Varela was born in 1955 in Brooklyn, New York. Currently residing in Kingsville, Texas, Varela owns the Arbazo Graphics Workshop, where he also works as a community artist. His present artwork evolved from his monotype technique, and branches out toward different printmaking mediums such as dry point, etching, and reduction cut. He uses imagery of pre-Hispanic petroglyphs left behind by the Arowaks in the Greater Antilles, the tropical wildlife of the island’s countryside, and the people who lived there. He holds an Associates Degree of Commercial Art from Trenton College in River Grove, Illinois.