Vargas has a BFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1981 and in 1984 received her MFA.
Kathy Vargas currently teaches in the art department at The University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, TX. She has lectured throughout the United States and Mexico.
Kathy Vargas became interested in the hand-coloured photography around 1970. A few years later, while working on a documentary project about yard shrines in her home town of San Antonio, Texas, she began researching Mexican and pre-Columbian myths and literature, and to produce works based on a photographic 'magic realism' involving layering by multiple exposure and hand colouring (Marshall).
In 1993 she produced a portfolio titled, Revelaciones, and a year later was published in Nueva Luz photographic journal, volume 4#2 (En Foco, Bronx: 1994)
- Vargas, Kathy, and Connie Arismendi. Intimate lives: work by ten contemporary Latina artists. Austin, TX: Women & Their Work, 1993.
- Muñoz, Celia Alvarez, Chon A. Noriega, José Piedra, Kathy Vargas, and Victor Zamudio-Taylor. Revelaciones = Revelations: Hispanic art of evanescence. Ithaca, NY: Hispanic American Studies Program, Cornell University, 1993.
- Goldberg, Jim, Nan Goldin, Sally Mann, Jack Radcliffe, and Kathy Vargas. Hospice: a photographic inquiry. Boston: Little, Brown, in association with the Corcoran Gallery of Art and National Hospice Foundation, 1996. ISBN 0-8212-2259-7.
- Lippard, Lucy R., and MaLin Wilson-Powell. Kathy Vargas: photographs, 1971-2000. San Antonio, TX: Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, 2000. ISBN 0-916677-45-1.
- Art at Our Doorstep: San Antonio Writers and Artists featuring Kathy Vargas. Edited by Nan Cuba and Riley Robinson (Trinity University Press, 2008).
- Anglo-American Name Authority File, s.v. "Vargas, Kathy", LC Control Number no 9502087, cited 10 September 2006.
- Marshall, Peter. 'Any Colour You Like', About, Inc., cited 10 September 2005.
- Kathy Vargas on En Foco
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