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Being A Dreamer – Innovation and Imagination.

It’s been said that I spend a lot of time in my imagination. In school, daydreaming was something I was constantly getting in trouble for.

The Dreamer By Rafi Perez

Instead of being in class, listening to my fat, balding teacher drone on about  the importance of multiplication, I was off in a magical land flying on the back of dragons.

SLAP on the desk! “Pay attention Mr. Perez!”

I guess the value of imagination can easily get overlooked in an environment that doesn’t foster creative thought. School is all about following directions, listening to the “Boss”, and being evaluated for your performance. No wonder “A” students usually end up working for C and D students. Imagination is innovation, so if it is not encouraged, we lose innovation.

The Dreamer By Rafi Perez

A lot of my art focuses on the power of imagination. The innovators, those great thinkers and adventurers that put this country on the forefront of discovery. The dreamers that believed in the impossible. The diverse culture that came to american soil because this is the land of opportunity.

The United States is great because of our innovators, our creators, our dreamers… it’s people out there like you, that dream of a better tomorrow for themselves and their children.

The Dreamer By Rafi Perez

There is a reason why artists are the first to be suppressed when a dictatorship takes over… because creative, abstract thinking, is nearly impossible to control or dominate.

Unfortunately our educational system as it stands hasn’t improved much since the industrial age. It does not cultivate creative thinking, it doesn’t allow for divergent problem solving… or being a dreamer.

The Dreamer By Rafi Perez

Essentially school teaches you how to be a good employee.

Memorize some stuff, do some stuff, get evaluated, fail and get punished, pass and get praised. Do something great and get a gold star you can stick on the fridge. Do something bad, get suspended or expelled, RARARA! school spirit…. Rinse, repeat.

Then you go to work, memorize and do stuff, get evaluations, fail and get punished, pass and get praised. Do something great and get a paper certificate you can frame. Do something bad and get suspended or fired. RARARA! company spirit. Rinse, repeat.

The Dreamer By Rafi Perez

Don’t get me wrong. I value education and I know there are a lot of very passionate teachers out there that foster creative thinking… I’ve had a few.

But, I believe that it is our ability to imagine that gives us power. Knowledge is only facts that change as new discoveries are made. Imagination is what fuels those discoveries.

We spend most of our days in our imagination anyhow… Imagined worse case scenarios, replaying or imagining arguments, negative self image, and so much more.

Imagine if you will, what it would be like if we were taught to harness our imagination. How different the world would be if we had learned how to focus on positive outcomes and innovation, instead of following directions. What would it be like if we learned to see the world through eyes of possibility and wonder?

Maybe some day… For now, let’s teach ourselves.


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The Power Of A Child

“When you dream, you are free…to be the things you want to be. When you dream, you are free…to see the things you want to see. Sometimes in my dreams I fly, through the starry, starry sky. When I see the moon I laugh, it’s a great big bed for the tall giraffe.” -Anonymous

The Power Of A Child By Rafi Perez
The Power Of A Child – Acrylic On Canvas  24X30

We know that kids have big imaginations. But sometimes we forget just how powerful they can be. We forget just how much joy and creative fire they can fuel within all of us. To let go of our imagination is to let go of our power to create wonder in the world.

The Power Of A Child By Rafi Perez

So I created this piece to symbolize what I believe is the power that we can easily misuse as adults. As a kid, I was constantly told to get my head out of the clouds and grow up. Yet the most powerful moments in my life came as a result of allowing myself to dream bigger than what seems to be possible.

The Power Of A Child By Rafi Perez

I think we all use our imagination… I mean, when you are stressing out about something that hasn’t happened yet, you are using your imagination.

I try to imagine several impossible, amazing things every day. Things that are full of possibility and wonder… Things that make me feel like I can achieve anything.

This little girl symbolizes the power of our imagination and returning to that magical time of being in control of what you picture in your mind. Molding your thoughts into impossible dreams of awesomeness.

The Power Of A Child By Rafi Perez

I am stoked to announce that she made it into the Cinco Banderas Exhibition at Artel Gallery. If you are in Pensacola, stop by the gallery and see her. Reception for the show is November 4th 2016 from 6pm-8pm at Artel Gallery on Palafox.

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Be Childish and be happy

When was the last time you sang a song because you were happy? When was the last time you went puddle hopping on a rainy day? These questions might seem a little ridiculous, but if you have ever complained about feeling unhappy or old, I would look a little closer at the answer.

Age doesn’t matter, what matters is whether or not your age causes you to think that you have to approach life in a more serious way. If most of the nonsense beliefs about what it means to be an adult were true, I don’t think there would be much fun in the world.

“Everyone should make the transition from irresponsible to responsible”.

I don’t know, I think it’s all bullshit.

Rafi and Kee Artists

People who are athletes, artists, musicians and actors would have to go out and get “real” adult jobs at some point in their lives, because “Everyone should make the transition from irresponsible to responsible”.

I don’t know, I think it’s all bullshit.

“You need to work hard, do you think you’ll EVER make money with your stupid little drawings and your stupid little pictures?”

I believe we grow up with a long standing belief that as we age, we are supposed to become more curmudgeonly. We complain about the “real” world and make sure to tell our children to quit being naive and be more realistic. We even have stupid slogans and mantras, so we can make sure we don’t forget how much life really actually sucks. Things like “You’ll understand when you’re older” and “If you work hard and do your homework, you’ll be somebody.” I was actually told by one of my parents “You need to work hard, do you think you’ll EVER make money with your stupid little drawings and your stupid little pictures?”

None of this is done on purpose, just passing down the brilliant gems of bullshit through the generations.

What that meant to me was, you stick with a job even if you hate it, because someday maybe you’ll retire, and then you can do what you want to do with your life. I think the issue is that we take advice on happiness from people who don’t really get it, so they repeat what they THINK you have to do to be happy, then you repeat it with your kids. None of this is done on purpose, just passing down the brilliant gems of bullshit through the generations. On and on it goes, a bunch of people learning crap that they think will lead to happiness if only they could figure it out.

I suggest just going back to your childlike mind when things were simpler… here’s how

  1. Fill out your own permission slip – Take a field trip and go explore a place that you keep meaning to go to. Go to the aquarium, a museum, or a nearby tourist attraction. If something looks interesting, take a break and go.
  2. Do something fun – For absolutely NO productive reason other than to just have fun. Draw with chalk, pick flowers, play with toy soldiers in the bathtub, anything… Just have fun.
  3. Explore – Walk around your block without any intention. Just see what’s going on, maybe even using a big fallen branch as a walking stick or a wizard’s staff. Just walk and see what happens.
  4. Run, skip or dance if you feel like it – Flail your arms, have a dance party, sing loudly as you skip through town.
  5. Be silly – Make funny faces, find things to laugh about, speak in weird accents and just be silly.
  6. Try a new look – wear something fun and unique. Pretend you are a superhero for a day.
  7. Tell it like it is – Tell everyone what you actually mean… wow, what a concept.
  8. Tap into your innocence – Give someone the benefit of the doubt, as if you don’t know how to be cynical, judgmental, sarcastic or conditional yet.
  9. Assume you’d be really good at something – an astronaut, an inventor, a musician, a doctor… anything. Assume it they way you did before someone told you to be “Realistic.”
  10. Change your mind easily – According to Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, kids’ brains are extremely flexible, “so they can change what they think based on new evidence very quickly and easily.”
  11. Don’t take no for an answer – If there’s something you want to do, be persistent. The only way you can fail is if YOU give up.
  12. Visualize a tomorrow with endless possibilities – Remember the moment where a bed and a hairbrush was a stadium full of millions of fans, watching you rock the stage. It is the formation of those powerful possibilities that cause you to feel passion towards something. You can do that with everything and you can do it now.
  13. Forget what was tough about yesterday – who cares, it’s gone… young children don’t hold grudges. They could fight over a toy and ten minutes later they’re playing again. Somewhere in the process we learn to hold grudges, just let it go. Live right now in the moment.
  14. Ignore something someone says if it limits you – When kids are younger, they tend not to listen to anyone tell them they can’t do something. I tried to fly, and I did for 2 seconds, despite what my grandmother said. It’s when we get older and are more concerned with being a “Good” kid that the limitations get gobbled up. Be young and remember, your life… your possibilities.

Enjoy and have fun.

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Drunk Art Critics And Masochistic Angels

Have you ever had somebody just destroy something you created with an unwelcome verbal assault? That’s what a lot of us artists feel it like when we get any type of negative criticism.

“She looks like an amputee, do you find amputees hot or something?” Said drunk she.

Rafi Perez Art 2016
Rafi Perez Art 2016


As an artist I expose my emotions to the world in my art. This can be slightly terrifying unless you have a particular mindset when showing your work. I’ve had the benefit now of showing my pieces in just about every venue you can imagine. Some prestigious events and showings, such as my solo show at Marty Campbell Gallery, and some not so prestigious such as the flea markets and drunken parties.

“Some artists that I talk to, believe you have to develop a thick skin in order to be able to take the criticism.”

Personally, I think a thick skin only suppresses hurt emotions and leads to other issues. I’ll give you an example, recently I was showing my pieces at an event and a woman who had been clearly plastered made it a point to make a snide comment about every piece I was exhibiting.

“Is she supposed to be an amputee, is that what you where going for?” Said drunk she.

“Nope.” Said me.

“She looks like an amputee, do you find amputees hot or something?” Said drunk she.

“Sure… Being an amputee doesn’t make someone less hot.” Said me.

“Well, that’s fucked up.” Said drunk she.

“Guess you would know.” Said me as I walked away.


Admittedly, I could have just walked away without making that last comment. The truth is it wouldn’t have mattered if she was standing in front of a masterpiece or a turd on a stick, she was trying to be funny for her friends and acting like an idiot. That’s not to say that she is an idiot, she’s probably really sweet, but she is definitely not a very good art critic when she’s drunk and trying to be funny.

“I think you can easily get wrapped up in an “us” versus “them” mentality when you are showing something so intimate.”

Had I developed a thick skin, I probably would have just gotten mad under the surface and ignored her. But later on, I would be talking crap about her to my friends and complaining about stupid people who don’t appreciate art, and on and on.

What you have to remember is that everyone sees what they see. You see something special when you look at your art. Someone else looks and they may see something special to them, but they are not seeing the same thing. Reality is subjective and everyone sees the world through their own filter of understanding. That is what makes being an artist such an awesome thing, you get to hear all kinds of different interpretations of the world through your art.

Some are easy to hear because they resonate with you, some don’t and you consider it negative criticism of your work.



“He stared at me for a minute like I was the biggest idiot on the planet and then stormed off.”

I had another guy look at one of my pieces and tell me that my art was just ok, but it could be great if I followed his advice.

“That angel piece is cool, but it could be so much better.” Said drunk he.

“Really, how so?” Asked me.

“If you had her cutting her wings off, you know, because she hates herself and doesn’t think she deserves them.” Said drunk he.

“Um, that’s not really my thing…” Said me, gesturing to all my paintings.

“Bro, if you did that you would be famous! You Know, she’s a cutter and hates herself, and she’s cutting her wings off and there is blood. She doesn’t think she deserves life, she doesn’t deserve her beauty, so she cuts her face! You do that and I’ll buy it from you! And…” Exclaimed drunk he passionately.

I cut him off at that point.

“Not my thing, but thanks for the input.” Said me as I walked away.

“I’m sure there is a big market for masochistic angels who hate themselves, and he’s probably right, I would make the big time, but it’s not who I am.”

I’m am always aware of how powerful emotions play in creating a piece, something like that would require me to go down an emotional path that I’m not willing to take. That being said, it doesn’t mean he was wrong or stupid, it was his opinion and feeling of what he wanted to see. It has to do with him, not the art itself.

Basically, everyone sees your art through their eyes, 10 billion different interpretations of your work. Whether they are drunk or not. Love it or hate it. Don’t take it personally, it has nothing to do with you. Enjoy the ride, the criticism and remember that if no one was saying anything about your work, that would suck way worse.


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Imagination Is Bigger Than Reality

I remember being in class and being told to get my head out of the clouds and pay attention. This was usually followed by me pretending to pay attention and figuring out ways to day dream without anyone noticing. Of course, I also thought I was a bad kid or there was something seriously wrong with my ability to focus. I imagine if it happened today I would have been labeled with some kind of attention deficit disorder and given drugs or something to fix me.

Honestly, I was just bored. Not all the time, some of my teachers were fantastic at capturing my imagination and taking me on a fun learning adventure where I just soaked in every detail of the experience. Other teachers were bland and it was much more fun to venture into my mind than to listen to them yammer on about the boring text book.

Either way, I spent a lot of time developing the skill of purposefully creating pictures in my mind and playing out complex scenarios that involved slaying dragons and saving a damsel in distress.

I think everyone has the ability to create pictures and complex scenarios in their mind. Whether or not they are practiced at doing it on purpose is another question. I know people who walk around for days frustrated and angry because they create an entire story in their mind that is completely false. What’s worse, is they believe it actually happened.

I think this is really powerful, I mean think about the last time you flipped your lid because you thought something was going on that wasn’t actually going on. You felt all the emotions, all the anger, sadness and momentum as if it had actually happened right in front of you. Now imagine if you could use that power of emotion on purpose.


Even something as silly as imagining having your own brand of cola because you are super popular is better than thinking some of the lame thoughts you may be used to thinking. Have fun with it.

Instead of letting your thoughts run away with you, you can decide to think whatever you want to think… I mean, they’re your thoughts, you actually decide to entertain them or not. I think it just takes a little practice and consistency. Creating new habits of thought and connections in the brain actually doesn’t take to long, but consistency is key.

Just imagine how awesome it would be, to put your head in the clouds and let your imagination soar and take you wherever you want to go. I know that if you do this enough times, eventually your life catches up and a new story is told all around.

I spend a lot of time imagining myself on the cover of Time magazine with a headline that says, “One of the greatest artists of our generation.” It’s fun and feels pretty awesome.

We spend a lot of time in our head anyway, might as well think about stuff that makes you feel awesome. Because honestly, it doesn’t matter if it’s right in front of you or in your head, it all feels the same.

Just a thought… We’ve got no one telling us to get our head out of the clouds anymore, and if someone does, well that’s what the finger next to your ring finger is for.