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 abstractmasterpiece… 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.
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.
I am always astonished by the talented and amazing creatives that we have met. Artists are some of the most eye-opening and unique individuals to color the planet. I am proud to say that I am part of a community of Rogue Artists that support each other. This is a diverse and multi-cultural group of multi-talented individuals who are blazing their own artistic careers in their own way. I am blessed and honored to call them my rogue family, and excited to share their stories and talents with you, because we LURVE them… like… a lot…
This is just a glimpse of some of our rogue family from all around the world.
Every once in awhile, I’ll be introducing them to you throughout the year, but I wanted to let them introduce themselves by answering a series of five questions:
1. What is your name (Name you want to share) and where are you from?
2. What kind of art or arts do you enjoy working on?
3. What else would you like to say about yourself or your art?
4. What is next for you? (this question is optional)
5. What is your website or social media pages where we can find you?
So, hold out your hand and prepare yourself for awesomeness, luckily it is online so we don’t have to worry about social distancing 🙂
My name is Dana Ellis from Crawfordsville, IN I enjoy mostly oils and portrait painting. I did my first painting in 1996 in a little local craft store and I’ve loved creating ever since. Although I have moved through many levels and mediums I found my home in painting faces. You can find me on Facebook: Dana Ellis Art Instagram: Dana_Ellis_Art https://danaellisarts.wixsite.com/website
My name is Tina Colbourne and I’m from Toronto, Ontario Canada but my parents are from Newfoundland, Canada so I say I’m a Newfie.
I enjoy most all art but I mainly paint wildlife, landscapes, and some still life. I like to paint in realism with acrylics.
I am self-taught or rather I learned very young from my father, and my uncle who lived with us for a short while. My father is a landscape artist and he still paints today.
Right now I have to step back from art a little and just paint in my spare time because I am remodeling my house. I am looking to sell in the next two years. I want to move to the country and have either a barn or large workshop/outbuilding to turn into a studio space and a small gallery open to the public. My father will stay with me during the winter and also paint with me.
You can find me on Facebook or Instagram @tinacolbourneart
Melissa Peacock – Surrey, BC, Canada
Big huge watercolour fan, aiming for “magical semi-realism” I guess you could say.
I’m also an anxious bee open for commissions, though plants and animals suit best!
I have an utterly jam-packed website at www.yellowmellearts.com, insta/twitter: @yellowmelle, and surely hundreds of videos on youtube.
My name is Megan McFadden
The art I enjoy creating is sureal, fantasy sci -fi, anime
I like playing around with different mediums. I mostly work in ink and colored pencil. I have been playing around a little bit with digital.
What is next for me. Putting myself out there more. I would like to publish a coloring book. I would like to create art full time.
What is your website or social media pages where we can find you?
My name is Michelle, and I am from Adelaide, South Australia.
I create original artworks in handwoven tapestry, and also make handwoven scarves on my floor loom.
My art is a combination of my dark/goth aesthetic, and phrases used during my growing up years … these are mostly around my parents wanting me to be ‘normal’ and conform to the rest of society. I am also obsessed with x-rays – as well as creating a whole series of tapestries of x-rays, now I am experimenting with drawing on them …
Next for me is my first solo exhibition opening 24 September!
Kelly Sterr from Bedminster Pennsylvania. I have taken a liking to acrylics however I love doing anything creative. Can not wait till I can do this full time. My daughter and I went shopping at IKEA and they had loom for $20 I decided to get it and give it a whirl and see what tapestry I come up with. You can find me on my website at Kellysterrgallery.com – ksterr64 on Instagram- and Kelly Sterr Gallery on etsy and I sell on Amazon under Kelly Sterr Gallery.
1) Charity From Northern Minnesota
2) I enjoy working on many different arts!! I’ve always enjoyed painting, working with wood, working with rocks, wire, and jewelry things, working with glass, working with paper, working with clay… basically almost every kind of medium you can work with, I love it!! I love to create with anything I can get my hands on!! right now I’ve been focusing on painting. couple years ago I focused on wood & few years before that I focused on melting glass
3) My art is for me I guess. I hope others will like it and appreciate it. But it is never bothered me if they don’t. Because my art is an outlet for me. A form of therapy if you will for me. always has been since I was a little kid.
4) what’s next for me?? The picture is of me in my current studio, which is my minivan that I’m converting into a mini camper for myself. My husband and I just became official empty-nesters a week ago. So the studio that I had put together is actually going to be moving to a bigger room in the next couple of weeks. We are rearranging things in our home. it’s gonna take a little bit. I’m also gonna try to get camping a few times before winter sets in. And once my studio in the house is moved and set up. I am just gonna keep creating things that I want to create using mediums that I maybe not have used before. I just enjoy trying new things!
My name is Everett Stanton, I previously created work under the pseudonym J.H. Everett. I currently live with my wife, mother-in-law, and two sons (and our corgi, Lucy) in Mission Viejo, California.
I really enjoy working on puppetry, illustration, and animation
I like to create active art that people can interact with, do crazy things with, and have fun with. I like art that makes people happy. I tend to gravitate to bright colors, interesting lines, and large shapes.
What’s next for me is to get brave, and really believe in my place in the art form that I have chosen to be a part of – without hesitation. I am starting to build puppets once again, and I am jumping back into animating and illustration. The feature film that I designed costumes and puppets for just finished in editing, and is going into post-production. And today, I agreed to work on an online puppet show for Reddit and Tick Toc with some professional puppeteer friends. I have also started working with two other artists to Livestream on Reddit, while we work together to create a couple of new kid’s books.
Jennifer Lindquist in Longwood, FL, I paint in acrylics mostly surf art, surfer girls, curls, beaches. I love the springs, surfing, and I work in I.T. full time. I’m trying to get my online art sales going since festivals have stopped. I have a website, www.artisticsurf.net Facebook: jennclindquist.artist Instagram: @jennclindquist
Name: Jo Clark living in Maryland, USA
Type of art: I paint, crochet, draw and refurbish furniture when I have the time.
Something about yourself: I love escaping in books. With how busy I’ve become with my art career I listen to audiobooks, but in the past, you could count on finding me in a secluded place with my nose in a book.
What is next for you: Growing my family art business. We want to get our children involved as much as possible.
My name is Linda Ursin, Swedish living in Norway. My art is inspired by folklore, mythology, and the Scandinavian landscape and wildlife. I enjoy experimenting with media and texture but for the most part, there’s some form of realism in the end result. I make art because it’s part of who I am. I’m a multi-passionate creative. Next for me is to get back into what I love after about a year of things getting in the way and draining the little energy I have. Living with chronic pain means I have less of it.
You can find me at lindaursin.net and as @lindaursin on most social media. On youtube it’s easier to search my name.
Hi! My name is Marilyn Savage and I’m from Reno, NV. I like working with glass and I do stained glass and etched glass panels. I plan on learning to do fused glass sometime soon (I bought a glass kiln about a year ago but haven’t used it yet). It’s been too hot lately to work in my workshop but I read somewhere that I should do artwork daily so I’ve been designing glass panels on paper every day. I do it everyday at lunchtime while I’m at my day job and I really enjoy that break from all the paper pushing. Retirement is just a couple years away and that’s when I plan to try to have an actual art business. I think having fun with it is the most important thing. I can be found at https://www.gabrielleartsnv.com and I have a Facebook page too….https://www.facebook.com/Gabrielle-Arts-NV
Hi, I’m Kassandra Alfaro from Del Rio, Texas but everyone calls me Kas.
My current go to art is digital art and acrylics on canvas, but I love creating in general.
Although I am super camera and voice shy, I have been creating since I was little (I’m currently 19). My dad has always told me to share my creations with the world, so I do.
As an artist, I enjoy drawing, painting, and gaming. I also do graphic design work for a couple of local businesses and take on commission work when I have a chance. I also have an apprenticeship as a tattoo artist.
Hi all I’m Natalie from Nataliecallwoodart I live and work in BC Canada with my family with 3 almost out of the house kids and my husband.Im originally from Switzerland.My goal is to one day soon to have a studio by the sea be it on Canadas West Coast or somewhere else in the world ! I also would like to travel part of the year as a traveling artist with a base at my studio by the sea !!
I’m working mostly as a painter in abstract using all kinds of mediums like acrylics, watercolors, encaustics, Inks, I do not like oils lol. My roots are in ceramics I went to school for it I hope to have a big enough studio by the sea to incorporate a ceramic area as well !! Short term goal is to make a living from my passion because I can’t think of doing anything else for now /my second part of my life !! My website: https://www.nataliecallwoodart.com/ I also have a YouTube channel that could use some attention lol nataliecallwoodart! FB https://m.facebook.com/nataliecallwoodart/ IG https://www.instagram.com/nataliecallwoodartist/
Hi! My name is Rhonda Young, and I’m from Oklahoma, USA. I started doing pencil portraiture years ago, then I gradually moved into doing sculpture and stone carving. Right now, I’m very interested in, and trying (for the first time), watercolor painting. I don’t really have a business, per se, though I have sold a few sculptures in the past, and I don’t really have a good, designated studio. I just work in a corner of my living room. No website, but you can see some of my art here: https://www.deviantart.com/rhondayoungart
I’m the single mother of two young adults with Autism.
Hello, it’s Kyle at Kyle Wood Creations. I enjoy painting, printmaking, and experimenting. My work is mostly dream time leaning into the surreal. I enjoy expressing my mental projections and discoveries. What is next for me is an increase in creating more art. I can be found at kylewoodcreations.com and on Instagram as kylewoodcreations. Currently, my studio is the space between the living room and kitchen.
What is your name (Name you want to share) and where are you from? Chantal Dupuis, Ottawa, Ontario (Canada)
What kind of art or arts do you enjoy working on? Watercolour and oil paintings mostly wildlife or landscape.
What else would you like to say about yourself or your art? Art is therapy for me, journey started 5 years ago when diagnosed with cornea dystrophy. Was lucky to get a donor transplant in 2018 and now it is just an addiction, can’t go a day without painting!
What is next for you? (this question is optional) Keep painting. I registered (and got accepted) in a gallery and a few associations as I am hoping to be able to sell enough so that I can pay for my supplies but otherwise, it would be cool to try to do a solo show but not sure if I am ready for that… I need to “grow more” in my heart and art!
What is your website or social media pages where we can find you?
Holly Wong lives and works in San Francisco, California. She was educated at the San Francisco Art Institute where she graduated with a Master of Fine Arts with a concentration in New Genres. Holly creates installations, assemblages and works on paper, integrating non-traditional approaches with more traditional sewing techniques associated with the history of women. Her approach is both non-conventional but also deeply rooted in her history and culture. She has been awarded visual arts grants from the Integrity: Arts and Culture Association, Barbara Deming Memorial fund, the George Sugarman Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, and a Gerbode Foundation purchase award.
“This is a picture of me working on an installation called “Spiral Dance” which was constructed of multiple layers of drafting film with colored pencil drawings. The pieces are large so I end up working on the floor sometimes.”
1. What is your name (Name you want to share) and where are you from?
My name is Klee Angelie, and I originally hail from Joliet, Illinois. I’ve spent the last decade living and creating in Pensacola, Florida. It’s hot here and we don’t have any lightning bugs (fail!) but it’s a great place full of amazing people.
2. What kind of art or arts do you enjoy working on?
I love creating jewelry. Working with stones and metals is endlessly fascinating and fun. I also love music (my first love, as a kid I could most often be found with my hot pink boombox on full blast, singing into a hairbrush) and my specialty is singing/songwriting. I recently picked up needle-felting, and have a general love for fabrics and fibers.
3. What else would you like to say about yourself or your art?
Oh, geez… nice question “Tell us more about yourself”
Me: “Uh…” (types long paragraph, deletes it, tries again, deletes that… stares at computer screen… closes eyes and screams while typing.)
I often joke with people~ “Nothin but rocks and song lyrics up here in the ol’ noggin.” but it’s kinda true…
I was always “that kid…” You know that kid, the one off in the other room doing their own thing, usually something creative or lost in their imagination. I’m still that kid, but now I have another awesome kid to share my studio space with (my best friend and husband, Rafi), as well as a community of equally unique and weirdly wonderful kids that I’m proud to call my friends. I’m one happy kid. Still mostly into rocks and song lyrics.
4. What is next for you? (this question is optional)
This is always sort of open-ended for me and ever evolving, but lately with one solid criteria: to have fun. Fun is a lot to manage, but luckily I have protocols in place to help manage and organize the fun.
5. What is your website or social media pages where we can find you?
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.
I responded with:
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.
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?
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:
Recently I got to be part of a Facebook live sale where Tish Johannon Creations Facebook group showed off some beautiful jewelry to internet land. It was fun, and Klee and I were inspired to do our own type of Facebook live sale (coming soon).
Holly Powell contacted me recently to tell me that she had set up her own selling opportunities in a busy restaurant parking lot and was making a killing on art sales.
Esther L Jones is doing a Tea With Esther on YouTube Today at 7 pm Central where she invites you into the conversation to discuss the ancient, divine magic of art, music, and tea in a world starved for light and peace. You can join in here https://youtu.be/feHIDJtRUjg
Dana Ellis did an art hunt to inspire people in her community!
Some of these artists say they were inspired by Klee and me in the videos, book, podcast, and being part of our Patreon community, but I’ll be honest… Artists are all amazing, and we are endlessly inspired by their raw determination to create and push outside of what they know, to explore more about themselves.
These are just four examples of artists pushing outside of their comfort zones and doing something that they have never done before, in order to connect with people. They are blazing their own trail and doing their own thing.
In my opinion, that is what it is all about. As artists we express ourselves during all times, using whatever tools we have available to us, and venture into new potential head on.
So many artists have been innovative in sharing themselves and their creations like never before.
So my question is simple, are you inspired? Are you pushing through your comfort zones? Or are you waiting around to get discovered?
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 🙂
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.
Because it is so closely attached to my emotions, I try to keep things positive and empowering. I like to focus on the beauty of the world. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. It doesn’t mean that the beauty is gone, it just means I’m not focused on it.
If I were a superhero that focused on the beauty of the world, my arch nemesis would be the mainstream media. I feel like they scour the world to find anything negative and dis-empowering in order to keep us in a state of fear, and watching the news religiously to stay “informed” on the next possible threat.
This isn’t some “fake news” statement. I don’t care what news outlets you watch, or who you follow… it is all dramatic theater in order to get you to pick a side, and follow their agenda.
Don’t worry, Rafi has not lost his mind and writing about conspiracies… although I did just type that in the third person.
What I am saying is, with everything that has been going on lately, I feel like there is such a divide between us wonderful humans. People are afraid, angry, hateful, distrusting, polarized, and not sure what to think. Unfortunately, most people turn to the news outlet of their choice to see what is going on in the world and forget that news outlets are powered by ratings, money, and theatrics.
Of course they are going to report on horrible shit… horrible shit happens, and that’s what get’s people to watch. When you are scared or worried, you need to tune in so you can know what is going on.
And there is a lot going on.
This morning, I walked into the studio to get started on a commission meant to document the love of a family. Another piece I’m working on is for a couple who are madly in love, and another is to celebrate the birth of a child.
So here is a video that explains where I am at with all this 🙂
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)
This morning I woke up excited about getting into my newly remodeled studio. Yesterday, I had planned to design some t-shirts and instead found myself hammering and cutting wood all day. The result of all that sweaty manly labor is a roomier studio that I can’t wait to get messy with paint.
Today however, I have t-shirt designs to knock out. This involves a little sketching here and there, but mostly involves sitting on the couch with a laptop on my lap… whoa! Is that why they are called laptops??? Who knew?
The start of my day was interesting. Earlier this morning I brewed some coffee and set up my recording equipment. I have been recording a couple of chapters every day since I accidentally deleted 100 pages from the audiobook. By the way, if you are recording an audiobook, might I suggest NOT deleting 100 pages worth of recorded audio like a noob… or a champ (I’m working on being kind to myself about my epically stupid mistake… it’s a work in progress).
Usually, my morning ritual of audiobook recording is an epic race to beat the Blue Angels practice run before I finish said chapters. This morning I had a slightly different struggle. I was experiencing some annoyingly loud borborygmus.
What is borborygmus you ask?
Klee and I call it “inside farts” or a rumbling or gurgling noise made by the movement of fluid and gas in the intestines. Honestly, I’m usually not that aware of it unless it is especially rambunctious… which it was.
It seemed like every time I tried to record a sentence, my intestines chimed in… So I recorded one chapter today and decided to move on to the next project.
Since I had put off designing t-shirts and listing them in lieu of studio remodeling, I decided it was time for some designing. I’ve been putting off updating the t-shirt page on the website which said “Coming soon August of 2019” for no other reason than having to update the website… which is tedious.
So today, we played some music and created some art. Mine in the form of t-shirts, and Klee created furry Agoggles. It’s been a good day.
We’ve been fachunking our way through all the little projects which has helped us immensely with our emotions. With things being the way they are, staying creative or productive can be challenging… or showering for that matter… Little things like the dishes are not going to clean themselves, so I fachunk the dishes. I just say fachunk it “Can I get a hell yeah for the dishes? Hell! Yeah!” and I fachunking love it… kinda… well more than borborygmus.
Not sure what Fachunking is? Watch this video where we explain it:
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.
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.
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.
I adore you!
FACEBOOK LIVE VIRTUAL SALE
Join Us For A Special Sale Live On Our Facebook Group For Our Collectors And Friends! Never Seen Before Pieces And Discounts!September 22, 2020
Mugs, T-shirts, Stickers, And Posters – Be Prepared For Delays
Upcoming Public Events:
FACEBOOK LIVE SALESeptember 22, 2020 at 6:00 pm – 7:00 pmWe will be going live with a special art and jewelry sale on our Rafi And Klee Collectors club page (members only) We will have special sale prices and huge discounts for anyone who attends. We will also be displaying art and jewelry that has never been shared before. We have never done a virtual sale…
YouTube Live Stream PublicOctober 14, 2020 at 7:00 pm – 8:00 pmThis is the public Live Stream we do every month. Find us on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/user/RafiwashereUS