Eliso Alvarádo Yard Art….
It was 1976, and my friends Santos Martínez, Cecilio García-Camarillo, and I had discovered a house in San Antonio’s near the West side that had an amazing menagerie of concrete statuary yard art. I Had been tipped off about this wonderful site by San Antonio Westside artist Jesús María “Chista” Cantú, who lived only a few blocks away, and we went for a look. After we looked around for a while, a man emerged from the house….it was Don Eliseo Alvarádo himself, the creator of the objects of our fascination, and he was very welcoming and helpful in explaining his creations. It might seem disrespectful that my friends are pictured atop two of the cement creatures, but it was Don Eliseo who invited us to do just that to show us how sturdy they were. It was a thrill to see all this in situ; the horse and the Brahma toro seen in the photographs are now in permanent residence at the San Antonio Museum of Art in the folk art collection. Since, as I understand it, the rest of it was purchased by a collector, uprooted, and hauled off.
Cecilio García-Camarillo was then editor of Chicano tabloid Caracol, with which I was associated and served as photographer and sometime essayist. Cecilio, a childhood friend of mine from Laredo, eventually left San Antonio to live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is recognized as a seminal Chicano writer, editor, interviewer, media personality, and what not….Sadly, he is now gone. Santos Martínez went on to become a curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston and was curator of “Dále Gas,” a ground-breaking Chicano Art exhibition, a first for a major Texas Museum.