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Mother, son, artists Laura Lopez Cano and Louis Cano painting a family heirloom

Houston, TX — One of downtown Houston’s most popular murals features the places, people and events that shaped the city’s Mexican-American community.

Laura Lopez Cano is one of the artists who contributed to the Sam Houston Park cultural mural, titled Mexican American History and Culture in 20th Century Houston. Not only is Laura an accomplished artist, but her son Louis is too.

“I’m one of his biggest fans,” Laura Lopez Cano said of her son. “I can’t do what he does. He has a great imagination.”

Louis assisted his mother on the mural, which includes themes such as immigration, jobs in the ship canal industry and life in the Second Ward. But the two have very different styles.

“My style is cubist and often abstract, very dreamlike, very fluid and moving,” Louis said.

“I would describe my style as preserving culture, empowering women of culture,” Laura said. “Even though our styles are different, there’s this admiration for each other for what we do, bringing us together as two artists and not as mother and son.”

Growing up, Louis never knew he had Asperger’s Syndrome. But he says that through art he is able to express himself.

“Nobody really knew I had autism at the time, so they thought I had ADHD,” Louis said. “It was very difficult for me because it was very socially awkward. I was very shy and very reclusive. I didn’t want to be around other people, but I had to. Then when I found out that I had Asperger’s syndrome, it opened a new door for me and it allowed me to know what I was, so I kind of discovered myself.

“We’ve always said, you might be different, but we’re all the same,” Laura added. “I think the biggest part of him when he makes art is that he can really express himself.”

Click on the video above to see how Laura and Louis each tell different stories through their works.

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