"It's very satisfying for me to work on each piece, its details, the way the light and shadows fall on a design. Finally, I love to make people say, 'Wow!'"
"My name is Manuel Moreno and I'm a painter from Mexico. Everyone knows me as Morneo — a name my wife has always called me. I studied papier maché in Mexico City's Museo de Arte Popular, and I craft masks and other papier maché items.
"I consider creative inspiration to be God's gift, and it's easy for me to give my ideas form. I love the freedom I have to imagine and create, although sometimes I need a lot of patience and willingness to master an art technique.
"I started to sell my designs on the sidewalk and, over time, I've been able to develop myself professionally. I currently teach and also work in papier maché.
"The difficulties I've faced in life have taught me to grow as a person and to mature in my work. My wife has suffered from agoraphobia and depressive anxiety for 20 years. Her condition has helped me open my mind and, thanks to that, it's encouraged me to teach people with different abilities, which has been very important and satisfying for me.
"This started when they introduced me to a girl with a cerebral palsy who wanted to take classes from me. Without knowing anything about psychology or therapy, I accepted and began to mentor her. It's been an extremely gratifying experience, since I can say she's learned from me and I from her. She's helped me realize art can be a kind of therapy. I've also had the opportunity to teach two people who suffered from strokes and I’'m happy to say that my students' conditions have improved, according to what they tell me. They've improved their artistic abilities.
"Through these experiences, I've started to think more about the social aspect of art. Today, I'm dedicated to helping young people exchange guns for pencils so they can get away from violence by providing them the tools to help them discover their artistic talents. Aside from that, I also teach older people because I think it's important to contribute to society through art.
"I use wires, newspaper, cardboard, paste and acrylic paint for my creations All of these materials are recyclable because I want to help the environment. The most important part for me after finishing is a piece is that shoppers like it, so that I can earn a living.
"I'd like to keep working and participate in national and international expositions, visiting other countries and showing my work. It's very satisfying for me to work on each piece, its details, the way the light and shadows fall on a design. Finally, I love to make people say, 'Wow!'"