San Antonio artist and stylist Rebecca Medina, known for her oversized doll heads, died Sunday in downtown San Antonio. She was 56 years old.
Featured in celebrations throughout San Antonio, Medina’s iconic dolls honor her Hispanic heritage and represent a legacy her friends and family have asked the city to preserve.
Medina’s best friend of 35 years, Richard Sánchez, asks the city of San Antonio to create a mural to honor Medina’s work and local museums to display his enormously sized doll heads in his memory.
“The San Antonio arts community has lost one of its best,” Sánchez said.
Medina was a Southtown hairdresser who fell in love with art from an early age. What she started out as a love of Barbie dolls as a child grew a lot more when she started sewing clothes for her dolls.
He later created large doll heads in the likeness of Frida Kahlo and made several such as mariachi and catrina. Her work has often been spotted at the San Antonio Public Library Foundation’s annual Catrina Ball, KSAT’s Fiesta Porch Parade, and the San Antonio Zoo.
Perhaps her best known work is a doll of legendary Tejano singer Selena in her iconic purple cutout and flared jumpsuit, which is on display at the Pearl.
He was also part of the creative team – led by his sister, Mary Alice Medina – behind the avant-garde clothing featured in August Cuellar’s groundbreaking “Runway en la Calle” shows in 2018.
One of her latest events was the Fiesta WEBB Party, which Sánchez said Medina was so proud and “over the moon” to be a part of. For the event, themed “Heavenly Dreams: A Night in the Zodiac”, Medina and her team created elaborate bespoke designs representing astrological signs.
Sánchez said Medina’s dream was to open an art school for the Hispanic community on the South Side.
“She was very, very busy teaching people, talking, showing her heritage culture, her Hispanic culture,” Sánchez said. “She was very involved with the Hispanic community.”
Medina’s four children, Danielle DeLeon, Bethany DeLeon, Defranco Sarabia and Michael DeLeon, most of whom are artists, have remained in mourning over the loss of their mother, whom Bethany DeLeon has called “the best artist they have ever known” .
DeLeon remembers his mother letting her children be creative in any way they wanted. Whether it was through hair, clothes or music, DeLeon said she and her siblings were free to express themselves.
“Even our food … He let us play with food [in] in the kitchen or just to play with our mashed potatoes or whatever, “DeLeon said.
“It was just extraordinary,” said Danielle DeLeon.
Bethany DeLeon said her mom’s favorite thing was to make something out of nothing.
He said Medina worked in her studio-turned home garage almost every day, late at night and into the morning. She blew up the music and worked on multiple projects, including iconic doll heads and commissioned work by others.
One of the latest projects Medina has worked on, a Rosie the Riveter doll head, will be featured in the Pride San Antonio “Pride Bigger than Texas” parade on Saturday.
“The way it impacted the community has been vast and beyond the scope that I can even comprehend,” said DeLeon. “I know there are people out there that I haven’t even met, that my mother touched their lives in such a way that it literally changed their lives and inspired them to create, aspire to try different things, inspire to live their own. life to the fullest “.
The public visit to the Medina funeral will take place Monday noon at Mission Park Funeral Chapels South, 1700 SE Military Drive. The funeral service will be held at 1pm. The family asked attendees to wear “Rebecca Fashion: Fiesta, Frida and big, bold and bright dresses”.