Filipino-American artist Ruben Baradi's first appreciation of art happened in his hometown of San Fernando, La Union. As a child, Ruben would wake up to the many beautiful landscapes — a wide variety of mountains, forests, and fields — of his town.
"These lovely scenes will never escape my mind especially since I've always had art running through my blood," he shared.
For Ruben, art has always been part of his DNA, "Art continues to be my way of recreating God's creation."
Ruben carried this passion with him when he pursued a degree in Architecture from Far Eastern University, up to when he started working for a structural engineering company. Even when his craft was put on hold for a time, he knew that one day art would be his primary focus. This stayed with him even as he transitioned into becoming a steel dealer when he moved to the United States.
delivered to your inbox
"It was a great job but I wanted to do more than design buildings, my real passion was still in my hobby of drawing and painting. I've always hoped that I would have the opportunity to display the types of art that I wanted to make as well as highlight my heritage."
It was during this time that Ruben began drawing pieces for the Philippine Culture Center (PCC) of Virginia in Virginia Beach.
"Creating art for the PCC came with a different and new level of expectation, after all it is one of the biggest cultural centers in the United States. I definitely put in a lot of hours to make sure the pieces were as close to perfect as possible, especially since these portraits would live there forever."
To this day, his creations — portraits of Filipino icons from history books —are still displayed in the center.
Ruben has expanded his art into 3D art, his favorite medium. Prior to that, his creative career started with stippling (a technique in which areas of light and shadow are created using nothing but dots).
"I'd draw my loved ones such as my wife Erna, my children Erbin, Person, Erman, and Rena, and even my favorite celebrities and athletes. My favorite acrylic pieces include religious figures such as the Virgin Mary and Jesus and his disciples."
When asked what inspired him to move from 2D to 3D, he says, "As you know, drawings are 2D. I think it's more fun to create 3D art in which the piece looks like it's popping out at you. I started focusing on that type of art first with underwater scenery, gardens, and beautiful multi-colored peacocks. There's a different dynamic to these and it requires a much different approach and patience. I love how the pieces have width, height, and width. You feel like you're a part of these worlds that I'm creating, or as if you're staring at a photo."
Ruben believes that his exquisite 3D peacock designs are his trademark — extremely exquisite and unique, a perfect piece for every home. Speaking of home, Ruben's foray into the art world is fully supported by his family, especially his children who help him showcase his work through several digital platforms.
Ruben is truly an inspiration, one who makes us believe that fulfilling our dreams is possible at any age.
See more of his art on Instagram @rubinbaradiart.