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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
View the amazing artwork of the Rogue Artists in this amazing show. The Challenge for inside out had three parameters:
Parameter 1 – Juxtaposition of Inside/Outside and whatever that means to you. Can be emotional, physical, topographical, etc.
Parameter 2 – Incorporate a tree that represents one side of this duality. The tree can be as literal or abstract as you like ie: made of mechanical parts, composed of sound, a combination of fantastical elements, etc.
Parameter 3 – Incorporate a landscape that represents the other side of this duality. The landscape can also be as literal or abstract as you like ie: a completely imaginary landscape, a soundscape, or an interpretation of a landscape memory, etc.
I am excited to share these with you because they really push some boundaries. If you are interested in any of the pieces below that are for sale, please contact the artist. Enjoy this awesome show. You can watch the video below, enter the virtual gallery (on a different site), or scroll down this page.
Esther L Jones
Artist Name: Esther L Jones Best Way To Contact Artist: https://www.estherljones.com Is It For Sale: Yes Price: $272.00 Name Of Piece: These Rocks Are Thee Artist Statement: This piece exemplifies a poem I’ve loved for years: the title is my favorite line from the poem. The rocks can be seen as a hindrance or as protection. The lack of nutrients and harsh landscape can be perceived as a desert that deprives or a place that forces slow and difficult but very strong growth.
Ellen von Reiser
Artist Name: Ellen von Reiser Best Way To Contact Artist: Commissions@starrynightdiner.com Is It For Sale: No Name Of Piece: Secret Garden Artist Statement: This piece is full of significance for me personally. Every object has a story. The garden is full of things I love or admire. The forest is full of my current life. The piece was drawn in Adobe Fresco with an Apple Pencil.
Artist Name: Angel Coleman Best Way To Contact Artist:
Is It For Sale: No Name Of Piece: Picnic With Mom But Without Her Artist Statement: This was a very emotional piece for me to sculpt. Mom is the center of the family though her illness is larger than life and hangs over the entire family. She is oblivious to her children and husband that play around her. Only the alcohol brings color to her life. Emaciated and haggard, she continues to drink until the poison spills out of her and will eventually spoil the family outing.
Sherry D Beckstead
Artist Name: Sherry D Beckstead Best Way To Contact Artist: FB.com/sherrysoilpaintings.com Is It For Sale: Yes Price: $1,500.00 Name Of Piece: Path to Consciousness Artist Statement: This piece represents the duality of life. The tree represents humanity standing in the reality of the now. While the landscape represents our ever-searching path for something more that can only be found within us. The higher consciousness of our beingness.
Artist Name: Jeanne GFellers Best Way To Contact Artist: email Is It For Sale: No Name Of Piece: Growth Along the Road of Disability Artist Statement: 5″x7″ This is a very personal collage piece. The desert landscape bears many but certainly not all the negative wordage I’ve heard over the decades as an author, artist, and disabled person. Defying these words is the full-of-life woodland being who is turning it all out and wears positive affirmations. This happy tree person is who I strive to be. Pushing the multi-layered negative BS aside and the resulting growth hasn’t been an easy process, that’s for certain, but it’s been my unique road to take and one I’m still on. You can find my writing and art at https://jeannegfellersauthor.com
Artist Name: Melissa Peacock Best Way To Contact Artist: firstname.lastname@example.org Is It For Sale: Yes Price: $200.00 Name Of Piece: Be Productive Artist Statement: Visiting the peach orchard for the last time, I was shocked to see the trees had hollowed out until there was only bark left. My grandpa filled the trunks with wooden planks and wrapped them with ropes so that the trees could have one last productive year. Despite being half-dead, the orchard was ready with its harvest of peaches as usual. Relatable.
Artist Name: Debbie Tlach Best Way To Contact Artist: email@example.com Is It For Sale: No Name Of Piece: Feeling Human Artist Statement: The will to grow as a feeling human in the face of forces (relentless cogs) that can cause us to retract and shut down (emotionally or otherwise). We can consciously decide our reactions to these forces (hopefully to deeply feel & still flourish). artistgirlsmuse on Instagram
Artist Name: Corey Johnston Best Way To Contact Artist: email Is It For Sale: No Name Of Piece: The Tree of Hopes and Dreams Artist Statement: Digital Art, Procreate App, 12.9″ iPad Pro and Apple Pencil
This piece is about stepping out of dark vast empty space, and toward an inner light that is brighter and laden with potential, but scary, too. For me, it is about a state of middle-ness. It is about the transitional state of not knowing whether something is sinister or safe and whether trust can be extended or not. Between being sure and being vulnerable. As Shakespeare said, “To be or not to be.” There is a moment before making the choice, before taking the step, before walking into something unknown from something sure (even if it’s dark and endless). It is about not knowing how to interpret the signs you feel are obviously there. It is about fear of the unknown, even if the known is eternal darkness of endless depth.
I think we learn how to deal with this state in different ways as we grow up. For me, as a young person, this fear was sometimes paralyzing at moments. And I see many young people in my life experiencing the same trepidation of the unknown in their own ways.
Artist Name: Dana Ellis Best Way To Contact Artist: https://www.danaellisart.com/ Is It For Sale: Yes Price: $220.00 Name Of Piece: Letting Go Artist Statement: She feels trapped by her thoughts, her life, her insecurities, and feeling judged. As she sets the bird free, maybe she will free herself.
18″ x 18″ oil painting on stretched canvas. Free US shipping Instagram: dana_ellis_art Facebook: Dana Ellis Art
Artist Name: Annie Sylling Best Way To Contact Artist: firstname.lastname@example.org Is It For Sale: Yes Price: $500.00 Name Of Piece: Inner Peace Artist Statement: I was contemplating this challenge while lying awake one night, happens a lot (the lying awake). This idea popped into my head. Use the challenge to portray keeping inner peace despite the state of the world around us. The painting depicts a girl in meditation surrounded by the chaos of the world. Inside the girl is a peaceful garden with a tree. This is her place of refuge. I believe we can find peace within ourselves while living in a chaotic world. I used a 22″x28″ canvas incorporating collage, acrylics and marker. You can view more of my work here: http://anniesylling.com
Artist Name: Zoe Noble Best Way To Contact Artist: email@example.com Is It For Sale: Yes Price: $1,000.00 Name Of Piece: 2020 Artist Statement: I designed this hoop as a reflection of the year. I wanted to show inside as a tranquil, safe space, so I made the scene outside the window barren and fiery in contrast to the thriving plants inside. I added a landscape painting to the wall to represent our memory of the outside compared to the actual scene out the window. Personally, I started missing school and trying to keep up with classwork at home in my teens when I became chronically ill and disabled, so to me this piece is also representative of my own experience with home being a refuge in comparison to the inaccessible outside world, and how that has become a common experience amid the pandemic. I wanted to make a scene that idealizes staying inside instead of portraying the inside as a prison and framing the outside as the place the viewer wants to be, not only because I think it’s important to protect ourselves and our communities in the midst of a pandemic as much as we can, but also because framing social distancing as a cage is, in my opinion, framing the experiences of disabled people like me that have been staying home and asking for digital access to things like work and school for years as a pitiful or miserable existence, and I don’t think that’s true. While it’s absolutely understandable to miss life before the pandemic, I think it’s important to remember that preferring in-person jobs or classes does not make the digital access we have created a bad thing for everyone.
Artist Name: JulieAnn (TheRosemaryCat) Best Way To Contact Artist: firstname.lastname@example.org Is It For Sale: No Name Of Piece: Theories of Relativity Artist Statement: Graphite on 11×14 Bristol Paper
‘Theories of Relativity’ touches on perspective of both space and time. We often give the concept of time much more power over us than it really has. Time is what we create it to be; it can be either fluid and expansive, or it can be rigid and confining. Likewise, the way each of us sees the world around us makes space subjective, as in how we may perceive the trees outside the window, or the ‘tree’ in the room. Our personal freedom depends on our perspective rather than our environment or circumstances.
TheRosemaryCat can be found on Redbubble.
Artist Name: Cruz Kai Best Way To Contact Artist: cruzkaihawaii.com Is It For Sale: Yes Price: $200.00 Name Of Piece: Interdependent Artist Statement: This painting represents climate change -in which animal, plant life and the humans are directly and indirectly affected. Acrylics on canvas – 16” x 20”
Artist Name: Kelly Sterr Best Way To Contact Artist: Kellysterr@comcast.net Is It For Sale: Yes Price: $480.00 Name Of Piece: Morning Sunrise Artist Statement: 16 x20 Acrylic This piece reminded me of the journeys down the shore when I was younger to go fishing early in the morning with the sun rising up above the horizon.
The Clover Artist
Artist Name: The Clover Artist Best Way To Contact Artist: email@example.com Is It For Sale: Yes Price: $20.00 Name Of Piece: Crystal Spire Growth Artist Statement: I just got the space in my life to figure myself out. Sometimes left feels like an alien planet i’m trying to travers. Sometimes I feel like a small sapling most thought was dead but just waiting for the right conditions to flourish. So I made this striking piece to symbolize how I feel in the alien landscape we all call life. Some problems seems monumental some seem so vast you’ll never reach the other side but if you just keep going, just keep growing it’ll all work out in the end. I create art to enlighten the soul and transport you to magical places thank you for coming along with me on this journey!
Artist Name: Klee Angelie Is It For Sale: No Name Of Piece: Two Trees Artist Statement: This poem is about a being that is trying to understand itself and its relationship with its world, by observing others around it and questioning which ways of “being” are most valuable and fulfilling. In that way, it’s about making comparisons and never-ending questions that don’t provide any real answers. What is underlying the story, is the idea that the being isn’t looking at “others” at all. What it’s really observing is a partial reflection of itself in one direction (representing the past and memories), and a changing shadow silhouette of itself in another direction (representing future hopes and aspirations). Neither provides a full picture, and neither (past or future) allows the being to live in the present moment while it remains wrapped up in these observations and questions. It understands in a way, that it thrives and feels most whole in the present, just being what it is, but it’s unsure if this is a worthy and meaningful existence. I think deep down, it knows it is.
I saw two trees from a distant view, In a distant light, as I focused sight, As I pondered old and I pondered new, As I wondered what’s real, and I wondered what’s life.
One stood by a river, in a valley below, It’s roots appeared strong, but it seemed to quiver. As if never too sure what form it would know, As if never too sure it was there by the river.
But the sun shone upon it, Just like it did me, And even though it was faint and hazy, It felt known, and on it, Just like upon me, There did seem a tangible quality.
As I reflected, a question asked, If I felt uncertain, and what did that mean? Does a strong foundation one can almost grasp, Make for a full life, down by the stream?
One stood by a manor, on a hilltop high, It’s branches immense, almost endless in reach, But no roots to behold, just aloft like the sky, As if never knowing the soils deep.
But the sun shone upon it, Just like it did me, And even though it was changing and vague, It sprawled out, and on it, Just like upon me, There did seem a dynamic something at play.
As I projected, a question anew, If I felt ungrounded, and what of it still? Do dizzying heights one can barely view, Make for a full life, up on the hill?
My companions would come with the light of each day, And would go then each night, and would leave me to wonder. Sometimes I would dream them and such they could stay, But always would daunt me with theories asunder.
What tree would I be, which tree has the knowing? If I only could choose to aspire to one… Which of these two trees truly lives and is growing? Which of these two trees can feel soil and sun?
As for me, I stand present, between these two. As for me, I grow steady, both day and night. From the deepest of depths which embrace my roots, For impossible stars grace my branches alight.
But is it enough if I’m only this day? If I only know now, and with simplest mirth, If I reach ever deeper, but also I stay, In the moment which, each moment, gives me new birth. If I reach ever higher, but also I stay, In the moment which, each moment, renews my worth.
From a singular vantage, endless worlds to unearth.
Artist Name: Marianne Hasseldal Best Way To Contact Artist: my instagram: marrys_gallery Is It For Sale: No Name Of Piece: If I were the last you would choose me Artist Statement: A contrast between life and death. Life symbolized by the tear and death symbolized by the barren landscape reflected in the eye. After many weeks of pondering what to paint for the collab challenge, this vision dropped into my mind very suddenly and I loved the disturbing thought of a tree growing and making an eye its home. This is a digital painting. You can find my work on instagram at https://www.instagram.com/marrys_gallery/ If you are interested in purchasing my art you can send me a message there.
Artist Name: Christopher Doll Best Way To Contact Artist: email, Discord, or JOIN ME ON TWITCH.TV EVERY WEDNESDAY 6PM PST Is It For Sale: Yes Price: $250.00 Name Of Piece: Pressure Inversion Artist Statement: Extreme weather and tornados were frequent dreams, having grown up in Michigan. The skies would turn quickly. It’s a scene I had witnessed several times. The wind picks up, bending the trees. Shredding them. I am outdoors, and there is little time to get underground. Where it’s safe. Often I witness the scene through a door with a window. But it offers no protection. I haven’t yet captured it properly in paint, but I try every few years. 9″ x 12″ Oils on canvas Contact me via email or through my site at https://www.christopher-doll.com
KYLE M WOOD
Artist Name: KYLE M WOOD Best Way To Contact Artist: http://www.kylewoodcreations.com Is It For Sale: Yes Price: $900.00 Name Of Piece: Living Within Worlds Divided Artist Statement: Seeing the line between realities leads to the door of answers, but the door of answers is out of reach. The same tree is organic in one world and mechanical in the other. They are borrowed from each other’s reality to bring a magical light into life. Mixed media on two-foot by three-foot wood panel at three-quarters inch thick. Prints will be available on my site. A small printable version is free on my treasure section of my site.
Sara Vicky Neville
Artist Name: Sara Vicky Neville Best Way To Contact Artist: Email address. Saraartist1508@yahoocom Is It For Sale: Yes Price: $600.00 Name Of Piece: Princess of the moon and her pet cow contemplating whether to jump over cause she afraid of heights Artist Statement: I love the moon. Period. And all things moon-like Saraartist1508@yahoo.com 2/8×10’s..1/11×14. Acrylic
Artist Name: Rafi Perez Best Way To Contact Artist: https://rafiandklee.com/contact-us/ Is It For Sale: Yes Price: $395.00 Name Of Piece: Born Out Of The Cold Artist Statement: This piece symbolizes growth and rebirth. In 2020, especially in the dark winter days, it was easy to get wrapped up in the darkness of it all. The world felt like a dark place. Turmoil, death, and horror seemed to be the main topic of discussion. The piece is about the realization that even in that darkness, you can bring sunshine, you can bring color, and you can bring joy. No matter the circumstance of the world around you, the world you carry inside of you is impacted by you and only you. So even when inundated, you can be born out of the cold and into the warmth. Klee stated that the piece makes her think of spring being born out of winter, which felt very powerful to me and is in line with my feelings. 18X24 Mixed Medium, plaster face (my face)
Artist Name: Thomas Wofford Name Of Piece: Cerat Mirazur Artist Statement: This creation is an interpretation of the collab theme in an extremely abstract vision reflecting on a front view “Cerat” which is outside. The inside vision is a mental picture of “Cerat” and Mirazur which is the vision of blue. The tree representation is slender lines throughout the piece.
Today Klee and I were talking about the art stock market on our podcast. That’s the name we coined for the big-ticket commodities art market that you see blasted all over the news and in documentaries. Considering the amount of press that gets focused on large art auctions and big-name galleries, it’s easy to think that you are not actually an artist until you’ve somehow made it there.
It got me thinking about the way that people perceive the art world in general. When you think about it, what people call the art market in the media, is only about 1% of the actual art market. There is no mention of the everyday people that make up the art market, the real art market, the real world.
The real art world is made up of one-on-one interactions, and I think we forget that sometimes in this media blasted quick paced world. It’s not about how much money the art sold for, or how wealthy the collector is, or how much prestige the sale brought the artist. Honestly, the corporate companies I worked for would print out prestige in the form of “You did real good.” certificates, and I would put them in cheap frames and hang them on my wall as a symbol of how important I was. I feel like we miss the point when we confuse success with awards and accolades. You can add them to your resume, but I feel like we’ve lost the point of what it is all about.
It’s about the friendships developed, and the relationships we establish as artists, with the people that connect with us through the art we create. It’s about the creative process and the astonishing ability to face rejection every day and share your art with the world. It is about the collector who proudly displays your artwork on their wall, or wears it on their body, or listens to it in their car. It is about that connection that would not have been possible if that individual artist did not break through the barriers of fear and share their creations with the world. It would not have been possible without the vast amount of humans out there who buy art because of the value it has to them, not because it has market value.
As an artist who had to make his own way, I have trained myself to see the world quite differently than I used to. Where I once had hopelessness in an impossible art career system, I now see the opportunities, the misdirections to be avoided, and the hope for everyone to pursue their creative spirit.
I think it is easy to forget in this world that is so focused on money and success, that we artists create because of the love of creation. We create to express ourselves and bring back a childlike sense of imagination, wonder, and feeling into our world. Creations that can remind us all to pause and appreciate.
This morning I found myself contemplating my life and the different ways I have lived it. Since I am in the process of writing a book, I am looking at notes and different events in my life that lead me to this point. I am a very happy individual, but I also spent the majority of my life feeling trapped and unhappy.
Growing up, I was influenced by television shows, parents, friends, friends families, teachers, the weird neighbor with the giant hairy mole, and pretty much everything and everyone else in society. I was told that my airy-fairy ideas of becoming an artist, musician, or creative were a cute thing to hold onto as long as I was a child, but eventually I would have to grow out of it. The influences were subtle and mostly unspoken. Most tv shows that I loved involved the man having a job he hated to support his family, the wife stayed at home and took care of the kids, and that’s just how it was. Usually, the job sucked really bad, but the man took solace in the fact that his sacrifice was for his family.
I gotta tell you… that whole scenario of putting your dreams aside, working a job you hate and sacrificing your happiness for the greater good is a piece of crap-turd. First off, that sucks for the man. I was that man for 20 years, and I can tell you, it sucked pretty bad. Second, I wasn’t benefiting my children at all, if anything I was teaching them first hand the same bad influence I had growing up. Third, I started to secretly resent my family because I felt that my sacrifice was being taken for granted, and that slowly tore everything apart.
After that experience I realized that no one had a handle on happiness or what you should do with your life, just a plethora of opinions based on other peoples’ opinions, and the majority of those opinions were outdated crap. It wasn’t out-of-the-box-thinking-trailblazers telling me my dreams were impossible, these were people that had conformed to living a life like everyone else, and most of them weren’t feeling fulfilled or happy.
Listen, I’m not saying you have to work for yourself in order to be happy, you can have a job somewhere and be happy and feel fulfilled. Unfortunately, I think there are a lot of people that just settle for what they can get and ignore the yearning that comes from within, and in my opinion, that’s just misery. I think whether you pursue your own career or you work for someone else, it’s really all about how you choose to live; whether or not you are willing to blaze your own trail or simply conform to the status quo.
Blaze a trail: Find a new path or method; begin a new undertaking. By extension, to be the first to do something, often that which is later emulated or built upon by others. Note: New trails or routes through forests were often marked by `blazing’ which involved making white marks called `blazes’ on tree trunks, usually by chipping off a piece of bark.
If there is anything that I pride myself on now, it is that I stubbornly do things my own way and continue to move forward despite the fact that I may have to pole vault over obstacles every once in a while.
That being said, if there are portions of the well-worn path that suit my needs, I don’t avoid them, but I make sure not to allow myself to get comfortable with the easiness of it.
One thing I can take away from these very unfinished thoughts that I’m sharing with you is this: No matter what, you have a choice. You get to decide how you are going to live your life. Some people may be disappointed by your decisions, and they may even get angry at you… some may never talk to you again. Most people will come around eventually, and they’ll say things like “I always believed in you and knew you could do it” despite what they may have said in the beginning.
I think that no matter what, it is always worth looking at your life and answering one question… if I was on my deathbed right now, would I have any regrets?
I get approached by a lot of artists who are just starting out, who ask me how they can get noticed in a saturated art market. They think there is some trick to it, some magical formula that exists that causes millions of people to suddenly flock to their social media page. Usually, I leave them very disappointed with my answer, because unless you are selling a gimmick, it is going to take time.
What I do tell them is that it is time to take that scary step and stand in the limelight. I also tell them to think of their future followers and collectors as human beings and not just a gathering of statistics. The answer is NOT about having the lowest price, being the best, offering free shipping, or any of the stupid gimmicks people pull to try and close a sale. Besides, amazon already has that jazz on lock-down. Certainly, some of those things are nice, but honestly, in an age where the masses are taking that route it is not going to set you apart. Standing out is about building relationships and that starts with each and every encounter you have. Whether you are developing a relationship online or face to face it is that extra humanity and authenticity that will set you apart.
Be genuinely interested in people. People are what make up businesses, galleries, art studios, and everything else in the world. Create a real connection by actually being interested in them, instead of focusing on what you can get out of the relationship. On social media, it is impossible to look at everyone’s feed, especially when you start to get a lot of followers, but make it a point to acknowledge everyone that makes the time to communicate with you.
Most importantly, ask yourself: how can you add value to their lives after knowing what you know from meeting them. A lot of typical marketing is mass targeted, and with that approach you might as well be throwing a wet sock at the wall and seeing if it sticks (the imagery of both makes me gag a little). When you are genuinely interested in the people you connect with, you reach out to them with specific content or creations that are relevant to them. Things that you know they are interested in because they are interested in the genuine you.
“Be genuine, authentic and have people in your life that will call you out and hold you accountable.” – Jim Palmer
A lot of people will tell you to be unique so that you stand out when you market yourself. What they don’t tell you is that you are already unique. There is no one out there quite like you, nor will there EVER be anyone out there like you. That is why, I think it is most important to be authentic. I think a lot of people will look to someone else as a guide on how to act. The problem with this method is that you are playing a role and eventually that is going to become exhausting. Also, the most loyal collectors will be those who have gotten to know you… the real you.
And last but not least, put yourself out there. Take action, starting today, right now. Open your mouth, let your opinion be known, share your art, share your music, share your writing, share your videos, be remarkable and go big or go home. Putting yourself out there might mean stepping outside your comfort zone, doing something that you have never done before and taking some risks. Push yourself beyond the walls that you have built around yourself for so many years. Stop telling yourself NO and start telling yourself YES. You got this.
At the end of the day, getting noticed is all about realizing that you are remarkable and you have a voice. It’s not about forcing your opinions on someone, but simply speaking your truth and sharing it with the world.
Not well sometimes… but I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve that have helped me get better and better at dealing with poo flinging critics.
I think it is a necessary plight that one will have to get used to when you are putting yourself out there. I am an artist who creates art, music, writing, YouTube videos, and puts them all out there for the world to see… I get a lot of negative criticism.
Comparatively speaking, I mostly get a lot of beautiful comments on my creations. We have a following of some of the most amazing humans I have ever had the pleasure of interacting with.
Yet, negative comments can still throw me off kilter, despite the overwhelming positivity I experience in the world. It’s almost like a temporary reminder that the world isn’t such a wonderful place… and there is an a-hole around every corner, just waiting to jump out and say you suck.
I want to be clear about something, I’m not talking about constructive criticism. Listen, sometimes even a helpful criticism can be hard to hear, and our first response may be to run away flailing our arms helplessly, but sometimes it’s valid. Follow the source and stop for a moment, get off your high horse and check to see if it is valid and constructive. If not, then we are talking about destructive criticism. If the criticism is constructive, then it’s intended to guide you and to help you improve as a person, not to bring you down and make you feel inadequate.
If the criticism is completely invalid, totally off, and only meant to hurt you, then that’s what I’m talking about here.
So what do I do when someone is all “blah blah blah you suck Rafi blah blah blah!” I Don’t take it personally. It takes a miserable person to try and make themselves feel better by giving some misery to someone else… don’t take it, it’s not yours, and it doesn’t belong to you. Understand that people who are in pain say really hurtful things, especially people that may know which buttons to press. Think about a time where you may have said something terrible to someone. Were you in your right mind? Were you in pain? Were you feeling like a victim? Some people live there in that place… don’t take it personally, unless you wanna visit and stay a while.
Understand that it’s your buttons. Why is it that one person can be called ugly and not even react a little, but someone else will blow a gasket? It’s because we all have our own little triggers based on our own insecurities. So if someone says something and it bothers you, take a look and see if you can identify the insecurity or doubt behind the emotion. In my opinion, when someone says something mean and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are full of crap, you hardly even react, but if they touch on something that pushes on an insecurity it can be devastating. Just remember, they are your buttons. Figure out what’s behind it and sort it out.
Keep doing what you’re doing. Are you going to stop being who you are simply because someone spewed some garbage at you? Of course not. If the criticism has no basis whatsoever, then the best thing you can do is to ignore it completely.
Listen, people talk shit all the time because they are not putting themselves out there in the muck, sweating, bleeding and enduring the terrifyingly exhilarating ride that is fulfilling your dreams. They are going to say you can’t sing, you can’t paint, you’re not funny, you’re are not good enough, and everything else that they can say to destroy your hope and get you to stop. Don’t EVER let someone who is not putting themselves out there in the muck discourage you from going all the way. If they are not doing it themselves, and facing critics of their own, then they have no right to talk.
Don’t feel bad if you’re not able to push all of the negative words aside right away. It takes practice to work it out and get to a place where it’s no thing… But you got this.
I know what you’re thinking, oh boy Rafi is going to give us an airy fairy lecture on the universe or some crap like that. Maybe, but I wanted to share a piece of advice that I would have given my younger self. It’s a piece of advice that has changed my life for the better, a different perspective than what is the norm.
When I say everything happens for a reason, I don’t mean what most people mean when they are trying to see the silver lining in a tragedy, because honestly, sometimes there isn’t one. Life can suck royally and sometimes shit happens that we have a hard time bouncing back from.
It’s more about taking responsibility for your life and how you feel. In other words, not blaming yourself or others for the circumstances and events that take place in your life. Understanding that every moment, every circumstance is an opportunity for you to show yourself who you are.
Whether it’s good or bad, if you understand that everything comes into your life for a reason, even though at the time something might seem like your world is falling apart, you’ll be more equipped to handle it.
It is only natural to feel like things are not meant to happen in a negative way — people are not meant to leave, you are not meant to get rejected, accidents are not meant to happen — and if you had done something differently, the situation might have turned out different.
However, as time passes, you realize that things happen, life goes on, and you are left stronger and wiser for it. Sometimes people come into your life to teach you something about yourself, or to bring you to the opportunity to empower yourself. Things that seemed horrible, painful, or unfair at the time usually lead to an opportunity to stand up for yourself. Years later in reflection, you may realize that they happened because you allowed them to happen, and eventually got stronger for it. That is taking responsibility.
So here’s the advice I’d like to give to my younger self:
Everything happens for a reason — understand this. Without mistakes and failure, you would have never learned. Without breakups, you would have never met someone new. Without pain, you would have never grown. Once you understand this — really understand this — you will know that everything can serve a purpose. Don’t dwell on disappointments or view unfortunate events as regrets. But rather, see them as opportunities in disguise — an opportunity to know yourself. Try to understand the fleeting nature of events in life and don’t stress or ever think that life is unfair, because everything happens for a reason. And only time will tell.
When I was born, I was so surprised that I didn’t even talk for a whole year and a half. During that time, no one knew the creativity that was waiting to burst out from my drooling tiny lump of a body. The truth was set free the day I discovered markers and scribbled my art on every surface I could find.
If you want to be creative, do it. Forget the prejudice that creativity is saved for the select few. We are all creative, it’s just a matter of understanding where creativity comes from. We are ALL born with it… It’s definitely not Maybelline.
Honestly, if you’re not feeling creative, the simple fact is that you unlearned creativity, by following rules and being well behaved. No, I’m not saying you have to be an anarchist, but I remember my grade school teacher telling me that I couldn’t draw on or in my folders and notebooks. In my mind I was like “You don’t own these, they’re mine, I can do what I want.” If I hadn’t had that mentality I wouldn’t have gotten so much practice drawing and sketching while my teacher droned on about stuff I wouldn’t remember years later.
Listen, before you complain, I had a lot of teachers who were passionate and had my attention during class… I love those teachers and their classes were memorable, but I also had some crappy teachers who shouldn’t be allowed to mold the minds of young children into the mush they were shoveling.
Creativity can be learned or unlearned, but no matter what, you were born creative. In 1968, Dr. Land tested the creativity of 1,600 children. He re-tested the same children at 10 years of age and again at 15. The results were astounding.
Test results amongst 5 year olds: 98 percent creative
Test results amongst 10 year olds: 30 percent creative
Test results amongst 15 year olds: 12 percent creative
Same test given to 280,000 adults: 2 percent creative
“What we have concluded,” Land wrote, “is that non-creative behavior is learned.”
The creative adult is the child who survived the trials of conformity.
What I gather from this, is that the more you follow the rules, the less creative you become. Luckily, you can just as easily decide to blaze your own trail and ignite your creativity fuse again.
A good way to do that is experimenting, exploring, questioning assumptions, using imagination, going outside comfort zones, starting a project you are not sure you can do, and doing vs thinking about doing.
Also, think in a divergent way. Someone hands you a phone, think about all the different ways you can use the phone that are not what it was meant for. I put my phone on airplane mode and threw it up in the air. WORST Transformer EVER.
Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact — everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.
Also, remember not to take yourself too seriously as a creative. In my opinion a real artist doesn’t need anyone to take them seriously. When I get asked “how did you become so creative?” I usually respond with “I ate a lot of paste as a kid.”
Create what you want, write what you want to read, build what you want to use, cook what you want to eat and share it with the world. If the world responds positively — cool. If not, who cares? At least you’re doing what you enjoy and you are showing yourself what a creative genius you actually are.
As an artist, I work from home, in my studio, on my laptop, at the easel, and sitting on the couch sketching. We have a YouTube channel, Patreon account and other social media where we connect with many people online, but few “real-life” interactions.
Luckily, Klee and I share an art career and get to spend that time together in the studio, but sometimes we can spend over a week inside. There are times when talking with the cashier at the grocery store is the social highlight of our day.
In a world where so much happens online, we have to be careful to not neglect the importance of real face-to-face connection.
I find that sometimes things can feel a little disconnected when you don’t venture out much. Listen, I love our studio time, and I totally thrive as a hermit… but sometimes it can go too far.
If you’re going through a tough time, you might feel especially inclined to isolate yourself, but it’s only going to make things worse. I find that even when I don’t want to be around people, it’s important to surround yourself with people you love, and people who inspire you.
So next time you are feeling a bit down, or you are stuck in your head, go outside. Interact with humans, have fun, and live an adventure with people who inspire you.
Then, once you get your fill, go back to your creative hermit hole inspired to create your next masterpiece.
Upcoming Public Events:
Expedition To The NorthAugust 14, 2021 – September 5, 2021Join us as we travel up north and visit interesting art-centric places along the way!
“THE ROGUE ARTIST’S GUIDE TO ROGUE MARKETING AND MONEY” BOOKS AVAILABLE IN FEBRUARY 2022