Feeling Powerful In Three Steps

I created the “EMPOWERMENT” series based on self empowerment, as a tool to be used as a daily reminder. This is my social commentary on the way that people talk to themselves or the way they see themselves. I believe we all have the ability to feel confident and strong, but for the most part we have made it a habit to talk to ourselves in a way that makes us feel powerless.

Believe By Rafi Perez

In reality, personal empowerment is not something we feel, it’s something we do. Our sense of empowerment is a reflection of the increased personal value and self-worth that comes out of our experience of having real influence in our lives.

Empowering ourselves and creating change, which ultimately leads to the increased sense of personal value and self-worth we call the “feeling” of empowerment, involves some very specific steps.

Bonafide By Rafi Perez
  1. Stop comparing yourself to others. Start improving yourself

People tend to compare themselves to others because at times it will make them feel better about their lives or something they are trying to do. For example I know a lot of artists that feel better about their ability to create art because they compare their art to stuff they consider inferior. This is a double edged blade, because they will also compare their work to other work that they consider vastly superior. When they do this it leads to a devastating realization that their work isn’t that great. The truth is, nothing is better or worse than anything else, it’s just our perspective which can change.

Life By Rafi Perez

When you resist comparing yourself, you will be less engaged in judgement, and self-judgement, YOU WILL focus instead on your work – this alone will be empowering.

Belief By Rafi Perez
  • Take responsibility.

Taking responsibility means simply to be responsible for the way you respond to a situation. Most importantly, no matter how much you want to blame someone else for the way you feel, it’s important to remember that no matter what anyone does, you are ultimately responsible for how you respond to the given situation.

There are many small opportunities throughout the day to take responsibility for your emotions, play around with the concept. This will put the power back in your hands and no longer let your emotions fluctuate depending on the people around you.

Create By Rafi Perez
  • Do Something. Take Action!

One of the best things you can do to feel empowered is take action. Think about all those things you wish you did or that you want to do, but maybe you feel lazy or unmotivated. Whenever you don’t take action on it, it can have a devastating effect on your self esteem. Make it a habit to just take action and stop thinking about doing it.

Golden Glow By Rafi Perez

Taking action means remembering to have fun, at least that’s what it means to me. Have fun!

There are lots of ways to empower yourself and create positive change in your life. These are just a few things I try to keep in mind daily, or remind myself if ever I’m feeling less than empowered. Above all, remember that you are a beautiful luminous being, and go out and rock this life thing!

A Love Connection With Self

Happy Valentine’s Day!!! Time to sacrifice a goat in a cave, slap people on the street with its bloody hide to help with fertility and purity, and then party all night! Well, maybe not any more. Luckily, the origins of this very loving Hallmark holiday is way in the past, so today we celebrate each other and our loved ones in a less sacrificial blood and chanting way.

I’m sure everyone who is in a relationship is planning dinners, gifts, and private moments, so I’ll get right to the point. I would like to add a little something else to this day, to be your own Valentine. I’m saying, let’s take the opportunity to watch how we talk to ourselves, trust me it’ll help your relationship.

Much of our self talk has a huge impact on our relationships. This stems from low self esteem and negative self worth. Many people find themselves not good enough to do or be something, and they make sure to remind themselves of this often.

In the area of love, this is one of the things that complicates our relationships. We sometimes get into a relationship with someone and convince ourselves that happiness lies in the other person. This is because we feel we are not worthy to make ourselves happy, and that we are incomplete.

Incompleteness is a silly concept, although it may sound romantic to tell someone that they complete you, really when you think about it, it’s stupid.

It is a concept full of expectations and assumptions. You expect the person to always complete you, and that will lead to resentment and judgment because ain’t nobody got time for that.

We tell ourselves that we are incomplete without this other person because we think they fill the void we feel in our being. They do not fill this void, they remind us how to fill it ourselves because they love us and we temporarily see ourselves through their eyes. This wears off eventually, and oh boy can things get complicated.

Rafi and Klee Silly In Love

Hey, all I’m saying is if you love someone, you better love yourself and be nice to yourself, or you’ll be making yourself miserable no matter who you have around. You’ll also be making the person you love miserable. Food for thought.

Love you valentine! From both of us!

The Substance Of Reality And Balloons

Balloon Man By Rafi Perez

Recently I created a painting titled “The Substance Of The Real.” It shows a rather stoic, old century style, statue of a man struggling to hold on to a big red balloon on a string.

The statement for this piece is as follows:

 ABOUT THIS PAINTING
So many things that we hold near and dear… thoughts, beliefs, or habits, we hardly ever question. Yet, many of those hold no substance. This piece is meant to be a daily reminder to question everything, to look closely at your own motivations, and to determine what is true for you… Not to ferociously hold on to something that you don’t quite understand. 

Balloon Man By Rafi Perez
Balloon Man By Rafi Perez

Now, I wanted to clarify something about this piece and my belief in what is real in the world. I know that a lot of spiritual beliefs state that the world is an illusion, and a lot of people will be surprised to hear that I don’t believe that.

I do believe that we live in a delusion… I know, let me explain.

I don’t believe that the world is unreal in of itself. It becomes an illusion when we look at it. We look at the world through our filter of understanding, through the eyes of our knowledge, understanding, prejudices, judgments, love, ideas, opinions, and current circumstances.

Balloon Man By Rafi Perez
Balloon Man By Rafi Perez

That world is unreal in the same way that a dream is unreal, because it’s based on delusion. The world is just there minding it’s own business, open for interpretation, it is our interpretation that is the illusion, and thus the way we see the world is an illusion based on our own beliefs.

Balloon Man By Rafi Perez
Balloon Man By Rafi Perez

You take two people to see a symphony, they sit in similar seats, have the same physical experience, and yet they will have a completely unique experience. One person tells you it was terrible, the other will say it was amazing… who’s right? who’s wrong?

Whoever you agree with the most will be right, and the other person will be wrong.

I like the idea of questioning the whole delusion… Cause, you know, I can’t be right ALL the time, and chances are a lot of what I believe has the substance of a red balloon.

Balloon Man By Rafi Perez
Balloon Man By Rafi Perez

In my opinion, you get to choose how you feel about the world, people, politics, religion, love, relationships, anything and everything.

If you ever find yourself repeating some crappy saying that you’ve just never thought about, I suggest you look at that. Where did it come from, some older generation that maybe didn’t have their shit together yet? Maybe an old racist uncle? A victimized mother? A womanizing father? A corrupt grandfather? A jealous aunt? A hypochondriac grandmother? All people that love me, all good people, just screwed up.

I say question everything, remember that the world you see is your delusion, and that you get to decide how you feel about the world you see. You can choose love, and not hold on so vehemently to those beliefs that are outdated.

Don’t Forget To Just Have Fun

I know that a lot of people out there assume that I spend my days blissfully ignorant to the real world, carefree as I float on my cloud across my studio painting feverishly. I assume that when they think this, they are either hopeful that one may chose to live that way, or spiteful that I don’t take life seriously enough to grow up.

Office Decorated By Rafi Perez

Yet, as much as I would love to live that way, I don’t have a cloud that can support my weight.

Here’s the thing, us human beings doing what ever it is that we are doing in our short yet miraculous lives, tend to take ourselves seriously.

Even as a guy who spends his days mixing paint and finger painting, I can easily play the adult.

Rafi Painting Bird Series

Have you ever watched kids when they play a grown up? They get all stern and furrow brow as they shake their pointed finger angrily… and guess what, we never stop pretending, we just actually believe it’s true.

I think that growing up and watching the adults around us stress out over the things in their lives, causes us to believe that is the way you act when you are an adult. Responsibility equals stress, or at least that’s what we think it’s supposed to mean.

Rafi in front of his turtle

I’ve found myself stressing out every once in a while when I have commissions and deadlines, which then causes me to become devoid of creativity, which then causes more stress.

I’ve found that in an attempt to have ourselves taken seriously we tend to complicate our lives by pretending to be serious adults. We stress out over things and try to figure out the solutions while focused on the problem.

I could tell you two things from experience, it doesn’t work, and it’s killing your body.

Rafi and Klee Silly In Art Studio

My solution, or at least what I attempt to do every day (which I can easily fail miserably at) is to simply have fun and not give a rip whether ANYONE takes you seriously or not.

Just do you, your way, the way that you want to, in the most funnest way…

Life is going to happen anyway, you are going to solve your problems, or not. Either way, stressing out about it isn’t doing you or anyone else, any good.

You might as well remember and practice how to have fun.

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.

 

Happy Easter! My Favorite Memes.

Easter is upon us, for a lot of us, it’s about sacrificing sleep, Easter baskets, and egg laying rabbits.

For others, it is a day to give time to reflect on a great sacrifice made for humanity, and to pray that the impact of Easter continues to impact all for the better.

For the better… A lot of us have different ideas on what that means.

For me on this beautiful day, I will spread joy in appreciation for Easter in the form of Easter memes… Enjoy!

Rafi's Favorite Easter Memes

Rafi's Favorite Easter Memes

Rafi's Favorite Easter Memes
This one is just so cute… Which is weird, because I would never want a pet rabbit.

Rafi's Favorite Easter Memes

Rafi's Favorite Easter Memes

So, this next series of memes, just takes me back to my childhood. The whole ridiculousness of the frighting mall picture experience that many of us have had… these pictures crack me up.

Rafi's Favorite Easter Memes

Rafi's Favorite Easter Memes

Rafi's Favorite Easter Memes

Rafi's Favorite Easter Memes
WTF!?!?!? Why??? Why?!?!?!?!?

Happy Easter you guys! I love you, be good to each other and remember to enjoy this amazing thing we call life.

I Won Best Of Show?

So, yesterday I submitted some pieces that I created for a juried art show that takes place at Artel Gallery, in downtown Pensacola.

I’m sure most of you will find it hard to believe, that it was a terrifying act for me. Yeah, only my closest friends (and now you) know that I have an childlike fear of having my art judged by art competition judges.

Let’s make something clear, I don’t mind having my art judged. People judge my art all the time, some love it, some hate it, either way, it doesn’t bother me. Put the art in a competitive setting and I become a nervous third grader.

Artel Gellery Submissions By Rafi Perez
Artel Gallery Submissions By Rafi Perez

Now, I’m fully aware this is ridiculous. I’m an established artist, I have collectors of my work, and I am well known… yet, just because it doesn’t make sense, doesn’t mean I didn’t almost piss myself yesterday.

This video will let you live my experience yesterday: 

The theme of the show is about animal life. The show is called “It’s A Zoo In Here” and runs for the month of October.

Cazebraca By Rafi Perez
Cazebraca By Rafi Perez

I decided to enter the show, face my fears, and submit my art… For the past few years, I’ve been working on getting rid of silly fears that stand in the way. Sometimes, I have to push outside of my comfort zones, which seems to be an ongoing thing, so I better get used to it.

Rehabilitation Of Beauty By Rafi Perez
Rehabilitation Of Beauty By Rafi Perez

I created two pieces for the show called “Rags to Fishes” and “Rehabilitation Of Beauty.” My friend and art collector, Monica Gaskins owns a Zebra sculpture I created recently, and she allowed me to submit it as my third piece.

Rags To Fishes By Rafi Perez
Rags To Fishes By Rafi Perez

“Rags to Fishes” is a sculpture I created using old pieces of canvas that I collected from the stretching process. They typically get thrown away, but it seemed like such a waste to throw perfectly good canvas away…  that stuff is expensive, and I couldn’t bring myself to just throw it away.

Watch the video above to hear which piece won best of show… That’s right! I won best of show… How awesome is that!

The show reception is Wednesday, October 12, 6pm-8pm. Klee and I will be there, which is also outside of my comfort zone because I got best of show, and there is a part of me that doesn’t know how to handle that… Like I said ridiculous, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. 🙂

The show runs October 4th – Oct 28th, 2016.

 

 

Under The Weather

As I prepared myself to drip some paint onto canvas, and make sure I didn’t try drinking coffee out of the wrong cup again (Paint taste nothing like coffee by the way), I found myself feeling a little uneasy. I looked down at the blank canvas trying to grasp the fuzzy image I had in my mind just moments earlier, but I couldn’t seem to focus.

I don’t tend to get sick, so any time it happens, it catches me by surprise. I looked up at the imaginary mirror in front of me and said “Oh shit.” Immediately my mind went into overdrive, telling me all the things I did that would bring about a sickness.

“Maybe it was that guy, that one day, that coughed in your booth.” My Brain said.

“Maybe Klee kissed you, and she’s a carrier of some kind of strange virus that hasn’t been discovered yet.” My Brain continued.

“Maybe James gave it to you when he breathed near you.”

“Maybe you should chill out.” I said out loud.

image-3445

 

I mean, if I’m sick, then I’m sick, and I take care of myself. But driving myself crazy trying to figure out how it happened is just stupid.

So, I decided to take a break today… Let’s see how I feel tomorrow. The painting is there coming together slowly in my mind as if I were actually putting paint to canvas, so that is taken care of.

I would say that today has been a very good day. If there was anything I would change about today, it would be my dramatic response to being sick… I was quite whiny for a good portion of the day before I caught myself being obnoxious. Luckily, Klee didn’t seem to mind too much and she was pretty fantastic at being just as sweet as she always is.

So, here’s to being under the weather and enjoying a spell of whiny, over dramatic, self indulgence in resting it up.

Rafi

Become a Jedi Master of Art

So, it’s no surprise that Klee and I are nerds. Klee will proudly boast that she has dressed up as a wizard for the Harry Potter book release. I am a huge comic book fan and we both love every fantasy and sci-fi series that exist out there.

Rafi_Klee

With the new Star Wars movie coming out, Klee and I decided to have a movie marathon and watch Star Wars episodes 1-6. Thus, I was inspired to compare myself to the Jedi, because why not.  So I recorded a video about why being an artist is like being a Jedi Master.

 

Here are more amazing sayings of Yoda and being a Jedi Master.

1. Hard to see, the dark side is

2. Truly wonderful the mind of a child is

3. Great warrior, hmm? Wars not make one great

4. Already know you that which you need

5. Size matters not

6. Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering

7. Mind what you have learned. Save you it can

8. Do or do not. There is no try

9. Always in motion the future is

10. Named must your fear be before banish it you can

11. You will know the good from the bad when you are calm

12. Much to learn you still have, my old Padawan. This is just the beginning!

5 Things My Grandmother Taught Me

When I was a kid, I had the amazing experience of being able to spend summers and  a year living with my grandparents in Puerto Rico. I think that year, along with the summers formed a lot of the traits that I admire about myself. My grandfather was a fun loving poet who liked having a drink or two and my grandmother was a feisty and loving woman who would stop at nothing to make sure you were taken care of.

My grandmother passed away last week and I felt the wind get knocked out of my sails a little. I started to think about the impact she had in my life and what I’ve learned from her.

Always Speak Your Mind

My grandmother would speak her mind no matter who she was talking to. I remember my grandfather telling me a story about their days in Cuba right after F7idel had taken over. Everyone was walking on eggshells in fear to speak out against Fidel, because even your closest friend could turn you in if they thought you were anti government. She didn’t care, if she had something to say, she was going to say it. My grandfather told me it was one of the main reasons he persuaded her to leave the country and come to America. Even close to eighty, if she didn’t agree or had something to say she would say it.

Don’t act like an old bitty

My grandmother had her 80th birthday recently and my brother was there. He said she drove him around Miami to different destination, of course he held on for dear life because she convinced herself long ago that the speed limit is 80… everywhere. Like I said before, she was feisty… feisty for life. She never saw herself as weak or unable to do things because she was older. In my experience, she never used it as a crutch or an excuse. I remember being with her once and this guy who was in his 60s hobbled his way passed us, and she said “I hope I never get that old…” She was 75.

abuela

You can do amazing things

My grandmother was a big believer in metaphysics. Metaphysics is a traditional branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world that encompasses it. Her and I had a lot of amazing conversations about the mind, body and spirit. This has a huge impact on who I am today. When I was little, I would have terrible reactions to allergies which would cause my hands to swell up and blister. She would close her eyes and hold her hands over mine and cure them.

Be Feisty for life and love

My grandmother in my mind is the embodiment of someone who lived her life, her way and fully until the very end. She laughed, she played, she smoked, she argued, she danced, she relaxed and enjoyed herself until the very last moment. I admire that. I may not have always agreed with her point of view, but it always made for a good conversation, where most likely she would enjoy the process of arguing the point. She was 4 ft nothing and tougher than just about anyone I know, and that is awesome. She also had one of the biggest hearts I’ve known, especially for friends and family.

abuela 3

Imagination is everything

When I was a kid in Puerto Rico I remember that the majority of my games were in the imagination. I feel like my grandmother cultivated that by allowing me to take adventure to the next level. I’m sure, had she known, some of the things I was doing she might have put a stop to it, such as parachuting off the roof with a bed sheet, or building a protective case out of a box and inching towards the edge of a cliff (only 4 foot cliff, I wasn’t that stupid), or jumping off the roof in a red cape. Although these particular endeavors did not fully succeed, my imagination has come to be the most powerful too I have in my life… I think she knew that.

Thank you abuela, I love you, and I’ll talk to you soon when my mind is still.