So last night was the Horns and Heroes event, where my painted Rhinoceros sculpture went up for auction alongside 67 others.
Words can not describe the amount of joy, pride, and complete shock I felt when my work not only surpassed the bids of every other Rhino in the house, but did it at ROCKET speed. I had tears in my eyes, and went deaf, I think, somewhere along in the process, but - It went from $200, VERY quickly all the way up to a whopping $750 dollars! I was, and continue to be, pretty much completely speechless. (In real life. XD Good thing I can type my thoughts out!!)
This was amazing to me on so many levels. I've always struggled with feelings that my artwork was not worthy, that it did not stand up next to work done by my peers, not only in online art communities such as this one, but in local circles as well, the various galleries and showings I've submitted work to. To see a piece that I poured my heart and soul into, not only perform well, but bring an amount far above that of work submitted by my peers to this event, gave me a boost of confidence that I will not soon forget. There was only one other piece that ended up surpassing mine in the amount it raised, and I am very very happy for that person and his work because it was seriously astounding. As were so many last night!! There were a lot that I honestly feel should have gone for a lot more money. Which brings me to the other reason that this was amazing, to me.
My family and I have struggled, for a very long time, to simply make ends meet. My ongoing medical issues have caused my employment history to be, on paper, pretty much comparable to Swiss cheese. The obstacle that I face the most when applying for work, is that there are huge gaps in time between times when I was able to hold a "real" job. As such, I have always striven to do the very best I can to bring in income with my creative work, via commissions and sales, both locally and online, putting countless long hours and sleepless nights into that effort.
Were this not the case, and were money a whole lot less of an object for my family and I, there are so many causes such as Horns and Heroes' efforts to save the Rhinoceros, that I'd like to be able to donate regularly to. The destruction of our beautiful planet and the decimation of it's creatures due to man's greed, is something that I feel more passionately, more heartbroken about, than probably anything going. I wish so much that there was more I could do to make a difference in this world and to turn things around for animals everywhere, they that have no voice and can do nothing to stop their own extinctions from coming swiftly at mankind's hand.
To be able to put my creative effort toward saving at least one of our planet's magnificent creatures... to be able to do *something*, and then to have it go so well, literally means everything to me. Chad Harmon, the man who organized the Horns and Heroes Project, has poured so much of himself into saving the Rhinoceros. It was all I could do to hold back tears when he hugged me last night and he thanked me for my work. I thanked him just as much. This was a win-win situation at it's finest. I am just so incredibly happy to have been able to be a part of this.
I'm happy to say that, with the combined efforts of all of the artists, crafters, creators and local businesses involved with this - via the auctioned Rhino busts, t-shirt sales, raffles and more - The Horns and Heroes Project raised, as reported by it's founder via Facebook, over $22,000 last night!!!!!
Please, if you can, consider making a donation to wildlife conservation efforts. Not only the Horns and Heroes project, and the magnificent and underrated beauty that is the Rhinoceros, but to any wildlife you may feel any sort of love or compassion for. I know, that in the end, my contribution was a drop in the bucket toward raising awareness that Rhino horn is not medicine, and toward ending poaching. But there should be no such thing as not doing a little because you can't do enough. Every small effort helps in big ways. Put your heart and soul into all that you do, and it will make an amazing difference in the world. I strongly believe that.
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