Deborah Figueroa

Interview with Deb

Deb has been a regular figure at The Stand since the start. In the beginning however, it had nothing to do with art. Deb had seen Lori alone at The Stand night after night and, felt that it was risky for her to be alone in that neighborhood. Deb made it her job to come and keep her company. “So I wouldn’t have to be alone”, Lori explains. Whatever Lori did, whether it was talking to people or just getting a coffee, Deb would keep a watchful eye over Lori and the Stand.

Deb's protective nature was evident the evening we interviewed her. Whenever a stranger or friend came over to talk to Lori, Deb would immediately size them up. Using her street sense and experience to determine whether they were passable.

After 8 months of sitting, Deb came to Lori one night and said "do you want to see a drawing that I did?" Within minutes, that drawing was snapped up by a customer who saw the raw beauty in it. After this fortuitous start, Lori would buy pencils and encourage Deb to continue drawing.

Deb sees the world in a funny and quirky way, which is clear in her drawings. These days, her drawings feature the likes of a comical muscle man in a dress with a beauty mark, or Virgin Mothers with flowers in their crown.  It’s a big shift from her earlier work just a couple of years ago which focused heavily on violence toward women’s bodies. Over the years, Deb’s work developed and and she’s gotten to know more people and experienced their friendliness and admiration. You can see that Deb’s work has gotten a “newer, brighter spirit” as Lori describes.

The lines of Deb’s drawings also convey this inner strength and confidence, despite the difficulties that have fallen on her. She tells us “I’m always happy when I draw”.

“I was just drawing in a book what's coming in my brain.” The subjects typically revolve around men and women and how they come across to Deb. She mainly draws in the nighttime, after The Stand closes, as she’s listening to Reggae or techno music on the radio.

Lori shares her admiration for Deb’s work readily. “It's rare that you meet an artist that's so sure. She makes one line and knows it’s the right line. She knows it. It's that easy for her.”

In addition to her drawings, Deb also writes music and poems. While she was reluctant to show us her work and couldn’t remember any of the lines, when asked to describe it, she said it was about “love is ok”

Find out more

Enquire about Deb's art work at The Stand →

Deb's artwork at The Stand