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Texas Hill Country Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

San Antonio: Trabajo Rustico


From the Brackenridge Park footbridge to the 1927 Alamo Heights streetcar-turned-bus stop, the sculptures of Dionicio Rodriguez and his protégés are an artistic legacy for San Antonio. The trabajo rustico (rustic work)—or faux bois (imitation wood) technique used natural elements as inspiration for cement creations.
 
Born in 1881 in Toluca, Mexico, Rodriguez settled in the San Antonio area in the early 1920s after working in construction and dabbling in art throughout Mexico City, Monterrey, and Laredo. During 30 years in the San Antonio area, Rodriguez and colleagues such as Maximo Cortes crafted bridges, benches, fences, and other functional artwork throughout the city to resemble crosscut logs, tree trunks, and branches with peeling bark. Today, Mexican American artisans continue this traditional Mexican handicraft, including Cortes' grandson Carlos, who runs Studio Cortes. From public art installations to smaller garden sculptures, the third-generation artist keeps the area's trabajo rustico tradition alive.  


Location

  • Located throughout San Antonio
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • 78205

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