Boheme Me started as a way for Desirée R Luedecke to continue her lifelong expression through artistic works and has quickly transformed into a gathering place and inspiration well for like-minded creative individuals to gather, discuss, and share not only their support of the brand itself but also each other. Desirée has curated a welcoming community of artists and free-spirits who are not just engaged on a social media platform, but who are also extending that engagement into their daily working and creative personas.
But Boheme Me hasn’t stopped there, not by a long shot. The perfectly picked title of the company has lent itself to the inevitable expansion that Desirée has always had an inkling she was destined for. A way to share, connect with, and inspire her audience by shining her authentic light with honesty, love, and creativity. The upcoming 2019 Summer Solstice Collection will include a variety of art mediums for every person and price range, from printed photography, hand fashioned jewelry, repurposed fashion, and so much more. To say the brand is eclectic would be an understatement. The brand and it’s creator have expertly weaved a tapestry of all that is wild and free as seen through the lens of Desirée’s life experience and artistic touch.
I had the honor to discuss some behind the scenes details with Desirée to allow people to see the finer workings of all the dots that connected to this point which allow Desirée the opportunity to boldly step in the direction her soul has been guiding her all along. I also had the privilege to get a sneak peek of what her newly updated site and business will have to offer upon the release. I will include photos of my personal favorite pieces, too.
What is your favorite animal(s) & why?
This has always been tough for me to answer because I have a love for (mostly) all animals, but I’d have to say there’s a smaller handful, the inner group, that have been reoccurring in one way or another throughout my life. I later learned these are my animal totems and each one takes turns being my spirit animal- but they are (in no specific order)- Owl, Wolf, Lioness, Bear, Bison.
What is your favorite color?
This answer changes in its own seasons because I truly believe each color brings with it a certain energy, but right now it’s vintage yellow, almost like mustard or the captions of an old film from the 70’s. But it’s hard to pick just one. I’m also drawn to musty pinks and greens right now, too. I’ll always have a strong connection to rich reds, too. Think terra cotta or the color of the desert.
What is your favorite number/numbers?
Hands down, my favorite number is 13. My birthday is on July 13th (yep, I’m a Cancer Sun, Gemini Moon) and I’ve just always had a connection to it. It’s another one of those things that pop up throughout my life. For an example, I ended up having 13 people come to my 13th birthday party on the 13th of July. Or certain things end up happening on the 13th of a month or whatever. That kind of stuff. I always found it funny that the number that most people are scared of throughout history is the one number I’m drawn to the most. It’s like that with full moon’s too. While most people are freaking out and feeling weird, I feel the most like myself during those times. Funny, right?
What does your art express, for you?
Well, it’s nothing I can put fully into words so I put it into art and that’s the beauty of it, right? It’s in the eye of the beholder. However, I hope that my art brings with it a sense of freedom, awareness, creative inspiration, a little wild, a dash of hope and a reminder to spend some time outdoors. Because it’s important.
I also hope to get real close and personal, breathing new life into the very parts of my viewers that they maybe haven’t looked at in a while. Because those parts matter more than we realize.
What draws you/motivates you to create art? Do you have an underlying message or is it a further form of self-expression? Or both, or neither?
I’ve been creating art since as young as I can remember. On my 30th birthday (and every consecutive year to follow, so far) my mom has been giving me some of my old drawings and art projects from when I was super young and it’s been fun to look back and measure or gauge my talent back then. Like “wow… not bad, kid” haha!
I had a slightly rough childhood growing up. My parents got divorced when I was 3 years old. And being the youngest of 4 (5 if you also count my mom’s niece who was like an adopted sister during my toddler years) I assumed a role at the bottom of the importance list. My little brain decided that my problems weren’t as necessary to be heard because everyone else was already hurting or going through something of their own, so how could they help me too, you know? So I grew up always trying to be the one to make sure everyone else was happy, even though my own needs still weren’t getting met. I must have just followed my intuition to start creating art as an outlet to -kind of- work out whatever I was going through.
I didn’t see it a lot in my younger works, but as I began to grow over the years, I could see more of my character coming through whether it was a drawing, a collage, a photograph or a song I’d written- what have you. I could see the underlying messages, the raw, unfinished edges left on purpose or the sad eyes drawn over and over again. I knew I was harboring a lot of pain but I wasn’t sure how to express it as I got older because I had never really practiced any form other than art in my younger years. I did the hard work in my late twenties and up to the present moment still, of learning other healthy ways to communicate and build a stronger me, so now I hope to create art that gives hope to the hopeless, joy to the joyless, a sense of inner wild that we all still harbor inside each and every one of us, and of course, the encouragement to just keep going. Our stories aren’t over until they’re over and we don’t have to remain in a victim mentality.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A lot of it comes from nature. I feel that because of my situation growing up, I spent a lot of my childhood adventuring outside and I have a true, deep connection to nature because of it. I believe that all the answers we will ever seek can be found in nature if we just know how to listen. I’m a nostalgic old-soul at my core so I have an inner motivation to see the tradition of being “at one” with your environment being revived and revisited daily if not at least on the regular. I honestly believe the link between depression and anxiety and the amount of time that person spends barefoot outside should be studied and results shared. There’s no sneaking around it- we are spiritual beings having a human experience. We are meant to be out in our natural habitats. Too much fluorescent lighting and cubicle walls are what’s killing most of our spirits. So my spirit offers winks and nods to the spirit of each and every person viewing my art. A nudge, if you will, to explore more of your existence. Because I can guarantee you, there is more to you than you think.
What is your current favorite medium for artistic expression? Does it change?
Right now, I definitely feel a larger pull toward digital collages and handmade jewelry. I was putting my collection together for this Summer Solstice release and I found myself coming up more dry in the fashion department (which is abnormal) yet my ideas for jewelry kept coming in like a zip-line. It is constantly changing, however. And that was part of my problem when it came time to decide what sort of business I wanted to start with selling my art. I couldn’t pick just one medium, because I was raised to explore them all, so I express myself through all of them. I always seem to come back to photography and design, though. At least for now. Who knows in a couple more years. I might be rejuvenated in singing and songwriting again.
What are your influences and how do you find they manifest themselves in your work?
Oh boy, what a can of worms. Here we go:
The Who: Annie Leibovitz is one, when it comes to the camera. I appreciate her methods of portrait and journalism photography while creating a whole new world within her conceptual images. I often find myself wondering if I’ve gone too far, and I think upon another one of her portraits and resolve to taking a deep breathe and continuing forward. Jeffrey Eugenides and Tom Waits when it comes to writing. I appreciate their ability to look beyond the expected and produce something with quality and relevancy from a very personal perspective. I believe that is very effective in art. Vera Wang when it comes to fashion design. She’s made a business out of perfecting a balance between elegance and originality. I can appreciate that. For theatrics, I must mention yet again, Tom Waits, but also among the best, Bjork, Eugene Hutz (of Gogol Bordello), and dare I say- Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell, Cher and the Jackson 5. There is talent present in all cases. Fate took different routes for each, yet I draw inspiration from all these and more in different ways.
The What: Nature (as we’ve established). The wild. The unreserved. The parts of us that are screaming from the inside, but we repress to our greatest ability so that we may not have to feel anything while we continue the daily hustle. I hope to shed light on that daily hustle. And how unimportant it really is in the grand scheme of things. Even as I sit here, a new business owner and entrepreneur, I will not/can not allow myself to think the hustle is more important than the journey it’s taking me on as I work through this whole thing. The journey is where the lessons rests and there’s no avoiding it.
The When: I’m drawn to different times and eras in our history of being alive. From the primal, tribal days of my Native American and Irish ancestors to the fashion and art of the roaring 20’s, the wild abandon of the 70’s and so on. I hold true to the notion that if we neglect to remember our past, we will be destined to repeat it. I’m oddly drawn to the stories in history that seem almost too bazaar or far-fetched, yet some type of evidence proves it’s very existence. It’s just a nod to the magic our earth and the people in it can and do have. I try to offer nods to different eras in my work, as well.
How do you include your personal values in your art?
I hope that I’m passing on a hint as to how to look past the current presented situation, see beyond the surface, and allow your inner creativity to create resolutions to current problems. We tend to over complicate things when all the solution really needs is a good night of journaling and an awakened morning with new potential. We don’t always allow space for that in our daily practices and I think that’s the answer more often than not.
If you could choose the message that people take away from your art, what would it be?
To never exchange your creativity for the mundane, never choose normalcy over the ability to innovate and create, and always believe in the power of natural forces to direct the course of your life. At the risk of sounding completely ridiculous, I truly do stand by my words. Think about it.
How did you know you were meant to create art?
Maybe it’s better if I say I knew I wasn’t meant for anything other than creating art and going my own direction when I found that it was extremely difficult to work under employers who assumed to know better than me, but in all actuality, did not. (I feel the need to preface that my current boss doesn’t fit under this category. In fact, I can unequivocally say that he is the best boss I’ve ever had up to this point.) As strange as it sounds, I’ve always had this inner knowing about me, and I knew when it was working, and I knew when it wasn’t. Goodness, don’t I know how conceited that sounds, but I say it regardless of the repercussions because it’s the truth. I’ve always blazed my own path, as hard as that’s been up to this point. Not that there’s anything wrong with disagreeing with your boss, but I was finding myself in situations where I was being put under a glass ceiling whether I liked it or not, simply because being creative wasn’t in my job description and it felt like a living hell. So I had to find a way to work really hard at a part time job so that I could also invest time and energy into starting my own business. It’s been a long journey, and it’s not over yet, but at least now I can begin to see the light waiting at the end of the tunnel.
What are some barriers you feel that you face in your art? From any point in the creative process to the finished product.
Are we being honest? Okay. Then I’ll say… I find that because I’m not the cookie-cutter face with the cookie-cutter lifestyle blog, that it works against me, but I’m finding the more and more that I connect with my tribe, the more that doesn’t matter as much. Considering I spend most of my time trying to reach out to people on instagram, the algorithm absolutely works against me, but what can you do? Honestly, the people that are meant to find me will find me. But it’s definitely a barrier in our current age and society, that it isn’t a fair playing field for valuable content offered online. I wish my reach was further for the sole purpose of spreading positivity and a light into someone’s day. Because that’s what it’s all about. Living our best lives.
Outside of the online outreach hindrances, I would probably also say for me, it’s tough to sometimes navigate between all of my different medium passions. For the longest time I felt it was working against me because I was always told “you have to pick one and go with it” so I tried to start a photography business early on, but learned quick that I wasn’t a fan of having to cater to clients who didn’t know the first thing about artistic expression. They were wanting family portraits from Sears and I was giving them beautiful lifestyle shots before they were even the next popular trend in photography. I was getting annoyed at the brides who would hire me to photograph their wedding, cover me in compliments after seeing my body of work, but then once the day arrived, they would pester me the whole time instead of just trusting me to do my job. I mean I get it. But I found out early on that I didn’t want to deal with that kind of stress in my art.
So I put down photography for a while, began to perform more out at Universal Studios Orlando. I was acting in one of the shows and occasionally for seasonal events I was stilt walking. I loved those days of performing and I’ll always look back fondly, but after a while I knew that even that sort of work wasn’t going to sustain me forever. Especially when I continued to rotate between picking up a paintbrush, a pencil or my camera, or a pair of scissors or whatever! The need to create something out of nothing was a part of my very being. It was in my bones and I finally learned to start listening. I allowed that voice to speak loud for many years. “You have to pick one. You have to pick one”. Then one day I finally said to myself, “You know what. Just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it can’t be done.” So in the fashion of blazing trails whether I liked it or not, I began the long process of figuring out just how Boheme Me LLC would look, operate and hopefully begin to make me some income as well.
What does your creative process look like, from start to finish? If other artists were to want to follow in your footsteps, what would be a good template for them to follow?
More #realtalk, but here we go. Lately, my drive has been to create new content for my online tribe who look to me for creativity and inspiration. But let’s be honest, we can’t give from an empty cup, so when it comes time to refill my own inspiration I do a small number of things:
1) I go outside. Big surprise. I know. But in all honesty, even if it means sometimes lathering on the insect repellant, it’s worth it to be amidst the chirping bugs and open air. We live by a river that I frequently take a canoe down. It’s peaceful and really helps to clear your mind.
2) I take mental note to what I’m feeling. I don’t allow an awkward energy to pass without my mental acknowledgement. This is so important in life in general. Check in with where you are and what you’re feeling. It’s the difference between a blowout fight and a peaceful night. Mark my words.
3) I try to determine which medium is calling out to me the most in that moment. Sometimes I know I just need to write. And write and write and write until I can’t write anymore, but other times I know it’s time to create a new wall art piece, or another digital collage. The key is just to listen to whatever you think your body is trying to tell you, and go with it. I also allow nature to speak to me in these moments, as well. If I come across a beautiful piece of driftwood while at the beach, or a beautiful, solid branch gets expelled from the large trees in our yard, I take it as a sign. The universe guiding me toward my next piece of art.
On a more practical side, I’ve learned over the years the importance of setting schedules and making sure I get all of my other necessary obligations taken care of first. I know that sounds ridiculous, but in all honesty, if I could just spend every single day, all day, creating art, I would be content forever. Show me a studio filled with all the art supplies one could dream of and I’d show you what a hermit truly looks like. Since this is quite impractical, I’ve had to learn how to balance work/home/art life. It’s a constant work in progress.
How do you know when a piece is complete?
What a beautiful question. I look at it for a prolonged period of time and finally come to realize that the well of inspiration for that particular piece has finally run dry. For some pieces, it’s within hours and others, it’s years. You think I’m kidding? Then clearly, you haven’t met the Dream Fish. I started working on the Dream Fish back in 2015 when I first decided that I was going to try and turn Boheme Me into an actual business, only he’s just recently gotten his finishing touches added and here we are, some 4 years later. That’s just the process and you have to learn to trust it.
Are there any art pieces you keep for yourself that you do not want to sell or share with the public?
Interesting you mention this. I keep every single one of my pieces for an undisclosed amount of time before I finally feel a release to offer it as an art piece for sale. For me, when I create these pieces, it comes from a place needed within, so when I’m finally beyond a season and they go up for sale, I truly believe whoever needs similar energy or inspiration for their own current stage in life, they will find it in these pieces. So in essence, I guess you could say that I’m not only an artist, but a healer and energy worker, as well.
Where can your art be purchased? What are price ranges for your pieces? How often will new products be released?
Right now, my work is exclusively offered through BohemeMe.com, where you can also subscribe to be a part of the Boheme Me online community through Instagram and Facebook. Eventually, special deals will be offered through all outlets at various times. Because so much energy, time and effort goes into some of my fine art pieces, my prices vary from affordable jewelry and accessories to curated fine art and everywhere in between. The point is to remember; if a piece speaks to you, listen. Because it has more to say.
How do you include an awareness of being environmentally friendly/earth conscious in your work?
Oh, this is such a relieving topic for me. Relieving because it makes me so excited to know how much awareness is being spread to start to think consciously about our living environments. But also a challenge because I know how much I still could change in my daily habits to be better aware of this. Still though, I try to remain honorable. In my Frayed Fashion line, I start with quality, gently used garments to reimagine and turn into wearable art. In my Shewolf Jewelry line, I hunt the craft stores for the leather scraps. I hold strong to the belief that every part of the animal should be put to good use, and since the deed has already been done in such instances, at least I’m honoring that animal in this way. I hunt for fabric scraps, bead scraps, vintage brooches or pendants, anything left behind and forgotten by the trends to be reimagined by me. Some beads or accessories I hold on to for years until I finally feel a release (much like my finished pieces) to include them into my art.
Because my inspiration comes in seasons, it would only make sense for my collections to be released every change of the season, as well. That’s why we celebrate this 2019 Boheme Me Summer Solstice Collection, but soon enough, we’ll be enjoying the 2019 Autumn Equinox release. My emotions have always been a huge part of my journey in this life. I think it was high time I began to honor that by setting myself up with a schedule that helps me reflect that fluidity because we can honestly learn a lot from the cycles of nature. The releasing and the new growth. I also have a few exciting things to come mid-season. Different collaborations with other artists and collections that will offer a percentage of the earnings to go toward some important organizations that are doing some amazing social and environmental work.
To see more of Desirée’s work and to view her website, visit BohemeMe.com or check out her Instagram for daily inspiration and connection with the community she has built. All pieces listed here, and more, will be available for purchase through her website beginning after the official launch this Friday, Summer Solstice.