I want to thank everyone who contacted me from the bottom of my heart. I am so incredibly humbled by the responses. Umm, not good with emotions right now. Can I just say I freakin love dA, and every one of you people, so much it hurts? I do.
I was asked to put up the paypal address I use; it is firstname.lastname@example.org
Soon I will be able to paint digitally again...feels like my life is about to restart. I am so happy right now
I have been a member of this site since I was 17. Now, I am nearly 27 years old. This website was a huge part of my life and my artistic development. I have met so many amazing, talented, fantastic, generous, wonderful people here. From the moment I first picked up a stylus you have been there for me, cheering me on, teaching me what I needed to know.
So, what happens when you're a digital artist, and the tablet you've been using for ten years finally dies, and you can't afford a new one?
My Intuos was my only reliable source of income. I didn't have a closet full of paints and canvas on standby, so I fell back on my other skills and worked wherever I could until I lost my apartment. Things took a turn for the worse.
I'm married now, living in a rural area, and quickly losing my grip because of unemployment. My husband can't drive or work due to an injury. I've danced along the poverty line before, but now I can't even see it if I squint up.
Folks…THIS IS NOT ANY KIND OF LIFE. For a while I was selling my plasma 1-2 times a week, but I can't anymore, because there's no center here. We ration every can of beans and every pack of ramen noodles. We can't afford our prescriptions. There is no heat in our house, and in a few days we'll be entering the Below Freezing zone; we've been through three space heaters already. We have no bathtub or shower, and only one small sink. Needless to say, we're not online. (I drove to a library on gasoline fumes to post this.) Every single day I am gripped with raw fear - that our power will be shut off, that one of us will get sick, that the pipes will freeze. I am afraid for the first time in my life that I won't make it out of my twenties. If this goes on much longer, we're going to be homeless.
Getting up in the morning is a conscious decision to continue living. I will allow myself the drama of saying that it is becoming more and more difficult to want to be alive. I miss being able to post here, to talk with other artists. I miss my Thorns peeps. Mostly I just miss being the sort of person who had a bright future. I always thought if I was good enough, things would work out for me. I thought that following my calling was the right thing to do, and people supported me so much. Some days I feel like I have failed them.
It's funny… I used to joke about being a starving artist. I was such a jackass! I had no idea what it was like to be food insecure without a safety net. I had no idea what it would be like to have to decide between meds and food, or food and gas, or gas and having a working phone. I didn't know about the crushing weight of worry, envy, despair and exhaustion - it hits me the moment I open my eyes in the morning and follows me like a little raincloud all day.
Turns out, life is really freakin cruel, and you have to squeeze whatever happiness you can out of it before it kills you.
But artwork still gives me joy, and I have been practicing as much as possible with the materials left to me by my aunt when she passed. I've been working in acrylic and watercolor pencils, trying to continue to develop my skills and try new things. Without art I might be close to throwing in the towel, but it gives me purpose and direction in life.
Basically, I REALLY need work. So for the first time I'm going to take traditional media commissions. (I can do any type of illustration. But since they're my specialty, character bust portraits are only $20 (+ s&h). ) Repeat: I'm using real paper and real pigment and mailing you the real results.
THAT is what digital artists do when their tablets break. Evolve or die, right?
I'm going to put my number up here, because it is literally the only reliable way to reach me. It's 540-223-7816. I will come back to the library ASAP and check my email (chalkitupRVA@gmail.com) in case anyone has written me, but the phone is really the best way. You only have 7 days left to call me before my minutes go poof, so please don't wait.
I hate to beg, but I can't afford not to. PLEASE help if you can. Through it all I still believe that I was meant to be an artist. It's the thing that gives my life meaning. I'm not good at a lot of things, but I am lucky to know how to draw. Art has saved me before, and I am hanging on the hope that commissions will get us through this tough period until I can find steady work.
Here's hoping I get a phone call today. Cheers and happy new year, everyone. <3