Ruben Ulises Rodriguez Montoya is a contemporary artist whose work focuses on fantastical creatures and their relationship to land, culture, and identity. Drawing inspiration from Nahualismo, speculative fiction, and sci-fi, he explores themes of adaptation, mestizaje, and border culture through his art.
At the core of Ruben Ulises’s work are the monsters he creates – hybrids of land, human, and animal. These creatures symbolize fantastical imagination and reflect his own experiences growing up in an immigrant community on the US-Mexico border. They celebrate mestizaje, the mixing of different cultures and races, and draw inspiration from Nahualismo, a tradition of shamanic shape-shifting from Mexican folklore.
Ruben Ulises’s sculptures emerge from the toxic waste of the Camino Real landfill near his childhood home. Despite this, they evolve and thrive, developing new abilities and features that enable them to better survive in their environment.
They represent the resilience and adaptability of border communities, born from a history of struggle but evolving to survive and thrive in a rapidly changing world.
Ruben Ulises Rodriguez Montoya’s work is a unique and thought-provoking exploration of social issues and mythology, blending different influences to create something entirely new. The Chupacabras, inspired by the collective fears of Latinx communities, are a result of assimilation and neo-liberal agendas that led to forced migration, land exploitation, poverty, and gendered violence.
Currently, Ruben Ulises is a nomad, a lifestyle he both loves and hates at the same time. However, his art continues to inspire and provoke thought about the relationship between culture, identity, and the environment. His unique perspective offers insight into the social issues affecting border communities.