Hector Cadena honors the late, great Selena Quintanilla
In April, a San Quentin artist dedicated his art to the late Latin Tex-Mex queen Selena Quintanilla, an icon in the Hispanic community.
“I love drawing. It is a passion for me; besides, it keeps me out of trouble,” said Hector Cadena. “I use my talent as a tool to escape from the reality of all the negative stuff that goes on inside prison.”
When the artist is in a creative mood, he places himself in the moment. For example, if he is drawing a car, he imagines himself driving away from prison.
To commemorate the anniversary of Quintanilla’s passing, Cadena worked for several days sketching her beauty with one goal in mind: to honor her.
“Every time that I hear one of Selena’s songs, such as “Como la Flor” (Like a flower), it inspires me to keep going in life,” said Cadena.
Quintanilla’s song likens life to a flower that blossoms before dying out. In contrast, the singer’s legacy continues to flourish nearly three decades after her tragic death.
Cadena’s artistic talents are varied. He carved a miniature Bible out of a state-issued soap bar. He used coffee to stain the sculpture. This lends realism to the small holy book, making it appear old and worn. Cadena’s favorite scripture is Psalm 23, an anthem for many incarcerated Christian men.
One of the artist’s pieces seen on this page, “Por Tu Maldito Amor,” (For Your Hateful Love), is a reflection of a recent chapter in his life. It is named after a choral song by the late, famous Mexican charro singer Vicente “Sigo Siendo el Rey” (I continue to be the king) Fernandez.
Through this creation, the heartbroken artist found healing from a past disappointment that arose from a toxic relationship. A close look reveals small details that include meticulous broken hearts, prison bolt wires, and what he considered the kiss of death from someone he loved dearly.
As a passionate artist who pours out his heart to the world, Cadena’s art expresses a lifelong yearning for love, but “One must know how to love oneself first,” he said.