Saturday, March 31, 2012

Silent Poetry In Los Angeles

Painting by Fabian Debora on cover of IMAGE Journal
  "Every painting is a silent poem."- that is the current signature at the bottom of a particular artist's posts in an ATC forum that I frequent. I thought that was an interesting statement when I first read it, and spent some time trying to figure out if I found it to be true. My next thoughts went to an artist I had just discovered from the East side of LA.

Por El Amor De Dios by: Fabian Debora
  Fabian "Spade" Debora has been hard at work documenting the presence of the divine within his neighborhood of Boyle Heights through murals and painted canvases. The painting to the left is an image of a young man inviting each viewer to meditate with him. The spilled can in his hand is a libation offering in remembrance of others, especially those who have passed away. We partake in a similar remembrance when we drink the symbolized blood of Christ during communion or eucharistic. My personal experience is that these types of meditation can be particularly powerful when practiced corporately. Whether we think we can or cannot immediately identify with the man in the painting, I hope that we can join him in such an important spiritual reflection.

Painting by: Fabian Debora
  I took some friends and students from my neighborhood in Pico Union to a gallery opening at Homegirl Cafe earlier this month to see Debora's work. I bought the print shown to the right from Fabian himself at the opening. When I met up with my group to head home a young friend of mine saw the print under my arm and questioned my decision in a half joking manner as if to say, "Isn't that a Catholic image? We're protestants." I realized this was a partial joke, but I take the intent of this piece very seriously so I challenged my friend with the question- "What is this piece saying?" He told me that he wasn't sure so I told him what it said to me. At first glance I saw the image of el Virgin de Guadelupe, but the next thing I noticed was that the girl is much younger than Mary was when she conceived the Christ, and this girl is wearing jeans and a t-shirt. The girl exists within our era. The background is a depiction of Los Angeles' downtown district. These insights made me think about the women young and old in our city and the world who are, or soon become, objects of lust in men's eyes. These precious women are our: mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts etc. While viewing this piece I started to question why we only guard the mother Mary's purity and virginity with fervor. Why don't we as men regard all women in a similar manner? Of course this is a very important question that I have often asked through-out my life, but somehow this painting brought me to an even more profound perspective. My friend and I were both stunned at the insight the print in my hands offered.

  Debora used to "tag" the name Spade on the surfaces of his neighborhood before his life changed. Speaking of tagging, we need to realize that if you imagine your city as a body, the graffiti and tags will show you where the body hurts most. Who has a more in depth view of the pain in our cities than the taggers and street artists who frequent the deep industrial areas alleyways and crevices both high and low? It's important to not assume all is lost in these places though. This is why I'm glad Debora hasn't given up his street name since his life changed. His work, and some other street artists' work, proves to me that God is truly everywhere, and that there isn't just pain and darkness in the streets. Light can be found everywhere. Fabian's compositions take my spiritual eyes through lines and stanzas of prophetic experiences noticed by the artist. The narratives allow everyone to enter into the divine presence of God through the vibrant lens of Fabian's life and the lives around him. In the case of Fabian's body of work I would say that his paintings can indeed be viewed as silent poems.

  To gain more of an understanding of Fabian "Spade" Debora's unique vision I invite you to watch the video below. For more information and updates on Debora's projects go to

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New ACEO Auctions Up For 10 Days

One of the ACEOs posted for auction for the next 10 days

I'm trying to keep a string of ACEOs alive on Ebay. Go ahead and click on the AUCTION link at the top of this blog to see each item up for auction. I don't want there to be a time where at least one card isn't posted. Wish me luck.

If you've won an ACEO or traded for one of my ATCs I'd love to see a picture of it in your collection. Post your pictures on my Facebook fan page HERE.  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What Are ACEOs and ATCs? Part 1

Jump to Part 2
One of my original collage ACEOs that sold on Ebay in 2011 
  Yes, you do need to be creating ACEOs and or ATCs. I've been posting my ACEOs and their auctions on this blog for a good long while, but this underground movement still suffers from obscurity within the circles I call my community. I've already started to address what ACEOs are in a previous post back in September of 2011, but this series of posts will dive deeper.

What's the difference between an ATC or an ACEO if both are art pieces on 2.5" x 3.5" cards?

  ATC (Art Trading cards)- These cards are the exact size of baseball cards (2.5" x 3.5") as are ACEOs, but as far as I can tell ATCs are the back-bone of the movement. There is a large dedicated base of artists all over the world that trade their original art cards (it's important that these cards usually be original pieces and not prints) by mail or within trading events. Trading is the key word here, and you can find many ATC trading groups in Yahoo groups. If you are serious about this art format I would also recommend joining
ATC by Amy S. Turner
  To the left is an exceptional example of an ATC by one of my favorite artists currently trading Amy S. Turner. Amy trades in a juried group comprised of illustrators and graphic artists called Artists within the ATC realm range from self taught folk artists to professional illustrators. ATCs are fun to trade and collect because it's original artwork from a vast array of artists. Every trade is a fun surprise.

ACEO by Juan Cruz
ACEO (Artist Cards Editions And Originals)- Again, these cards are 2.5" x 3.5" cards- the same as ATCs, but this sector of the movement focuses on the selling of art cards both originals and prints. Both ATCs and ACEOs start out as the same or similar items in size, but sales is what differentiates the two. You may sell your ACEOs in any market you want, but Ebay is a well known place for artists to sell their art cards. Try this right now- open a new tab in your browser, go to, type ACEO in the search bar and see how many results come up. There are a lot of ACEOs and a lot of artists selling them aren't there? If you want to sell and or trade on another site I would recommend
  The ACEO to the right was drawn by illustrator Juan Cruz. When I go to art shows I meet many people who have a desire to buy original artwork, but they are not able to spend large sums of money for the work. If that is you, I encourage you to search for ACEO artists that you like. The original pieces and prints are much more affordable with auctions usually starting under $10. You get the satisfaction of owning original artwork and since they are exactly the size of a baseball card they are easy to collect in plastic card sheets or plastic top-loaders.

In the next episode: Why should every artist create ATCs and or ACEOs?

Jump to Part 2 now

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

And the ACEOs Keep Coming

(School Of Baskin Iguana one of the ACEOs posted)

  I'll start by thanking everyone who has supported and collected my art. I am very fortunate to paint for such an audience. Please write a comment if you have purchased any art from me- maybe send a picture. I'd love to hear from you.
  Late last night I posted 4 more ACEOs up for ten day auctions. To view all of my current auctions click on the "AUCTIONS" tab at the top of this blog or click here. Remember, after 10 days these items are gone. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Art Class Reminded Me That I Was Human

(image from

  Earlier today a short article titled Art Matters by Karla Vasquez appeared on Sojourner's blog about art classes being cut from schools budgets and the theological reasoning to keep them. A post by Liz Dwyer on Good Magazine's website argues the arts are important in an economy where creativity is a key asset to anyone in the current or future workforce.
  I agree on both fronts, but mostly on the first. My stance on the matter is this: the ability to create is part of what makes us human. More importantly creativity is our connection to God the Creator- we were created in His image to be creative beings. As stated in the video within my last post, "this is why there are lots of stories about puppies, but puppies aren't writing stories." Through art we have the ability to find out who we are in God and why we exist. Keep math class, keep the sciences, languages, and history- but art class helps us figure out what to do with all of that information.

  If you're in Los Angeles check out Inner-City Arts

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

God, Art, Us

Do you agree with anything these artists are saying about God and art? I have a few things that I'm not sure about. Let's discuss in the comments section if you dare...

The Best Paper Store For Artists In Los Angeles: Part 3

Jump to Part 1
Jump to Part 2

  Any customer of McManus & Morgan will agree that there is an overwhelming amount of interesting materials to discover in such a small shop that it might take days to uncover it all. With this blog post I will attempt to reap a few of this historic shop's intriguing features from it's surface. Trust me there is much more to explore than this blog can hold.

A: The Paper Selection
  When approaching the counter you will see unique paper from many different countries hanging on the near-by wall, but that paper isn't even the beginning of the stock in back or the paper that can be ordered from the store's vendors. I think I over-heard the shop keeper say once that he could literally offer thousands of different papers from around 25 different countries. The owner's name is Gary and he specializes in helping each artist find the perfect paper for the specifications of their projects. Describe to him what you want to accomplish and he will find the right paper for all of your creative needs. He can also show you countless examples of what other designers and artists have done with each paper. There is no other paper source like this in all of Los Angeles.

B: The Vintage Table and Shelves (All pictures from here on taken by Leo Jimenez)
  I am impressed by this shop's willingness to sell paper in as many forms as possible including books. There are a lot of more current books to be found within these walls, but the ever fluctuating and expanding vintage section is one of those gems that sticks out among the rest. Each visit is a grab bag. I have found everything from 1950's sci-fi novels to British stamp books from the 20's. Books and documents from the 1800's have also surfaced here. In talking with Gary I found out that many set dressers and prop masters from the film industry shop for books here. Some books have even graced the set of Mad Men. For those who love things like book scouting this is a prime spot to do so, and a portion of the proceeds go to a local redistribution collective of students and artists called the Los Angeles InnerChange Book Collective. Take a look- there's always a mysterious book to be found.  

C: Art Trading Cards Trade Post and the Art Cards Sales Rack
  Local artists have started trading their miniature works at the trading card post pictured above. All artists are invited to trade cards as long as they leave a 2.5" x 3.5" original art piece to replace the one they took. This is a great underground movement in the art world and one of the few trading posts in the area. 
  On the shelf next to the trading post are supplies to make and collect your own ATCs as-well as Art Cards for sale by local artists. Of course I trade at this post and I sell my ACEOs on this shelf. The more artists active in this movement the better. Join us!

D:Packaged Ephemera
  Pictured above is the ephemera section of the store. Members of the LAIC Book Collective mentioned earlier recycle books that are falling apart by cutting the interesting images out of the pages. These images are harvested to provide scrapbook, collage, and decoupage artists with materials for their work. Each package features themed illustrations, and they are reasonably priced. This section has quickly become one of the more popular sections of the store. Where else can you get stuff like this? Seriously. 

Part 1
Part 2

Monday, March 12, 2012

New Original ACEOs Up For Auction 3-11-2012

(ACEO portrait of Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain)

I have created a new batch of original ACEOs (Art Cards Editions and Originals) from my own hand. They are up for auction. Follow the large "AUCTIONS" link at the top of this page to see the rest of the ACEOs. All of the paper I use for my pieces are from Los Angeles' oldest art store McManus & Morgan.