Update after almost 4 years. It's actually pretty cool being able to look back and see how much has changed.
I left Luma Arcade/Americana, moved to Cape Town, and started work at Free Lives as a tech artist, where I helped with shipping a little game called Broforce. I spent about 6 months or so there on updates to Broforce as well as helping with our own internal prototypes. One of those prototypes went on to become Genital Jousting, which released on Steam this month.
I left Free Lives a couple of months ago, moved to the United States, and started work as an fx artist at Epic Games. I'm enjoying being able to focus much more on a single skill (although, to be fair, game fx encompasses several different skills, so being a generalist and tech artist helped a lot I think), though I do miss prototyping and creating my own creative work. I still paint sometimes, but it's rarer now. Partly because I've had a bout of depression over moving countries and being away from family, girlfriend and the rest of my support structure, and partly out of being busy with figuring out how this whole settling in a new country thing actually works.
The plan is to take it a year at a time. Maybe I'll like it here and want to stay on. Maybe I'll get frustrated, and want to work in indie games again. Either way, I think for the next while I'll be focusing much more on making great-looking fx. I'm not overjoyed about my current situation, as there were a bunch of downsides that I didn't foresee (including how much tax would be deducted from my pay, how real loneliness actually is, and what it'd feel like to have all of the savings I had in SA be pretty meaningless in a country where things are overall much more expensive). I think I'm happy to have moved for the learning and experience, and given it's only been about 6 weeks, it's still pretty early to make any lasting decisions.
Combined with wanting to be a better fx artist, I actually also want to think a lot more about making games that "matter". Like, yeah, I want them to be entertaining... but I'd also like to work on some stuff that's more mature. Not in a violent or nsfw sense, but in terms of creating experiences that engage with players on a more personal and emotional level. I cry often in movies, or sometimes with reading books, but while I do sometimes feel emotional about games, it's currently much rarer. I feel like there's so much to explore and innovate still in that department, and I long to make a game that makes someone cry (good-cry!). I think I'll keep this on the back-burner for a little while. I'm working with fx artists, I'm being paid as an fx artist, and there's currently the most direct gain out of being a better one while I'm here.
But if you don't play video games, or there are video games you wish were made that you think you'd love to play, (especially ones that don't currently exist) I'd love to hear your thoughts.