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The Creative Process Is All About You

We’ve ALL had those moments where we are sitting in front of a blank canvas and wondering if our sense of creativity left town. We’ve also all had the moments where you are sitting in front of a work of art and suddenly you are overtaken by the idea that everything you touch turns into a steaming pile of crap.

Today Klee and I recorded a podcast where we were talking about the creative process and remembering your greatness as an artist and human.

I think a lot of artists are under the assumption that professional artists know exactly what they’re doing from beginning to end. I can tell you right now, that that is bullshit. None of us know what we are doing when it comes to the creative process.

One thing I could tell you as a bumbling artist, trying to make this creative life a thing, is that the creative process behind the artwork is not as mysterious as a lot of people would love to make it seem.

When you are blocked or you feel like the art you’ve worked on for the last few days should be set on fire, it’s easy to want to give up. In my opinion, the most important part is where I remind myself that no matter what, I am going to be able to figure something out. I remember that something is going to come to me, I am going to move forward, I’m not going to allow myself to quit.

Honestly, the only reason that I get any of the artwork done is because of that mentality, no matter how much the art feels like it sucks, that I suck, or that I’m a horrible artist, I just keep going.

When I feel like I’m never going to make this thing work… I just keep going, knowing that it’s little tweaks here and little tweaks there. Sometimes it’s changing direction.

I allow myself to keep going because I believe that in some way shape or form, I am going to eventually get to the end where I make it work.

It is ultimately a collaborative experience between you and the art. The process is allowing yourself to make changes on the fly to allow the art to take form as it does.

The creative process in of itself is kind of like life, you get thrown some ups and downs, twists and turns, and you have to improvise. You have to keep moving forward in order to get to where it is that you want to get to. Even when there are obstacles and especially when things are not going your way.

The secret to creating anything as an artist is understanding that whatever it is that you’re working on, is not going to work out, it’s going to look like crap, it’s going to look like a big piece of garbage… and that’s ok.

Before it starts to look like the masterpiece, it is going to resemble a crap-turd.

In the podcast, Klee outlines three creative processes:

  • You know what you’re going to create, or you have an idea of what you’re going to create, but you don’t have the steps to get there.
  • You know what you’re going to create, and you have all the steps to get there.
  • You have no idea what you’re going to create, and you have no steps to get there.

Each one of those has its value, but each and every single one of those still requires you to be flexible, and be really good to yourself in the creative process.

The fact of the matter is that when you are creating anything, whether you’re creating art, or you’re creating your life, you’re going to run into roadblocks.

You’re going to run into situations that are going to cause you to think that maybe you suck because the situation or the artwork that you’re creating sucks.

In those cases, the most important thing you can do is to remember your greatness.

Your greatness as an artist, your greatness as a human, your general compassion, your unique way of seeing the world, and your ability to pick yourself up after you fall.

Be good to yourself in those moments, because that is the only way that you’ll be able to take the next step and keep going.

I adore you!

You can listen to the full podcast here if you are interested.

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How Do I Feel About Raccoons Creating Art?

The other day I ran across an article with the title “These Raccoons Are Creating Abstract Masterpiece Paintings Using Their Tiny Paws.”

After almost spitting out my coffee, I was overcome with a myriad of emotions. At first, I was like “What the hell? An abstract masterpiece… really?”

My indignation didn’t stop there. I then proceeded to go into a mental tirade about the mainstream art world and how it is a miracle that anyone takes artists seriously. This very unproductive moment of my life lasted about five minutes that I’ll never get back.

My second thought, once I came back from the brink of declaring war on the art world and the raccoons who inhabit it, was “Dammit, they’re so cute.”

So why did I get mad about cute raccoons selling art?

Because no matter how much I try to remind myself that the art world is not a dog eat dog competition, I sometimes have momentary lapses of my brilliant optimistic self. As insecure artists, we can sometimes turn our nose up at things simply because we are being jackasses with no sense of fun.

Why am I telling you this story? Because I almost passed up the perfect marketing lesson. I was too wrapped up in feeling undervalued, too wrapped up in feeling like a victim to the status quo. This would have been a very stupid move considering that my next book is going to be about “Rogue Marketing” which is all about taking the status quo and throwing it out.

These raccoons have a YouTube following, create and sell art, have weird names, use their own techniques to paint(paws), and have a whole bunch of pictures of themselves on the internet… It’s like looking in the mirror.

So what can I learn from the phenomenons that are the painting raccoons?

It started as a fun project. Their creative spirit is fostered thanks to the help of their humans Mitchell and Sarah Thyme. They came up with the idea to let their raccoons paint by observing the behavior of the creatures. “Raccoons are constantly touching things with their hands to gather sensory information,” Sarah said, “and we saw our raccoons doing it, so we thought painting would be a fun activity for them.”

The truth is, these raccoons are doing exactly what I recommend for artists who are just getting started. Create art and put yourself out there in the arena… and try not to take yourself too seriously.

They are telling a story and have a purpose. If you go to their website, it is not just “Hey look, this raccoon is painting.” Tito the Raccoon shares his adventures on Instagram and YouTube to change the stigma about raccoons, who people commonly think are pests. He wants to spread the message that not every raccoon is a rabid, feisty animal (though Tito does not support everyone keeping a raccoon as a pet).

There are cute baby raccoon pictures and stuff… it’s fucking adorable.

It’s unique to them. The really important thing is that they have done something to set them apart. They are not following what everyone else is doing. It is cute raccoons creating art.

It’s fun. I think that sometimes as artists we forget the nature of that childlike desire to create and share our creations with others. We make it way too serious, maybe because we want to be taken seriously.

Being Childish Is Fun

Are they masterpieces? Will they sell for millions of dollars some day? Are they “HIGH ART”? Is it even really art if a human isn’t the one creating it? I don’t know, and I don’t really care… it’s fun, and the raccoons are enjoying themselves, that much is clear from all the social media and videos.

So before you scoff at someone nailing a banana to the wall of a gallery, or someone signing a urinal, or a raccoon painting a masterpiece… consider not taking it all so seriously, and have fun.

I think we might all benefit from this lesson in so many ways… Thank you Tito the raccoon. Unfortunately Tito has gone missing, hopefully he’ll return home soon.

If you want to check out Tito the raccoon’s artwork check him out here.

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It Is Ok To Not Be Ok

Recently I read an article from the Washington Post that was talking about toxic positivity. My first reaction was “Great, what bullshit is the media going to try and feed us now?”

As much as I hate admitting it, Klee and I are public personalities. That doesn’t mean we are famous, it just means there are some people out there who are interested in what we say and do. We post a lot of videos talking about changing your perspective and paying attention to your mindset when you are approaching something as strange and alien as becoming an artist.

We tend to look at the bright side of things, which is probably why I became so defensive upon hearing about the article. There are plenty of people (the media included) spreading so much toxic information, conspiracy theories, and us versus them bullshit, that I thought this article was just a bunch of the same jargon.

Luckily, in my opinion they were not trying to feed me any poop, albeit more dramatic and alarmist than it needed to be on the subject, but that’s just “news” now. The article actually covered something that I have been thinking a lot about lately.

The “good vibes only” trend or as I called it in a video “forced positivity”.

Practicing a positive mind-set is a powerful way to approach the world, but I’ve seen people put a positive spin on something simply because they are avoiding the need to deal with the negative emotions they feel.

Natalie Dattilo, a clinical health psychologist with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston say “It results from our tendency to undervalue negative emotional experiences and overvalue positive ones.”

I don’t know if I agree with her, I think we may overvalue positive experiences simply because we are using it as a coping mechanism to avoid the bad ones. In my experience, if you avoid something that might be eating at you instead of facing it head-on, it doesn’t go away. It doesn’t mean you need to dwell there and succumb to the negative emotions, but unless you face the things that are bothering you, eventually they will surface again and again. Of course, I am not a clinical health psychologist with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Expressions By Rafi Perez

Forced positivity is like covering up a pile of vomit in your hallway with sheet of paper that has a happy face drawn on it. The vomit is still there and you can try to ignore it, but it still stinks. Eventually, it just soaks through the paper and comes to the surface. The only way to really deal with the vomit is to get down and dirty with it and clean it up. Yes, it is not easy and it can be quite repulsive, but ignoring it won’t make it actually go away.

People who are genuinely upbeat, usually deal with things as they come and don’t bury anything down under a layer of “everything is fine.” When they are not doing so great, they let you know. They may not linger there for a lifetime and will usually take some kind of ownership for how they feel. I think there is a huge yet subtle difference between having a sense of empowerment and being positive.

I know amazing people that are very positive but the moment you broach on a subject that may touch on a nerve that is uncomfortable for them, they deflect and might even get angry. It’s definitely easy to just throw a happy face sticker on and pretend like you don’t have any negative feelings about anything. The only problem with it, is that it’s not sustainable, in the long-run it is exhausting and will wear you down.

Oren art By Rafi Perez

It is way harder to go deep and admit to yourself that you are not in a good place, and that you have some things that might be really ugly inside that need to be looked at. You may need to admit that you need help, or that you are simply not ok.

It is a big problem when people feel forced to seem or be positive in situations that suck, or things legitimately need to be addressed. In the “good vibes only” culture, some people feel ashamed of their negative feelings, so they hide them. There are people out there that are worried about addressing negative stuff that might be going on inside of them for fear that it will solidify it in their existence. The problem with this is that it can’t be addressed if people don’t deal with the fact that there is distress or need in the first place.

The fact of the matter is that shit kinda sucks right now. Denying, minimizing, or invalidating those feelings because of external pressure or your own thoughts can be counterproductive and harmful. If we throw on a sticker and feel like crap under it all, we then judge ourselves for feeling pain, sadness, fear, which then produces feelings of shame, not-enoughness, and guilt

People who tend to not judge themselves based on their feelings, and not think of their emotions as good or bad have an easier time handling their negative emotions. They do not try to avoid or put distance between themselves and their emotions. They face their emotions and understand that there is nothing to be ashamed of if you are just feeling low.

Graffiti Bridge Rafi Perez Child Abuse Awareness

Desperately wanting to feel happy in a crappy situation and not facing the situation can leave people experiencing an emotion about an emotion. Which is usually disappointment because you aren’t as happy as you want to be.

One thing I try to remind myself of every day, especially when I am putting myself out there in the public arena, is that I like looking at the bright side of things, but I also enjoy facing the darkness. There’s nothing wrong with trying to make the best of a crappy situation, I do it all the time. Being positive doesn’t mean you smile as your eye twitches uncontrollably because you are putting your negative feelings on mute. To me, it means making the best of the suckage that is going on. Making the best of it is accepting the situation as it is and doing the best you can with it, and not avoidance of the fact that we’re in a really bad situation.

Just my thoughts on the subject.

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Art Marketing Experts Are Full Of Shit

Klee and I get asked a lot of questions by artists from all around the world. Just about every day we get a question in our inbox about the personal struggles that some of these amazing creatives are having. Most times we have some kind of insight or experience on the subject, sometimes we don’t.

Listen, no one is an expert at how to deal with your situation, the best any of us can do is give our two cents. We are all just figuring out our own way to make this thing happen. Recently, someone contacted me about marketing their art and having a website. They had signed up for a mentorship program for artists that cost about $2000. Part of me was like “I’m an idiot for talking about this stuff online for free, and the other part of me was like “What could they possibly be giving for that much?”

As it turns out, it’s the same cookie cutter bullshit marketing program that people have been promoting to artists all over the place. Facebook ads, niche marketing, find your audience, targeted marketing, blah blah blah.

An artist contacted me saying:

I am an artist and someone referred you to me. They said that you encourage artists to create their own way and screw what others might say. I just fired —— as an art mentor because he wants me to only market my wall art and nothing else. I can’t do that. I am having good success with selling my art and crafts. I just want to get more into marketing online because so many of my venues got canceled this year because of COVID19.

Artist

I responded with:

Hi ——-,

A lot of those programs have to do with the way a lot of people market products online, which works if you have a niche that you fall into. That way you can do targeted marketing. I think —- does great as a marketing guy and a writer because you can really target your market with books, especially if you are targeting marketing books to artists who want to learn marketing.

I have an issue with this type of marketing because it niches you, which I seriously doubt an artist can be niched for very long. Yet if you are putting yourself out there consistently as a creative you form a following of people who are interested in you and what YOU create. This takes a lot longer, but slowly you create a loyal following. It took me ten years to get where I am, and honestly, I’m not a big deal at all. 


The trick is thinking long term and understanding that it will take time.


I don’t really have a mentorship program because I make my money from my art, the videos I share are simply because I wanted to give my perspective and share things I wish someone would have shared with me.


To be honest with you, I’m just figuring it out as I go and sharing whatever I learn. I have a community of people on Patreon that support the video side and support one another. 


Please feel free to contact me when you have any specific questions and if I can I will most definitely answer in a video. 

Rafi

She wrote back and this made me a little pissed.

Rafi:
Thank you so much for answering me back!  I like the idea of watching your videos.  That would work just fine.  It is very generous of you to be willing to help other artists without charging money.  Thanks!


—- wanted to put me into a very small niche that I didn’t feel I fit into.  That may have been ok for me 30 years ago, but I’ve grown as a person and as an artist.  I need more than that now.  I read his book and it was helpful,  but working with him in person is a big NO.  He has this attitude that if I don’t do what he wants me to do that I will fail.  Then he gets rude and instead of listening to me, he just says, “Suck it up!”  Not cool at all.  I like people with confidence, but I get the sense that he has TOO much confidence and maybe a bit egotistical.  

Should I run more than one website if I want to do more than one thing as he suggests?

Artist

Honestly, it doesn’t sound like confidence to me. Truly confident people don’t behave that way, but arrogant people are usually riddled with insecurity underneath a layer of false confidence.

I can’t tell you if it is wrong or right, but I can tell you what I do… again, I don’t officially know what I am doing, but I like making things simple for myself. It would be a pain in the butt to run more than one website. On top of that, I don’t care about marketing a niche. I would much rather have a following that identifies me as a creative. It’s true that if your site is concise, it is easier for people to navigate because they are trained by most websites to just focus on one thing. Most people identify things they experience in the world by labeling someone or something a specific title, for example, “She does nature art.” So a lot of marketing people go in this direction because it is easier to market.

But most people know that if you go to Etsy or Amazon you are going to look for what you want, and most times you look through the various products to find what calls to you.

My website is a behemoth. It has Klee’s jewelry, my art, T-Shirts, Our Music, Stickers, Posters, Made to order artist prints, Short motivational MP3’s for artists, A section for our Patreon following and who knows what else.

We love our website, it is so much more than just a selling platform, it is a maze that contains our story and communicates what we’ve done, who we are, and what we believe in. Some people get lost, but most navigate it just fine.

I’ll be honest, for years I tried to make things as simple as possible on my site, and as it turns out you’ll never be able to make it simple enough for some… and most people know how to navigate a website and don’t get confused if you have more than one item type.

I could follow the status quo of marketing 101 if I wanted to. Honestly, it is super easy to get fast results if you just focus on one thing and that is ALL you are focused on, which is why these marketing courses usually go this route in order to prove themselves to the artist. They get fast but temporary results that are not sustainable for the artist. Artists are dynamic, but promoting yourself as a multifaceted artist takes time; it is for the long road.

I think as artists, it’s all about taking our awesome imagination and just going for it. Getting our work out there and thinking about ways to get it in front of new people and people who already follow you. There isn’t an art collector store, there are just people. You have to give people the opportunity to find you… have fun with it and quit thinking that these idiots that call themselves “marketing experts” because they are good at marketing a “marketing course” to people who desperately think they don’t know anything about marketing are right about anything… they’re just as confused as you are about selling art. That’s why they try to force everyone to fit the niche marketing route.

I, on the other hand, am not a good marketing person. I would rather be called an artist than simply identified as a niche artist. This statement makes a lot of artists who follow the marketing doctrine of “focus on one thing” very upset with me. But art is NOT a product and artists are NOT just salespeople selling a product.

I think artists that are truly successful pave their own way and don’t allow some jerk to pretend that they are better than them at marketing (because they are marketing to artists who are desperately seeking a way to market their art which is an easy target market).

Pave your own way, do your own thing, not the shit that EVERYONE is already doing.

For example, one of our awesome Rogue Artist Family On Patreon is doing a facebook live and showing her art! So Awesome! If you want to join us in supporting her putting herself out there during a pandemic go to:

The live streams are on FB in the Tish Johannon Creations FB group @ Join the group to be able to join in https://www.facebook.com/groups/tishjohannoncreations
7/30 @7:00 EST is for her paintings – 8/6 @7:00 EST is for all her crochet work

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YOU BRING THE LIGHT

I wrote this to my amazing rogue artist family on Patreon today and wanted to share it with all of you.

We are still waiting on test results for COVID and I am convinced we do not have it, but there is no way to be sure until we get the results.

It is interesting to me, finding myself at this moment where I feel so run down, and not well, with this lingering thought in the air of “Do I have it?”

We don’t feel well, yet we’re not exhibiting many of the severe symptoms, which is great. The symptoms we do have are not constant such as chills and headaches… Although fatigue and body aches seem to go from extreme to not so extreme.

I made the mistake of reading some news about the situation out there in outside land and a sense of sadness took over.

Humans are such beautiful creatures who can accomplish extraordinary things when they stand together in that beauty… Yet everyone seems so divided right now…

I am holding back the tears in my eyes as I write this…

Maybe I’m feeling the effects of the fatigue and right now is NOT the time to be reading any world news. Especially because I have not been creating an outlet for myself of my art.

I always feel that by creating beauty, empowering people, and expressing how beautiful and amazing we all are – it’s my way of adding light into a world that seems to have a shadow looming… If everyone understood how absolutely amazing they were, they wouldn’t power struggle to be better than someone else… No one is better, we are all beautiful and uniquely perfect at being who we are, which is an ever-changing, ever-evolving thing that grows and blooms as we experience this crazy thing called life.

I don’t know… Part of my brain says “You are so full of crap Rafi, nothing you do is meaningful, nothing you do has an effect on anything.” Luckily, I don’t buy into that voice.

Sure, everyone may not find it meaningful, but I feel that everything we do impacts the world. Just existing and breathing has an impact on the world around you.

It’s like walking into a room where someone has been stewing in anger and you can FEEL the tension in the room… We can FEEL others joy, sadness, hopefulness, anger, fear… and it is contagious.

Right now I feel sadness, but less so than I felt before I started writing this. I may not be creating art right now, but I am creating this… expressing my empowerment and ability to understand that even the smallest flicker of light can shine bright in the darkness.

We all can shine bright in the darkness with the smallest flicker of hope and love. We can cultivate that flicker into a flame and eventually a burst of light as powerful as the sun… and it all resides within us… Imagine knowing that everyone can somehow feel that, and that light is contagious.

Love… Hope… Feeling empowered… Feeling beautiful… And knowing that we are all a force of nature.

Yeah… I definitely need to get back to painting and creating soon 🙂

I Adore You All-Rafi

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Your Own Voice Doesn’t Hate You Or Others

There have been a lot of mornings recently where I have woken up with that voice in my head telling me that I am a loser. It calls me fat, old, and untalented. I tells me that I’m boring and pretty soon everyone that likes me is going to know the truth of how much of a loser I am. That voice doesn’t put it in eloquent sentences, it’s usually very mean and to the point.

The thing is, nobody’s voice hates them in the beginning. As an artist, I spend a lot of time with this voice. I spend a lot of time in solitary creation where I am wrapped up in my mind. Most times I argue with the stick-man (that’s what Klee and I call the negative self-talk voice) the same way I would argue with someone standing over my shoulder talking shit.

The stick man loves to sometimes just stand in the corner of my mind while I go about my day, screaming “FAT FAT FAT OLD OLD FAT FAT HAIRY HAIRY UGLY UGLY BALD FAT FAT UGLY BALD FAT OLD OLD OLD FAT!” Like I said, he’s not eloquent.

Argue with that voice, or just tell it to go fly a kite. No one is born with a negative voice in their head. In fact, as very young children, we rarely criticize ourselves or anyone else. We don’t know the differences associated with age, race, weight, economic background, schooling, gender, or anything else that we humans use to define something. We don’t have self-judgment or self-criticism yet, because we haven’t learned where we or others fit in the world… people are just people.

So where did it come from?

That shit was implanted in your brain jar. As little snot nosed beings, we are like sponges absorbing everything in the world. In the very beginning, most of our world consists of our parents. We pick up A LOT of our identity and insecurities there. Sometimes, unfortunately, the insecurities are blatant in some kind of form of abuse, other times it is much more subtle. Just being in a room with someone who has anxiety can make you feel anxious. If you think the unspoken emotions, fears, and insecurities that someone is carrying around don’t have a deep effect on their environment and the little sponges within said environment, then you are mistaken.

Whether the insecurities of others is directed at you or not doesn’t matter, what matters is understanding that most of your insecurities were passed down to you. Those insecurities were passed down to them, it’s like a cycle of bullshit or an “ouroboros of bullshit” as Klee calls it, and there is a lot of it.

Then add the crap ideals that are abundant in society to separate us into some kind of group. You are told to believe that this is good, that is bad, that is wrong, that is stupid, you can’t trust THOSE kinds of people, successful people don’t sleep in, republican bad, democrat bad, liberal bad, this team, that team, real art is this or that, you need to do this or that in order to not be this or that, you have to choose a side, beauty is this, beauty is not that, this is real, this is fake… it’s a whole bunch of bullshit that got passed down the generations that we all buy into because the system was already there when we started our lives.

A lot of these contradictory beliefs in the world really do a number on how we feel about ourselves. We adopt the habits because we think it is normal… unfortunately “normal” is overrated. Everyone has a different “normal” which begs the question, isn’t it just easier to be our own kind of human and not worry so much about being normal?

I believe that if we ALL accepted and loved ourselves truly without the insecurities, judgement, and criticisms, we would also and only have that for all the other amazing humans in the world. We would just love humans for being human… instead of categorizing people or ourselves into groups.

It can be considered normal to feel like a victim, less than, unworthy, like a failure, or just not good enough. What does that say about normal? Especially when you realize that saying nice things about yourself in public is not really considered a polite thing to do… you are called a “braggart” or “full of yourself”. How is it socially acceptable that normal is not admiring the unique and creative bad ass that you are?

And I mean genuine admiration, not the fake shit that some people try to flaunt as good self esteem. If you say that you are better than this person or group, then you are full of shit. I don’t care what excuse you use, whether it is “I have more money, I’m smarter, I am this or that”, or whatever… If you need to put someone, something, or some group down to lift yourself up and feel better about you… then it’s fake and a destructive habit that you learned in life.

Focus on your relationship with you, because that is where your power is. Not in what some other human is doing or where you fall in line in the system.

The system is normal, but we were not born normal. We were born extraordinary and meant to shine our unique creative light into the world. We are all so much bigger than our insecurities, our doubts, our fears, or our labels in society… we are so much more… ALL of us.

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ARTROVERTS! UNITE! Being Successful As An Artist

Recently I designed a t-shirt that says “ARTROVERTS UNITE! We’re here! We’re uncomfortable! We want to go home and create something.”

If you had asked me a few years ago when I started selling art, what it takes to be a successful artist… my answer would have been simple: the ability to produce good art.

I imagined that my artistic life would consist solely of me working in my studio, producing strokes of genius.

Art collectors would magically appear (poof) to buy art and leave. I would rarely have to leave my studio, and I would never have to go out into the “real” world. I would never again have to go to any social gathering I didn’t want to go to. This belief was clearly absurd, but I had all kinds of silly ideas in my brain jar of what being an artist was.

Now, almost a decade into it, I realize the subject of what it takes to be successful as an artist is much more intricate. It’s not just about producing art, although that is a BIG part of it. It’s about putting yourself out there again and again. Falling on your face and accepting rejection as part of the process.

Had I known all these years, my fear would have either gotten the better of me, or I would have blazed my own trail long ago. I would have become an ARTROVERT.

I love making art. I love being in my studio. Creativity is what keeps me from losing my shit, makes my life meaningful, and encourages me to jump out of bed in the morning even when the world seems to be amid a crap-storm.

The thing I didn’t understand when I first started was how much being an artist would require me to stretch myself. Or maybe I knew, which is why for most of my life, I didn’t pursue an art career. I stayed comfortably in the shallow end.

I had a friend that used to tell me that even our dream jobs will have roles we don’t like but which we accept so we can do the parts we love.

To be an artist, we have to accept the discomfort of being perpetually vulnerable, having no financial security, and being rejected often.

This involves putting yourself out there in front of the world… Which can be terrifying.

So How did you do it Rafi? How did you get over your fear?

I decided to take it step by step and not try to eat the entire enchilada all at once. I realized it wasn’t all or nothing, I could do it in chunks. I knew those chunks were going to hit on some major comfort zones. I also stopped comparing myself to where other artists were at in their careers.

Being an ARTROVERT is all about accepting the fact that it is OK that you don’t want to be social, and not punishing yourself for it. It means that you trust in communicating with your art and don’t concern yourself so much with how people see you.

You’re an artist, you are weird, and awkward sometimes, and that is OK. Artroverts love their studio, they love creating, and they love their quiet time. An artrovert also understands that if you are not putting yourself out there, you are not communicating your art with the world… so you show up.

To be an artist, it is quite simple. Create art, put it out there, and persist through the bullshit of your own mind or other people. Keep creating, keep showing up, and through that experience, you will let your weird artistic personality shine into the world along with your art.

Be unapologetically awkward, be creative, be an ARTROVERT.

Listen to our podcast below, where Klee and I talk about being ARTROVERTS.

And Here is A Quick Message From Some Random Sponsor (sorry 🙂 not sorry)

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Stir Crazy, Awesome Podcasts, And Staying Connected

Today I woke up and realized that it’s been about two and a half weeks since I have ventured out of the studio. Although our art studio is one of the coolest places to be, it’s easy to start feeling a little stir crazy.

Last time we went out, we hunted down supplies and scored toilet paper… good times, good times.

My book is NOT toilet paper… not yet anyhow.

Today I went outside and did a little stretching in the yard, hugged Klee, and returned into the studio and am currently listening to some music while I create.

I had a lovely surprise in the form of a Podcast from Curious Kirby, in which she interviewed Klee and me.

Kirby asked us all kinds of interesting questions, and it was a blast. You can listen by visiting her site here.

I avoid watching or reading the news. As you can imagine, there’s not much out there but doom and gloom, which is not very inspiring for creating art. Honestly, I haven’t felt very inspired lately.

Mostly, I’ve been recording and editing the audiobook for ‘The Rogue Artist’s Survival Guide’ and trying to keep my wits about me.

Klee and I are used to being at home and not going out much, but even still, we have to keep a close eye on our attitude towards ourselves and each other. It can be easy to lose your shit over stupid things, especially when you are recording an audiobook, and every sound in the house sounds like a firecracker.

It was excellent listening to the podcast in the studio. I could feel the old familiar sense of inspiration bubbling up from deep down inside, where I tried to bury it. It was under several layers of apathy, numbness, and what-the-fuckery that I was feeling earlier today. I suddenly felt alive again and ready to write. I had a mission! I had something to say again!

As you know, we’re enduring a global pandemic. (I only remind you because in 10 years when you’re reading this we will have forgotten what a goddamned shit show we experienced.)

I think during this time it is important to remember to smile and enjoy the little things… the things we can enjoy.

We are more connected than ever before. This blog, facetime, live streams, social media, podcasts, and so much more. We can create, connect, and love one another.

Sure, we may have to keep our distance, but it doesn’t mean we can’t FEEL connected.

We are still doing all of our YouTube videos from the studio

I adore you!

-Rafi

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Forget The New Year’s Resolutions

January is here and it is the beginning of 2020. This is the time of year where fad diets and hard to keep promises become a way of eventually disappointing yourself. We start to think of New Year’s resolutions and how this year is going to be different. Instead of buying a thighmaster and adding more stress to your life by adding 10 impossible goals that you don’t really want, start off with small things you can do right now. These ten lifestyle changes may be small, but they have changed my life.

Rafi Perez Painting Explorer

Create A New Tradition Of Gratitude. Create a spot in your home where you can sit every morning and spend 5 minutes in appreciation for yourself and whatever you love in life. Make it your gratitude retreat nook. This morning ritual will cause your brain to be on the lookout for the beauty of nature, friendship, love, laughter and anything else in life that you enjoy. Many of us are not used to taking any amount of time during the day to feel good on purpose… Just five minutes a day will change your world.

Free Yourself Of Clutter. Papers, old mail, instruction manuals, and receipts can clutter all the catch-all spots around your house. Take just 10 minutes a day to work on straightening up your paperwork, and throw away things that you don’t need. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish and how clutter-free your mind will become. Our physical space is the perfect reflection of what is happening in our mind; if your space is cluttered in any way, your head will be cluttered as well. 

3 Little Birds Art By Rafi

At Least One I Love You A Week. Tell one person each week that you love them. It’s easy to forget to tell people that we care about them. When we forget to express love we can get preoccupied with other things and that will become our habit. Reignite the habit of love. 

Get A Plant. Not only will it bring you better air quality, but nurturing a plant will do things for you emotionally that are phenomenal. Oh yeah, make sure you talk to your plant often. They love that.

Smile. Make it a point to smile and enjoy this year by enjoying each day fully. Right now you are reading this. As you read this, what do your surroundings sound like? Look up, what do you see? How does the air feel on your skin? What is the taste in your mouth? Is there a subtle static in the air? Does it feel thick, or light and airy?

That’s called stopping, now smell the roses, by giving this moment a big smile. If you have a hard time smiling, just remember that we think you are awesome.

-Rafi

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Sometimes Life Happens And It Sucks

I have been told on occasion that I’m so lucky to be able to live the life I live. Someone sees a snapshot of my life as an artist on social media and thinks that is the whole picture. As if everything is easy and just sunshine and rainbows float around my life. The truth isn’t as glamorous.

I try to be as honest and authentic as I can be with any content that I share with the world, but even then you are only getting part of the picture. In a world saturated with smiley faces and picture-perfect snapshots of everyone else’s life, it is easy to think that you are alone in feeling unhappy.

We all have our moments. When you see a picture of me creating a work of art, you don’t see all the insecurity, doubt, and worries I may have at the moment. When you see a picture of me smiling, there is no way to know if I have lingering doubts in the background of my mind.

Back to back questions can fill my head like “Am I going to have enough money to pay the bills this month? Do my children hate me? Can I pull off this next art project even though I feel like an impostor? Am I doing enough to promote myself? Why do I feel so invisible? Why am I so fat? YouTube is probably slowing down because I’m old and ugly? Aaaaaarg!”

Sometimes Life Happens And It Sucks

You know… I woke up this morning feeling unmotivated and defeated. The book is eating up a huge portion of my life right now, and my days are spent sitting on the couch typing. I can easily get overwhelmed trying to balance writing a book and running my entire art and media business. Throw a small wrench into the mix like a water pipe bursting over your bed and all of a sudden it seems like the end of the world.

No matter how wonderful someone’s life may seem, we all have insecurities creep up, we all feel overwhelmed sometimes, and we all have things we are afraid of.

This morning, I feel like I’m a failure at my art business, YouTube, Patreon, and life. I hardly make any income from all the work I put into a lot of online platforms and I have to wonder if I’m wasting my time. Am I wasting my time writing this blog? I feel like I’m letting everyone who believes in me down and everything I create is crap.

From art to podcast, to videos, to life choices, to writing, to everything I do, it all feels like crap. I feel like everything I try to do is harder than it should be, and I feel isolated and alone.

Listen, I’m not sharing this with you because I think my life sucks or anything. I also don’t want you to think I’m complaining, because I’m not. I just want you to know that you are not alone, we ALL have days where our thoughts are less than satisfied with our lives. We all have those moments where we look in the mirror and don’t like what we see. No matter how wonderful you think someone’s life is, I guarantee that daily, they may have something they are struggling with.

I think the reason I keep going with everything is a stubborn determination to smile. I don’t quit. I know that at some point during the day, I’m going to discourage myself. I know that there is a huge possibility that I’m going to call myself names. I am probably going to worry about the future and make myself feel bad about the choices I’ve made.

I know that a part of me will do whatever it takes to keep me comfortable, small, and hopeless. That is a safe place to be because you don’t take risks from that place. You don’t put yourself and your ideas out there if you feel that you don’t matter. My brain will do whatever it can to protect me from rejection or failure… even go as far as saying some really hurtful stuff in my own head and heart.

Insecurities are complex and hard to describe. We all have them, and they are all different and multifaceted.

I just don’t buy into mine as often as I used to, and when I do… I remind myself that when you are about to make a breakthrough, that’s when the negative voices in your head get louder and more desperate. I also don’t give myself any labels that are damaging. You may be feeling depressed, but you are not depressed, it is a momentary feeling.

We all go through this, and we all deal with it in our own way. I channel my emotions into all my creations and find a way to feel empowered by the experience.

Some commiserate with each other, some find a way to smile despite all the setbacks and some rise above the crap. Some choose to believe in themselves and focus on their life, and others compare their lives to what they assume others are experiencing.

It is after the experience, where I have faced the worst of it that you may see a picture of me smiling on social media. Shit happens, life can feel like it sucks, and times can be tough, but you get to determine how you respond to all of it. If your day sucks, then so be it, but don’t isolate yourself by thinking you’re the only one.

I share this with you because I think you’ve got this. I’ve got this… we can be heroes of our own story. We can all be champions of our own life… Just gotta choose to be awesome and roll with the punches.