About The Mural
In this mural the artist depicts a life-size whale away from the ocean, apparently dead and deteriorating, with a couple of vultures feeding off of its meat and sunflowers and tulips growing in and around the dead whale.
“This piece is all about awareness. Even if it’s done via shock. I like to paint murals that are unique to the space they’re in. When I saw the wall, the grass mound, the electrical boxes, its length, I immediately thought of a life-size whale. In the middle of Gainesville, Florida. Away from the ocean. A contrast from your every day. I wanted to stop people on their tracks while making them aware of a problem that concerns us all: the oceans. Without them, there’s no life. The vultures represent the corporations and politicians feeding their pockets from the sea’s demise. The flowers: hope, growth, and possibility. Metallic colors were used on the sunflowers to add beauty, and reflect light, while the sun hits the wall the whole day.” – Ruben Ubiera.
About The Artist
Ruben Gerardo Ubiera Gonzalez (born October 19, 1975 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) is a Dominican neo-figurative artist, known for his strong use of the line, who has been drawing and painting ever since he had use of reason. Ruben paints and draws in a style considered by many as Pop-surrealism, but he prefers to call it urban-pop, since he has lived most of his life in the urban, populated areas and most of his inspiration is derived from the interactivity between man and his urban environment. At the age of 15, his family moved to the Bronx, NY, where he was heavily influenced by the graffiti art that surrounded him, something he wouldn’t realize until much later in his life. He strives in all his work to capture an essential part of his past, his present and his subjects through the use of the line and form. His work includes still-life and situational portraiture but Ruben tends to primarily focus on city landscapes.
His paintings are, on first examination, noted for being charged with “skateboard- isms”, paint drips and the constant presence of graffiti in some shape or form. But, after closer inspection, one notices the detail, sarcastic contrast, the social commentary and human struggle that’s felt by the technique and subject matter.
About The Grove Street Neighborhood
The Grove Street Neighborhood Murals Project is a community project that aims to beautify and revitalize the historic, inner city Grove Street Neighborhood in Gainesville, Florida. Founded by award winners and community activists Iryna Kanishcheva and Maria Huff Edwards. The project is curated by Iryna Kanishcheva, coordinated by the neighborhood leader Maria Huff Edwards, with the help of volunteers and neighborhood supporters. The Grove Street Neighborhood sees murals as an artistic tool towards its further stabilization, beautification, and restoration.
Images by Iryna Kanishcheva