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BuzzFeed: The Case of the Missing Artist

An article on content creator and photographer Rey Rey Rodriguez from BuzzFeed Magazine.

A photo of visual artist and photographer Rey Rey Rodriguez for BuzzFeed Magazine

A young man known for being an eccentric, quick-witted, bold, individual that loved the limelight had suddenly vanished without leaving any reason or clues to why. Those that knew him mentioned that prior to his disappearance he had lost a lot of weight, and didn’t seem like himself. Many were concerned that he was physically ill, had a mental breakdown, or was in some kind of trouble. Although his whereabouts were unknown, his social media accounts continued posting so no one bothered to inform the police.

Rey Paul Rodriguez, nicknamed Rey Rey, had been working in the Emergency Medical field since 2004. The high school drop out, decided to get an education at age 24, and accomplished a great deal in 8 years. He received a GED, became EMT and Firefighter certified, graduated college with an AA in Nursing and another in Emergency Medical Services, along with being awarded the Irene Fischley Award for Excellence. He then graduated from FAU with a BA in Multimedia Studies, and soon left the medical field to become a solopreneur, founding a small creative & digital marketing business called, “The Mind Of Rey Rey.” Throughout this journey he built a massive portfolio mixing photojournalism and fine-art photography, photographing celebrities, elite athletes, musicians, models, public figures, and other work with major companies. A year later he would disappear.

Within a three day period, Rey moved out of an apartment he’d been living in for over nine years, canceled memberships to several gyms, martial arts academies, wholesale warehouse stores, and a business club. Friends, family members, acquaintances, and even his landlord were all confused. A friend stated, “He was very selective of who he allowed into his circle, but lived life to the fullest and loved to teach and spend time with those around him. There were times when all you heard was his voice in a crowd, and times that he’d lock himself away for days working on something that he was obsessed with. We just figured he traveled off to a new project.”

When his social media accounts were observed closer, things started looking suspicious. Rey used social media specifically for promoting his artwork and business. But some his accounts were now inactive, while others were busy posting generic jokes, quotes, facts, or reposts 15-30 times a day, and his Instagram account was deleting old photos and then reposting them. When contacted via direct messages on social media, an auto message replied with, "I’ll reply soon, Leave a message and follow me everywhere at @TheMindOfReyRey.” Emails also had an auto reply, and phone calls went straight to voicemail. Strangely, on February 21, 2015 (one week after Rey’s disappearance), President Donald Trump tweeted a personal quote to Rey that read: “@themindofreyreyYou have to think anyway, so why not think big?” (Trump’s Twitter account is currently suspended, but the tweet can be found via Google search of “themindofreyrey think big”.) All who knew Rey describe him differently. “Kind, blunt, creative, impatient, sweet, rough, extrovert, antisocial, scary, affectionate, morbid…” His collection of visual artwork is a similarly chaotic mix of macabre photoshoots filled with blood, gore and darkness, as well as photo journalistic styled shots of public figures, celebrities, activist, models, and elite combat sports fighters.

In 2018, an old friend called police to report Rey missing. She received a call two days later from an investigator saying that Rey was alive and well, and that no further information was available. Another friend received a similar response after calling police in early 2019.

In late 2020 several new photos appeared on Rey’s Instagram account shot in Washington DC. A few promotional shots for a clothing company named Grunt Style, some shots of himself and the surrounding area. And three dark posts. One is an image of him lying in a bloody bathtub while a blade is held to his chest, another is a photo of what looks like him summoning demons while being warned by a spirit, and the last is a video that was also promoted by World Star Hip Hop of him having thoughts of murder.

In January of 2021, a random selfie was posted of Rey with long beard, sunglasses, and rag over his head was posted on his Twitter. The image was deleted several minutes later.

It’s unknown if Rey has been in hiding this whole time for safety, personal reasons, or if this has all been some form of marketing tactic.

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