I am very excited about this interview because believe it or not, although I’ve been calling Miami home for over two years now, Arlene is the first Miami girl I’ve interviewed. Her work speaks for itself. Literally. Which I love. In my eyes, Arlene’s work is a Miami/fast-paced, city girl interpretation of spirituality & achievement; a very cosmopolitan view on self-exploration. Her work is creative, bold and above all, very easy to picture on my walls 🙂 Do yourself a favor, and indulge in some eye candy for your home, check out her gallery over here. Meet this intuitive, self-starting, and kicka** Miami girl!
You are the Founder of Bohemian Riot, you create products that foster a creative and inspirational environment. What or you inspired you to create this dynamic project?
A friend of mine, Kristine Chien, was getting ready to launch her rad online gallery, Two Palms Art Bazaar, and reached out to see if I wanted to be a part of her artist collective. I jumped on the opportunity and worked on expanding the small collection I had already started creating for Bohemian Riot. She was a major catalyst for me.
Bohemian Riot was born out of an innate desire to create. I wanted to design unique prints that don’t take themselves too seriously and make you think, laugh or feel inspired. Artwork that looks good on your wall, but that you can also relate to on a personal level.
“Like my Zen As F*ck print. It’s a bestseller because people can relate.”
I’ve recently started exploring a more mixed-media approach to my work. Currently, I’m working on a new series using some sweet vintage Playboy’s, which explores the complexity of female sexuality. Stay tuned!
What challenges have you encountered along the way to Bohemian Riot and how did you overcome them?
I work full-time as the Art Director of a design studio here in Miami and it was difficult to find the time to create for Bohemian Riot. The biggest challenge to launching was finding my creative flow and implementing a routine that allowed me to capitalize on my time and peak hours of creativity.
Prior to the launch I started waking up at 5am everyday to workout and work on Bohemian Riot for a few hours before getting into work. It was hard at first but once I got into the groove it was smooth sailing. I’m most inspired in the morning so this routine worked perfectly.
Do you have any routines, rituals or practices that help you keep focused and motivated?
I find that when I tap into a state of creative inspiration, focus and motivation follow naturally.
The best way I’ve found to get into a state of flow is by getting into my body and out of my head. Moving and connecting to my body allows me to stop focusing on my over-active mind. Morning exercise is essential. I like to switch it up but I am currently into boot camp and yoga. They give me a nice balance of hardcore intensity and mindful relaxation.
I’ve also been exploring meditation and breath work. Sometimes I use the Headspace app when I’m in the mood to be guided. I recently worked on branding for The 7, Miami’s first meditation studio. When I’m in the mood to be socially anti-social, I go there to meditate with others.
Oh and caffeine in the morning. Copious amounts caffeine. I’m a big fan of yerba matte which gives me the caffeinated high I crave without the crash.
You also do “flower bombing”, tell us a bit about this and what your larger goal is with this project?
Flower Bombs is a guerrilla art initiative I started as an exploration of the karma and power of public art through the use of positive messaging. Using inspirational wheat paste posters and geared with flower dresses and gas masks, my best friend Diamari and I, semi-vandalized Wynwood by posting them throughout the neighborhood.
Art and design give humans a platform for evoking an emotional response in others- which is SO powerful. I used empowering quotes from the tarot,Illustrating the idea that in life experience can always be gleaned from any hand you are dealt.
I love seeing how this style of inspirational messaging has spread since the project’s inception in 2012. Walking through Wynwood now, you almost can’t help but come across poetry and quotes stenciled on the sidewalks and walls. It’s beautiful to see Miami natives using their unique voices to inspire strangers as they casually walk through life.
I’ve been flirting with the idea of bringing Flower Bombs back to life by creating a new unique series of tarot inspired designs and using different mediums such as video to further explore the concept.
What would be the title to a book about your life?
“Juxtaposed: Zen and the Art of Blasphemy” or it could also be “Adventures in Caffeine and Curiosity”.
What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?
If I could give my 20-year-old self some advice it would go something like:
Make sure to be mindful of who you surround yourself with. Always trust your intuition. Work hard. Enjoy more and worry less. Easy on the vodka. More class, less clubbing. Relax and trust the timing of your life.”
Are you living your dream life?
As human beings, we never stop becoming. Evolving. Life is a continual process of arrival into who we are. I have an impulse for continual growth and rarely feel self-satisfied which drives me to continue to explore different aspects of who I am and who I want to be.
Daniel Gilbert from the book Stumbling Happiness said it well: “Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.” The key, I find then, is to be content with where I am in the present moment while not being too self-satisfied to stunt my own growth.
From my current vantage point when I look back, I can see that I’ve come into being many of the things my past self, planned out to be. But now an entirely new set of dreams and aspirations have presented themselves and so the process continues.
So I AM living my dream life yet simultaneously I am not. Not in an ultimate sense.
Your choice of:
Soul Purpose by Nightmares On Wax
Havana, Cuba. The textures and colors of the buildings, the salt in the air, the loud vivacious people. Feels like home.
An inspiring woman in history
My mother. She migrated from Cuba to the states in the 80’s during the Mariel Boatlift when she was 18 years old with nothing but the clothes on her back. Through hard work and determination, she became a licensed Customs Broker and started her own successful business over 10 years ago. She’s such a girl boss.