To overcome the catastrophic coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at hand, it’s important to recognize the positives. One beacon is selfless service. Countless acts by organizations and individuals alike are minimizing the lasting damage. This hard work isn’t only done by the ER doctors, nurses, and first responders constituting our last line of defense. It’s also the good Samaritans doing thankless work next door. We raise our glasses to all the local heroes on the front lines—from all the hospital workers to the grocery stockers, postal workers, small business owners, plus those delivering goods to the elderly and at-risk, #weoweyoudrink.
This week, we got the chance to chat with Santa Monica-based artist/muralist/designer Ruben Rojas. As the co-founder of @beautifyearth, Ruben’s mission since 2013 has been spreading a massive message of love through his art, murals, and speaking engagements across the world. From Paris to New York to Florida, Ruben’s messages of love can be found in urban environments with the intent to simply inspire people to love one another, not only during times of crisis, but every single day.
Name: Ruben Rojas
Title: Artist, Muralist, and Designer
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Years on the Job: 6 years
MJ: How has your work changed in the last two months?
RUBEN ROJAS: When the pandemic first hit work changed overnight. Many approved jobs with signed contracts were canceled indefinitely and with that, money stopped. Rather than focus on that, I continued my mission and my work, painted murals across town as inspirational reminders to be safe and stay distant.
Two of these murals were, “Love Is Standing Six Feet Apart” and “You Can’t Quarantine Love”—simple reminders for people as they pass by. These murals are a part of history forever and as an artist I’m creating culture and spreading awareness that this is real.
What is the greatest challenge at-hand right now?
Keeping up the momentum that I have created, continuing to grow and scale with limited resources, and trying not to worry about the potential recession or looming financial crisis.
Do you feel at-risk/threatened?
I do not, and I am taking this very seriously being as safe as possible. I also do not see this as a “me” problem or an attack on my liberties, this is a human problem when people are being careless and gathering it does upset me. I get a little sad for them.
Do you see signs of hope?
I see tremendous amounts of hope and positivity that will come from this. Life, as we know it, will drastically change and I am excited to see where we head as a society and I am rooting for us to get closer to our basic humanity.
Should people be working? How can folks help right now?
Of course, essential workers are different. If you can work and be safe, then absolutely, but if you cannot be safe and are putting yourself at unnecessary risk stay home and protect yourself and your family. Ultimately, I believe that staying indoors when possible, wearing a mask when you’re outside around others, and staying away from crowds is about self-respect and self-love. Maybe you have it maybe you don’t, but definitely don’t give it to someone by being careless.Check Out Ruben's Website Here
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