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The Creative Process Is All About You

We’ve ALL had those moments where we are sitting in front of a blank canvas and wondering if our sense of creativity left town. We’ve also all had the moments where you are sitting in front of a work of art and suddenly you are overtaken by the idea that everything you touch turns into a steaming pile of crap.

Today Klee and I recorded a podcast where we were talking about the creative process and remembering your greatness as an artist and human.

I think a lot of artists are under the assumption that professional artists know exactly what they’re doing from beginning to end. I can tell you right now, that that is bullshit. None of us know what we are doing when it comes to the creative process.

One thing I could tell you as a bumbling artist, trying to make this creative life a thing, is that the creative process behind the artwork is not as mysterious as a lot of people would love to make it seem.

When you are blocked or you feel like the art you’ve worked on for the last few days should be set on fire, it’s easy to want to give up. In my opinion, the most important part is where I remind myself that no matter what, I am going to be able to figure something out. I remember that something is going to come to me, I am going to move forward, I’m not going to allow myself to quit.

Honestly, the only reason that I get any of the artwork done is because of that mentality, no matter how much the art feels like it sucks, that I suck, or that I’m a horrible artist, I just keep going.

When I feel like I’m never going to make this thing work… I just keep going, knowing that it’s little tweaks here and little tweaks there. Sometimes it’s changing direction.

I allow myself to keep going because I believe that in some way shape or form, I am going to eventually get to the end where I make it work.

It is ultimately a collaborative experience between you and the art. The process is allowing yourself to make changes on the fly to allow the art to take form as it does.

The creative process in of itself is kind of like life, you get thrown some ups and downs, twists and turns, and you have to improvise. You have to keep moving forward in order to get to where it is that you want to get to. Even when there are obstacles and especially when things are not going your way.

The secret to creating anything as an artist is understanding that whatever it is that you’re working on, is not going to work out, it’s going to look like crap, it’s going to look like a big piece of garbage… and that’s ok.

Before it starts to look like the masterpiece, it is going to resemble a crap-turd.

In the podcast, Klee outlines three creative processes:

  • You know what you’re going to create, or you have an idea of what you’re going to create, but you don’t have the steps to get there.
  • You know what you’re going to create, and you have all the steps to get there.
  • You have no idea what you’re going to create, and you have no steps to get there.

Each one of those has its value, but each and every single one of those still requires you to be flexible, and be really good to yourself in the creative process.

The fact of the matter is that when you are creating anything, whether you’re creating art, or you’re creating your life, you’re going to run into roadblocks.

You’re going to run into situations that are going to cause you to think that maybe you suck because the situation or the artwork that you’re creating sucks.

In those cases, the most important thing you can do is to remember your greatness.

Your greatness as an artist, your greatness as a human, your general compassion, your unique way of seeing the world, and your ability to pick yourself up after you fall.

Be good to yourself in those moments, because that is the only way that you’ll be able to take the next step and keep going.

I adore you!

You can listen to the full podcast here if you are interested.

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Rogue Marketing And Money Guide – NEW BOOK!

Hello you amazing creatives!

I am happy to announce that The Rogue Artist’s Guide To Rogue Marketing And Money IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER!!! It feels like only last month that I finished the prior book… well, technically we did finish the commentary last month, so maybe I can say that.

I am very excited about this book because there will be plenty of rambles, rants, and really awesome ideas for unique out of the box marketing. In the last few years of my art career, I have viewed marketing my art and myself as a fun experiment. I’m hoping to share that attitude with you. Like the last book, this book will be calling bullshit on the complex nature of marketing and simplifying it, while still showing how to navigate and blaze your own trail through the rhetoric.

When I originally wrote The Rogue Artist’s Survival Guide, I had intended it to be a much shorter book than it turned out to be. My goal was to write practical and real advice about becoming or being a full-time artist and creative. Most of the things that have allowed me to have a small degree of success, happened mostly in my head. Between the lingering brain farts, self-judgment, and insecurity when it came to being an artist, there were moments of learning. I have thousands of random pages of notes that I have taken over the years, documenting those moments.

I quickly realized that I was either going to have to write a 2000 page book, or write several books on specific topics. Knowing the brilliant short attention span that I pose as an artist, I decided I’d better break the topics up. Thus, I bring you The Rogue Artist’s Guide To Rogue Marketing and Money. 

The reason I decided to write these books is, there are some amazing creatives out there with giant ideas but itty-bitty funds to back them up. We get contacted by them just about every day thanks to our “Rafi’s Tips For Artists” videos on YouTube. Since Klee and I started with nothing and somehow bumbled our way into a full-time art career, I decided to share what we had learned. When I first started my art career, I would go to the bookstore and sit in the aisle and read some of the artist help books (I didn’t have much money). I wanted to make sure that if I was going to invest in a book on building an art career, that it would be worth it.

There were a lot of great books out there by some very talented people, unfortunately, none of them were talking to me. There was a lot of advice on what I SHOULD do and for the most part, their ideas of an art career just didn’t seem appealing. Discouraged, yet determined, I decided I would proceed and figure out my own way of doing it. Almost a decade later and thousands of notes, here I am writing my second book.

This particular book is on marketing, and based on my unconventional mindset in attaining my goals. Marketing has changed a lot since the days of the gallery systems and gatekeepers of the art world, yet I feel a large number of creatives still feel they need to approach it from that outdated mindset.

This book is going to challenge the status quo of mainstream marketing and traditional marketing tactics. I am also going to challenge a lot of the techniques used by what I believe are predatory artist marketing courses that live on the internet. I am also going to lay out marketing in simple understandable terms that will demystify what marketing is… but I’m getting ahead of myself here.  

Market Your Art Like A Rogue Artist

As rogue artists, we don’t follow the cookie-cutter courses that most art marketing “mentors” love to pawn off on artists who are desperate to understand marketing. This book is going to go against the grain of most typical artists and creative marketing courses. I am going to defy the standards and go rogue, and hopefully show you that marketing is not this mysterious thing that is beyond your understanding. My hope is that by the end of reading this book you will find that the most powerful, one of a kind, and creative marketing can be fun and part of your unique creative journey.

This Book is available for pre-order on IndieGoGo Now! Go There!

Special Creative Editions For Indiegogo


Your books will be signed special release editions for our Indiegogo supporters, so there will be a little extra in your books from Klee and me that the general public will not be privy to when the book is officially launched in January (such as signed posters, bookmarks, and anything else we think is fun). The hardcover books are limited special edition color copies only available on IndieGoGo for this campaign (Only 60 available).

The Rogue Artist’s Marketing And Money Brainstorming Journal is a workbook for keeping track of and brainstorming your own rogue marketing and money techniques.

The Rogue Artist’s Marketing and Money Guide will be available as an AUDIOBOOK available for pre-order in IndieGoGo as well.

Thank you so much for your continued support!

-Rafi

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SHINE A LIGHT – GROUP ART SHOW

This month we are sharing a very special group art show from our amazing “Rogue Artists” from all around the world. With “SHINE A LIGHT” Collab Lab we had three parameters that were met in such amazingly creative ways!

When I first met Klee I would tell her on cloudy days “Bring the sunshine.” It was a testament to the fact that no matter what is going on around you, you can always bring your own light into any situation. So, let your light shine. Be the sun in the storm.

Right now, there seems to be more focus on the darkness. This show is a melding of shining a light on things that may be a little dark, controversial, empowering, beautiful, ugly, complicated, and need more discussion. This is a powerful show, and I am very excited to share this show with you for September 2020.

SCROLL DOWN TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ART. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN ANY OF THE ART PLEASE FOLLOW THE LINK AND CONTACT THE ARTIST.

  • Parameter 1 – Let the subject be something you care very deeply about. Something that you want to shine a light on in an empowering way.
  • Parameter 2 – Utilize light in the piece in some creative way.
  • Parameter 3 – Utilize a word or symbol (existing or made up) to represent what you’re wanting to say.

SHINE A LIGHT 2020 – Gallery Of Works

Tina Colbourne – Tina Colbourne


Artist’s Name:
Tina Colbourne
Name Of Your Art:
Tina Colbourne
Is The Art For Sale?
Not For Sale

Link back to your Website or Social Media:
https://facebook.com/tinacolbourneart


Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
As a breast cancer survivor, I wanted to shine a light on my scars. Its something that I spend a great deal of my daily life trying to conceal or hide to try and look “normal”. But it’s something I am deeply proud of because it is a reminder of how hard I fought for my life and for a second chance. So I’m shining a light on my scar, instead of concealing it. 💖 Thank you.

Thomas Wofford – possibilities of achieving dreams

Artist’s Name:
Thomas Wofford
Name Of Your Art:
possibilities of achieving dreams
Is The Art For Sale?
Not For Sale
Link back to your Website or Social Media:
https://www.instagram.com/thomaswoffordart/

Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
This piece is an actual door slab. Utilizing the 3 perimeters set by Rafi and Klee (a first for me to actually follow the rules). This door represents all the possibilities of achieving dreams, ambitions and the door slamming in your face because of gender, religious beliefs, skin color and etc, etc. The idea of the door is to create harmony, beauty, and curiosity. Opening the door allows a beautiful existence that we as humans are entitled as a sovereignty birthright. Not to be shut out by little-minded power hungry self-proclaimed entitled elitist. The door was made with maple, jewels glued 1 by 1, wire, and about 40 hours. The door is designed to be seen at a distance thru a window at night using a LED light attached at the top to create curiosity and to entice one to approach the window and gaze. This door will be displayed at Wileys Downtown Bistro in Spokane. Thanks for taking time to read this.

The Clover Artist – Garnet reflection Sticker Collection

Artist’s Name:
The Clover Artist
Name Of Your Art:
Garnet reflection Sticker Collection
Is The Art For Sale?
For Sale
Price Of The Art?
3.11

Link back to your Website or Social Media:
https://www.thecloverartist.com/product-page/garnet-january-birthstone-crystal-gem-kiss-cut-stickers

Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
This art really pushed my boundaries as an artist. I set out to make a 12-month sticker collection. I’ve made 4 but I’ve learned a lot, and this is the art I have to thank to really push me to my next level. I always loved how light reflected through gems and wanted to capture that light in my art for someone else to have. Garnet is my birthstone and so It’s the closest one to my own heart.
Shipping will be ~$4-6 in the US

Jo Clark – Growing Into Yourself

Artist’s Name
Jo Clark
Name Of Your Art
Growing Into Yourself
Is The Art For Sale?
For Sale
Price Of The Art?
504.00

Link back to your Website or Social Media:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/tishjohannoncreations


Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
This piece is about self-discovery, more specifically about my own. Finding out that I’m on the spectrum has been so illuminating for me. I had no idea that ASD quite often shows differently in females and is much harder to spot if you don’t know what you’re looking for. For my symbol, I replaced my signature with the pattern I use as a stim. It’s a stim I’ve used for 20+ years. All the chaos in the background represents the frenzy of my mind, and how, even though it might be jumbled and chaotic, it’s still beautiful. The reason she is hiding is because spectrum girls often learn to hide their autistic traits through masking to help them blend in more so their “otherness” isn’t as noticeable. This is why women are so under-diagnosed and are referred to as “the invisible side of the spectrum”. I also deliberately have her peeking out because I’m starting to learn how to unmask, and it’s a scary process that I’ve been doing a little at a time. I also made her blind, because for such a long time I was blind to who I really was. This piece has become so important to me in this stage of my life and I’m so glad I had this challenge to push me toward making it. I hope to shine a light on ASD and remove the stigma associated with it.

Karen Sizemore – Sonshine

Artist’s Name:
Karen Sizemore
Name Of Your Art:
Sonshine
Is The Art For Sale?
Not For Sale

Link back to your Website or Social Media:
http://www.ksizemoreart.com

I’m submitting my first collab-lab called “Sonshine”.
If you notice, the sunflower only has a few seeds left… Its utility is basically spent… But the beauty (and delight) of the flower still radiate in God’s light. Even though it’s purpose has been fulfilled, it’s still a beautiful sight to behold.
As we watch the elderly fight for their lives during COVID-19, I wanted to paint their beauty… the beauty of a life lived; and full of glory. The worth of a flower isn’t just in its ability to produce, but also in the joy it brings while it is in the light.

Melissa Peacock – Invasive

Artist’s Name:
Melissa Peacock
Name Of Your Art:
Invasive
Is The Art For Sale?
For Sale
Price Of The Art?
$150

Link back to your Website or Social Media:
http://www.yellowmellearts.com


Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
I was asked to create something to celebrate Canada Day, in the midst of BLM protests, pandemic-related xenophobia, and a long-running battle by our government to violently invade Indigenous land on behalf of oil tycoons. We Canadians like to use our country’s diversity whenever it is convenient and makes us look nice, so I painted some invasive species of blackberry (and rabbit) simultaneously choking out and decorating a patch of paintbrush flowers. Following the Collab Lab parameters on this, I used our maple leaf symbol on the rabbit’s gold regalia, which is a shiny metallic paint that catches the light when you move it!

Ellen Reiser – Semicolon

Artist’s Name:
Ellen Reiser
Name Of Your Art:
Semicolon
Is The Art For Sale?
Not For Sale

Link back to your Website or Social Media:
http://www.starrynightdiner.com


Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
This is my shine the Light submission. The subject is the semicolon. The ; has become a universal symbol for depression and suicide. On the Project Semicolon website they explain it like this: “A semicolon represents a time where you could finish a sentence, but you choose to just add a little more. It’s become not just a cliché, but an empowering battle cry for people dealing with depression and thoughts of suicide.” In my piece they are Reaching for the light but not quite getting there. The day and the night. The earth and the moon. All become overwhelming burdens prevent them from reaching the light which is speeding away; seemingly not to return.

Beth Hansen – Fire Mother

Artist’s Name:
Beth Hansen
Name Of Your Art:
Fire Mother
Is The Art For Sale?
For Sale
Price Of The Art?
$495.00

Link back to your Website or Social Media:
http://harmonygoddess.com


Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
The theme of Shine a Light corresponds with the series I’ve been working on. I paint Goddesses in different aspects of Nature, and I’ve just finished a series based on the four elements called The Four Mothers. The final piece is called Fire Mother. To put it into context, I live in Minneapolis Minnesota, and began this watercolor painting at the end of June and finished it on August 1st. The piece is 11 x 14 inches.
While I condemn the destruction of small businesses, I believe that we can move forward and rebuild our community. Fire is an element of transformation. It’s all about shining a light on our personal power to make a difference in the world. Because I am a cancer survivor and have type 2 diabetes, I am at high risk for Covid-19 and cannot physically join the protesters out there, so I am offering this instead. #blacklivesmatter

Dana Ellis – “Remembrance”

Artist’s Name:
Dana Ellis
Name Of Your Art:
“Remembrance”
Is The Art For Sale?
Not For Sale

Link back to your Website or Social Media:
https://danaellisarts.wixsite.com/website


Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
The light of a lantern in the night sky in remembrance of our children gone too soon.
A mom’s way to honor them and carry on their legacy.

SARA – DAWN

Artist’s Name:
SARA
Name Of Your Art:
DAWN
Is The Art For Sale?
For Sale
Price Of The Art?
$500

Link back to your Website or Social Media:
http://Saraartist1508@yahoo.com


Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
Hope. The light that shines on the dawn of a new day.

Marilyn Savage – Live and Let Live

Artist’s Name:
Marilyn Savage
Name Of Your Art:
Live and Let Live
Is The Art For Sale?
For Sale
Price Of The Art?
$155.00

Link back to your Website or Social Media:
https://www.gabrielleartsnv.com


Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
This piece is called “Live and Let Live”. It’s etched glass surrounded by stained glass and it’s approximately 16″ x 12″. The brown streaky and white streaky glass has become my go-to glass choice for wildlife projects. There’s an ankh charm in the upper left corner for the required symbol, I believe it stands for life. I’ve always been an animal lover so this was a natural piece to create for the Shine A Light project.

LaSaundra – “striped dress with sunflower”

Artist’s Name:
LaSaundra
Name Of Your Art:
“striped dress with sunflower”
Is The Art For Sale?
For Sale
Price Of The Art?
$300.00

Link back to your Website or Social Media:
https://www.instagram.com/lasaundrapainting


Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
This piece is about the strength and beauty of black women, letting their inner light come through.

Kyle Wood – Illuminated Forces Behind The Game Life

Artist’s Name:
Kyle Wood
Name Of Your Art:
Illuminated Forces Behind The Game Life
Is The Art For Sale?
For Sale
Price Of The Art?
$900

Link back to your Website or Social Media:
https://www.kylewoodcreations.com


Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
A candle illuminates the scene with three emotionally driven forces. Life has lots of underlying emotions that compel people forward or backward in this game of life. I included the playing card symbols in this to remind the viewer that there is a game afoot. There always has been a game, in fact many connected and disconnected games. Behind all of them are strong forces and emotions. I enjoy the surreal view of life because it makes people try to figure out why. I don’t think I am answering anything with this painting, but it becomes obvious that the more you study it, there are almost endless possible outcomes of what is about to take place. Acrylic painting on Masonite at 18 inches by 24 inches.

Everett Stanton – Aztec Creation of the Moon

Artist’s Name:
Everett Stanton
Name Of Your Art:
Aztec Creation of the Moon
Is The Art For Sale?
Not For Sale

Link back to your Website or Social Media
http://www.everettstantonstudio.com


Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
Another moon this month… This image is a snapshot of the little trailer for my CollabLab inspired shadow puppet short film on the Aztec myth about the creation of the moon. In it we see the rabbit in the moon – that’s what the Aztecs saw in the moon rather than a “man in the moon.” The plan is for this to be the first puppet art film that I release from my studio in 2020. The music is in Nahuatl, the traditional language of the Mexica (pron. Meh-she-ka) people (that’s what they called themselves). The song is titled Canto a Tezcatlipoca. The words on the piece are the name of the Aztec boy, Huachinog-Vaneg, son of the man who created the sun, who is said to have teamed up with the rabbit to create the moon for his mother and their people. The light of the full moon has always been one of my favorite things. This project is very close to me, as I am telling the story through the eyes of my ancestors, in my favorite form of art (puppetry). The full trailer is at https://youtu.be/JOFUe9PGouA I will let everyone know when I am done with the short! ~ Ev

Lee Evans – Dark alleys of the mind

Artist’s Name:
Lee Evans
Name Of Your Art:
Dark alleys of the mind
Is The Art For Sale?
For Sale
Price Of The Art?
$95

Link back to your Website or Social Media:
https://www.instagram.com/levans_art/


Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
When it comes to shining a light, I focused on the subject of mental health. This piece represents the opposition between the outer world and the mind and that sometimes these may contrast against each other. The message I would like to portray in this piece would be that not everyone’s day may be as bright as yours, so live with kindness in your heart and compassion for your fellow humans.
40cm x 30cm canvas.
Mixed media.
LED battery powered light.

Kelly Sterr – Make the Call

Artist’s Name
Kelly Sterr
Name Of Your Art
Make the Call
Is The Art For Sale?
For Sale
Price Of The Art?
$35

Link back to your Website or Social Media:
https://www.kellysterrgallery.com


Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
This small 5×7 piece represents freedom from abuse. With one phone call, you can get away from an abuser forever but you must take that step first. The light In the piece is from the police car who came to the rescue.

Kassandra Alfaro – Justice

Artist’s Name:
Kassandra Alfaro
Name Of Your Art:
Justice
Is The Art For Sale?
Not For Sale

Link back to your Website or Social Media:
https://www.kolorfulkas.com/


Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
I made this painting in honor of soldier Vanessa Guillén, a young woman who went missing and whose remains were found in a nearby shallow grave. She went missing from her base in Fort Hood Texas, after speaking up on being sexually harassed by fellow soldiers. Vanessa Guillen’s family is still demanding justice and answers. They have started a national campaign called #JucticeForVanessaGuillen

Charise Gonzalez – Storm Before the Calm

Artist’s Name:
Charise Gonzalez
Name Of Your Art:
Storm Before the Calm
Is The Art For Sale?
Not For Sale

Link back to your Website or Social Media:
https://www.facebook.com/IndigoLuxStudio/


Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
I have always felt a deep connection to nature, but the ocean specifically. The stormy sea represents the chaos and uncertainty that this year has brought for many of us. The gold leafing on the horizon represents the coming year and the hope that it holds Peace and positive change for this world.
30×40 acrylic And gold leaf on canvas

Cruz Kai – “From Sadie, with Love”

Artist’s Name:
Cruz Kai
Name Of Your Art:
“From Sadie, with Love”
Is The Art For Sale?
Not For Sale

Link back to your Website or Social Media:
http://cruzkaihawaii@gmail.com


Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
I created this commission for a friend’s sister that is heartbroken over losing her family dog, Sadie. The bright colors and abstractness is my attempt to “shine a light” on this dog’s life of love.
-Acrylic on canvas, 15” x 15 “ – titled “From Sadie, with Love”. (Sold)

Klee Angelie – Gargantuscopic

Artist’s Name:
Klee Angelie
Name Of Your Art:
Gargantuscopic
Is The Art For Sale?
Not For Sale

Link back to your Website or Social Media:
https://rafiandklee.com/


Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
Gargantuscopic is a word I came up with for seeing the big within the little. The piece is about a lot of things for me, but primarily shining a light on the questions and wonder we have about ourselves and our connection with the infinite (the universe, all of time, the connection between what we understand and what we have yet to understand). If I could sum up the piece in a single statement, I think it would say “My dear, you look at the stars and you wonder… never stop wondering… for you are wonder… and you are the stars.” The process was a beast to take on, but I’m glad I was up to the challenge. The original sculpting was done in wax, then electroformed in copper and mounted with lights in a wooden and fabric landscape. I love that it was difficult to capture and to create, and I love that I saw it through to the completed piece. It’s a difficult subject matter to take on in general, and one that I’m endlessly captivated with.

Arlene Whiteswan – Fireflies in the Long Grass

Artist’s Name:
Arlene Whiteswan
Name Of Your Art:
Fireflies in the Long Grass
Is The Art For Sale?
For Sale
Price Of The Art?
$350.00

Link back to your Website or Social Media:
http://www.themysteriousdomain.com


Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
The hills are magical on hot summer nights when the crickets are singing and the fireflies are glowing. Anything can happen.

Tara Lea Keener – Let Your Heart Shine

Artist’s Name:
Tara Lea Keener
Name Of Your Art:
Let Your Heart Shine
Is The Art For Sale?
Not For Sale

Link back to your Website or Social Media:
https://www.instagram.com/cottinpickincreations/


Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
We can stand up, lifting each other up, and let our hearts shine brightly in love and kindness.

RAFI PEREZ – THE UNIVERSE WITHIN

Artist’s Name:
Rafi Perez
Name Of Your Art:
The Universe Within
Is The Art For Sale?
Not For Sale
Link back to your Website or Social Media: (You Are Here)

Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
This piece represents my perception that we can grow and expand our love beyond perceived possibilities. Shining a light on the fact that all the power of the universe lives within us all. I believe that if we all really knew how amazing we actually are, we would not approach the world with doubt and insecurity. I believe doubt and insecurity is what causes some of us to do things that do not promote love.

Jonny Alden – sailboat

Artist’s Name:
Jonny Alden
Name Of Your Art:
sailboat
Is The Art For Sale?
For Sale
Price Of The Art?
$88

Link back to your Website or Social Media:
http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/sunnySUFFOLKart


Your Artist Statement About This Piece:
Sailboat riding along on a wild sea in a wild mirror frame.

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Art Marketing Experts Are Full Of Shit

Klee and I get asked a lot of questions by artists from all around the world. Just about every day we get a question in our inbox about the personal struggles that some of these amazing creatives are having. Most times we have some kind of insight or experience on the subject, sometimes we don’t.

Listen, no one is an expert at how to deal with your situation, the best any of us can do is give our two cents. We are all just figuring out our own way to make this thing happen. Recently, someone contacted me about marketing their art and having a website. They had signed up for a mentorship program for artists that cost about $2000. Part of me was like “I’m an idiot for talking about this stuff online for free, and the other part of me was like “What could they possibly be giving for that much?”

As it turns out, it’s the same cookie cutter bullshit marketing program that people have been promoting to artists all over the place. Facebook ads, niche marketing, find your audience, targeted marketing, blah blah blah.

An artist contacted me saying:

I am an artist and someone referred you to me. They said that you encourage artists to create their own way and screw what others might say. I just fired —— as an art mentor because he wants me to only market my wall art and nothing else. I can’t do that. I am having good success with selling my art and crafts. I just want to get more into marketing online because so many of my venues got canceled this year because of COVID19.

Artist

I responded with:

Hi ——-,

A lot of those programs have to do with the way a lot of people market products online, which works if you have a niche that you fall into. That way you can do targeted marketing. I think —- does great as a marketing guy and a writer because you can really target your market with books, especially if you are targeting marketing books to artists who want to learn marketing.

I have an issue with this type of marketing because it niches you, which I seriously doubt an artist can be niched for very long. Yet if you are putting yourself out there consistently as a creative you form a following of people who are interested in you and what YOU create. This takes a lot longer, but slowly you create a loyal following. It took me ten years to get where I am, and honestly, I’m not a big deal at all. 


The trick is thinking long term and understanding that it will take time.


I don’t really have a mentorship program because I make my money from my art, the videos I share are simply because I wanted to give my perspective and share things I wish someone would have shared with me.


To be honest with you, I’m just figuring it out as I go and sharing whatever I learn. I have a community of people on Patreon that support the video side and support one another. 


Please feel free to contact me when you have any specific questions and if I can I will most definitely answer in a video. 

Rafi

She wrote back and this made me a little pissed.

Rafi:
Thank you so much for answering me back!  I like the idea of watching your videos.  That would work just fine.  It is very generous of you to be willing to help other artists without charging money.  Thanks!


—- wanted to put me into a very small niche that I didn’t feel I fit into.  That may have been ok for me 30 years ago, but I’ve grown as a person and as an artist.  I need more than that now.  I read his book and it was helpful,  but working with him in person is a big NO.  He has this attitude that if I don’t do what he wants me to do that I will fail.  Then he gets rude and instead of listening to me, he just says, “Suck it up!”  Not cool at all.  I like people with confidence, but I get the sense that he has TOO much confidence and maybe a bit egotistical.  

Should I run more than one website if I want to do more than one thing as he suggests?

Artist

Honestly, it doesn’t sound like confidence to me. Truly confident people don’t behave that way, but arrogant people are usually riddled with insecurity underneath a layer of false confidence.

I can’t tell you if it is wrong or right, but I can tell you what I do… again, I don’t officially know what I am doing, but I like making things simple for myself. It would be a pain in the butt to run more than one website. On top of that, I don’t care about marketing a niche. I would much rather have a following that identifies me as a creative. It’s true that if your site is concise, it is easier for people to navigate because they are trained by most websites to just focus on one thing. Most people identify things they experience in the world by labeling someone or something a specific title, for example, “She does nature art.” So a lot of marketing people go in this direction because it is easier to market.

But most people know that if you go to Etsy or Amazon you are going to look for what you want, and most times you look through the various products to find what calls to you.

My website is a behemoth. It has Klee’s jewelry, my art, T-Shirts, Our Music, Stickers, Posters, Made to order artist prints, Short motivational MP3’s for artists, A section for our Patreon following and who knows what else.

We love our website, it is so much more than just a selling platform, it is a maze that contains our story and communicates what we’ve done, who we are, and what we believe in. Some people get lost, but most navigate it just fine.

I’ll be honest, for years I tried to make things as simple as possible on my site, and as it turns out you’ll never be able to make it simple enough for some… and most people know how to navigate a website and don’t get confused if you have more than one item type.

I could follow the status quo of marketing 101 if I wanted to. Honestly, it is super easy to get fast results if you just focus on one thing and that is ALL you are focused on, which is why these marketing courses usually go this route in order to prove themselves to the artist. They get fast but temporary results that are not sustainable for the artist. Artists are dynamic, but promoting yourself as a multifaceted artist takes time; it is for the long road.

I think as artists, it’s all about taking our awesome imagination and just going for it. Getting our work out there and thinking about ways to get it in front of new people and people who already follow you. There isn’t an art collector store, there are just people. You have to give people the opportunity to find you… have fun with it and quit thinking that these idiots that call themselves “marketing experts” because they are good at marketing a “marketing course” to people who desperately think they don’t know anything about marketing are right about anything… they’re just as confused as you are about selling art. That’s why they try to force everyone to fit the niche marketing route.

I, on the other hand, am not a good marketing person. I would rather be called an artist than simply identified as a niche artist. This statement makes a lot of artists who follow the marketing doctrine of “focus on one thing” very upset with me. But art is NOT a product and artists are NOT just salespeople selling a product.

I think artists that are truly successful pave their own way and don’t allow some jerk to pretend that they are better than them at marketing (because they are marketing to artists who are desperately seeking a way to market their art which is an easy target market).

Pave your own way, do your own thing, not the shit that EVERYONE is already doing.

For example, one of our awesome Rogue Artist Family On Patreon is doing a facebook live and showing her art! So Awesome! If you want to join us in supporting her putting herself out there during a pandemic go to:

The live streams are on FB in the Tish Johannon Creations FB group @ Join the group to be able to join in https://www.facebook.com/groups/tishjohannoncreations
7/30 @7:00 EST is for her paintings – 8/6 @7:00 EST is for all her crochet work

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ARTROVERTS! UNITE! Being Successful As An Artist

Recently I designed a t-shirt that says “ARTROVERTS UNITE! We’re here! We’re uncomfortable! We want to go home and create something.”

If you had asked me a few years ago when I started selling art, what it takes to be a successful artist… my answer would have been simple: the ability to produce good art.

I imagined that my artistic life would consist solely of me working in my studio, producing strokes of genius.

Art collectors would magically appear (poof) to buy art and leave. I would rarely have to leave my studio, and I would never have to go out into the “real” world. I would never again have to go to any social gathering I didn’t want to go to. This belief was clearly absurd, but I had all kinds of silly ideas in my brain jar of what being an artist was.

Now, almost a decade into it, I realize the subject of what it takes to be successful as an artist is much more intricate. It’s not just about producing art, although that is a BIG part of it. It’s about putting yourself out there again and again. Falling on your face and accepting rejection as part of the process.

Had I known all these years, my fear would have either gotten the better of me, or I would have blazed my own trail long ago. I would have become an ARTROVERT.

I love making art. I love being in my studio. Creativity is what keeps me from losing my shit, makes my life meaningful, and encourages me to jump out of bed in the morning even when the world seems to be amid a crap-storm.

The thing I didn’t understand when I first started was how much being an artist would require me to stretch myself. Or maybe I knew, which is why for most of my life, I didn’t pursue an art career. I stayed comfortably in the shallow end.

I had a friend that used to tell me that even our dream jobs will have roles we don’t like but which we accept so we can do the parts we love.

To be an artist, we have to accept the discomfort of being perpetually vulnerable, having no financial security, and being rejected often.

This involves putting yourself out there in front of the world… Which can be terrifying.

So How did you do it Rafi? How did you get over your fear?

I decided to take it step by step and not try to eat the entire enchilada all at once. I realized it wasn’t all or nothing, I could do it in chunks. I knew those chunks were going to hit on some major comfort zones. I also stopped comparing myself to where other artists were at in their careers.

Being an ARTROVERT is all about accepting the fact that it is OK that you don’t want to be social, and not punishing yourself for it. It means that you trust in communicating with your art and don’t concern yourself so much with how people see you.

You’re an artist, you are weird, and awkward sometimes, and that is OK. Artroverts love their studio, they love creating, and they love their quiet time. An artrovert also understands that if you are not putting yourself out there, you are not communicating your art with the world… so you show up.

To be an artist, it is quite simple. Create art, put it out there, and persist through the bullshit of your own mind or other people. Keep creating, keep showing up, and through that experience, you will let your weird artistic personality shine into the world along with your art.

Be unapologetically awkward, be creative, be an ARTROVERT.

Listen to our podcast below, where Klee and I talk about being ARTROVERTS.

And Here is A Quick Message From Some Random Sponsor (sorry 🙂 not sorry)

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A Birthday Art Party Bash On February 1st?

I am now turning some age in February where I have been deemed an old fart. I’m not being elusive about my age, I simply can never remember how old I am. However, I do remember that it happens every year on February 5th and for the most part, I like to relax with Klee and do nothing that day. No fanfare, no parties, no big todo, just a relaxed day, doing everything I do on just about every other day. I celebrate “me” a lot whether it is my birthday or not. This has led to the disappointment of some very good friends who love to celebrate birthdays and me.

Rafi And Klee On YouTube… He’s SO OLD!

This year is going to be slightly different. I’m having a party.

Well, February 1st will be my birthday bash… February 5th, I’ll be relaxing and doing nothing, so it’s a win-win for everyone.

I decided that the birthday party would be a fun art-stravaganza thing where Klee and I could show our latest art and jewelry, and have some really cool art reveals. We also picked a location that is eclectic and just plain awesome! Dolce & Gelato is such an amazing place full of unique personality and fun.

GO TO FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE

Klee and I got working on an awesome jewelry display steamer trunk for her and I created a sculpture for our big reveal which I am hoping will blow you away.

Awesome showcase for bash
Sculpture for bash

There will be music by Greg Bond, drinks can be purchased at Dolce & Gelato along with tasty snacks, and right next store is East Hill Pizza for amazing pizza!

I do not require any gifts, just you, your smile, and be prepared to have a good time! Klee and I will mostly be hanging out, listening to good music, and having amazing conversations with you.

What: Rafi’s Artstravaganza Birthday Bash

Where: Dolce And Gelato – 2050 N 12th Ave, Pensacola, FL 32503

When: February 1st, 4pm-8pm

Why: Because it’s going to be AWESOME!

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Lucky To Be An Artist?

Some people look at my life and say that I am lucky. I create art for a living, have a successful studio business, am married to my best friend, and have a large following of fans and art collectors from all around the world. I really love the work that I do, and I spend a lot of time feeling ridiculously fortunate to be in that position.

As much as some people like to say that I’m lucky, luck had nothing to do with it.

I do believe that sometimes timing, circumstance, serendipity, and privilege play into the choices you make, but even then, your deliberate action determines the course of your life.

People don’t get to do what they want for a living, get awards, come out in newspapers, or get the things they want in life simply because they are lucky. I feel like it is insulting to tell someone they are lucky when they achieve something awesome in life. Luck rarely has anything to do with what actually goes on behind the scenes.

I personally get inspired by stories of long rejection runs. For example the story of Haim Saban, who spent 8 years pitching Power Rangers. Whenever Saban presented the Power Rangers pilot, network execs would ask, “Why do you embarrass yourself with this?” Eventually, someone picked it up and the Power Rangers has been a tremendous success for 30 plus years.

  • J.K. Rowling was rejected by about 12 different publishers.
  • After just one performance, Elvis Presley was fired by Jimmy Denny, and told, “You ain’t going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a truck.”
  • Stephen King’s first novel, Carrie, was rejected 30 times before it was published.
  • Steven Spielberg was rejected by the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film, and Television, THREE TIMES.

Rejection has everything to do with opinion and nothing to do with fact. Power Rangers was rejected by networks because it looked cheap and there was nothing else like it out there to compare it to. They could not SEE beyond the scope of what they knew and based their rejection on popular opinion. Rejection is simply an opinion based on the limit of that particular person’s imagination, or they just don’t like your particular brand of stuff, either way, rejection is all part of the game.

Most times, the success that you see is just the tip of the iceberg. What you see accomplished is only a tiny proportion of what that “lucky” person TRIED to accomplish.

If by “luck”, you mean putting yourself out there — all the time — into situations where you are probably going to be rejected, fail, or make a fool of yourself, then yes… you are on the right track.

A lot of people ask me how I got to where I am in life. As if there is some secret formula or answer to getting lucky. Usually, I tell them, “The hard way.” I honestly don’t feel like it is supposed to be easy, I think the suck is all part of the journey and what makes it so beautiful.

To illustrate what I mean, here’s a list of just some of the things I have been rejected for over the last 10 years. See if you can find the inspiration behind the rejection or failure.

  • I was rejected the first time I entered a juried gallery show.
  • Launching my art career was a failure for 2 years.
  • I was rejected for at least 143 commission projects.
  • I was rejected from the first gallery I approached.
  • I failed at launching a YouTube channel for about 5 years in a row.
  • I was rejected the first time I applied for a juried art festival.
  • I failed at traveling the country, still have several states to go.
  • I was rejected the second time I entered a gallery show.
  • My first 4 websites were epic failures.
  • I’ve been rejected for large community art events.
  • I’ve had at least 19 large art proposals rejected.
  • I’ve been rejected from art conferences when pitching as a speaker, I would put the number close to 60.
  • I have been rejected by many award judges. I’ve won 5 out of 500.
  • I failed epically the first time I showed my art at my own event.
  • I have been rejected by at least 200 businesses that I have approached with my art.
  • I was rejected by a museum for a proposal for an art and music event.
  • I’ve had countless art that has been rejected.
  • I’ve had countless art failures, just about every day.
  • I was rejected when I tried to talk to people at a black-tie event (one dude even turned his nose up at me).
  • I’ve been rejected by art cliques who don’t like that I’m from out of town.
  • I was rejected when I applied for Twitter verified (I know how ridiculous this makes me sound).
  • I am rejected most days by commentators on YouTube who don’t like my BRILLIANT videos.
  • I have been rejected by art associations who think my work is sub-par.
  • I have been rejected by many collectors when I show new forms of work.
  • I have been rejected for several large mural proposals.
  • I have been rejected for large international commissions.
  • I have had my ideas rejected by people who are in charge of an art event.

Each one of these was a blow, and that’s not even the full list, we’d be here ALL day.

Being rejected or failing is shit. It’s hard not to take it personally, and to keep going when it feels like a consistent barrage of ‘nope’ and ‘EPIC FAILS’.

But the only way to do the awesome stuff is to put yourself out there. To put yourself in a place where you might get rejected, constantly. To be in a place where you might fail big.

Everything doesn’t always come up roses, and I am not told yes every time I want to do something. That is ridiculous. It is also ridiculous to quit just because you failed, or get your feelings hurt because you were rejected. That’s why I keep going — ALL the time. I apply for things, I try things, I put myself out there. I make a huge effort to go for almost everything that piques my interest and pushes at my comfort zones.

Rafi Perez Painting Seed

I’ve been at this for 10 years and can tell you that it takes time to get to a place where you will have people call you “lucky”. Years upon years of rejection and failures that don’t ever end. Sometimes it will feel overwhelming, and you’ll have to become your biggest cheerleader to get through. But that is how you get there, you just have to do it and quit stalling to avoid failure and rejection.

Success means that you failed and were rejected more than anyone else. Growth means that you will always be facing rejection and failure throughout your career. If you are not, then you are not growing.

I’m not going to tell you to learn to love rejection because it really sucks. I will say, however, if you aren’t getting rejected every now and again, then you’re not putting yourself out there and you are not being as awesome as you can be.

Only awesome people know the sting of rejection and embrace it.

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Could The Real Art World Please Stand Up?

Today Klee and I were talking about the art stock market on our podcast. That’s the name we coined for the big-ticket commodities art market that you see blasted all over the news and in documentaries. Considering the amount of press that gets focused on large art auctions and big-name galleries, it’s easy to think that you are not actually an artist until you’ve somehow made it there.

It got me thinking about the way that people perceive the art world in general. When you think about it, what people call the art market in the media, is only about 1% of the actual art market. There is no mention of the everyday people that make up the art market, the real art market, the real world.

The real art world is made up of one-on-one interactions, and I think we forget that sometimes in this media blasted quick paced world. It’s not about how much money the art sold for, or how wealthy the collector is, or how much prestige the sale brought the artist. Honestly, the corporate companies I worked for would print out prestige in the form of “You did real good.” certificates, and I would put them in cheap frames and hang them on my wall as a symbol of how important I was. I feel like we miss the point when we confuse success with awards and accolades. You can add them to your resume, but I feel like we’ve lost the point of what it is all about.

It’s about the friendships developed, and the relationships we establish as artists, with the people that connect with us through the art we create. It’s about the creative process and the astonishing ability to face rejection every day and share your art with the world. It is about the collector who proudly displays your artwork on their wall, or wears it on their body, or listens to it in their car. It is about that connection that would not have been possible if that individual artist did not break through the barriers of fear and share their creations with the world. It would not have been possible without the vast amount of humans out there who buy art because of the value it has to them, not because it has market value.

As an artist who had to make his own way, I have trained myself to see the world quite differently than I used to. Where I once had hopelessness in an impossible art career system, I now see the opportunities, the misdirections to be avoided, and the hope for everyone to pursue their creative spirit.

I think it is easy to forget in this world that is so focused on money and success, that we artists create because of the love of creation. We create to express ourselves and bring back a childlike sense of imagination, wonder, and feeling into our world. Creations that can remind us all to pause and appreciate.

Just food for thought.

I also wanted to announce that my book is fully funded! Thank you all so much! The Rogue Artist’s Survival Guide is becoming a reality. I am going quiet for a couple of weeks on social media and YouTube as I finish up the book and do some final edits. You can still pre-order the book at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-rogue-artist-s-survival-guide-by-rafi-perez

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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.