Pink Is the New Black: 22-Year-Old Artist Seeks to Create, Inspire, and Educate

by Jessica Simpkins, MD

There are not many young adults who take the leap into entrepreneurship, but Cristina Varela (who goes by Pink), is certainly one of them. Pink is a 22-year-old full-time creative who is making waves in the art world with their brand Pink Viruz and art education channel, Pink’s Artsy Corner. When Pink is not creating art or educational content, they are busy helping other people with their social media presence as the social media manager for Patriot’s Marketing of America.

Pink is as unique an individual as their bright pink and blue hair. “When I was in middle school, I decided to start dying my hair. The first time a hairdresser bleached my hair, it turned orange. The only color that would cover it up was pink. I loved it! After that I kept dying my hair pink and the name Pink stuck. Now I add blue to my hair as well,” Pink shares.


Pink, photo by Val Mohney

Pink says their love of art began as a child. Pink was always drawing and creating, and shared a dream with their mother that they would one day be an art teacher. In high school, Pink had the opportunity to take an animation class which partnered with Nickelodeon. Pink fell in love with animation and worked hard their last three years of high school to be accepted into one of the best animation programs in California: the Art Center College of Design.

Unfortunately, even though Pink was accepted to the prestigious animation program and offered a scholarship, Pink’s financial circumstances did not allow for them to pursue their dream. “My world crumbled a bit, and I definitely had to take time to grieve and process,” Pink recalls.

Pink pivoted and decided to enroll in a community college and study illustration. At the same time, they started their brand, Pink Viruz. “Do you know how if you have a wonky HDMI cable, it can turn everything on a screen pink? This happened a lot in our class and people started joking that I’d infected it with a pink virus,” Pink laughs.

The style of the art for Pink Viruz can be described as creepy-cute. “My style is inspired by Japanese horror anime, and I first started creating fan art of Sanrio characters infected by the Pink Viruz,” Pink explains.

Pink has expanded the line of Pink Viruz to include prints, stickers, keychains, and modified stuffed bears. “A few years ago there was a trend on TikTok of making creepy stuffed animals. I started buying stuffed bears from thrift stores and creating my own creepy-cute bears. People either love them or hate them,” Pinks shares.

In addition to their art, Pink decided to create a channel called Pink’s Artsy Corner to share their journey as an artist with others and provide a safe space for other creatives to come together and learn with one another. The opening to every video is, “Welcome guys, gals, and gender non-conforming pals. Welcome to Pink’s Artsy Corner. A little corner of the internet where we talk about creative journeys and growth.”

Pink explains they wanted to create an online space for creatives of all levels of expertise to share their work with others and receive collaborative feedback. “I’ve committed to my practice as an artist for the last 10 years of my life and I want to share what I’ve learned with others. Being an artist can be lonely and it’s easy to think you can’t make it. I’m a full-time creative and I just want to show other people they can do it too. It might not look like what you’re imagining right now. Like, I thought I was going into animation and illustration, and that’s not what I’m doing. But I’m having so much fun with what I am doing. I want to show people you can do this and make a living and be happy doing your thing!”

Since moving to Spokane from L.A. in January of 2022, Pink has also taken an active role in a number of organizations aimed at ending youth homelessness, such as the Mockingbird Society, Team Child, and currently chairs the Spokane Youth Action Board. “My parents are both immigrants and our family had a lot of financial challenges. We struggled with housing insecurity throughout most of my childhood. So after I moved here, I wanted to know what I could do to help with this issue,” Pink explains.

The Spokane Youth Action Board is comprised of individuals aged 12-24 who have experienced homelessness in their lives. They advise local organizations such as Family Promise and Volunteers of America on how best to serve youth that are experiencing homelessness. Pink is passionate about educating others on the circumstances that lead to homelessness in youth and young adults.

When asked about future plans for Pink’s art businesses, Pink shares the following: “One of my goals over the next year is to launch the clothing line that will also be a part of Pink Viruz. As far as Pink’s Artsy Corner goes, I’m working to grow my audience and plan to create a group on discord for creatives to interact with one another.”

If you live near Spokane, you can purchase art from the Pink Viruz collection locally at Boo Radley’s and The Small Biz Shoppe. For questions or commissions, please email Pink at Be sure to follow Pink on instagram at PinkViruz and PinksArtsyCorner to stay up-to-date on their latest happenings!