AUSTIN, Texas — In just a few months, Moises Garcia got handy with a can of spray paint. It led to a special opportunity for the Austin native.
Garcia was asked to paint a mural for the Los Raros de Austin, the Austin Spurs' first-ever alternate identity. The G-League team is transforming into Los Raros for three games this season.
“I saw it as a challenge. I'm always up for a challenge," Garcia said. “Knowing that I'm going to be a part, just a little bit of that history, is really awesome.”
Los Raros de Austin translates to "the Austin weirdos." The name meshes Hispanic culture with the unconventional vibe of Austin, paying homage to different aspects of both through custom logos, color schemes and uniforms.
“I'm an Austinite born and raised, but I'm also Hispanic and I'm proud of that culture," said Spurs franchise marketing manager Aaron Zamora.
Zamora worked on the concept for about a year and a half. The process included partnering with the Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin to ensure the identity was done accurately and respectfully.
“We put a lot of time, thought, effort into making sure it was something that was authentic, not just to the Mexican culture, but to the city of Austin too," Zamora said.
The bull head Alebrije logo does both. There are bat wings and bat ears for the Congress Avenue bridge bats, a nose ring for the ATX counter-culture, and painted-in, vibrant colors for the city's natural landscape.
“There's a whole bunch of hidden different pieces in there," Zamora said. "It’s awesome what all he entails and what he stands for. He's gonna live with me forever.”
An alebrije is a brightly colored Mexican folk art sculpture, and it took Garcia and the Austin Spurs a few weeks and a few revisions to decide what the mural was going to look like.
“I wanted this thing to be 100% perfect," Garcia said. "I wanted to make it look like what we had done on the sketches and on that final copy.”
The actual painting took about 14 hours to complete.
"It was just an amazing feeling, just seeing everything done," Garcia said. "I think I stared at it for a good five minutes ... like well, I really did that!”
The team debuted the artwork courtside in the final home game of November, and with it, a piece of Garcia's identity, too.
"Me being a 24-year-old Hispanic kid and doing stuff like this, it made me feel awesome, just being able to show what a kid from the hood is able to do and bring to life,” Garcia said.
The team's custom Los Raros De Austin jerseys will be auctioned off after the March 5 game. All proceeds will benefit the Mexic-Arte Museum.