El Paso-based artist Tino Ortega had always wanted to paint a mural of late Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla. He finally got the opportunity to pay tribute to her during a recent graffiti festival in his hometown.
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“Had such a blast doing this portrait,” Ortega wrote on social media along with a video of the finished mural. “Thank you to [South Central Graff Fest] and [Old Sheepdog Brewery] for allowing me the chance to paint during the event.”
Ortega, who is self-taught, painted the mural live in six hours outside the brewery during the festival. The image of Selena is in black and white and includes two roses – one in black and white and the other in red. The phrase “Como La Flor,” Selena’s 1992 track from her third studio album, Entre a Mi Mundo, are also painted across the mural in red and white.
“The black and white is to emphasize how she is no longer here with us,” Ortega, 36, told Remezcla during an interview this week. “The red rose represents her music and her legacy. It’s always blooming and bright, and it will always be there.”
Ortega said he has always been inspired by Selena because he, too, is a Latine artist who feels close to his Mexican roots but has never conquered the Spanish language. “She sang beautifully in Spanish but had some trouble speaking it,” Ortega said. “I see a piece of myself in her. I think that aspect of her culture resonates with a lot of people from my generation.”
Then, of course, there is Selena’s Quintanilla’s music, which Ortega said feels like it “transcends time” when he listens to it. “Her music speaks to everyone and how they feel,” he said. “It speaks to their heartache and what it feels like to be in love with somebody. Plus, you can’t go to a Mexican party and not hear at least one or two Selena songs.”