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Where Inspiration Comes From

People often ask me, “What inspires you and your art?” At that moment, people expect me to say something like “Picasso, Warhol, or Dali.”

Although the great masters of the past inspire me, their art doesn’t inspire me at all.

Oh, sure, I may grab some ideas from here or there because I find something fascinating in the art. However, when it comes to inspiration, the things that inspire me have more to do with life than the products of life.

Let me explain.

What we create always comes from inside of us. It comes from that place where we absorb the world around us. It’s the stuff of life. Although just about every creative endeavor you witness expresses the artist’s journey, it is their interpretation. In fact, when you resonate with a work of art, it is because you have written your own narrative for it. It’s a beautiful thing. At that moment, the art becomes a collaboration between you and the artist. Ultimately, the artist sees one thing, and you may see something totally different. You see an image that may symbolize a moment in time in your life, but you can never really put yourself in the artist’s shoes. The art then becomes something even more powerful and transcends into synergy.

Recently Klee and I took a long road trip to Illinois for my daughter’s wedding. It had been two years or even longer, since we had seen anyone in the family (due to the year that shall not be named, and pandemic).

We were excited. That being said, there was also a good amount of mental preparation. Obviously, anyone with a family knows that sometimes you will have to deal with some quirkiness that is unique to your family dynamic.

Those things, those conversations, those smiles, those interactions, those quiet conversations, those heated moments, that laughter, the sadness, and all of it, are part of the stuff of life. All of it is part of what inspires us. These are the things that can knock us down or pick us up. These are the things that show us the lessons of who we are or what we want to be. These things allow us to overcome or fall flat on our faces.

These are the things that inspire my art.

It’s not Picasso’s art. It’s Picasso’s life that I’m fascinated by. Art is simply an expression of how he looked at the world. How ANY artist sees the world. It is merely an expression of how they saw the things that we can all take for granted.

In this world of hustle and being busy, it’s easy to let life pass us by. It’s easy to forget the little moments. It’s easy to look at the destination and forget the journey altogether.

Inspiration surrounds us. It comes from those moments of overcoming. It comes from those moments of absolute joy, and it comes from those moments of heartache. This is what inspires innovation and creativity. Many of us believe that we have to think our way through things. That we have to figure this or that out. But in reality, thinking doesn’t really get us anywhere. Usually, we exhaust ourselves by overthinking and take a break from it, that’s when feelings finally get their say and the solution comes to us. This is inspiration.

Feelings are powerful. Most people try to suppress or hide their feelings, yet feelings express our ultimate truth. So, if you’ve ever been taught to hide your feelings, it means that you’ve been taught to hide who you are, your authentic self, and the way you process and see the world. We have been led to believe that our feelings make us vulnerable, yet only in that vulnerability can we find our strength. It takes vulnerability to truly fall in love with life, yourself, and other humans.

Ultimately, at the end of the day, the things that inspire me are the things that I get to experience. Only because I allowed myself to be there fully in my feelings and not question the moment with brain chatter.

Things like watching my beautiful daughter walk down the aisle. That is a lovely moment in time. That is something that will inspire my art. In fact, I’m planning on creating work specifically for them based on my interpretation of that beautiful day.

There are so many things in life that we can focus on. I feel like sometimes we’re trained to focus on the things that really, ultimately, at the end of the day, don’t matter. What really matters is the fact that right now, you are breathing.

You are experiencing life and feeling your way through it right now.

So if your focus is on something that ultimately doesn’t matter, that may mean you’re stuck in your head.

I suggest just being out of your mind. That is where I like to spend most of my time. There’s no better place to be for true inspiration.

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Dear Naysayers , The Rogue Artist Books Are Number 1 On Amazon

I am so stoked to announce that my books have been released and we hit number 1 in the business of art! As you may already know, back in 2019 I faced a creative fear and put out my first book. I named it the Rogue Artist’s Survival Guide. This book carried within it my mindset and approach to being an artist. I talk about the fear, criticism, rejection, and comparison in this whole artistic life that we pursue. However, I also talk about the power that comes when you overcome and face your challenges head on. The book in itself was a testament to that.

I have always dreamed of being a writer. As a small child, I would write and design books on scraps of paper. That was until a family member told me it was a waste of time and I would never succeed as a writer. Releasing that book gave me back my power and allowed me to give the middle finger to anyone that said I would not succeed. Not only can we all succeed at what we set our mind on, but we can surpass even our own expectations.

2019 When I Released My First Book

Honestly, the only person that can stop you from achieving your dreams is you. If you believe the naysayers, then you are stopping yourself from fulfilling your destiny. People say stuff all the time for one reason or another. If I believed them, I would not have an art career, I wouldn’t be in love with my best friend, and I wouldn’t have released a series of books. Only you can decide what limits you, and truly the possibilities are endless.

My books are available on Amazon books and on our website… and despite the naysayers, they will be available in bookstores by the end of the year.

Live your dreams and be the force of nature that is you.

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How I Burned Out

I’m sure that many of you have been wondering, “Hey, Rafi and Klee, where have you guys been?”

We are officially taking a break.

Recently, Klee and I bought a beautiful old house in Pennsylvania. We have been doing repairs, doing all kinds of things, and getting our studio up and running.

We’ve been recording things and putting them on our adventure channel as we’re doing repairs. The common theme seems to be that we are exhausted. Whenever I look at the footage, we’re both so freaking tired and beat. It’s been emotionally and physically challenging.

About a week ago, I woke up, and I was more exhausted than I had ever been in my life. Both Klee and I got a little bit scared.

The fact is that I like to get things done, but when you have an overwhelming amount of stuff to get done, it can be too much for your mind and body.

With all the work that has been happening since we moved in, I didn’t actually take any days off to really enjoy the house. In fact, the only day I remember taking off was when the power went out. That’s not healthy behavior.

I got set in the habit and a mentality that when I get this done, then I can relax. When I get this done, then I could take a break. The truth is, it is never-ending. You have to be willing to take time for self-care, put things off, and prioritize your emotional and physical wellness.

I didn’t do that.

We accomplished a lot in six months. But at the cost of my well-being. I pushed myself too hard.

Enjoy your life. Don’t push, push, push, push, push. A friend of mine who knows all the stuff we’ve been doing jokingly said, “you may do all that work and finally get it done just to die.”

That really struck a chord with me because I was like, okay, so I keep doing all this stuff thinking, “Someday. Someday.”

Luckily, I hit a complete and utter exhaustion wall that stopped me in my tracks.

I love the position I’m in and what I do for a living. It’s amazing. But I know that I can quickly turn it into work that I stress out about.

However, life is too short for that garbage, the best thing you can do is step back and really look at the whole picture. The complete picture is how you want to live your life day to day.

It’s not “I want to get here” or “I want to get there.” It’s, “how do I want to live right now?”

Watch the video below to listen to the full story and my thoughts on this whole thing.

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FAM JAM CELEBRATION IN OIL CITY

As the warm weather approaches and I look out at the beautiful new views that surround me, I am excited for the warm weather and all the fun that is to be had this year. Sure, as artists, we can go weeks locked up in our art studio creating and only emerge when the pantry is down to one can of random beans. However, there really is nothing like creating out in the sunshine and surrounded by amazing folks.

I am proud to announce that Klee and I will be two of the amazing artists that will be creating awesomeness at FAM JAM. You may be wondering, “What the heck is FAM JAM Rafi?”

Well, let me enlighten you to the awesomeness that is about to hit the scene in Oil City.

FAM JAM is an epic extravaganza of creativity, bringing you something unique and fun to kick off the warm weather that is about to grace us all. Enjoy the waterside views, the delectable food, the rare sight of live artists in the midst of creating, and live music artists bringing immense joy to your eardrums.

Come and be part of the first event of its kind in the area, and don’t miss the awesomeness. You will get to see Klee and I awkwardly trying to get back into our creative groove and other fantastic artists creating things that will make you gasp in astonishment. To say that we are excited is an understatement.

Glow In The Dark Live Painting At Vinyl 2016

Oh wait, there is more.

So, not only will your eardrums and eyeballs be tickled with phenomenal joy, but your tastebuds will explode with pleasure. Oh yes my friends, there will be food trucks.

Beautiful views, amazing art, wonderful music, great food, and magical people… what a superb way to bring in the warmth!

WHAT: FAM JAM

WHEN: May 14th, 2022 2PM – 8PM (We will be there between 2-5ish)

WHERE: Justus Park, 1 Seneca Street, Oil City, PA 16301

WHY: Because it is going to be AMAZING!

Check out the event poster below for more information:

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Untangle The Web With Us At TAGG – April 29th

I am honored and excited to announce that I will be talking with some amazing creatives at TAGG (Transit Art Gallery And Gifts) on Friday, April 29th starting at 7pm. You are invited to this laid back discussion about the importance of having a personal web presence, making it awesome, and how to demystify the entire process of putting yourself out there online using a simple approach and mindset.

What Will Happen At This Discussion?

We will begin with a little about us, who we are, what we have (online presence), and how we got there. We will talk about our amazing online community (The Rogues), and why we believe they follow two artistic dorks.

This is a very laid-back meeting where we will discuss:

Why Would You Want A Website?

What If You Don’t Know Technology?

Easy Ways To Get Started?

The Basics Of An Artist Website?

The Rogue Mindset And Approach To The Interwebs.

How To Get People To Visit Your Site.

How To Avoid Internet Antarctica.

What Is Mutual Excitement?

How Artists Are Powerful At Online Presence.

Throw Marketing Away And Create. (Marketing Book) 

What Will It All Cost?

We will then be opening the floor to questions and discussions of experiences of having a website and overall badassery of being an artist. My goal with this discussion is to empower people to simplify the process of opening and running their own website without a bunch of needless jargon. Hope to see you there!

WHAT: UNTANGLING THE WEB, A CASUAL CONVERSATION ABOUT WEBSITES.

WHY: Because it is going to be freakin amazing!

WHERE: At Transit Art Gallery & Gifts – 206 Seneca Street, Oil City,PA 16301 – (814) 676-1509

HOW: Tickets are $5 and you can purchase at the gallery, call number above, or email taggocac@gmail.com.

WHEN: Friday, April 29th starting at 7pm

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Sharing Who You Are Matters

Sometimes, things suck. Sometimes we feel like what we have to share doesn’t matter. However, the world may need exactly what you have to share. More love, more support, more creativity, more awesomeness!

Buying an old house can be quite demanding. It’s been about four months since we signed on the dotted line and moved in. The plan originally was to have our art studio up and running, explore all the art happenings in town, and get the pre- order books out to all the amazing people who ordered them. Oh yeah, and we would be filming and editing the entire process and sharing it with the world.

However, electrical, plumbing, structural, buying furnishings, and other issues decided that our overly ambitious plans would have to take a backseat to life. Life… It’s always there, lurking pleasantly in the hopes that you’ll remember that you are human and you are alive.

Honestly, it’s been awesome. The good, the bad, the stressful, and the overwhelming. The fact of the matter is that we are quite lucky to be having first world problems like “plumbing issues” because it could be much more serious.

As we reach the end of the plumbing saga, and prepare to sit down and finish the books that were originally supposed to go out over a year ago, I am reminded of the love and patience displayed by all the people out there who support us.

As you know we have had an adventurous year with many many changes. At the beginning of the Indiegogo book campaign of writing on rogue marketing, I never expected the challenges and changes that have taken place. A global pandemic, struggles with close friends, political drama, a hurricane, power outages, an infestation of fungus gnats, a large solo art exhibition, winning awards, an epic adventure, a devastating leak, and buying our dream home with it’s own challenges. During last year, we have had some really dark times, and some sunshine… and through it all, you were there… patiently supporting this book. Supporting us, and that means the world to me.

So, thank you. We will be quiet for a couple weeks as we go into hermit book mode and get our books polished and ready for release. We will also be building the studio back up (finally) for our opening on April 1st.

If this adventure has shown me anything, it is this… It’s easy to want to get wrapped up in all of the crap that happens in life and the world. It’s easy to isolate and believe that what you do doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. It’s easy to believe that everything is so much bigger than you and you are but an insignificant spec.

However, people I have never met in my life have brought sunshine and light to some moments that were difficult. Simply by showing support, joy, and giving in their own unique way. We all have that gift, we all have something to give, we all have something to share… and it matters… it ALL matters.

So, as I get ready to release a book full of my thoughts and words out into the world, I am reminded of a special quote that keeps me going when things may seem dark. When asked why he performed at a free concert just two days after getting shot, Bob Marley responded, “The people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a day off. How can I?”

So share more love, more support, more creativity, and more awesomeness! The world can ALWAYS use more of that… We can ALL use more of that. Thank you in advance for being the awesomeness that is you. See you soon.

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I Love You More Than Pizza

It’s that time of year again when I grapple with the validity of a Hallmark holiday. A holiday in which you tell your loved ones that you love them and do something special. Honestly, in our crazy fast-paced world, I think that is amazing. 

It is easy to forget to express how you feel when a million things are going on at once. It’s easy to forget to even think about how much you love someone when you are going through the struggles that life tends to pop into existence. It’s also easy to forget that you are attracted to one another when you are wearing the same clothes for more than three days. It’s all too easy to overlook those things that are precious in life.

I like to remind myself daily, but even then it is all too easy to forget.

A beautiful smile.

An enchanting gaze.

A belly laugh.

A warm embrace.

A tender kiss.

A soft hand in mine.

A long night of conversation.

A shoulder to cry on.

A person to trust with the things that make you feel vulnerable.

A day full of happy stupid smiles.

Rafi And Klee Studios

These are the things that we live for, the things we fight for, and would die for. Yet, we can easily take them for granted. We can take life for granted and overlook the beauty that surrounds us and only focus on what is going wrong.

We can either fully enjoy a bite of a delicious pizza and savor every moment, or we can hurriedly shove it down because we are busy. It’s like that. All of it. Life, love, and everything in between.

Savor the moments. 

Remember that life is too short and before you know it, it will pass you by. Most importantly, remember to love yourself. Give yourself a warm hug, a tender smile, and all the love you deserve… because you deserve it all.

Every day, and on this day, remember how special you are.

As I type this, I think about the love of my life and how I have made it my mission to express to her every moment of every day how much I absolutely adore her…. Yet, there have been plumbing issues. So it is nice to have a reminder of what really matters. I mean, let’s face it, there can always be some ridiculous thing that is going to try and steal your focus and time away from what really matters in life… LOVE.

I adore myself and Klee. I think we are awesome. Klee is amazing, I love her more than pizza… and I LOOOOVE pizza so that’s a lot. So, if you are reading this my dear… Happy Love day! I LURVE YOU!!!

Have a beautiful and amazing day today, I adore you and remember you are loved.

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You Deserve It All

I’m here to tell you that you are not crazy for wanting more. You are not selfish, and you are not delusional for aiming your sights on your dreams.

We grow up in a world of compromises. We learn that in order to “survive” we have to compromise who we are and what we really want in life. We are told to put our childish dreams aside and aim for something that is more realistic. Something that we can ACTUALLY achieve or what someone else thinks we deserve.

So we compromise. We grow up. We become adults. We get our head out of the clouds and settle for what we can have. But you were made for more. A life that is true to you. You were not meant for people pleasing, following orders, or placating. You were meant to express yourself fully and embrace who you are.

​You were meant to love, laugh, and tell it how it is. You are meant to break the façade of being normal. We pretend to be adults. We learn what it means to adult in the world. Yet, some of us remain unadulterated. We remain raw, pure, and undiluted to the best of our abilities. Some of us get rid of the rhetoric of what we are “supposed” to be or do and filter out the noise. We all can do it. It’s not luck, it’s not a special skill, and it’s not magical thinking. It is simply a matter of paying attention.

If you wake up wondering what you’ve been doing with your life or feeling like it’s too late, then you might be buying into the illusion of being ordinary.

Just remember, you were made to be extraordinary.

This is something I have to remind myself of often. Many times your own mind, friends, family, work or the world at large will give you ultimatums on how you are supposed to behave and act. They will say, “a good friend, employee, son, daughter will – fill in the blank.” This most likely happens on the heels of you doing something they disagree with. This is how the rhetoric get’s going. You compromise because that’s what you are supposed to do. Sure, we can make agreements and compromises if we want to, but NEVER compromise who you are. Never compromise your dreams.

The truth is, it’s all just crap, butt hurt, bent feelings, differing perspectives, and a false sense of control. We are all in the thick of the noise, but we can all rise above it. You can rise above it. You can believe in you. You can remember that you are extraordinary and leave the adulting to the ordinary folks out there.

Just some food for thought.

Also, we now have a PO BOX! I know some of you have been asking So here it is!

Rafi And Klee
PO Box 1573
Oil City, PA 16301

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The Awesomeness Continues!

HELLO!! We’ve missed you guys. A lot has changed! If you don’t know this already, we moved our belongings, our studio, and ourselves across the country and are happily living in the snow filled region of western Pennsylvania! I know what you are thinking, “Snow??? What’s wrong with you Rafi And Klee?”

The truth is that we have missed the seasons, snow, and even the cold weather. Being born and raised in Chicago, we know that extremely cold weather is just part of the package and we love it. Also, I never acclimated to the heat in Florida, and anyone that knows me, knows that I hate being hot.

So, “why the move” you ask? Good question.

We found our dream home, a place to call our own, our OWN creative space! A new creative playground! It’s also substantially bigger than the basement apartment we have been trying to work out of for the last five years.

This picture was taken at Shawgo Real Estate after we had trekked for 30 plus hours in a terrifying 26 foot U-haul to make the closing in time.
This is our beloved Sunflower House!

So, “what have you been up to” you ask? Good question.

We have been doing repairs, desperately trying to find contractors, and getting our studio back up and running. As full-time artists we rely on our art to make an income, so our priority is to get that underway. Unfortunately, our art studio has been shut down for several months due to a water leak while in Pensacola Florida. Although we were planning on opening it back up as soon as we moved, some much needed asbestos removal has to happen first. In the meantime, we’ve worked on everything that we can do ourselves and are making our beautiful house a cozy home/studio/gallery.

Putting Up Track System To Not Damage Old Plaster Walls In Galleries
Working On Old Chairs In The Media Studio

After a month of the crap hitting the fan in Pensacola, and almost two months of getting “settled” in our new home, I am happy to say that we are finally at a point where we can slow down a bit and get back to some semblance of normal. This year, with everything going on, I was not able to produce calendars or do the usual end of year shenanigans we usually do with our awesome online community. It’s been disappointing.

The process of moving your home and business is exciting, scary, and confusing… especially when half of your life is still in boxes. I personally have not been able to pick up a paintbrush for that last few months, our podcast is on hiatus, and our videos have been sporadic. Klee has not created jewelry since the leak in Florida destroyed her bench and damaged some of her tools, and music has taken a back burner to the chaos of relocating. My new book releases have been pushed back and things like fixing a drain and winterizing the house and Jeep take priority.

We’ve pushed ourselves further than we even knew possible and took on big house projects that we were not prepared for. Yet, with as tired and exhausted as we feel, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.

So, “what now” you ask? Great question.

We have so many awesome creative plans for next year concerning the art, jewelry, books, music, podcasts, and videos. Instead of everything taking place in one catch-all room, we actually have the space to expand. We also have our own internet (it was shared for the last five years) so I have been able to wire the house for livestreams and really cool online sharing… but everything is taking place little by little and one step at a time. However, although the studio itself is not up and running yet, we are impatient and want to have some fun with you and share some art.

The website has been shut down for months and we think it’s time to open it back up. Made to order works will have to wait until the studio itself is up and running. However, Klee and I have hundreds of works of art and jewelry that are just sitting there not being seen by anyone. So, this Saturday December 11th 2021 at 5 PM EST we are inviting you to tune in to our FIRST LIVE STUDIO EVENT in our new home. This is a casual affair where we will show some art and jewelry, tell some stories, answer some questions, and play some music. We are also giving away $200 worth of prizes and also some ridiculous discounts as a big “thank you” for being there and supporting us through this craziness. Click on this banner to go to the page and enter the giveaway, we’ll announce winners during the stream.

Klee and I started our artistic journey over a decade ago and this year marks some of the BIGGEST changes that we have ever gone through. Many of you have gone on that journey with us, and many of you are going through big changes as well. As we look on into the future and reevaluate our past, we choose what the future will hold, and although it is now a little cold and dreary out, the future looks bright as can be.

We hope to see you at our virtual online event and I am looking forward to giving you a tour of our amazing creative playground known as “The Sunflower House.”

WHAT: Rafi & Klee Virtual Open Studio
WHEN: December 11th at 5 PM EST
WHERE: ONLINE HERE- https://rafiandklee.com/live/ And chat with us on YouTube during event here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsaKEI6BX8g

WHY: Because we are going to have a blast!