Vibrant colors and cultura: Los Otros Murals leaves imprint on San Antonio’s street art scene

She Vega and Nik Soupe are spray painting calavera during Day of the Dead River Parade

SAN ANTONIO – With a splash of spray paint, color and cultura, the pair of local street artists that make up Los Otros Murals have been a driving force to put the San Antonio art scene on the map.

Shek Vega and Nik Soupe met in the late ‘90s, helped one another on various projects and then officially teamed up to form Los Otros in 2014.

Since then, the dynamic duo has gone on to leave their imprint on the city’s street art scene by infusing vibrant colors, designs and realism.

“It’s a great feeling to see our work across the city of San Antonio with hopes that it can inspire. We get to do what we love passionately as a career and that’s always an amazing feeling to have to see the support,” Vega told KSAT.

“He’s a great person to hang out with and a good friend of mine for a long time,” Soupe said.

Vega and Soupe were born and raised in South Texas and San Antonio. They understand the city’s culture and reflect that in their art.

“We take traditional styles, colors, elements and we give them a new spin by doing it in a whole new genre of work with spray paint, new tools and just give a more contemporary modern feel to something,” said Vega.

“The contrast of his work and my work melding together really created a staple and down the line it just became us,” said Soupe. “I don’t even think it was something where we made like a conscious decision, like ‘we’re going to form something,’ It was just suddenly, ‘we are something.’”

The work of Los Otros has been seen in various murals and street paintings across South Texas and the country.

The pair was tabbed again to paint a calavera from start to finish during San Antonio’s Day of the Dead River Walk Parade, showcasing the city’s celebration on a national stage.

“Having painted together for such a bit and also being friends for such a long time, it’s kind of like dancing,” said Soupe. “We definitely have two different perspectives that go on to it, but they seem to meld together.”

“To have one of the biggest celebrations in the nation for the city of San Antonio is deserving,” said Vega. “We’re a large Hispanic culture here to celebrate traditions and art. What better way than to combine both?”

“It’s something where we could share this is how we party. This is how we have a good time. This is how we remember people, how we share our experiences with our loved ones,” said Soupe.

Their goal moving forward is to also help cultivate the next generation of street artists in San Antonio.

Vega is a founding member of the San Antonio Street Art Initiative, a local nonprofit that helps develop young street artists and muralists.

“Creatives here in San Antonio are one of our most valuable assets. If we could educate, keep, inform and build a platform for these young artists to build a career in the city they love, then we don’t lose them,” said Vega. “Starting a non-profit that helps encourage and educate and get younger, emerging artists is an awesome feeling.”

The initiative is in the process of creating the largest outdoor gallery in Texas in San Antonio by combining the talent and forces of the city’s street art community.

“We’re using what we’ve learned even before Los Otros and our 20 years in graffiti, fine-tuning how to work with the spray paint and teaching the younger generation to carry this forward,” said Vega. “We love it here, love our culture, love our family and our home. Why not be based in the city that we love.”

About the Authors:

RJ Marquez is co-host of KSAT News Now and reports for Good Morning San Antonio. He's been at KSAT since 2010 and covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms, including his Spurs newsletter. RJ has reported stories for KSAT Explains.

Andrew Wilson is a digital journalist and social media producer at KSAT.