I created the “EMPOWERMENT” series based on self empowerment, as a tool to be used as a daily reminder. This is my social commentary on the way that people talk to themselves or the way they see themselves. I believe we all have the ability to feel confident and strong, but for the most part we have made it a habit to talk to ourselves in a way that makes us feel powerless.
In reality, personal empowerment is not something we feel, it’s something we do. Our sense of empowerment is a reflection of the increased personal value and self-worth that comes out of our experience of having real influence in our lives.
Empowering ourselves and creating change, which ultimately leads to the increased sense of personal value and self-worth we call the “feeling” of empowerment, involves some very specific steps.
Stop comparing yourself to others. Start improving yourself
People tend to compare themselves to others because at times it will make them feel better about their lives or something they are trying to do. For example I know a lot of artists that feel better about their ability to create art because they compare their art to stuff they consider inferior. This is a double edged blade, because they will also compare their work to other work that they consider vastly superior. When they do this it leads to a devastating realization that their work isn’t that great. The truth is, nothing is better or worse than anything else, it’s just our perspective which can change.
When you resist comparing yourself, you will be less engaged in judgement, and self-judgement, YOU WILL focus instead on your work – this alone will be empowering.
Taking responsibility means simply to be responsible for the way you respond to a situation. Most importantly, no matter how much you want to blame someone else for the way you feel, it’s important to remember that no matter what anyone does, you are ultimately responsible for how you respond to the given situation.
There are many small opportunities throughout the day to take responsibility for your emotions, play around with the concept. This will put the power back in your hands and no longer let your emotions fluctuate depending on the people around you.
Do Something. Take Action!
One of the best things you can do to feel empowered is take action. Think about all those things you wish you did or that you want to do, but maybe you feel lazy or unmotivated. Whenever you don’t take action on it, it can have a devastating effect on your self esteem. Make it a habit to just take action and stop thinking about doing it.
Taking action means remembering to have fun, at least that’s what it means to me. Have fun!
There are lots of ways to empower yourself and create positive change in your life. These are just a few things I try to keep in mind daily, or remind myself if ever I’m feeling less than empowered. Above all, remember that you are a beautiful luminous being, and go out and rock this life thing!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
As you can see, instead of “Art Creations For Your Inbox” I’ve decided to change it to “New Art From Rafi And Klee” because I think, it’s way more fun… and more accurate.
My art reception was last Thursday and it was a huge success! Thank you so much to everyone that came out to the reception and throughout the exhibition so far. It will continue running at Artel Gallery in Pensacola until April 7th.
We have some new creations to share with you this week, both Klee and I are super excited about it!
But before we get into that, here is an amazing quote I would like to share with you:
“The longer you look at an object, the more abstract it becomes, and, ironically, the more real.” Lucian Freud
I love this quote, because I love creating abstract work. It gives me an opportunity to share the way that I think and see the world. Try it sometime, take a look at a familiar object, detach yourself from the label or name of the object, then keep looking. Allow yourself to take it apart in your mind and turn it into blocks of color, textures, and shading. See the unknown in the familiar, and turn the world you think you know upside down.
Ok, as I promised here is the art and jewelry! Enjoy!
14k Gold Filled Quartz Crystal Lantern Necklace By Klee
“This beautiful double terminated clear quartz crystal sits pristine in it’s 14k yellow gold filled woven bezel. The design is reminiscent of cathedral windows and old world lanterns, centering on the beauty of the light that passes through the crystal. A modern interpretation of a beautiful relic from times gone by.“
Window To The City original painting by artist Rafi
“Looking out the window at the world that surrounds me. I have a relationship with the city that looks back at me, the people that I recognize every day, going through the same routines. I know them, even though they will never know me, a silent child who dreams of joining the world outside.”
Gold Filled Quartz Crystal Tassel Earrings By Klee
“These earrings feature gorgeous raw clear quartz crystal points wrapped in 14k yellow gold filled wire, with spiral back detailing and gold filled chain tassels to create movement and light play with the crystals. Fun and funky, elegant and earthy, these are awesome for dress up or casual wear.”
The Recovery Of Bliss By Rafi
“Logic and reason dominates the scene. Everything must make sense, everything must be logical, yet the greatest power we have is to stop thinking and melt away the calculating mind. To sit in silence, soak in our surroundings, or travel in our imagination to a place that is blissful… None of this makes sense in our analytical world and yet, there it is.”
Have an amazing week! You are awesome! Just remember, we may have names for the things we see in the world, but really, they are just blocks of color, texture, and shades. Look at the world differently, who knows, you may see the similar in a vastly different way.
Remember to stay endlessly inspired by the stuff of life!
Recently I entered an international art competition. Well, first let me say, I entered an art competition, which was nerve racking for me. Yeah… Nerve racking… Weird, right?
As part of my 2017 growth as a person, and artist goal, I’ve decided to enter as many international art competitions as I can. Some of you that watch my videos, or have read past blogs, know I have an unreasonable fear of art competitions.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my fear was getting in the way of my achievements as an artist. How am I supposed to win an international art competition, if I’m paralyzed by fear of being judged inadequate? Or worse, what if I win?
Yup, the closer I looked, the more I started to realize that I was also afraid of winning.
Now, let’s get something straight, I really don’t care much about winning or losing. I also am not very concerned about opinions or criticisms about my art. I rather enjoy them, I love hearing the unique perspectives that the viewer brings to the work. Even when it’s negative, I learn something about people.
I mean, c’mon, one of my best friends sees something lewd or sexual in just about every piece I create – sometimes he can’t help it. If I got offended or hurt , I wouldn’t be able to enjoy his genuine reaction to the art. Come to think of it, my father is pretty much a perverted twelve year old when it comes to my art too, so maybe that’s why it doesn’t phase me.
I painted a beautiful painting of a bald eagle for a benefit event, for the Northwest Florida Wildlife Sanctuary. My dad showed up and told everyone it reminded him of a retarded parrot. I didn’t care, he’s genuine… and a little like a retarded parrot himself.
I would rather have genuine reactions, no matter how childish, than polite smiles and scripted responses because people are afraid to hurt my feelings.
That being said, I feel like competitions can be a bit cold. The human interaction between the work can easily be mechanical, because you are comparing pieces to one another and not allowing your relationship with the art to fully form.
But, either way, what was I talking about? Art competitions, I’m doing them this year… Why not?
So my first piece that I’ve created is based on a competition with a tag line of “Passion To Perform.”
I struggled a little with this because the word perform has such a corporate connotation to me. Your performance is evaluated at the end of the year, and the over all performance of the company, and blah blah blah.
You can imagine how the word passion just didn’t seem to fit in my mind.
Luckily, I’m married to an extremely brilliant woman, who also happened to be a vocalist for over a decade, and has a different spin on the word perform.
“It’s like, when you get up on stage and sing, or you dance at the ballet, or act on Broadway… If you are passionate, it shines through.”
So I created this piece called the Origin Of Passion. It is the representation of how I believe the seed of passion can bloom. That contemplative moment, where you are thinking about giving up, and realize that you must move forward. Despite the roadblocks, naysayers, and dark days, you are determined.
The golden words in her hair are the reminder of the power that this passion brings you. Courage, strength, growth, determination, perseverance, inspiration, boldness, vision, and creativity.
I remember back when I quit my corporate job and was reevaluating my life, and wanting to be more creative, a lot of my friends and family were not supportive. In fact, not supportive is an understatement, I’m sure there were a lot of concerned conversations, judgement, and name calling.
But I didn’t care, because I was, and am passionate about my life, creativity, and spreading a positive message into the world. I think if you are passionate about something and you practice courage, strength, growth, determination, perseverance, inspiration, boldness, vision, and creativity… You become unstoppable… Even when your aunt thinks you’re crazy.