Fabian "Spade" Debora - Telling Stories With Symbols


Fabian "Spade" Debora Portrait by Salvador Rojas | Spade working on his latest masterpiece titled "Peace Over Violence"

TELLING STORIES WITH SYMBOLS - Get a glimpse into the mind of Fabian "Spade" Debora, the most prolific artist from the east side of Los Angeles - the underdawg of the Art World. Hear and see how this Boyle Heights native utilized his talents to break free from the chains of destruction...

Fabian is the older of the Debora brothers. He grew up in the projects and the vast cement-slabs of the L.A. Riverbed was his canvas. His first symbols were acronymed letters he spray-painted to be noticed by the passersby (he also utilized the thickness of the "roller-brush" technique to be more obvious). The letters stood for crews and later gangs, in the heart of Los Angeles. His bold nature and skill with a can caught him fame in the area. Letters turned to characters and he noticed his amazing third eye-hand coordination. He discovered his gift! But from creeping stealthily through the back alleys of some of the most violent streets in the freeworld, he eventually did get into trouble with the law. Even so, the juvenile halls and youth camps didn't stop him from creating art. A lot of times, the art was his only therapy to calm his soul and express himself. Afterwards, he ended up being invited to collaborate on murals around East L.A. Also, Fabian started painting on canvases, wood, and other surfaces where his art could be preserved and appreciated. He got so good, local store owners would ask him to paint symbols on their store walls. Symbols that the gangsters of Mexican descent respected and considered sacriligious to deface. Symbols like La Virgen y La Bandera. So here he is: an ex-tagger/ former-gangmember that turned full-circle to be hired to paint on walls. When we met Spade, he was already a full-fledged artist. At the time, he was living a couple blocks from Cesar Chavez Ave. (formerly Brooklyn), and just walking into the backroom was like stepping into an underground art gallery. There were paintings everywhere! Different sizes and colors. We could see he had a unique style of Chicano art, and his depictions of the Barrio life were familiar to us. There were intersections between Mesoamerican and cholo art. The rawness was honest! Thats why Spade has a lot of respect as a street artist. Even when he was struggling with personal issues, people were still drawn to him in admiration of his skills. It was obvious that Fabian's talent was to represent a People. So, set against bold graffiti-style backdrops, Spade created a world where drugs, alcohol and violence were protagonist characters to plot in a story. A story that was to be told by an original Son of the City...


titled: Mi Madre de Los Angeles


titled: My Version of Mary

The fact is that Fabian Debora's works show life flourishing in the ghetto (using the fresh corn harvest as a symbol of regeneration, there is always a hopeful tomorrow). That's the beauty in it's spiritual nature. It's truly redemptive, graceful and wise... How many times have we been reminded there are metaphysical Beings intervening in the affairs of men? A Spiritual World that our forefathers believed in, since the days of our Ancestors. Spade paints these images in modern-days, and now the urban landscape doesn't look so dreary. His excellence shines above the false idolatry of the calles, and (visually, peeling back the concrete) the pictures offer a deeper meaning. For those who believe: all things are possible. And in the flash of a moment, everything could change. It's artists like Fabian Debora that kept the Spirit of the Movimiento from the '70s alive. An eastside Renaissance-man that calls upon a Higher Power when the weight of the streets are on his shoulders...


titled: Higher Power

It is Fabian Debora's dedication to his beliefs that took him back to those same juvenile halls and youth camps, to give a testimony and paint a mural in hopes of helping those in desperate situations. By offering words of encouragement and sharing, selflessly, his own personal experience, he tries to convice the kids not to give up. That they are not doomed to fail. We were all created in God's Image and are, therefore, valuable. He says, "If the message even inspires one person to redirect his/her energies in a positive way, then it was worth it!"


titled: Look With In

Throughout the years, Fabian has been refining his art skills- getting better and better. He studied other good artists and perfected his own craft. After a mentorship by artist Vincent Valdez, he took it to another level... creating a masterpiece collection titled "MY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES". These paintings are reflections of Fabian's own personal childhood memories- but each one is a strong statement about the environment we grew up in. Those that recognize the symbology understand it. A curb-side memorial set up for a murdered victim gets passed unnoticed by hundreds of eyes. But, Fabian makes that a center of his piece and forces everyone to take a look! In no way does it glorify the gang-lifesyle. It is a brutally realistic visual that says, "These tragedies occur in our neighborhoods and deserve attention." There is no blame being placed; no pointing fingers. It is a societal problem that was captured in a painting of a grimy, eastside sidewalk. In truth, symbols speak volumes.


titled: R.I.P.

The full spectrum of life is represented in the artwork- from funerals to hangin' shoes from the telephone line. Trivial, though it may seem, but a pair of worn sneakers hanging from the wires: is ghetto. It simply does not occur in the wealthy neighborhoods. That's why they are so detached from this symbol, upper-middleclass America even misrepresents it as sign for a drug house. It's almost laughable that the only intent of the shoe-tosser was to amuse himself for a moment with a game similiar to vertical horseshoes. In most cases, there is a group of traviesos cheering him on. But Spade doesn't tell how the shoes got there... He doesn't even say it's "cool" that they're there. He paints them because they ARE THERE. And that's Real..!


artwork featured titled: Convicted All Stars

Fabian Debora's "Childhood Memories" Art Show
February 11th, 2011 6pm to 9 pm
Homeboy Industries 130 W. Bruno St. LA CA 90012.
www.fabianspadedebora.com - Official Website


Fabian Debora's artform is as ancient as hieroglyphs. He documents these times and places for generations to come. Like a prophet that uses an Inspiration to communicate a message, it would hurt him to keep it bottled up inside. So, he learned how to utilize his talent to heal himself and his community. He gained control of his life and conquered addictions.They say, "Victory without risk, is like triumph with no glory". Even if Fabian is an underdog in the Art World, to us (and those who have known him for years) we could honestly say: his, is the story of Champions.


titled: Falling Star



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