LAZARO AMARAL | his Art, Music & Life- so far
by Herb Sosa & Teresa Penichet
photos by Rafael Canton
Miami Senior High School in the early 80's was a hotbed
of activity, controversy & creativity.
The Mariel boatloft happened - On April 20, 1980, the
Castro regime announces that all Cubans wishing to
emigrate to the U.S. are free to board boats at the port of
Mariel west of Havana, launching the Mariel Boatlift.
Approximately 125,000 Cubans arrived at the United States'
shores in about 1,700 boats, creating large waves of
people that overwhelmed the U.S. Coast Guard. Upon their
arrival, many Cubans were placed in refugee camps under
I-95 and in the former Orange Bowl - site of today's Marlins
Stadium. Many of the kids ended up at Miami High - a new
kind of Cuban. Stressing an already over-capacity school
and system. Dressing, sounding and thinking different.
The Beatles' John Lennon is shot to death in December
of 1980 by Mark David Chapman outside of his New York
apartment. United States–and 65 other countries - boycott
the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, Soviet Union. It
was a protest against the Soviet War in Pakistan in 1979.
Lazaro Amaral happened - He, along with an extremely
talented, outrageous and savvy bunch took over all things
creative. Juana, Lisa my Dear, Betty Too Much, Milton.
Mr West, Ms. Hancock & Ms Dee.
Fashion in the student parking lot. Over the top sets and
performances in the amazing 1,200 seat theatre. Partying
at Fire & Ice. Runway at and around Salvation all night.
Horizons for after hours, then school in the morning.
I was in awe of them, and of Lazaro in particular... Larger
than life talent that reflected in his artwork, murals and
swag. The first time my art teacher compared me to him,
I felt I was not worthy. Too much to live up to. Too much to
carry and accomplish.
Years later, Lazaro has left me in the dust, and I couldn't
be prouder. Proud of his accomplishments. Proud of his
never-ending creativity and talent. Proud to still call him my friend after all this time.
I recently sat down with Lazaro with the hopes of getting him involved in my upcoming 6th annual Celebrate ORGULLO Hispanic LGBT
Pride Festival, and to talk about, well, HIM. Fortunately, he said YES to ORGULLO - we will feature his studio as part of an Artists Studio
Tour on Sept 16th in Miami. Even more fortunate was that he agreed to let me interview him. Surrounded by color, vintage vinyl, fashion,
silkscreens, superheroes, and his cat...this is how it went.
Describe your average workday.
I usually start my day at 4;30 a.m. It takes me about 45 minutes to get up .Then I’m at the gym by 6:30 a.m. Then I go and pick up my mom
and run some errands for her. By 1:00p.m. I’m at my studio in North Miami. To start my responsibilities of having a store/studio. Go to bed
by 10:p.m. That’s a typical day M-F.
What is your earliest memory of being an artist?
Getting the soundtrack for Yellow Submarine in 1969 and
trying to draw The Beatles like in the cover of record.
As a child Peter Max was my
Then my art teacher in 4th
grade turned me on to Velvet
Underground and the album that
Andy Warhol did for them, and
that changed my world! I was an
Andy freak until I meet him in
1978 at U.M. at a show he did
He was a very disappointing
person to meet. But then in 1985
I meet Peter Max in New York
at Parsons the school that I was
going to at the time. He was
How has running your own studio & gallery influenced
your work? What have you learned from this?
It’s really all about how much you have to promote
yourself and what you create and what you are capable
of creating under pressure -is what I have learned. You
have to do everything yourself so you have to think on
how do I support myself and my work space. It has not been easy considering that I can’t work in a 9 to 5 job. You have to get out there
and make people know what you can offer to make a living out of benign creative. I discovered in the 90’s that being a story board artist in
Florida was very profitable to me -Since I can illustrate so fast!. So for almost 20 years I was the top story board artist in Dade County.
Made a very good living! But then ‘07came around and the financial world collapsed. I was affected immediately! So I had to start finding
other kinds of art related work. I started getting more into being a instructor in silk screening. It was slow but I’m still teaching and story
Do you have a preferred medium or materials? Why?
Silk screening is one of my mediums but really it depends on the project , I can change or learn a new one.
If I could, I would create a mural on my building in North Miami if the city ever starts letting building owners to do a mural on them!
Other than art & design, what are some of your other passions?
Music! Records! Traveling to Key West! Going to Beach! Eating!
Tell us about your ink, and which has the most meaning to you, and why.
Honestly, it’s vanity! I started my tattoo's back in 1982 in San Francisco. I did it because it was not a popular thing to do back then.
But I loved them! Total vanity!
3 things you can’t live without. Oatmeal , espresso , the gym .
Favorite food? Breakfast!
What is it like to live with a creative person as yourself? Its like riding a
roller coaster! You make up your own mind on what that means!
When someone sees my work, I hope they feel______________?
Like opening their wallets and giving me money for my art!
What should someone expect when they enter your studio?
To be ready to create!
Lazaro Amaral - store/studio
1675 n.e. 123 street
North Miami Fla. 33181
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