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Artist receives Rogers Family Tourism Award

Perez has done approximately 25 murals across town that exemplify the history of the town and its wildlife. Many of the murals have messaging that encourages people to take care of the river, which he said is his favorite part about San Marcos in addition to the community.
Daily Record file photo

Artist receives Rogers Family Tourism Award
Artist receives Rogers Family Tourism Award

Above, San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson awarded Perez with the Rogers Family Tourism Award in a ceremony at City Hall on May 21.
Photo courtesy of the city of San Marcos.
Below, Perez has painted many murals in San Marcos including the 'Love your neighbor as yourself' that was painted on the side of the old First Baptist Church.
Daily Record file photo

Artist receives Rogers Family Tourism Award

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Any local can recognize Rene Perez’ art work. Actually, it is kind of hard not to if you've lived in San Marcos for a while. His murals can be found all over town, both big and small, and always feature San Marcos scenes often with area wildlife given human characteristics. He has a mural at Rio Vista, the Hines Academic Center at Texas State, the tower at Wonder World, in front of the Marc, at a phone booth near La Fonda, the restroom at the Blue Dahlia Bistro and in front of the old theater on Guadalupe Street – just to name a few of the approximately 25 across town. Painting by painting, the artist has made San Marcos more beautiful, which attracts tourists and draws attention to area businesses. Because of his contributions to the community, Perez received the Rogers Family Tourism Award on May 21.

“It's an honor to be here and do this — to use the San Marcos river as an inspiration and it being so open to me,” Perez said. “I love it.”

Rebecca Ybarra, San Marcos Destination Services director, said the Rogers Family Tourism Award is presented to an individual or organization in recognition of major and lasting contributions to the promotion of San Marcos tourism, or dedication to and development of the San Marcos tourism industry.

Sarah Smith, San Marcos marketing specialist, said Perez was the perfect choice for the award that has been given annually since 2010.

“Rene has left his mark, quite literally, on San Marcos’ arts and culture community,” Smith said. “One of San Marcos’ own, he has utilized his talents to showcase the beauty of San Marcos, its unique history, and incorporated messaging to encourage everyone to help keep it a beautiful place to live and visit.”

Perez has been in San Marcos for over 40 years and loves the community and the river but could do without the weather. He tries to visit the river at least once a week to go kayaking or snorkeling.

“I start seeing the same kind of birds. I feel like we kind of recognize each other, and I try to communicate with them and get closer to them,” Perez said, adding that his relationship to the river and wildlife “grows every day.”

In addition to painting, Perez also takes photos of the area wildlife, which influences what he creates. He said he’s inspired by his “day to day life” — what he sees, hears and perceives around him.

“[My art] goes through different stages. The last couple of years, it's been focusing a lot on the river ,because I've been going and doing a lot of photography,” he said. “I got a ton of reference photos to base paintings off of, so they kind of spark a new painting a lot. I might go to the river one day, and I come home and immediately paint something that has to do with what I took a picture of. So it kind of keeps me going and flowing.”

As for the personification of the animals in his artwork, those characteristics are not based on people but the behavior of the animals themselves.

“I go off of expressions that they might have on their face and that tells me a story,” Perez said. “I try to make it tell a story too.”

Of his many murals, Perez really likes the one at 313 Hutchison Street, which was sponsored by Texas Disposal Systems. That piece is bright and colorful with a sunset, a big turtle rising up out of the water, a Monarch Butterfly flying across, a pig floating in a tube, a squirrel fishing some trash out of the river, a salamander with a sign that reads “earth day everyday,” along with other recognizable local wildlife. He also favors the small butterflies with cat bodies that he has painted at various locations around town.

San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson proclaimed Perez as the award winner in a ceremony held at City Hall.

“Perez has continually embraced artistic challenges, enriching San Marcos with charming downtown banners, whimsical murals both large and small and even on shoes so the Visit San Marcos team can bring a little San Marcos with them whenever they represent our city,” Hughson said. “San Marcos’ art community owes so much of its vibrancy and growth to Rene and his ongoing contributions.”

Purchase some of Perez’ art at

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666