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Happiness Is An Empty Chocolate Wrapper

Have you ever looked around at the expression that people make when they aren’t putting on a happy face? I believe it’s called “resting bitch face.” In my opinion, this is what happens whenever you aren’t feeling happy or confident and you try to fake it.

I’m not sure what face I’m making here

I know you’ve heard the saying “fake it ’til you make it”, and I’m sure there are times where that comes in handy. I know I’ve used that philosophy before, but when it comes to happiness, I feel like there is an extra ingredient that needs to be added.

Understanding that happiness is a choice. You have to genuinely understand that you choose in that moment to be happy or not, despite what is going on around you.

It’s like a wrapper of dove chocolate with its little motivational sayings. At that moment you can see it as something that you enjoyed in the past, but is now gone forever. You also have the option to appreciate the experience you had of chocolate sweetness, and the extra little token of love written on the wrapper. It’s your choice to make, and one makes you happy and the other may make you sad. Just like you can be happy about this bad analogy or upset that I just wasted a few seconds of your life.

Happiness is being lost but still choosing to be good spirits

Happiness really is a choice you have to make. Many of us get it wrong: We think that happiness is a byproduct of something good happening to us, success, be it a high-paying job, a successful business, raising a family, or achieving a goal.

Ever heard of this old song?

If I have the money, then I will do the things I want. Finally, I will be happy.

Yet, dissatisfaction and sadness often keep us from doing the things we want. We lack the enthusiasm and the vigor to do those things in the first place, because we think we are not happy. That can be exhausting.

I like to say to myself, I will decide to be happy now. Then I will do the things I want and be happy about it.

I still remember the excitement and ah-ha moment when I first discovered this. I thought about it for days afterwards, I contemplated it, in fact I still do. It has had such a large and profound impact on my life that I still talk about it, even after a decade.

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5 Things I Remind Myself Of Every Day

Believing in yourself can be tough, but I can honestly say that it is my self belief that helps me really make the most out of this precious life that I am experiencing right now.

There are 5 things I remind myself of daily in order to really get the most out of life.

Do as much as you can to experience new experiences.

#1 Time is short

It might sound a little morbid, but the idea that our lives could end at any moment causes me to both evaluate the relationships that I am in, and really appreciate the people I love. It also reminds me that life is too short to spend any time worrying about something and not simply doing something about it.

I’m willing to talk to anyone, even if it scares me.

#2 Be fearless in taking the next step and enjoying life

Taking the right risk is one of the most important aspects of being happy in life. Always take the first step with optimism and a gusto for life. I knew a beautiful woman who was 88 years old, and one day I saw her riding on the back of a motorcycle. It was her first ride ever, she was smiling from ear to ear and said “If not now, when?” that’s been my motto ever since. As an artist, my entire career is one emotional and financial risk, and if I wasn’t willing to face those fears, I wouldn’t be enjoying what I’m doing now. Listen, if it doesn’t work out at first, you are always free to try it again.

Time is going to pass anyway, so I might as well work a little every day towards what I want.

#3 Time is going to pass by anyhow

Sometimes it seems like certain things I want to do are going to take such a long time to accomplish. In the past, I would quit before I even started because it was disheartening. I realized later that time is going to pass anyway, so you might as well chip at that wall.

#4 Don’t allow yourself to settle

I remember a while back looking at my life and thinking “That’s it? That’s all there is to my life?” I was miserable. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that I had a mentality that was putting me in a miserable place. I settled for things that were satisfactory, but not satisfying. My relationships, my job, my car, my friends, and my self esteem was satisfactory… Life didn’t become satisfying until I decided reevaluate my priorities.

Every day has the potential to be awesome or not, you decide.

#5 Take every day as a new chance

Today is a day for you to begin creating your unique and fulfilling life. Today is the day to begin to release all your limitations. Today is the day for you to learn the secrets of your life. Today you realize you already have the tools within you to do so… and if today was just eh, move on from it, because you get 365 days a year to practice being awesome.

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Watch Rafi’s Artist Talk – The Art Of Imperfect Art

A few weeks ago I spoke at the Santa Rosa Art Association about the perils of being a perfectionist as an artist. If I’m honest, being a perfectionist when it comes to certain things is important. For example, if you are performing open heart surgery or are operating on my brain, I would hope you are the perfectionist vs the guy who thinks that leaving a piece of gauze in my skull is just how it goes sometimes.

Rafi Perez Live Seminar

For the most part, I’m talking about perfectionism in the sense that it can be debilitating. Where you encounter the following problems:

You can only start in ideal conditions.

You never feel like a piece is finished.

You constantly get creative block.

You have lots of works in progress, but not so much ready to sell.

You constantly dwell on past failures.

You compare yourself to other artists, or people.

You never show your works in progress to other people.

You are losing motivation.

Being perfect is exhausting.

Rafi Perez Live Seminar

Enjoy the video of the talk. I mostly tell stories that frame the idea that trying to be perfect is silly, because I don’t believe there is such a thing. Let me know what you think?

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Feeling Powerful In Three Steps

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.

Believe By Rafi Perez

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.

Bonafide By Rafi Perez
  1. 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.

Life By Rafi Perez

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.

Belief By Rafi Perez
  • Take responsibility.

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.

Create By Rafi Perez
  • 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.

Golden Glow By Rafi Perez

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!

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2019 Limited Edition Rafi Art Calendars Available

I am very excited to announce that this year will be the second year of limited edition calendars to be released by me. There was such an amazing response last year that I am even more excited about this project!

Each series calendar has art that was carefully chosen by me in order to convey the message that I would like you to carry with you throughout the year.

This year, the first 50 orders will receive a free gift with their calendar!

2019-Calendars

Same as last year, I will be taking pre-orders online from November 4th – December 5th. Please make sure to order before the December 5th deadline, I had a few people that missed the deadline last year and couldn’t order a calendar. Also, these are pre-orders only, I will not have calendars with me at the market. Contact me if you want a calendar but are unable to prepay online.

You Can Pre- Order The Calendars On My Web Store.

shop-now

All orders will ship by December 15th. Receive a 10% discount when you order 2 or more at a time. Use discount code at checkout: CALENDARS2019 and save!

Mock-Up-Birds-8
2019 Birds Art Calendar has a collection of happy bird images on branches. My idea with this calendar was to bring a pop of color and joy to any drab work space. This calendar has no suggested nudity.

Marine-Mockup-8
2019 Marine Creatures Art Calendar has a collection of my colorful and bold water animals that I work on when inspired. The idea with this calendar was to bring a little of that calm and beauty to any space. This calendar has no suggested nudity.

NOB-Mockup-8
2019 Nature Of Being Art Calendar is a collection of powerful and beautiful tree people. Due to some of the powerful images and nudity, this calendar is meant for a more personal setting.

Mockup-4
2019 Sunflowers Art Calendar is a collection of some of my most empowering and bright pieces. Each image is accompanied by a short quote that puts the piece in context. This calendar has no suggested nudity.

Because I designed these calendars for myself and Klee, I also added a few non official holidays:

Along with all U.S. Holidays,
-January 13 – Make your dreams come true day
-February 16th – Do a grouch a favor day
-February 17th – Random act of kindness day
-February 22nd – Single tasking day
-February 24th – Tortilla chip day
-March 16th – Everything you do is right day
-March 19th – Let’s laugh day
-March 22nd – International goof off day
-March 26th – Make up your own holiday day
-April 14th – Look up at the sky day
-April 17th – Haiku Poetry Day
-April 23rd – Take a chance day
-April 30th – Honesty day
-May 4th – Starwars day
-May 5th – No pants day
-May 14th – Dance like a chicken day
-May 21st – Talk like Yoda day
-June 1st – Say something nice day
-June 8th – Best friends day
-July 3rd – Compliment your mirror day
-August 8th – Happiness happens day
-August 16th – Tell a joke day
-August 31st – Eat outside day
-September 4th – Eat an extra dessert day
-September 13th – Positive thinking day
-September 28th – Ask a stupid question day
-October 28th – International Observe the Moon Night
-November 24th – Celebrate your unique talent day
-December 19th – Ugly Sweater Day
-December 24th – Eggnog Day

I am currently taking pre-orders for calendars.

Shop-Calendars-2019

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Solo Show At Artel Sept 4th – Oct 19

I am excited to announce that I will be showing my art in the alcove at Artel Gallery in beautiful downtown Pensacola.

Rafi-Artel-Show-Poster-2018

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

When: September 13th, 2018 From 6pm-8pm

Where: Artel Gallery – 223 Palafox Pl, Pensacola, FL 32502

Why: Because it is AWESOME!

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Yay! I Won Best Of Show!

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.

Nature Of Being Sculpture By Rafi Perez
Nature Of Being Sculpture By Rafi Perez

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.

Nature Of Being Sculpture By Rafi Perez
Nature Of Being Sculpture By Rafi Perez

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.

Nature Of Being Sculpture By Rafi Perez
Nature Of Being Sculpture By Rafi Perez

  • 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!

 

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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!

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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?

 

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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.