I Burst Into Tears… Well, Kinda.

Empowering Art By Rafi Perez

The other day I was thinking about working on a special piece. I started sketching it out and thinking about the meaning. Someone being pulled in so many different directions that he becomes a puppet to the world around him.

Art By Rafi Perez

While talking to Klee about it, I broke down and my eyes started tearing up. The only reason I didn’t go into a full sob was the fact that I was so surprised at my emotions.

Listen, I am a grown ass man, and I’m not embarrassed to cry, or admit that I cry, but this actually caught me off guard.

It made me realize that something had felt off. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but deep down I knew something was bothering me.

Do What You Can Rafi Perez

For the most part I’m a pretty happy guy, in fact our following online knows us for our upbeat perspectives on life and being artists full time.

Over the last few years I had developed a public image of a guy who’s genuine, creative, happy, upbeat, and loving life. But recently I had been a little stressed about some things… and I didn’t feel like myself. Worse, was the idea that I had never been that guy and that my entire life was a sham.

Luckily, Klee was there to talk sense into my confused brain unit. She told me that the only reputation I had to uphold was to be the real me. She said I have a really hard time being anything not real, so I have nothing to worry about.

2 Birds On A Wire By Rafi Perez

I guess sometimes you may try to bury things inside, but they’ll always come up to the surface for you to look at and face head on. So next time you cry during a cheesy commercial, think about that.

I was allowing myself to feel like I was less than who I am, and that everyone was pulling me in different directions. I have done a lot of work on myself for over a decade, to make sure I am comfortable with who I am, and that’s who everyone sees.

Whether it’s in a YouTube video, a blog, a work of art, it will always be me… So, if anyone expects anything different, then they’ve never looked at any of my stuff before.

Moral of the story… Just be you, it’s way easier than not being you.

Get Annoyed Or Laugh More

As artists, we can sometimes be stereotyped as serious and tortured. Which is hilarious to me because, in my experience, nothing could be further from the truth. That being said, it’s easy to get in the habit of being in the semi funk seriousness of being an adult artist.

Sometimes you have to stop what you are doing and ask yourself- When was the last time you burst into a gut hurting laugh? I have a friend who laughs so much and so loud that she leaves a memorable experience for anyone within earshot. I think that is amazing, her laughter leaves a positive impact on people and probably annoys all the curmudgeons within a ten mile radius.

The Happy Art Tour THAT

Sure, it’s fun to share a good laugh. But did you know it can actually improve your health? It’s true: laughter is strong medicine. It draws people together in ways that trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body.

Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress.

As children, we used to laugh hundreds of times a day, but as adults, life tends to be more serious and laughter more infrequent. As an artist, I tend to hold on to that childlike instinct to use my imagination, but sometimes I hold back from just letting out a good belly roll.

There are ways to get your laughter back, if you have temporarily lost it.

Find things to laugh at daily, whether it be putting on your favorite comedy while eating dinner, reading funny comments, or just playing music and dancing goofy dances. You might even consider laughing for the sake of laughing, as a change in your body affects your brain chemistry, which ultimately affects your mood.

Laugh and you will find yourself actually feeling better, even if you have been a sourbutt for the last few hours. This is why it’s important to surround yourself with positive, upbeat people.

Our photo shoots are very serious

By the way, if laughing annoys you, that’s when you know, you need to laugh more.

Watch Rafi’s Artist Talk – The Art Of Imperfect Art

A few weeks ago I spoke at the Santa Rosa Art Association about the perils of being a perfectionist as an artist. If I’m honest, being a perfectionist when it comes to certain things is important. For example, if you are performing open heart surgery or are operating on my brain, I would hope you are the perfectionist vs the guy who thinks that leaving a piece of gauze in my skull is just how it goes sometimes.

Rafi Perez Live Seminar

For the most part, I’m talking about perfectionism in the sense that it can be debilitating. Where you encounter the following problems:

You can only start in ideal conditions.

You never feel like a piece is finished.

You constantly get creative block.

You have lots of works in progress, but not so much ready to sell.

You constantly dwell on past failures.

You compare yourself to other artists, or people.

You never show your works in progress to other people.

You are losing motivation.

Being perfect is exhausting.

Rafi Perez Live Seminar

Enjoy the video of the talk. I mostly tell stories that frame the idea that trying to be perfect is silly, because I don’t believe there is such a thing. Let me know what you think?

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.