Triumphant Artists Main Page

TRIUMPHANT ARTISTS

my eBay bargains
my still art galleries
my video projects
my silly comics



 
my Etsy deals
my informative articles
my indie games
free textures & footage



 
Hornbostel Shop
Hornbostel Blog
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WELCOME TO TRIUMPHANTARTISTS.COM!


Triumphant Artists.com contains a wide range of creative projects from independent artist/video director/game developer Matthew L. Hornbostel, and is part of what I call the 'Triumphant Artists Web Network'.

Here I'm developing a lot of awesome free stuff, for release online.
By late summer 2017, pages here should work better on mobile, look cleaner, load faster, and contain some improved content!

Some important tips for viewing this website appear on this page - the most important one is that the no-cache code on my sites is not working for everyone, so if you want to see what my websites actually look like now, and not what they looked like the first time you visited them, I'm pretty much begging you to refresh the pages so you can actually see the current form of the sites!

I've got a lot of cool creative art, videos and games I'm working on right now, and you can see plenty of examples in the video below if you decide to click play.


What's planned for the next 12 months?

I'm a creative independent multimedia artist, and with the ongoing assistance of friends and family I'll be releasing a wide range of exciting creative projects and free stuff available nowhere else.

There are many diverse projects I've finished or am trying to complete. You may or may not care if any of them get finished. I don't know, depends on your own personal tastes.  If you like silly comedy videos, action sequences with a lot of visually impressive VFX and 3d animation work, handmade art, miniature & practical effects and miniature art, board games, strategy, arcade and puzzle games, first-person exploration of imaginative game worlds, etc... then probably this site and the other ones connected to it, will appeal to you.  

I've shown a lot of my work to a lot of people locally and the phrase I keep hearing is "When will it be done?"

That applies to many things I'm doing that people are impatient about and want to see.  A lot of people want all of my work to be made available online.  You can get a tiny sense of why by looking at the preview material I've already put in the [VIDEOS] and [GAMES] sections, but that only scratches the surface.

I encourage you to watch the main page video and browse the site with the round blue buttons above - especially 'videos', 'games', and 'still art' - to look at works I'm developing within each art category.
 Think about the fact that I have a backlog of over 7 hours of fun video productions that (with a bit of tweaking) could be cleaned up and put online, that's comedy, action, sci-fi, fantasy and other videos, some of them fairly campy but they have, in all, over a thousand VFX shots and a few thousand dollars put into them so far.

And I'd like to not only revise the old library of 'home video indie blockbusters' but keep making and adding new ones.  Then there are the games, a huge list of game projects I poured tons of time and resources into, many of which are near completion but not yet complete, often due to limits of time or funding or both.
 There's a ton of great stuff there, some genuinely entertaining and fun projects and admittedly some fairly mediocre stuff too, and I want to see it all online instead of languishing on my hard drives, inching forward at a snail's pace.  I think it's absolutely doable, given how well my freelance gigs are going lately, but it will go even faster if my creative product lines actually start to break even instead of losing money on nearly every sold item!  

ACCELERATING PRODUCTION WITH ASTOUNDING ETSY AND EBAY SALES!

Check out my Etsy and eBay shops for the rest of 2017, because all the prices have all dropped dramatically and will remain low until the end of 2017, maybe later, and they were quite affordable to begin with! These are tremendous, jaw-dropping bargains on handmade art, art supplies, personalized items, and a range of other unique things, and I'm hoping a few of you will take advantage of the sale while it runs and help me establish a positive reputation on Etsy along with building on the ecstatic ratings and reviews I alreeady have on eBay!  Bonus, if you are willing to follow any of my social media feeds I'll give you a coupon for $5 off any order placed on my Etsy shop, an extra reduction in pricing in addition to the already fantastic deals on the shop.

What makes this even better?  These unique handcrafted items I've discounted, ship for free within the United States.

Frequently the items listed are 'loss leader' items, meaning that not only do I not make a profit or salary on many of them, but often they actually are priced well below even the baseline cost of materials and shipping. I'm totally fine with this because I love the work and I am hoping that these shops will become viable in the long term. I'm literally planning to lose $250+ on these shops between now and the end of 2017 in an effort to establish a stronger, even more glowing reputation as a vendor. And hopefully you and everyone involved will benefit enormously from that.

This vibrant image below, for example, is my most expensive current listing on Etsy, a gouache painting of a winter sunset, with a village, forest, mountains and lake.  It's a landscape on canvas, and it's going for under $20.

With the $5 off coupon, that's under $15 - and it ships free too!  That's the biggest price of any item on that shop, and some of the impressive stuff available there can be had for much, much less.

The prices on eBay are little different - on eBay I take commissions.  That means for a minimal cost, sometimes under a dollar in the case of auctions, I'll do my best to make you a good acrylic or gouache painting, colored pencil drawing, or oil pastel artwork of whatever subject you request.

And finally, there's my own shop, on HornbostelProductions.com, with even more varied options for commissioned art, and my blog on that same website.

IF YOU HAVE NOT  SEEN ANY UPDATES IN MONTHS:

  Here are some tips for viewing this website.  Many browsers still cache the pages here, despite my attempts to stop caching with code, so if you're a regular visitor and have seen nothing change on my websites in months, you may need to refresh the pages.

But keep in mind that if from here on out, if I can continue scraping together a few hundred dollars each month from freelance gigs unrelated to this web network, which I think is feasible given recent patterns, I should be able to release a lot over the next year.

This article contains my release targets for a variety of projects I've been working on. I'm earning freelance cash via transcription and other sub-minimum wage work, whenever I can land that, and that's mostly funding these efforts at the moment but the transcription part is being steadily automated by improving voice recognition systems, and the bulk of that work will likely dry up within the next two years. I've got a window here - 2017-2018 - in which I have the resources to build some new product lines and pivot from transcription to this network as a primary income source, but that gambit will only work if I'm pulling in sales and more critically, also RATINGS/REVIEWS, from you all, so that when the window closes I'll be in a position to keep all this going at a rapid clip even after the transcription gigs are gone.


ACHIEVING MORE, DESPITE OBSTACLES


I've struggled to get my projects done over the years - maybe I have too many ideas and need to focus on just one at a time! - but things are beginning to take off noticeably as of 2017 due to those freelance gigs I mentioned.   My eBay shop continues to gain momentum, with well over 190 ratings, all positive, on amazingly awesome and inexpensive creative products like my handmade art [made to order based on the subject of your choice, sometimes for as low as $0.99 opening bid or even less].  A lot of my eBay success is allowing me to expand both to new eBay product lines and to Etsy listings, and even a new WordPress blog/shop , but the prices are (for now) still often ridiculously low and likely to remain reduced in price for some time. If you like the stuff in my still art pages, you may want to bid on my eBay art auction listings and have a personalized, special handmade artwork made specifically for you.  Shipping is free, items usually take 3-5 days for me to make and about a week to ship, and while prices remain low for now, they are likely to increase gradually in the long run.  Keep in mind that my average profit margin on these art sales still amounts to roughly negative 22% overall, so far this year.  There's absolutely room for that to increase, especially given limited supply (my time allocated to this each week is finite) and climbing demand that is going up about 2-3% each month and has been doing so fairly consistently for the past few years since this site opened to little fanfare in 2009.  

For years after graduating (with Phi Kappa Phi honors from the University of Houston in 2010), I couldn't land steady paid work of any kind.  I was an Eagle Scout (with Houston's legendary Troop 4), I had a degree in Communications, specifically Media Production, and a minor in Studio Art.  I'm bright, I work hard, I'm highly creative, I've done creative and inventive work for decades with or without pay (but my work is way better if I have a budget!) but I'm also willing to acknowledge my flaws and maintain a reasonable level of humility given my pathetic career history, a number of medical flaws including a somewhat weak immune system and turbulent emotions, and a lot of other challenges and struggles I am trying to avoid discussing here because my family would rather my flaws not be shouted loudly from the rooftops.

I am never satisfied with myself or my work. I am intensely focused on doing better than I've done in the past, partly due to a sense that a lot hangs in the balance, and this can result in strain on my relationships as well given my insistence on pushing myself near to the breaking point.

Bottom line is I'm weird.
You can learn more about my values and the ideals of my web network on this page if curious.


I chose a major I was passionate about, even obsessed with, an impractical one I admit, and I kept learning and honing my skills inside and outside of, and after, college, but it was difficult to find any viable career path. I'm in some ways the unpleasant stereotypical example of the American millenial - idealistic, impractical tech geek, college grad with no job, the guy about whom others have said things like 'how can you be so smart yet so stupid?' and 'Look at this loser. This guy is what's wrong with America."  All that said, I'm also what works about this country - Intelligence, integrity, independence, industrious work ethic, entrepreneurial drive, creative ingenuity, and a constructively optimistic belief that through my actions and effort I'll somehow improve my own life and the lives of everyone around me. Quite frankly, I want to prove everyone who doubted me wrong. I don't want to be seen as a failure anymore, I work hard - perhaps in a Quixotic attempt to acheive the illusory and indefinable goal of 'creative success', and I'm convinced that soon I won't be considered a failure anymore.

I couldn't land a 3d animation job in the increasingly crowded visual effects or games industries, partly because this whole social pretense - 'selling myself' is uncomfortable to me.  I'm kind of awkward and it can be hard for me to convincingly promote my work or look confident, even when I know my work, my skills, and the services I offer are quite good.  Ultimately, I shifted my aim lower but couldn't even land work in lower-end jobs like retail.  If your ability to 'sell' yourself is weak and you lack self-confidence on a basic level, you get passed over repeatedly by less qualified applicants, and get overlooked by people who offer expensive but unremarkable work. And it gets worse once a year or more have passed without employment as this is seen as a red flag by just about any employer.

  At my worst points, I was working long hours at under $2/hour, desperately trying to get the projects I cared about most, off the ground.  Many of them still are not moving forward quickly, but the good news is that I'm selling more items every month, I'm getting more content online over time, I've built an audience here and I'm earning more and more per hour gradually as time passes.  As it stands, about 60% of my work is for customers and clients, making videos and game content, and handcrafted items.   20% is towards product lines or personal projects with possible sales potential, and 20% towards creative projects which will be freeware [maybe with a few ads]. I spend a lot - most - of the money raised in Category 1 on my own projects and new product lines. It's key to keeping this all afloat.  I work on this stuff about 11-12 hours a day, which is more effort than usual for a supposedly 'long-term unemployed' person.  The 6-7 hours within that, spent working freelance, are trending upward in terms of revenue, now climbing up beyond the $4/hour mark.  That is, as of the last few months I'm earning a few hundred dollars per month, more than in the past. (A few months ago the figure was substantially lower)  Yes, true, I still live with my parents at age 30.   Yes, that figure is still very low.  But it also means I'm making enough that I've paid taxes for the first time in 2017.  I hope to sustain a consistent pay rate of $4.80 per hour on creative gigs, and if I can manage that it'd be more than enough to keep things going and growing in a big way.  If I put in enough effort that will be sufficient to do amazing things. And I'd like to thank all of you who've helped me with my projects, all of the people who've bought from me on eBay and rated and just generally given me the chance to move forward with my productions instead of leaving me in a situation where I'm forced to start shutting them down. You customers rock, I don't want to take you for granted and I'll do everything I'm able to exceed your expectations as a vendor, providing you outstanding value. Heck, I'm even prepared to take a loss on some items if that helps - I've done that fairly often actually.  

INDIE EXPERIENCE, INDEPENDENT THINKING

Other people don't get how to make a VFX-video blockbuster comedy with impressive production values, or a video game that's equally amazing and epic, for under $1000.  I do.  It comes from having a ton of hard-won experience, having made a lot of mistakes and learned from them, having read extensively and developed a broad skill set, and being willing to do 95% of the work involved in your personal projects by yourself, unpaid.  Every dollar winds up on the screen, or in the game, it's not wasted or misallocated.  I learned very quickly that that was the only way I could get my vision realized with what I had.  I don't want to be rich.  I just want to have enough to make my ideas a reality and to make a lot of cool things - enough to make the projects I envision making and have the world able to enjoy them, laugh at the jokes in my comedies or get wrapped up in the stories I tell, get excited by the action sequences, amazed by the visuals.  In the conventional video and video game world, 95+% of the budget is salary.  But really, there's no reason you can't make something massive that looks and sounds like a million bucks with just a few thousand of them.

And while this is not technically a non-profit studio - I think the term is 'sole proprietorship' - it'll continue to maintain an indie mentality and methodology no matter how much money I make.  So pretty much anything I earn over, say, $10k or so per year, I'd like to give to other people, because as far as I'm concerned, it's beyond what is actually needed to cover basic expenses and my own projects.  To groups I love, people I care about, even total strangers who happen to need help.  Because it will make more difference to them than it would to me.  I am known as a 'Santa' by family because of my many gifts to them at Christmas, and my friends know I cover the costs of our meals out routinely.  My friend Michael has described my birthdays as 'Hobbit birthdays' because when it's my birthday I give gifts to the people who attend, not vice versa!  I give to charities rated as highly efficient and effective by organizations like GiveWell, I spend a bit of time volunteering, and I'd surely give a lot more if I had a lot more.  And yes, I intend to pay my cast members on an ongoing basis for projects if they'll agree to let me place their work online.

DESTINATION: AWESOMENESS

Even the $4.80/hr I'm starting to make on some freelance jobs now is enough to result in an EPIC WIN for everyone - me, my contributing actors, the audience who see more stuff here, and even arguably the freelance employers. It's a terrific value for those who hire me, especially as I continue expanding my skills, equipment, software, available product lines, and my ability to do outstanding work generally.  The plan is to launch a video channel through HornbostelVideos.com and I've already done most of the work leading up to that.  I want to release video games and multimedia content, still art and comic books.  I want a lot of great stuff to be posted here by the end of this year and I am now convinced that this is entirely viable.

And given the fact that I've seen thousands of people visit this site, just in the last three months, I'd say things are now clearly headed in that direction.  And I've got a rather long list of inventive ideas that could multiply that exponentially over the next few years.


 

MY PROJECTS AND YOURS, REALIZED WAY FASTER AND BETTER THROUGH OUR COLLABORATION: -Hire me at $4.80/hr to edit video, do color grading, to work as an editor, compositor, visual effects artist, DVD / Blu Ray author -  or you could hire me to make handcrafted art on paper or canvas, or to make miniatures, or 3d game assets, level design, web graphics/design, maybe Photoshop editing and some other types of graphics work.  You'll find, as have my eBay customers, that my work is a great bargain even at this price, as I am pretty good at what I do and the cost involved is still absurdly cheap, way below minimum wage.  Buying my art while it is cheap and I'm still largely unknown,while there's less competition for more hours of my freelance time, would clearly be a superb value for money, all factors considered, even if what I create isn't perfect.  There are modern art works that sell for millions and aren't that interesting.  There are lots of old works by masters who are long dead.  And then there's my work, a miniscule fraction of the price of those old and new items, that's detailed, shows some degree of actual craftmanship and skill, and is genuinely affordable for you to purchase.  A search of the top five most popular made-to-order commission art services on Google, reveals that for a 12"x16" acrylic painting portrait of a person or pet, the available price range is $130 at lowest and $330 at the highest.  Some of them will claim $50, then charge extra fees for the acrylic paint medium, fees added for every subject added, and shipping fees on top of all of that!  You could order a custom personalized made-to-order item from my shop on eBay and have it made based on a subject of your own choice at that size, for as low as $0.99 as a starting opening bid on auctions, or as little as $9.99 or so for Buy It Now.  It's not a lot of cash, but if that seems risky somehow, even with the 30-day full-refund policy, you can try buying an already-designed work on Etsy which is more predictable.  (I'm launching a new batch of pastel art there soon!)  The only downside, the way I sometimes fall short as a vendor, is that sometimes I miss the 3-day shipping target by a bit, it may take more like a week in some cases where I'm getting a ton of 'Buy it now' orders all at once and some of them are really big artworks that I know I need to dedicate many hours to to maintain a good quality level.  You can look at my ratings on eBay to see how many people have appreciated my work.

You'll also be able to order prints on my own shop soon too - not just inexpensive photo prints, but printed T shirts at $7.50 each, and posters for $5, made by me without a middleman getting in the way. (Zazzle and CafePress are good but they'll charge you a bit more than needed.)  And those can be your own design too if you want that.

You can order art from me on eBay, which is where I've accumulated most of my sales so far, from people like you - here you can order custom, handmade, made-to-order art based on whatever subject you choose.

I've been described by many customers there - check my eBay account ratings, 188 of them so far, fully 100% of them positive at this time, my ratings are solidly positive both as a buyer and seller:

-"Fast but generous with his talent, great sense of light and color, communicative"
-"A lot of detail went into this beautiful painting of my past yorkie Thank you!"
-"Better than described, fast shipping...just love it"
-"Incredible! So special! Great work! Thank you!"
-"Great working with and would highly recommend to everyone. Thanks again. ****"
-"Very fast and great piece! Thank you very much!"
-"Excellent will shop again real artist( legendary )"
-"Artist did great work. Very pleased with painting"
-"I can not thank you enough for this. It is beautiful and I love it. Thank you!"

The same outstanding customer service you see there extends to my other venues, even if they are not yet as popular or well-known as my eBay shop.  Yes, it's true that I may not always be the fastest (I can get backlogged and I try to do a great job on every item I sell, which at times means delays of as much as a week or two) but I DO deliver the work as promised, often with far better quality than the recipient expects, especially given the bargain pricing.

If you feel like these items 'made to order' are still risky, which I can understand since you don't see it or know how it will actually turn out until after you've paid, there are also items I've made in advance, my own designs, and those are also available.  

You can order already-existing handmade artworks via my Etsy shop.  They're faster to deliver given that they are already made, you know exactly what the item looks like and what you'll get before ordering, and the prices are actually slightly lower than on eBay per size of the artwork!

There was also a Zazzle shop, where I sold prints of a few of the items sold via Etsy. Now the print sales are being shifted to my own [Hornbostel Productions] shop because that way I will be able to deliver the same quality cheaper than Zazzle can!

That shop is my own shop - an SSL secured venue using WordPress and WooCommerce, which offers much of the best of all of the above options, but even cheaper and with no 'middleman' raising the effective price with tacked on fees.
Even setting aside the issue of Etsy or Ebay or Zazzle fees, which can increase pricing in effect by 3-10%, there are additional deeper discounts that'll be available only on my own shop as I am trying to establish a track record beyond the third-party places like eBay and am prepared to take some significant losses in order to gain the first few positive customer reviews on my own store.  There are great coupon codes available ($5 off codes) and a loyalty rewards program with 12.5% cash back in effect, plus a further-reduced membership option on top of all of that - $5/year VIP pricing - all of this going WAY beyond the prices being already lower than on my eBay venue!

TAKE A LOOK AT THAT IF YOU WANT THE BEST PRICES POSSIBLE ON UNIQUE, BEAUTIFUL HANDMADE ART!

If you have any questions about any of the services I offer or have a specific creative job you want accomplished related to video/vfx production, handmade art, 3D assets for a game, etc, there's also the option to email me.  I have contact info on the 'Forums'.

IF YOU WANT TO HELP GET MY WORK ACCELERATED AND RELEASED FASTER:

-Spread the word about my websites, or my specific projects/services, and share a link by email or using a post on forums/blogs you frequent, somewhere relevant where you think people might like something I did. Please don't get spammy with this though.  

-Follow me or share my posts on social media.  You can also join my mailing list through the Social Media page [or] via the link on the forums.

-Bookmark this page and visit every now and then to see what significant new things have been released, maybe once a month or so.

- Do something else that helps me develop my projects a bit that I'd like to release online but which costs you nothing or very little and which might even benefit you. There are a few extra examples of ideas in that category here.

I KNOW ALL OF THIS HAS BEEN A LONG READ, and it kind of bothers me to be requesting all this, but I am trying to get a lot of projects done that I'm convinced are, or could potentially be, great entertainment.  But if you don't care about any of what I'm doing with videos or games yet because you don't yet know enough about, or understand (or like) what I'm trying to finish, I totally get that. It is your call, after all. Some of my stuff is admittedly pretty campy, quirky or offbeat, so if you don't see potential in anything I'm working on, you're free to ignore my work. I'd understand, especially after this irritating 'sales pitch' or whatever you call it.  But I really do hope you'll all stick around, partly because some amazing, even astonishing things are going to show up here for free pretty soon, and partly because if you'd like custom artwork for one of your projects, I can help you fulfill your creative vision cheaply and efficiently.  Feel free to contact me on the Forums.

 

Thank you for reading this. Thank you so much for being a visitor here. I'm amazed and grateful by how much support you all have given to me and to my creative work, and whenever you make a choice to support my work, I'll work hard to give you something stellar in return. Thank you.

I'm testing some [limited] ad slots again for the next ten days, from Project Wonderful. Given the increasing quality and quantity of web traffic lately here, might actually be worth doing now. Below this message is a promotion from another website owner, unrelated to my own web network. I'm not responsible for anything on their sites, nor do I personally filter the ads that rotate through the slot, so good, bad, amazing, dumb, hilarious, crazy, questionable or otherwise, so don't credit/blame me for whatever link appears down there. I don't control other peoples' websites. Okay?