| February 12, 2010 | 5:00pm
Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.
To my unfocused eyes and deranged mind, this flyer wasn't just a paper advertisement for some inevitably awesome show. At the time, it looked like the symbological key to a psychedelic netherworld. Those three goth-y faces, the double snakes, and that triangular gloam getting sucked into a squiggly vortex ... It all spoke of satan, poison snacks, and fuzz tone.
Long story short: I locked myself in a dark closet with eight black candles, a Ouija board, and a ceremonial steak knife. The plan was raising the dead, making friends, then partying with them. But instead I fell asleep.
When I woke up a few hours later, I felt dumb. So I texted Johnny Saraiva, the conjurer of this design and lead singer for Lil Daggers
, to see whether there was any reality to my irrational interpretation of his art.
New Times: Are there secret symbols and subliminal messages hidden in the supertextured surface of this thing?
Johnny Saraiva: There are not. If there were though, I don't believe I'd reveal them.
No, probably not.
I do enjoy that sort of thing. Inside jokes especially.
In any case, I think my mind's just reading smudges and artifacts as something more meaningful.
It's probably the most valuable evolutionary advantage we have ... Giving things meanings.
Is there a tight concept behind this flyer design? Or are we just looking into a chaotic mind?
Most of the time, the end product is not even close to what I intend to make when I start. And in all honesty, I can't even remember what the original concept was. I start putting things together, keeping what I like and discarding what I don't, till I feel I have something interesting. That process pretty much applies to all my creative projects.
Who are these three face-painted freaks? They all look vaguely familiar.
Well, the man on each side is the same individual. It's a mirrored image of a young Elvis Presley. The woman in the middle is a young Celia Cruz. The King of Rock 'n' Roll and the Queen of Salsa.
Did you go to art school?
Nah, fuck art school. The way I see it, art school is nothing more than another financial institution out for a profit. There's nothing you learn there that you can't learn on your own.
So do you make much art outside of Lil Daggers promo materials? Like prints, photos, zines?
I used to be a lot more dedicated to that sort of thing. I have worked with photography, shot a lot of bands in the hardcore and punk scene between 2001 and 2004. I worked on a few zines throughout the years. And I've done a lot of design work for a lot of bands, including a few of my own.
What I was really into was street art, as much as I hate the term. I did a lot of stencils and wheat paste.
And what made you lose interest in that stuff?
I wouldn't say I lost interest, but lost the amount of free time necessary. And I guess I'm not as bold and brave as I was. The justice system isn't as lenient toward 26-year-old vandals, compared to some high school punk.
Did you ever get busted for painting and pasting in the streets?
Lucky, I have not. Plenty of close calls. Thank goodness for dark alleyways.
A dark alley can be a safe zone.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.