75 year old Mexican-American artist gifts mural to BART

He works out of  his studio in the city's Dogpatch neighborhood.

"It's such a magical thing to do.  There's so much magic in exploring the creative mind," said artist Michael Rios.

The artist recently completed the restoration of the mural at the 24th Street BART station, artwork he created in 1975.  

He was in his 20s at the time. 

It's one of several murals he's done in the Mission neighborhood. 

The East Oakland native showed the BART train coming out of the East Bay tunnel from the Embarcadero station to the 24th Street station. 

"It's really the people that hold up the tracks in all our societies," said Rios,"Tracks are metaphors for connections. You ride a train, and it takes you from A to B."

The theme is unity. 

The 2023 version illustrated the changes that have taken place since the first mural was painted.

"When I originally did it, there was no window on the buildings," said Rios about the downtown office buildings illustrated in the mural.

Rios said he had the three artists who helped him, paint blackened office windows to symbolize the demise of downtown offices due to the pandemic. 

The BART mural is his gift to San Francisco. 

His artwork has been on a variety of canvas including album covers and stage backdrops for well-known Bay Area musician Carlos Santana. .

"This is the art I originally did for Santana that became his Supernatural cover for his CD," said Rios as he held up a print of the cover.  

Rios said the musician asked him to incorporate the title of one song "Mumbo Jumbo" and other words such as "state of grace" and "the zone" in the art work.

Two artists shared a bond: their Mexican heritage and a mutual admiration.

"The arts are the language of our heart. The arts are our highest form of expression," said Rios.

Even at age 75, there's no stopping Rios. 

He is currently working on an exhibition to be held in the Haight-Ashbury creating what he calls magic.

For more information on Rios and his art work, email: contact@mvrios.com

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU.  Email Amber at Amber.Lee@Fox.com or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU,  Instagram @AmberKTVU  or Twitter @AmberKTVU.