SAN ANTONIO — When walking across this footbridge in Brackenridge Park, you may not realize that you are walking on art that has been in San Antonio for nearly 100 years.
Its artist's name is one that may have been forgotten if not for the peaked interest of Author, Patsy Pittman Light.
"I live really close here and I would see the pieces and I would really wonder about them, so I found out who did them," Author Patsy Light Pittman said.
She learned these art installations are the work of Mexican artist, Dionicio Rodriguez.
"I think he was the first person to do this work in San Antonio," Light said.
Light began traveling around the city and to other states documenting the sometimes forgotten genre of art in her book "Capturing Nature: The Cement Sculptures of Dionicio Rodriguez."
"It's important because he is a folk artist in his own right and he is a Hispanic artist who was not recognized early," Light said.
His technique can fool the eye into thinking that these structures are made of real wood.
"We call it trabajo rustico. The technique really began in the late 1800 in France," Light said.
Rodriguez first made a name for himself in Mexico City.
He arrived in San Antonio in 1942 when the city and other wealthy landowners commissioned him to create his pieces of art.
"I don't really have a favorite piece but I admire this one, because it is so different from so many of the other things he did," Light said.
There are 15 known works of Rodriguez scattered across the city.
"I think we are extremely lucky that it has endured over 100 years," Light said.
His works also spread across Texas and into eight states.
Rodriguez is now known as somewhat of a trailblazer in the technique.
"His work in unique because he had a special touch a special talent," Light said. "His way of working is probably the best of all of them. Even though there are others working. He was the great master."
Many these works of art are now in need of restoration.
But thanks to those who have learned his techniques like the late Maximo Cortes and his son Carlos Cortes, this style of art will live on as a familiar theme around San Antonio.
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