By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
For Rancho Viejo resident Mario Morales, creating a piece of art is more than just about creating an image or a sculpture, it’s about creating a catalyst for conversation. Recently, the City of South Padre Island chose to spark such a conversation by commissioning Morales — via SpawGlass Contractors, Inc. — to install two murals of a hibiscus flower on the walls of the South Padre island Convention Centre.
The 50-year-old native of Mexico City has been around the country — his passions leading him to San Antonio, Houston, New York City and the Rio Grande Valley. That wanderlust for new environments and experiences can be found in his creative endeavors as well.
“I don’t have a style, I have an interactive,” he said, speaking of the pieces he creates — oftentimes for commercial applications. “I have a God-given talent. To me, everything is an art form,” he added.
Though an admission like that may seem like a brag, Morales’ confidence is not unearned, nor does it come without humility. “There is a responsibility and I learned that from the people that gave me my instruction,” he said. “Always be responsible for what you do and have pride of ownership,” he said.
Morales wasn’t always headed down the path of an artist, though. His education began in medical school in Mexico, but the call to create eventually led him to leave the pursuit of medicine for one of art. Just one and half years before he was set to graduate, he was asked by an architect friend if he could paint a mural. He said yes, saying he thought painting a mural just meant “a bigger can, bigger brushes.”
That first mural at a pet store led to a second commission in Benton, Ark. which in turn cemented Morales’ career as a commercial artist. “You can do some beautiful work,” he said. Aside from murals, Morales is also certified and trained in several other commercial art applications, such as decorative concretes and gold leafing.
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