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Art & Life with Gaby Alvarez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gaby Alvarez.

Gaby, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I don’t think I really knew who I was until I became a creative thinker. Studying Art and Design opened up a whole new side of the world to me. I grew up with two parents that were the definition of fierce dreamers and risk takers.

They were not afraid of making big moves and leaving everything behind to chase their dreams. I was the complete opposite. I wanted stability mostly because I was so used to facing the adversity of my parents’ wildly creative choices. From my end, all I wanted was a stable pay, a roof over my head and means to travel the world. I wanted simple. So when I went off to college I enrolled in business school. I was good at math; so why not. It was an easy choice.

Halfway through business school I realized that business alone was not fulfilling. My brother was studying multi-media and he seemed to be having too much fun. I switched my major to Graphic Design. Best choice of my life. There was something about my professors and classes at SDSU that changed my whole outlook on life. I developed a deep love for art & design. I would go to 8 a.m. drawing classes that would last 4 hours and yes I loved them. Call me crazy for loving early college classes but nothing beats the feeling of spending hours drawing in a large white room with huge windows, listening to music while the sun kisses your skin.

Design school taught me to believe in myself. My professor, Gary Benzel, was a big influencer. I learned that people think differently and that is okay. I received criticism and I also gave it; always with the hope of making our work better each time. I loved every moment I spent in the amazing school of Art + Design at SDSU; even the all-nighters and stressed filled days of a designer.

I interned for a design agency in downtown for a while and then upon graduation landed my first job as an in-house designer for a startup company. While in design school and in my first year as a designer I quickly realized that I wanted to work with brands. However; I wanted to do work that I was truly passionate about. I decided to become a freelance graphic designer. Now you must remember; I wasn’t initially a risk taker. Yet, when you are passionate about what you do, you end up doing the unimaginable. In this stage of my life, I finally understood my parent’s wild entrepreneurial spirit for the first time.

So fast forward to today; here I am trying to grow and create my own mark as a freelancer. The industry is tough; there is a lot of talent out there. You have to be really in tune with who you are. Discover yourself because who you are is what will make your design get better each time. When I first started out I did a lot of designs that were not my style; but now, I can tell you what I like designing and what I will never do again.

I have a huge passion for branding. I love keeping it small though. My dream consists of branding small businesses. I love small businesses because they have so much personality and I feel that I can do the best work when I see others be passionate about their brand as well.

I call myself a brand designer, a product stylist and an illustrator because my style revolves around more than just graphic design. I love branding but I also love styling photo shoots and designing interiors. There is also some ink and watercolor illustration as well as lettering in me.

So this is me; as an artist. Forever learning and molding my style. Each time discovering something new about myself and how to apply it to my work.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I create experiences. You can experience a brand in so many ways. The ambiance of the space, the texture of the paper in a business card, the visuals that are seen on a company’s website. I believe that a brand is more than a logo. My personal style revolves around simple logo marks. I like the rest of the context to speak for the brand. The photography, the window signage, the e-mails, the interior design; that is what makes the brand. I don’t like to just focus on one detail instead I like to see the brand as a whole. Sometimes this takes a long time to come together but when it does you can truly see the brand for who they are.

I have a design side and a business side. I also have two cultures embedded in me. This allows me to value diversity in everything I do. Just like there a multiple kinds of people in this world, there are also multiple types of brands. I like creating unique brands that speak a unique story about their owner and their vision in life. I love taking every detail and idea that a client has and using it to create a custom brand that they will identify with. I also understand my clients and can predict their needs because as a freelancer I too run my own business.

As for why I do what I do, it all comes down to paving the way. Sometimes you have put yourself first so that you can grow and be able to help others. I love how accepting the artist community is and how unafraid they are of being different. My message is for people to dare to be different and walk their own path.

Any advice for aspiring or new artists?
As an artist, I’ve learned to be comfortable with failure. Only failing will allow you to realize your full potential. Given that this industry is highly competitive; it is quite easy to feel intimidated. However; my advice is that everyone has their own timeline and as long as you keep moving; it doesn’t matter the speed or the destination. I wish I would have learned earlier to embrace my design style.

For a while, I was so good at doing multiple things but I wasn’t excelling at any. While it would have been helpful to learn this earlier, I come to realize that this was all part of the process of learning more about myself as an artist. Ultimately my advice for other artists is to find balance in life.

While freelancing gives you freedom, if not managed correctly it can bring stress and non-stop hours of work. It is important to challenge yourself to the next level and work hard but it is also equally important to enjoy the journey, smell the roses and be close to your loved ones. Don’t burn yourself out and always be willing to learn from others.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
You can check out my portfolio. If you are interested in working with me feel free to e-mail me.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Phone: 6198868263
  • Email:
  • Instagram: hybrid_minded

Image Credit:
Al Alvarez

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