About Triumphant Artists and the core ideas behind the network

The Triumphant Artists Web Network is owned and operated by indie artist Matthew Lyles Hornbostel, now age 36. [That's me] It's an assortment of interconnected websites showcasing my creative work made with some assistance by my various friends and family members over the past 20-odd years.

FOUNDING PRINCIPLES INCLUDE:

-Low or no prices on items, with hopes of making up for miniscule per-item profits with large volume of interested viewers. The texture content alone in the Triumphant Artists Complete Collection would probably sell for $30 or more some places, but I sell that and a lot more for well under $5.

-Aiming to satisfy every customer, even if the sale at times results in a financial loss... I have a strongly positive feedback rating on eBay and Etsy because I will usually go to great lengths to rectify conflict with customers on eBay or other customers, even over-refunding on items or sending 3+ copies of the ordered item until I get it right, if needed. I've actually been operating at a loss there sometimes, actually frequently, and have recently been forced to revise shipping, pricing, and return policies slightly on eBay and Etsy to take into account the damage done by customers who exploited my overly generous refund policies and caused other customers' shipments to be delayed due to the fact that I suddenly did not have the money to ship their items!

-Getting things done efficiently and cheaply by being willing to work many low-paid or unpaid hours on projects just out of passion for the projects I actually care about and an overwhelming, possibly pathological desire to see those ideas realized. I'm incredibly motivated when it comes to my creative work.

-Giving back to people in my life beyond customers, whether it's to friends, family... or donations to worthwhile causes. I don't believe there's much of a future ahead, I expect with climate change and environmental collapse unfolding right in front of us that in a few years things will be getting truly dire. There is a ton of need in the world, even more in the near future, and I want to help alleviate that misery in some way. I know that if I'm successful somehow with (something) that takes off in a big way, any income I make above $15,000 / year will be donated. I am now already donating and my income has been below $7000 annually for quite some time. Only now is my work starting to take off to any real extent, and while I'd like to believe my best days are just ahead, and that I'll make an impact soon, there's always the chance things could all unravel faster than expected. Some people face the prospect of civilization collapse with a survivalist mentality, but I do not. If society crashes and burns, I accept that I won't survive but will die with it. My best survival strategy, then, is a long-shot one - I want to save the world and make it sustainable long term, not only for my own future but for the future of every young person. That means I want to give as much as possible and help as many people as possible, but that I also want to help heal the natural world - by supporting the planting of trees and rewilding of outdoor spaces, protecting endangered wildlife, etc. I believe nature and humanity aren't an either/or choice - humans can only thrive if nature thrives too. I don't believe that 'economic growth at any cost' makes sense as it will only lead to a rapid implosion of the economy after a few years and major instability. Slower growing, but sustainable economic policy makes more sense. In other words: I'm a fair bit left of center politically.

My political views prioritize the environment as critical insofar as this one range of issues will determine whether we have a future of any reasonable sort, or not.

I'm sympathetic towards marginalized groups due to my own experiences being treated as a pariah or subhuman due to my autism. I dislike a lot about Christianity as it exists in practice culturally, but I'm still a Christian, even if not a typical one.

-I believe in God and am very passionate in my love for Jesus. But I'm also a pretty liberal sort of believer. I identify loosely as 'Christian agnostic'... while I acknowledge Jesus as my savior, I also understand the blindingly obvious reality that the Bible is loaded with questionable and contradictory passages and problematic material, inconsistent with observable reality and also internally inconsistent.
When I read the Bible I see it for what it is, a series of accounts of varying veracity, from dozens of authors over thousands of years, attempting to make sense of incidents and experiences that defied normal everyday explanation. This said, when it comes to core questions of faith, I do believe the core tenets of the Christian faith - I believe in God, the father, son, Holy Spirit - and believe in an afterlife.
        
-I've got a pile of mental health issues, physical health issues, relational issues. I am sick a lot, and even when not sick (due to immune system issues) I'm still clearly sick in the head. I'm autistic, I have obsessive compulsive disorder. I've struggled my entire life with clinical depression and various other issues which made it difficult to imagine that God loved me. (If he loves me, why did he put me in this situation?). I could dive deeper into all the pathology I struggle with but... Suffice it to say, if you're really determined to know more about my psychological defects the info is out there publicly. I'm pretty open about all of it. 

I've been making videos and art projects for most of my life. These websites and this 'business' are a way that I hope to eventually build a viable career doing the work I love doing. I figure my openness about mental health struggles has held me back from employment, so I am trying to find ways to make things work [online] through various shops. It helps that my parents assist me to a significant degree, but ideally I'd prefer to have my own place and be fully independent from them financially.

I'm a University of Houston graduate with major in Communications/Media Production and a Studio Art minor. GPA above 3.6, Phi Kappa Phi honors. That academic success meant absolutely nothing in practice afterwards. I'm a total failure and I'm kind of okay with it but I wish I were doing better so I could be in a stronger position to actually help people.

I grew up in Houston, Texas and have recently moved to Pennsylvania; notable Texas social circles included a lot of people from the churches I grew up attending and the local Eastwood scout troop [Troop 4] where I attained Eagle rank and where I volunteered and organized parties and activities as a scout leader for years afterwards. That stuff often appears in my older videos and some of my web presence.

I've been spending most of my time on creative projects as long as I can remember. I would draw all over my notebooks in middle school, and when at the age of 13 I gained access to an SD video camera and rudimentary editing software I inevitably began making video productions that became increasingly elaborate over time. I'm still hoping most of that will make it online in the few months, on HornbostelVideos.com, along with a bunch of brand new projects.

I'm determined to do something to stop illness because I know how much it [mental and physical illness] has been a problem for me and for others in my family, others throughout the world. And while I'm no doctor, I would like to actively support medical aid and medical progress. I've suffered a great deal in my life and have some deep-seated emotional weaknesses, and a severe tendency towards self-doubt, shame, depression, a deep pessimism about the future generally, I have poor social skills in person, and just generally I'm often in a bad mood. While medication helps, it does not solve my issues, and it's largely been my experience that my own emotional turmoil is ongoing and unavoidable. So if I can't fix my own weaknesses, maybe I should focus on doing something for those whose illnesses actually can be healed. I want to do something to make a difference in the world. My creative work, realistically, will not accomplish that, unless it goes somewhere [somehow] despite my stubborn insistence on business practices and ideals that actively reject financial success as foolish and misguided. I do not usually believe making money is my mission or my studio's, it's a necessary evil required to get creative work done and attain some form of beneficial influence on the world.

For me, the point of making money is twofold:
-creative freedom to pursue bigger and better projects for online release
-helping people through donations and the like

Plus, initially, a third goal, which is to reduce the burden I place on my parents that continue to host me in their house so far.

I do have some tendency to self-sabotage, obviously - working long hours [10+ hours every day] for low pay rates [way, way below US minimum wage, pretty consistently] and that's a possible opportunity for those wishing to hire me, even if hiring me comes with potential liabilities as well due to my honesty about my flaws, mental illness, things that most people don't understand.

I do recall graduating from University of Houston with a 3.67 GPA, DESPITE several attempts to convince teachers to lower my grades, and DESPITE an emotional meltdown bordering on suicidal on the campus. My big fear isn't death - I have been tempted by suicide my entire life - it's that my existence wasn't worth the emotional pain. That it served zero useful purpose. That scares the hell out of me, that lingering sense that my being born was not necessary, that it was a lot of experienced suffering for no real reason.

I want to believe that what I'm doing matters. That I am able somehow to help. That my life isn't wasted but has already, and moreover, will in its final stages, be useful to the world. And I'm desperately scrambling to adjust long-running projects to affix them to the world as it is now. Trying very hard to wrap everything up soon before time is up. And given that I believe there's a very real chance of the [seeming] impossibility of God actually existing and forgiving me, then if this be true and he does forgive me, clearly by default he forgives everyone. As I'm a terrible person. I wish I weren't. But I am. I am horrid and I hate myself. I fight it every day and I try as hard as I can to do good and all I'm left with is this gaping maw, this chasm of awfulness between what I am and what I should be. No amount of effort can ever bridge it, no sacrifice can make me able to live with myself, only Jesus can.

So that pretty  much covers it. I'm an artist, sort of, not plural 'artists', and I am in no way triumphant, aside from sheer pathological refusal to give up. Maybe I'll acheive success in some form, which... to me, success would be getting some of my new big projects out there, doing them well creatively, making a bit of cash from them, then donating it - extending, improving a few lives through donations. That's success. Maybe, convincing a handful of people here to be decent and generous and empathetic/merciful even knowing it will cost them. Being ethically good, or at least the pursuit of goodness, trying to be good, is the main point of life I think.

God helps with that but this only is true if it's really God in a personal, supernatural sense. Because if it's just the text of a defective religion, that's wholly inadequate. The Bible is an imperfect text, but it is a way to point us to the real presence behind it all, and if we don't actually directly know that living, loving being, then we entirely missed the point. Jesus spent a lot of time critical of Pharisees who knew the texts and honored all their rules, even the ones that were just flat out detrimental, vile, and stupid, but missed the purpose of them. They knew the words, they didn't know or recognize an actual tangible God. They had religion, and religion is useless at best, destructive, hateful, and toxic at worst.

Reject religion. Choose a loving relationship with the creator of our reality.

I have offended a lot of groups simply by acknowledging my weaknesses expressively and honestly. I have a strong self-sabotaging streak. Some people, not a lot, but some, like me anyway. People who barely know me usually hate me.

It's okay. I'm trying to help people even knowing there are probably ten million people aware of my work in some form, with all manner of opinions of it, some hateful and derisive, others appreciative, aside from the other two groups (friends and family who are close and actually understand and love me) and the other 8 billion people who have zero clue that I exist.

I'm trying to push myself to do what God wants me to do. I wouldn't say I'm storing up treasures in heaven, more like... trying to thank God for even considering letting me have a chance to make it there at all! I still don't know why he's giving me that chance but I'm so incredibly grateful that he has done so. And I want to sacrifice my life to him because that's the only sane response really, that I can imagine having to this excessive, inexplicable love he's been showing to me. And he may not even be there, maybe this is all delusion, but I hope it's real and I will base my life on it whether it is or not, because what else is there really to justify living and dying on this miserable planet? Even if there's no afterlife, I thank God for making this one tolerable enough to push through and endure until it's over. I thank God that I have actually had some good moments where I was really happy, and that he loved me in the midst of my anguish and gave me some hope that there might be a better future on the other side, even if it's just nonexistence, still arguably better than being alive. And I thank him for the people he put in my path who helped me survive my emotional tumult along the way.

Yeah, there's my confession, there's the truth as I see it. If you agree with any of what I'm saying, stick around, or don't - and I hope you'll donate to some worthwhile causes. Try looking at GiveWell.org and similar sites that analyze and review charities and identify the ones that are most effective and efficient in acheiving their stated goals. Try making a difference in the world, and whether you continue viewing my websites/work or not, do try to do something useful and positive with your life. Try to help people. Maybe you don't believe as I do. I get that, sometimes I question the validity of my faith too. Doubt is VERY understandable. But for me, it's obvious that life on Earth is stupid, painful and worthless, so if there's even the most remote, the most miniscule of chances that there's something better on the other side, I'm all in for that. I gladly choose to be alone in this life, hated by all, ridiculed for my own open idiocy, honest to the point of self-destruction, in pursuit of even the slight hope that it might be worth it. And belief is the best possible move, whether God exists or doesn't, as far as I can tell. If God exists, then I long to follow Him and love somehow like He does. And if I'm deluded and his involvement in my life is somehow imaginary, well, then nothing matters anyway. I've already concluded life on this little planet is empty of value, and nearly over... why not throw it away on this? I mean, if I'm gonna die anyway, wouldn't it be best to die with slightly less hatred towards myself? Wouldn't it be better to die knowing I helped someone, somewhere who might live a bit longer than I do? And if this is all there is, and there is nothing beyond, still I thank God for the fact that my existence will end, that suffering ends. I am fine with nonexistence if that's what's on the other side. It sounds pretty awesome, arguably better than being alive. I look forward to this life being over. But for the moment I'm here, I might as well do something with it given the limitations imposed by the decisions, good or bad, I've made up to this point. The options and branches remaining are rapidly narrowing, closing in. I've made some poor choices, but I desperately hope before the line hits its end I pray that I will have made a few helpful ones too that improved someone's life. 

So... that's where I stand. Alone in human society. And that's okay. Because I have God and that's all I need really. Nothing else matters except being His.

No good reason to waste the final years of my life pretending to be anything I'm not. I am not acceptable to society. I am sick. I have severe mental health issues. I'm a virgin and always will be, I intend to, hope to, die a virgin and that's kind of... gotten me banned from certain groups for saying sex isn't worth it. I think some people value their own transient enjoyment to an irrational degree and ruin their lives due to it. I don't think I'm able to support a partner, and definitely see the tradition of raising a family as a vast misstep in a world that is dying at an alarming rate.

I also think I've massively messed up from a work POV, as I scatter my efforts among too many different projects and then suddenly there's this... awareness emerging that most of those won't likely materialize because society is already slowly imploding and I'll be dead soon. And I'm just too honest about my emotional trauma and my pessimism about the future. And that makes everyone uncomfortable, that honesty and self-deprecation. When it appears in a job interview, it's always a red flag. I think I'm on some sort of hiring blacklist, really, genuinely I do suspect this.

Simple refusal or total inability to embrace social norms is why I've failed at everything in life. It's why my career went nowhere, and part of why I'm alone and a virgin and am going to die as one. (That's my choice though. Why start a relationship now when it's time-consuming, unappealing, and full of risk and stupid drama, and my lifespan's likely 80-90% over?) And I moved to PA to help with family but that also means I shifted away from the friends I had in the past and I'm really struggling to make new ones at this time. And not only do I not want a romantic relationship, I'm not even sure I want *any* relationships right now. Relationships are painful when you know everyone you know will be dying soon. They maybe don't get it on a visceral level, they live with recency bias and assume the future's going to be more of the same when actually we're pretty thoroughly screwed and in freefall off a cliff. I've examined the interconnected reasons why this is the case and have come to terms with it. Most people it seems, haven't. They're certainly not acting like they have.

And you may think my belief that the world as it now is, is ending soon is crazy. That it's a conspiracy theory or based in religious doomsday views. It's not. I wish I were wrong. But the trendlines are pretty clear. The planet's ecology is in freefall everywhere. Climate change is accelerating, the planet's heating by a larger amount every passing year, and that's triggering feedback loops that could easily kill almost everything. My best guess for when our global civilization ceases to be tenable and dies entirely? Some time between 2025 and 2035. And then things get steadily, abysmally worse from there for the following 300 or so years. I do believe that the current inflationary patterns are driven by climate heating, and mass crop failures. Food is showing really anomalous annual price increases. Like 18-20% a year now. It's not factored directly into CPI data, but indirectly it's driving everything in a problematic direction. Money printing is a factor, sure, but it doesn't explain why inflation has recently climbed so rapidly everywhere on Earth regardless of any individual location's fiscal policy. Ukraine grain export disruption is a factor too. But fundamentally? The really persistent problem is that crop yields are in terminal decline worldwide and the droughts, heat waves, etc, are killing more of it every passing year, forcing food prices into an endless spiral towards unaffordability. This is why I believe far higher than normal inflation will be permanent whatever policies are enacted. It's also why I believe civil unrest will impact more and more of the world in the next three or four years. Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Sri Lanka, Ethopia and Eritrea, and a dozen other countries are completely melting down right now. That is just the start. Climate collapse will kill all growth, lead us to a new Great Depression, trigger riots and warfare, and - ultimately - end in a mass dieoff of billions of people killing each other or starving to death.

Sometimes, world-altering events occur. Climate change is one such event that is totally predictable. And given the way it's speeding up each year, we should be unsurprised when 2 degrees increase (Fahrenheit) turns to 3, then 4, then 5, with each increment reached faster than the preceding one. Heat makes wildfires more common, and wildfires release carbon dioxide captured in plant life. Permafrost melts more each year, releasing more carbon dioxide and methane. Ice melts to a lower surface area each year, bouncing less heat out every summer and absorbing more in the oceans. Sure, it's true that sea level rise has been less than many anticipated so far, only 2-3 feet in most areas. But part of that is because evaporation is elevated - and that water vapor increase will further hold heat in the atmosphere, and also make cooling people down with sweat ineffective in increasaingly humid zones - causing more people to die from heat exhaustion. Most mainstream projections ignore these sorts of feedback loops, or incorporate only a few of them. The published news stories that we see about climate change usually try to motivate us to change our behavior, and tell us this problem can still be solved. That's true, maybe. But we're almost out of time, if there's any left at all, and the only way to have any livable future will require DRASTIC environmental action on an international level.

Conservation on an individual level is fairly useless - when a bunch of households, or a state or country resolves to use less gas and electricity in a capitalist system, the result of that localized conservation in an area, is a decrease in price of electricity and gas more broadly everywhere else, which causes those in other regions not conserving fuel to be less conservation-focused because the resource is now less expensive. There's an economic principle relating to this, which indicates that due to pricing, every resource is always used to the full extent possible. The only way to fix that, is with artificially imposed limits put in place by every govt. in the world together. I.e. a global gas tax, the funds resulting from it then diverted to research of alternative energy technologies, and large-scale carbon capture through various forms of reforesting. I don't know if the public would accept action strong enough to actually solve this, though. I don't know if the world can get every country to sign on. I do know there are interests (big companies with tons of resources) still trying to obfuscate the issues involved, and succeeding in stalling political action.
Worse, the slower our response, the more tangential crises will emerge every passing year making the world more chaotic, more disorganized, less able to work together to solve the underlying problem. It might well be too late. And I'm unconvinced that we have enough extractable minerals left to build the requisite number of electric cars, solar panels, batteries... the stuff needed to replace all the things that are currently structured around fossil fuels. I mean, over half of the aluminum in the world, is in landfills now. Copper is like that too, along with a lot of other extractable minerals. So all that is to say, we now can't pivot off of oil without taking a major hit to standards of living. Which - in turn - means our existing economic systems are doomed. We have five times as large a derivatives market in 2022, as we had in 2007. Debt levels generally are roughly triple the planet's actual GDP. Everything's so overleveraged right now that it's scary. It can't keep growing, it has to contract soon one way or another. All these debts are assuming growth will continue and it simply won't. Either that end of growth is a result of political decisions that are incredibly painful course correction, or it will be forced on us by the economic pressure of climate. If we do something, or do nothing, either way... we're headed off an economic cliff and it's becoming extremely obvious at this point to anyone who has their eyes open.

Thus... my determination that something big has to change, and that I have to be one of the people to participate in that. I know there are protestors immolating themselves in front of the Capitol, and people throwing soup at artworks and there's Greta Thunberg demanding action... none of that actually seems to be fixing anything. Complaining is not a solution.

I'm giving to conventional humanitarian charitable groups like the Against Malaria Fund, and I've paid to plant over 140 trees this year, among other bits of giving. I've given more this year across more areas than I used to, but still clearly it is nowhere near enough. I'm determined to increase donations by 40% each of the next five years even if my income remains pathetically low.

I can't do much myself though. Which means all of you need to step things up a bit. Saving nature is not just about saving nature. It's about improving lives of human beings. It's about making sure we all have a longer-term future.

And while I may be an unhappy person sometimes... I am also a very motivated and passionate person. I care about this. I want to help solve this.

Do I believe there is an afterlife? Yeah. But that doesn't mean that our experiences, our joys and suffering in this life are in any way inconsequential. I want to make this life better. And if my aim is to encourage empathy and ethics and selfless action, and compassion for everyone, then I think that's the sort of thing that helps in this world and in the next.
Ads on TriumphantArtists.com and other websites run by Matthew Hornbostel, include banner ads from Comic Ad Network [top ad - an unfiltered banner rotation system predominantly used by web comics, art sites, but occasionally some questionable items.] and my own banner rotation system [bottom - anything here is either my own stuff like websites, online shops, or social media profiles, or has been vetted by me and found to be generally legit. I have several cashback sites [all of them are ones I've used and cashed out tens of $ from successfully already] and major online retail stores [Sony, Microsoft, Amazon...] in that mix. Usually they give me some sort of small compensation if you buy from them through the link, which I'm disclosing right now. They're all legit spots, but if skeptical do your own research before committing to anything.]