FIU alum R.M. Drake builds an empire off his poems

Andrea Sanmiguel | Contributing Writer

Art may ooze from the plenty of art galleries in Wynwood and even its warehouse walls, but one local artist has dominated Wynwood’s sidewalk floors.

Robert Macias, better known as R.M. Drake, has gained a momentous amount of popularity from his poetry often seen in black courier print on the floor and on his Instagram account.

In little less than over a year, his account on Instagram gained over two million followers and attracted celebrities like Ludacris, Jermaine Dupri, Sophia Bush from “One Tree Hill” and even Wu-Tang.

After years of taking risks in the art industry, the poet sat down with FIU Student Media to talk about his early years attending FIU, his sudden success and the dark creative places he visited within himself to produce his work.

His Early Years

Macias, 32, was raised by Colombian parents in South Florida. He was the first generation American in his family and admits growing up in Miami wasn’t always paradise.

“There was a lot of drugs, fighting and bullying going around when we were kids,” Macias said. “But I think it was meant to happen so that I could reflect and grow to what I am now.”

Macias said he’s grown a lot from the past and that his experiences have allowed him to channel and process emotions into a creative field.

It was around the age of 10 when Macias first discovered his love for art.

He said when he was younger, his parents couldn’t afford video games or action figures so they would buy him clay, but not the commercial Play-Doh most kids his age had.

He said his parents bought him clay from Navarro. But Macias never complained.

“They would probably buy it for like a dollar,” said Macias jokingly.

He said he would build his own action figures with the clay, which lead him to experiment with other forms of art, like painting, drawing and creating his own comic books out of sketches he drew in college ruled paper to show to his friends.

“I didn’t have the luxuries certain kids had so I had to form my own means of entertainment,” said Mancias.

During his early years, Macias lived in Sweetwater and attended Miami Coral Park Senior High School. In 2010 he attended Miami Dade College and later transferred to Florida International University where he graduated with a degree in computer design.

When speaking about his experience at FIU, he said it was something that he misses.

“When you’re in school, you are dying to get out and then you let a few years pass — you end up missing that learning environment,” said Macias. “ School is something that will continue to challenge you and motivate you to become something better.”

His Creative Process

Macias’ manner is old fashioned, but with a modern twist.  A typewriter is usually his weapon of choice when it comes to portraying his deepest thoughts. Which in turn, counter balances the fact that he is spreading his work throughout social media.

His poetry book “Beautiful Chaos,” landed Amazon’s best-selling poetry books list, amidst writers like Edgar Allan Poe and Sylvia Plath.

With two new books coming out, Macias said he’s excited to see how far he can take his art,especially because he said he considers himself more than just poet.

Some of his many attributes include sculpting, painting, drawing and producing music.

“I’m in the works with of building something big a group of artist, one of the being M.V. Darklight and the other Ziamricochet- these guys are geniuses,” said Macias. “I’m talking huge — music, art, painting, writing and sculpting — we are just trying to take the whole genre by storm.”

But when it comes to writing, Macias focuses on every aspect of human emotion, particularly, love and a lose.

“Art is pain and pain is the art in which we find ourselves,” Macias said.

He said he believes people go through certain emotions, like the feeling of being lost, heartbreak and despair in order to become stronger.

“I think people are afraid of that because it can be depressing. But that’s because they are not seeing beyond the words, you find a lot of power in these certain emotions,” Macias says.

The response from his followers are in the thousands when it comes to comments and messages about his work.

“It’s like a recharge being able to read what people post and see how my work motivates them to keep going,” Macias said.

And for an artist who is known to stay under the radar, Macias attributes his successful social media presence to the growing open mindedness to art.

But with pieces of his work being displayed in places like Avant Gallery in Miami’s EPIC Hotel and an international fundraising event in New York’s Yankee Stadium – anonymity may not be an option for very long.

“I’m anonymous to a certain extent, but I think that adds to it,” said Macias. “It leaves the image and persona of myself to the reader. I actually feel like I don’t have to show my face because [by reading my poems] fans are getting to know me more regardless.”

R.M. Drake’s books can be found in bookstores all over the country and on sites like Amazon and Etsy.com. To follow his work you can find him on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr by searching: rmdrk.

Photo Credit: Andrea Sanmiguel

3 Comments on "FIU alum R.M. Drake builds an empire off his poems"

  1. So inspiring! I had no idea he was an FIU alumni!

  2. So inspiring! I had no idea he was an FIU alumni!

  3. So inspiring! I had no idea he was an FIU alumni!

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