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What If Things Go Wrong At Your Art Event?

This weekend was our first significant art exhibition and reception in our new town in Oil City, Pennsylvania. The reception was a blast. We had so many people come out and support us that it almost made me want to break down into a pile of tears of appreciation. That being said, everything wasn’t bursts of sunshine and unicorn farts. 

Picture Taken By The Raw Image

Any artist you speak to will tell you that putting together a show is both a logistical and emotional challenge. Add in the efforts to promote and prep for a show, and it can feel like a nightmare. Now, to be clear, our show was a wonderful experience, but I would be lying if I said that everything went according to plan. If you are doing ANYTHING like this, there is one guarantee… No matter what you do, it is inevitable that some things will not work out the way you wish.

So what went wrong?

  • As incredible as we were received at the reception, the weather was hot outside, and that trickled into our very full gallery. This meant that it was hot in the gallery to the point that it was unbearable. 
  • People were there to meet us and check out the art. Ideally, at an art show, you have tags by your art describing the work and price. I left a stack of 30 tags on a table instead of on the wall. It was so hot that the 80 tags I did manage to put on the wall were curling and falling off. 
  • At an exhibition, you also want to put out a guest book to keep a record of the show. Ours was sitting at home and not being written in at all. 
  • Finally, I didn’t take any pictures at our reception, nor did I film much, so I didn’t document the incredible turnout. To add to the issues, we were missing a part needed for our cell booster and could not live stream the event as we promised. 

So what do you do in those situations that don’t go quite the way you wanted them to?

You roll with the punches. 

Klee and I have done over 600 shows in our decade-long career as artists, and the one thing that will always happen is something will go wrong. Conditions change in the blink of an eye, or you forget something. The key is not getting stuck there and changing your course of action quickly. Here’s what we keep in mind when things go wrong.

1. Focus on what you can control.

We couldn’t control the weather, but we could make the most of it. Yes, it was hot, but a cold drink and good conversation will always make it a little more interesting. There was no point in stressing about the heat or lack of internet. We were in the show. Our focus was to mingle and have a good time with the people who supported us. We set up fans as best we could and decided to cancel the live stream and fix the issue once we were done with reception weekend. It isn’t great, but you must carry on and make the most of it. 

2. Don’t get stuck in what is going wrong.

Listen, things will go wrong. It’s just the nature of things, but that is ok. Things going wrong don’t define who you are, but how you deal with it does. You get to choose who you want to be in those challenging moments and that is what ultimately matters.

3. Make decisions and follow through.

In situations like these, time isn’t going to stop and allow you to figure it out. Could you make a choice and go with it? Whether it is right or wrong is a moot point. At the moment, all you can do is make a choice, and hemming and hawing will not get you closer to a good decision when it feels like things are falling apart. Consult someone you trust if you are stuck, but don’t blame them when it goes wrong because ultimately, it was your choice and the best choice at the time.

4. If something is complicated or overwhelming, admit it.

Sometimes, the only way to move forward is to admit defeat. If it is too much, instead of blowing up or falling apart, just admit it. Open your mouth and say, “I’m getting overwhelmed? What can I do to make this simple?” and go from there. What matters most in this situation is that you are not a ball of stress. Also, let people help if they ask. Our friend Jim and his mom made finger foods for us, which were wonderful. It was also very much needed since Klee, and I just didn’t have enough time to focus on food.

5. Trust your gut and don’t overthink it. 

Pay attention to that feeling you get in your gut. We have it for a reason. When facing a challenge and you have a choice to make, evaluate how you feel about the situation. Is it a good feeling? Are you feeling wary? Don’t ignore how you feel.

6. When it all goes to crap, don’t shut down.

Don’t give up. Just keep going. Pivot, change directions, simplify, or salvage, but don’t stop moving.

Picture Taken By The Raw Image

7. Learn in hindsight.

Later on, when you are thinking about it, ask yourself, “how could I have done that better?” then make a plan for the future. The first event that Klee and I put together was trash compared to what it is now. Honestly, everything builds on prior experience, and we will never get it entirely right. That is ok. That is life. It is a waste of time feeling like you failed because it didn’t work out perfectly. Use your time and energy learning from experience and not berating yourself. 

8. Stay positive.

It’s easy to get pessimistic when it is all falling apart. Every opportunity is a chance to prove to yourself (not others) how much of a badass you are. This is especially true when things go wrong. So, when it goes to crap, remember, “well, this will be a learning experience,” and then give yourself a good laugh and allow yourself to get out of your head and have fun. 

Next time I’ll have some things on my list I may have overlooked, but this is the stuff of life, and I love it. Thank you so much to everyone that came out for the reception. The exhibition will run for the month of August and we have many things planned.

I may not have filmed much, but our friend over at The Raw Image did. Check out this awesomeness!

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HI! We’re New Here! Rafi And Klee Exhibition

Klee and I are doing something we have never done before and are so excited. Mark your calendars and prepare for an Art-stravaganza that will knock your socks off. The kick-off will be on August 5th, with the reception from 6 pm – 8 pm EDT at Graffiti Gallery in Oil City at 210 Seneca St, Oil City, PA 16301.

Rafi and Klee will both be showcasing the art that they love to create. Come and find a retrospective of Rafi Perez’s paintings, sculptures, and Klee Angelie’s jewelry and creations. You will also experience never before seen art from Rafi and Klee’s stash of works that have never been displayed anywhere.

The show will run through August and each day will feature art creations and new facets of us that we have never performed live. The show is meant to inspire and delight and we plan to have a lot of fun while we are there. We look forward to meeting the amazing people of this community! We will also live stream certain parts of the event for our online family of Rogue Artists!

Facebook Main Event Page https://fb.me/e/4WljdSFfG

Facebook Music Event (See Below For Date) https://fb.me/e/3LajhQU4i

Facebook Author Meeting Rogue Event (See Below For Date) https://fb.me/e/20Wqbx08t

Show Dates And Events Are As Follows:

We have special things planned for each week of the month of August at Graffiti Gallery in Oil City and also online.

August 5th, 6PM – 8PM EDT – Exhibition Reception (Food and Drinks Will Be Provided)

Come and meet Rafi and Klee at their first art exhibition in their new town. Enjoy art, jewelry, music, and more at the exhibition’s opening reception. Delicious food, drinks, and a fun atmosphere will be provided. Come ready to have a good time. They will be holding the exhibition in August. Visit their event page for more information on the dates and times of the event for concerts, book readings, and art talks. Official Event Page https://wp.me/p1XVFv-qqd

Facebook Main Event Page https://fb.me/e/4WljdSFfG


August 6th, 12PM – 6PM EDT – Meet Rafi And Klee. Music And Art Creation Throughout The Day.

Come out and spend some time with Rafi and Klee and experience art experimentations and creations. Including but not limited to painting, jewelry, and music writing. Enjoy conversations about their travels, art, and why they moved to this amazing area. 

Live Stream On YouTube Of Show August 6th, 1PM – 2PM EDT (Will post link and announce across all social media)


August 12th, 3PM – 7PM EDT – Meet Rafi And Klee. Music Concert At 5PM – 6PM (New Never Before Heard Songs)

Our Band Is Called Better On The Drums

Enjoy some art and some great conversation during the day and enjoy some never before performed music in the evening. This laid back concert will be like hanging out with two friends while they sing and play guitar. 

This will be the first time ever that we perform as “Better On The Drums” our new band. Witness Rafi be nervous on stage lol. 

Live Stream On YouTube Of Music August 12th, 5PM – 6PM EDT (Will post link and announce across all social media)

Facebook Music Event https://fb.me/e/3LajhQU4i


August 13th, 12PM – 6PM EDT – Meet Rafi And Klee. Meet The Author Book Readings And Signings At 4PM – 5PM.

Enjoy some art and great conversation during the day and some book readings in the evening. Rafi will read his favorite passages from his books and hold a question and answer. He will also sign books if asked.

Live Stream On YouTube Of Book Reading And Q&A August 13th, 4PM – 5PM EDT (Will post link and announce across all social media)

Facebook Author Meeting Rogue Event https://fb.me/e/20Wqbx08t


August 19th, 4PM – 8PM EDT & August 20th, 12PM – 6PM EDT – Meet Rafi And Klee. Bridge Fest Weekend.

Come out and enjoy the two day event of Bridgefest in Oil City! Meet Rafi And Klee and a bunch of other amazing artists. Bridge Fest Weekend. Bridge Fest is Friday, August 19 (4-9 pm, Center Street Bridge, sponsored by the Oil City Main Street Program): live entertainment, DJ, food vendors; face painting & other kid’s activities, artisan vendors & more. Saturday August 20 (4-9 pm, Veterans Memorial Bridge, sponsored by the Oil City Arts Council): live music; food and artisan vendors; beer & wine tent. Each bridge will be pedestrian-only, closed to vehicles prior to and during its respective event… park downtown and stroll freely! Come and see us inside Graffiti Gallery.

Live Stream On YouTube Of Show August 20th, 5PM – 7PM EDT We’ll Walk Around With You. (Will post link and announce across all social media)


August 27th, 12PM – 6PM EDT – Meet Rafi And Klee. Final Day Of Show And Giveaways.

This is the final day of our exhibition! We will be hanging out talking about art, life, and anywhere else the conversations take us. We will also be doing some giveaways that day as a big thank you to everyone that came to our exhibition.

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Rafi And Klee Music Revolution Is Here!

Admittedly, I don’t even know where to begin. My head is absolutely swimming with excitement over our musical news at the time of writing this!

Let me not get ahead of myself…

Some of you may be aware that Rafi and I have a secret band called “Better On The Drums.” Neither of us plays drums. We thought the name would serve as a fun reminder not to take ourselves too seriously and have fun.

Circa 2010, we wrote 9 original songs and recorded them from the road while traveling. We had very little equipment and even less in the way of “sound appropriate” recording spaces, but we didn’t let that stop us.

When the album was finished and polished to the best of our’ then times’ abilities, we released it, yaaayyy!!!

By ‘released it’, I mean we had about a dozen CDs made and then proceeded to ask family and friends if they cared to have a listen and possibly purchase one. (we had no online community or following to speak of just yet).

Spoiler alert, most of our family and friends weren’t all that interested. Shout out to you magical few that were. They cheered us on and supported the music in the early days!

We ended up mostly giving the CDs away to mildly interested humans, and THEN… we sort of shelved the music side of our creativity. Yes, we were busy focusing on the art/jewelry/media side of the business. Still, also, we were disappointed and a little discouraged.

Music has always been important to both me and Rafi. Music was a massive part of both our lives growing up, and you could say we each had the “music in us” as far back as either of us can remember.

Klee At Key Club

From the age of 19, I wrote and performed with bands, played all kinds of incredible shows, and even got to record studio albums. Unknown to most, Rafi moonlighted as a DJ. He treated his energetic audiences to his fun impromptu musical stylings on the mic between songs. He also played music with his brother and encouraged him to pursue it professionally, which he did. Eventually, Rafi taught himself guitar so he could write originals.

When Rafi and I met, I had recently left my bands. I was facing the insecurities and impostor syndrome that came along with the idea of being a “solo artist.” Rafi was facing the insecurities and fears of being a “crappy musician” (his words, not mine). We decided to tackle those fears together and form our two-person band, but it had a rocky beginning, as you read above with our CD release.

I’m going to spare you the extended version of the 10 year narrative between then and now. Most of you are likely aware that we opened our art and jewelry studio, launched our YouTube channel and website. We also pursued countless other creative projects.

And the album? It sat there, waiting for its time. Fortunately, music doesn’t expire if left on a shelf. We’ve recently been writing music again and sharing those 2010 original songs with our Rogue Artist community on Patreon. They’ve been amazing in showing us excitement, support, and encouragement for the music side of our studio.

About a week ago, we decided that it was time to give our album its moment. Yeah, good timing Rafi and Klee… upcoming move, Rogue Artist books to finish, commissions, a large gallery exhibition, and several other things going on… let’s throw the album on the schedule too, because it’s not like we have enough to do!

You know what though? Sometimes you just have to jump on a thing when inspiration is at its strongest. We did. We decided to pursue “Official Global Distribution” for the album.

A couple of problems to sort out, the original audio quality of the album was not going to make the cut for distribution. So we had to remaster it. Unfortunately, we no longer had the original tracks, thanks to a hard drive failure. Miraculously, and with great patience and diligence (and a pretty sweet sound program), we made that happen with what we had. The static and weird ambient background noises from our back-road recordings were sorted, and the album was sound-ready!

The second problem was that neither of us had one iota of knowledge about music distribution. There is so much legal jargon that comes with it. The various types of licensing and ownership registrations and the giant and seemingly endless stream of writer/performer/publisher organizations with their multiple acronyms seemed impossible to navigate.

On The Road Playing Music.

So we spent our evenings (and the better part of our days, who am I kidding) educating ourselves through articles and videos. There’s a lot to know about releasing music through official channels, but eventually, we felt equipped and ready!

The time came to just do the thing, and we did. We submitted our album for distribution, registered with the necessary organizations, administrators, and acronyms. Then we shit a brick (Rafi typed this in when he edited my writing).

Word on the street was that we might have to wait weeks for approval, so we got emotionally prepared for that.

It wasn’t weeks though, we heard back within 48 hours… that our album “Let Me Sell You A Dream” was approved and being distributed to 150+ platforms all over the world. There are not enough words to explain how that feels, except to say that I’m still beside myself with joy. Our band “Better On The Drums” is not a secret anymore!

Original Cover Remastered

So now, we can’t stop there! As I type this, Rafi is busy designing the music side of our website. That way, we can share our album on all the platforms and apps of your choosing! By the time you read this, it will be live and ready!

We also have a collection of brand new original songs that we’re excited to record and release with all of our newfound skills and renewed excitement! Let me not get ahead of myself again though. The original album “Let Me Sell You A Dream” is having its moment. It feels so good.

I want to take a moment to humbly thank our online community of Rogue Artists. Also, you, amazing human reading this. Thank you for your support of our musical endeavors (and our creative endeavors across the board). When we say we don’t know what we’d do without you, we mean it. This album release was made possible by the encouragement and support of our community, and we’re beyond words grateful.

Playing Music With A Beautiful Human In Key West.

You know Rafi and I can’t leave you without a tidbit of earned wisdom gleaned from the experience. So here’s mine: Never give up on a dream or a creative project that you have burning within you.

Even if you’ve had it sitting on a shelf for ten years, or twenty years, or whatever, you get it.

Even if you don’t know how to make it happen but have a desire to learn as you go. You can give it life, you can make it happen, and when you do… the feeling is indescribable. Do it and know that we’re cheering for you over here!

I know this was long, so if you’re reading this sentence, you are legendary. I’ll let you get on with other things now… including checking out our music if you’d like to!

It is available on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, and more, but you can link to all that on our new music page!

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A Few Thoughts On Impostor Syndrome

I’ve been a creative human for as long as I can remember, and a full time creative for about a decade now. Recently, and many times throughout the years, Rafi and I have talked about impostor syndrome. You know it? The feeling like, even though you’re passionate, authentic, dedicated to your creative endeavors, and growing and evolving each day… that somehow you’re just not enough. That secretly you suck, and that it’s only a matter of time before everyone else discovers your suckage. I suspect most everyone has felt this at one time or another.

If left unchecked, that feeling can really thwart your efforts to share who you are and what you do with the world. I’m guilty of overthinking what I share and say on here, for fear of judgement … analysis paralysis. I’m guilty of the same when working on my art, and especially where music is concerned.

Real-time example, ready?: I second-guessed myself immediately upon embarking on sharing these thoughts with you… and then spellcheck informed me that my spelling of the word “judgement” in the paragraph above was incorrect… so being the human I am, I googled it, and found that both “judgment” and “judgement” are acceptable spellings, but “judgment” is more widely accepted these days. I’ve always spelled it “judgement” so I’ve left it that way, but secretly feared your judgement not only for my chosen spelling, but for my humble human opinions on the topic of impostor syndrome. Who am I to talk about this? I’m just a person with my own thoughts on my own experiences, who, by the way… also misspelled “Impostor” at the beginning of this blog and had to go back and correct it. I think you see what I’m getting at here, all of that happened just trying to share this with you.

The thing is, there’s no rule book for creative and entrepreneurial humans. We’re all just trying stuff and doing the best we can, whatever the best is for us right now. This is one of the reasons I try to share all kinds of things with you guys, my creative family. Not just my creations that I’m proud of, but my failed experiments, challenges, life stuff, thoughts from my brain jar, small victories, and everything in between.

Wear TV Interview


So I wanted to take this time to say this to myself and to you, beautiful human who is reading this. If you are doing something, anything, that you’re passionate about, and making any effort to share it with the world, to put it out there, and to grow as a human and a creative, THAT makes YOU a badass.

You may not be at the level you aspire to yet, I know I’m not, but I’ve realized it’s a lifelong work in progress. You aren’t doing it wrong, and you don’t suck. You don’t have to get it perfect out the gate, just play and try to remember why you love what you do. Try to remember why you love who you are. You are unique, you are beautiful, you are contributing to the whole in your own special way, and you are most definitely enough.


I think ultimately, this is a long-winded high five from me to you, and from me to me. Let’s keep going and bring our awesomeness into full view for 2021 and beyond. Say it with me: “I’m real, and I’m spectacular.”

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Showing Up For Life And Being A Bad-Ass

Life happens so fast, and opportunities often come our way at lightning speed. I don’t care if we’re talking about a creative opportunity, a personal goals opportunity, a career advancement, the chance to see or do something new, a moment to look at the stars, or the opportunity to visit with a friend you haven’t seen in a while.

I’ve really learned something this year, and I intend to own it. That is, to try my best not to be so wrapped up in what I’ve got going on, so absorbed in my very important things, or so embedded in my daily schedule (or how I think my schedule should be) that I don’t, can’t, or won’t seize those opportunities, big or small, when they come.

In light of the current state of things and our “new normal”, seizing the will to simply get through a day can seem downright daunting. To paraphrase a rogue artist friend, “These days things seem to take twice as long, are twice as hard, and can leave you feeling twice as tired and burned out.” Wherever your seize the moment barometer is at present, it’s okay… believe me, it’s more than okay.

I’m not saying you’ve gotta do everything, be on point at all times, be a superhero, or anything like that… but I am saying, be aware of the excuses that you know are bull-garbage and start taking the time for the things you do want, for the things you don’t even know you want. Embrace being flexible and adaptable. Start saying “Yes. I’m here.” for the moments you’d regret to miss, for the moments you don’t even realize you’d regret to miss until you regret you missed them.

It’s never the right time, you’re never dressed appropriately, you never prepared as much as you’d hoped, there will never be enough hours in the day, something in the house always needs your attention, things never happen the way you think they’re going to, and you’re never going to be 100% ready or comfortable.

Your heart will always be racing, your shirt will always have that wrinkle, your lizard brain will always be searching for an “out” an “exit strategy” or a “rock to crawl under”. Show up anyway.

None of that stuff matters when you’re in the moment and the life stuff is happening, and you’re fully present, and for better or worse, you’re like “Wow, none of that stuff matters!”

I know, that last bit was redundant. Let me say it again. “None of that stuff matters.” Sorry, not sorry.

It’s just, those unexpected things are often the best experiences and the most cherished memories. I’ve practically built my art career on them. My most favorite times spent are almost exclusively them. Relationships are sometimes made, strengthened, weakened, or broken on them. Pivotal life goal moments are born from them. Last moments spent with a loved one sometimes hinge on them.

I’m hella guilty of avoiding, excusing myself, offering great reasons why I couldn’t. Hella. Guilty. But then, I’ve also had so many moments of absolute bravery, total adaptability, fearless seizing, utter appreciation, full presence, total awesomeness.

I’m a self proclaimed “Recovering People Pleaser”, so I have to be careful not to do things that really aren’t me, just to please others. But conversely, I also have to be careful not to use that to excuse myself from life as it’s happening, just because I don’t think I’m prepared in that moment for whatever is going on.

I say this as someone who is also a recovering “Grade-A Worrywort and Victim” once highly prone to lengthy bouts of self-pity, anxiety, regimented micro-management, stubbornness, and self-sabotaging obsessive-compulsive behavior. I no longer identify with that person, but I can’t pretend like those tendencies don’t exist within me. So I keep an eye on myself, a compassionate eye (because I’m not trying to punish myself when I have less than good moments), and a willingness to call “bullshit” on my own behaviors and thoughts.

We only get so many days. I intend to spend less of them worrying, prepping, planning, avoiding, and making excuses… more time being present. More of that life stuff. Why? Because for me, the alternative is sameness… stagnation… numbness… coasting through the days waiting for some indeterminate future scenario in which I stop that and start living. For me, just coasting on auto-pilot equals “why even bother” and I personally don’t find that state to be very good for my health, emotional well-being, or getting up in the morning.

Show up. Be flexible. Pivot. Adapt. Run outside in your jammies because someone needs you. Answer the phone. Take the interview. Bring your portfolio to the client. Have the hard conversation. Pursue that hair-brained idea. Call your mother. Kiss your person. Grab their ass. Grab your own ass and tell yourself you’re gorgeous. Watch a storm, even if emails need correspondence. Wear that outfit. Take a breath and look at the sky, even if laundry needs folding. Step outside and sing the harmonies to Bohemian Rhapsody at the top of your lungs, because your neighbor happens to be caterwauling the lead melody at the top of his lungs from his porch. Make coffee with a blowtorch because your power is out. Stand up for what you believe in, however you can. Vote. For pete’s sake, vote. Question your motives. Question your excuses. Ask the questions you’re afraid to ask. Ask them of yourself and others. Sit and listen. Listen to ambient sounds. Listen to a friend. Listen to an adversary. Listen to your thoughts. Listen to your own heartbeat. Don’t listen to your lizard brain when it tells you “I don’t have time. I can’t help there. I’m not that person. I don’t have answers. I don’t matter.”

Just show up. Life shows up everyday, and it’s not always golden opportunities, unicorn farts and rainbows. Sometimes it’s some messed up shit, and that’s still an opportunity to decide and show who you are. Your bravery, your bad-assery, your inconceivable, unconditional love, your ability to laugh, your ability to cry, your ability to speak, your ability to hear, your blowtorch coffee making skills, your now huge collection of cloth face masks, your compassion, your “Make It Work” moments, your fucked up clothes you only wear when no one’s going to see you, your adaptability, your resourcefulness, your passion, your weirdness, your light that shines so bright it could melt the faces of onlookers (in the best way possible, of course).

Life will continue to show up every day. Decide now, and every “now” going forward, who it is on the other side of the door when life comes knocking. I don’t know what that personally means for you, but I strongly suspect that you do.

So take your now, and live the crap out of it. Take care of yourself, and one another. The world needs you, and you deserve nothing less.

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Klee’s Music Journey And Bad Assery

Some of you may already know that Klee and I have a secret band called “Better On The Drums” and although neither one of us plays drums, we thought the name would remind us not to take ourselves too seriously. Something you may not know is that Klee has been a musician for a long time and has an impressive resume, playing venues like The Double Door in Chicago or The Key Club in Los Angeles.

Klee first got on stage with her band when she was 19 years old and it was the first time she had ever put herself out there like that.

It was terrifying… I remember before going on stage the very first time, hoping some force of nature or unforeseen event would cause the show to be canceled so I wouldn’t have to face my fears. The terror and exhilaration of getting on stage though, the lights, the huge sound, the energy of the crowd… letting go and giving it everything you’ve got… there’s nothing like it.

Klee

My favorite story of Klee putting herself out there with music despite the odds, goes back to her school years. She was a painfully shy person… in fact, she is still a painfully shy person. As a child, her favorite pass-time was standing on her bed singing into a hairbrush to the music blaring out of her pink boombox. Years later in choir class, she was told that she was a weak singer by her teacher. Because she was shy, some of the other girls in the class would use it as ammo to pick on her.

Luckily, she kept singing. A few years later, she tried out for a band as a vocalist. This band in particular was looking for a male backup and lead, so they said no. A short time later one of the band members heard Klee singing harmonies to a song playing on the radio and they added her to the band. This was the beginning of Klee’s public journey into music. She went on to play a few hundred live shows, work with several bands, and collaborate on music projects.

She also traveled to Los Angeles and stood on the same stage as some of music’s icons. The Key Club in Los Angeles has hosted Prince, Axl Rose and Tracii Guns, Mos Def, Van Halen, The Go-Go’s, Tina Turner, Motley Crue, Sonny And Cher, and The Doors.

“We sat and ate lunch at the famous Rainbow Room before the show. We were meeting with a record exec from Rockefeller Records and were about to play the biggest show of our lives to date. I was picking at my sandwich (the sandwich was just ok, and honestly I had too many nerves to eat), and listening to the exec explain that he would see how we looked on-stage, consider our most recent album, take a look at our marketability and be in touch. I remember thinking, is this really happening?”

Klee

Klee continued her amazing career in music, eventually leaving the band and joining another band. They embarked on a tour to the west coast and played music at the Oregon Country Fair and other venues on the west coast.

This is around the time that yours truly came into the picture. My music career up to that point was strumming a guitar badly for a few months. I had always wanted to write music and play an instrument, and while we traveled the country we did just that. To say that Klee is the guiding force of our band is an understatement. She has inspired, challenged, and provoked musical things from me that I never thought would be possible.

For a little while there, as we were navigating the art world and being able to make a living from what we do, regrettably music took a back seat. If there was ANYTHING I could change about how I got my art career started, I would have definitely made music as much of a priority as my art.

I am happy to announce that we are currently re-recording some old songs, recording some new songs, and writing music again. Klee is also working on some special and fun customizable music projects that will allow for our followers to have something custom. We will announce more when ready.

If you want to listen to our old recordings of our music just click here.

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Fachunking And Inside Farts

This morning I woke up excited about getting into my newly remodeled studio. Yesterday, I had planned to design some t-shirts and instead found myself hammering and cutting wood all day. The result of all that sweaty manly labor is a roomier studio that I can’t wait to get messy with paint.

Today however, I have t-shirt designs to knock out. This involves a little sketching here and there, but mostly involves sitting on the couch with a laptop on my lap… whoa! Is that why they are called laptops??? Who knew?

The start of my day was interesting. Earlier this morning I brewed some coffee and set up my recording equipment. I have been recording a couple of chapters every day since I accidentally deleted 100 pages from the audiobook. By the way, if you are recording an audiobook, might I suggest NOT deleting 100 pages worth of recorded audio like a noob… or a champ (I’m working on being kind to myself about my epically stupid mistake… it’s a work in progress).

Usually, my morning ritual of audiobook recording is an epic race to beat the Blue Angels practice run before I finish said chapters. This morning I had a slightly different struggle. I was experiencing some annoyingly loud borborygmus.

What is borborygmus you ask?

Klee and I call it “inside farts” or a rumbling or gurgling noise made by the movement of fluid and gas in the intestines. Honestly, I’m usually not that aware of it unless it is especially rambunctious… which it was.

It seemed like every time I tried to record a sentence, my intestines chimed in… So I recorded one chapter today and decided to move on to the next project.

Since I had put off designing t-shirts and listing them in lieu of studio remodeling, I decided it was time for some designing. I’ve been putting off updating the t-shirt page on the website which said “Coming soon August of 2019” for no other reason than having to update the website… which is tedious.

So today, we played some music and created some art. Mine in the form of t-shirts, and Klee created furry Agoggles. It’s been a good day.

We’ve been fachunking our way through all the little projects which has helped us immensely with our emotions. With things being the way they are, staying creative or productive can be challenging… or showering for that matter… Little things like the dishes are not going to clean themselves, so I fachunk the dishes. I just say fachunk it “Can I get a hell yeah for the dishes? Hell! Yeah!” and I fachunking love it… kinda… well more than borborygmus.

Not sure what Fachunking is? Watch this video where we explain it:

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Being A Busy Artist

I have been very busy lately juggling a full-time art career, YouTube media studio, weekly podcasts, commissions, writing a book, art shows, giving presentations, gearing up for the holiday season and maintaining a happy & healthy relationship with my wife Klee. She is running her side of the business as well, and it is easy for both of us to get lost in the overwhelm of to-do lists, meetings, and deadlines.

First off, I’m not moaning about how busy I am. Often when someone complains about being too busy, it is actually a thinly veiled boast disguised as a complaint. I have, admittedly, worn the “busy badge” in the past during moments of insecurity. This is where you make it a point to illustrate how your life cannot possibly be silly, trivial, or meaningless because you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.

The problem with all that boasting is that it has a tendency to make you feel even busier than you are. Us humans tend to believe the things we tell ourselves, while also inadvertently making others feel overwhelmed too. I finally came to the conclusion that it wasn’t helping to gripe about it, in fact, it was making the overwhelm worse. Besides, if you’re genuinely that busy… are you sure you can spare the time to be bitching about it?

Another unhealthy way I started to give into “being busy” was paying too much attention to the rapid pace that the world seemed to be heading in. I began realizing that the urgency-addicted culture that I lived in was having a huge impact on the way I lived my day to day life, and that was an eye-opener for me. I was convinced that just a bit more speed, time, productivity and I could stay in control. I started to grow unwilling to tolerate the discomfort of slowing down. Taking a break, even a small one, even for good reason, started to seem unproductive.

When you find yourself on this treadmill of urgency, it can feel unacceptable to slow down. As it turns out, the idea that you need to go full throttle all the time is completely unproductive. Your mind and body need breaks from what you are doing or you will end up burning out pretty quickly. I now take a 15 to 30 minute break every 2 hours, even during the busiest workdays. Believe or not, I get so much more done now than I did when I pushed through, and my days are less stressful and much more enjoyable.

A to-do list can be both a blessing and a curse. It is a trackable list of tasks that fuels the ambition of getting completion in a day, but adding one more item to the list feels effortless, so it’s dangerously easy to over-commit. I feel like I used to have lists that were a mile long, and when I didn’t complete them, I felt like a failure that day. I then went into the next day feeling like I was already behind.

I now have a cap on my daily to-do. Instead of an open-ended list, I only allow myself to schedule 5 items for the day. If I complete the items on my list, then I’ll add additional stuff that is small and easy to do. If I do not finish my list, I add the incompleted items to the top of the next day. I also have a Fantastic 4 list that I write about in my book, but that involves special tasks that are designed to break large overwhelming projects into tiny chunks.

Most importantly, remember that life is short and you don’t want to spend these precious days feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. It is something I remind myself of every day as I sit silently for ten minutes, battling the voices that like to say I’m being unproductive.

Give those voices the middle finger, and enjoy your day.

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3 Artist Rules That Apply To Life

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

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

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

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

Rafi and klee

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

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

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

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

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I Burst Into Tears… Well, Kinda.

Empowering Art By Rafi Perez

The other day I was thinking about working on a special piece. I started sketching it out and thinking about the meaning. Someone being pulled in so many different directions that he becomes a puppet to the world around him.

Art By Rafi Perez

While talking to Klee about it, I broke down and my eyes started tearing up. The only reason I didn’t go into a full sob was the fact that I was so surprised at my emotions.

Listen, I am a grown ass man, and I’m not embarrassed to cry, or admit that I cry, but this actually caught me off guard.

It made me realize that something had felt off. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but deep down I knew something was bothering me.

Do What You Can Rafi Perez

For the most part I’m a pretty happy guy, in fact our following online knows us for our upbeat perspectives on life and being artists full time.

Over the last few years I had developed a public image of a guy who’s genuine, creative, happy, upbeat, and loving life. But recently I had been a little stressed about some things… and I didn’t feel like myself. Worse, was the idea that I had never been that guy and that my entire life was a sham.

Luckily, Klee was there to talk sense into my confused brain unit. She told me that the only reputation I had to uphold was to be the real me. She said I have a really hard time being anything not real, so I have nothing to worry about.

2 Birds On A Wire By Rafi Perez

I guess sometimes you may try to bury things inside, but they’ll always come up to the surface for you to look at and face head on. So next time you cry during a cheesy commercial, think about that.

I was allowing myself to feel like I was less than who I am, and that everyone was pulling me in different directions. I have done a lot of work on myself for over a decade, to make sure I am comfortable with who I am, and that’s who everyone sees.

Whether it’s in a YouTube video, a blog, a work of art, it will always be me… So, if anyone expects anything different, then they’ve never looked at any of my stuff before.

Moral of the story… Just be you, it’s way easier than not being you.