We know the image. Groups of people sitting around a coffee shop, restaurant, or crowded train all looking at the same thing: their phones. Faces lit up by the familiar white glare, this is the image of the modern person getting their dose of current events and pop culture. There is something to say, though, for the desire to take in more art while we’re skimming Instagram over a morning coffee. And while newspapers and magazines are making heavy shifts toward the digital realm, indie prints are actually making a huge comeback. Miami’s own local presses aren’t an exception.
Exile Books has long-since been a not-so-silent warrior leading the pack in the battle for print art. What started as a pop-up book shop for several years eventually gathered enough support to hold a space of its own in Little Haiti. The experimental artist’s bookstore and project space is home to many exhibitions, lectures, releases, and workshops in hopes of advancing the circulation of art as a hub for independent publishing in Miami.
Photo: Nonprofit Central
They of course are behind the highly popular Miami Zine Fair which has drawn hundreds of independent local and national prints to South Florida for the past five years. Popping up in different locations around town and always in the spring, the fair has been taking place at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex for the past two years and has gained a serious cult following along the way. This weekend in fact, they are welcoming the launch of the Radiator Comics pop-up shop through until September with their inventory of handmade and small press comic books all focusing on self-expression and storytelling.
Photo: EXILE Books
Another great purveyor of independent art and published prints local to Miami is Dale Zine. Based out of their flagship store in the multi-purpose artist space in Downtown Miami’s 777 Mall, they are all about getting to know our city’s independent voices in a fun friendly environment through the most low-key format ever, the zine. From kids workshops and an independent radio show, to national and international collaborations with some of the industry’s biggest entities and Miami’s influential cultural institutions. They’re strong force in the movement and you can purchase original and featured works here.
Photo: Miami New Times
While Miami’s culture is primarily focused within a central urban core, there are actually some strong entities making sure the west sees just as much of the fun as we do. Case in point: the kind souls behind the West Kendall Zine Fest. Three years ago, José Atencio, owner of Milly’s Empanada Factory, and friends Bryan Herrero and Andre Alvarez decided they wanted to give culture vultures a reason to head out west. Over time, the zine fest has expanded three-fold and features dozens of South Florida’s finest print artists for an epic day in The 88. Keep an eye out around April for their next gathering.
Expanding out of Miami, the zine culture is strong up in Fort Lauderdale with the Small Press Fair (SPF) happening since 2016 every fall in FATVillage. Not only is their branding dope (as you would imagine), but they truly have their hand on what makes small press so darn special. They’re not only a market, but all year around they’re a platform for the regional print-making, book-making and zine-making community. Like most epic events, it doesn’t just feature one thing. Aside from the awesome collection of small print art, they have creation stations, a live music stage, demos and so much more. November can’t come soon enough!
Photo: sarah michelle rupert
Cover photo: Miami New Times