SAN DIEGO – A new mural in Sherman Heights sprung up this week as a tribute to Mexican music legend Vicente Fernandez, who died Sunday in Mexico at age 81 after a series of recent health issues.
The artist, actor and film producer, known as “El Rey (King) de la Musica Ranchera,” touched the lives of many Mexican families, including muralist Paul Jimenez of Ground Floor Murals. He and partner Signe Ditona say they finished the mural of Fernandez in less than five hours.
“His music is amazing but symbolically he just meant so much more than music to me and my whole family,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez and Ditona have become notable local artists in the past year, most commonly recognized for their series of murals depicting past and present members of the San Diego Padres including Tony Gwynn, Trevor Hoffman and Fernando Tatis Jr. They’ve also painted legendary Chargers linebacker Junior Seau, Lakers great Kobe Bryant and boxer Muhammad Ali, among others.
The duo wanted to paint Fernandez after the Gwynn mural went up last year in City Heights, but never got the chance until now. Their mural of Fernandez, also known as ‘Chente,’ depicts a younger version of the Grammy winner in black and white.
“Color is beautiful,” Ditona said, “but I feel like it just felt really respectful to do this in black and white.”
The Fernandez mural is part of six murals, from Latino artists from San Diego. Ground Floor Murals collaborated on the project with muralist Michelle Guerrero, also known as Mr. B Baby.
“I kind of wanted to pay tribute to Vicente so I dressed him up in the traditional Mexican wear like the botas and the little tie and the hat,” Guerrero said.
The murals are available for the public to view at the Imperial Ave CoLab at 2460 Imperial Ave. An art show supporting six Latino artists will be held Saturday at the site from 5-9 p.m. with a $5 admission at the door.