Imagine a 49-foot-long humpback whale swimming down the Golden Mile along the center of JFK Promenade. No need to imagine. It’s already there!
Welcome to Reuben Rude’s pure passion project, a bold idea quickly conceived and lovingly executed. Half mural, half sculpture, Street Whale includes ground painting and a humped head and 11-foot tall tail that rises from the walkway, made entirely of reclaimed wood.
“Making art is a physical act. There is an idea, some planning, a goal – this happens beforehand – but the process of building, constructing, working is the important part, the real thing. My theory is that the work occupies my body and part of my brain, allowing ideas from my subconscious to make it onto the board or space. This is true at any size, but at a large scale, it is especially so. The intense physical nature of making this piece, as well as working with a small team of collaborators, resulted in work that unfolded in front me, almost magically.”
Street Whale is made almost completely of reclaimed and up cycled materials, including the paint.
About the Artist
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.
Sometime around 13 years old, he had to come to grips with the reality that professional baseball would not be in his future, and art would probably always be his main pursuit. 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, sculptures, murals, posters, and all manner of commercial art.
He never goes camping.