María Portilla

(Mexico City, 1988)

I am a painter and art restorer. I was founder, director, and editor-in-chief of the first street paper in Mexico, Mi Valedor (2015-2020), an independent magazine sold by people experiencing homelessness and other situations of vulnerability in Mexico City, with 31 issues published and over 110,000 copies sold. 

I studied Visual Arts (Painting) at Camberwell College of Arts, London, England (2009-2012) and a diploma course in Critical Thinking in Contemporary Art at Academia de San Carlos, Mexico City (2013).

I worked at José Sol and Rosalía Cuevas’ conservation workshop (2013-2021), restoring works, and cataloguing and making reports on a number of collections, including the Joy Lavill exhibition at the Museo Jardín Borda (2017), Cuernavaca, Morelos, and for “100 years 100 artists,” Museo de la Ciudad, Mexico City (2017).

I currently work as a painter, muralist, art restorer, and researcher.

Maria Portilla pintora


  • 2020: LADRÓNgalería 3er Salón Abierto de Pintura
  • Ft. El ojo Peludo, No nada galería, La Trinidad, Luis Hampshire, Julio García Aguilar, Oaxaca, Mexico – Collective exhibition
  • 2019: Golden Aged (Iglesia Tudor) Mexico City – Collective exhibition
  • 2019: Balderas (Galería 123) Mexico City – Individual exhibition
  • 2019: Woman on The Edge of Time (Esto no es una Galería) Mexico City – Collective exhibition
  • 2018: Índigo Infinito (Terraza Monstruo) Mexico City – Individual exhibition 
  • 2017: Despertando (Tomás Alva Edison) Mexico City – Individual exhibition 
  • 2012: (Banco de México) Mexico City – Collective exhibition
  • 2010: (Casa Estudio Barragán) Mexico City, Mexico – Collective exhibition
  • 2010: Dreams (Shoreditch Town Hall) London, United Kingdom – Collective exhibition
  • 2010: (Byam Shaw School of Art) London, United Kingdom – Collective exhibition
  • 2009: (Galería Urbana) Mexico City, Mexico – Collective exhibition
  • 2009: Personajes (Galería Tereza Diaque) Mexico City – Individual exhibition

As director of Mi Valedor

2019: INSP (International Network of Street Papers) Hanover, Germany – La Voz de la Calle Conference (podcast made by Mi Valedor vendors).

  • Best design award. Finalists in three other categories: best vendor contribution, best alliance, best cover.

SVA (School Of Visual Arts) New York, USA – Mi Valedor and street paper conference. Participated in Mochi-LA: Initiative organized by the art magazine Disonare, in which certain independent publications backpacked around the world, making stops at places like Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art, bookstores, schools, etc.

2018: INSP (International Network of Street Papers) Glasgow, Scotland – Conference on marketing and branding strategy for street papers. 

  • Award for best cover and best online presence. Finalists in three other categories: best article, best design, best campaign.

2017: Place Making Latinoamérica. Mexico City – Conference on how to conduct urbanism through culture; Mi Valedor as an instrument of change. 

2017: INSP (International Network of Street Papers) Manchester, United Kingdom – Conferences on social media and communication of artistic projects 

  • Award for best editorial design and best online presence.

2015: INSP (International Network of Street Papers) Seattle, U.S.A  – “How to start a street paper launched on Crowdfunding” Conference.

Award for best design.

Other projects

  • Adelina, Stop-motion short, 2018. Prop design. Official selection of Shorts México, 2019; Morelia Film Festival, 2019; Official Selection, Cinelatino Tolouse, France 2020, among others.
  • Mexican National Fine Arts Institute (INBA) Unfoldings and Assemblages – 15th International Architecture Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia, Mexico.  2016. Edited official catalog.
Maria Portilla. All rights reserved.