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Live On Purpose

So, I’m sure you heard the phrase “Live with purpose.”

If you haven’t heard that phrase, then you probably live under a rock somewhere…

Rafi Perez Art 2016

It’s one of those phrases that is so overused that I feel like it’s lost its power a little with most people. But I also think it could be a little confusing when you’re in a place where you are not really sure what your purpose is, or why a sense of purpose is so important. You know, because life could be confusing.

There’s a lot of information circulating around out there about what is good for you, bad for you, what this means, and what that means.

Rafi Art Delivery

There you are at the grocery store deciding whether or not you are going to get the gluten free tortillas, or just get the cheaper ones that have gluten. You’re not really sure why this is a thing but you know everyone is advertising gluten free, so you assume gluten must be bad.

Everyone has their own opinion about it… My opinion? Slather it up with gluten, what ever it might be. I don’t know why.

That being said, I understand there are some people out there that have a genuine intolerance to gluten, but not as many people as have jumped on the gluten free bandwagon thanks to advertising and influence.

The same thing happens with the term “Live with purpose”

Depending on who you are listening to, it may have different meanings. Trying to apply all those different meanings to your own life is impossible.

Some people say, to base it on your beliefs and values.

I hate to break it to you, but beliefs and values change throughout your life. You may be holding on to a belief or value that isn’t really working, it might be a belief or value you picked up from a racist uncle or parent, that you’ve never questioned.

Rafi and klee

This makes things super confusing because most of us haven’t really thought to much about our own thoughts and whether or not we agree with them.

Other people say “Follow your passion and it will show you, your purpose”
That’s great, but again that whole thing is confusing too. What is my passion, and if I can’t figure out my passion, how am I supposed to figure out my purpose?

So, to make this whole thing a little less confusing for myself I’ve changed one of the words in the phrase “Live With Purpose.”

I changed it to live on purpose.

So what do I mean by that… How do you live on purpose?

So, picture this, the moment you wake up, you repeat the words… “Today, I’m living on purpose.”

That means I will stop, observe, and appreciate my world and the things that are in it. It means that I will change things about myself that I do not like, it means I’m going to be deliberate about how I spend my days and the things I think about. It also means that I will think about my thoughts and whether or not they are actually mine.

This isn’t a cake walk, trust me when I say it is quite easy to just go back to not questioning your own thoughts, and saying things like “Tony Danza’s face makes me so angry, I don’t know why, that’s just who I am!”

I’ve determined that I’m alive, and my purpose in life is to live my life as fully as I can. That means not buying into the excuses that make me feel angry or small.

Sure, it’ll take some work, and I may be doing it until the day I die, but I can’t picture a better way to live… Every day, every minute, every second… On purpose.

-Love Rafi

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Overcoming Fear and Keeping It Real

Some of you already know that I am a big supporter of overcoming fear. If you have been following my art for any amount of time you may have noticed a common theme of self empowerment and badassery.

Rafi Perez I Am Not An Exit Art Show
Rafi Perez Internal Universe

A lot of people assume that I am fearless because of the topics I tackle and the things I push myself to do in life. The truth is, I’m kind of afraid of everything, and when I say everything, I mean… EVERYTHING.

I think fear is an ongoing thing, like layers in an onion, the more you uncover, the deeper the layers can go.

I don’t think there are people out there that are completely fearless. I think they just handle their fears differently than most of us are used to.

Rafi Perez Live Painting Empowerment
Rafi Perez Live Painting Empowerment

I’ve developed the mindset that I would be more afraid of sitting on my ass and not following my dreams, than letting day after day go by without me taking action and conquering the things I fear.

I have four things that I do when facing a fear:

1. Go to war

Your brain is going to give you a line up of worst case scenarios. Use it, act as if you are giving yourself the opportunity to trouble shoot and prepare yourself for the worst thing that can happen and plan accordingly.

2. Will I regret not doing this?

Simply ask yourself if you would regret not having at least tried.

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3. Blow your own mind.

Ask yourself four questions that follow this pattern:

  • What would happen if I did this?
  • What wouldn’t happen if I did this?
  • What would happen if I didn’t do this?
  • What wouldn’t happen if I didn’t do this?

It will blow your mind and breakdown any irrational logic you are using to stop yourself.

4. Stop thinking about it and just do it already.

Stop hesitating… plain and simple.

I go into more detail in this video and Klee tells a powerful story about her own experience with fear… it’s pretty awesome.

 

Let me know your thoughts on fear and how you overcome your own fears that may be keeping you from following your dreams.

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Twilight Glow Tree’s New Home

One of the pitfalls of selling my art is the fact that many times I don’t get to see where my piece will live. I create a part of me and expose it to the world in the hopes that it will end up in a good home and be appreciated. I spend so much time just staring at a piece as it is being created, that I develop a very close relationship with my art.

Twilight-Glow-Tree

Don’t get me wrong, I interact with the person buying it whether in person or online (and have turned offers down because of the persons vibe) but for the most part, that’s where the interaction ends. They buy the art, and I never see it again.

When I created the glow tree, I had this piece in mind for a special person that would appreciate every single deliberately molded peak of texture.

Twilight-Glow-Tree-3

This tree represents a concept and idea that is very special to me.

“We are rooted in reality, and yet we expand and grow out towards the heavens. We are constantly expanding and growing, even when no one else can see it.”

With this piece, I was hoping this would be one of those rare occasions where the person stayed in contact during the process of receiving the art.

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Every once in a while, I get to see how the piece is welcomed into the new home, and I it is always a joy.

I received a special message last night from the Alfredo Z. who purchased this piece online from me a couple weeks ago.

He had contacted me several times asking for suggestions on the size, color, and style of frame. He sent me pictures of his favorites, and I made my suggestions and that was that.

The color and texture of this piece requires the frame to be very specific as to not take away, but add to the message.

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I could not have imagined how amazing the piece would look with the hardware that surrounds it.

It is stunning. Thank you.

FullSizeRender

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Being A Dreamer – Innovation and Imagination.

It’s been said that I spend a lot of time in my imagination. In school, daydreaming was something I was constantly getting in trouble for.

The Dreamer By Rafi Perez

Instead of being in class, listening to my fat, balding teacher drone on about  the importance of multiplication, I was off in a magical land flying on the back of dragons.

SLAP on the desk! “Pay attention Mr. Perez!”

I guess the value of imagination can easily get overlooked in an environment that doesn’t foster creative thought. School is all about following directions, listening to the “Boss”, and being evaluated for your performance. No wonder “A” students usually end up working for C and D students. Imagination is innovation, so if it is not encouraged, we lose innovation.

The Dreamer By Rafi Perez

A lot of my art focuses on the power of imagination. The innovators, those great thinkers and adventurers that put this country on the forefront of discovery. The dreamers that believed in the impossible. The diverse culture that came to american soil because this is the land of opportunity.

The United States is great because of our innovators, our creators, our dreamers… it’s people out there like you, that dream of a better tomorrow for themselves and their children.

The Dreamer By Rafi Perez

There is a reason why artists are the first to be suppressed when a dictatorship takes over… because creative, abstract thinking, is nearly impossible to control or dominate.

Unfortunately our educational system as it stands hasn’t improved much since the industrial age. It does not cultivate creative thinking, it doesn’t allow for divergent problem solving… or being a dreamer.

The Dreamer By Rafi Perez

Essentially school teaches you how to be a good employee.

Memorize some stuff, do some stuff, get evaluated, fail and get punished, pass and get praised. Do something great and get a gold star you can stick on the fridge. Do something bad, get suspended or expelled, RARARA! school spirit…. Rinse, repeat.

Then you go to work, memorize and do stuff, get evaluations, fail and get punished, pass and get praised. Do something great and get a paper certificate you can frame. Do something bad and get suspended or fired. RARARA! company spirit. Rinse, repeat.

The Dreamer By Rafi Perez

Don’t get me wrong. I value education and I know there are a lot of very passionate teachers out there that foster creative thinking… I’ve had a few.

But, I believe that it is our ability to imagine that gives us power. Knowledge is only facts that change as new discoveries are made. Imagination is what fuels those discoveries.

We spend most of our days in our imagination anyhow… Imagined worse case scenarios, replaying or imagining arguments, negative self image, and so much more.

Imagine if you will, what it would be like if we were taught to harness our imagination. How different the world would be if we had learned how to focus on positive outcomes and innovation, instead of following directions. What would it be like if we learned to see the world through eyes of possibility and wonder?

Maybe some day… For now, let’s teach ourselves.

 

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I’m pretty sure my dad hates my art.

As you know, recently I was invited to create an art chair. This was a big deal for me, because there is a finesse that needs to happen when turning furniture into art. I wasn’t really sure I could pull it off.

Art Chair By Rafi Perez
Art Chair By Rafi Perez

You might think that something as common as a “chair” just needs some paint and crazy designs to stand out. Not true, just like any abstract painting it can go wrong really fast, and just like an abstract painting you have to rely on your gut feelings and not technical skill.

All You Need Is Love Chair By Rafi Perez
All You Need Is Love Chair By Rafi Perez

So I went through the typical creative process of feeling like I had an epic failing every step of the way, until it finally started to come together.

So, I created my first art chair, worked through my own insecurities, pushed through the boundaries of what I thought was possible for me, and validated my self status as an artist.

All You Need Is Love Chair By Rafi Perez
All You Need Is Love Chair By Rafi Perez

That’s about the time my dad stepped into the picture.

He stood there and stared at it for a while… didn’t say anything.

At that point, I apparently felt the need to boaster the chair up and make it important in terms my father would understand… money.

“Yeah dad, people were putting $100 in raffle tickets for it!”

He pause, scrunched up his face and then said…

“Someone paid $100 for that shit?”

All You Need Is Love Chair By Rafi Perez
All You Need Is Love Chair By Rafi Perez

Yes they did dad… yes they did.

There are so many stories like this when it comes to my father and art, luckily, it doesn’t bother me any more… in fact, I find it kind of funny.

I spent a long time blaming him for my insecurities, and as it turns out, they were my own insecurities, and I needed to get rid of them myself.

It’s still a work in progress, but I think it will always be.

Watch this video to enjoy the full story, and more stories of my dad and my art… including a big event that took place at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago… Oh boy.

Have fun!!!

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How To Take A Compliment #SBS

The other day, I was at the market and someone gave me a really nice compliment. I then preceded to get weird about it, which pretty much turned it into an awkward situation for the both of us.

Later on, I wondered why I didn’t just take the compliment and say thank you. It’s simple, there are no strings attached and you (and the person complimenting) feel good about the interaction.

I can get into the whole self esteem thing and all that jazz, but I wont. I’ll just say this, if someone is giving you a compliment, just take it… It feels better for everyone involved.

How-To-Take-A-Compliment-By-Rafi-Perez-web

Sketchbook Sunday #SBS

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Become A Creative Failure To Succeed

Have you ever had someone tell you that you weren’t good enough, that you’ll never make it, or that you would fail? If you have, then welcome to the club, this is a good place to be so don’t fret.

I think we all have some of those people in our lives, that either verbally or quietly disapprove of what they consider our childish ambitions. The truth is that anything that is outside of the norm is considered childish most of the time.

It’s interesting to me that most artists that are revered today for ushering in a new era of art, were considered losers by the art establishments in their day. We usually write this off by saying that the artist was ahead of his time, but I think it has more to do with perseverance than anything else.

Van Gogh

Today, we consider Vincent Van Gogh to be one of the greatest and most influential painters of all time, but that wasn’t the case when he was alive. Van Gogh’s work received little to no recognition during his lifetime. His paintings were often described as being too dark and lacking the bright liveliness seen in Impressionist paintings of the time.

The funny thing is that Monet’s Impressionist paintings were rejected before they became popular as well. His work and other Impressionists’ paintings were rejected by society and art exhibitions because it went against the traditional style and method of painting.

Claude Monet
Painting By Monet Rejected By The Paris Salon

Even Picasso was highly criticized by his peers quite often because some of his paintings diverged from the divergent artist movements that were happening already.

The fact is that each one of these artists embraced their craft and just kept creating despite what people were telling them. They painted what they painted because they wanted to, not because it was popular. Eventually, they had a large body of work that just could not be ignored.

Paris Salon

Vincent Van Gogh died poor, having only sold one painting to a friend in his lifetime, but he also died young. I think had he lived longer he would have found fame like any other creative person that perseveres through what I call the dark years.

No matter what you want to do in your life, I think if you don’t give up, you’ll get there. If you keep going, creating, and moving forward there is no way you can truly fail. If you quit, it’s like closing a fairy tale book before getting to the end. It doesn’t mean there isn’t a happy ending, you just stopped reading before actually getting there.

Stephanie's Mermaid By Rafi Perez
One of my paintings, because… why not??

People around you are going to tell you that you will fail, and they’re right, but failure is a temporary stretch of road that can lead to a happy ending. But, you’ll never know if you don’t try.

Watch me talk about other creative geniuses who were considered losers in this video:

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The Critic Doesn’t Count, THE MAN IN THE ARENA

It was about nine years ago, when I ran across this excerpt from a speech by Teddy Roosevelt. This speech changed my life and my point of view of people who criticized my ability to succeed.

pa-hay-okee2
Klee and Rafi traveled the country and challenged their old way of living, despite the naysayers and critics saying it wasn’t possible.

 

I am working on a video that is about taking negative criticism, so I’ve been inspired to share it with you:

” It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. ”

— Theodore Roosevelt

UPDATE:

Here is the video I recently did about some of the negative critics I have had, and how I deal with them.

When you hold on to your vision, no one can ever stop you.

Vision In My Mind By Rafi Perez
Vision In My Mind By Rafi Perez

Stay endlessly inspired by the stuff of life. Love you. –Rafi

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Stephanie’s Mermaid By Rafi Perez

I had the honor of meeting with a wonderful person who wanted a statement piece for her new digs. Her story was inspiring, and right up my alley for the kind of commission I love to work on. I love it when people jump out of their comfort zone… It’s awesome.

She had reached out to me after a good friend recommended that she should own a “Rafi” piece in her new abode.

Stephanie's Mermaid By Rafi Perez
The Reveal With Stephanie

After a fantastic phone conversation where we talked about everything from having a positive mindset, to pushing past comfort zones, and I scheduled an appointment to meet in person.

I like meeting with someone, whenever possible, to get a feel for who they are. I have a series of questions that give me a little insight to who they are, and what they want.

Stephanie's Mermaid By Rafi Perez After a great conversation, taking measurements, and staring at the space (I’m sure it looks weird as I attempt to visualize the piece and how it will interact with the other objects and colors in the room) I had what I needed to get started.

Stephanie's Mermaid By Rafi Perez

My notes are usually very simple, I use single words to evoke the conversation we had, the colors that mean something to the person, and my own intuition.

This is what I wrote:

  • Mermaid
  • Bright Light
  • Turquoise
  • Positive Energy
  • Inspire Others
  • Blue
  • Purple (Different Shades)
  • In tune with touch (Massage)
  • Fierce
  • Empowered
  • Create a piece that will be a magical and constant reminder of self development and self empowerment.

The end result was amazing, and the mermaid just came to life in the space, and in the energy of its new home.

Stephanie's Mermaid By Rafi Perez

I am very proud of this piece, and honored that I was given the opportunity to create her.

-Rafi

 

 

 

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Who Judged An Artshow? This Guy.

So, recently I’ve made it a point to enter a few more art competitions and juried art shows. In the past I would tell myself that I was too busy to do such things, truth was, I was just a chicken.

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In fact, I was surprised to see just how many thousands of miles outside of my comfort zone it was to enter anything that involved someone judging my art. This was especially surprising, because this is what I do for a living… I create art. Anywhere I display my art, people are judging it, some hate it, some love it, some buy it, and others make disgusted faces at the sheer thought of buying it. It happens every day, and it doesn’t bother me one bit.

So why is entering my art to be judged any different? I think it’s the academic nature of it all. Like failing a test. I have this image in my mind of some art curmudgeon, scoffing and turning up their nose at anything that would indicate that I had more talent than a three year old with a broken crayon.

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When I was asked to judge an art show, I almost froze from the idea of being one of those art snob curmudgeons.

As it turns out, there is nothing scary about entering or judging an art competition. Most of the time, people who are judging a show are artists, or art lovers themselves. 

Art is diverse and almost formless. There is no one thing that can describe the blanket term for art and what it is supposed to be. Sure, we all have opinions about it, but at the end of the day, it’s just an opinion, and we all know what those are like.

rafi-perez-judge-art-show-1

When I judged the art at this show, I looked at technique, style, beauty, skill, inherent meaning, uniqueness, and fulfilled intent. When you think about it, it’s all relative to my taste, my ideas of beauty, my knowledge of skill, and my interpretation of the world. That’s really all I can do as a judge of art, is share my opinion.

When I look at beauty, I am looking at repeating shapes, patterns, and symmetry. I also look at colors, texture, crops, composition, where my eye goes, movement, flow, proportions, and the appeal of the subjects or objects in the piece. It’s how I look at the world.

The art that appeals to me personally, is art that was skillfully made with a hint of rawness. It has meaning beyond just an image. It makes me feel, bring me to tears, make me laugh, or remind me of something powerful and empowering. It also stands out in a crowd, and dares to be different.

rafi-perez-judge-art-show-2

I did have a somewhat difficult time judging this show, because I wanted everyone to win. But alas, I picked the ones I connected the most with.

All in all, it was a fantastic experience for me, and one that allowed me to stand on the other side of the table. In the end, I realized that it’s just people judging art according to their taste, likes, and dislikes. Now, I was one of them.

If you are interested in viewing the “Who Am I” show, opening reception is November 10th, 2016 6:00-8:00pm at Pensacola State College building 15 room 1590.