We had the good fortune of connecting with Ruben Sanchez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ruben, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I guess freedom is the magic word. Freedom to create, freedom to choose, etc. I think it is the only way to unchain creativity 100%. You gotta take lot of risks but if you’re perseverant is rewarding and enriching.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Mostly canvas paintings at the studio, sculpture projects, murals, paellas, planning shows, small sculpture modeling, long calls with friends, tons of drawings, lots of experiments, etc…

Contemporary artist Ruben Sanchez brings the legacy and artistic heritage of fellow Spanish artists Picasso, Miro and Juan Gris into the 21st century. His colorful murals and paintings reflect the Mediterranean lifestyle and culture. When I look at his work, in addition to talent and energy the word “courage” comes to mind.

From humble beginnings to international commissions, from street art to fine art, the journey of Ruben Sanchez is a zero to seventy ride. Within a few years he has produced an amazing body of work. From his large-scale murals in Spain, Dubai, NY, Vancouver BC, Texas, and Jordan, to the sculpture for the Nike European HQ in the Netherlands, the perception of street art and its evolution via Ruben Sanchez is very impressive. When the angst filled teen left school at 16, he took the identity and skills he found in the skateboarding and graffiti culture of Madrid and focused them into design and art. Armed with street experience, a fearless “can do” attitude, talent, and using his art as a vehicle for a social change, no project has seemed too daunting.

In 2000 he moved to Barcelona to work as a designer and an art director for a friend’s skateboard brand. It was there that he developed his graphic design skills and signature style. The turning point in his career came in 2012 when he was invited to begin a one-year art residency program Tashkeel in Dubai, established by Lateefa bint Maktoum, the niece of Dubai’s former ruler. Dubai proved to be an artistic incubator, providing support, accommodations and a studio space, his creativity took flight, and his career was launched. He painted the first public art mural in the capital. It took six months to get permission to create art that had previously been illegal. The project was so successful that he was in constant demand for commissioned murals and paintings that he stayed for four years. To balance living in a very opulent culture, he began volunteering for humanitarian projects through an American organization AptArts, that brings awareness to world issues. He traveled to border areas between Jordan and Syria to teach workshops to children and paint murals in refugee camps.

One of his most challenging and important projects is a mural on the side of a six-story building in Russeifa, Jordan, standing on a rickety crane while a two-day sandstorm raged through the city.

“It depicts a woman oppressed by the walls of her house, trying to take down the walls and metaphorically open herself to the world. While I don’t think it will change women having equal rights there, maybe it will start a conversation about it.” RS
Ruben Sanchez currently lives and works in his studio in Badalona, Spain producing limited editions of silkscreen prints, ceramics, sculptures and paintings. He is a great example of why it is so important to support artists by providing affordable space to work and opportunities to develop their art. Most cities in the world are no longer affordable for the arts, and neighborhoods that inhabited artists have become gentrified and developed.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My suggestions for Barcelona would be:

Fundacion Miró, one of my favourite spots in the city.
Galería Ola
MNAC
Nau Bostik, old factory turned into a cultural melting place full of murals, art shows and activities

-mercado de la boqueria, colorful market with bars that cook fresh food at the moment.
-el got d’or. Barcelona classic for tapas and beers
-for good paellas and nice food (could be pricey) go to El Xiringo, Crosmas, La Maroteca, Agust, Studio miramar, can fisher… if you want right in front of the beach go to Escribá, a bit touristy but good.
-bar el pollo is so hot right now. small spanish bar kinda guetto but with the the best tortilla and tapas. I think you even need to reserve. Hype
-parlament street, classic and hipster bars
-passatge Fortuny nice restaurants
-casa bonay – sofisticated/hipster restaurant

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 am where I am thanks to all the galleries, companies and institutions that have believed in me at some point. Special mention to Tashkeel gallery in Dubai and Sheika Lateefa Maktoum who invited me to an art residency that changed my life. Shoutout to Wouter and David Atlas from Nike, who invited me to add a mural and 2 sculptures to the Nike European Headquarters. Thanks to my wife Anna for being my muse and inspiration. Thanks to all the galleries that support me Worldwide: Moberg, Haven, Cohle, Adaro, Galería Ola, Station16, ArtCan, HeronArts…

Website: www.iamrubensanchez.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zoonchez

Twitter: https://twitter.com/zoonchez

Image Credits
Jalal Albutina Marcel Veldman Alexander Krziwanie

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.