It shouldn’t be any surprise to anyone that my favorite concept and mystical beast is the phoenix. The symbolic meaning of the phoenix is about renewal. The phoenix is about overcoming darkness and rising to the challenge to become powerful and succeed over adversity.
It’s a symbolism that I have used a few times, but never like this piece that beautifully displays the body language of both anguish and freedom.
I wanted to create a piece that showed the transitional moment of someone taking a leap of faith into the unknown. This leap is taken with complete abandon and freedom.
Several years ago I took a leap of faith that was terrifying. I remember thinking that I had to forget everything I thought I knew, because all those thoughts were telling me I was crazy. I was essentially burning the bridge to my old life, a life that was all I knew for 30 years. It wasn’t the most happy life I could live, which is why I decided to change it. This required me to hop in my car and leave all security and certainty behind… which was absolutely terrifying, yet was such a pattern interrupt in my monotonous life that I needed.
Essentially, from the ashes of my old life which had completely self destructed, I rose and felt stronger than I ever had.
The thing is, I could have stayed in my old life… there is always a way to keep things going, but I had made a decision that I wanted things to change.
I feel like the Phoenix is a powerful reminder that no matter what, you can always be reborn from the ashes of your old life.
I am excited to announce that I will be showing my art in the alcove at Artel Gallery in beautiful downtown Pensacola.
The show is called Sunflowers & The Nature Of Being. It is meant to ignite the spark within the imagination of the viewer as he or she explores the art, discovering a collection based on beauty, nature, and the human spirit.
I’m hoping it will be a window for self discovery, dialogue and inspiration. Show runs from Sept 4th – Oct 19th.
Join me for the reception on Sept 13th from 6 -8pm.
What: Sunflowers & The Nature Of Being Solo Show Reception
As I approached the gallery I found myself wondering how in the world I was going to get the massive sculpture I constructed up the stairs. I had somehow managed to squeeze it into my car without damaging it, which I attributed to dumb luck.
Luck seemed to be on my side that morning, considering I had pulled into a parking spot right in front of the shiny and unending staircase into the gallery.
I’ve entered the juried art competitions at Artel Gallery a handful of times with varying results. I still remember the first piece I entered, which was rejected with no particular pomp and circumstance. It was laid off to the side with the other rejects waiting for me to glumly collect it, like picking up a child from detention.
That rejection had a devastating impact on my self esteem as an artist for some time. I had just started selling my art and gaining some traction with local collectors, and it caused me to feel like I wasn’t good enough to continue masquerading as an artist.
It wasn’t until several years later that I decided to enter another piece, which didn’t get rejected.
The marble steps to the gallery blazed white in the hot sun, daring me to make a move. I had managed to get the sculpture out of the car without damaging it, knocking myself in the head only once.
The only idea that my mind could seem to muster that morning was to pick up the sculpture and maneuver the stairs as quickly as possible. The sculpture isn’t necessarily heavy, it’s just awkward to carry around, because like most sculptures, I didn’t design it to be carried around.
I prepared myself at the bottom of the mountainous stairs, glanced around to make sure no one was watching, and steadied my breath. One false move and all the work and effort that went into my art would be laying in pieces on the forbidding marble steps.
After deciding to enter my art again, I got pieces into four separate shows, won best of show, and had a solo show in their alcove. I also got rejected two more times, but it didn’t have an impact on my self esteem as an artist. Some might attribute the lack of feeling dejected to the fact that I had a couple years as a career artist under my belt, but I know plenty of seasoned artists who have a difficult time with any rejection.
I don’t have difficulty with rejection because after two years of avoiding art competitions, I finally realized that you can’t win if you don’t enter; and your art is not being rejected, it simply didn’t match the taste of the juror. The thing is, that art competitions don’t matter, but if you want to win one, you are going to have to face rejection. In fact, if you want to do anything awesome or important with your art career, you are probably going to face a lot of rejection and criticism.
If you want to be safe from rejection, then don’t put yourself out there, don’t do anything different from the norm, don’t try to have a voice, and definitely don’t become an artist.
Simply because someone rejects your artwork (or whatever it may be) doesn’t mean that you are worthless. It doesn’t have anything to do with you, and never will. A lot of people avoid thinking about being rejected or losing, but in my opinion it’s a good idea to think about that worst case scenario, and face the fear in your mind.
What if my piece gets rejected? How will I feel? What does it mean?
These could be hard questions, but until you ask yourself and question the validity of your answers, you are going to keep reacting in misery to rejection. The really cool thing about exploring these questions is that you don’t have to react at all, you can respond to the situation however you like.
My answers are less dramatic and devastating since I’ve had a chance to explore this topic and really decide how I want to respond to these questions and this particular type of rejection.
What if my piece gets rejected?
Then it get’s rejected. I pick it up, bring it home and probably sell it at some point in my lifetime. Who knows, it may win a prize at some other art competition… just didn’t suit the juror this time I guess.
How will I feel?
Fine, I have other more important things to focus on.
What does this mean?
Only what I think it means. If I think I’m a failure or a reject, that’s on me. This is an opportunity for me to show myself who I am, by the way I respond. I choose to respond by saying “Well, maybe next time… I got shit to do right now.”
I glanced around one more time, held my breath, and made a run for it. I verbally counted every step as I ascended the stairs with the agility of sloth in running shoes.
Out of breath and elated that I made it to the top, I stood there gleaming in victory. I then proceeded to scrape and bang my way awkwardly through the front door, hitting my head one more time for good measure. I placed the sculpture safely in the gallery lobby, signed it in, and breathed a sigh of relief.
By the way, it was number 13 in the roster… talk about dumb luck.
I had done it. I achieved something I thought was impossible to do on my own, willing to face humiliation and rejection for something I love and believe in… my art, my sense of fun, my freedom to be me.
Had I given up, after that first rejection it would have controlled me. I would have spent the rest of my life being afraid to face rejection, and I would have been filled with “what ifs”.
I don’t believe you actually fail, even if your art doesn’t get in. Even if you get rejected, or lose… I think you only fail if you give up… because that’s the one thing you have control over.
It’s sometimes easy to give up because things might seem hopeless or hard. I didn’t think I could possibly get the sculpture to the gallery on my own, but my belief in dumb luck took over, and I decided to try.
I recently created a piece out of recycled plastic bags and it was giant. 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.
Crossing 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.”
And guess what??!? I WON BEST IN SHOW!!! How awesome is that?!
Opening reception will be Thursday May 3rd, 6pm-8pm at Artel Gallery in Downtown Pensacola.
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.
The message is open for interpretation, but in my mind, it is nature reclaiming the world, and bouncing back from the brink.
What: Art Exhibition – RECYCLE, REUSE, REPURPOSE… REPEAT.
Where: Artel Gallery – 223 Palafox Place, Old Escambia County Courthouse, Pensacola, FL 32502
When: April 24-June 1st, Opening Reception May 3rd, 6pm-8pm
Why: Because it’s awesome! Come hang out with me during the opening reception!
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.
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.
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.
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.
This next Gallery Night I’m going to be a part of something that is both nerve-racking and exciting. Get ready for:
Art at the Annex: Drawing Rally
On Friday, November 17 from 6 PM – 9 PM, During Gallery Night, at The Cowork Annex (13 Palafox Pl.) is going to be an event that I have rarely experienced here in Pensacola.
Part live art-making performance, part arts community awareness. Watch as local artists create artworks from start-to-finish while under a three hour time limit in front of a live audience – who can silently bid on the works as they are made.
Are you kidding me?? That sounds amazing!!!
Join us for this exciting live event – including fire dancing performances, music by AnyDayDJ.Com, an interactive creation station, photo booth, and tours of downtown’s new cowork @nnex facilities! @rt at the @nnex is free and open to the public on 11.17 from 6-9pm – during downtown Pensacola Gallery Night.
Josh Green, Jarrod Goldman, Famous Gabe, Loren Miller, Kenneth Jordan, Carter J. Gaston, Marina C. Quirk, Brennah St. Ores, Rafi Perez (hey that’s me!), Elizabeth Matthews, Wolfy Howell, Tina Ogden, Nate Lyle, Anne Gray, Angelenia Edwards and Lindsey Gray.
This is such an amazing group of artists, I am truly honored.
WHAT: Art at the Annex: Drawing Rally
WHERE: The Cowork Annex (13 Palafox Pl.)
WHEN: Friday, November 17 from 6 PM – 9 PM, During Gallery Night
WHY: Because it’s awesome!
To all my awesome artists friends, updated artist participation list online. Deadline for artist participation is Nov. 14th. Details and application online at leaderfineart.com/call-for-artists.
I have always been fascinated by portraiture, and what I think of as an artistic snapshot of the personality of a human being in motion through life. Although I admire and have an appreciation for portraits, they’ve never really been my favorite thing to work on.
I am currently working on some studies, where I take images of real people and apply them to the life concepts that I put in my collections.
I am always looking for inspiring pictures, and would love an opportunity to paint you or someone you know into a piece of “Rafi Art” and as my friend said, be immortalized.
All you have to do is email me an image and some info to email@example.com
Please Follow These Rules Of Thumb:
Images must be sharp and not blurry.
Please have good lighting in the photo.
I will accept- close up of the face (preferably no smiling for the camera poses), artistic poses, tasteful nudes, something that tells a story, or just an awesome photo.
It would be helpful if you gave me a little insight on the person in the image.
Things like, favorite color, strengths and what you would like say with the painting are helpful.
Please keep in mind that if you are chosen for one of the works, I will take the image and info and create something inspired by the information, but ultimately I retain full control of the creative process. This is not a commission. If you would like to commission me, contact me with details for consideration.
If your image is chosen and created, you are in no way obligated to buy the original piece, these are studies that will be done on 11X14 paper. I will send you a printable copy via email that you can print out (FREE) as a thank you.
I will contact you if I intend to use your image. This is a side project so please be patient.
By sending me an image you are giving me permission to use it in this project.
One of my favorite things to do as an Artist is to help my collectors plan, display, and curate the space in their home. It is amazing how art will change the mood and feeling of a room, or the whole house for that matter. I have people email me all the time telling me about their morning empowerment routine with one of my bright pieces of art.
My only challenge has been bringing that sense of color and energy to a smaller space, or to a small work space.
Luckily, I have a solution. I am working on pieces that will allow you to curate any space. Small specialty pieces to bring that energy and power to a small bathroom or even a cubicle… or any place you can think of.
“Curate your space” is a new series of enhanced prints. This is a high quality print of my work on textured archival art paper. I enhance my prints using either ink, paint, pastel, or a combination of mediums. Each one is unique, the piece is mounted on wood and ready to hang out of the box. It is completely hand crafted by me, with unique texture patterns added by hand, no two are exactly the same. These pieces are signed and dated on the back.
I am adding several new pieces to my store daily, so check back often. I will be doing an official launch on November 15th of the series, but I’m just too excited about it… So, the cat’s out of the bag.
I recently sold a piece of art that symbolized a very special story. When I posted it on social media I captioned it with:
Life can be a thrilling ride, or a terrifying one. It’s just a matter of perspective. It’s not always easy to remind yourself that you are on fire for life, but it is necessary if you want to ignite yourself, and blaze your own trail.
This piece symbolizes what I think all of us have inside, a flame that burns and refuses to be snuffed out, no matter how hard we might try.
When I look at my life, I can see a very clear separation between the person who buried their ambitions and dreams behind a wall of fear, and the crazy risk taking weirdo that I am today. I’d be lying if I said that I am completely devoid of fear, but it is worlds away from the old version of me.
The thing is, that if you ignore that flame, that passion that burns within you, it doesn’t go away, you are just constantly reminded of the things you are suppressing.
We are all such beautiful creatures, with amazing potential. I feel that we all know that to some level or another, but might be too scared to express it.
But the flame within you doesn’t go away.
We are brilliant in our uniqueness. In the history of the world there has never been anyone like you, there is no one like you, and there will never be anyone like you… soak that in for a moment. Yet, we tend to compare ourselves and put ourselves down.
But the flame within you doesn’t go away.
It is simply a matter of perspective… The flame within you, is that part of you that sees your beauty, ability, potential, brilliance, your worth, and uniqueness. It see’s what you really are…