Jesse Trevino is perhaps best known for his monumental art–the “Spirit of Healing” at Christus Santa Rosa and the “Veladora” at the Guadalupe Cultural Community Center. Early in his career Trevino also mastered the art of portrait painting.
Our selection of Trevino’s Cesar Chavez portrait for the cover art combines our commemoration of Chavez’s birthday in March as well as the recent publication of SPIRIT: The Life and Art of Jesse Trevino by Anthony Head.
Cesar Chavez organized the farm workers of California and in the process became one of the nation’s great labor heroes. More than 300,000 San Antonians are expected in this year’s annual Cesar Chavez March this coming Saturday. Three decades ago Trevino honored farmworkers with an art piece “Los Pescadores” (The Pickers) which portrays a young boy with a large sack of cotton walking alongside his father in the middle of a cotton field.
Trevino admired the men and women like his father and mother who engaged in backbreaking low-skilled work to support their families. Trevino’s dad had immigrated from Monterrey, Mexico to the United States in the late 1920s. He worked in San Antonio and met his wife Dolores in New Braunfels. Following their marriage in the mid-1930s, they moved to Monterrey, Mexico where most of the Trevino’s eleven children, including Jesse, were born. Jesse Trevino’s interest in art and design led him to Fox Tech where his older brothers had attended. In his early years of art training at Fox Tech High School, Trevino found inspiration in the American portrait tradition.
During his first year at Fox Tech High School, Trevino painted a portrait of Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson which he titled simply “LBJ” (1962). Trevino’s biographer, Anthony Head, whose book is reviewed in this issue, noted that Trevino found inspiration in the work of portrait artist Norman Rockwell.
Trevino painted portraits of San Antonio’s Westside heroes including Congressman Henry B. Gonzales, community leader Ruben Munguia, and singer and dancer Rosita Fernandez. Trevino’s friend Dr. Bert Cecconi, commissioned several paintings, including that of Cesar Chavez. Jesse Trevino is one of San Antonio’s great living treasures and everyone should appreciate his many artistic accomplishments.
*Cover art from the collection of Drs. Harriett and Ricardo Romo. Special thanks to the University of Houston-Downtown and Dr. Bert Cecconi.
Read the complete story of the Cover Artist and more information on the new book about his career on page 16-17