humbling to be apart of there stories as well. From Phoenix General down, song bird and jobots on the Row Row to For The People up and Framed Ewe in Mid town Phx !
I took my own haha