Philippine-born artist Ruben Baradi has been creating phenomenal pieces for almost five decades. Starting his creative tenure with stippling (a technique in which areas of light and shadow are created using nothing but dots), one can now enjoy Ruben’s most current medium: 3D art. Now residing in Virginia Beach with his wife Erna and children Erbin, Erson, Erman, and Rena, the family’s home is filled with Ruben’s work from over the years. We connected with the well-versed artist to talk about his vision, how he started, and more.
How did you get started in art? Was it a skill you developed early on in childhood?
I grew up in San Fernando, La Union, in the northern part of the Philippines. I would wake up in the morning and see the beautiful landscapes of the Philippines. We had a variety of mountains, forests, and fields. And I thought to myself, “These lovely sceneries will never escape your mind, especially when art is running through your blood.” Art was my way of recreating what I saw in God’s creation on canvas. I’ve worked with drawing, sculpting, and 3D mixed media canvas art
Describe your process. How do you decide what you like to draw and create?
I first started my art experience with stippling and drawing people I know. When I had family I drew them, too. It is my homage to people close to me. In more recent years I took up 3D art. My imagination takes me to gardens and oceans. A lot of what you see me make nowadays include stunning flowers and plants and fish and coral reefs.
Does your artwork influence your children’s creative pursuits?
My eldest son, Erbin, is innovative. Erbin likes to turn everyday items into something new. We can also credit that to my wife’s father, Esteban, who would take things like scrap metal and manipulate them to create objects. An example is making a basketball hoop out of a round piece of metal that was nailed into a scrap piece of wood. I would also say that my wife’s culinary skills attributes to that because she can mix any two things in the kitchen and make it delicious. She has a talent of adding ingredients together and making them work. Erson, my older twin, is an artist himself and currently works as a freelance artist, turning a client’s vision to a powerful logo that best represents a company. Growing up, he excelled in art programs and both he and Erbin have dreams of a comic book series. My younger twin, Erman, is more of the writer in the family and writes screenplays. He works in the entertainment industry. My daughter, Rena, has an imaginative mind when it comes to music. She enjoys coming up with melodies and taking songs and harmonizing them. She’s very good on the piano and violin.
Also, as a commitment to learning about Philippine culture at a young age, all of my children participated in a Rondalla, which is an ensemble of stringed instruments originated in Medieval Spain. This tradition that was later taken to Spanish America and the Philippines.