Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Ruben Cantu lives a life inspired by cultural diversity.
Identifying with Panamanian and Chicano heritage, he traveled back and forth from the U.S. and Panama throughout his younger years. As a result of constant flux, and as life in the Albuquerque South Valley sometimes goes, Ruben tested boundaries throughout his teens years with the best of them.
Upon becoming a family man, Ruben decided to call New Mexico his permanent home. With this, from 1998 to 2004 , he explored producing hip-hop music. Having influences form J-Dilla to Johnny Cash, his love for music maintains an obvious presence within his artwork. Similar to this, his love for visual art is highly impacted by rebel artists such as Jean Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Francis Bacon, Roy Lichtenstein and William de Kooning.
On the rise, Ruben has always loved creating but in 2012 his path spoke true when he began testing the versatility of a material more associated with “crafters”. Now, iconic pop-culture characters, symbolic figures of hip-hop and ideas of purging the preverbal demons are represented through playful layers of cutout felt. With a cartoonish feel, this soft cloth is Ruben’s medium of choice, along with computer-aided illustration. His main draw to using felt is that “you can cover a large spectrum of ideas and still have it be innocent and digestible.” As a support for this work, Ruben has also started a website for his original art and apparel line, RubenCantuArt.com, which has just gone live!