HOUSTON, Texas — One of Houston’s most popular downtown murals showcases the places, people and events that have shaped the city’s Mexican-American community.
Laura Lopez Cano is one of the artists who contributed to the cultural mural landmark at Sam Houston Park, called Mexican American History and Culture in 20th Century Houston. Not only is Laura an accomplished artist, so is her son, Louis.
“I’m one of his biggest fans,” said Laura Lopez Cano of her son. “I cannot do what he does. He has this great imagination.”
Louis assisted his mother on the mural, which includes themes like immigration, jobs in the Ship Channel industry and life in the Second Ward. But the two have very different styles.
“My style is cubist and oftentimes abstract, very dream-like, very flowing and moving,” said Louis.
“I would describe my style as preservation of culture, the empowerment of women of culture,” said Laura. “Even though our styles are different, there’s this admiration for each other for what we do, coming together as two artists and not mother and son.”
Growing up, Louis never knew he had Asperger’s syndrome. But he says through art, he’s able to express himself.
“Nobody really knew I was autistic at the time so they thought I was ADHD,” said Louis. “It was very hard for me because it was very socially awkward. I was very shy and very reclusive. I didn’t want to be with other people, but I had to. Then when I found out I had Asperger’s, it opened a new door to me and it let me know what I was. So I kind of discovered myself in a way.”
“We always said, you may be different, but we’re all the same,” added Laura. “I think the biggest part of him when he does art is that he can really self-express.”
Click on the video above to see how Laura and Louis each tell different stories through their artwork.