Ruben Ubiera's New Wynwood Mural Combines Gorillas, Locals, and Latin Culture

Ruben Ubiera's New Wynwood Mural Combines Gorillas, Locals, and Latin Culture
Robert Dempster

"I am hoping to be amazed."

Those were the words of Miami-based artist Ruben Ubiera as he set out to paint his new mural "Monkey Bidness" onto the back wall of sculptor Chris Carter's Wynwood studio. With a larger-than-life personality, Ubiera himself is just as captivating as his art, which he creates on bricks, plywood and broken skateboards -- painting "from the environment", as he says, in a style he calls "Urban Pop" or "Post-Graffism."

The new mural takes Ubiera to the streets of Miami, putting down his own artistic roots in the Wynwood community.

Ruben Ubiera's New Wynwood Mural Combines Gorillas, Locals, and Latin Culture
Robert Dempster

The main character of the mural is a giant gorilla, a recurring theme in Ubiera 's work that personifies street art invading

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the museum space. "This mural is basically about the underground coming

finally into the limelight, into the galleries and the museums," he

says. Around the gorilla are the faces of people in the community and in Ubiera 's life.

A wheelchair-bound man stopped by the mural every day checking on

Ruben's progress and offering encouragement, so Ubiera painted him into

the mural. But Ubiera's goal wasn't to merely make his mural a part of the community; he

set out to make the community a part of the mural. "I want to see the average,

everyday person stop in awe and touch the wall and come back," he

explains.

Ruben Ubiera's New Wynwood Mural Combines Gorillas, Locals, and Latin Culture
Heike Wollenweber

Ruben also weaves his own Dominican cultural heritage as well as his

Miami experience into his work. The Mexican TV character El Chapulin

Colorado, dominoes with the numbers 3, 0 and 5 as well as a can of Goya

Red Kidney Beans pay homage to the people of the Hispanic and Caribbean diasporas that compose Miami. The mural also shows respect to

the artists who have come before him, as pieces of graffiti by one

of the Surface Merchants are incorporated.

So what is Ruben's reaction to a completed "Monkey Bidness"?

Ruben Ubiera's New Wynwood Mural Combines Gorillas, Locals, and Latin Culture
Robert Dempster

"I am

amazed," he says " It's always an experiment, and it was successful. I

think this is the beginning of a lot of other things. This is just the

tip of the iceberg. It's gonna be good."

See Ubiera's "Monkey Business" at the corner of North Miami Avenue and 15th Street in Wynwood.

Ruben Ubiera's New Wynwood Mural Combines Gorillas, Locals, and Latin Culture
Robert Dempster

--Heike Wollenweber

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