By Amy Jackson

I first met Ruben Torres at Harvest Hands Development Corporation, an excellent after school program in the Napier community in South Nashville, when I was there volunteering one day. I had wanted to meet the muralist who had depicted by hand, and with such incredible detail, the photograph of now deceased Harvest Hands founder embracing a homeless man, beside the motto for Harvest Hands. I had been so impressed by his work, all over the Harvest Hands buildings — I just had to meet him! Since then, we’ve begun to collaborate as community artists, and I am honored to call he and his wife, Jael, who leads the job training program at Harvest Hands – friends. Ruben, Jael and their teenage sons live in the South Nashville community. I had no idea that Ruben has hand-painted so many signs and murals along Nolensville Pike, as well as around Nashville and Tennessee.

About the Artist

Ruben Torres is an independent artist from Mexico who enjoys working on projects that provide him the freedom to use his creativity, layout and design skills and knowledge in different techniques, especially in murals. He also enjoys smaller works that are abstract but contain specific meaning, where the main actor is the human figure expressing his values, feelings and relationships. Torres has opted for this form of expression because he thinks the viewer has a right to contribute to works of art. Although his works contain a specific meaning, he enjoys listening to people give their own interpretations, which make his personal work universal. Torres is essentially self-taught, although he has taken several arts-related courses with well-known Mexican artists.

Ruben Torres has 38 years of experience and has been painting and drawing since he was eight years old. In his formative years he painted realistic landscapes, which helped him learn how to master color and design using oil-based paints. He later focused on pencil portraits but continued with oil-based paintings, which helped him perfect his drawings, given the demanding nature of portraiture. In his 20s, Torres studied and imitated the masters of classical art through different mediums including pastels, acrylics, frescoes and a continuation of oil painting. In the 1990s, Torres found his personal style after a long search. This style is abstract but meaningful – that is to say, it employs realism in its simplest form. In most of his work, the human figure can be seen in different situations, including interpersonal relationships, and involved in a range of themes including friendship, family, music and religion among others. In the late 1980s, Torres began to use his artistic skills to do commercial work and combine it with art, which he continues today. This combination has given him the experience of completing difficult, large works that necessitate the use of scaffolding and ladders. In 2005, Torres worked with the renowned Mexican painter Pedro Banda on his mural, “The Wealth of Tamaulipas,” at La Casa de Cultura de Tamaulipas in Mexico City. This experience greatly enriched his work. (difficult translation) As a self-taught artist, Torres’ influences include the great masters of Mexican muralism: Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Torres’ study of their monumental works in Mexico City has helped him know what to do when faced with a blank wall.

Burgess Auto Sales
Allstate Auto Sales & Service – Used Cars
Los Amigos Mechanic Shop
Collision Center
M & M Used and New Tires
Amigo Tires
USA Tires
TN Motors Auto Sales
La Colmena Dulcería y Nevería
Dunya Kabob Restaurant
ABLE Restaurant Supplies
Variedades Latinas
Carnicería y Taquería Don Juan
Pupusería Reyna La Bendición 
Oscar’s Barber Shop
Mercado Latino
La Metapaneca Restaurant Salvadoreño
New Day Auto Sales
Towns Used Tires
Latino Tires
City Tires
Quality Cars Auto Center,   Inc.
A & A Imports
El Amigo Taqueria
Fresh & Fresh International Market
Fonda el Cubilete Restaurant
F 1 Tires
S & S Tires
Essy Auto Repair
Nashville Auto Repair
Prime Autoplex
Auto X-ray
Taqueria Santa Anita
La Ilusion Bridal Shop
Tire Shop (Auto latino)
Auto Latino Auto Sales
Exotto Auto Sales