Reuben Rude was born in San Francisco in 1969, after the moon landing but before the Rolling Stones’ legendary concert at Altamont. Within a few years, his parents migrated north, to settle deep in the woods of Mendocino County. Living in a series of tents, campers, and ramshackle huts, without indoor plumbing or a television, he spent the better part of his childhood outside. When it was raining or dark he would read and draw. Because of his lack of development in any other area of study, he chose to attend art school in the city of his birth. He lives in San Francisco to this day, and probably always will. He ekes out a living making paintings, posters, and all manner of commercial art. He never goes camping.
Reuben Rude’s work can be described as drawings in paint over recreated time-lapse collage. Clean, sculpted lines meet artificially haphazard texture. He works in all kinds of acrylic paint and mediums, found wood and ephemera, and generous dollops of elbow grease. The physical nature of his process results in work that unfolds in front of him, at times without his notice; he often observes a finished piece with some surprise, unable to recall exactly how it got there.
Reuben’s images are the culmination of the strange little doodles from the backs of a thousand spiral notebooks, made during a thousand 5th period algebra classes. They are made in the spirit of drawing eyeglasses, beards, and devil horns on the historical figures in your American History textbook. Look close, and you’re sure to recognize a friend or enemy.
When asked about the themes in his work, Reuben prefers to remain cryptic. But looking at it, one might guess that he is interested in the ideas of isolation, connection, and the true meaning of “home”.