mexican & native american multimedia artist
born and raised in San Jose, California



Gabriela Flores Vargas

I am a Mexican and Lipan Apache Native-American, and I was born and raised in Eastside San Jose, California. I aspire to become a Creative Art Director and Merchandise/Album Cover Artist for rappers, singers, and other musicians. Creative directors that I primarily look up to are Joe Perez, Tal Midyan, BRTHR and film director, Quentin Tarantino. From looking at these amazing artists, I’ve ventured in becoming and pursuing the success that they achieved, and I strive to become an inspiration to someone in return.

My work focuses on surreal, spiritual and conceptual ideas based on my Catholic Indigenous-American background. In other words, I paint both dreams and,what I consider, reality. People like me who live in a Latino household experience emotional trauma, generational curses and lack of emotional intelligence, which often makes others feel lost. My artworks demonstrate the relationship I've mended within myself through growth and healing. They also play an important role as a gift of assurance for my audience, that they are not alone.




Eccendentiast [ex-cen-dent-tee-shee-ist]
noun. One who fakes a smile
“An eccedentesiast is a person who hides their feelings behind a smile when all they feel is pain.”

In connection with “After Every Storm, There’s Sunshine”, this was the first documented reaction to the feelings that I encountered on August 6, 2019. This date stands out for me due to something terribly unexpected occuring that caused me to rethink everything in my life. In this painting, I decided to paint myself in a disastrous manner with makeup smearing across my face and tears flowing down my cheeks. I was at my grandparents’ home when painting this. The smiles and the laughs I shared with them were all just an illusion to conceal my truest emotions: anger, sadness, anxiousness, fear and so much more. I feel like this painting is very relatable, yet haunting, something that I wanted to convey. I recall having to pretend like everything was alright and that’s what still hurts me to this day since I felt like I had to lie to everyone that cared about me.

Being able to be open about emotions is very hard within the Latino community. We are raised to disguise our feelings and to move along with life because “it is what it is”. I see this piece as a cry for help, especially being in the state of mind as I was during this painting. I had no one to talk to, and for those who said they would be there for me, suddenly were no longer available. When situations happen like this, it’s not hard to decipher that all those things said from your parents or family members were probably right. Considering that all you have in this world is your dignity and your word.

Being an eccendentialist was who I became over the years, without realizing it.

After Every Storm, There’s Sunshine>

After Every Storm, There’s Sunshine


In this piece, I created a painting with elements of both 3-dimensional and 2-dimensional aspects. In our everyday lives, others can 3-dimensionally witness when someone is not feeling the best, and sometimes others cannot. What nobody else can see is the 2-dimensional battle within ourselves and reality. This piece morally means a lot to me and conveys a deeper meaning and story especially even after this piece was made. This piece remains close to my heart than any other painting I’ve made, not only because it was made at the hardest time of my life thus far (and hopefully never again), but because of the personalization and the trial and errors I’ve made to convey true emotion and feel for audiences.

In correlation to my other artwork, "Eccedentesiast", this painting regards to the same issue that happened on August 2019. “After Every Storm, There’s Sunshine” is a reminder to myself that not everything bad lasts forever. This is shown as the figure (being me) stepping out of a dark storm and into the light as a golden butterfly leads her into this delightful garden with beautiful flowers and music. Music being one of the truest things that stuck with me the whole time I was going through this troublesome time. This painting was made on Bristol paper with Acrylic paint. I used different shades of glitter such as silver and gold to emphasize the thunder and lightning in the dark background of the figure and as well as gold for the butterfly that is flying ahead of the figure. If you look closely, there is a shiny gloss used on top of the eyes, I used a varnish gloss to give the appearance of the eyes that they are crying. The 3D aspect of this painting is shown in the grass as I layered pieces of bristol paper together to create dimension and movement in the painting.

The person that caused me this pain asked me the next day (when my painting was done) why I was crying. I had nothing really to say to that, just silence. No matter how much emotion I could show to this person, they would rather choose ignorance over caring for their own daughter’s feelings. Being able to walk away from the situation was not easy, but to rather heal my wounds and head to the light where the grass is greener, is where I found that I belonged. Check on your friends, family, and even those who appear strangers to you. Someone could truly be doing the worst without even showing it, as I did.


The Butterfly Effect (2019)


The song “BUTTERFLY EFFECT” by Travis Scott is the inspiration behind this piece. It has been one of my favorite songs since the song debuted in 2017. Simply the idea behind, “BUTTERFLY EFFECT” is the theory in which, small causes can have large effects. Simply meaning that one small action could either make or break anything. I applied this to my own life and my own decisions as I’m constantly learning and maturing every day becoming more independent and learning what life has to offer as a young adult.The “wish you were here” text is in reference to Travis Scott’s “ASTROWORLD TOUR”, as he plastered it over tour merchandise pieces on sweaters and t-shirts.

In reference to this piece, the visible couple and child in the centerpoint was placed there to express youth and innocence. In my own life, I’ve had my own faults at dealing with the definition of family, as I was the only child for 5 years until my younger brother was born. As I’ve grown into a young adult, I’ve always felt somewhat of a “there-but-not-really-there”/ ”empty” presence from one of my parents. Due to this, I’ve created a connection behind the slogan “wish you were here” to express the emptiness of that individual’s influence in my life. I created this piece in Fall 2019, and sadly I do still feel the same was, as I feel like I’m constantly drifting away slowly from that parent. Again, referencing the idea of the “Butterfly Effect”, one small action (absence) could lead to a bigger action (isolation).

Father's Son


With hard work comes great consequences. This video describes the struggles of modern-day father-daughter relationships, specifically due to lack of communication and emotional support from immigrant fathers who spend most of their lives working and not being able to spend time with their children.

There was a lot to uncover when creating this project. I remember clearly having a first-time discussion with someone about my relationship with my father, who did not know who he was. Little did I know this person had a father similar to mine. We shared stories about our father’s and I was able to uncover some realizations that this person brought upon me about my father that I never thought about. It made me feel bitter about the way I felt about my dad and made me feel yet sad because I knew I would not have the same father as I did many years ago, who I truly miss. With this, I was able to create a more in-depth expression within my project the following day when I began to work on it. I decided that instead of showcasing a video full of random strangers’ home videos, I used my own photographic footage to depict the once cheerful stories I would tell about my father and I when I was young.

This video not only allowed me to configure certain emotions about someone but also allowed me to explore many parallel techniques, such as taking one photo and morphing it into a photo similar to it. I realized how important it was for me to reflect on this story and become stronger when speaking about it to others, especially to a class of 22 students and 1 professor who know absolutely nothing about you. I plan on writing more about my father and I’s story because I feel like it’s very relatable and something that needs to be heard for people like me. This leads me to my next project of wanting to write a memoir about my life.


Devil's Advocate


If you’ve ever seen the movie Devil’s Advocate (1997) that most notably stars Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino, you must be familiar with the meaning behind it. Devil’s Advocate explores how ambition and the pursuit of power can be one's undoing. Temptation is one hell of a feeling, especially as it can often mislead us into doing things that cannot be explained. Evil is not an outside force but rather it reigns inside us. Satan doesn't tempt us to sin, we're already tempted, especially after I’ve revisited The Book of Genesis in a class that I have taken at San Jose State University, called Death, Dying, and Religion. After that class, I have come to the realization that the devil urges us to yield to our temptations instead of manipulating us to commit sin.

I’ve demonstrated this in my photo,for my photography course at SJSU, as I was subsequently watching the movie on the laptop screen behind my hand. The quote reads, “Never loses, like you. Ha! Ha! Ha!” from Al Pacino’s character playing Satan. The scene in that movie refers to Al Pacino’s and Keanu Reeves’ characters visiting a market in which Pacino asks a vendor for a chicken that characteristically plays tic-tac-toe. Reeves looks dazed in confusion as Pacino indicates that the Chicken never loses, like him. It’s then translated to Pacino figuratively calling Keanu a chicken, since he does not take risks, but does what is right. This shows that Satan plays games with individuals to yield temptations that will make us appear cold and ambitious.

Internet society has become quite ugly these past few years as I have the urgence to quit social media sometimes due to witnessing body shaming to misogynistic and homophobic remarks, etc. Sometimes people often get too caught up in these topics that they often potentially hurt themselves or hurt others. When is the right time to step away from doing what is right, or rather when is it okay to put our foot down and stand up for ourselves, even if it might ruin our reputation?


Downtown Nostalgia


This photo was taken while being in the conference room of The Mercury News in Downtown San Jose. I captured this very moment as the sky was in a haze due to the 2018 California wildfires that were occurring, which happened to be the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in history. I loved the aesthetic of this photo and I decided to take a quick snapshot before my mom and I left the building. As it did look beautiful on camera, with the natural glow of the sun beaming through the hazy clouds, it still was quite concerning. In that moment, I realized reality itself. The photo came out so crisp on my phone that I couldn’t believe that I was living in that moment. My mind could not help lingering about the aesthetic of the raw image as it made me feel nostalgic of the memories I shared with my mom while exploring San Jose together. The Mercury News had just moved to the building I took this photo in before being on Ridder Park Drive since 1967.

I was very proud of my mother, as she had her little beginnings in Ridder Park. That was her first job, at 18 years young, and she started with a little job near the mailing room. Now, she is the executive assistant to the big bosses. Although she loved the new building and the new sights she was able to look upon, she couldn’t help but always reminisce about the memories she shared at Ridder Park with past coworkers.

The amount of love I have for this woman is like no other. As I was staring across the buildings and towards the streets of the place I call home, I was reminded of the obstacles my mother faced and the hard work she put in to be in the place where she is now, and to put me into my dream school.


Ni Soy de Aquí, Ni Soy de Allá


Growing up, I was always told to be proud of where I came from, where my blood came from, and what my ancestors did to sacrifice for our family to survive. In this painting, I portray myself in the middle and two sides of my ancestry, one being an Aztec (or Mexica) and the other side a Lipan Apache warrior. I decided to put them two in their natural environments, one being in the Tenochtitlan and the other in the Southern Texas plains.

On my father’s side, my family came from the Guamares and the Mexica. As for my mother’s side, came the Coahuiltecans and Lipan Apaches. I’ve always had them in my mind whenever I try to achieve something and I always thank them in gratitude and honor them. The reason behind the title “Ni Soy de Aquí, Ni Soy de Allá”, translates to “I’m not from here, nor am I from there”, which correlates to my own identification of being a Mexican-American in this day and age.Where I am too American for Mexico, but too Mexican for the United States. My family has it’s ties from the colonization of converting to Catholicism which was enforced by missionaries and the Spanish Inquisition.

Overtime, I’ve realized how much my family has colonized themselves from our own spiritual beliefs that we once had before having to convert. My grandmother, who is of Apache and Coahuiltecan descent, has the knowledge of spirituality which has inspired me to decolonize myself from these generational curses of following the Catholic religion.In my life, I have had a connection with many types of insects and animals that include: Butterflies, Dragonflies, and Hummingbirds. The Dragonfly and the Hummingbird that I showcased in this painting signify my spirtual beliefs in reincarnation. These forms of life have followed me and reminded me of peace and tranquility which has taught me to live for the future. These animals have watched over me, and within my beliefs, I believe for them to be blessings of life. To say that I am not in favor of Catholicism is not true, since I base a lot of my work from Catholic-art forms like Roman Catholic iconography, but rather I am decolonizing from the roots it stems from such as: rape of indigenous women, destruction of idols, temples, the kidnapping of the Aztec children, spread of diseases, the killings of the noblity, etc.



As someone who is very passionate about music, I've always constantly paid attention to its rhythm, meaning, and feeling. I’m someone who likes to captivate all those feelings into a visual work that I’m proud of. This work that I created was in my Art 74 class in Fall 2019. The song I did for this project is by J Dilla, who was a record producer and rapper in the hip-hop scene of Detroit, Michigan.

I've grown to like his music within the past few years because his music wasn’t popular in the 2000s. What I found interesting about this sample he used, is the song called "Lightworks", which also complies with the spiritual belief that an individual is a "Lightworker", meaning a special person with almost psychic ability to sense what other people are thinking, feeling, or need in order to heal.

My concept behind this video is basically the evolution of how video FX has drastically changed from manually making overlays to futuristically digitally adding overlays using software programs. Conceptually, the girl in the video basically sees what the future has in store for society like, as televisions are created, computer editing programs are created, as well as the makeup/beauty revolution. The constant destruction of social media often leads us into the depths of our own darkness, and you feel stuck to where you feel panicky, without your devices and/or feel the need to assimilate with new devices and what society expects. Without knowing, J Dilla also added in an ad-lib from the same artist he used the Lightworks sample that said, "Bendix The Tomorrow People", which actually is from a commercial promoting a company that made aircraft and automobile fuel control systems, radios, televisions and computers from 1924 to 1983.

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Art Assets for Lilith & the Cursed Stones


Game Design class duo project. 2022.




Antonio is a portrait I painted of my grandfather when he was little. This piece is very important to me, especially since I wanted to captivate the perspective of innocence and curiosity. I painted this piece on a small canvas, and the reason I did that is because compared to a huge canvas, personally it would not portray the perception I wanted to convey. I correlate huge canvases to people who are of age, whereas small canvases can often portray the smallness of the person or object.

My grandfather is one of the primary reasons as to why I continue doing what I do, since I feel like a part of my purpose is to fulfill the dream that he once wanted. His innocence was stolen at a young age with the obstacles he had to face without having a father figure in his life. The abuse that his mother faced was something that could not be apprehended by a child his age, and let alone should not be something he had to think about. The curiosity of his consciousness made him wonder about the whereabouts of his father as he was often away and his promises were always forever broken.


Jesús De Nazaret


In high school, my art teacher conducted an assignment in which we were all supposed to try out a new medium, collaging. He gave us a stack of National Geographic magazines and asked us to cut up pieces and create collage works of our choice. We had to create 4 different pieces, and 3 out of 4 of them were ones that I was very proud of. This one especially. I worked really hard to get these scraps of pieces together as they are a combination of 200+ scraps of 10 different magazines that were published from 1965-1987. I used an X-acto knife to carve the scraps into curves and sharp edges to create dimension and flow.

Making this collage was not only fun, but very time consuming as it took me 5 hours to get everything in the way i wanted, especially rummaging through different magazines to get the same colors and the right shades to show perspective of light.

When making this piece, i thought of the artists before me and how they portrayed Jesús, I decided to display his background in 4 directions: on the left-upper corner being the streets of Nazareth (Nazaret), one being the clouds of ‘Heaven’ towards the upper-right corner, the bottom left corner being the Gardens of Eden, and the bottom right corner being the purgatory before entering Heaven. This piece was very important to me because in a way I felt closer to my Catholic side, and I made most of my family very proud. To them, they found that the idea of recreating Jesús in this way, was considered a gift from God himself. It was a different way other than my usual mediums of work such as acryilic paint or colored pencils during this time. I felt very proud of myself overall.




INZAYN is a conceptual piece that I made as a submission for a merchandise piece for my favorite artist, Zayn Malik. In the watermark, it states @merchforzayn which was an account dedicated to the work that my friend and I planned on showcasing to his team. During this time, on Twitter, I once went by the name “ZAYNGONADA”, which was an alias in tribute to zayn and my obsession with mangonadas, a mango speciality known in Latin American countries. I posted my art on this account from 2014-2018, and during this period, I was able to get noticed by Zayn multiple times. I knew his team through a mutual friend who had access to a lot of information from his team, at the time. I submitted this piece for a t-shirt idea in hopes of obtaining a chance to work and collaborate with Zayn. This was the moment I realized that with my artistic abilities, I would be able to collaborate with celebrities in order to create merchandise pieces that are meaningful to both fans and the musician themselves. I know it’s often a hassle for musicians who don’t have the artistic abilities to create drawings or mockups to convey their vision within merchandise pieces or album cover works. Being able to get the chance to work with musicians would be a dream, and hopefully in the future I will find myself getting to change it into a reality.

In this piece, I portray Zayn Malik’s face spliced with both a skeleton and flesh side profile. Also what is seen is his brain getting abducted by an alien spaceship that is hovering over his head. I played on the words “insane” to “inzayn” to show that he is losing his mind due to the aliens capturing his sanity. I went with the ideas of aliens due to his debut album discussing his love for aliens and the concept of going into a different reality.



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