Spring Is Here And So Is Our Sale March 20-29th

Spring is in the air! I know it’s true because my eyes get itchy and I find myself sneezing uncontrollably. That being said, we also have an uncontrollable urge to do some Spring cleaning, or spring a sale on you… you see what I did there?

Sunflower Girls By Rafi Perez
Sunflower Girls By Rafi Perez

Both Klee and I have some fun sales going on. Such as 15% off of selected works of art and special deals on shipping.

Visit Our Store Rafi And Klee

Klee’s Sale – Spring Sale Event! March 20-29th Enjoy 15% off of every design in my shop. No minimum purchase required, no coupon code necessary. Free domestic shipping on orders of $100 or more.

Tree Of Life Pendant Necklace - Lady Tree - 14k Yellow Gold Filled - Fossilized Coral - Genuine Grey White Diamonds - First Bloom
Tree Of Life Pendant Necklace – Lady Tree – 14k Yellow Gold Filled – Fossilized Coral – Genuine Grey White Diamonds – First Bloom

Some pieces started selling the moment we activated the sale, this art (Wisdom Of The Deep) already sold as part of the sale, and although I’m sad to see it go, I am happy that it has a new home in Pennsylvania.

Art By Rafi This Week #1
Wisdom Of The Deep 46″X41″ By Rafi Perez SOLD

Our sale runs until the end of day on the 29th of March 2018. If you go on our online store it lists all the sale prices. Have fun, and if you have any questions please email us!

A Letter To Myself In A Moment Of Darkness vs Light

I wanted to let you guys in on a process that I do when I’m feeling overwhelmed or dark. I write a letter to myself and then respond from a different point of view. This isn’t something that someone typically shares with folks, but I know I’m not typical, so here it is.

Warning, you may read things that concern you, don’t worry, I’m fine, this is just a way to get the feelings out in their rawest form.

“Dear self,

This week has been a tough week for me. I’ve been wading through an emotional cesspool of insecurities and old painful memories. As a result my environment has lost some of it’s vibrant color. I am walking around in a world that I recognize, yet haven’t visited in a long time. It is a dark grey world in which the sunlight is nonexistent. For a person such as myself, an artist who thrives on vibrant colors and light, this is what I imagine hell would feel like.

Rafi Stressed

It’s interesting to me that when your mind takes you to a dark place, it seems like the entire world has conspired against you. It’s like you’re in a movie and the set design is based on the overall feeling of the main character. You watch yourself on the silver screen of life following an old dramatic script that you have rehearsed so many times that it seems like it all comes so naturally. You are the main character, yet no one else is experiencing what you are experiencing, feeling isolated and alone, surrounded by smiling faces, yet totally by yourself.

So, my question is this, what do I do now?”

Rafi in a messy art studio

After a short pause… I read the letter, take a deep breath and respond as best I can.

“Dear Dramatic Self,

Good question! Well, you get off your ass and out of your head. Listen, I understand that sometimes shit happens. You are going through a point in your life that might be transitional. Maybe you feel like you lost a sense of direction, maybe you are going through something emotionally taxing, maybe some button got pushed that hasn’t been pushed for a long time, maybe things just suck right now. No matter what it is, you have every excuse to feel the way you do, but that’s the thing, they’re just excuses.

In my opinion, things that people call emotionally chronic are simply practiced. You’ve spent years practicing how to be dramatic and respond to certain thoughts or situations in a certain way. That dramatic script you mentioned is a real thing, people can follow the same script over and over in their lives without even wondering if they can change it. They can feel like their thoughts are thinking them, instead of them thinking their thoughts. 

Do What You Can Rafi Perez

You find yourself in a rut and what do you do? You sit, slump, cry, withdraw, and replay events over and over in your mind, and repeat. You find something or someone to blame for what you are feeling. Maybe you even pull yourself momentarily out of your funk by putting all your energy into being angry at this person or situation. Yet, nothing changes, this just keeps replaying over and over in your life. So much so, that you think this is just the way it is, “this is my life”.

You believe your story, you shape the world after your story, and discount anything that challenges that story. The story has to be true, if it wasn’t true, then it means you are torturing yourself for nothing.

Well, guess what? It is true. It’s true because you think it’s true, and your brilliant mind is going to do everything in it’s power to make it the truest thing you have ever experienced. Your doubt is going to punch you in the face, your insecurities about yourself are going to knock you down, your judgments and fear about people will come true, and everything you surround yourself with will be a constant reminder of your misery and fear. 

Rafi Perez

Do you know what else is true? That your courage will destroy anything doubt can throw at you. Your determination will pick you up when you fall, stronger and better equipped than ever before. Your hope and unconditional love will present itself to you in overwhelming love and kindness, and everything around you will glow with vibrancy and light, this being a constant reminder of your sense of optimism and hope.

It’s ALL true… Every last bit. The question isn’t who is right or wrong, or what is true or untrue, or what you should or should not do… but simply, what would you rather do? How would you rather feel? What would you rather think? What do you want to focus on? Who do you want to be? And what do you want to believe, right now… in this moment?

Office Decorated By Rafi Perez

We don’t carry feelings in our pocket, or find them in a box buried somewhere. We produce those feelings based on our perspectives and beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. You can believe what ever it is you want to believe about yourself and what is possible for you, and you can do that right now.

Honestly, this moment is all we really ever have, this moment, right now. So make a choice, despite the script you have been rehearsing all your life. Just make a choice.

Now quit whining and pick yourself up like the awesome person I know you to be.

With Much Love, -Rafi”

And that’s it! Welcome to my world of crazy 🙂

 

 

 

 

We Did It! We Gave Away Free Art!

So every year we try to do this little art hunt thing where we give away a lot of art with the intent to bring a smile to someone’s face. That someone is a beautiful little town named Pensacola. This year I created a bunch of art, about 80 pieces, and I created small inspirational hand painted magnets, about 100 of those… Phew.

2018 #inspireasmile Art Hunt
2018 #inspireasmile Art Hunt

As some of you know we had a YouTube contest to find the perfect name for this art giveaway thing we’ve been doing for several years, with awesome results.

Hashtag Inspire A Smile (#INSPIREASMILE) is what it’s called now, and that my friends is awesome!

2018 #inspireasmile Art Hunt
2018 #inspireasmile Art Hunt

So the date was set (March 12th, 2018) and the weather was like “hey wait a minute… I think you’ll enjoy doing this a lot more if it was dreary, cold, and windy, because that’s what all the cool kids want.”

And I was like “shit.”

But Klee and I bundled up and like the old explorers of Antarctica we braved the elements to spread our message of cheer.

(Listen, I know it wasn’t that cold, but I live in Florida the sunshine state, anything other than sunshine and warmth is unbearable.)

2018 #inspireasmile Art Hunt
2018 #inspireasmile Art Hunt

I put an entertaining video of our adventure together that morning for your amusement Below. Enjoy!

Within minutes of being done with the art hunt, inspiring happy messages started flooding in which makes freezing our buts off so worth it.

2018 #inspireasmile Art Hunt
2018 #inspireasmile Art Hunt

I think it is so important to smile. Each time you smile, you throw a little feel-good party in your brain. The act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness. So smile you beautiful human you!

This Moment Is An Opportunity

As this week comes to a close, I look around my messy studio and ponder the events that lead up to this point. Several projects in their half finished state screaming for my attention, wanting the closure that all artistic creations seek.

Yet, in this myriad of untidy unrest I find myself happy.

Rafi in a messy art studio

Not because of the mess… I’m actually not fond of messes. I feel like your mind is a reflection of your surrounding, so a cluttered mind equals a cluttered house. In my case a holy crap batman studio equals a holy crap batman mind.

I think it’s because this week I was very deliberate about how I spent my time. I looked at every moment as a gift and decided to spend it doing something meaningful.

Rafi in a messy art studio

Now, I have a lot of projects that I’m working on, such as artworks, pieces for the art hunt, videos, planing an exhibition, so you would think my time is always pretty deliberate… but it’s not.

Recently, I had gotten in the habit of sitting on my couch in the studio and vegging out. Like full on, staring at nothing for who knows how long, minus the drool… that’s gross.

I realized that during that time, I wasn’t thinking about what I was thinking. I was just thinking random things and not necessarily noticing what I was thinking. It wasn’t good things either, I was complaining to myself about things and not even noticing that I was complaining.

Rafi in a messy art studio

So, I decided to pay attention, I was going to think about the things that I decided to think about, not just random happenstance.

And so, when I looked around today, I saw passion and a sense of love for what I do. I felt full… much better than sitting there mindlessly wondering what I would do if I was fighting a zombie dressed as a clown… Not that I wouldn’t take an opportunity to think about it, but it’s so much cooler when you do it deliberately.

So, what’s on your mind?

 

#INSPIREASMILE Art Hunt March 12th In Pensacola

The date has been announced, we will be releasing 80 small art trees and 100 empowering happy magnets around downtown Pensacola on March 12th, 2018. Klee and I will go out in the cover of darkness and #INSPIREASMILE with art.

2018 Pensacola Art Hunt By Rafi And Klee
2018 Pensacola Art Hunt By Rafi And Klee

There is something special about the mystery and the covert nature of bringing joy to people that totally gets me pumped. It’s a very rogue and unexpected way to bring happiness and I hope people will be inspired to smile by the gesture.

In the past, I have left small art trees around town, this year in addition to the art I’ll also have small sketches that say empowering things, meant to brighten someones day.

2018 Pensacola Art Hunt By Rafi And Klee
2018 Pensacola Art Hunt By Rafi And Klee

After doing this art hunt for about four years, we realized it needed a name. We asked our awesome fans on YouTube for help and they did not disappoint.

#inspireasmile captures the essence of why we do these art hunts. Also, it helps us try and collaborate with artists who are interested in doing something similar in their town.

The idea is to spread around some happy, positive, empowering messages, and try to inspire a smile from the world. It seems sometimes, that the world could use it… I know I could use it sometimes.

Rafi art hunt

If you are an artist, or just a person who wants to #INSPIREASMILE feel free to join the movement, use the hashtag, and send us pictures of your art hunt along with information on who you are, where you are, and why you did.

If you are in Pensacola, mark your calendars. Pieces will be hidden in plain sight and some will be a little harder to find, but all will be just for you! I’ll be making some more announcements and releasing clues leading up to and the day of.

Thank you so much for being awesome Pensacola!

-Rafi

Do What You Can With What You Have

There was once a boy who wanted to be an artist. This boy spent all his time planning and thinking about a way to be able to accomplish this. He knew that everything needed to be perfect. He would need all the best equipment, all the best education, and most of all, enough pieces to justify showing and being taken seriously.

Do What You Can Rafi Perez

In case you are wondering, this boy was me, and that plan was crap.

I couldn’t ever seem to create enough work to justify showing my art. As far as getting the best, anytime I purchased some equipment, something better would come along that I now needed to get. Not to mention, I was stuck working the family business and didn’t have time for school… not that I could afford it.

So, I spent most of my life wishing and eventually giving up on an art career.

Do What You Can Rafi Perez

It was only a few years ago that I just jumped in and did it. I pretty much had nothing to get started, but I had enough.

I had a bit of crappy old paint, some poster board someone donated to me, and some old pieces of wood. Most of all, I had people around me that didn’t discourage me, well… mostly… kinda.

I realized I had it all wrong back in the day. It wasn’t about waiting until everything was perfect, because that is an unattainable goal. It was about getting started with what you had. I also learned that it’s OK to start small… as long as you start.

Do What You Can Rafi Perez

Listen, I feel like the worst thing we can do in life is regret not doing something. That means being willing to fall on your face, pick yourself up and keep trying, at least until you make it, or you just don’t care anymore.

It came down to one question:

Are you willing to fall on your face, look like an idiot and put yourself through hell to accomplish what you want? Sure.

…and, just keep moving, even if you fall down… just keep moving.

Do What You Can Rafi Perez

So, if you have something that you’ve been wanting to do, go ahead and start… start small, it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture… just a bunch of micro gestures.

Those small steps add up over time, and take you further than waiting around for the perfect moment.

Besides, why not just do it? You don’t have to quit anything, you don’t have to leap over a tall building… just take a step.

 

The Nature Of Love

Nature Of Love By Rafi Perez

I have a series called the nature of being, or as some people like to call them “Rafi’s Lady Trees.” This year I have really enjoyed reigniting the series as I set a goal to add subtle differences to the message in pieces within the series itself.

Nature Of Love By Rafi Perez
Nature Of Love By Rafi Perez

The series itself 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.

I wanted to showcase a unity within the scope of the collection with pieces that showed masculine and feminine intertwined with one another.

Nature Of Love By Rafi Perez
Nature Of Love By Rafi Perez

These pieces are inspired by the journey that I have been on with my beautiful wife Klee and some of the lessons I have learned about what it means to be in love.

In the past I always assumed that being with someone meant that it was your job to make sure they were happy, and in return it was their job to make you happy.

Yet, this never seemed to work out.

Nature Of Love By Rafi Perez
Nature Of Love By Rafi Perez

It wasn’t until experience brought me to a place where I started to question the status quo of relationships and love that I realized that I had it all wrong.

It wasn’t about making the other person happy, it was about finding your happiness and sharing that with the other person. This in no way was a guarantee that it would make them happy, but that was alright. See, I found that the only person that could really make me happy was me and it was unfair to try and throw that burden onto Klee… She had enough on her plate just trying to make herself happy.

Nature Of Love By Rafi Perez
Nature Of Love By Rafi Perez

It was during that realization that I started to understand unconditional love. It meant that I had no conditions or expectations that she would behave a certain way in order for me to be happy, she had the right to be herself. To express herself and continue on her journey of finding out what life was all about for her.

I did the same, and we shared those moments with each other, talking about our experiences and realizations. We also share in our moments of growth as we journey on this road to find what makes us happy and how to enjoy our lives to the fullest.

It is quite beautiful.

Nature Of Love By Rafi Perez
Nature Of Love By Rafi Perez

I’m not saying there haven’t been moments of turmoil, because we all experience them, but with every moment there has always been an honest revelation and a stronger bond than ever before.

The thing is, we are both growing, learning, changing, evolving, on our own, yet our lives are intertwined because we choose to walk side by side.

It just wouldn’t work if one of us decided to carry the other… and it wouldn’t look as cool in a painting.

-Rafi

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.

2018 Pensacola Rafi Art Hunt

Every year I try to do something for my adoptive town and all the amazing people that collect my art. 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 Pensacola Art Hunt By Rafi And Klee

The thing that I enjoy the most is doing the art scavenger hunt. There is something about the mystery and the covert nature of bringing joy to people that totally gets me. It’s a very rogue and unexpected way to bring happiness to a person… Maybe I just enjoy being rogue.

This year, I’ll be releasing about 80 small tree paintings (each signed and numbered) and I will be releasing some hand painted magnets. I designed each one to brighten someone’s day, and bring an unexpected smile to their lips.

2018 Pensacola Art Hunt By Rafi And Klee
2018 Pensacola Art Hunt By Rafi And Klee

All together I will be releasing 180 items all over downtown Pensacola, some in plain sight, some a little harder to find, but all free.

The release date will be in early march (I’ll announce it next week so stay tuned), this means I’ll have to wake up earlier than I would like and cover the city before the morning crowd rushes in.

2018 Pensacola Art Hunt By Rafi And Klee

I recently put a challenge out to find the perfect hashtag for this project, and the winner will receive one of each of the items in the hunt. Please watch this video to enter:

I’ll be releasing more information after the contest finalizes and I have more information. See you soon for the hunt!

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…)