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Local Hero: Artist Rubem Robierb

Miami attracts creative types from all over the world

A decade ago, Rubem Robierb had a modest South Beach studio—and a big vision. He was born in a small city in Brazil, then made his way to São Paulo, joining the creative class as a commercial photographer. But São Paulo, huge as it is, proved to be not quite big enough for Rubem’s dreams, even though he was showing his work there, as well as in Paris, Zurich, Monaco and Milan.

Fine art was his future. And so was Miami, where he moved in 2008.

Rubem gravitated toward Pop Art, experimenting with the visual power of dollar bills, and soon he became preoccupied with images of merged butterflies and bullets, with nature and violence. He cites artist Andy Warhol, Zaha Hadid and fashion icon Alexander McQueen as influences, and his work became synonymous with his resonant “Bullet-Fly Effect” series of canvases and sculptures, though many of his recent butterfly-inspired pieces have jettisoned the bullets as his butterfly wings have become ever more fanciful and colorful.

The artist also has become known for his social commentary, as his work reflects concerns over climate change and gun violence, and the LGBTQ+ experience. His sculpture Dandara (Dream Machines Series) was a tribute to a 42-year-old transgender woman who was brutally attacked and murdered in Brazil. Thoughts and Prayers, an incisive Warhol-influenced piece, depicts the emptiness of rote responses to mass shootings in the absence of action. According to Rubem’s website, “the phrase is a token of fake support. Robierb’s Thoughts and Prayers soup cans and Prayers and Thoughts boxes play on the iconic Warhol Brillo boxes and Campbell soup cans that back then represented the pop culture movement towards mass-produced art. Robierb effectively illustrates how the same symbols can be used to describe today’s mass-produced feelings delivered in throw-away packaging.”

In 2012, Rubem married Sam Champion, another Miami fixture (transplanted from New York) and an illustrious TV weather anchor, known for his appearances on the Weather Channel and Good Morning America. Sam’s social media feeds sometimes picture the duo out on the town, but the pair are even more likely to show themselves on the sands of Miami Beach. If there are Miami Beach locals who find that they rarely jump in the ocean after having lived here for a few years, Sam and Rubem are not among them. In terms of sand and water quality, and convenience, South Beach contains arguably the world’s finest urban beach, and the guys take full advantage of it.

“Rubem and Sam have been friends of mine for years,” says Marco Tiné, principal of Casa Collection Realty. “We’ve bonded for so many reasons. First, Rubem inspires me with his artistry, his drive and his entrepreneurial skills. Second, Sam and Rubem have a genuine passion for Miami Beach and the lifestyle here. They are so successful in their respective fields, but they love our laid back lifestyle. They are equally happy traveling the world or having a lingering beach day here. That tells me that they know how special it is, because they’ve been everywhere.”

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