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For an antidote to the exclusivity that drives much of Miami Art Week, consider a trip to the Dale Zine shop in the city’s Little River neighbourhood. Apart from offering scores of limited-edition, DIY publications at affordable prices (as well as books, clothing, home goods and more), the store hosts offbeat exhibitions and other programming you won’t need a First Choice VIP card to access, including a permanently installed 2018 painting by Jeffrey Cheung, the Bay Area artist, zine publisher and skateboard maker, that barely escaped the wrecking crew.

Cheung has become known in indie circles for his whimsical, uplifting works celebrating queer love, gender-nonconformity and intersectionality. His painting at the Dale Zine shop is a prototypical example: multiple androgynous figures, each rendered in a different colour, curl against one another, grinning, next to the inscription “Trans rights are human rights!!!” Originally painted on the exterior of the store’s first location, it had to be transplanted, Banksy-style, after gentrification forced Dale Zine to relocate.

Kelly Breez created Dirt’s Dive, an installation memorialising Miami’s disappearing dive bars, currently on view at the Faena Art Project Room

Singing the mural’s praises is Kelly Breez, the Miami artist behind Dirt’s Dive, an installation memorialising the city’s disappearing dive bars, on view at the Faena Art Project Room.

The Art Newspaper: Can you tell me a little about this painting’s backstory?

Kelly Breez: Jeffrey Cheung is this really great artist who runs Unity Skateboards. He was doing an event at the original Dale Zine shop and he painted an extemporaneous mural that became this cool fixture on the front of the store. When the space was going belly-up, Dale Zine took it off the wall and I mounted it on wood for them. Now it’s in their new shop in Little River.

What happened to the original location?

It was at this awesome, open-air mall downtown, called the 777 Mall in its glory days. It used to be a bunch of studios but it got totally steamrolled by a bunch of tech bros, like so much of downtown.

What are you drawn to in Cheung’s work?

First of all, I just really love his style. It’s very line drawing-based; it can be kind of airbrushy. Everything is very figure-based, with a bunch of people all crowded together in this very fun, not self-conscious way. He just goes for it. Dirt’s Dive is very much about things that have no ego. Everyone who’s hanging out at a dive bar isn’t worried about their status. Jeffrey Cheung’s work is kind of like that.

Was it a big production to extract the painting from the old building?

I was ready to show up with all my tools and hack the shit out of it, but it ended up being super easy to remove. I don’t think they realised it was just on this board that popped right off the wall. I took it to my studio, put some not-super-scientific backing onto it, and took it [to the new location]. We were lying on the floor, we figured out where we wanted the painting to go, and that was that.

How often do you go back to Dale Zine?

My studio is basically right next to it. I had a studio in Allapattah that was the absolute best but also hell on earth, because I didn’t have air conditioning and at 4pm it was full of mosquitoes. I’m just another artist in Miami where the property I was renting got sold to a developer, and my shit had to be out super fast; it was a nightmare. The people at Little River very kindly stuffed me in the last space.

As well as selling affordable books, clothing and home goods, Dale Zine hosts offbeat exhibitions

Is it going to be weird if people read this interview, go to the shop and say, “Ignore me, I’m just here to see the painting”?

Oh, no; Dale Zine has insanely nice people! They’re the opposite of gatekeepers and make people feel super comfortable; it’s super fun to go there and just hang out. It’s a really pretty space; you can mosey around the shop for an hour reading all the titles and just chill.

Interview by Tim Schneider

Dale Zine, 7395 NW Miami Place, Little River, Miami

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