Artist Audrya Flores Reworks Recycled Materials to Create Tangible Expression


Audrya Flores combines her paintings with various recycled and discarded materials, collages, assemblages, other embellishments, thick cardboard colored paper rescued from the cafeteria at the school where she teaches, and painting scripts on linens.

Ms. Flores attended the University of Texas at San Antonio, and she has made San Antonio her home ever since. According to her blog, the artist’s work explores supernatural visions, dreams, the occult, intrapersonal exploration and her family’s tradition of storytelling across generations. Those stories weave narratives that reflect her identity and her life where she grew up in the border town of Brownsville, Texas.

Audrya is one of several young Latina artists that are busy changing the landscape of contemporary art. Her work has been shown at numerous prestigious galleries including the Young Latina Artists (YLA) Exhibition, which historically provided exposure for Latino artists under the age of 35 who had professional-level museum experience. Begun in 1996, the Exhibition became one of the most highly anticipated annual traditions at the Mexic-Arte Museum in San Antonio.

Audrya has also been featured at the new artist-run Lady Base Gallery (in the Lone Star Arts District of San Antonio) in an exhibition featuring only female and LGBT artists. Lady Works, the first series of shows at the new gallery, featured the work of Audrya and others and displayed female power and vulnerability.

Mother of Thousands

Mother of Thousands HipLatina

Photo: Audrya Flores

Flores’ 2013 self-portrait reflects a conflicted self-image of a strong-willed woman after the birth of her son. A natural delivery was prevented by complications during labor and left her with a wounded body and ego. However, during her recovery, she found that her ability to nurse her baby was both empowering and healing, and that her self-doubt eventually gave way to instinct.

The title of the vibrantly colored painting, constructed of paper bags under all the layers, is based on the actual Mother of Thousands plant that grows baby plants and drops them into the soil below.  The artist has one of these real living plants sitting by her painting when it is on display, and the plant is one of many offspring that was grown under the care of the women in her family starting back with her maternal great-grandmother.

Outside of My Body, Outside of My Skin I & II

Outside of My Body, Outside of My Skin I & II HipLatina

Photo: Audrya Flores

These 2014 self-portraits are made of recycled paper, cotton fabric, latex paint, and ink. They give a peek into her childhood, and illustrate how Flores came to understand her Latina identity. Born to a Latino father and a white mother, she grew up well aware that she did not look like most of the residents of her community. She felt it necessary to defend and explain who she was: a Flores! A Latina! A Tejana! Now as an adult and a mother to a Latino son, she has found peace with the idea that her Latina identity is captured and demonstrated in the storytelling traditions of her family.

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