SANT ‘ANTONIO – San Antonio mourns the passing of local fashion artist Rebecca Medina whose life-size dolls have captured the attention of many at some of the city’s biggest celebrations.
Medina died on Sunday morning, according to her daughter, Bethany DeLeón.
Some of Medina’s most iconic works included her larger-than-life dolls inspired by Frida Kahlo. For years, her work has featured in festivals and parades throughout San Antonio, including the Battle of Flowers Parade.
Medina was also a hairdresser based in the King William district. On Monday, DeLeon, her younger brother, and two of her mother’s closest friends sat inside the empty hair salon and shared stories about Medina.
His salon chair is empty and the instruments intact, yet his essence is all around. Catrina-inspired hats, skeleton dolls and awards speak to the talent of the San Antonio artist.
Medina’s friend for 35 years, Richard Sánchez, proudly displays the artwork that fills the hall.
“I would describe her as a person with a big heart, an aura that shone so brightly,” Sánchez said. “(She) loved people, she loved San Antonio and she loved the arts. It was in her blood. It was in her heart. “
DeLeón was his mother’s right arm. He has spent hours helping Medina create artwork for numerous events in San Antonio.
“Working side by side with her, I will never forget those moments,” said DeLeón. “That talent, that energy, that drive to create beautiful things – and not just works of art, but to give people love and make them happy.”
Medina’s work was bold and unique.
“My mom definitely had a style. You could (spot a piece and) say Rebecca Madina did it, ”DeLeón said.
Medina has always sought to pay homage to her Hispanic heritage and honor artists such as Frida Kahlo and Selena Quintanilla.
“The translation from his mind into his hands to actually create something tangible for people to see is amazing,” DeLeón said.
Sánchez said Medina has always made a grand entrance in hopes of inspiring younger artists. One of her most recent projects was featured at the San Antonio AIDS Foundation’s Webb Party.
“He was so excited we were invited,” Sánchez said. “(The theme) were celestial dreams and zodiac signs. All of us (dressed) a model. Rebecca (dressed) ten from head to toe.
Medina’s goal, Sánchez said, was to share with others.
“His dream was to open a school for the Hispanic community in San Antonio, an art school,” Sánchez said.
Now, it is Medina’s children who honor her work for generations to come.
“I really hope my mother’s art is shown to everyone. Everyone has to see it, “DeLeón said.” The work he has done not only (has) changed lives, but I think in the future it may allow young artists to say, ‘You know what, I can do it.’ “
The family plans to host a public memorial for Medina in the coming weeks.
The funeral arrangements for Medina have not been finalized.
The public will have another chance to see and snap photos of her life-sized dolls during this weekend’s official Pride Parade, which starts at Dewey & Main Street and runs down to Lexington.
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