Local artist Albert Gonzales works out of a studio in an industrial warehouse located in north central San Antonio. On a recent afternoon, he sat calmly painting on a large canvas.
Gonzales has gained recognition lately for his work on a Spurs mural located at 801 S. Presa in San Antonio.
“It was something that I always wanted to do,” he said. “I just thought I would never do murals,” Gonzales said. “I was lacking confidence in myself to work that big and one day I decided, ‘hey I want to start doing murals.’”
Gonzales said he finally took the leap.
“The spurs mural is my first really big mural,” he said.
The mural features the historic Big three: Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Tim Duncan. It’s part of the growing tradition of San Antonio murals and one of the largest.
It’s hard to miss, as it spans an entire building spanning a whole city block between South Saint Mary’s and South Presa Streets.
The art of basketball continues to spread throughout San Antonio and not in a typical way but through arts and culture expressed by hundreds of thousands of Spurs fans.
“I think the important part for me was getting the community involved because I feel like everyone, or at least 85 percent of people that live in San Antonio, are Spurs fans and I just wanted to get the community involved,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales posted on Facebook and Instagram asking the community, Spurs fans and art lovers alike to come out and assist with the mural.
It was a successful day, dozens of community members and Spurs fans came out to help with the mural.
“I had a couple of kids who showed up with their parents. These kids were like 3 or 4 years old and you know they’re over here painting parts of the mural,” Gonzales said. “I thought that was so cool because that might be something they might be able to see years later. I hope it’s still there, but I would like those children to look back and say ‘man I remember I painted that when I was like 4 or five years old.’”
Karen Quiroz and her daughter Petra, 15, participated in the mural with artist Albert Gonzales.
“I was very excited to be able to get her involved. I actually volunteered my daughter because I knew it was going to be a good experience. She is an art student at Henry Ford Academy High School downtown, so we try to get her out in the art community. I purposely didn’t participate because I wanted this to be her own experience,” she said.
Gonzales says there’s more to come. He will be creating a new Spurs mural featuring Coach Popovich near the Broadway and Appler St. intersection.
Gonzales hinted at the concept of the new mural. “I feel like Pop is saying a lot of stuff which should be said, it’s all positive stuff. But it’s going to be something like Pop for President.”
The latest mural dedicated to the Spurs is at a a south side barber shop located 6732 S. Flores St. There you will find Alexander James’ artwork of “The Klaw”, player number 2, Kawhi Leonard.
“I’m a big fan of Kawhi Leonard. With his emergence over the last few years; he took over the team.” James said. “I felt like he needed something in the city for that. He’s pretty much holding the city down now.”
Both local artists James and Gonzales were commissioned by the business owners who featured their work on their buildings. Gonzales usually charges an average of 1200 dollars for a mural, but it all depends on the approximate number of hours it will take to complete.
Steve Castilleja, the business owner of Countdown City Cuts, a local barber shop weighs in on his thoughts of the Spurs.
“There are diehard Spurs fans over here, everyone goes crazy for the Spurs when they win in the playoffs,” Castilleja said.
Both Castilleja and James said they want to start a new tradition where everyone comes down South Flores Street, to celebrate the victory of the Spurs playoff wins.
They say it’s apart of the culture in the city, especially on the South Side. They believe everyone becomes friendlier when the Spurs are winning and it’s a great when part of the city comes together.