Frequently Asked Questions
What is wrong with you? What do you mean when you say you're sick?
I've struggled with health problems my entire life, but they intensified in the last 10 years. I had a partial hysterectomy at age 30, and I have a kidney disorder that causes me to produce stones. In the last 5 years I developed gastric problems that cause severe issues when I eat. This has caused me to lose close to 100 pounds since 2014. These health issues cause bouts of intense pain, nausea, dizziness, brain fog (confusion), and other annoying symptoms; if you see me out drawing or working and I suddenly look pale, kneel down on the ground, begin breathing exercises, or close my eyes, it is because I am dealing with one of these symptoms.
I have recurring pain and severe nausea that never goes away. This greatly affects my mood, energy, ability to do basic tasks, and ability to be around people. I always need to be around a bathroom, and in certain situations I cannot eat or I'll be unable to participate in an event. Food causes massive problems (please don't ask me to discuss this with you unless you're a doctor who is going to treat me) so my safest bet is to avoid eating at all until I am at home at the end of the day. I have trouble swallowing and this causes me to choke on my food often, which is *super* embarassing when it happens in public and everyone stares at me because they think I'm dying.
I am hard of hearing; this means that while I can hear, and communicate orally, not in sign language, I have hearing difficulty that makes it almost impossible to hear in certain environments. Loud environments with lots of people talking and background noise are extremely difficult for me to hear in. You can read more information on how to
communicate with people with hearing loss here. It is most helpful for me, if you want to speak to me and want me to hear you, to follow the suggestions in the linked article. If it is a particularly loud environment, I may not be able to talk back because of other issues, which you can read more about below.
I have lots of issues with my throat that cause problems swallowing, breathing, and talking, especially talking in loud environments, which unfortunately now encompasses virtually all environments: if you see me out drawing, especially at an event that is loud like a concert, it is extremely difficult for me to talk in a raised voice, something that many healthy people take for granted and don't realize they're doing. I am not able to talk in a raised voice without coughing uncontrollably; please do not be offended, or think I'm sick/contagious: it is because I am trying to talk that my throat is irritated. At times when it's particularly bad, I may simply hand you a card directing you to this website and card that explains that I can't use my voice right now. If you're talking to me and I am coughing uncontrollably, please stop engaging me.
extreme motion sickness and vertigo, even turning my head too fast can cause me to lose balance and feel woozy. I have constant pain that is moderate and severe pain that comes and goes. All of these issues wear on my energy and I generally only have a few hours that I can be awake and working before I have to go back to bed. I still produce all of the work that I do feeling this sick.
Two years ago I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder after a brief stay in the ER during a manic episode. Since then, I have not received proper treatment for this disorder and I have been experiencing a manic episode for months. This means that I feel very agitated, over energetic to the point of exhaustion, my blood pressure elevates, and I have trouble breathing and sleeping. Because my body is so weak and exhausted, this disorder has the effect of making me feel like an animated corpse: I feel so terrible and tired, but there's a force that's urging me on. It is exhausting. I do think that a lot of can be channeled into positive work, and that's what I have been trying to do, but I am not able to turn it off: since I'm always working, I'm always wearing myself down, physically and mentally.
I do not detail all of this because I want to discourage people from work offers; on the contrary, I need and want to work. I detail all of this because people ask me all of the time and it is a major time suck, so it's more efficient to have it listed here and refer people to this page rather than spend all my time repeating these same things over and over. The last thing I want is for people to stop hiring me because I told you what I have to deal with behind the scenes (also that is the actual legal definition of discrimination). I want to work, and I welcome your projects. My work ethic should speak for itself in my body of work, and I hope that if you're considering hiring/contracting me for a project, that you
contact me to get started.
What can I do to help with your health issues?
Stopping me when you see me in public to ask me specific questions about my health problems is not helpful, especially if you're not a doctor and can't offer some direct way to make the pain and nausea stop. Understanding that this is really frustrating and that I don't want to talk about it when you see me out is one thing that would be really helpful. While I understand that it comes from concern, when a lot of people are concerned and asking the same things, I spend a lot of the time that I could be enjoying myself outside of the house answering questions about my terrible health. Please do not make suggestions to me of things that you think will help---I can guarantee you I've already thought of and tried it before.
Other than that, remembering, understanding, and accommodating when necessary is very helpful. I need to always know where the bathroom facilities are. I can't be in extreme heat/direct sunlight. If I seem quiet or look angry/concerned, it is always because I am feeling particularly terrible and very nauseated. There are a lot of times where it gets to be too much and I need privacy and time to rest.
At this point I am not getting any help from actual doctors, and it would be helpful to have
an advocate that can help me find a physician that will actually help me and go with me to appointments to help me defend my rights to be treated. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder after a brief period in the ER, and ever since then, it has been extremely difficult to get doctors to take me seriously when I ask for help with real, physical disorders that are getting worse.
The most important things I need:
- for the nausea to stop or get demonstrably better
- for the pain to stop or get demonstrably better
- to be able to relax and/or sleep
- to be able to eat like a reasonably normal person
- to be able to travel like a reasonably normal person
- funds to pay for existing bills and to see specialists
I am always in need of work that accomodates my declining health, as my husband supports the both of us and it is a strain on him. Work that allows me to be on my own and set my own schedule as much as possible is most ideal because of the problems and restrictions I have.
Why don't you just work a side job, as a waitress or something?
I am really sick and getting sicker, and my health problems limit what I'm able to do.
Being a full-time studio artist should not be something that is only available to wealthy people and their children. I don't want to work another job and then squeeze my work into the cracks leftover---I have enough ideas and motivation to pursue my work full-time and then some.
I have a lot of skills and can work many jobs including and other than creative work, but creative work is definitely where I excel. Please contact me if you think you have work for me that suits what I'm looking for.
You can see my work history here.
What kinds of demos and skills can you teach?
I have a whole page for this!
I can do short and extended demonstrations of the following skill-shares:
- Photoshop basics: photo editing
- Photoshop basics: animation
- Photoshop basics: original illustration
- Adobe Premiere basics: video editing
- Adobe AfterEffects basics: basic special effects
- Mold-making: flexible, hard, multiple materials, basic techniques and getting started
- Object-making using urethane plastic
- Laser cutting basics: design and printing
- 3D printing basics
- 3D modeling basics
- GIF making in Photoshop
- Urban sketching/live art
- Figure drawing
- Drawing basics
- Sculpture basics
- Professional picture framing: mat cutting, frame construction, canvas stretching, shadowbox construction
- No-math banner painting for activist interventions
I am very good at teaching, speaking to small or large groups, and love to share knowledge.
What do you want?
Such a simple question! This is what I consider to be a successful life, in order of importance:
- to no longer be in pain and for the nausea to go away
- to be able to relax and "turn down" when my body has had enough
- to be able to eat like a reasonably normal person without fearing painful repurcussions
- to live simply in a home that is private, secure, and paid for
- to have the space and time to pursue my artistic projects every day
- to no longer lose years of my life to be exploited for someone else's gain
- to be able to live, work, and engage with a community that is sustainably developing and values healthful existences for all of its citizens
- to be able to interact with the world to discover new things and in return make myself discoverable to the world and share the things I know and have collected along the way
This is all I want. List will be amended as necessary, but notice things that are NOT on this list: being famous, being rich, getting a ton of Likes, going Viral. Success for me is living sustainably in a community that values me and that I in turn add value to; it is not about celebrity, status, or wealth. I think that people clamoring for attention and fame often comes at the expense of genuinely creative people like me trying to make a living with our creative work.
Do you sell your work?
Yes! However no one ever buys anything, when I spend oodles of time and money to make products available in various online shops, so I have stopped doing this, and am shutting down my online shops. If there's something you want, contact me. I reserve the right to not sell pieces. If you are looking for drawings from my live drawing project, click here: Drawings from Wandering Witness