3 Artist Rules That Apply To Life

Along with our creative careers, Klee and I also do YouTube Videos. The videos are mostly geared towards artists, but also have a lot of life advice that we have picked up the hard way, mostly by living life as career artists.

When you are an artist, you live a life full of fun things like constant rejection, people thinking you do drugs, people feeling sorry for your life choices, banks denying you for a home loan (while smirking at how cute it was that you walked into the bank in the first place), people thinking you should get a “real job”, and general disapproval of your status as a contributing member of society.

Don’t get me wrong, being a career artist is amazing, but not everyone looks at us in a healthy light, and if you don’t have your thoughts in the right place, it can destroy your emotional state. I’ve seen people crumble after one rejection and give up.

That’s why I think as artists, we can have an advantage in living a happy life, because we have to face rejection, find our inspiration, manage a business, manage a stream of income that is unpredictable, create product that is considered a luxury to most of the world (even though I will argue that owning art is one of the healthiest things you can do), deal with our own insecurities, and constantly have to push ourselves out of our comfort zones in order to stay relevant… I know, I’m not selling the concept, but bear with me.

Rafi and klee

As an artist you have to face your fears, if you run away from them, there really is no way to make a career of it.

So, here are the 3 rules that I would say apply to everything in life, but also to having an art career.

  • Be authentic.
    Paint or create only that which interests you, in the way you choose to paint or create it. Don’t change your approach to gain sales, popularity or acceptance. You will never do your best work if you do. In life, you will become trapped in a version of you that isn’t real. It is much simpler to be yourself, that way you can surround yourself with people that you don’t have to put on an act for.
  • Compete only with yourself.
    Avoid competitions, contests and measuring yourself by how many shows you’ve gotten into or awards you’ve won. Seek validation internally, you will never please everyone. Don’t ever compare yourself to anyone on any level. You are the most perfect version of you that exists in the world. It’s when you try to be someone else that you’ll think you see flaws in something that is inherently perfect.
  • Remember that it takes a lifetime.
    You can’t just sign up for a workshop or go to an art class once a week and expect gallery representation and collectors to follow shortly thereafter. It takes time. Be patient in life, but take every opportunity you can to smile, laugh, love, show your art, and have fun. You may get rejected, but that’s all part of this wonderful journey we are on. If rejection doesn’t bother you, then you are halfway there.
Rafi and Klee Photography

The goal should not be to get famous or rich, just to enjoy your precious life as much as possible. If you get rich and famous in the process, that is just bonus.

Phoenix Reborn

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.

Blue Phoenix By Rafi Perez

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.

Blue Phoenix By Rafi Perez

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.

Blue Phoenix By Rafi Perez

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.

Blue Phoenix By Rafi Perez

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.

Becoming A Work Of Art Yourself

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.

Until now…

Rafi art portrait

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.

Rafi art portrait
“Creative Blast” By Artist Rafi Perez Original Painting On Paper 11X14

Rafi art portrait
“Ruby Red” By Artist Rafi Perez Original Painting On Paper 11X14

Rafi art portrait
“Reborn In Fire” By Artist Rafi Perez Original Painting On Paper 11X14

Rafi art portrait
“Flowing In Light” By Artist Rafi Perez Original Painting On Paper 11X14

Rafi art portrait
“Visions Of Tomorrow” By Artist Rafi Perez Original Painting On Paper 11X14

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 rafi@rafiwashere.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.

Thank you! I love you guys!

Become A Creative Failure To Succeed

Have you ever had someone tell you that you weren’t good enough, that you’ll never make it, or that you would fail? If you have, then welcome to the club, this is a good place to be so don’t fret.

I think we all have some of those people in our lives, that either verbally or quietly disapprove of what they consider our childish ambitions. The truth is that anything that is outside of the norm is considered childish most of the time.

It’s interesting to me that most artists that are revered today for ushering in a new era of art, were considered losers by the art establishments in their day. We usually write this off by saying that the artist was ahead of his time, but I think it has more to do with perseverance than anything else.

Van Gogh

Today, we consider Vincent Van Gogh to be one of the greatest and most influential painters of all time, but that wasn’t the case when he was alive. Van Gogh’s work received little to no recognition during his lifetime. His paintings were often described as being too dark and lacking the bright liveliness seen in Impressionist paintings of the time.

The funny thing is that Monet’s Impressionist paintings were rejected before they became popular as well. His work and other Impressionists’ paintings were rejected by society and art exhibitions because it went against the traditional style and method of painting.

Claude Monet
Painting By Monet Rejected By The Paris Salon

Even Picasso was highly criticized by his peers quite often because some of his paintings diverged from the divergent artist movements that were happening already.

The fact is that each one of these artists embraced their craft and just kept creating despite what people were telling them. They painted what they painted because they wanted to, not because it was popular. Eventually, they had a large body of work that just could not be ignored.

Paris Salon

Vincent Van Gogh died poor, having only sold one painting to a friend in his lifetime, but he also died young. I think had he lived longer he would have found fame like any other creative person that perseveres through what I call the dark years.

No matter what you want to do in your life, I think if you don’t give up, you’ll get there. If you keep going, creating, and moving forward there is no way you can truly fail. If you quit, it’s like closing a fairy tale book before getting to the end. It doesn’t mean there isn’t a happy ending, you just stopped reading before actually getting there.

Stephanie's Mermaid By Rafi Perez
One of my paintings, because… why not??

People around you are going to tell you that you will fail, and they’re right, but failure is a temporary stretch of road that can lead to a happy ending. But, you’ll never know if you don’t try.

Watch me talk about other creative geniuses who were considered losers in this video:

It’s a zoo in here – Artel Gallery

Opening reception for “It’s a zoo in here” at Artel Gallery was last night. In preparation for the show, I changed my clothes about a hundred times. I finally settled for the first thing I had picked out, and headed out to mingle with the art crowd of Pensacola. Last night I had the opportunity to face another fear. Fear of recognition for winning best of show.

Artel It's a Zoo In Here Show. Photo by James Gaskins
Artel It’s a Zoo In Here Show. Photo by James Gaskins

I know what you’re thinking, “Really dude, fear of being recognized for winning best of show?” 

Yup… It seems pretty interesting to me that I have these hidden fears, that really don’t make much sense, but I can feel them just the same.

I walked in with Klee, and my good friends, Monica and James, they were all my backup in case I started hyperventilating or something.

Rafi Perez Best In Show Artel Gallery
Rafi Perez Best In Show Artel Gallery

When we arrived we were given raffle tickets and welcomed to the show.

Immediately, I was pulled into a conversation with someone who had seen my videos about facing my fear of entering the competition. It was an intriguing conversation about facing fears, and about the caveman instincts that bring those fears up to the surface.

Then, I was asked if I wanted to take a picture with my piece, and I did. Then, I was surrounded by a mob of people, asking about the piece, asking about my history, or simply catching up. People that I adore, that I haven’t seen in a while, and new people that I was meeting for the first time. It pretty much went like that for most of the evening… It was awesome.

Artel It's a Zoo In Here Show. Photo by Margret Hildreth
Artel It’s a Zoo In Here Show. Photo by Margret Hildreth

At least, until they announced the winners. I had won best of show, so I was announced last. There was a thunderous applause, and I wanted to hide, which I successfully did… until Susanne, who was making the announcements said “Where is he, is he here?”

All eyes landed on me, I half waved and probably turned beet red.

Then, it was over. On to the next thing.

They called out the numbers to the raffle, and my friend Monica won chocolate… to which I exclaimed “I never win anything.”

Fellow artist, Marty Campbell replied “Sure you don’t, just best of show.”

All in all, it was an awesome experience, and one that I hope to have again and again.

If you are in Pensacola, and you want to check out the show, it will be running at The Artel Gallery  October 4 – October 28, 2016.

I Won Best Of Show?

So, yesterday I submitted some pieces that I created for a juried art show that takes place at Artel Gallery, in downtown Pensacola.

I’m sure most of you will find it hard to believe, that it was a terrifying act for me. Yeah, only my closest friends (and now you) know that I have an childlike fear of having my art judged by art competition judges.

Let’s make something clear, I don’t mind having my art judged. People judge my art all the time, some love it, some hate it, either way, it doesn’t bother me. Put the art in a competitive setting and I become a nervous third grader.

Artel Gellery Submissions By Rafi Perez
Artel Gallery Submissions By Rafi Perez

Now, I’m fully aware this is ridiculous. I’m an established artist, I have collectors of my work, and I am well known… yet, just because it doesn’t make sense, doesn’t mean I didn’t almost piss myself yesterday.

This video will let you live my experience yesterday: 

The theme of the show is about animal life. The show is called “It’s A Zoo In Here” and runs for the month of October.

Cazebraca By Rafi Perez
Cazebraca By Rafi Perez

I decided to enter the show, face my fears, and submit my art… For the past few years, I’ve been working on getting rid of silly fears that stand in the way. Sometimes, I have to push outside of my comfort zones, which seems to be an ongoing thing, so I better get used to it.

Rehabilitation Of Beauty By Rafi Perez
Rehabilitation Of Beauty By Rafi Perez

I created two pieces for the show called “Rags to Fishes” and “Rehabilitation Of Beauty.” My friend and art collector, Monica Gaskins owns a Zebra sculpture I created recently, and she allowed me to submit it as my third piece.

Rags To Fishes By Rafi Perez
Rags To Fishes By Rafi Perez

“Rags to Fishes” is a sculpture I created using old pieces of canvas that I collected from the stretching process. They typically get thrown away, but it seemed like such a waste to throw perfectly good canvas away…  that stuff is expensive, and I couldn’t bring myself to just throw it away.

Watch the video above to hear which piece won best of show… That’s right! I won best of show… How awesome is that!

The show reception is Wednesday, October 12, 6pm-8pm. Klee and I will be there, which is also outside of my comfort zone because I got best of show, and there is a part of me that doesn’t know how to handle that… Like I said ridiculous, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. 🙂

The show runs October 4th – Oct 28th, 2016.

 

 

Tips for beginning artists No.1

These are 5 Tips For Beginning Artist. If you are an aspiring artist, or you know an aspiring artist that may benefit from this, feel free to share and enjoy.

Every Monday, I dedicate some of my daily efforts to giving back information that would have been valuable to me when starting my artist career. This is a very basic list of things that were extremely helpful in my perception and practice of art.

Rafi Was Here Studios
Rafi Was Here Studios

You want to grow up and be an artists? Here’s five tips that helped me become an artist.

Draw… A lot. Carry a sketchbook with you, and draw whenever you get a chance. The more you draw, the better you become at translating a mental image to paper.

Great art takes hard work… It takes a lot of work, so don’t allow yourself to get discouraged if something is not looking the way you want it to… Just keep trying, you only fail at it, if you give up.

Use a reference image. Take pictures of what you want to create, and reference them in your sketches. I usually have myself, or Klee model for what I am looking for. Take notice of lighting and shadows in your photo. For some of us, it helps to bring the fuzzy image in the mind to life.

Get used to rejection. You are going to get rejected. You are also going to have people say that either your work, or you suck. You’ll have thousands more praise you, but if you can’t handle the few that will reject your work, it may keep you from moving forward.

See if there is any genuine feedback and learn from it, but if not, just delete it. The biggest tool an artist has in his, or her arsenal is confidence, and confidence is something you can develop.

Be unique and be successful. So, copying what’s popular in art may bring success, but it’s only short term and really not worth it. Doing things your own way may take longer to gain success, but man is it worth it. Trust me, if you are creating what is popular, chances are you are doing something just for the money… That’s not going to help you grow, and you’ll stagnate as an artist.

Either way, choose what you love and stick with it, because what’s popular won’t last, but your uniqueness will.

Let me know what you guys think, or if you have anything to add.

Thank you guys! You are awesome!

Where do I sell My Art?

The start of my art career seems like such a distant memory. I’ve taken so many turns and had so many life changing events, that I’m not sure I would recognize the old fear filled version of myself that took that first step.

You Can Do Anything You Set Your Mind To | Get Creative!

The other day I was asked a seemingly simple question that I almost overlooked.

artist-question

It wasn’t until I remembered the beginning of my art career and the confusion that came with attempting to become a full-time artist.

I then decided to video my answer. You can watch the video by click this link  https://youtu.be/aJZa0eK_uS8

I started my art career in an unlikely place and figured it out as I went… I wish I could say it was an easy ride, but it wasn’t. I also, wouldn’t change a thing.

If you are an artist, and you are trying to figure out where to get started, I hope this video helps you out at least a little.

-Rafi