NURIA MORA. THE FEMALE PIONEER OF URBAN ART
Madrid, April 10th 2020
Nuria Mora 

I live in Madrid but 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 Spain so you don’t feel like a foreigner. It is a lively and welcoming city that opens its arms to all who arrive here.

My home is in the old town, in the Lavapies district, and I have lived in Madrid since I was 20 years old. My studio is a few meters away 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 1982 scooter.

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

Then, I have studied Interior Architecture at the Polytechnic University of Madrid and Superior Architecture for two years. 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 afterwards, I did the exam and, to my surprise, I passed it. At home, however, nobody was surprised.

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

I started on the streets 20 years ago when the word street art did not 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 it became an obsession in a very short time. My street work was very different from what was there at the time and it 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 appeared with Suso33 and La mano. 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 have been the first woman in Spain to paint illegally this way and I would have liked to share it with my female friends, but they were absolutely not interested. On the streets, 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 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 urban walls often commissioned for festivals, sponsored by either municipalities or brands.

What we have done is different from graffiti, it 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 to painting only… but I cannot resist new challenges and new learning.

Colour. I don’t have a method to use colour, it is 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 working for an exhibition or a project in my studio. 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 from a different father”!

These days I am 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 the Government. Sometimes I feel deeply dismayed and outraged to see people who cook paella on Instagram, then I think we are locked in, and healthy, so what can we actually do?!
I want to think that there is something positive in all this… we are giving the planet a break and we have the opportunity to remember what is really important.

This post is also available in: Italian