Perfectly Imperfect By Klee Angelie 2019

You know the feeling… you’re going steadily along on a piece of art, everything is working out splendidly, you think “I’m such a badass” and then pow! You’ve instantly and unexpectedly destroyed your piece. You can cry, and believe me… it’s ok to cry… but after the tears, I believe you have a choice to make. You scrap it and move on, or you figure out how to make that jazz work anyway.

A genuine, bonafide WTF moment at the bench 2019 klee angelie

On this particular occasion, I had a very fancy, very expensive faceted tanzanite slice that I was just dying to make a tree of life pendant with. Apparently, I was channeling my inner Thor that day. As I was mid-way to completed, I applied a bit too much pressure on that delicate stone, and snapped it in half. I sat in disbelief for a moment or ten… and then my guts got all tied up and my chest got that sinking feeling. I wanted to be really sad, but the truth was, I was NOT going to let that stone go to waste.

Electroforming experiment 2019 klee angelie

I decided to do an experiment (Yay science!) At worst, it would fail and I would learn a few things. At best, I might just have something fantastic in the works. I electroformed around the perimeter of the broken stone, and antiqued that electroformed border to look earthy. Then I set about creating my tree of life pendant, accentuating the break in the stone rather than trying to hide it. The result astonished even me.

Perfectly Imperfect by Klee Angelie 2019

Out of the rubble of my mistake, I had one very unusual, very beautiful pendant that represented not only overcoming challenges, but also the pure beauty of what some might consider imperfections. A collector of my work saw this piece online, and immediately wanted to purchase it. She said it would not have spoken to her if the stone had been in tact. It was the fact that it was broken and made whole again, that moved her so much. I can now honestly say, I’m so glad I broke this stone.

DIY Jewelry Displays By Klee Angelie 2019

Until now, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my jewelry displays. They go to shows, they get rained on sometimes, they get dropped on the ground, they get scuffed by jewelry, and generally take a beating. They have to look nice because they’re the backdrop for my very beloved jewelry creations, but I could never find any at any price point that were portable, durable, classy, and could take abuse for more than a few months.

Working on bracelet risers 2019 klee angelie

My old leatherette travel displays were beyond grungy and embarrassing, and I was getting ready to shell out an absurd amount of money on some wood displays that, frankly, I knew I was going to be disappointed with. I said “That’s quite enough, I’m going to make my own.” Rafi said “I’ve been saying you should for about 3 years now, lets do this!”

Working on necklace displays 2019 klee angelie

We started with necklace displays and Rafi was gracious enough to help me, even after I temporarily broke his miter saw with my project. The necklace displays turned out so awesome, I was then onto bracelet risers, earring displays, and eventually ring risers.

Bracelet risers completed 2019 klee angelie

In total, it took a handful of days and a bit of money and patience… but ladies and gents, this was SO worth it! These displays are solid wood, weighted enough to laugh off some wind, rustic chic as all getout, and they’ll last me for years and years. I could not be happier!

Necklace displays completed 2019 klee angelie

If you want something, and you can’t find it anywhere (or you can find it but it’s way too expensive), I highly recommend having a go at DIY-ing that thing. I sure am glad I did!

Gallery 1060 Face Breaking Through Painting – Rafi 2019

I had fun creating a piece where I completely ruined the canvas to make it happen. Then I submitted it to a juried art show at Gallery 1060. This was a really fun show with a lot of beautiful art and strange people.

Gallery 1060 Rafi Perez

I summitted two pieces to this show, my Nature Of Love and Leaving The Landscape Of Chaos In Harmony. The world and the universe is so chaotic that it can overwhelm the mind, yet everything is in perfect harmony. The beauty of life is in perfect harmony. This piece represents the perfection I find it the delicious chaos of life and breaking free of the chaos of the mind. This makes it onto my special projects list because I pushed out of my comfort zone and created something spectacular that I am proud of.

Dream Forest By Rafi Perez 2018

Recently I worked on a project that I would have to categorized as the largest project I’ve worked on.

The Happy Art Tour THAT

The Dream Forest – Designed By Rafi Perez

The Dream Forest was conceptualized and designed to allow the observer to explore the nature of happiness itself, through an immersive interaction with whimsical ancient beings that come to life as you meander through their magical realms. Each one explores a different facet of the “gem” that is happiness, asking thought provoking questions and offering words of ancient wisdom.

The Happy Art Tour THAT

I created five rooms within a free standing structure that was about 80ftX40ft in order to give the illusion that you were walking into a different world.

Each sculpture was designed and fitted with animatronics in order to get them to talk and move. You walk up wave your hand and the sculpture has a special message for you about empowering yourself.

Watch Video To Learn More About The Dream Forest

This project took about 6 months to design and build. It will be traveling around the country.

Firefly Room By Klee Angelie 2018

Recently I completed a project that pushed my creative comfort zones in every way possible.

The Firefly Room Construction 2018 Klee Angelie

When I first volunteered myself for this project, I was filled to the brim with excitement because I had a great concept that I was passionate about. “I’m going to create an indoor experience that feels like you’re outside watching thousands of fireflies!!!” It immediately got approval… and then I was immediately wracked with self doubt.

The Firefly Room Construction 2018 Klee Angelie

I had to face my fears one moment and one task at a time, and I did so every day. It was a goliath of a project and it was many hot sweaty days full of make it work moments. I pushed through because of my excitement, found the confidence buried inside me, and also had the awesome help of Rafi.

The Firefly Room Construction 2018 Klee Angelie

As each piece came together, I almost couldn’t believe I was seeing my concept come to life. I was so full of excitement and so ready to see the next part come into fruition, that momentum carried me forward.

Lighting Test Firefly Room 2018 Klee Angelie

It turned out to be one of the projects I’m most thrilled with and most proud of, and it never would have happened if I hadn’t blurted out my idea in excitement before my “logical brain” could stop me.

The Firefly Room In Progress 2018 Klee Angelie

The Firefly Room was part of a larger collection of installations called “The Happy Art Tour” which was amazing to be part of and also featured Rafi’s “Dream Forest” installation.

Enjoying The Finished Firefly Room Opening Night 2018 Klee Angelie

Urban Swinery Art By Rafi Perez 2018

I am honored to say that I have created some little piggies… well, they’re not really that little.

Urban Swinery Art By Rafi Perez

I was asked to come and take a look at a large wall in a place that will soon become a Pensacola icon. Global Grill’s new restaurant called Urban Swinery is scheduled to open sometime this year and have asked me to create some pieces of art for their wall.

Urban Swinery Art By Rafi Perez

After meeting with them and Studio Pica to discuss the look and feel of the new restaurant, I fell in love with the project.

Urban Swinery Art By Rafi Perez

It was on, I was going to create some giant pigs… something that I actually hadn’t done yet.

This was a fun project and I worked with some amazingly creative people to finish what I consider some amazing pieces that I am very proud of.

All I can really say is “That’ll do pig, that’ll do.

Urban Swinery Art By Rafi Perez

Here are some more images from the project:

Recycled Materials Sculpture – Rafi 2018 – Awarded

Two things that have been on my to do list for quite some time was to create a life size sculpture, and create something awesome using garbage.

I think I can cross both of those off my list with this awesome Nature Of Being Sculpture that I created for the Artel Gallery show called “RECYCLE, REUSE, REPURPOSE… REPEAT.”

Recycled Art By Rafi Perez

This sculpture is modeled after a series of mine called the nature of being. This series combines human beings with trees to create a beautiful symbol of being rooted yet consistently expanding towards the heavens. Connected, growing, evolving, expanding, and beautiful is the message that I want to convey.

In this piece I wanted to expand on that message, by using old plastic bags to create the form and pose. I wanted the piece to be dynamic, to show some distress, yet be fluid and organic in its movement.

Nature Of Being Sculpture By Rafi Perez
Nature Of Being Sculpture By Rafi Perez

The message is open for interpretation, but in my mind, it is nature reclaiming the world, and bouncing back from the brink.

This piece was very challenging and an absolute roller coaster ride to create… I enjoyed ever minute of it! Below you can see the steps I took, forming the skeleton, adhering the plastic bags, creating muscle structure, creating a fiberglass shell, melting and adhering plastic bags, shaping the details on the body, and painting.

Recycled Art By Rafi Perez

It was so worth it… Oh, and I won BEST IN SHOW for this one. I am so proud of this work.

#Inspireasmile Art Hunt 2018

Every year I try to do something special for all the amazing people that collect my art and others in my community. We’ve had open studios where I’ve printed out hundreds of prints to give away, we’ve also given stuff away at live paintings, and every once in a while I donate a piece of art to a charity for auction.

2018 #inspireasmile Art Hunt

This year we did our art hunt with an added twist. Not only did we have small paintings, but also had over 100 small inspirational drawings on magnets. These where placed all over the downtown area of Pensacola, with the new title #INSPIREASMILE, meant to brighten people’s day.

2018 #inspireasmile Art Hunt

This particular day (March 12th 2018) was very cold, windy, and dreary… So it felt nice to go out and inspire smiles.

Immediately people responded.

2018 #inspireasmile Art Hunt

This makes the projects list because it is a project that gets expanded every time I do it, and it is something I am very proud of.

It was an absolute blast and I can’t wait to see what awesome evolution happens next year with it! Enjoy the pictures of the cold and windy day where we brought a little sunshine into Pensacola.

Fire Flower Opal Gold 14k 2018

Recently I was presented with an exciting and challenging commission that I could not say no to, even though I was admittedly somewhat reluctant to take it on. Reluctant because, well, it was centered around the largest and most beautiful opal I have ever had the privilege of holding in my hands.

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

Proposed by two collectors of my work who have not only become good friends of mine over the years, but who continuously support and believe in me as an artist, always pushing me ever further into the realm of “Sure, I think I can do that.” They had purchased an astoundingly gorgeous Australian Lightning Ridge Semi-Black Opal from a local lapidary artist, who is also a friend of mine and an expert at his craft. The cut opal weighed in at 24 carats and measured 34x27mm, originally intended to be cut into two or three separate opals but was too magnificent to be separated into smaller pieces.

Immediately following the purchase of the opal they brought it to me, placed it in my hand and said “You know you’re the one we’re commissioning to make a necklace with this, right?” To which I replied “Uh… sure! Wait… are you sure?? I can’t believe this opal! Yes, sure! I’m honored and terrified to be the one to work with it!” and the commission had begun.

Anyone who has ever owned or held an opal knows that you can break them by just looking at them the wrong way. How can something so pristine, with such a delicate composition, contain so much life and color that it appears to have the very fire of creation itself within it?

Everyone involved, especially me, knew it was going to take some time to create this piece. They wanted it created in solid gold and they wanted something that had never been seen before, something to truly do the opal justice. We bounced ideas back and forth for weeks, some playing it safe, some really outside the box, until we landed on the concept of fire. “Our son mentioned that flames might be awesome, is it doable?” they asked.

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

I honestly wasn’t sure it was doable, but in the spirit of going with inspired thought, I expanded on the idea and rendered a sketch of layers of flames in yellow, white, and rose gold, and presented it to them (along with a few other “safer” design layouts) to see what they thought. To my excitement and horror, they loved the not safe, totally daunting, tri-tone gold flame layer design. I loved it too. We all knew it was the one. Now I just had to actually make this thing… in solid gold… no pressure.

It could not be rendered in wax and cast, it had to be completely hand fabricated because of the three types of gold that would be used. The flames were so organic in shape, so free flowing that anything other than just jumping in with both feet and going for it would not have produced the desired look. So, I went for it… in sterling silver (I’m not THAT crazy folks!)

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

I built a prototype piece in sterling silver to make sure that the design actually worked, would protect the opal, and would look as amazing as I hoped it would. It was many hours of successes, setbacks, design tweaks, small challenges, inching forward until the prototype was finished. I presented it to them and they were thrilled with it. Then it was time to make the actual piece in gold.

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

Thank goodness for the prototype, it allowed me to work everything out beforehand and create a piece in gold that I was beyond happy with. Organic shaped yellow, white, and rose gold flame layers, carefully built section by section to form the back setting for the stone. Rose gold “Flame Petals” as I call them, and yellow and white gold prongs to wrap gingerly around the sides and front of the opal to hold it securely and complete the design.

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

Once it was built, I set the opal in the design, more slowly and carefully than I’ve ever done anything in my whole life, looked at it, went into slight shock that it was finished, and then screamed joyfully at Rafi that it was completed and I had done it!

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

Throughout the whole process, I had been referring to the piece as the “Fire Flower” (a working title) to try to describe something that embodies an intense amount of light, passion and fire, and is simultaneously impossibly pristine, serene, and delicate. It described the opal as best as words can, and it described the design of the piece that would complete and represent it. I feel it also describes the beautiful woman it was commissioned for, and there’s a bit of myself represented in there as well. We all resonated with the feeling and the name “Fire Flower” stuck as the official name of the piece.

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

It was the most challenging and thrilling commission I’ve had thus far, and also the longest running commission, ongoing for about six months from concept to completion. I have to thank my collectors and friends Dina and Kelly, and their son Kyle for the challenge, and the trust that made it possible to create something I would have previously never thought possible.

I am now refining the Sterling silver prototype I had created, in which I will set a Nuummite stone, and will belong to them as well. The silver counterpart to the Fire Flower.

You can view the project and more pictures below:


Oren International Corporate Commission – 2018

Recently, I was given the honor of creating a piece of art for a great local company, something large that would hang by the meeting room and lobby. They wanted something that would tell a story about their passion for paper, and add a little color to their offices.

Oren art By Rafi Perez

You guys know that I don’t take on commissions unless it fascinates me, for every 10 people who ask me to do something, I may do one. Commissioned paintings aren’t shown in galleries, or in public most of the time, and generally take a lot longer to create. So when I do take on a commission, it’s because I am excited about the concept, or I really connect with the person who is trying to commission me.

This being a corporate commission, I was surprised to find that I was excited about the concept and I absolutely adore the people who commissioned me.

Oren art By Rafi Perez

The piece tells their story, and is constructed of materials that they produce. They ship different paper products all over the world.

Oren art By Rafi Perez

The piece tells the story of their global reach, production, transportation, uses, and overall importance of what they create. So much comes together in order to make a perfect picture, adding a little color to the world in the process.

That was the overall story I wanted to tell.

Oren art By Rafi Perez

I am so proud of this piece, it pushed me beyond some of my own personal limits, and it definitely pushed my studio to it’s size limit, which was fun.

Watch this video for the why and how of the Oren International Commission:

Here are some more pictures of the project: