Carmen Tafolla co-authors new book on public art in San Antonio

PhD. Frederick Preston has been capturing the physical beauty of San Antonio with his camera lens for decades.his book San Antonio Historic Doorway Includes 180 photos to examine “unique and well-preserved historic buildings that reveal the area’s history and cultural heritage.”

More than a decade later, Preston has published a new book that looks at hidden and forgotten images in San Antonio’s public art scene. Arte del Pueblo: Outdoor Public Art in San Antonio Includes photos of more than 300 artworks by 230 artists, from digital art projected on a mission to sidewalk chalk art that disappears with the rain.

But in the process, Preston realized he needed a text to accompany the photo. So he contacted one of San Antonio’s most prominent figures, the former Texas Poet Laureate. Carmentafora.

'Art del Pueblo' cover art

‘Art del Pueblo’ cover art

Courtesy of Carmen Tafolla

“I said, ‘I’m not a historian, I’m a writer. By category, I’m an artist, but I’m not an art historian,'” Tafora said. “He said ‘I want something about San Antonio and how the culture and history of San Antonio is represented in art.’ I said ‘OK, I can do it.'”

Preston approached Tafora in 2019, four years after starting the project in 2015. Preston climbed to the top of the wall and lay in the middle of the street – alert to oncoming traffic – photographing various artworks across the city.

Public art in San Antonio originated in the 20sth Century Mexican murals proliferated during the Chicano movement of the 1970s. Tafolla said she remembered seeing pieces growing up that had disappeared, usually due to new owners painting over the artwork. But the process of working with Preston led to many discoveries.

Artwork by Maria Lopez & Javier de Riba (Reskate) '17 at Hemisfair Park.

Artwork by Maria Lopez & Javier de Riba (Reskate) ’17 at Hemisfair Park.

Courtesy of Carmen Tafolla

“I’m often surprised. Some of them I’ve never seen, and I’m like, ‘Where is this?'” Tafolla said. “There are works that I have never seen that can of course be temporary and I didn’t happen to get over it with the right angle. But there are also works that have been around for so long that it takes a special eye to catch. When writing stories with very diverse photos, I have a lot more appreciation for the city I already love.”

Tafora’s narrative for the book seeks to trace San Antonio’s ancient roots—even further than the European settlements of 300 years ago—to today, making the city “aware of its Mexican-Tejano soul, Its Indigenous origins, its fusion of people from many different cultures and shared values ​​are intertwined.”

“What surprises many readers is the wide range of types of visual art currently available in San Antonio’s outdoor public art galleries,” Preston said in a statement to MySA.

PhD.  Frederick Preston's new book, Arte del Pueblo, explores the history and influence of San Antonio's public art scene.

PhD. Frederick Preston’s new book, Arte del Pueblo, explores the history and influence of San Antonio’s public art scene.

Marvin Pfeiffer, San Antonio Express-News/Staff Photographer

Preston and Tafolla officially launched the book at a ceremony in La Villita on Friday, September 23, offering 300 books. September 23 is pueblo artbut due to supply chain issues, it was delayed until October 28, when it will be available wherever books are sold.

Preston and Tafolla will speak at the Texas Book Festival in Austin from November 4-5 and at the Latino Bookstore at the Cultural Arts Center, dates to be determined. Tafolla said it could be December 2022 or January 2023 and they hope to have a Miraflores: San Antonio’s Garden of Mexican Memory.

“I want them to develop a deeper respect for the human experience and the human experience in all cultural and language translations,” Tafora said. “Art is very influential and it communicates with different people in different ways. We hope this book will help broaden the reader’s perception and depth of art. I believe that people always pass by beautiful art without stopping Immerse yourself in it. I think, after reading this book, after reading this book, they will have more moments to stop and let their breath be taken away by a work of art.”

Carlos Cortez.  '09 River Walk artwork near Newell Street.

Carlos Cortez. ’09 River Walk artwork near Newell Street.

Courtesy of Carmen Tafolla

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