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TRIUMPHANT ARTISTS



my eBay bargains
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WELCOME TO TRIUMPHANTARTISTS.COM!
  Thank you for visiting. That's pretty awesome of you. I think you'll find some great, fun, and useful stuff here.    I'm Matthew Lyles Hornbostel, artist and creator of this site - part of the 'Triumphant Artists Web Network'.    Here I'm developing a lot of awesome free stuff for you, for release online.    I'm continually streamlining this site and making it better. Recently I made it more mobile friendly and responsive, and began ditching all the inflexible and unfiltered third-party banner ads.

Some helpful tips for viewing this website
- the most important tip is that your view of my sites may be 'cached'.
That means you'll need to refresh pages occasionally to be sure you're seeing the current version of the content.
Other tips are listed here.

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


What's planned for the next few months?

I'm an independent multimedia artist, and with the ongoing help of friends and family,

I'll be releasing a wide range of exciting creative projects and free stuff available nowhere else.

The current state of my work is usually visible on HornbostelProductions.com blog posts.

There are many diverse projects I've finished or am trying to complete. Dozens of imaginative things I either made and need to post online, or am currently making.

I don't know if you'll like my projects; that 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 [okay, okay, I'll admit, often it's a bit cheesy and phony animation quality!],

handmade art like paintings and drawings, miniature & practical effects and miniature art, board games, strategy, arcade and puzzle games,

first-person exploration of imaginative game worlds, interesting stories and sharp but sometimes a bit too-wordy dialogue... 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 intriguing preview material I've already put in the [VIDEOS] and [GAMES] sections, but that only scratches the surface

Much, and I mean 85+%, of what I do is not complete, not publicly visible yet.

Often things are delayed due to unexpected problems, gaps in funding, feature creep, or simply my efforts to make the projects turn out as well as possible.

In the case of some projects, mainly videos, legal concerns and lack of clear [signed] release permission from all contributors, pose risks. I've done a ton of overhauling of many videos and old projects, and still there are issues with this. I may just bite the bullet and start posting stuff before long. If some random person holding up a sprawling 10 or 20-person project from online release - we'll call the non-specific person 'Fred' - wouldn't sign a current, date-specific, legally valid document agreeing to terms of release because holdout cast-member Fred would not respond to my messages, and I couldn't reach Fred, then that means I will simply eventually post with verbal and informal consent but no legal agreement documentation in place. And just deal with the fallout if there is any. Because most of the people I have cast are pretty reasonable about this. Note that most Freds involved will likely be doubly amenable to the idea once they begin receiving unexpected residual payments from me as a result of sales or revenue from whatever they were involved in. I do basically have a plan, that would involve all profit margin after cost of materials/shipping/PayPal fees/eBay fees/tax payments being split 25% to me, and developing my more fun unlikely-to-profit personal projects for free online release, 25% to charitable causes, 25% split among any people who contributed to the project, and 25% back to my parents as a thank-you for raising me and putting up with my crap and sort of an apology for being in my early 30s and still a starving artist cliche.

IN THE PIPELINE:

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 roughly 10 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,
many of them fairly campy but they have, in all, over a thousand VFX shots and a few thousand dollars put into them so far. I hope to post them all on HornbostelVideos.com over time.

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, but it will go even faster if my creative product lines that actually sell [on eBay, etc] actually start to turn a profit instead of breaking even or losing money on most sold items!

 

ACCELERATING PRODUCTION WITH ASTOUNDING eBAY SALES!

Check out my eBay shops for the rest of 2018, because although the prices have begun to increase slightly, generally they're still amazing value and there are superb new product lines on the way to eBay and Itch.IO,

including games, & video collections on DVD, new stock video content, self-published booklets, concept art collections, and other products I'm launching shortly.

What makes this even better?  The unique handcrafted art items and more, ship for free within the United States.

  I've traditionally barely broken even on eBay and some of the early stuff especially was in 'loss leader' category. But as time passes and my audience grows, and my commentary becomes less whiny/wordy and more focused and funny, and I develop a strong track record, I think competition for my listings will continue to rise and the winning bidders will be paying a bit more than in the past.
I do continue to underprice many items, and my ratings remain 100% positive with 275+ ratings so far.

This vibrant image below, for example, was listed on Etsy for some time before moving to eBay, a gouache painting of a winter sunset, with a village, forest, mountains and lake. 

It's a landscape on canvas, it sold for under $4 in the end.

On eBay I sell predesigned works like that but I'll also take commissions. 

That means for a minimal cost, even sometimes with an opening bid of 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. It's pretty, but it's also pretty amazing. When you land an unexpected bargain on a listing, and that turns out better than you could've expected, that's win-win for everybody involved!

And finally, there's my own shop, on HornbostelProductions.com, with even more varied options for commissioned art and other stuff.

That's an even better place to find my deals than eBay now, because my eBay shop's well-established and HornbostelProductions.com is comparatively new. So I'm discounting things like crazy there and prepared to take major losses on most items on my own shop. If you notice later on, the bottom of each page has a random banner ad for some of my sites & projects, but once in a while you might get lucky, load a page and BOOM - coupon code for your first HornbostelProductions.com order. The best ones are as much as 90% off!

Plus there's also my blog on that same website, which features the latest news and updates on my creative projects and the state of my web network.

IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN ANY UPDATES IN MONTHS:

Again:  Here are some tips for viewing this website. 




So, essentially, I had this swath of wordy whining here at one point - but it's gone now as of May 2, 2018. I have a less desperate outlook based on the fact that my parents are coming to the rescue and covering my losses yet again. My dad is retired and he's likely to step in, cover my core expenses for some time. They're not big expenses either - we're talking a couple hundred a month or something to keep the web network and such running and pursue a series of minimum production goals. I used to be doing a bunch of audio transcription, that's deteriorating and drying up, which triggered a crisis of some sort until that was resolved and HEY, I CAN SPEND THAT 3 HOURS A DAY THAT HAD GONE INTO SOUL-CRUSHINGLY TEDIOUS SUB-MINIMUM WAGE LABOR, DOING ACTUAL CREATIVE AND/OR MEANINGFUL VOLUNTEER WORK NOW! SWEET!

Uh. So anyway. If you are wondering about the 25% going to charitable causes, it's mostly to ones relating to medicine/health, improved education, foreign aid for impoverished people in other ways, and environmental protection/biodiversity causes. I'm not giving to a church from this category, no tithe as such, as I'd rather focus on the tangible good than supporting a God who might not be real... but indirectly it's pretty darn clear that some of the cash in the 25% for cast and supporters' payment, will go to church groups and faith based causes, simply because I've recorded videos on church properties, with casts full of churchgoers. And my parents will probably be supporting ministries and faith-focused causes witht heir 25% so I think it'll end up going to a lot of places really. It'll definitely have an effect on the world and the communities my cast members live in, if (only if) the products I make and sell actually turn some sort of profit margin.

FYI, GiveWell.org lists a lot of underfunded but verifiably highly efficient and effective charities. These account for much of my giving.

The Against Malaria Foundation for example, can save a human life for an average cost of $200.00. That's a great idea as far as I'm concerned!

So... even if you are not going to buy from me, on eBay or my SSL-secured shop or what have you, please maybe consider looking through the GiveWell charities and see if there's one you'd like to support even if not supporting me or my friends/family by picking up a fantastic art work thingy. BTW, if I sell an item that nobody else contributed to [no cast of actors or voice actors involved] then the 25% that'd normally go to them goes to the charitable category. That needs to be mentioned.



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!

 

However, my eBay shop continues to gain momentum, climbing to 275+ 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 even a new WordPress blog/shop , but the prices are (for now) still often ridiculously low.

WHAT'S THE CATCH? WHY ARE/WERE YOU FREELANCING FOR NEXT TO NOTHING?

Yeah. I freelanced for as low as about $2/hour in the worst cases. I'm now shifting away from that. It was more out of desperation and lack of self-esteem than anything. But it wasn't worth my time IMO. Lately, I am focused more on the idea that I should raise my prices - still dirt cheap of course (Still lower than most anyone else's equivalent content!) but I will no longer do the work that could be done by anyone with a cheap computer and headphones. I'll focus on what I excel at, and I'll insist on a typical minimum rate of $6/hour when freelancing for others doing video editing, visual effects work, 3d assets for game productions, web design, etc. It's not just my rate though, remember that I only keep $1.50/hr of it. The other $4.50 as you'd expect is split as usual between parents and promising charitable causes.

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 seriously suck at it.

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. I can state the objective facts about my qualifications but I feel a bit weird doing that, and I tend to supplement such messages with brutal self-deprecation. Most job applicants won't do this. I'd rather do it - the employer deserves a balanced view of who they're hiring, not just positive traits.
All the same, if you want to know more about me, I reached the rank of Eagle as a boy scout with Troop 4, I graduated with a Bachelor's degree from University of Houston, a GPA above 3.6, and Communications/Media Production major, Studio Art minor. I've spent some time with a group called the nonPareil Institute. I did not click with them socially or creatively even though in theory I should be a good fit 'because I'm high-functioning autistic'. Between mental illness and awkwardness, undercutting myself with wry jabs at my own expense and utter lack of confidence, and - over time - the lack of a traditional work track record - led to red flags in the minds of employers and that's where we are today pretty much.

Ultimately, I shifted my aim lower but of course couldn't even land work in lower-end jobs like retail, because, you know, autism.  
Also, countering a gig offer of $10 per hour with 'That's too high; how about half that amount?' results in strange looks from employers.
I'm totally okay with that sort of work at that price range though. Charging more back then especially, when my skills were weaker than they now are, would have felt like cheating to me. Still kind of does; I want to provide amazing value wherever possible for all my customers, while still somehow getting my own creative vision off the ground. And my projects have always been lean cost-wise, and I do all the work on them pretty much myself sans any salary [who else would give a **** about my video or video game productions? Everyone hates an 'idea guy', I know this, so instead of being the 'idea guy' I am the 'idea + execution of the idea in every area' guy and that's how stuff can actually get done!]

You customers / employers on short-term gigs financing my creative oddness? You all 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. I know as of April - May 2018 I'm still swamped after a recent misfired book sale and I'm scrambling to respond to some complaints on eBay relating to misdelivered, late or missing/damaged packages. Please be patient, I'll do whatever I can to resolve all the remaining issues this week.  

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 necessity, 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, if there are no salaries, 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, $5k 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,. If you want to help the world, please take a look at what they, or other valid sources, list as charitable causes that actually are effective.

DESTINATION: AWESOMENESS

Even now we're looking at 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.  I've recently launched a video channel through HornbostelVideos.com and some content there already gives an indication of my VFX skills.  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 - over 10,000 - 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 $6/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 or sending a gig my way in 2018 while it is still 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 entirely 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 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 unexpectedly 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 soon be able to order prints on my own shop soon too - not just inexpensive photo prints, but printed T shirts, and posters, 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 could be your own custom-request 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, 275+ 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 as good a job as I can, 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 instead.  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 per size of the artwork!

There was also a Zazzle shop, where I sold prints of a few of the items I'd attempted to sell via Etsy. Now the print sales are being shifted to my own [Hornbostel Productions] shop because that way I will be able to deliver similar quality far 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 8-23%, 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!  And there's also the random banner codes at the bottom of this page... potentially you might even be lucky enough to grab a 90% off code.

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' of HornbostelProductions.com, and you are free to post messages there about whatever topic is relevant, like offering me a gig, asking a question or two, or discussing my games, videos, art or other projects.

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.

Right now I have about a thousand people who are doing this, which is nothing short of astounding to me. Thank you all so much! Bonus, if you saw the supporters page, you know you can actually make a bit of cash directing people to my site with the HornbostelProductions.com affiliate program! If they buy anything there, you could make a small percentage of that sale amount as a thank you for delivering the sale. And it's a safe SSL-secured shop, from a vendor who offers outstanding work at low prices with a successful track record on eBay. So if you want to join that program, that's right here.

- 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.

- Buy handmade art or my new stock media DVD on my eBay shop or buy a copy of my new project 'Miniature Multiverse' after its late 2018 launch on Itch.IO. The Miniature Multiverse website is here.  Or you could let people know about the project, before the full game is ready to launch, as I plan to have a reduced-resolution free version available.

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 monologue 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 try to give you something stellar in return over the months that follow. Thank you.


     

           
Also, here's a randomized link of my own for you:

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