Madrid, April 20, 2020

I live in Madrid and my family, like almost all the others, is not from here. This is one of the reasons why I really like my city: Madrid is made up of people from all over the Spain and you don’t feel like a foreigner. It is a lively and welcoming city that opens its arms to all who arrive.

My home is in the historic center, in the Lavapies district, and I have lived in Madrid since I was 20 years old. My studio is a few meters from my home and here, although the capital city is very large, life is like living in a small country. I do all the errands walking, I really love strolling around and for some years I have enjoyed traveling with my Vespa. I went to Porto, Lisbon, Alentejo and Balearic Islands with my red scooter of the year 1982.

I started university studying Mathematics, but in the same year I dropped out, although I must admit that I always liked numbers. Having grown up in a family of artists, great professionals, my grandfather and my great-uncle were devoted to painting, nobody was surprised that I abandoned math for something creative.

Then, I studied Interior Architecture at the Polytechnic University of Madrid and two years of superior Architecture. In that period, in parallel, I worked, here and there until, and suddenly, I decided to prepare myself to enter the Academy of Fine Arts. Shortly after, I tried the test and, to my surprise, the I passed it. At home, however, nobody was surprised.

I feel very fortunate to have grown up surrounded by books and beauty, and my family has supported my career as an artist from the first moment. Basically, I always painted and it was not a revelation when, during a night, I said: “Mom, I want to be an artist”.

I started on the street 20 years ago when the word street art didn’t exist. It was much more than going to school with my friends and my boyfriend, it was a way of being in the world … and in a very short time it became an obsession. My street work was very different from what was there at the time and immediately attracted attention for the novelty of the language. In Spain, all that was done on the street were traditional lettering and the first icons with Suso33 and La mano began. It was really like living in a novel – for a girl and her boyfriend – to create monochromatic geometric paintings in dialogue with the architecture of the city.

I was the first woman in Spain to paint illegally in this way and I would have liked to share it with my female friends, but they were absolutely not interested. On the street, I never felt discriminated against, on the contrary, they supported me and I was surrounded by extraordinary male artists with whom I continue to have a great friendship.

We lived the city as a place of experimentation and like a canvas, we invited – with our actions – to walk and discover the city with different eyes by proposing a dialogue with the viewer. Today – unfortunately – this spirit has disappeared and street art means something very different from that time. Now urban art is made up of large works on the walls of cities often commissioned for festivals, sponsored by municipalities or brands.

What we have done is different from graffiti, has coexisted with them, but remains nameless.

I am restless, I like to experiment and surely it would have been better if I had dedicated myself only to painting… but I cannot resist new challenges and new learning.

Color. I don’t have a method to use color, it’s a dialogue, a story of tensions between them.

Quarantine!!! The strangest period of my life.

As an artist it is not difficult for me to lock myself in because I am used to spending long periods in my studio working for an exhibition or a project. On an operational level, my days were not very different from what I am experiencing now. But I often change my mood.

I felt a lot of empathy for the drama that Italy is also experiencing, after all we are like “brothers of a different father”!

In these days I’m starting to be aware of what a pandemic is and where we are! At first I was in shock, then I started to alternate moments between funny “memes” and angry “punk” towards to the Government. Sometimes I feel deeply dismayed and outraged to see people who make paella on Instagram, then I think we are locked, and healthy, so what can we actually do ?!

I want to think that there is something positive in all this… we are allowing a break on the planet and we have the opportunity to remember what is really important.

Nuria Mora

This post is also available in: Italian