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Be Different

I pride myself in the fact that I believe I am extremely different than anybody else. Of course, the truth is that everyone is unique and nothing like anyone else.

I did however spend a good deal of my life trying to be someone else. At the time, I didn’t see it that way, I called it normal. “I just want to be normal” I would say, and feel the frustration that comes with trying to achieve something that doesn’t exist.

I eventually realized that there was no such thing as normal. “Normal” was this boring concept where life was predictable, you were predictable and nothing really exciting happens. True, some people have so much of the wrong kind of excitement in their life that they look forward to a little boring… or at least they think they do.

I think we all want to lead exciting and happy lives. I think we all want to be genuine about who we truly are. The problem is that a lot of people are not sure how to reach the person who they believe they are meant to be. This person is usually under years of posturing, white lies and people pleasing.

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When I had my realization years ago, I started a process that helped me find me. By paying close attention to what I was saying to other people, I was able to examine if I was being genuine. For a brief period of time, I’m sure folks thought I had lost my mind. It went something like this:

Them – “Hey, you going to meet me later at the bar for a drink?”
Me – “Sure, yeah… That sounds good.”
Them – “Cool, see you later.”
Me – “Wait, I didn’t really mean that. I don’t feel like going out drinking with you.”
Them – “Why not? we always go drinking after work.”
Me – “Well, honestly I think you are a good person, but kind of self destructive.”
(Silence)
me – “Well, actually, I lied, I don’t think you are a good person for me to hang out with. You are angry, self destructive and honestly you’re a bully.”
Them – “Fuck you man, too good to hang out with me all of the sudden?”
me – “No, that’s not what I’m saying… Actually, I think we wont be hanging out any more, you take it however you want.”

This conversation took place after a six year relationship with a friend who was a self destructive alcoholic.

I was self destructive by proxy and all we did was sit there, get annihilated, complain about how unfair the world was, bitch about women and blame everyone else for our misery.

 

When I was honest with myself I knew that the only reason I was doing it was because I needed to blame other people for the misery in my life. My friend was the perfect sounding board and he was such an aggressive individual that I felt special that he chose me to be friends with. I don’t know, things get all funky and distorted in your mind when you are not yourself. Later, I realized that everyone I surrounded myself with was pretty much the same… This was a reflection of me and who I believed I was. I was part of a group that criticized the things that make me who I am today… Love, hope, empowerment, laughter, and being who YOU know you are, not just a product of your environment. Being different and embracing it is awesome!

I read a story once about Arnold Schwarzenegger that was quite enlightening for me. When he decided to go into acting, he was told that he would never succeed as an actor. He was too big, Had a terrible accent and didn’t have the “Hollywood” look.

He responded with “I am going to be the biggest box office star of the year.”

He then made a movie that bombed terribly. They overdubbed his voice for the movie and it was a disaster. Instead of giving up or taking voice lessons so he could speak like a “Normal” person, Arnold kept going.

He then made a movie where his voice was not dubbed over and eventually became the icon he is today. Imagine a world where you did not have catch phrases like (in best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice) “I’ll be back” or “Get into the Chappa!”

In my opinion, if you embrace what makes you different, life becomes exciting in a very good way.

Be Different was originally published on Rafi Was Here Studios

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Speak Your Passion

I created this piece based on something that I believe is very powerful. Word have a certain power that can sometimes get overlooked in day to day exchanges. Many times we relate to each other by talking about the most mundane and torturous experiences we are currently wrapped up in. We talk about how terrible our week has been and usually the other person will commiserate and top your story with an even worse story about their week. This exchange can take place for hours and at the end of it neither person feels better, but they do feel like they got something off their chest and call it venting.

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I believe that by talking about the things that are going wrong in your life or the problems you are running into just perpetuates it further. You will keep experiencing what you are focused on. In other words you get what you think about over and over again, you talk about it over and over again and you keep seeing evidence that it is true because you keep experiencing what you talk about. Interestingly enough, this can change by changing the pattern by speaking the opposite.

When you are focused on your problems, it is impossible to find the solution because your thoughts are not solution oriented. Unfortunately it is really hard to hit this head on and simply try to focus on the opposite because even if you try to think about the opposite you are still thinking about the problem.

I found that it was simpler for me to focus on the things I loved, the things that worked, and most importantly the things that I was passionate about. It seems that when you speak your passion, you mind orients itself to find more of the same. In fact, when you are focused strong positive emotion it changes everything. It changes your chemical makeup, your outlook, your problem solving skills become powerful and your over all state of being becomes one of optimism and hope.

This piece symbolizes the power of speaking your passion and the freedom that come with it.

Speak Your Passion was originally published on Rafi Was Here Studios

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Ignited by Contemporary Artist Rafi Perez

“Ignited” Mixed Medium on Canvas 20″ X 23″ – Passion rebuilds the world, it brings dreams and dreamers to life, It makes all things alive and significant, it burns with desire to move forward no matter what the odds are… Passion, true passion is a powerful thing 😀 – http://www.Rafiwashere.com

ignited by Contemporary Artist Rafi Perez
ignited by Contemporary Artist Rafi Perez
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Seductions Dream By Contemporary Artist Rafi Perez

“Seductions Dream” Mixed Medium on Canvas 13″ X 30″ – I wanted to capture and accentuate the amazing perfection, beauty and curved edges of the powerful features of the body.

Seductions Dream By Artist Rafi Perez
Seductions Dream By Artist Rafi Perez

 http://www.rafiwashere.com

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Being a Professional Local Artist

Being a professional artist can be a discouraging road to take when you are attempting to make a career of it. In fact trying to make a career of anything creative is usually met with a struggle between having what is considered a “Real Job” or being able to live the rest of your life on Ramen soup.

That’s how I used to feel. The truth is that although the concept of a starving artist is popular and somewhat romantic, having that perspective won’t do anything to pay bills. Some people may feel that they need to have hardship in order to be creative… This won’t do anything for your bills either.

The truth is that my discouragement came from viewing myself as some kind of socially awkward creative genius who was misunderstood by society. Although this made sense of why I wasn’t openly sharing my art with the world, it was a lie to excuse myself from doing more as far as creating a career as an artist. The interesting thing is that the more I talked about how hard it was, the more people I found to agree with me on how impossible it was to do what you love.

Honestly, I had to get a few things straight in my mind before I was able to fully apply myself in making a living as an artist.

I needed to view myself as a business person and not a socially awkward misunderstood artist who was being kept down by the system. The only system that could keep me down is my own lack of willingness to expand my business and open myself and my art up for criticism.

Remember, starting a business of any type can be difficult at times, especially during the first year. Most businesses don’t start to turn a profit until the third year. As an artist you are your business, you are the brand so your ability to interact and mingle with all kinds of people is paramount. This doesn’t mean you have to be a social butterfly, just be yourself.

On a side note, my advice on “criticism” of any type is to remember that everyone has different taste and different expectations of what art is. That’s the beauty of art, it is unique to the perspective of the artist and some people will love it and some people will hate it. The trick is to not care either way and appreciate and love whatever it is that you create. I’ve made it a point to say “thank you” to everyone that comments on my art because they are going out of their way to share their opinion, even if it’s negative.

Although running your own business can be difficult, the payoff is immense. First off you make your own hours, you are your own boss, and you get to do something you love all day, every day. You also will share a part of yourself with the world and grow immensely from that experience in talent and confidence.

For a lot of artists, having galleries display and sell their art is a dream come true. Although this is a step forward, it takes time to build a reputation that will allow your art to sell for the kind of money that will allow you to live comfortably. The time it takes to build this reputation is up to you and consists of marketing yourself and your art.

The first and most important marketing strategy is word of mouth. Find events and festivals that you can go to or display your art, the most important element is not selling your art but talking about it and yourself with everyone you meet. Talk about it.

Find ways to market your business, then find some more ways to market your business, then find more. It’s fantastic that you are doing what you love and you are creating art, but remember that this is a business and not a hobby. Find ways to market your business through ads, marketing materials, or other creative ways to create a buzz about you and your work.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in running my art business is that as long as I don’t allow myself to get discouraged and continue striving to get my name out there it is impossible to fail unless I give up. So it’s quite simple for me… If I don’t give up, I could never fail.

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