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Fronteras: 'My dad is orchestrating my career' — Muralist Alan Calvo reflects on how his upbringing and heritage influence his work

From a dedication of iconic Tejano singers like Vicente Fernadnez, to a mural that captures puro San Antonio imagery, artist Alan Calvo is behind some of the city’s most iconic murals.

Calvo is best known for his mural of Selena outside the Alamo Candy Building, which features the late Tejano singer against a backdrop of Aztec imagery and symbols. The mural earned him recognition in 2020 from SA Current for Best Mural, and was recognized as Best Public Art Piece in 2022 by the readers of San Antonio Magazine.

He is the son of Alberto Calvo — a popular San Antonio Spanish-language radio personality known as Alberto Alegre. Alegre’s fame attracted popular Tejano personalities including Selena Quintanilla and her family.

Calvo said his father largely influenced his career.

“All these [people] were coming from all over Texas to his radio stations to do something,” he said. “It's a part of my life … so it's like 'wow,' I need to portray this in my artwork.”

Calvo also spoke about how he weaves his indigenous heritage and traditional Mexican American imagery into his murals.

“I use [Aztec culture] in the background because essentially, that is my background,” he said.

Calvo’s artworks have been commissioned by Centro San Antonio, including the “Colores del los Nativos” mural outside Texas Public Radio’s headquarters in what’s known as the Zona Cultural. This area will soon come alive with sculptures, murals, and music on a once long-neglected stretch of Commerce Street.

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Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1
Marian Navarro produces for Texas Public Radio's Morning Edition and Fronteras.