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Art & Life with Ruben Torres

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ruben Torres.

Ruben, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Since 2010, I dedicated myself to creating a do-good movement through our non-profit organization “Love Thy Neighbor Movement”. With my background in the entertainment industry, I decided to use my resources and event production experience to bring communities together to serve the less fortunate.

As an art collector and curator, I use the arts to bring the community together at my events. With our nonprofit “Love Thy Neighbor Movement” we also work with inmates in the prison system to bring exposure to prison art and have also produced several themed art events throughout San Diego. I also host the “Connected With Ruben Torres” podcast where I interview and share the journey of influencers, creatives, and community leaders.

I have always been involved in the arts somehow, whether it was promoting music/musicians, creating video content, or promoting artists and organizing events. I started curating art shows in Barrio Logan at The Spot, they gave me a shot to put on a Lucha Libre themed art event called “The HeART of Lucha” and it was a huge success. I had put on some Toy Drive events there as well where I invited local tattoo artists to display their art to draw a crowd and encourage the community to donate to kids that are less fortunate. The Centro Cultural de la Raza later hosted my next events. I still to this day get asked: “when are you doing another Lucha show?” The HeART of Lucha grew more than I anticipated, and I believe at the time no one had combined all the elements of live bands, DJs, Art, Live art, and LIVE Lucha Libre matches, Now there are a few promoters that have modeled their event after that one.

Last year we partnered with local champion-makers “House of Boxing” to create a 1940’s boxing-themed art event called “Barnburner – The HeArt of Boxing” we had 114 artists from all over the world on display and many artists had more than one piece they turned in, including inmates from Soledad state prison. Everlast donated 50 pairs of gloves for the event and we gave them to some of the artists and we had them paint on them as well, and attendees came fully dressed in their 1940’s attire, huge event, and I think was very successful.

At the moment we are looking to create some after-school programs where we can possibly teach art, music lessons, video and photography basics, creative writing, graphic design and digital marketing. I’m looking to gather some local artists that are looking to give back here in South San Diego to get kids in our community active in the arts.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
When I started putting together art events I really wanted to promote the Latino culture with themed events such as the Mexican bingo game “Loteria” and Mexican Wrestling “Lucha Libre”. Every event I produce includes inmate art, I feel like prison art always gets stereotyped into Chicano, “homeboy” art and as much as we love that style too there is so much more in there as well. I want people to see some of the prison art we display and say “dang! That’s prison art!?!?” … I love hearing that reaction!

I love art with a message! I feel even hosting the podcast is an art form, I promote stuff that interest me and that I like, so when the listener is done with an episode they feel like they learned something or they were entertained and inspired by the guest. I just want to be a HOPE DEALER to our audience, I want to deliver a sense of hope, like “if those guys can do that then so can I.”

I feel at times that I have an eye for talent and I enjoy finding the up and coming talent and help develop that raw talent! I feel that some of the veterans in the game need to find some of the young talents and mentor them, pass down what they have learned and helped them from making the mistakes that we have made, we don’t see much of that when you’re an artist.

How do you think about success, as an artist, and what do quality do you feel is most helpful?
I define success as doing what you love to do while getting paid to do it! Others mostly focus on the amount of money you’re making, others focus on being happy while expressing yourself!

We all have failed at something, you have to look at that as a lesson learned and not dwell on that failure.

Persistence, not giving up, not focusing on excuses, taking initiative, and investing in yourself is what’s needed to succeed in anything!

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
If you would like to see our collection you can stop by the Love Thy Neighbor offices in Downtown Chula Vista. Our entire office is like a gallery, we even had Cartoonist/muralist “Junco” come by and do a mural in our podcast studio.

We also have a cafe in our building called The Gathering Grounds where we have art displayed throughout the entire cafe! We have lots of prison art pieces that are donated to LTN as well as pieces that go to help the inmates families.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Tim Hernandez / Milton Motion

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