A notably mercurial figure, local artist Lazaro Rodriguez lives in a world of cigarettes and shadows, beer and hot tubs, Gucci Mane, puppy dogs, gay beefcakes, and breakdancing on the beach. Until now, he's mined that sprawling territory and more for his blogs, "Plan2Cry" and "everybodywasfeelingfine." This Friday, though, Rodriguez dips into the underworld of printed matter with the release of his new Roofless Publishing art book, I Swear, a limited-edition, 22-page, staple-bound collection of photography, collage, and drawing.
A couple of days ago, New Times spoke with Rodriguez about Greek mythology, his infamous blogging habit, the book, 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 exactly 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 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?
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No specific narrative. Just eye candy, baby.
OK. Last thing: What's the significance of the title?
I Swear is a promise to yourself. Who hasn't said, "I swear"?
The release of Lazaro Rodriguez's I Swear. Friday, July 30. The End, 4141 NE Ave., Suite 202, Miami. Read a related interview with Roofless Publishing's Dana Basset. The party starts at 8 p.m. and there's no cover. Visit rooflessrex.com.