In honor of our "People" issue, which hit newsstands November 17, New Times proudly presents "100 Creatives," where we feature Miami's cultural superheroes. Have suggestions for future profiles? Let us know in the comments.
#82: Lazaro Rodriguez
Most of soft-spoken photographer Lazaro Rodriguez’s close friends don’t know his story of growing up in Hialeah. He was raised by his grandparents because his parents were incarcerated throughout most of his childhood. He says that although they were “kind of poor,” his relatives always stepped in to make sure he never noticed.
“My aunt would always get me those huge art supply kits kids get,” he remembers of those days. “Later on, I started to believe in myself through art teachers in grade school. [They would] literally scream at me not to waste what I'm good at and try to send me to D.A.S.H. They’d let me skip class in their homerooms to paint things or whatever.”
It was this support and encouragement that got the young Rodriguez uploading his art online and getting noticed. “I was like 16 years old making illustrations of electronic musicians for Russian online magazines,” he says.
Since then, he has published his own zines and had work published by Hamburger Eyes, 8ball, and Miami’s Dale Zine. His work reflects a huge intersection of art and music. His photos have appeared on album covers and apparel for London-based record label Apron. “When I started taking photos, it was all about my favorite bands touring or DJs,” he recalls. “I love music and being so south in Florida. I was always conscious [that the acts might] never come back, so I thought of it as archiving and not necessarily trying to capture something artful. To me, music will leave a bigger impact than art anyway. As I started going out dancing and staying out at clubs, I was meeting all these people in nightlife that I never knew existed and I needed. To me, a club is like the perfect mix of music and art.”
For fun, he says, he likes to “throw techno parties no one goes to," which, as a statement, isn’t entirely true. One huge dance party led to a bit of success for the artist. Rodriquez wrangled one up at the former Wynwood/Allapattah art and music space General Practice, where he would occasionally crash when out of food or money. “The response inspired me to do more parties around Miami at the DuPont Building, Emerson Dorsch Gallery, and with art project Jacqueline Falcone Bed & Breakfast.” It broadened Rodriguez’s circle. His photography and work on club nights show a side of Miami you’ll often not glimpse at mainstream galleries but which are the breathing, sometimes beautiful, sometimes painful parts of this city that help so many creative minds thrive.
List five things that inspire you.
Relaxed people, strip-club flyers, parties, Wolfgang Tillmans, walking everywhere.
What was your last big project?
Earlier this year for Poetry Month, I got the chance to go foraging for wild fruit in Coral Cables and create still-life images at Matheson Hammock, which I had never been to.
What's your next big project?
A series of house parties at Jamboree Lounge.
What do you want Miami to know about you?
I’m an evil Sagittarius.
What don't you want Miami to know about you?
I'll do anything for coins.
What's one thing you want people to know about Miami?
Everyone is a supermodel.
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