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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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Pensacola Art Event – The Stuff Of Life

There comes a point in life as an artist where you reach a milestone. This is it for me. It is happening on Tuesday, June 29 from 6-8 pm. I have admired and loved what Luna Fine Art Gallery has been doing for the last couple of years and have wanted to feature my art there and be a part of that creative family. Anyone that knows me knows that the connections I make in life with other humans are meaningful beyond measure. I have loved the friendships I have cultivated with people who have supported and rooted for both Klee and me during our creative journey.

In working with Luna, I have become friends with two extremely creative and giving people that I am honored to share this milestone with.

The Stuff of Life: Depictions of the Human Experience of a Rogue Artist.

I know that this show is a celebration of my creative career, but I wanted to make sure I celebrated Luna’s efforts and encouragement. My exhibition would not be what it is without their creative ability to see something that may not have been so clear to me. I am beyond excited to share my solo exhibition with you because of this. So a big shout out to the gallery directors, Lisa Puzon and Shaughnessy Johnson for being so absolutely amazing.

If you are reading this, chances are you have followed me throughout my creative journey, some of you have been there since the beginning. I adore you and I want to give you a shout-out as well. The thing that makes this show so special to me is that some of you have had a huge impact on my life and it is reflected in the art that I create. This is our show. An exhibition of the amazing moments I have shared with you in the last decade or so.

The Exhibition is called The Stuff of Life: Depictions of the Human Experience of a Rogue Artist.

This exhibition is a testament to the human spirit. To the beauty and power, we all possess as humans. It is the culmination of a 10-year creative journey where I challenged myself to stand in my own skin and allow myself to see the beauty in the world. This is the sharing of the calling within each work that I create to explore and understand the human experience.

Over 30 Artworks By Rafi

There will be seating, some words will be spoken by some amazing humans (including Klee, she is nervous and would appreciate your support), and refreshments on opening day. I would love it if you joined us. We will also have a special unveiling and a lot of fun so prepare yourself for an epic time.

WHAT: Art Exhibition – The Stuff of Life: Depictions of the Human Experience of a Rogue Artist.
WHEN: Tuesday, June 29 from 6-8pm – Ballroom A
WHERE: Luna Fine Art Gallery, Hilton Pensacola Beach,12 Via De Luna Dr, Pensacola Beach FL 32561
WHY: Because this is going to be amazing. You are going to want to bring friends as well so you can show them how cool you are.

Find out more about the show and how awesome it is going to be by watching the video below:

For all of the amazing humans that follow us online and are from all parts of the world, we will be recording the event and sharing it with you next weekend.

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Artist Leaves 100 Sculptures Around Pensacola FL

On June 8th, in the early morning hours, I left something special around the beautiful town of Pensacola, FL, in the form of 100 sculptures.

I was inspired by the recent sale of a sculpture by artist Salvatore Garau. His sculpture auctioned off for $18K, but I wanted my sculptures to be displayed prominently around town for everyone to enjoy.

This particular project required days of planning and plotting to pull it off, after all, 100 sculptures are a lot of works of art. Luckily, I made them small enough to handle in one trip in my vehicle, and Klee helped me move them into place. I wanted them to be small enough for people to take home. I only ask that they do not take home multiples.

Artist Rafi Perez With Some Of His Sculptures

Because the sculptures are small, I estimate the value of each at about $500.

Salvatore Garau said of his sculpture, “It is a work that asks you to activate the power of the imagination.”

In February of this year, at the Piazza Della Scala in Milan, Salvatore Garau exhibited BUDDHA IN CONTEMPLATION. As seen in the picture, this sculpture is marked out by square tape on the cobble-stone.

BUDDHA IN CONTEMPLATION

I determined that the tape would eventually fade and fall apart, so it was unnecessary. In fact, I believe it is damaging to the sculptures, and thus, none of my sculptures are marked out by tape.

The 100 sculptures have been left in prominent areas around downtown Pensacola and displayed by some of my favorite businesses.

My sculpture series is called “No hay nada aquí,” and I hope they will bring much joy to the beautiful people of Pensacola. I also hope this inspires other artists around the world to share their art with their favorite places. I plan on expanding on this series and displaying them around New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami. My ultimate plan is to eventually display the series in cities and towns around the world.

Salvatore Garau said, “The vacuum is nothing more than a space full of energy, and even if we empty it and there is nothing left, according to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, that nothing has a weight. Therefore, it has an energy that is condensed and transformed into particles, that is, into us.”

However, my sculptures are made up of the evaporated tears of a captured chupacabra who cries when tickled with a fiery Pheonix feather. Since the artist mentions the Heisenberg uncertainty principle in the wrong context, I would like to say that my pieces are explained by the theory of relativity. So there is your explanation with some physics thrown in.

Close Up Of Sculptures “No hay nada aquí.”

I also have a painting that is part of this series for sale in my store. Please check it out by clicking on the image below. Once you see the listing make sure to click on the “find out how to purchase” button for some additional info.

“Esto Es Aire” Invisible Painting Original Wall Art by Artist Rafi Perez Unseeable Medium on Intangible Canvas 48X48

To hear more about our thoughts on this particular art style, you can watch the video below.

Also if you happen to be in the Pensacola Beach area Rafi will be having a solo exhibition at Luna Fine Art Gallery at the Hilton On Pensacola Beach (12 Via De Luna Dr, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561) from June 29th – September 9th. By the way, this show will have tangible paintings you can see and touch, although I may bring some of my invisible sculptures.

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We Are All Powerful

It can be very easy to feel small sometimes. The world is so big. The universe is massive. Time keeps moving. In the grand scheme of things our life is but a speck on the camera lens. Yet, we are so much more than we may realize.

We were all born with this amazing power within us. Many people don’t seem to acknowledge the gifts that they have and instead choose to conform to the status quo. It saddens me to see these magical people never go for the things they want out of life. They choose to live what is considered a normal life by the people around them. Never willing to take that first step. Why is that?

CHANGE IS SCARY.
Some of us resist change at all costs. We may do this because we fear that a change will alter the stability we feel. We can be habitual creatures who tend to feel a sense of safety and security when we know what to expect. The problem is that everything changes and evolves. Everything grows and nothing will stay the same, resisting change may lead to a comfortable stagnation in your life. Embracing and becoming comfortable with change allows you to expect the unexpected and not be controlled by fear. It allows you to challenge yourself to believe that no matter what circumstances or situations arise, you will be able to navigate them.


NOT WORTH TAKING THE RISK.
Let’s be honest, not changing can be a risk. However, change is often more associated with risk. Taking a chance on yourself and following your dreams is a risk. Going against the grain is a risk. Creating an art career is a risk. Driving your car to the store is a risk. Everything in life is risky. We tend to forget that we take calculated risks hundreds of times a day in the smallest of decisions. We make determinations and predict outcomes all the time, but at the end of the day, big or small, they’re all just guesses. Following your dreams feels risky because you may have spent many years talking yourself out of it. The question isn’t “is it risky?” because everything is. The question is, are you willing to face the risks? Do you believe that YOU have what it takes to persist through the suck?

If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.

― Charles Bukowski, Factotum

We all have our own gifts to bring to the world. It could be music, art, poetry, books, leadership, innovation, architecture, love, a smile, conversation, or anything. If these gifts are not making it into the world because you are afraid of the change it will bring or it is too much of a risk, remember your power. The only way these gifts can manifest is by the investment in yourself, believing in yourself, and being willing to go all the way. Persist through the suck. You have the power within you to leave the world a little different than when you came into it.

You are special, you are worth it, and you can do anything you set your mind on. Everything we see around us was created by a human who persisted through the suck, and held onto a desire to live life beyond what they know.

Go all the way, you have the power to do that.

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Are You Too Emotional?

This month has been personally challenging for us… well, this year has been a challenging cluster of fudge. No matter how much we try to avoid negative crap in our lives, crap happens sometimes… or a lot of times. 

For the most part, Klee and I focus on the positive and look on the bright side of things. Even then, there are times that can get overwhelmingly craptastic. It should come as no big surprise that when stuff goes wrong, things tend to stack one on top of the other. 

This is where the last proverbial straw can easily break the camel’s back. 

“That’s the last straw!!! I can’t take this anymore!!” may come out of your mouth or other less PG statements which all mean the same thing… I have had enough.

No matter how much we focus on the positive and look on the bright side of things, there is always a chance of being overwhelmed by negative emotions and dark thoughts. In other words, when it feels like it is just too much, it is easy to lose your shit.

Some people build a wall around this because they see it as a weakness to get angry or emotional. Usually, these people are more concerned about what other people may think of them, so behind closed doors they struggle in solitude while the world around them only sees what they want them to see. Honestly, this is the culture we all live in. It is normal to put up a strong front for other people when you are literally falling apart inside.

On the flip side to this, you have people that easily lose their shit and become volatile. They are so consumed by their own drama that they completely overlook what the people around them are going through. They become absorbed by what is happening to them and want others to feel empathy without feeling empathy themselves.

I grew up with examples of both.

With one person, I had no idea what they were actually feeling so I would overcompensate to try and get an emotional response. I always felt like I couldn’t get anywhere with them, and when I broached on a subject that was buried, they would lash out and get defensive… that’s usually where the conversation ended and I would walk away feeling like I had done something wrong. Most times this person would tell me I was doing it wrong and it was my fault that they didn’t open up.

With the other person, I was constantly walking on eggshells to make sure I didn’t say, do or have something random go wrong because it would set them off. This is where you try and control circumstances in the environment because you want the other person not to encounter a trigger. I was perpetually trying to predict and prevent anything that would make them upset. Again, I would overcompensate and usually cause a situation to become worse. When this person had a meltdown, they usually got upset with whoever was there and lashed out.

The interesting thing is that everyone has these moments, moments where shit gets to you. Some of us have an explosive moment and reflect and realize that is not who they are or who they want to be… many don’t. 

It’s like the social norm is to be either a person who doesn’t allow feelings to break their social appearance, or you are just an emotional wreck.

The thing is, WE ALL HAVE EMOTIONS… AND WE ALL HAVE A CHOICE ON HOW WE DEAL WITH OUR EMOTIONS. We all lose our shit sometimes, even if you bury feelings or use them as a weapon. The problem is not knowing that there is a big difference between reacting or choosing to respond. I think growing up being called too emotional or that we don’t have feelings is the reason people are not educated in dealing with their emotions.  

Reacting: Something triggers an emotion and you react with a knee-jerk response that is typical of the way you usually react. You tell people things like “Whenever YOU do that it causes me to do this, so stop doing it that way.” Some of these reactions have been repeated thousands of times over your lifetime and are usually learned habits. When this happens, there are usually conditions in place that need to be met in order to trigger it or make it go away.

Responding: Something triggers an emotion and you react with a knee-jerk response that is typical of the way you usually react. At some point (either right away or when you are in the midst of the reaction fog) you stop and take your focus off of the trigger and ask yourself “Is this who I want to be?” Understanding that you are dealing with your own habits and you can chip away at those little by little. You also understand that you have to face the feelings to actually make some headway. This means being brutally honest with yourself. It will require you to say things you don’t want to hear about your behavior and insecurities that you feel control you. This is the hardest part and why it’s easier to lash out and bury the dark feelings. Unless you confront those deep dark recesses of yourself, you may never release whatever is causing the emotional reaction.

Yesterday I shared a motivational artist mp3 with our rogue artists on Patreon. Motivational MP3’s are something I’ve created for myself over the last ten years. Basically, it’s me talking to myself, reminding myself of something that is easy to forget when a particular shit hits a particular fan in my life.

Listen To Rafi’s Motivational MP3’s

I have some recordings on staying motivated as an artist, continuing on despite the obstacles, and remembering that I get to choose my life no matter what the naysayers or I might think. They are my way at chipping away at the habits of insecurity that I may have. 

When you go down a downward spiral of reacting to anything in a negative way (person place or thing) things can easily stack on top of each other and next thing you know, you feel like you are drowning in molasses. 

As an artist, it is easy to feel discouraged, unmotivated, or even stupid and frivolous. We tend to feel lost in a wilderness of solitude surrounded by a world that doesn’t respect or understand what we do or why we do it. It’s easy to feel like you are losing. 

We are constantly just waiting for things to get easier.

I’m sorry, but I am going to be brutally honest with you now… Things never get easier, we just grow, evolve, and find better ways in overcoming obstacles. We form new habits and learn to smile more. We learn to not dwell on the past, or let our negative thoughts (or someone else’s) shape our world. 

It is the struggles, hardships, and moments where we feel we can’t keep going that make us stronger. These are the moments where you have an opportunity to show yourself once and for all who you really are.

So if you have what I like to call “A Momentary Lapse Of Brilliance” that’s fine. Just respond to it. It doesn’t define you. There is no such thing as TOO emotional, or NOT emotional enough… they are both ways of not confronting our own emotional shit.

So get mad and lash out and refuse to let it control you. You fight. You cry. You curse. You punch. You wave your fists at the heavens. Don’t blame the person, place, or thing… look at your own insecurities.

Tell your insecurity,  your bad day, your crappy situation, or whatever else “NOT TODAY!”

I GET TO CHOOSE

I GET TO DECIDE HOW I FEEL TODAY.

I’M IN CONTROL OF WHO I CHOOSE TO BE EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY. 

AND TODAY, I AM FOCUSED ON THE FACT THAT I AM A BADASS.

Then you live your damn life like the badass that you are. 

Remember, chip away… You may only be a teeny bit more badass than yesterday and THAT IS BADASS 🙂

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How Do I Feel About Raccoons Creating Art?

The other day I ran across an article with the title “These Raccoons Are Creating Abstract Masterpiece Paintings Using Their Tiny Paws.”

After almost spitting out my coffee, I was overcome with a myriad of emotions. At first, I was like “What the hell? An abstract masterpiece… really?”

My indignation didn’t stop there. I then proceeded to go into a mental tirade about the mainstream art world and how it is a miracle that anyone takes artists seriously. This very unproductive moment of my life lasted about five minutes that I’ll never get back.

My second thought, once I came back from the brink of declaring war on the art world and the raccoons who inhabit it, was “Dammit, they’re so cute.”

So why did I get mad about cute raccoons selling art?

Because no matter how much I try to remind myself that the art world is not a dog eat dog competition, I sometimes have momentary lapses of my brilliant optimistic self. As insecure artists, we can sometimes turn our nose up at things simply because we are being jackasses with no sense of fun.

Why am I telling you this story? Because I almost passed up the perfect marketing lesson. I was too wrapped up in feeling undervalued, too wrapped up in feeling like a victim to the status quo. This would have been a very stupid move considering that my next book is going to be about “Rogue Marketing” which is all about taking the status quo and throwing it out.

These raccoons have a YouTube following, create and sell art, have weird names, use their own techniques to paint(paws), and have a whole bunch of pictures of themselves on the internet… It’s like looking in the mirror.

So what can I learn from the phenomenons that are the painting raccoons?

It started as a fun project. Their creative spirit is fostered thanks to the help of their humans Mitchell and Sarah Thyme. They came up with the idea to let their raccoons paint by observing the behavior of the creatures. “Raccoons are constantly touching things with their hands to gather sensory information,” Sarah said, “and we saw our raccoons doing it, so we thought painting would be a fun activity for them.”

The truth is, these raccoons are doing exactly what I recommend for artists who are just getting started. Create art and put yourself out there in the arena… and try not to take yourself too seriously.

They are telling a story and have a purpose. If you go to their website, it is not just “Hey look, this raccoon is painting.” Tito the Raccoon shares his adventures on Instagram and YouTube to change the stigma about raccoons, who people commonly think are pests. He wants to spread the message that not every raccoon is a rabid, feisty animal (though Tito does not support everyone keeping a raccoon as a pet).

There are cute baby raccoon pictures and stuff… it’s fucking adorable.

It’s unique to them. The really important thing is that they have done something to set them apart. They are not following what everyone else is doing. It is cute raccoons creating art.

It’s fun. I think that sometimes as artists we forget the nature of that childlike desire to create and share our creations with others. We make it way too serious, maybe because we want to be taken seriously.

Being Childish Is Fun

Are they masterpieces? Will they sell for millions of dollars some day? Are they “HIGH ART”? Is it even really art if a human isn’t the one creating it? I don’t know, and I don’t really care… it’s fun, and the raccoons are enjoying themselves, that much is clear from all the social media and videos.

So before you scoff at someone nailing a banana to the wall of a gallery, or someone signing a urinal, or a raccoon painting a masterpiece… consider not taking it all so seriously, and have fun.

I think we might all benefit from this lesson in so many ways… Thank you Tito the raccoon. Unfortunately Tito has gone missing, hopefully he’ll return home soon.

If you want to check out Tito the raccoon’s artwork check him out here.

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ARTROVERTS! UNITE! Being Successful As An Artist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be unapologetically awkward, be creative, be an ARTROVERT.

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

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

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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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Stir Crazy, Awesome Podcasts, And Staying Connected

Today I woke up and realized that it’s been about two and a half weeks since I have ventured out of the studio. Although our art studio is one of the coolest places to be, it’s easy to start feeling a little stir crazy.

Last time we went out, we hunted down supplies and scored toilet paper… good times, good times.

My book is NOT toilet paper… not yet anyhow.

Today I went outside and did a little stretching in the yard, hugged Klee, and returned into the studio and am currently listening to some music while I create.

I had a lovely surprise in the form of a Podcast from Curious Kirby, in which she interviewed Klee and me.

Kirby asked us all kinds of interesting questions, and it was a blast. You can listen by visiting her site here.

I avoid watching or reading the news. As you can imagine, there’s not much out there but doom and gloom, which is not very inspiring for creating art. Honestly, I haven’t felt very inspired lately.

Mostly, I’ve been recording and editing the audiobook for ‘The Rogue Artist’s Survival Guide’ and trying to keep my wits about me.

Klee and I are used to being at home and not going out much, but even still, we have to keep a close eye on our attitude towards ourselves and each other. It can be easy to lose your shit over stupid things, especially when you are recording an audiobook, and every sound in the house sounds like a firecracker.

It was excellent listening to the podcast in the studio. I could feel the old familiar sense of inspiration bubbling up from deep down inside, where I tried to bury it. It was under several layers of apathy, numbness, and what-the-fuckery that I was feeling earlier today. I suddenly felt alive again and ready to write. I had a mission! I had something to say again!

As you know, we’re enduring a global pandemic. (I only remind you because in 10 years when you’re reading this we will have forgotten what a goddamned shit show we experienced.)

I think during this time it is important to remember to smile and enjoy the little things… the things we can enjoy.

We are more connected than ever before. This blog, facetime, live streams, social media, podcasts, and so much more. We can create, connect, and love one another.

Sure, we may have to keep our distance, but it doesn’t mean we can’t FEEL connected.

We are still doing all of our YouTube videos from the studio

I adore you!

-Rafi

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Sometimes Life Happens And It Sucks

I have been told on occasion that I’m so lucky to be able to live the life I live. Someone sees a snapshot of my life as an artist on social media and thinks that is the whole picture. As if everything is easy and just sunshine and rainbows float around my life. The truth isn’t as glamorous.

I try to be as honest and authentic as I can be with any content that I share with the world, but even then you are only getting part of the picture. In a world saturated with smiley faces and picture-perfect snapshots of everyone else’s life, it is easy to think that you are alone in feeling unhappy.

We all have our moments. When you see a picture of me creating a work of art, you don’t see all the insecurity, doubt, and worries I may have at the moment. When you see a picture of me smiling, there is no way to know if I have lingering doubts in the background of my mind.

Back to back questions can fill my head like “Am I going to have enough money to pay the bills this month? Do my children hate me? Can I pull off this next art project even though I feel like an impostor? Am I doing enough to promote myself? Why do I feel so invisible? Why am I so fat? YouTube is probably slowing down because I’m old and ugly? Aaaaaarg!”

Sometimes Life Happens And It Sucks

You know… I woke up this morning feeling unmotivated and defeated. The book is eating up a huge portion of my life right now, and my days are spent sitting on the couch typing. I can easily get overwhelmed trying to balance writing a book and running my entire art and media business. Throw a small wrench into the mix like a water pipe bursting over your bed and all of a sudden it seems like the end of the world.

No matter how wonderful someone’s life may seem, we all have insecurities creep up, we all feel overwhelmed sometimes, and we all have things we are afraid of.

This morning, I feel like I’m a failure at my art business, YouTube, Patreon, and life. I hardly make any income from all the work I put into a lot of online platforms and I have to wonder if I’m wasting my time. Am I wasting my time writing this blog? I feel like I’m letting everyone who believes in me down and everything I create is crap.

From art to podcast, to videos, to life choices, to writing, to everything I do, it all feels like crap. I feel like everything I try to do is harder than it should be, and I feel isolated and alone.

Listen, I’m not sharing this with you because I think my life sucks or anything. I also don’t want you to think I’m complaining, because I’m not. I just want you to know that you are not alone, we ALL have days where our thoughts are less than satisfied with our lives. We all have those moments where we look in the mirror and don’t like what we see. No matter how wonderful you think someone’s life is, I guarantee that daily, they may have something they are struggling with.

I think the reason I keep going with everything is a stubborn determination to smile. I don’t quit. I know that at some point during the day, I’m going to discourage myself. I know that there is a huge possibility that I’m going to call myself names. I am probably going to worry about the future and make myself feel bad about the choices I’ve made.

I know that a part of me will do whatever it takes to keep me comfortable, small, and hopeless. That is a safe place to be because you don’t take risks from that place. You don’t put yourself and your ideas out there if you feel that you don’t matter. My brain will do whatever it can to protect me from rejection or failure… even go as far as saying some really hurtful stuff in my own head and heart.

Insecurities are complex and hard to describe. We all have them, and they are all different and multifaceted.

I just don’t buy into mine as often as I used to, and when I do… I remind myself that when you are about to make a breakthrough, that’s when the negative voices in your head get louder and more desperate. I also don’t give myself any labels that are damaging. You may be feeling depressed, but you are not depressed, it is a momentary feeling.

We all go through this, and we all deal with it in our own way. I channel my emotions into all my creations and find a way to feel empowered by the experience.

Some commiserate with each other, some find a way to smile despite all the setbacks and some rise above the crap. Some choose to believe in themselves and focus on their life, and others compare their lives to what they assume others are experiencing.

It is after the experience, where I have faced the worst of it that you may see a picture of me smiling on social media. Shit happens, life can feel like it sucks, and times can be tough, but you get to determine how you respond to all of it. If your day sucks, then so be it, but don’t isolate yourself by thinking you’re the only one.

I share this with you because I think you’ve got this. I’ve got this… we can be heroes of our own story. We can all be champions of our own life… Just gotta choose to be awesome and roll with the punches.