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Hispanic Heritage Month: Artist uses Latino culture to influence creativity

“What I was really really missing was that local community, local connection," Valley creative Kathy Cano-Murillo said.

PHOENIX — Kathy Cano-Murillo, perhaps better known as “Crafty Chica,” loves her Latino culture and art so much she decided to make a booming career out of it. 

As much as she loves celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, she felt there was a need for more Latino-inspired items sold year-round.  

“How can I make it happen in my own way," Cano-Murillo said. "So, I launched Crafty Chica in 2001, sharing tutorials of how to make our own home decor, jewelry, gift items, and scrapbooking all themed around Latino culture. I love it because I hit a nerve and here, my business now I do it full time."

Being a third generation Phoenician, Kathy didn’t realize her culture was so unique because she was busy just living it.    

“I just feel so deeply rooted here in Phoenix in our Latino community," Cano-Murillo said.

"I feel like it's something that I grew into, and I started off not really knowing a lot about the history of our culture because we just lived it in our family. It wasn't like specifically pointed out and it wasn't until I was older that I really realized the depth and the beauty of all that it has to offer.”   

It shouldn’t come as a shock that the Crafty Chica had a knack for crafts. 

“So, I have always been creative, and I get it from the Cano side of my family and the Murillo side of my family," Cano-Murillo said. "We all are creative. Come to find out my great grandparents, they used to have a handmade business in Mexico and Zacatecas making blankets. That was their side job."

This local artist has made a name for herself online; publishing books and selling items all over the world. But, she wanted to bring her Latino-inspired work back home. 

“What I was really really missing was that local community, local connection," she said. "A friend of mine and I, we opened up a boutique and gallery called Mucho Mas Art Studio in central Phoenix. We have all of our art there for sale we do pop ups, workshops. I love it because all the people that I have met online, I can see them in person now."

She started off selling paper earrings for fun and evolved to selling her crafts on the Home Shopping Network. Her family is proud of all her hard work.

“My family's very proud of it," Cano-Murillo said.  "I think in the early days, they were kind of like how can you make a career out of glitter and glue? But you know what? They've seen it happen before their eyes and it feels good to know that they're excited about it too."

The Crafty Chica is full of inspiration and isn’t shy about her passions. 

“It just like everything else that I love in life, it just kind of burst out in everything that I do," she said. "You can see me from a mile away come and go, oh okay, you know she loves her culture. I love my history and love my family and love my roots. I feel like the universe, God has given me these gifts to share with the world."

For more about Cano-Murillo’s Latino inspired work, visit her website or her Instagram. 

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