Why Do I Have A YouTube Channel

Some of you know that Klee and I have a YouTube channel where we talk about life, art, tips for aspiring artists, and other goofy content. We even have a small following that seems to be growing every day.

Rafi and Klee On YouTube

Now anybody that has done any filming and video editing knows how much work goes into producing a well edited short video. If you don’t, it’s a lot of work, like you can hire a team to do it and it would still take time. Considering that I’m pretty much my team with the occasional technical assistance from Klee, it begs the question, why do it?

Rafi and Klee On YouTube
My makeshift solo filming, that’s right, there is no camera man.

Admittedly, I’ve had to ask myself the same question. I mean, I can be creating art instead of videos, and that would make me more of an income than the videos ever will.

But, I just can’t help myself. There is something about the whole creative process that I love. I love the writing, filming, lighting, sound, content, editing, Klee and I bouncing off one another and most of all, I love the creatives who follow us on YouTube.

Rafi and Klee On YouTube

Our 2018 goal is to release 2 videos a week by streamlining the process. Well, that’s the plan at least.

I plan on introducing new segments as we figure out this whole video side of Klee and me. We want to make sure we remain true to ourselves and that what we do in our videos is stuff we truly enjoy, and not something that doesn’t make sense for us.

We also have huge plans in place for art projects this year, from specific pieces to series. Klee’s has also been working on music, and getting the perfect picture.

Rafi and Klee On YouTube

I guess the reason I have a YouTube channel is because just like my paintings and sculptures, it gives me the opportunity to connect to people… And I love people.

I think when you are a creative person, you want to connect with people through your creations… And if you are us, you have a lot of expression coming out of all the places.

(No, that was not a fart reference…)

 

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.

The Nature Of Being Who You Are

Recently I finished three pieces in a series called The Nature Of Being. This series has evolved over the last four years from beautiful crudely dripped forms to detailed flowing figures, but the message remains the same.

It represents our purest form of growth.

NOB-3-8

We find ourselves on this blue ball hurtling through space and time, constantly in search of meaning. The whole while we are almost overcome by our immediate circumstances, and our world seems to only consist of what is around us. Our fears, triumphs, and aspirations revolve around the ideas we consume growing up.

But our world is so much bigger than that, and we all feel it. We all go out and search for meaning in something to fill that sense of missing. We can find personal meaning in our job, hobby, marriage, kids, religion, clothing style, etc.

NOB-2-1

But rarely do we look for meaning in things that are not outside of us, but simply in being.

I feel like I’ve been running around my entire life trying to find my purpose in things that are fleeting, when the one constant in my life has been the possibility of having a relationship with myself and finding meaning there.

This series is about being rooted here and now in your world, yet constantly growing and reaching higher than you ever have, naturally and organically. It’s about being flexible and naked to the world and showing yourself as you are, never hiding behind a facade of fear.

NOB-1-6

Growth, in my opinion, is not about how much you know, or how powerful you are, or the things you’ve collected, it’s about finding that sense of perfection in the simplicity of life. Not worrying about the opinions of others, or how they perceive you.

It’s about stopping, looking, listening, smelling, feeling, sensing, while you experience the fullness of every moment of your miraculous life.

We tend to get lost in our minds, thinking about our problems, looking for solutions, and missing out on the wonderment that it is to breathe a single breath.

Find meaning in you, your experience, in the now, that’s where it’s at.

-Rafi

NOB-All

 

 

 

A Walk Through The Opal Flames

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.

Oren International Art Commission

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:

-Rafi

Because Every Little Thing Is Gonna Be Alright

A few years ago, I had gone through a pretty difficult time and I honestly wasn’t sure that I would make it. It was during this that I discovered the power of reassurance and three little birds.

Three Little Birds By Rafi Perez

Bob Marley repeated simple words in my mind with imagery of three little birds to remind me that no matter how difficult things seemed to get, that everything was going to work out for me.

Let me tell you in his words:

 Don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright
Singing’ don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright

Three Little Birds By Rafi Perez

Rise up this mornin’
Smiled with the risin’ sun
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true
Saying’, (this is my message to you)

Singing’ don’t worry ’bout a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright
Singing’ don’t worry (don’t worry) ’bout a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright

Three Little Birds By Rafi Perez

Rise up this mornin’
Smiled with the risin’ sun
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true
Sayin’, this is my message to you

Singin’ don’t worry about a thing, worry about a thing, oh
Every little thing gonna be alright, don’t worry
Singin’ don’t worry about a thing, I won’t worry
“‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright

Singin’ don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright, I won’t worry

Singin’, don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright

Singin’ don’t worry about a thing, oh no
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright

Three Little Birds By Rafi Perez

If you’ve ever wondered “Hmmmm, I wonder why Rafi paints birds?” now you know.

Ever changed and ever inspired by the beauty, simplicity, and love in that song.

Rafi Perez Is Still Standing

So, I bet you are wondering why there is such a dramatic title to this blog post. The short answer is that I have been feeling a bit dramatic lately, don’t worry just a bit.

Rafi Perez

You ever get that feeling like you’re being followed around by a doom cloud that you just can’t shake, or disperse, or evaporate, or whatever it is you do to get rid of clouds of doom?

That’s how I’m feeling. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with winter blues, getting sick in the beginning of the year, along with a few other odds and ends that have added up. Either way, I’m not writing this post to lament my miseries upon you, that would be a waste of time.

Rafi Perez

I’ve had a lot of wins recently, and a lot of failures, supportive people in my life, and ruthlessly mean people that have called me vile things… It’s easy to downward spiral and feel more failures and mean people than ever. Oh yeah, and that my art is sucking more and more every day… that’s easy to do as well.

I’m writing this blog to share something with you, in case you’ve been feeling similar to me. I know a lot of people are under the impression that I never have these types of feelings, and that’s just not true.

Rafi Stressed

We all experience this stuff. We feel like failures, insignificant, or like an impostor in our own life.

It’s not whether or not we experience it or not, it’s how we handle it. Sometimes things are going to suck, and you may not like yourself or someone else very much. In those moments, it’s easy to forget that any other feeling exists… but they do.

Feelings like love, appreciation, confidence, happiness. Stopping and taking in that moment and realizing I’m still here, I’m still breathing, I’m still alive, and I’m going to rock this life thing. It’s remembering that no matter what is going on, you get to choose what you are going to focus on, and how you choose to feel about it.

Rafi Perez Sunset

Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting outside and going for a walk, anything, doing something to break the spell of the funk.

I’m still standing, and so are you… I mean, unless you’re sitting down, but even then you still rock.

 

So, I Changed My Pensacola Mural

I made a change recently to my mural in downtown Pensacola. Although you would think that someone asking me to change my artwork would be offensive, in this case I was honored.

Yancy Spencer By Rafi Perez

If you remember correctly, I created a large Pensacola mural at 114 Palafox place, which was Marty Campbell Gallery. I wanted to create something that would make people proud of this beautiful place that I’ve fallen in love with.

Originally, I had a multicultural woman’s face as a representation of the diverse culture here.

Yancy Spencer By Rafi Perez

When Marty moved his gallery back out to Gulf Breeze, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen to the mural. I knew that the property owner loved the mural and would attempt to protect it. She would also need to make her new tenants happy, and if they didn’t like the mural, there was a good chance it would get painted over.

Then, Innerlight Surf Shop moved in, and they loved the mural, but wanted to make one change. They wanted to add Yancy Spencer III. After a beautiful and heartfelt conversation with Lydia (The Late Yancy’s wife), I decided to do it, and it needed to be perfect.

Yancy Spencer By Rafi Perez

Now, I’m not sure if you know this, but Yancy is regarded as the father of Gulf Coast surfing. Not only that, but he was an amazing human, so I was honored to make the changes.

Yancy Spencer By Rafi Perez

I know some people, may be upset that I changed an aspect of my original mural, but trust me, I am so thrilled to have painted a legend.

What I Learned Before 2018

Another year has come and gone. I’m doing my art thing, and luckily I still love it. That being said, it can be quite challenging at times.

I seem to learn a big lesson every year, especially through the chaos that is the holiday season. This year was no different, although I would prefer to learn my lessons without feeling like I am dying. I came down with what felt like a small case of the black plague in which I was pretty much incapacitated and struggled to move, let alone work.

Rafi sick

Because I am hard headed, I pushed through it and got to work in the studio. Which always ended in me feeling worse and crashing. The next morning I would feel slightly better or worse and I would push myself again. This pattern continued for several days, until I just couldn’t push at all.

To my surprise my internal conversation had become vicious. I felt like I was a worthless waste of space because I wasn’t working.

I paused for a moment to evaluate my thoughts.

Rafi sick

I realized that I was pushing myself hard because I was afraid that if I took time off, I would cause irreparable damage to my art career.

So here is what I learned from that experience:

  1. If you’re sick, take care of yourself, the hell with work.
  2. If you love what you do, be careful not to turn it into work.
  3. The world will be fine if you take some time off.
  4. Working hard is not the same as working smart.
  5. If you start taking yourself too seriously, stop.
  6. Just have fun, life is too short to be caught up in seriousness.
  7. Don’t try to impress anyone, you’re already impressive.
  8. You’ve got nothing to prove, just follow your heart.
  9. I love chicken soup, lime, and cayenne pepper when I’m sick.
  10. It’s OK to binge watch Netflicks when you are ill.

Yup… life changing if you ask me 🙂

 

 

Holiday Makers Market 12-15-17

I am excited to announce that Klee and I will be out this Gallery Night (12-15) at the Holiday Makers Market. This is going to be a festive and fun event full of cookies, hot cider, holiday tunes, movies, and amazing artwork.

mm

 

The market will feature 30 independent makers and artists such as Pensacola Graffiti Bridge Project, Poppy Garcia, Teatree Boutique, Joe Hobbs Glass, Klee and I, and a variety of other custom and handcrafted gifts created by local talent.

Rafi-Perez-Art-21
Magic Tree

Admission is free – all ages welcome. Shoppers are encouraged to bring a donation of a classroom art supply for the Pensacola Museum of Art education department. Suggested donations include: color pencils, crayons, markers, paint and drawing paper. But all art supply donations are welcomed!

Come by and say “Hola!” we love that!

What: Holiday Makers Market

When: Friday, Dec. 15 from 6-9 p.m.

Where:  Cowork @nnex, located at 13 Palafox Pl.

Why: Holiday Awesomeness! and unique gift ideas.