Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Oral history interview with Jesse Treviño

Online Media

Catalog Data

Treviño, Jesse, 1946-  Search this
Cordova, Cary  Search this
Recuerdos Orales: Interviews of the Latino Art Community in Texas  Search this
Recuerdos Orales: Interviews of the Latino Art Community in Texas  Search this
Alsup, Katherine  Search this
Clinton, Hillary Rodham  Search this
Consey, Kevin E.  Search this
Cortex, George  Search this
Denman, Gilbert  Search this
Draper, William F., 1912-2003  Search this
Mayan, Earl.  Search this
Reyes, Felipe  Search this
Sosa, Lionel  Search this
77 Pages (Transcript)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound recordings
2004 July 15-16
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Jesse Treviño conducted 2004 July 15-16, by Cary Cordova, for the Archives of American Art, in San Antonio, Texas.
Treviño discusses his birth in Monterrey, Mexico; moving to San Antonio; being one of 12 children; attending the Art Students League of New York; being drafted into Vietnam; the Mekong Delta; falling into a booby trap and being badly wounded; the long recovery and the subsequent amputation of his right hand; learning to paint with his left hand; his first shows; his "Mi Vida" self-portrait; the numerous poster contests he won as a youth; his art training; the difficulty in organizing Chicano art shows; the relationships with his siblings, particularly his oldest sister, Eva; his Santa Rosa Hospital mural ("Spirit of Healing"); and the importance of public art, particularly murals. Treviño also discusses his Veladora; his early left-handed paintings; the classification of himself as a "Realist"; how he chooses the sites he paints; helping form the Alameda/Smithsonian art center; being invited to talk at veteran's groups and high schools; his early paintings on black canvas; his new public art project on San Antonio's notorious Guadalupe Street; his Wells Fargo Bank mural and its formation; his interest, or lack thereof, in photography; his portraits of Henry B. Gonzales and his mother; his painting, "Mis Hermanos;" his successful one man show at the San Antonio Museum of Art; his relationships with galleries; the rejuvenating qualities of art in poor neighborhoods; his trip to Chile with Hillary Clinton, as part of her First Lady's Convention; being honored at the White House; and how he wants his art to unite people. Treviño also recalls William Draper, Felipe Reyes, Katherine Alsup, Earl Mayan, George Cortex, Gilbert Denman, Kevin Consey, Lionel Sosa, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Jesse Treviño (1946- ) is a painter from San Antonio, Texas. Cary Cordova (1970- ) is an art historian from Austin, Texas.
Originally recorded on 5 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hr., 11 min.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Painters -- Texas -- San Antonio -- Interviews  Search this
Muralists -- Texas -- San Antonio -- Interviews  Search this
Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975  Search this
Sound recordings
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art