Meet 10-Year-Old Artist, Community Activist Vanessa Gardea


The painting above was donated to the The Winchester House in El Paso. All photos courtesy of Elva Gardea & Facebook. 

By Lisa Amaya

El Paso muralist and artist Elva Gardea is extremely proud of her daughter and I think she has many reasons to feel this way. I first met Elva a couple of months ago in a Facebook group where El Pasoans promote their small businesses and/or garage sales. She introduced her daughter’s pillows in the group and I was immediately hooked and amazed. Elva was helping her daughter sell some of her beautiful works of art; pillows of different shapes and sizes. The ones I remember seeing first included a variety of different cartoon characters and Valentine’s Day heart-shaped pillows with cute catch phrases like I’m yours. I was very interested in buying my nine-year-old son, Jacob a Ninja Turtles pillow. Since I was so intrigued, I contacted Elva. I became even more amazed with her and her daughter’s artistic talent after seeing more of their art on their Facebook pages. Elva, owner of Splash of Color 4 U, has painted murals at several area businesses and homes.

tree 2

A bedroom mural by Elva

I asked Elva about her artwork but the emphasis was placed on her older daughter. She kept information about herself very brief. I promise to feature her and more of her work in the future. Elva said she plans on hosting an art show and possibly opening up her own art gallery this year in El Paso.


Another bedroom mural by Elva


Turtle pillow by Vanessa


And another (This is the one I want for my son, Jacob)

Vanessa has created several works of art including paintings, drawings and pillows. The fifth grader has wanted to sew and create art since she was a toddler. Vanessa said she wanted to create pillows and dolls for her room especially when it was too expensive at stores. “I would think of things I wanted in my room but couldn’t find it (anywhere else) so I decided to make them myself. I also thought it would be fun to bring some of the dolls to life from my mind!, Vanessa said.”



Vanessa began taking adult sewing classes last summer. She also picked up some new sewing techniques from her grandmother. Vanessa has given back to the El Paso community on several occasions. She often donates her artwork, money and time. “I love to help out. Pet Guardian Angel is an awesome animal shelter (where I help out). I will soon be making some pet products and having auctions on my Facebook page. All of the money raised will go directly to them, she said.”

Vanessa hard at work

Vanessa hard at work

“I have also donated to the Animal Rescue League and Humane Society.” Vanessa also donates her artwork every year to the Winchester House. “The organization helps foster children become productive adults once they’re released from the system.This year I will donate some pillows for their auction.”


You may see these very soon at the El Paso Chihuahuas games

 “I also love to help nursing homes in El Paso. My great grandma lives in one. I want to do a stuffed toy or rag doll drive for Christmas. They love dolls because they make them feel safe.” Although Vanessa tried hosting her own charity drives that weren’t too successful, she said she will try again in upcoming months. Vanessa sells her artwork at Cafe Galleria in nearby San Elizario and online through Facebook. She and her mom also sell in an online store through Etsy. Vanessa started her business, Sew Cute By Vanessa in October 2014. She and Elva are currently negotiating with the El Paso Chihuahuas baseball team staff about carrying Vanessa’s pillows in their stadium shops. The possibility looks very promising once the paperwork and other items go through. Elva said she may also help Vanessa sell her products at other stores in the future. Vanessa wants to continue her art projects when she grows up.


More cuteness!


Vanessa and her little three-year-old sister/helper, Carlie

For more info, on Vanessa and Elva’s art, visit their web sites on Facebook. 

Elva’s page

Sew Cute by Vanessa 

Cafe Galleria

Their artwork can be shipped worldwide. Prices range from $10 and up.

Elva and Vanessa can also be reached at: 915-603-8747 or by email at:


  1. I know I couldn’t believe she was 10 either! Although a lot of people complain about El Paso, there is a lot of talent here in the music and art scene. I love being here. I’ll continue to post more about others I’ve met. Thank you!


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