Posted on Leave a comment

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

You Were Born A Creative Genius… Really.

When I was born, I was so surprised that I didn’t even talk for a whole year and a half. During that time, no one knew the creativity that was waiting to burst out from my drooling tiny lump of a body. The truth was set free the day I discovered markers and scribbled my art on every surface I could find.

If you want to be creative, do it. Forget the prejudice that creativity is saved for the select few. We are all creative, it’s just a matter of understanding where creativity comes from. We are ALL born with it… It’s definitely not Maybelline.

Rafi The Beardo

Honestly, if you’re not feeling creative, the simple fact is that you unlearned creativity, by following rules and being well behaved. No, I’m not saying you have to be an anarchist, but I remember my grade school teacher telling me that I couldn’t draw on or in my folders and notebooks. In my mind I was like “You don’t own these, they’re mine, I can do what I want.” If I hadn’t had that mentality I wouldn’t have gotten so much practice drawing and sketching while my teacher droned on about stuff I wouldn’t remember years later.

Listen, before you complain, I had a lot of teachers who were passionate and had my attention during class… I love those teachers and their classes were memorable, but I also had some crappy teachers who shouldn’t be allowed to mold the minds of young children into the mush they were shoveling.

Me Teaching, Hopefully I’m not Shoveling Mush

Creativity can be learned or unlearned, but no matter what, you were born creative. In 1968, Dr. Land tested the creativity of 1,600 children. He re-tested the same children at 10 years of age and again at 15. The results were astounding.

  • Test results amongst 5 year olds: 98 percent creative
  • Test results amongst 10 year olds: 30 percent creative
  • Test results amongst 15 year olds: 12 percent creative
  • Same test given to 280,000 adults: 2 percent creative

“What we have concluded,” Land wrote, “is that non-creative behavior is learned.”

The creative adult is the child who survived the trials of conformity.

What I gather from this, is that the more you follow the rules, the less creative you become. Luckily, you can just as easily decide to blaze your own trail and ignite your creativity fuse again.

Urban Swinery Art By Rafi Perez

A good way to do that is experimenting, exploring, questioning assumptions, using imagination, going outside comfort zones, starting a project you are not sure you can do, and doing vs thinking about doing.

Also, think in a divergent way. Someone hands you a phone, think about all the different ways you can use the phone that are not what it was meant for. I put my phone on airplane mode and threw it up in the air. WORST Transformer EVER.

Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact — everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.

Also, remember not to take yourself too seriously as a creative. In my opinion a real artist doesn’t need anyone to take them seriously. When I get asked “how did you become so creative?” I usually respond with “I ate a lot of paste as a kid.”

Balloon Man By Rafi Perez
Balloon Man By Rafi Perez

Create what you want, write what you want to read, build what you want to use, cook what you want to eat and share it with the world. If the world responds positively — cool. If not, who cares? At least you’re doing what you enjoy and you are showing yourself what a creative genius you actually are.

Posted on Leave a comment

Where Does Inspiration Come From?

Rafi And Klee Studios

I’m writing this because sometimes I don’t feel as creative as usual. There are days where I’m just staring at a blank canvas, or the cursor blinking on a blank screen as I attempt to write my book.

With my book in particular, I’ve been stuck. I’ve been in a middle-earth of wanting to write, but can’t.

I am writing this right now to Be Raw. To Be Real. To Be Honest.

To Be Present.

For me, inspiration starts the moment that I just focus on this moment right now. The joy of writing this line. The idea that one of you may read this. It’s inspiring. As long as I allow myself to go there.

Inspiration does not magically show up when I snap my fingers. Although, there are days that I wish it worked that way.

Sometimes I’m on fire… other times it’s more of a tiny flame

Inspiration for me is like a small buzzing of a bumble bee that is skipping from flower to flower. Fuzzy concepts and ideas that don’t have any solid foundation.

And then, just like that — Poof. It’s gone. The tiny bumble bee turns into a grouchy old man yelling words of self-doubt, self-apprehension, and indecision into my brain hole.

“Shit, I had it!”

The crumpled piece of paper.

Sometime I just have to be Patient, Open, and Honest.

And Present.

Because, inspiration comes from inside of us. It comes when you least expect it, or when you most expect it. It is your best friend, or a bitter ex girlfriend. It could be an inspiring memory, or a new experience. It comes from moments of frustration, fire and passion. It comes usually when you are ready to give up.

Ultimately, your inspiration is you. It’s how you see the world. So no matter how stuck you may feel.

Don’t give up yet… and keep smiling.