The Beginner: Adam Boehmer

Photo by Megumi Shauna Arai


While Adam Boehmer was in college atthe University of Central Florida, one of his art teachers had his class work within a circle of easels. The students cycled around the room, simultaneously drawing a series of still lifes.

“The idea is that you’d bring something from each drawing to the other,” Boehmer says. “That’s how I started thinking about art in general.”

Boehmer writes poems about his visual art—“found-object sculptural stuff” like a wooden railroad tie painted with a swatch of gold leaf or a white sheet leading to a passageway carved from a blackberry bramble at this year’s NEPO 5K art walk. Boehmer’s poems—impressionistic free verse—become songs. He performs his songs as Tenderfoot, typically a quiet acoustic folk outfit that lately has veered into punk songs.

“The whole idea of Tenderfoot is being a beginner,” he says. “You’re always a beginner no matter what you’re working on. You’re pushing through the thing you’re scared of to the next iteration of yourself.”

At the end of December, Boehmer decamped to a “desert casita” outside Taos, N.M., to ready his first poetry manuscript for an as-yet undetermined publisher. In January, he’s hosting the fourth installment of Bedroom Eyes, a series of intimate shows in which he invites bands to play on his bed in his Central District studio. This one, Boehmer says, will have a new addition. “I decided I’m no longer gonna have a dining room table, I’m just gonna have a standup piano.”

In five months, after Boehmer has completed his degree in graphic design at Seattle Central, he’ll have made an online literary journal and men’s magazine as class projects. And until then? Being compulsive, Boehmer says, doesn’t have to have a negative connotation: “I don’t wanna ever have a good idea go unexplored.”

Age 33
Hometown Jacksonville, Fla.
Current Obsession 
St. Vincent and Perfume Genius
Karaoke Song “Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding, sung in an old man voice
Least Likely Influence The color pink

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