This year was my tenth Anthrocon in a row, a fact anyone who's talked with me over the past month is probably a little TOO aware of; but this is the internet and repetition is necessary in the sea of noise lest people's microscopic attention spans fail you yet again. In the spirit of this auspicious anniversary I'd like to do a -brief- retrospective of my career as the World's Greatest Furry Artist (I said "brief" not "humble").I went to my first AC in the summer of 2008, it was my first summer coming out of college. I had had a great first year of college, I had a great girl, loved my studies, and had managed to scrape together enough money to go to a con I'd wanted to go to for years. I was still circling the idea of furry with some wariness at this point; I didn't have a fursona and I still got embarrassed when my proclivity for bouncing, anthropomorphic bosoms came up. Oh yeah I was also still ardently straight. None of these things would last. I went with talenshi(who still does cons with me) and another young man who has since... well I don't exactly know; I broke contact with him after college when he started living in some kind of furry fuck-house and decided that it was his duty as a friend to try to publicly shame me as often as possible. Also he would leave used dildos in our sink at FWA five years later and, when we called this behavior "rude", he decided we were all transphobic and never spoke to us ever again.You meet some strange people in this line of work.Anyhow, it was me and two other newbies at the con and we honestly didn't know what to expect but I distinctly recall feeling like I'd walked into another dimension once the con was in full swing and taking over downtown Pittsburgh. I also remember never wanting it or the wonderful feelings I was having to end; I was hooked. As if the free, fun, furry atmosphere hadn't been enough we learned about "Artist Alley"and decided to give it a try. we hustled over to the nearby FedEx Office Center and threw together signs, price sheets, and business cards. It was jank and we barely knew what we were doing but, three days later, I had more than made back the expenses of the trip and knew in my big goofy heart that I wanted to do this forever. I couldn't place my finger on it but some animalistic, artistic instinct knew, just KNEW, that there was potential here. I wanted to do this for a living.So I did.Well, it wasn't immediate. I first had to get through college. Graduating in 2011 from the Savannah College of Art and Design I earned a degree in "Sequential Art". A few months later I'd find myself living in Mobile, Alabama and raising kangaroos and wallabies for a living (I swear this is true, I have pictures), that job would eventually end and I would start working as a muralist and exhibit designer for science centers and history museums in the area. I was getting close to being able to quit that job though, my comic "False Start" was picking up steam, I was networking like a champ, cons were going good, and my online profile was increasing in stature. Things were looking good but, simply by virtue of the way this paragraph is structured, you know that it couldn't last.On March 23rd, 2013 I would begin to get extremely dizzy while bowling despite not drinking or doing anything more arduous than, well, bowling. The feeling would subsist into the next day, and the next, then the next week, the next month... you get the idea. I began to get tired rapidly, my eyesight would fail sporadically, I had sever joint pain at all times, I had constant double vision. I was 24 years old and it felt like my body was rapidly aging every day. 13 specialists and an unholy amount of time in doctor's officess later I would find out I had a double dose of Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and, if I didn't begin taking antibiotics immediately, the former would continue to make me miserable and the latter would flat out kill me; this was in September of 2013. I started the antibiotic treatment and immediately started feeling better. Then I finished the regimen and the symptoms all came back, and then worsened, and worsened. I saw more doctors and specialists than I can remember and we would eventually learn that I had "Chronic Lyme Disease", IE: the kind you don't really get better from. I developed sever chest pains, I would have small seizures, and even developed severe "waking anxiety". None of this was helped by the fact that I was being sexually harassed (possibly even assaulted, depending on your definition of the word) by a person I had believed was a friend, who had decided that, me dying and all (my own mother would later tell me that she didn't think I was going to make it), it was the perfect time to tell their fiance that they were ALSO in love with me in order to get the fiance to be more committed(?), all the while continuously trying to seduce me (I never had sex with this person, THANK GOD) Whatever this lunatic couple was doing it worked for them and, my near corpse making a convenient launch platform, they catapulted into furry stardom and got married. Figuring my feminist friends wouldn't stand for this I waited to hear from them, figuring they'd want to rectify this great injustice; a dying man being sexually manipulated and preyed upon for someone else's perverse gratification and further manipulations? That's the kind of thing my feminist allies publicly denounced daily, I would have huge support!Just kidding, they never asked me what happened, or even spoke to me again. When it comes down to "suck up to a popufur" or "stand up for your publicly stated beliefs" the former is going to win every time, turns out. Oh well, lesson learned!At this point, dying, alone, and abused I completely fell apart. I was in and out of mental wards and hospitals and state sanctioned mental and physical health programs. I was on huge amounts of medication and the whole thing is one big, miserable, blur. I lost all my money, my job, most of my friends, had moved back in with my parents, and was mostly bedridden. It kind of sucked.But I slowly put things back together. I still drew every day, even still working on commissions out of sheer spite, and worked to get myself physically active and emotionally stable (I was angry a lot, I think I'd earned it) and in July of 2016 kazekoe would ask me out. We started dating long distance and I fell madly in love with the cute redhead from Michigan with the smooth voice. Then on New Years Day we would move in together. Then he would graduate, get a great job while I was working out so hard that I'd gotten to be in the best physical shape of my life. My art was coming out again, I was doing comics, conventions, had a new artist crew. And it didn't end there!On May 1st of this year kazekoe would propose to me at the sushi restaurant he had taken me to when I first visited him two years prior. I, of course, said yes and now I wear this beautiful ring every day: pbs.twimg.com/media/DcJjbG6X0A… . We're getting in married in late Spring of next year. Oh yeah and then we'd move into a new, and better, apartment and adopt our awesome dog: Ditko!And that catches us up to this year's Anthrocon. It was also good; the table was a hit, the art show was a huge success, and I got to hang out and talk to all my favorite people for one weird little weekend in Pittsburgh. I've often said that "Anthrocon is my favorite holiday" and it continues to be true. AC is like a metronome that I can measure the passage of time in my life by; good or bad AC has always been a bright spot for me and this year proved no different.So yeah, that's a quick summary of my career so far as a furry artist. Maybe someday I'll make it into a comic. Oh! I mentioned my mom ("Mama-Bone" as stream attendees have begun to call her) was at the con this year, she wanted to see it after all this time and she loved it! I called her after the con and asked if there was anything she wanted to say to you all and here's what I got:"I think the part I liked the most was the kids with their families. I would go up and talk to every family I saw that had kids running around in ears and tails and they all said the same thing: 'This is the happiest I've ever seen my child. At school they're quiet, don't talk much, get picked on, and don't feel like themselves but here... here they blossom. They're free to be themselves and I'm so glad I took them to this'. That really meant a lot to me, having raised two strange young men myself. Any family that looked uncomfortable I brought over to your booth and, after talking with you, they always felt better about the con, like it wasn't so 'weird' anymore. I think I'll be coming back next year."I know this journal got rough there in the middle but talk about a double pick me up at the end there! There's really only one way to end a journal like this and that is, of course, with gratification; to you: the people who come to AC, that stop by and chat, that read the comics I make, everything! Thank you so much for allowing me to continue a life that seems too crazy and wild and fun to be real.Here's to another few decades of Anthrocon,-BonePS, sorry if this wasn't too brief.
Like my arts? Support my work through Patreon.
Want some cool merchandise? Check out my stores at Art Work Tee | Red Bubble
Follow me on FurAffinity | Twitter | Picarto | Instagram | tumblr
Check out my new comic site False Start on The After Dark