In a deadly short span of time, Matt Preira and Dana Bassett of Roofless Records have wrestled the Miami music scene into an affectionate headlock — staging shows at underground spots, releasing strange slabs of vinyl, and being named New Times' Best Record Label of the past year.
And now, the Roofless trustees are pushing their way into the realm of printed matter, looking to give favorite local artists and others some paper love. "We release documents and ephemera that would excite us if we came into contact with them in the wild," Bassett says. "The mandate or driving ethic behind the whole project is the pleasure of curating.
"Generally speaking, the publishing wing will focus on the visual arts," she adds. "But who knows what direction it will take? We're already talking about future editions that, while grounded in gallery culture, will draw heavily from text and maybe blur the lines between genres and mediums a bit."
The current release, however, is the art book I Swear, a limited-edition, 22-page, staple-bound collection of photography, collage, and drawings by Miami-based artist Lazaro Rodriguez. New Times recently spoke with Rodriguez about Greek mythology, his infamous blogging habit, I Swear, and the ominous quality of our city.
New Times: What's your personal approach to photography?
Lazaro Rodriguez: Rarely do I try to set something up, because I find a lot of the time, it comes out looking corny. I have a very casual approach while shooting. My main focus is color and shape as opposed to framing or whatever. If I can zoom in close enough to abstract the subject and blur the shape and wash out the color, then it could work. Shooting the less obvious subject is more interesting because you probably didn't see it in person, but you will see it in the photograph. Like that guy's butt crack or the guy sitting in the dark corner. I see it.
What was your process for selecting the I Swear images?
I shot a bunch of film and sat on it for months until I felt I had a substantial amount of work to edit from. As far as the appropriated images, I was inspired by Greek mythology and body language. I looked through hook-up websites based in Miami, where a lot of the posted photos range from awkward body shots to decadent body positions.
What drew you to the pictures you kept versus the ones you tossed?
There were a couple of images that didn't make the book because Dana and I weren't sure where to place them due to color and tone. I wanted the book to have an ominous Miami mood. That's why there are a lot of nighttime shots. I wanted a lot of red and grain.
How does this book, I Swear, relate to your blog projects Plan2Cry and Everybodywasfeelingfine?
Plan2Cry functions mostly as my personal blog where I post things I draw inspiration from: unfinished work, music, etc. Sometimes I touch on homoeroticism and sexual identity in the punk/alternative scene. Basically, I use it to make straight people feel uncomfortable, whereas the work on Everybodywasfeelingfine is much more final and real. Before it ends up on Everybodywasfeelingfine, it was probably on Plan2Cry. They both work as online portfolios, but Plan2Cry is much more personal.
Is I Swear loaded with any kind of narrative — documentary or otherwise?
No specific narrative. Just eye candy, baby.
OK, last thing: What's the significance of the title?
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
I Swear is a promise to yourself. Who hasn't said, "I swear"?