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San Antonio artist Jesse Treviño undergoes cancer surgery in Houston

Jesse Treviño in front of his creation, La Veladora
Jack Morgan
Texas Public Radio
Jesse Treviño in front of his creation, La Veladora

One of San Antonio’s most famous and prolific artists, Jesse Treviño, is recovering from surgery in Houston right now. According to his friend with The Avenida Guadalupe, Gabriel Q. Velasquez, tumors were discovered when Treviño was in for a checkup.

“It's actually in the region right below the eye, behind the ear. It was a very quick developing tumor,” Velasquez said.

This is Treviño’s second go-around with the same condition 10 years ago.

“He had cancer before in the same region. So this is a returning of that situation. He already is a survivor,” he said.

One of Treviño's most well-known pieces of public art is the "Spirit of Healing" mural at the Children's Hospital of San Antonio on Santa Rosa Street. He was operated on at the VA Hospital in Houston, and family members are nearby.

Jesse Treviño's Spirit of Healing downtown
Jack Morgan
Jesse Treviño's Spirit of Healing downtown
Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Arts & Culture News Desk including The Guillermo Nicolas & Jim Foster Art Fund, Patricia Pratchett, and the V.H. McNutt Memorial Foundation.

“Jesse's sister, Alicia, and one of Jesse’s older brothers that lives in Houston have been the ones that have been able to connect with the VA,” he said.

Velasquez was told that Monday’s surgery was a marathon event, taking 15 hours. Treviño is in intensive care, and recovery won’t come quickly.

“It’s going to take some time. His recovery is going to be difficult,” Velasquez said. “But it's always funny to use the word difficult around Jesse Treviño.”

Treviño lost his painting arm due to a Vietnam war injury and subsequently learned to paint all over again with his left hand. He’s no stranger to adversity.

“We're all very confident that he's going to he's going to do what he has to do to pull through,” Velasquez said.

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Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii