An empty windowless room on the roof of The Bernard Shaw Bar is where Rubio began his bespoke picture framing service Hang Tough in early 2011. Quickly outgrowing the space, they took over a dilapidated hair salon down the road which had said goodbye to its last customer in 1997.
The floorboards were rotten, the roof was caving in the pigeons had long since claimed squatters rights but alongside the guys from This Greedy Pig and others they evicted the birds and brought the place back to life, with Hang Tough taking over the ground floor shop and his comrades occupying the studio spaces upstairs.
In the 2 and a bit years since then, Rubio and his Hang Tough team have seen huge growth. The surge in interest in illustration, photography, art and craft, especially amongst a younger audience, saw a well placed Rubio, friends with many of the artists and community, winning business from both young and first time art buyers, and people who liked his energised and modern approach to framing and his personal touch. Now employing five people, they have recently relocated their framing studio to right across the road to leafy Lennox Street with the original shop becoming a consultation space and small gallery.
They have also launched their own curated range of prints under the 'Tough Love Gallery’ banner with limited edition prints by The Project Twins, Denise Nestor, and Shane O’Driscoll and exclusive prints from Maser, DMC, Canvaz, ADW, Solus, Linda Brownlee, Johnny Savage, Mick Minogue, and Dan Leo planned for 2015
Oh, and if you are wondering why the name, Rubio’s not giving much away but Its the same Tough that one of Ireland’s most successful house music exports Mano Le Tough shares.
Find out more about Hang Tough and Tough Love Gallery here