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Fabián Fuentes, Art Director, Atención

Meet the Library
By Karla Ortiz

Here we present facets in the life of Atención’s graphic designer. Fabián is the one behind that big computer screen when all the designs are swimming in his head.

Fabián Fuentes, art director of Atención, is who, week after week, finds solutions when the reporters and clients send the photos or the ads late or when customers send low resolution ads. He is the one who is in charge of the editorial design of the paper, the special editions and the final corrections to articles and graphic content and of course for making our newspaper beautiful and appealing, especially for special editions.

Fabián is a native of Mexico City, where he studied for this career. At first it cost him a bit of work to be able to study in this field, not because his parents prevented him, but because he tried unsuccessfully several times to enter UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) for graphic design, a career that was much in demand. He decided to stop trying to attend that school and opted for the UVM (Universidad del Valle de México) that was near his home. Three semesters later, he left that university and entered UNITEC (Universidad Tecnológica de México). After finishing college, he sold his car and decided to fulfill his dream of living in Canada. He found an English language school in Toronto and a place to live during the six months of his stay there. After some time he met other students, whom he went to live with. When they had to leave and Fabián needed to find someone else to share the apartment with, he remembered a girl he had previously met and her friend and invited them to share the apartment. Later, Fabián had to return to Mexico as his six months had ended.

After returning, he kept in touch with one of the girls who lived with him in Toronto. They wrote often, and one day Fabián told her he was looking for work in Mexico City, but he couldn’t find any there. That girl told him she had found a job at a local newspaper in San Miguel de Allende and they were looking for a designer for a new publication, Qué Pasa. Fabián arrived in San Miguel, joined Atención, and began to work alongside his then friend, Tania Noriz, then a reporter. After some time, he returned to Mexico City, always changing jobs until finally, about five years ago, editor Jesús Ibarra offered him the art director position at Atención. Since then he has worked at the weekly newspaper.

His three passions

Fabián has always loved sports: soccer, basketball, baseball, everything. Although he has never been on a team, he grew up playing with his brother and cousins, who are the same age, until he started learning skateboarding when he was 13 or 14 years old. Since then, there is no one who can get him off the skateboard.

He began his period of rebellion in high school. One day he came home with a ring in his nose and his mother almost wanted to disinherit him. A few years later he came home with his first tattoo, and the reaction of his mother when she saw the permanent drawing that her son had made on his right hand was to be expected.

What began as a tattoo, later on, began to be an attraction to all graphic expressions, and so his body was filled with drawings, phrases, and designs that identified him.

He is also a lover of underground music. He only likes alternative music that contrasts with the common official models as highly recognized bands, but that doesn’t mean that he listens only to metal and heavy music. Among the groups that he enjoys are Tool and Placebo, two completely alternative bands.

A ‘Cool’ Dad

For a person like Fabián, it has been difficult to accept adult life because his social circle has always been younger than he since he arrived in San Miguel.

“I’ve learned to be a dad by punchs, hypothetically,” Fabián said. Being a dad turned his life and his way of living around. He changed his outings with his friends for a day of laughter with his son, began to get up early and take the child to school, and above all changed his ways to be able to educate his son and try (above all things) to be a great example for his little Fabián to follow. “He knows I’m not very stern, but there are things he can do with me and things he can’t do. He is a great kid, with an interesting humor sense and he is very well behaved. I don’t like children misbehaving or acting scandalous and rude,” Fabián added.

Although his role as a father has cost him a lot of work, he also told us that her son is his “carnalito”(little friend). With him he gets along as if they were friends, and at family gatherings, when they get bored, they start making jokes, hitting each other, or passing memes (humorous images) to each other. “He tells me that all his friends tell him that his dad is very cool and relaxed, but most of that, I want him to know he can trust in me, that is something that usually doesn’t happen, kids trusting their parents,” Fabián said.

Testicular Cancer Awareness

Besides living in Mexico City and San Miguel de Allende, Fabián also lived in Mexicali for a year. One day he noticed that something in his body was not normal and went to a doctor, who checked him, and told him not to be alarmed. There was nothing. Days passed and the discomfort did not go away, so he went to get a second opinion from another doctor, who told him that they had to operate immediately. What he had was testicular cancer. The day after the second doctor’s diagnosis, Fabián traveled back to Mexico City for surgery. After the surgery, everyone thought there was nothing left, but after a series of checkups they noticed that the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes in the lower back. He had to undergo chemotherapy for the cancer to shrink so they could operate. His hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes began to fall out, and his body was very weak. After three years of chemotherapy and observation in the Cancerology Institute in Mexico City, there was no more cancer in Fabián’s body. His hair began to grow and so did his desire to continue working.

“It is very important to do check ups, to pay attention to any change it could be. To ask for a different opinion if we are not sure, and to discuss and talk about this kind of diseases which could be taboo. If we don’t talk, how other people will find about this? How can we prevent or attend it better? Testicular cancer is one of the least types of cancers that are talked about. It attacks children and young people, and so parents we need to check our kids specially at the age they start showering by themselves, and of course tell young adults to check if everything is in order.”

For Fabián, life has been a little complicated. He has to live without rules and not follow fashions or statutes and be as he wants to be, as writer Bertrand Russell, who used to said: “contrary to the usual pattern, I’ve gradually become a little more rebellious as I get older.”


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