Ruben Ulises Rodriguez Montoya stands as a contemporary artist who paints a vivid landscape of fantastical creatures, land, culture, and identity. Drawing on Nahualismo, speculative fiction, and sci-fi, he sheds light on adaptation, mestizaje, and border culture. Moreover, at the heart of his art lie monsters — hybrids of land, humans, and animals. These creatures don’t just symbolize imagination; they also mirror his own experiences in an immigrant community on the US-Mexico border. Furthermore, these beings champion mestizaje, the blend of multiple cultures and races, taking cues from Nahualismo’s shamanic traditions.
Emerging from the toxic waste of Camino Real landfill, near where he grew up, his sculptures evolve and thrive. Consequently, they gain new skills, enabling them to adapt to their surroundings.
In doing so, they epitomize the resilience and adaptability of border communities. Born from struggle, these communities actively adapt to a rapidly changing world. Therefore, Ruben’s art blends social issues and mythology in a singular and thought-provoking way. For instance, the Chupacabras, inspired by the fears of Latinx communities, emerge from the repercussions of neoliberal policies like forced migration and land exploitation.
Currently living as a nomad, Ruben Ulises holds mixed feelings about his lifestyle. Yet, his art persistently stirs up thoughts on the intricate relationship between culture, identity, and the environment. This unique viewpoint enriches our understanding of social issues facing border communities.