Aloha! My name is Ruben Aira Jr. I was born in Havana, Cuba in 1964, and immigrated to the United States at the age of one. By 1998, I had made Hawaii my new home, living for the majority of the time on the laid-back North Shore of Oahu, where I have been continually inspired by the sea, the flora and the fauna surrounding me. That being said, I have been an artist for as long as I have been human! Though, I have worked in many different professions, from graphic artist to journeyman roofer to Alaskan crab fisherman and, most recently, textile designer for Aloha shirts. It wasn’t until 2015, after being laid off from my full-time job at Hilo Hattie, that I decided to pursue my lifelong passion of becoming a professional artist.
My journey began in a house on top of Pupukea, where the earliest of my creations centered on my discovery of a new Hawaiian art form: the carving of reliefs from surfboards whose glory days of riding waves had passed. I prided myself on creating art for the land from a product made for the ocean, and this innovative art form has now become part of my family’s heritage, something to be passed down from one generation to the next as a timeless treasure. That original vision then inspired me to experiment with different materials, such as wood, stones, resin and cut paper, reimagining these items into one-of-a-kind artworks. My newest body of work is comprised of a series of sculptures intricately carved from high-density urethane and coated with colored layers of translucent oil paint. Currently, my multi-media paintings and sculptures can be found at Bill Wyland Galleries, Martin & MacArthur Galleries, & Wy`s Galleries across the State of Hawaii.
Professional Art Experience
Fine Artist Creating for galleries and collectors 2014 – 2019
World Surf League Trophies for Hawaiian Pro and Vans Triple Crown 2017 – 2019
Hilo Hattie Textile designer and visual merchandiser 2012 – 2014
Hawaiiprint Art director and textile designer 2005 – 2012
Freelance Sign Maker Dimensional hand carved signs for commercial businesses 2002 – 2019
Warner Brothers Movie production artist 2002
Past and Present Exhibitions
OHA (Office of Hawaiian Affairs: Native Hawaiian Art & Culture Expo)
Hawaiian Pro World Surfing League Championship Trophy Ceremony
Billabong Pipeline Championship Trophy Ceremony
Art Auction for Wailua Community Association North Shore
SALT @ Kaka’ako
Bill Wyland Galleries Lahaina, Maui
Multiple showings from July 2016 - July 2019
Kawela Art Gallery at Turtle Bay Resort
Oct 2016- Jan 2017
HCRA (Hawaii Culture & Retail Association: Private Venues)
Provenza Galleries Outrigger Reef Resort
Feb 2018 - Aug 2018
© 2019 Ruben Aira Jr. All Rights Reserved.