We are fundraising at The Aspergian for the initial startup cost to establish a non-profit. My contribution is in designing cute little monsters. Here are a few I did that specifically were designed to represent traits and characteristics of autistic people. You can read descriptions of them here:
I have always been obsessed with monsters, creatures, toys, and stuffed animals. When I was young I would draw the creatures from my favorite Nintendo 64 games, and my stuffed animals were my best (and sometimes only) friends. But I learned the true therapeutic power of the cute creature on a winter day near the end of 2018. My husband had been very sick, and as a somewhat recovering emetophobe, I was very close to coming completely unhinged.
Our one-bathroom house felt suddenly extremely unsafe as I waffled back and forth from making sure my partner of 6 years was okay, and calculating the risk of getting sick myself.
Even once he was recovering in bed, (and I wish I was kidding about this) I slept in my car to avoid stray pathogens while keeping the phone close in case he needed anything. The next morning, the time came to reclaim my territory.
Nervous and far from well-rested, I made the journey to get cleaning supplies to ease my paranoia. Bear in mind, it has always been a struggle for me to go to the store. Something about it has always caused me a lot of distress, and I don’t shop alone if I can avoid it. That day, I didn’t have a choice. So as I teetered on a full meltdown, I looked over to my passenger seat to see a friendly face.
My Yo-Kai Watch Jibanyan stuffed animal had come along for the ride, and as I looked into his round, yellow eyes, as if to say “Well buddy, I gotta do this,” I felt the strength I needed to go into the store, get the cleaning supplies, clean my bathroom, and rejoin my husband (who was doing well except for missing me.)
It was then I decided to take a bit of a diversion from my usual bold, edgy artistic style and focus on making creatures who could loan a little bit of extra strength to other people like me who could use a boost.
I started a line of cute monster character designs, but then decided to take an extra step. Wouldn’t it be better if the monster could really sit on your desk or shelf and take care of you from there? I had dabbled in 3d work before, but this was a new endeavor. I started making adoptable monsters who came in their own carriers with adoption certificates, making sure that no two were alike, and as I took them to booths and events, they quickly became the most rewarding part of my career.
Take this little guy for instance. I spent a lot of time hand sculpting his ears and legs, adding fur bit by bit and painting glitter on his three bright eyes. I punched air holes into a box for him and got his adoption certificate ready.
The event was rainy, the turnout was low, and my pants were drenched. My friend who helped me run the booth wondered if we should leave early. But this monster was adopted by a little boy who named him Fluffy.
The boy stayed and talked to me for a bit and promised to feed Fluffy chips. I told him that Fluffy loves the stars and moonlight and would like to sit in a window. The little boy told me sometimes he was scared in the dark because it feels like monsters are in his room.
I told him that Fluffy was small, but really strong and would look out for him and keep him safe. He was so happy! I teared up as the boy left. When I was young, I was afraid of everything, and being able to help in some small way makes everything worth it.
Since I started helping monsters get adopted, I have received pictures of them watching TV, eating sprinkles, or getting tucked in to bed. There is nothing that makes me happier than contributing to that joy.
Whether someone is 5 and afraid of the dark, or 50 and needing a friend to sit on a desk at a difficult job, sometimes we all just need a friendly little face to give us the strength we need to go on. My mission is to bring the comfort and support of little monsters to as many people as possible.
If you would like to adopt your new best friend, you can check out the monsters currently available for adoption here. Or you can commission a custom monster figure or drawing just for you! Commissions that come from the Aspergian will donate 25% of proceeds to fund the founding of our nonprofit. We offer a valuable resource to the neurodiverse community, and this will improve our ability to support autistics and other neurodivergents.
They/Them or He/Him
Ra Vashtar is a visual artist, illustrator, writer, and self-described "monster rights activist." Currently Ra works in blogging, monster adoptions, commissioned illustration, video game art assets, and shirt designs for the Hot Topic Creator Program. They find joy and meaning in designing creatures that show even things that are a little different deserve love. Sometimes we all feel like monsters, but monsters are symbols of power and change. Ra is trans nonbinary and bisexual, and believes in advocacy for the LGBTQIA+ and neurodiverse communities through education and visibility. A fiery and funny extrovert, Ra found that through going first and speaking up, plenty of other monsters often echoed out from the shadows, inspired by not being alone.
Special interests: horror and monsters, middle eastern mythology, ancient Egypt, ferrets, criminal psychology, and fire.
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