It all started when Jhonathan Delgado returned to his country to take a vacation. At that time, the young man born in the plains state of Barinas, to the southwest of Venezuela, he was traveling on one of the highways and made a stop.
When he got out of the vehicle, he observed a place where they sold handicrafts and various utilitarian objects, among which he found parts made from recycled tire rubbers.
One of them was of a bird that got all his attention and made him think that when he returned to Spain – where he has lived with his mother since he was a child – he could dedicate himself to making works of art from recycled tires.
Thus was born the artistic project Ruplares, a proposal directed by Jonathan with his girlfriend Zoleidy Renteria and his cousin John Anderson, which began to take shape in November 2015 on the Spanish island of Fuerteventura, the second largest of the Canary Islands.
RT spoke with this young Venezuelan to learn more about his artistic proposal, which has among its main goals to establish a Guinness record by creating the largest sculpture in the world made with recycled rubber.
A surfing goat for Fuerteventura
For the work with which he seeks to impose the Guinness, Jonathan needs an engineer to approve the project and sign it. “The idea is to make a surf goat, which is typical of the island. The problem is that I have had to look for architects and engineers to do the project, because in Spain they ask for many papers to obtain permission, but none of them are encouraged, they do not risk giving it the go-ahead, “he explains.
With that document, Ruplares would take the proposal to the local government, which already has knowledge of the proposal, to determine what type of work they would approve.
“Only the authorization of the architect is missing to say that the work is viable and safe, but those I have spoken with are not taking risks because there is a lot of wind on the island and that becomes a problem “.
The work he plans to carry out would be 15 meters high, so it would need the support of at least six people and would require several months of work.
To do this, he explains, he should make the goat much longer than he originally thought, so that he could eliminate the impact of the wind by strong air currents and get the part approved.
How did it all start?
Jhonathan remembers that since his vacation trip to his native country, years had passed before he had the opportunity to start his first project: a bird like the one he had seen in Venezuela.
“That time I returned to Venezuela and saw things made with car rubber, I said, in Spain they recycle a lot, I’m going to take the idea there. But for three years I did nothingUntil one day I went to change the wheels and told the mechanic, let me know that I am going to try something. “
The first work was started with her partner, she decided to help him create, all in a self-taught way, and they gave rise to Ruplares, acronym for “Wheels, Plants and Recycling”, which began with various creations such as earrings, keychains, pet beds, flower pots, ornaments, among other objects.
“I started with my girl and I tried to make a piece like the one I had seen in Venezuela, but it didn’t come out, it never came out. We had to buy a jigsaw, because it was very difficult to cut the rubber that had wire. Then it occurred to us to try motorcycle rubber, I went to the workshop, we tried it and it came out very well. “
After years of working with rubber with orders they made, they decide to try again with a piece of art. “One day we said, ‘let’s try to make an animal’ and we made a wolf. We loved it and decided to take it to a bike shop where they gave us wheels. The day we took it, a person saw us and fell in love. He told us he wanted to buy it, we gave him a price and he paid us once “.
After that first sale, Ruplares began to make more pieces of art. “We saw that he liked it a lot, because it is something different, it is not common. The client who bought the wolf from us now has about 12 of our works and he always asks us “.
Help the environment
Delgado highlights that although there is a good recycling culture in Spain, there is also there is a big problem with the tires, because they accumulate in quantities in large places that have caught fire and generate a lot of pollution.
“People don’t know what to do with so much rubber and it occurred to me that at least a percentage of that could subtract from the world and turn it into art. So, I look for the tires in the workshops or they call me, if not, they have to pay for the truck to be picked up. “
Once he takes them to his workshop, Jonathan prepares the rubbers, washes them and cuts them to get the rubbers ready. “At first it was difficultIt took time, because there is a lot of rubber that has wire, however, with practice you adapt. Over the years I have been getting the hang of it, I already know which wheel has wire and which does not, or which is better for one thing or another “.
And the learning has paid off: “The most rewarding thing, in addition to recycling, is seeing that spectacular works emerge from a tire that was in the trash. I am also very encouraged by people’s reactions, they motivate me to continue, as has been the recognition of celebrities who write to me and buy my works. “
Delgado comments that one of the pieces that has been the hardest for them to work on was a ship coming out of a wall that a client asked them, and that finally sold for almost 4,000 euros.
Ruplares works pieces of different types, it all depends on what its clients ask for. Send your works to different regions of the world and proof of this are the orders made by various urban music interpreters such as Ozuna, Baby Rasta, among other representatives of the show business.
The artistic initiative was liked so much that, in July 2019, its members decided to open the Ruplares Museum so that tourists and residents could buy and see their works in Puerto del Rosario.
Months later, with the entry of the covid-19 pandemic, the museum had to lower the blinds and to this day it remains that way. “We had to close due to the coronavirus issue and until it stabilizes I prefer not to open. It is better if everything happens but now I am thinking of opening one outdoors, in a field. “
“Apart from the museum that we opened, I would always exhibit the works in different spaces and people always reacted positively. That is what makes me continue to create,” says Delgado, who emphasizes that it is not easy to start a personal project.
“You have to have determination and courage. There are many people who have good ideas but are afraid to take risks, because as they say, ‘he who does not risk does not win’. At first it is difficult, there were moments that caused me to leave everything, but that’s when you have to put more, be persevering, persistent and be patient, because things are not how you think. “
The arepera llanera
Delgado is not exclusively dedicated to the sale of art. Its main source of income is a restaurant dedicated to the sale of the traditional Venezuelan arepa, a place that has been recognized as the best in Fuerteventura.
“Currently I am not only dedicated to art. I have an arepera, the only one on the island, and I dedicate myself to both endeavors. I have been working for four years and our restaurant,” Arepas Llaneras “, which is listed as the number one on the island in Tripadvisor reviews, “he says.
At the time, the idea of taking this typical Venezuelan food dish to an island in Spain sounded strange to many of the residents, who commented that I was not going to be successful. “In both businesses, both on wheels and on the arepera, there were people who laughed at what he did.”
“With the arepera they told me that this was not going to work, that people were very closed. With art they also complained that if not I had something else to do, but I did not stop them, I continued with my dream and thank God I have gone well”.
For example, he says, in the arepera people were a little reluctant to try at first. “But when they taste the arepas they love themThey say they have a unique flavor and they take the peluas, the pepiada queen, the sifrinas, all of them. “
The success of Jonathan’s projects with his family sums it up in the satisfaction of your customers. He emphasizes that this feeling fills him with pride, as when famous people write to him to acquire his works and then share images of them on their social networks.
“The first time I spoke with one of the celebrities, I did not believe it, and when that person had my work in their hands I could hardly sleep because of how impressed I was. That has helped to form a chain that has put my work in sight and that my works travel to any part of the world “.
Orlando Rangel Y.
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