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Just Do That Thing, But Have Fun

There are six things that I look at whenever I find myself floundering in my career or in life. These are six things that I take a close look at when I think to myself “I should do that thing” and another side of me says “but…”

Most people think that I am full steam ahead, have endless amounts of energy and am able to somehow warp time and space. They say things like “Rafi is the hardest working artist I know.” If I’m not careful, this kind of vision of myself can become a badge of honor and I would become the hardest working artist out there, which honestly would be a total drag.

I don’t want to be the hardest working anything. In fact, I don’t want to work hard, I don’t want anything I do to be hard work in the traditional sense, I want it to be fun.

I think one of the reasons things seem like hard work for most people is because, for the most part, we are not being chased by lions anymore. Stress, anxiety, and a plethora of other emotions are tied up in this little thing we do when we go into fight or flight. It is a natural response to danger. The problem is that we go into this danger response when we feel a looming deadline, or there is a bill that is due at the end of the month.

For a lot of people out there, the simple act of speaking in front of a group is paralyzing. It can feel like a life or death situation. People will say things like “If I say the wrong things, I’ll be so embarrassed I’ll die.”

Imagine starting an art career, or any other harebrained idea that has been nagging at you. How much of that is put to a standstill because of this crazy response that is designed to keep you from becoming supper for a lion? Here are six things I tell myself to motivate myself to do that thing, but also remember to have fun.

  1. My Voice: I have one, and the only way I will find it is by doing this thing. I might be scared, but it’s not about making a good impression, it’s about speaking my truth. It’s just my opinion, everyone has one.
  2. The Fear: The purpose of FEAR is to stop you. Sometimes that’s a good thing, like when you are in immediate danger. But, if you are holding yourself back from doing something you know you love, the only way to get to the truth is to face that fear as many times as you have to. Make it an exciting game. Btw if the thing you want to do is put your head in a shark’s mouth then I would say actual life-risking fears require more prep and research… don’t just find a shark.
  3. Get Started: Starting is where most people don’t even get to. There are millions of talented and creative geniuses walking around on the planet, but they just don’t start. You don’t have to dive in, but at least take a baby step daily.
  4. Momentum: Once you start, keep going. The more you do it the more momentum you gain and eventually, you become an unstoppable force.
  5. Habits: Understand that everything you do and every reaction is creating a habit, so create habits on purpose.
  6. Give Yourself A Purpose: This could be anything. To make beautiful art that speaks to people, to voice my opinion, to write music that will change a generation, or just to paint pretty pictures… it doesn’t matter what other people think of your purpose, just that it matters to you.

I guess the most important take away for me is that life is a short occurrence, so you might as well do the things you want to do… and have fun.

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Stop Making Excuses: 10 Excuses I Made And Why

Back in the day, making excuses was like breathing air for me. I had some great ones, in fact they were so good that I didn’t realize I was even making excuses.

With that in mind, let’s break down 10 of the many excuses that I used to make, and tell me if they sound familiar.

Excuse #1: There’s just not enough time…

I still use this one every once in a while. What I found is that when I make this excuse I’m just not feeling enthusiastic. Usually, at the core of this excuse is the fear that I’m not good enough to do the thing that I’m claiming I don’t have the time to do. The moment I feel overwhelmed by lack of time, I can talk myself out of anything. Sometimes it may be something that I genuinely don’t want to do, and in that situation I would rather cancel the project than keep it rattling around in my brain jar. But when it is something you really want to do, but your claim to non-fame is that you don’t have enough time, ever… then I would think twice about that excuse.

In fact, if I look at my behavior in moments of overwhelm, I actually become less productive, which causes there to be less time, and even more overwhelm.

Excuse #2: There’s just not enough money…

I find that no matter how much money I have in the bank, whether it is thousands, or negative somethings these words will blurt out of my mouth. To be honest, I have a weird relationship with money that I have been working on throughout the last few years. I think it is important that we look at our relationship with money because it is either one of two things: a good relationship or a bad one. In other words, if you feel like a victim to green pieces of paper then it’s a bad one. Most of my baggage when it comes to money is partly from poor money mentality in my household when I was growing up, but like most relationships, it is something you can improve once you look a little deeper into yourself.

Excuse #3: I don’t have an education…

This was my number one excuse when it came to pursuing art as a career… well, it was one of many number one excuses. There are numerous multi-millionaires and billionaires who have nothing more than a high school education. Some don’t even have that. Yet, I spent a lot of time in my life wasting my precious brain power believing this gibberish. I’m not knocking education, there’s value in it. If you want to pursue an education, pursue it. If you want to be an excellent brain surgeon, definitely go to school. If you want to sharpen your creative skills by taking classes, by all means… but don’t let an education, or lack thereof, define what you can accomplish with your talents.

Excuse #4: I’m just too old or too young…

I’m old enough to have used both of these excuses… blah blah blah. Right now, it’s the too old excuse. I’m too old to be in a band, I’m too old to do YouTube, I’m to old to make a significant impact in the new generation of humans… blah blah blah. While you may not see me on American Idol anytime soon (they have a no geezer age limit of 28 which I find outdated and discriminatory, but whatevs…) I am most certainly young enough to excel at whatever I gosh darned please, as long as I’m breathing.

Bonus Excuse: I don’t know how…

This is an excuse I rarely use because I am very dogged at figuring stuff out. I am a stubborn figurer-outer. This means I make mistake after mistake after mistake, until I get it. I simply don’t like not knowing how to do something, or being afraid to try. This has, so far, worked out in my favor.

Excuse #6: I just can’t change…

This used to be true for me, I was pretty set in my ways and the words “That’s just who I am!” would spout out of my mouth as an excuse to justify some stupid thing I did. It wasn’t until I started thinking long term, determining whether that’s how I wanted to be and live in ten, twenty years, that I realized perhaps being willing to evolve is to my benefit. When you think about the cycle of stubborn habits repeating time and time again over the course of twenty years, you get a fire under your but to start that change immediately.

Excuse #7: I’m afraid to fail…

I think we get taught this stupid thing in school… “Do everything you can to succeed, failure is the mark of laziness or lack of skill.” I’m sure that might seem like sound logic to those who have never tried to do something that hasn’t been done before. But, if you want to blaze your own trail, you are going to have to fail several times in order to reach anything resembling success. I think we should embrace failure, learn from it, and plan ahead so we know how to use the failure to do it better the next time.

Excuse #8: It’s just not the right time…

Yeah, if these little words pop out of your mouth then you should just swat them down mid-air like a fly, before they reach anyone’s ear holes. I knew a wonderful woman who was in her 90’s that fused the following words into my brain “If not now, when?” and I get it, sometimes it’s just not the right time to take action. However, more often than not this is just a lame excuse.

Excuse #9: I am not ready…

Sometimes you will hear this come from someone who is standing at the edge of a pool, about to jump in and they say “I’m not ready!” when actually they are merely paralyzed by fear. There they are, standing there in their swim suit, the water is good… how much more ready can you get? There’s nothing wrong with planning for the future or taking the time to lay out a clear plan of action. However, if planning is all you do, this could indicate that there might be fears preventing you from moving forward. Understand this and you will overcome your need for over-planning… in due time.

Cracks-In-Reality

Excuse #10: I’m just not inspired…

This is a big one, yet I find that most of the time when these words come out of my mouth it has more to do with laziness than inspiration. I know that’s harsh, but it’s true. Sometimes I’m not inspired because I’m too busy feeling sorry for myself and clogging up my brain circuits with all of the above excuses. Whatever the cause, when this excuse crops up I know it’s time to take a leaf blower to whatever doom cloud is lurking overhead, and start fresh.

Sometimes we get so absorbed in making excuses about how things didn’t turn out the way we had expected, that we forget to focus on making the best of every situation — no matter what the outcome.

So go out and make excuses for how awesome you are. Make excuses for how you have more than enough time, and how it is the right time for you, and how failure is no big deal. You can say and do anything you want, just pay closer attention to the words that come out of the hole in the front of your face.

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Artistic People Are Difficult To Understand?!?!

There is this interesting thing that happens when someone finds out I’m an artist. They will automatically jump to one conclusion or another about what that means. Usually it has something to do with my personality, they expect some artist version of a role you would see in a movie. Someone eccentric, colorful, and grandiose. I’m sure I have been accused of being all of those things at one point in my life. Granted, I have my moments, but I think we all do to one extent or another.

I recently ran across an article that stated 15 reasons why artistic people are difficult to understand. This article surprised me a little because it seemed like there was a possibility that the author was a little bias against artistic people.

Now to be fair, all 15 reasons that she stated were valid, but not just for artists, nor do they apply to every artist. If you’ve followed any of my art, watched our videos, or listened to our podcasts, you know that I am totally against being put into a niche or grouping.

I think it’s a defense mechanism to put people in a grouping to help you simplify the world and make it easier for you to navigate. The problem is that everyone is extremely different and have their own personalities, likes, dislikes, motivations, and way of thinking.

To say that every artist is like this or that is a generalization that is false, yet many times we convince ourselves of silly things just because simple is good. But a simple generalization can be dangerous, we see it all the time with hate groups, opposing political or religious views. No one listens or bothers to speak actual words to each other because they assume to know the other person’s modus operandi based on what they think is their group’s entire point of view.

In fact, in reading this, you may have grouped me either into your group or out of your group. Depending on which group I am now a part of, you will either agree with what I have to say or be insulted by my words. That is what makes it both fascinating and scary.

Despite what anyone has tried to say to me about various said groups, I find beautiful people in all, and I also find some douche bags in all. In my opinion, I would rather meet an individual and base my opinion on their actions and comments than the actions and comments of a group that I assume they are a part of. People are not that predictable, no matter how much you try to simplify them.

Besides, according to the article, I’m eccentric and extremely good looking, so I can get away with thinking this way.

I found it interesting in the article that she had some absolutely ridiculous generalizations posed as facts about artists. It made me wonder how many people read that article and now believe that those statements are true. Don’t believe what you read on the internet!

Watch our entertaining video about our reaction to the 15 reasons.

https://youtu.be/F6TPvNmSKkU

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

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

Rafi Perez Live Seminar

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

You can only start in ideal conditions.

You never feel like a piece is finished.

You constantly get creative block.

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

You constantly dwell on past failures.

You compare yourself to other artists, or people.

You never show your works in progress to other people.

You are losing motivation.

Being perfect is exhausting.

Rafi Perez Live Seminar

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

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Feeling Powerful In Three Steps

I created the “EMPOWERMENT” series based on self empowerment, as a tool to be used as a daily reminder. This is my social commentary on the way that people talk to themselves or the way they see themselves. I believe we all have the ability to feel confident and strong, but for the most part we have made it a habit to talk to ourselves in a way that makes us feel powerless.

Believe By Rafi Perez

In reality, personal empowerment is not something we feel, it’s something we do. Our sense of empowerment is a reflection of the increased personal value and self-worth that comes out of our experience of having real influence in our lives.

Empowering ourselves and creating change, which ultimately leads to the increased sense of personal value and self-worth we call the “feeling” of empowerment, involves some very specific steps.

Bonafide By Rafi Perez
  1. Stop comparing yourself to others. Start improving yourself

People tend to compare themselves to others because at times it will make them feel better about their lives or something they are trying to do. For example I know a lot of artists that feel better about their ability to create art because they compare their art to stuff they consider inferior. This is a double edged blade, because they will also compare their work to other work that they consider vastly superior. When they do this it leads to a devastating realization that their work isn’t that great. The truth is, nothing is better or worse than anything else, it’s just our perspective which can change.

Life By Rafi Perez

When you resist comparing yourself, you will be less engaged in judgement, and self-judgement, YOU WILL focus instead on your work – this alone will be empowering.

Belief By Rafi Perez
  • Take responsibility.

Taking responsibility means simply to be responsible for the way you respond to a situation. Most importantly, no matter how much you want to blame someone else for the way you feel, it’s important to remember that no matter what anyone does, you are ultimately responsible for how you respond to the given situation.

There are many small opportunities throughout the day to take responsibility for your emotions, play around with the concept. This will put the power back in your hands and no longer let your emotions fluctuate depending on the people around you.

Create By Rafi Perez
  • Do Something. Take Action!

One of the best things you can do to feel empowered is take action. Think about all those things you wish you did or that you want to do, but maybe you feel lazy or unmotivated. Whenever you don’t take action on it, it can have a devastating effect on your self esteem. Make it a habit to just take action and stop thinking about doing it.

Golden Glow By Rafi Perez

Taking action means remembering to have fun, at least that’s what it means to me. Have fun!

There are lots of ways to empower yourself and create positive change in your life. These are just a few things I try to keep in mind daily, or remind myself if ever I’m feeling less than empowered. Above all, remember that you are a beautiful luminous being, and go out and rock this life thing!

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Phoenix Reborn

It shouldn’t be any surprise to anyone that my favorite concept and mystical beast is the phoenix. The symbolic meaning of the phoenix is about renewal. The phoenix is about overcoming darkness and rising to the challenge to become powerful and succeed over adversity.

Blue Phoenix By Rafi Perez

It’s a symbolism that I have used a few times, but never like this piece that beautifully displays the body language of both anguish and freedom.

I wanted to create a piece that showed the transitional moment of someone taking a leap of faith into the unknown. This leap is taken with complete abandon and freedom.

Blue Phoenix By Rafi Perez

Several years ago I took a leap of faith that was terrifying. I remember thinking that I had to forget everything I thought I knew, because all those thoughts were telling me I was crazy. I was essentially burning the bridge to my old life, a life that was all I knew for 30 years. It wasn’t the most happy life I could live, which is why I decided to change it. This required me to hop in my car and leave all security and certainty behind… which was absolutely terrifying, yet was such a pattern interrupt in my monotonous life that I needed.

Blue Phoenix By Rafi Perez

Essentially, from the ashes of my old life which had completely self destructed, I rose and felt stronger than I ever had.

The thing is, I could have stayed in my old life… there is always a way to keep things going, but I had made a decision that I wanted things to change.

Blue Phoenix By Rafi Perez

I feel like the Phoenix is a powerful reminder that no matter what, you can always be reborn from the ashes of your old life.

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The Happy Art Tour – Pensacola Nov 1st

As a lot of you know, Klee and I recently have been working on a large scale art installation project. This was a huge endeavor in which we created our own rooms to be an interactive full sensory experience.

The Happy Art Tour THAT

We were working for about 6 months in total secrecy and couldn’t share anything with you guys, which for me personally was a struggle. I apparently can’t keep a secret to save my life. I secretly told a bunch of people about the secret installation.

Luckily for me, now that the soft opening has happened, I get to reveal some of the exciting details.

The Happy Art Tour THAT

A few months ago we were approached by Gabrielle (she’s awesome), who wanted us to create large interactive art installations as a part of something that was going to be called The Happy Art Tour (THAT), and immediately Klee and I got excited. This was something that each one of us wanted to do in our own special way for a long time now.

The Happy Art Tour THAT

I’ve wanted to create a fantasy world installation where the viewer would become immersed into the art of the installation and become part of the experience.

The Dream Forest – Designed By Rafi Perez

The Dream Forest was conceptualized and designed to allow the observer to explore the nature of happiness itself, through an immersive interaction with whimsical ancient beings that come to life as you meander through their magical realms. Each one explores a different facet of the “gem” that is happiness, asking thought provoking questions and offering words of ancient wisdom.

I’m also pretty sure Klee has always wanted to create a Firefly experience.

The Happy Art Tour THAT

The Firefly Room – Designed By Klee Angelie

The Firefly Room was conceptualized and designed with one simple desire in mind – to capture and share the whimsy and magic of an early summer evening at dusk, when the day’s work is done, time seems to stand still, all seems right with the world, and all that needs to be done is to sit back and experience the childlike joy of watching hundreds of fireflies dance around you. The firefly room simply asks you to breathe deeply… take in the sights, sounds, and smells of nature, and revel in the experience.

A special thanks to Monica, James, and Gabby, whom helped us finish the rooms in time for the soft opening, we couldn’t have done it without them.

Here is more information on this awesome adventure that we hope you experience.

The Happy Art Tour (T.H.A.T.), is Pensacola’s first multi-sensory creative adventure. Using experiential mediums throughout the entire space, T.H.A.T. worked with local artists to build ways for visitors to view, hear, touch, smell, and taste some of its exhibits.

The Happy Art Tour THAT

The space is open to the public from November 1 to December 31, 2018.

Intended to be a short-term installation that will travel from city to city, T.H.A.T. occupies over 8,000 square feet of space at 401 N. Baylen St. in Pensacola, Florida.

The Happy Art Tour THAT

The downtown location has been revamped completely and features countless photo ops that will delight both the most social-media savvy visitor and those eager to try something new.

The Happy Art Tour THAT

Using tons of recycled material, T.H.A.T. created its space with over 1,000 plastic bags, hundreds of beach balls, gallons of colored paint, and thousands of square yards of fabric. It’s a sight that must be seen to be understood and appreciated.

The Happy Art Tour THAT

Local artists include:

Rafi And Klee Studios- Rafi and Klee Perez (Hey it’s us!)

Blue Collar Creative

The Alcohol Ink Lady- Rachel Eidson

And many others!

The Happy Art Tour THAT

Tickets to T.H.A.T. are on sale now and must be purchased in advance, online. Admission is $30, $28 for active military, and free for kids ages three and under. The space is available for private parties, school field trips, corporate events, and will host various theme days (to be announced). The grand opening of the space is aptly timed with the Foo Foo Fest, which is an active community outpouring of support for the arts.

The Happy Art Tour THAT

We are both extremely excited for the opening in November and look forward to every one experiencing not only our rooms but the entire experience. Yeah, this is one experience here in Pensacola you are definitely not going to want to miss, and we are so proud to be a part of it.

We will be going again and again while it runs, it was so much fun!

Buy-Tickets-Button-rafi

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Rafi Perez Designs On Clothing And More

I recently decided to expand my art reach and hit a market that I’ve always been a little too afraid to hit. The market of clothing, mugs, and other cool home decor items.

Rafi Perez RedBubble Store

The reason I have hesitated is because I am so used to being completely hands on with my creations. Every artwork and print that leaves my studio is touched by me and is completely bespoke.

And although I love the idea of producing artistic clothing with my own hands, it is an overwhelming task and one that would stretch me too thin and be quite expensive. Instead I decided to partner up with Redbubble and Fine Art America. They have a great reputation and between the both of them produce a plethora of great quality items.

Rafi Perez RedBubble Store

I’m slowly but surely building a catalog of items. In the design phase I am creating the templates for each product and going over the details to make sure that they not only look awesome, but are top notch.

Rafi Perez RedBubble Store

The plan is to have items for home decor, accessories such as iPhone wallets, Yoga mats, and clothing. The women’s line includes an A line dress and a Chiffon top, along with t-shirts for men.

Rafi Perez RedBubble Store

I am currently in the design phase although technically I guess you can purchase the items I have already listed, though I have not released the series yet. I will be creating some designs that are specifically for t-shirts and various products offered and that will take some time. I plan on scheduling the official release for the Christmas season, so stay tuned.

Please let me know your thoughts and if there is any specific design or artwork you would like to see… I love the challenge.

 

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Spring Is Here And So Is Our Sale March 20-29th

Spring is in the air! I know it’s true because my eyes get itchy and I find myself sneezing uncontrollably. That being said, we also have an uncontrollable urge to do some Spring cleaning, or spring a sale on you… you see what I did there?

Sunflower Girls By Rafi Perez
Sunflower Girls By Rafi Perez

Both Klee and I have some fun sales going on. Such as 15% off of selected works of art and special deals on shipping.

Visit Our Store Rafi And Klee

Klee’s Sale – Spring Sale Event! March 20-29th Enjoy 15% off of every design in my shop. No minimum purchase required, no coupon code necessary. Free domestic shipping on orders of $100 or more.

Tree Of Life Pendant Necklace - Lady Tree - 14k Yellow Gold Filled - Fossilized Coral - Genuine Grey White Diamonds - First Bloom
Tree Of Life Pendant Necklace – Lady Tree – 14k Yellow Gold Filled – Fossilized Coral – Genuine Grey White Diamonds – First Bloom

Some pieces started selling the moment we activated the sale, this art (Wisdom Of The Deep) already sold as part of the sale, and although I’m sad to see it go, I am happy that it has a new home in Pennsylvania.

Art By Rafi This Week #1
Wisdom Of The Deep 46″X41″ By Rafi Perez SOLD

Our sale runs until the end of day on the 29th of March 2018. If you go on our online store it lists all the sale prices. Have fun, and if you have any questions please email us!

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This Moment Is An Opportunity

As this week comes to a close, I look around my messy studio and ponder the events that lead up to this point. Several projects in their half finished state screaming for my attention, wanting the closure that all artistic creations seek.

Yet, in this myriad of untidy unrest I find myself happy.

Rafi in a messy art studio

Not because of the mess… I’m actually not fond of messes. I feel like your mind is a reflection of your surrounding, so a cluttered mind equals a cluttered house. In my case a holy crap batman studio equals a holy crap batman mind.

I think it’s because this week I was very deliberate about how I spent my time. I looked at every moment as a gift and decided to spend it doing something meaningful.

Rafi in a messy art studio

Now, I have a lot of projects that I’m working on, such as artworks, pieces for the art hunt, videos, planing an exhibition, so you would think my time is always pretty deliberate… but it’s not.

Recently, I had gotten in the habit of sitting on my couch in the studio and vegging out. Like full on, staring at nothing for who knows how long, minus the drool… that’s gross.

I realized that during that time, I wasn’t thinking about what I was thinking. I was just thinking random things and not necessarily noticing what I was thinking. It wasn’t good things either, I was complaining to myself about things and not even noticing that I was complaining.

Rafi in a messy art studio

So, I decided to pay attention, I was going to think about the things that I decided to think about, not just random happenstance.

And so, when I looked around today, I saw passion and a sense of love for what I do. I felt full… much better than sitting there mindlessly wondering what I would do if I was fighting a zombie dressed as a clown… Not that I wouldn’t take an opportunity to think about it, but it’s so much cooler when you do it deliberately.

So, what’s on your mind?