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David Grajeda Gonzalez


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Hello! I am David Grajeda Gonzalez, a first-generation student attending the University of Denver currently pursuing a BFA in Emergent Digital Practices and minor in Computer Science. Ever since my childhood, I have always gravitated toward the arts. Whether it was twigs I found in my backyard that I would weave into baskets or murals I have contributed to my school, these creations have helped me realize what values I cherish: creativity, determination, and empathy. Art has served as a tool for me to express myself, and leading into my future, I want to utilize this knowledge to help these creative applications advocate for others. This is what led me to discover my passion for computer science, as its applications toward real-world use and creative problem-thinking have fueled my curiosity for how art and STEM can merge. In uncovering the beautiful intricacy within the arts, I plan to apply my passion for creativity to various fields which are seen with my goal of integrating myself in multiple fields. My ambition plans to dismantle obstacles that prevent me from achieving my potential for a life of fulfillment, as I've always envisioned for myself. I'll continue the journey my family started in immigrating to the USA by taking advantage of all the possibilities a higher education holds and show my gratitude by giving back to my community as I want to make my path one that lives on. As Andy Warhol encapsulates, “The idea is not to live forever; it is to create something that will."


University of Denver

Bachelor's degree program
2023 - 2027
  • Majors:
    • Design and Applied Arts
  • Minors:
    • Computer Science

College View High School Dsst

High School
2019 - 2023


  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Design and Applied Arts
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Graphic Design

    • Dream career goals:

      Utilizing my background in the arts and adoration for online interfaces, I wish to pursue a career in graphic design to implement my artistry for the common good.

    • Marketing Assistant and Designer

      2023 – Present1 year


    • Union Hall

      Artist in 'As You Are' Exhibition
      2023 – 2023
    • DSST: College View High School

      Visual Arts
      2021-2022 Mural: "We Are The Ones..." designed, lead, and painted by myself
      2021 – Present
    • Denver Digerati

      "Vantage Point" animation showcased in Supernova Festival
      2022 – 2022
    • DSST: College View High School

      Graphic Art
      2021-2022 Yearbook Cover & Page Designs, & 2022-2023 Yearbook Cover & Page Designs
      2021 – Present
    • MSU Denver's Center for Visual Arts: Art + Action Lab

      Performance Art
      March 10th Catwalk Fashion Show
      2022 – Present
    • PlatteForum's Art Lab

      Visual Arts
      "Collected Perspectives", "Concrete Dedundancy", "Imitation Simulation", "Listen to Our Cries", "Heirlooms", "Vexillologies", "The Bluest Sky", "Journey to Liberation", "To Muse the Labyrinth".
      2020 – Present

    Public services

    • Advocacy

      PlatteForum's Board of Executive Directors — Youth Representative
      2021 – Present
    • Volunteering

      PlatteForum in collaboration with Colfax Community Network — Volunteer
      2021 – Present

    Future Interests





    Reginald Kelley Scholarship
    Learning is the driving force behind all of my pursuits. It's almost infuriating how much there possibly is to learn, and how impossible it is to understand it all in the time we are given as humans. Alas, my adoration for the arts has allowed me to hone this need to understand how the world works in the realm of creative expression. Ever since I could remember, exploring the boundaries within the arts has fascinated me, and mixing disciplines is how I delved into this pursuit of pushing my perceived limits on what art can be. Why couldn't I paint on knitted fabrics? Why shouldn't I expose a camera's film prior to developing it? Why can't my self-portrait look like anyone but me? These questions came from an understanding that there's a way to approach a medium with high fidelity, but frustration would arise when I asked myself why it was wrong to play around with the potential of these mediums. That's what drove me to my current major: Why is art "traditional" or "digital," and why can't it be both? Emergent Digital Practices at the University of Denver blends technology in a fine arts world. When I saw this outlined in a bulletin of offered majors, I immediately felt my thirst to know more about the world of art quenched. STEM, and most specifically computer science, has always been a field I have been fascinated by from afar. Sure, I would watch hours of videos on niche subject matter relating to anything from the intricate coding behind games to the engineering of internet networks, but prior to college, I would have considered those curiosities as irrelevant to my practice in the arts. But now they're applicable! My bubble of knowledge is expanding ever so slightly, and my major's interdisciplinary nature ensures that I not only leave with a technical understanding of the properties within artistic exploration, but also get to toy around with non-conventional artistic techniques for artistic purposes. My fascination for the arts persists. However, it's now fueled by my ever-growing curiosity to apply digital and other methods to manifest my ideas into beautiful creations I can proudly share. With the art I'll make, I want to make it known to others like me that their hunger to explore more and push more limits in the arts is nothing far from possible. This innovative field not only furthers the good art and design has done by serving as a tool for communication in our society, but the growing field of intersecting STEM into the arts is making even more concepts and ideas digestible in ways not possible otherwise. Further involvement in this field, with students like me, will also make it known to the world and those questioning what to devote out of an endless array of interests that they don't have to sacrifice their curiosities to make a passion work; they can all harmoniously fuse into a branch of expression perfectly suited for those varying interests. Anyone can pursue the arts or STEM in whichever way they see fit, even if it's not what our society typically perceives. I hope that through these protrayals of unique expression, the ambitions of young individuals like myself aren't minimized or dismissed but instead amplified. Pursuing a BFA in Emergent Digital Practices is not just about making a statement about what is or isn't possible in terms of creative expression; it's also about remaining loyal to my identity as a learner with an insatiable curiosity about what our world has to offer.
    Polly Addison Art Scholarship
    I must approach my life with wonder and curiosity to navigate the overwhelming nature of my intersectional identity. This mindset has been my driving force as I confront pressures that threaten to divert me from my path of artistic expression. As my love for the arts blossomed during my childhood discoveries of visual expression, so did the expectations imposed upon me, both externally and internally. These expectations became an ever-growing burden as I attempted to start an art practice, constraining my creative ambitions to fit into predefined molds. Whether it was conforming to others’ notions of what type of artist I should be or succumbing to the pressure of pursuing a more “realistic” path, I felt a seed of guilt take root within me while I contemplated continuing this journey. However, I’ve realized that being “realistic” doesn’t mean abandoning my artistic aspirations. Even amid the demands of daily life, I find comfort in simple acts of creativity — sketching during my commute, capturing sunsets through my lens, and expressing my thoughts on paper. This is what being realistic means to me. Through the resilience of figures like my mother, I’ve learned that true success lies in living a life aligned with my values, which include the pursuit of creative expression. With this, I hope to be a lifelong learner of the various modes of visual expression, sustaining a practice through my art and helping others within my community achieve the same. I want to create! I want to manifest my emotions into tangible forms, even if it means transcending traditional boundaries of artistry to make that possible. While my current academic path may only encompass some of my creative interests, I am committed to expanding my horizons and pushing against my limitations. Hence, I embrace ambiguity and seek it in all aspects of approaching the world. Yet, as I navigate adulthood, the weight of my intersecting identities — as a first-generation student, low-income individual, and queer person — becomes increasingly notable as that seed of guilt grows. These labels, far from being vague, are clearly defined and carry significant implications for the opportunities I will likely have access to. So, despite my desire for artistic fluency and embracing this vast field of subjectivity, I have to acknowledge how these barriers have impacted my ability to access opportunities to communicate my curiosity with others.  In an ideal world, I would address each limitation individually, like checking off a box of obstacles toward success, but due to the nature of intersectionality, I can’t. Thus, while I pursue my artistic dreams, I must also confront the reality of financial instability. So by seeking the Polly Addison Art Scholarship, this represents a step towards reconciling my aspirations with the constraints imposed by societal expectations. My self-portrait, Distorted Perceptions (Colored Pencils on 22” x 30” paper), visually represents these introspections while I reference the art of Kintsugi and my self-image. Within its lines and colors, I explore the vulnerability inherent in our identities—the cracks that threaten self-destruction but can also signify resilience and growth. Embracing ambiguity, I endeavor to reclaim all facets of my identity in my creative journey, nurturing and healing my soul to help others do the same.