SAINT ANTONY – San Antonio mourns the loss of local fashion artist Rebecca Medina, whose life-size dolls captured the attention of many at some of the city’s biggest festivities.
Medina died 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 been 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 little brother and two of their mother’s closest friends sat inside the empty hair salon and shared stories about Medina.
Her lounge chair is empty and tools untouched, yet her essence is all around. The Catrina-inspired hats, skeleton dolls and awards speak to the talent of the San Antonio artist.
Medina’s friend of 35 years, Richard Sánchez, proudly displays the work of art that fills the salon.
“I would describe her as someone with a big heart, an aura that just shone so clearly,” Sánchez said. “(She) loved people, loved San Antonio and loved art. It was in her blood. It was in her heart.”
DeLeón was her mother’s right hand. She spent hours helping Medina create works of art for numerous events in San Antonio.
“When I work side by side with her, I will never forget those moments,” DeLeón said. “The talent, the energy, the drive to make beautiful things – and not just art, but to give love to people and make people happy.”
Medina’s work was courageous and unique.
“My mom definitely had a style. You could (spot a piece and) say Rebecca Madina made it,” DeLeón said.
Medina has always strived to pay homage to its Latin American heritage and honor female artists such as Frida Kahlo and Selena Quintanilla.
“The translation from her mind to her hands to actually creating something tangible that people can see is amazing,” DeLeón said.
Sánchez said Medina always made a grand entrance in hopes of inspiring younger artists. One of her most recent projects was presented at the San Antonio AIDS Foundation’s Web Party.
“She was so excited that we were invited,” Sánchez said. “(The theme) was celestial dreams and zodiac signs. All of us (dressed) one model. Rebecca (dressed) ten from head to toe.”
Medina’s focus, Sánchez said, was to share with others.
“Her dream was to open a school for the Latin American community in San Antonio, an art school,” Sánchez said.
Now it is Medina’s children who will honor her work for generations to come.
“I really hope my mom’s art will be showcased so everyone can see. Everyone needs to see this,” DeLeón said. “The work she has done (has) not only changed lives, but I think in the future it may give young artists the opportunity to say, ‘You know what, I can do this.'”
The family plans to host a public memorial for Medina in the coming weeks.
Funeral arrangements for Medina have not been completed.
The public gets another chance to see and take pictures of her life-size dolls during this weekend’s official Pride Parade, which begins at Dewey & Main Street and runs down to Lexington.
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