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Meet Trailblazer Maria Cano

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maria Cano.

Maria, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started painting in 1989, in the streets of Barcelona, Spain. At the time, as you can imagine, the presence of a women painting graffiti was very rare, the few that were active very much stood out. There was no street art back then and the streets were much more dangerous than they are now,  so it was a bit intimidating to go there and paint, but I fell in love with graffiti from the very start. It had a magical component to it, I’d never tried a spray can before and it was exciting. I found it so incredibly fun and difficult at the same time, almost like a game I could never beat.

I have to say, that for me what I found even more intriguing and beautiful were the structure of letters. In every artistic discipline figurative style is common, but I´d never seen letters done so intricate and colorful before. It took me a while to understand the inner language of what it meant to do wildstyle lettering, and a lot more to make it a style of my own.

From that moment, and consistently for the last 30 years, I’ve been painting in many festivals, not only in my city but across Europe, and also in the North and South America.

One of my favorite memories was my first time in Miami in 2013. It was amazing, Everything was so vibrating and energetic; I met a lot of amazing people and artists. I painted a lot, so much so that I went back every year.

Last year, celebrating my 30th painting anniversary, the Montana Colors brand and I did a Special Limited edition can. I’m proud of that, it is a sign of appreciation towards my work at another level.

Has it been a smooth road?
The good thing about being around for so long is that it makes you look to the past with a certain perspective. Of course, the ’90s were a different social moment, (although guns are illegal in our country). I had to fight basically against gender stereotypes, stupid things that people carry and pass down to the next generation if no one breaks the chain. Also, I have to fight against my own fears, painting made me a stronger person, made me aware of things but also gave me a new point of view about being. I was lucky as I was always surrounded by good people (in general, of course) towards me.

My advice to young women is stay woke, stay strong, and be true to yourself.

We’d love to hear more about Musa71.
I am one of the oldest female active graffiti writers, after 30 years, I continue researching and developing my style, looking for new ways to progress. I am passionate about lettering and color. I seek my way beyond fashion, or trends without refusing to try new ideas. I have always loved the graffiti language and it fascinates me to be able to write intricate colored letters and not pretend they are to be more than they are.

In general, I do not like to offer a message because I belong to that generation that believed that the message is the style. In a way, I am the message, me and the way I live. I like that the letters are difficult for the overage person to comprehend, I like that the viewer does not have it easy. Yes, the animals are pretty, yes the faces too, but you have to go a little further to appreciate the beauty in a composition with only letters. It is halfway to the appreciation of the abstract and that is what I am looking for.

Also, I am very empathetic and I have a sixth sense with people, which makes it easy for me to convey emotions through the colors I use to paint.

What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a young woman just starting her career?
The typical but true: find your own voice, work to make it a reality. Be honest with what you do and with others. That makes a good base, that way no one can throw on the ground and you stand up against things in your way.

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Image Credit:, Clara Antón

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