“Infinite Human” by Raul Urias Opens at INDUSTRY One

The show marks a new direction for the Mexico City artist, who is known for his commercial work.

Raul Urias/INDUSTRY One (Raul Urias)

Three years ago, Mexico City illustrator Raul Urias was hired to do a Día de los Muertos campaign for Nike. He worked alongside the creative agency INDUSTRY, and Urias really clicked with the whole team there.

“We worked together on the animation and the flow and the work was amazing,” Urias says.

Oved Valadez, co-founder and executive creative director of INDUSTRY, told Urias he wanted to open a gallery space in Portland someday and he would be in touch. He wanted to collaborate on a show.

That promise comes to fruition April 24 with the opening of Urias’ solo show Infinite Human at INDUSTRY One. INDUSTRY One is the nonprofit gallery arm of the agency, with street-level space right below its offices at 415 SW 10th Ave.

“We as a downtown business saw the effects of the last few years and we are trying to bring people downtown and a way to do that is through this gallery,” says Christine Carraro, INDUSTRY’s brand and business development director. “We want the community to flourish.”

INDUSTRY One has been open for about a year with the stated goal of helping to revitalize downtown Portland. It is commission-free, meaning the artists get all of the proceeds from sales of their art rather than the traditional 50-50 split with the gallery.

Urias’ show Infinite Human is part of the ongoing West End Wednesdays event on the last Wednesday of the month, which falls on April 24 from 5 to 8 pm. In addition to the INDUSTRY One opening, this month’s offerings also include coffee cocktails at Stumptown, $3 slices at Sizzle Pie, discounts at Tender Loving Empire and Tiny Brambles, and an afterparty at Fortune.

Infinite Human consists of more than 40 artworks, ranging from acrylic on canvas to pencil drawings on paper. The show draws heavily on the symbols and landscape of his childhood in Chihuahua, Mexico, and his current home of Mexico City. The bright, energetic paintings feature repeated images such as snakes, barbed wire and cowboy hats.

Urias, 34, has done work for brands such as Apple, Nike, Google and Adidas, but the show at INDUSTRY One is his largest solo show ever and marks a new direction for him in the gallery world.

“In the past, it was just one piece for a show with 25 other people,” he says. “Here, it is a conversation with you and the pieces.”

In addition to the opening reception, Urias led a workshop for kids earlier this week. He encourages families to attend the Infinite Human while it is on view for the next month.

“When I was young, it was very difficult to have the mindset to be an artist,” Urias says. “I don’t know so many artists. This is the history of a guy that one day dreams to do drawings for life and make it real. You can feel this in the pieces.”

Infinite Human by Raul Urias is on view at INDUSTRY One, 415 SW 10th Ave. 503-894-1437, industry1.org/gallery. 9 am-5 pm Monday-Friday, April 24-May 29. Free.

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