SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — If you have ever walked through the heart of North Park you might have stumbled upon Artelexia.
Elexia De La Parra, the store's founder and creative director, welcomes any and all into her vibrant Mexican gift shop, filled with thousands of knickknacks, from traditional Mexican textiles to funky stickers, which are all designed by Hispanic and LatinX artists.
“I feel very fortunate that I get to be that person and share this space and it feels very accomplished for sure," De La Parra shared. "And to be able to do it in a way that people are proud of.”
De La Parra was born in Tijuana and grew up in San Diego. She wears her Mexican-American roots proudly.
“When people walk in they are moved by the product," said De La Parra. "They feel something, they feel connected, inspired.”
This journey of hers began at the age of four, with a tradition of countless visits to Mexican mercados with her grandfather.
“I always think what would he think," De La Parra said. "That I have been able to create this and create this life because of his influence.”
De La Parra studied culinary arts in New York. During a cross-country road trip back home, she stopped in Santa Fe, N.M. It was there where she saw others selling goods. The idea to do the same in San Diego with Mexican goods was born.
“I went to visit family in Guadalajara, brought some things back, and sold them at, I think, a party," said De La Parra. "And I liked it and realized there was a need for it because no one was going to Mexico, and a lot of these artesanos, their craft is passed down generations and generations.”
Artelexia then took on a life of its own.
De La Parra started selling at Sunday markets with her family. A year later, she was able to open up her own storefront in Little Italy, and since 2016, her pride and joy have been standing proudly in North Park.
“This has been 11 years in the making and to get emails saying," she said. "They were moved to tears, either this reminded them of their abuela, their tia, someone. Or this reminded them of home.”
At the heart of Artelexia is not the trendy trinkets, but being able to provide a platform for the next generation of Hispanic artists to share their work from Mexico with the San Diego community.
“There can be five shops, five Mexican or LatinX shops but they are all going to have their own flavor," she said. "And ours has its own Artelexia flavor to it.”
It is a flavor that is rich in family.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them," said De La Parra.
And a store that showcases the colors, inspirations, and culture of a heritage De La Parra is humbled to represent.
“I feel so fortunate that I get to do this that I get to have a place for people to sell their items, and all the blessings it’s brought me," she added. "My entire life revolves around this shop and it’s been nothing but wonderful wonderful blessings.”
Artelexia is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also visit Artelexia online to learn more about parties, gifts, workshops, and tours.