WELCOME TO TRIUMPHANTARTISTS.COM!
I'm Matthew Lyles Hornbostel - a creative multimedia artist and with the ongoing assistance of friends and family I am developing 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 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. They want it 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.
Before you make any decision of your own to stick around or not, 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 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 thousands of 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 true gems and admittedly some 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 but it will go faster if some of my art and products actually sell at a faster pace!
HOUSTON RESIDENTS TAKE NOTE!
I am attending a crafts/art fair locally, here in Eastwood near the University of Houston. It's hosted by Redeemer Lutheran, at 5700 Lawndale, and I am offering a ton of cool stuff including a lot of sale items and also a bunch of freebies.
The sale items include a ton of the stuff now listed on Etsy, which means if it sells locally it will be pulled from Etsy immediately after that. And things DO often sell locally; I've already had two items intended for Etsy that got removed from there as a result of local sales!
It's absolutely worth checking out if you're in the Houston area and want to browse some art/craft stuff, and meet me in person, it's on April 22nd, 2017, from 9 am - 3 pm, feel free to drop by. There was a similar event at the Houston Vineyard in December which I also attended and if that happens again this Christmas/holiday season I'll attend that again too.
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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. My eBay shop continues to gain momentum, with over 175 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]. 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 very low. If you like the stuff in my still art pages, you may want to bid on my eBay art auction listings and have a handmade artwork made 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 again at some point during the next six months. Keep in mind that my average profit margin still amounts to under half of minimum wage, broken down by hour. 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 a few percent each month and has been doing so for the past few years.
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 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 high level of humility given my pathetic career history, a number of medical flaws including a somewhat weak immune system, and a lot of relational challenges.
I chose a major I was passionate about, even obsessed with, but that proved impractical, 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 a failure and I'm convinced that soon I won't be considered one.
I couldn't land a 3d animation job in the increasingly crowded VFX 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.
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 [often with a few ads]. I spend a lot 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 than usual for a supposedly 'long-term unemployed' person. The 6-7 hours spent working freelance are trending upward in terms of revenue, now climbing up beyond the $3/hour mark (right now all my work together averages $3.07/hr). 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 about 40% 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 push my pay rate a little higher though, to $4.50/hr by late 2017. It's still low but it's enough. If I put in enough effort it will be sufficient to do amazing things.
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 experience and a broad skill set, and being willing to do 95% of the work involved by yourself, unpaid. Every dollar winds up on the screen, 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 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 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.
A $5.25/hour rate, my eventual goal, would allow me to shift 90 minutes per day from freelancing to personal efforts, while earning 40% more per day, AND spending 40+% more time per day completing the cool stuff here that everyone, not just one customer or client, is actually waiting on me to finish. And there's a LOT that falls into that category, especially in terms of videos and games. It'd be an EPIC WIN for everyone - me, my contributing actors, the audience who see more stuff here, and even arguably the freelance employers. Sure, I'd charge a bit more but it'd still be 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.
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.