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How To Take A Compliment #SBS

The other day, I was at the market and someone gave me a really nice compliment. I then preceded to get weird about it, which pretty much turned it into an awkward situation for the both of us.

Later on, I wondered why I didn’t just take the compliment and say thank you. It’s simple, there are no strings attached and you (and the person complimenting) feel good about the interaction.

I can get into the whole self esteem thing and all that jazz, but I wont. I’ll just say this, if someone is giving you a compliment, just take it… It feels better for everyone involved.


Sketchbook Sunday #SBS

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It’s a zoo in here – Artel Gallery

Opening reception for “It’s a zoo in here” at Artel Gallery was last night. In preparation for the show, I changed my clothes about a hundred times. I finally settled for the first thing I had picked out, and headed out to mingle with the art crowd of Pensacola. Last night I had the opportunity to face another fear. Fear of recognition for winning best of show.

Artel It's a Zoo In Here Show. Photo by James Gaskins
Artel It’s a Zoo In Here Show. Photo by James Gaskins

I know what you’re thinking, “Really dude, fear of being recognized for winning best of show?” 

Yup… It seems pretty interesting to me that I have these hidden fears, that really don’t make much sense, but I can feel them just the same.

I walked in with Klee, and my good friends, Monica and James, they were all my backup in case I started hyperventilating or something.

Rafi Perez Best In Show Artel Gallery
Rafi Perez Best In Show Artel Gallery

When we arrived we were given raffle tickets and welcomed to the show.

Immediately, I was pulled into a conversation with someone who had seen my videos about facing my fear of entering the competition. It was an intriguing conversation about facing fears, and about the caveman instincts that bring those fears up to the surface.

Then, I was asked if I wanted to take a picture with my piece, and I did. Then, I was surrounded by a mob of people, asking about the piece, asking about my history, or simply catching up. People that I adore, that I haven’t seen in a while, and new people that I was meeting for the first time. It pretty much went like that for most of the evening… It was awesome.

Artel It's a Zoo In Here Show. Photo by Margret Hildreth
Artel It’s a Zoo In Here Show. Photo by Margret Hildreth

At least, until they announced the winners. I had won best of show, so I was announced last. There was a thunderous applause, and I wanted to hide, which I successfully did… until Susanne, who was making the announcements said “Where is he, is he here?”

All eyes landed on me, I half waved and probably turned beet red.

Then, it was over. On to the next thing.

They called out the numbers to the raffle, and my friend Monica won chocolate… to which I exclaimed “I never win anything.”

Fellow artist, Marty Campbell replied “Sure you don’t, just best of show.”

All in all, it was an awesome experience, and one that I hope to have again and again.

If you are in Pensacola, and you want to check out the show, it will be running at The Artel Gallery  October 4 – October 28, 2016.

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My Art Teacher Was Wrong

Have you ever had someone tell you that you are not good enough? Did you believe them?

Rafi Perez in Studio
Rafi Perez in his art studio

This picture is of me working in my art studio, creating art for a solo exhibition, because I am a full-time artist, who makes a living from his art. This is not what my teacher predicted… Guess he’s not a psychic.

If I had believed my art teacher in school, when he was telling me that I wasn’t good enough, and that “You will never make it as an artist” I probably wouldn’t be writing any of this right now.

But, I didn’t believe him… Well, eventually.

It’s interesting how such an insignificant event, had such an impact on my career as an artist. I’m sure he doesn’t even remember saying it, but his words stayed with me longer than I’d like to admit.

Watch this video to hear the full story:

Now, I wouldn’t change a thing, because eventually my journey lead me to finding my own confidence, and there is no point in wishing that things had gone differently.

It would be a lie, if I didn’t admit, that every once in a while, I wonder where I would be, had I started my art career sooner… But, it is what it is, and I’m enjoying the ride thus far.

Rafi Was Here Studios
Klee didn’t listen to the naysayers when she started her jewelry business and her work is amazing. She also didn’t listen to the naysayers when it comes to her music. She’s an awesome role model for me.

Why am I sharing this story?

I wanted to reach out to anyone out there that may be experiencing the same thing. Whether it be a creative field, a life goal, or a dream, Don’t ever believe anybody that tells you that you can’t do something.

It took me a few years to learn this for myself, but now that I have, I am unstoppable. I’ve learned that the only way you can ever truly fail at anything, is to give up. With my art career, I had given up, before I even started.

Being Childish Is Fun
My friends Monica and James didn’t listen to the naysayers when starting LunaStella Naturals. Their company is rocking the natural skin and body care market.

Because I lacked confidence in my ability to persevere, I took to heart the comments of naysayers in my family, and eventually my teacher.

Luckily, I put all that crap behind me and I know that the only thing that matters, is whether or not I believe I can do it.

So, if you believe you can do it, (no matter what it is) then you can… plain and simple.

Thank you for reading my rambles! Remember to stay endlessly inspired by the stuff of life.



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Some Like It Hot

Hola awesome!

Have you ever found yourself in an oven, desperately seeking a way out? If you do, then  you’re probably meatloaf… or an artist painting a mural in Pensacola Florida in the summer.

mural 4


It is coming along beautifully, and I’m really proud of the evolution that it has taken. I can’t wait to show you guys the finished product… Soon. It looks like my adventures in painting the Pensacola mural may be coming to an end fairly soon, as I am now putting the finishing touches on it. Of course, it’s me, which means finishing touches may take a couple week.

If there is anything I have learned from this experience, it is that your mindset is everything. It has been overwhelming, amazing, problematic, fantastic, and enlightening. Because of the weather and politics involved it could have been easy to let my mind downward spiral, and it did for a few moments. Luckily, I’m too stubbornly positive.

The other thing I’ve learned is to never schedule a mural in the middle of a deadly Summer heat wave… Yay me! That’s it for now, I’m going to get back to my movie… Fiddler on the roof… LOVE THIS MOVIE!

I’ll update you soon! Thank you for being so awesome!


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Be Childish and be happy

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

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

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

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

Rafi and Kee Artists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy and have fun.

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Drunk Art Critics And Masochistic Angels

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

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

Rafi Perez Art 2016
Rafi Perez Art 2016


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

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

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

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

“Nope.” Said me.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

“Really, how so?” Asked me.

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

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

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

I cut him off at that point.

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

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

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

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


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The Secret To Being A Success

I had an interesting time titling this article, I must have typed and deleted the title a bazillion times. I don’t think I’ve ever actually thought about success and whether or not I’m qualified to talk about it. I’ve written blogs on success before, but usually those came at a moment where I was feeling successful and didn’t think much of it. I decided to dig a little deeper and see if I could define success for myself.

When you look up the definition of success in the dictionary, or the inter-nary as I like to call it you find this:

noun: success; plural noun: successes
  1. the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
  2. the attainment of popularity or profit.
  3. a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity.

Let’s take a closer look at the definitions.

The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

True, if you set out to accomplish something and you do, you will most definitely feel successful. Or if you feel like you are doing something that has purpose and accomplish it, again you would feel like you succeeded at something great. I’ve set several goals in my life that I have accomplished and have felt that sense of accomplishment and success. I wanted to be in publications and currently have 22 frames with several snippets of articles and interviews in magazines, newspapers and television. I set out to be a full time artist and this is what I do for a living. I decided that I was going to create art that I enjoy and not cater outside of what I enjoy and I’ve developed a following for my style of art. For all intent and purpose I am a success, but I have new goals that I haven’t accomplished yet. Does that mean that I’m not a success? The fact of the matter is that we will always have new goals as we move forward through life, so I’m not sure if this definition fully covers success. I think its a partial definition, like winning a game of hopscotch and proclaiming “Success!”

I guess if you are popular and make a bit of money you would feel successful. I have a friend who constantly tells me I’m famous, I don’t believe her, but she insists that it’s true. I’ve had moments waiting in line at the grocery store with an awkward amount of groceries juggled in my arms (because who needs a cart) and had people recognize me and tell me how amazing they think my art is. I also make a pretty good living with my artwork, but in all honesty I’m figuring all this stuff out. Do I feel successful when I’m waiting in line at the gas station for the bathroom and someone recognizes me and wants to take a picture? Probably a little. I think this definition doesn’t really cover success, you can lose your popularity and profit, and that would probably not feel all that great if that is your definition of success.

a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity.

Again, reaching a desired goal and making huge amounts of money could make you feel successful. As I stated before, goals are always changing, evolving and being reached. In fact, it’s impossible to fail at anything unless you give up right away, and money comes and goes. I don’t think this is a good definition either.

Looking closely I have the realization that success is a feeling. All three of these definitions would help you feel successful but I don’t think any of them are the cause for success. Like most definitions, it’s based on the external environment, other people acknowledging that you are a success is based on the above criteria. This doesn’t mean that you feel successful to yourself. Besides, if you are dependent on what other people think of you, then you have a long roller coaster ride of emotions  ahead of you.

I think feeling successful is up to you. If you set the goal to smile every day, laugh, dance around in your underwear like a fool, enjoy the sun, look in the mirror and fall in love with yourself, I think these little things are what success should be rated on. Obviously, it’s not the typical way of seeing success, but I do think that if these things were important we would have more people striving and aiming for a goal to just be happy and enjoy life… Have fun, live long and prosper.

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Sometimes You Just Have To Be A Unicorn

So, not everyone can be a unicorn. Unicorns are mythical creatures who drink coffee in the morning and focus on the magic of life. Usually they are referred to as Pollyanna or someone who wears rose colored glasses. I take it back, EVERYONE can be a unicorn, but some don’t find it practical.  They think you have to keep your eyes open and live in the REAL world.

Honestly, the real world is just a subjective interpretation of what you see with your brain, the meaning you’ve attached to said items or circumstances is all you. Basically, we are all simply making this shit up as we go. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, it simply is the way it is. It’s the reason two people will argue two completely opposing views and both believe that they are completely correct in their argument.

I figure, if we are all just making it up as we go, why not just be a unicorn and make every day awesome.

I’ve been working on some pieces lately that are slightly out of my comfort zone. I’ve been interviewed on TV, in the newspaper and was asked to write a guest article for a magazine recently… Things like that are also outside of my comfort zone. Usually when I am doing something that makes me slightly nervous or is beyond what I think I can do, there is that voice of negativity that says,

“You know, you’re going to mess this up and make an ass of yourself.”

Luckily, my unicorn self is also there and says

“You’re going to be amazing, just be yourself and have fun… you’ll be great.”

That’s why I think, sometimes you just gotta be a unicorn.

My first SOLO art show, talk about shitting bricks. Luckily my unicorn self has my back.

My first SOLO art show, talk about shitting bricks. Luckily my unicorn self has my back.



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Am I Inspired?

If you are a creative person, chances are you’ve asked this question.

I find that if you feel joy constantly as you are refining and tweaking your ideas of what you want to accomplish, then you’re on the right track of inspiration. It is so important for you to get everybody else out of the equation. Just remember that they’ve got their own thing going on; they cannot possibly fully understand your vision. Let them off the hook; stop asking them what they think. Start paying attention to how you feel. Just create what you want to create… A lack of inspiration is nothing more that your focus being on what other people might think of your creation.

Live Painting Rafi Perez



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Dreamlike In The Garden Nude Painting By Rafi Perez

This piece is inspired by the freedom of allowing yourself to dream with no inhibitions.


Dreamlike In The Garden Nude Painting By Rafi Perez


The nude is laying at a dreamlike perspective. Thick brushstrokes and different signature layering techniques, create a prestigious, three-dimensional appearance. layers of paint, in the proper lighting, provide a beautiful shadow on her body and background and seemingly change dimensions. This is a work of art that has partially gotten its inspiration from the old masters in nude portraiture, with a contemporary edge.

Rafi Perez Dream Like In The Garden
Rafi Perez Dream Like In The Garden

I wanted to create something beautiful and stunning, yet peaceful.

Rafi Perez Dream Like In The Garden
Rafi Perez Dream Like In The Garden