A Soul Profile: Ray Roybal


Name: Ramon “Ray” Roybal
Profession: Artist
Age: 82
Born: Santa Fe, NM
Resides: Minneapolis

Ray Roybal, a noted Chicano artist and leader in the Twin Cities since the 1960s, is a descendant of Ignacio Roybal, who in the 1600s served with the Spanish military in the New Spain territory of Santa Fe de Nuevo México (New Mexico and Arizona today). His family tree also includes indigenous Native Americans. Roybal descendants who lived in Mexico did not arrive in his family’s history until around 1848. “My people down in New Mexico don’t consider us Mexican Americans, but rather Spanish Americans, because the real source of our heritage is from Europe.”

His concern now is the border war between the United States and Mexico in Arizona. He believes the United Nations may need to send troops to prevent an escalating international incident. “What also bothers me now, as a Chicano, is that we are not getting the respect as far as our identity is concerned, as American citizens. We’re all Americans, not just some of us…. I’m concerned about the freedom for all people, because we run into it every day. I’m not naming names, but I went to a bank the other day and was given a hard time for being Mexican American. I have money in the bank and they didn’t believe I was who I said I was, because my name is Ramon Roybal.”

The artist lived in San Francisco in the late 1950s and was inspired by the creativity of the Beat movement. He was educated at the University of Minnesota and has worked as a cartoonist for local media, as well as an art educator. He spotlights our nation’s discrimination in his work, using caricatures and Picasso-inspired imagery to shine light on a culture that “attacks its own poor and dehumanizes its individuals, denying them the basic rights of human dignity and freedom.”

Ray Roybal’s work in oil, acrylics and mixed media is on display at Golden’s Deli, 275 E. 4th St., in downtown St. Paul, one of the newest distributors of The Edge magazine.

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  1. Hey Uncle! I have one of your paintings hanging in my office from 1989. It’s one that my Grandma Dia got from you, and everyone always asks me to interpret the painting.

    Call me if you see this: 763-639-0638


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