The Jacqueline Becerra Mural by Los Otros
In 2014 two of San Antonio’ s outstanding muralists decided to team up and form Los Otros Murals team. Since that time David “Shek” Vega and Nik Soupe have completed murals across the city of San Antonio. Los Otros just completed a stunning mural on El Paso Street honoring nurse, pastor and philanthropist Jacqueline Becerra. The mural, a part of Western Governors University’s [WGU] national “Role Model Murals” project is located in her old neighborhood one block from the Guadalupe Cultural Center.
WGU Texas Chancellor, Dr. Steven Johnson, commented that Jaqueline represents the ideals that WGU Texas values most: determination, community and a willingness to give back.” Becerra earned a Master of Science in Nursing degree from WGU in 2018. In her work as a religious pastor, she encourages others to achieve their goals. The mural shows Becerra’s face with eagle’s wings behind her.
Shek and Soupe are both self taught artists and their stories as street taggers and graffiti artists have similar trajectories. As one might expect, these artists each have a different story in finding their passion to paint. David “Shek” Vega was born and raised in South San Antonio and began his creative career as a graffiti artist at age 15. Shek’s vibrant and explosive imagination attracted the attention of the Pepsi-Cola marketing team which featured him in a TV commercial engaged in mural painting and drinking cool Pepsi soda during the breaks. Nik Soupe was born and raised in South Texas. A product of McAllen, he lived in numerous border communities while growing up. His parents labored as migrant workers. As a teenager he painted automobiles during the summer months, a job which kept his hobby of graffiti art in check.
Soupe loved art, but also loved literature and came to San Antonio in the early 1990s to study English at UTSA. After completing his studies he turned to art and for a time managed a warehouse he developed as an artistic cooperative. In 2014 he joined Shek and began to paint murals on a full time basis. Since his partnership with Shek, Soupe and Shek have painted more than 50 murals in San Antonio.
When Shek and Los Otros are not painting murals they are doing creative work for the San Antonio Spurs and several other corporations. In a recent effort to expand their branding campaign, for example, the Spurs merchandising team contracted Shek to design camp and T-Shirts incorporating images that reflect graffiti and mural art.
Western Governors University engaged Los Otros’ talents to feature a student who overcame numerous
hardships and went on to achieve her goals. The wording on the mural says “Ambition Never Rests.” The marketing folks at WGU recognized the powerful messages that community murals can tell and plan to commission more murals throughout the nation. The mural by Los Otros is the first and sends a positive message to the Westside.
Copyright 2020 by Ricardo Romo. All photos courtesy of the author and with his permission.