30
Jan

surgery-update-i-can-see-kind-of
 Surgery update: I can see! (Kind of)

Both of my eyes have been operated on. I went from a -20.5 to a -1.5/-2ish. I have temporary glasses and I am waiting 2 weeks until everything is healed and I can get my permanent prescription because it will change as it heals.

I have some floaters and minor complications that I will get checked out in about 1.5 weeks. If that it OK I will get 1-2 more minor procedures and another retina check and I will be done.

It looks like with glasses I can now be correctable to 20/20 for the first time in my life.

I am in shock and I don’t know what I’m seeing or how to describe it. My brain is completely overloaded and confused. I’ll let this speak for it:

Starbucks:

“Why are you crying? Are you ok?”

“I can read every word on the menu! Every single word! I don’t need any help!”

I am well enough to try to work on some art today, so I will do that and see if I can get some of the rewards done for those who have donated to support me.



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20
Jan

surgery-2-is-125-and-what-i-got-instead-of-flowers
 Surgery #2 is 1/25 AND what I got instead of flowers

Husband knows the story about how when I was 4 my blindness was undiagnosed. My family went to Disney World and I wasn’t able to see anything and had no idea I was there. While sitting on my Mom’s lap on the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride it was the first time I saw anything in my life. I saw diving man and squiddy and freaked out because I had no idea there was a world at all around me and I wanted to hug squiddy.

The windows were concave, vaguely similar to what my prescription was and acted almost like my future glasses. Disney literally was the first thing I ever saw in my life because of that. So that James Harknell husband surprised me with this instead of flowers for my surgery that is fixing my blindness:

subs disney

The windows light up.

I think I’ll wait until Tuesday to put the batteries in. :)

P.S. On or about the first week of February I will be well enough to work again and I have some very big things planned for you all. Thank you so much for staying with me while I get well.



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15
Jan

update-eye-surgery-1-is-complete-and-i-am-ok
 Update: Eye surgery 1 is complete and I am OK

The first eye surgery is complete and I am recovering. No complications so far amd the doctors say that I am healing very nicely. I still have some healing to do before my vision is totally right. I now have 1 blind eye and 1 not as blind eye and Harknell has been helping me and I am working from home as I am able.

Already I can see better than ever before in my left eye. I also am seeing different colors in each eye, which is really odd.

The second eye surgery will be on 1/25. Here are some photos that (don’t worry) are not gross – nothing they did to me was gross or bloody. I’ll still add some space to the entry just in case you guys are super squeamish – but trust me it’s just cool / weird looking and not gross.

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The first one is my eye directly after being lasered. If I understand it correctly, my natural lens was cut painlessly under the skin without cutting into my eye at all. All I saw was colored lights. They then took me into the OR, knocked my ass mostly out and then sucked that out and replaced it with a functional lens implant. During that process I thought I saw leprechauns and long face aliens inside an opal cave and flowers and butterflies. I’m gonna try and draw that for you guys. All I remember is heading the doctor say “look forward”. I did my best and asked if that was forward and then he was like…”no”. Which I thought was funny at the time but was too drugged to notice.

eye1

I have to sleep with this thing for awhile and I am getting energy spurts and then crashes of body weakness:

eye2

I am still working on a secret page of art for those of you who donated. You can see why it’s going to take weeks for me to complete, as I can’t see or move my head much right now. I am in that part of post surgery where it is a battle between being tired and bored.

Thank you guys for all the get well cards and presents. It means a lot. If this trend continues it looks like you guys may have literally saved my sight.

I will post more when I feel better. My energy is crashing now again. I can’t wait to see again.



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23
Dec

medical-leave-thank-you-and-a-quick-update-for-people-who-donated
 Medical leave, thank you, and a quick, update for people who donated

Hi guys. As you know it has been tough for me lately. I’ve posted before that I have lost much of my vision. When I did that I received so many messages from you guys demanding to know where you all could donate to help me pay for the surgery that – if all goes well – will save my sight.

Actual picture of my eye surgery procedure (not really):

IMG_5890

Prismacolor colored pencils and gamsol wash with a q tip ^

I wasn’t planning on taking up a collection, but I received so many emails and complaints from you guys demanding that I do one that I was all like

wat-gigantic-duck

So I let people know that the tip jar on this blog goes directly to me. Within hours we had very much exceeded the $5000 cost of my surgery and I had a PO Box full of cards and stuff from my Amazon Wishlist.

It took me some weeks to write this post because I honestly didn’t have words and needed time to process it. Most of my life has been pretty tough so I’m not used to kindness. I’m used to being the one who is being kind.

So thank you – all of you. It means a lot.

My first surgery will be on 13 January. They will tell me when the second one is on the 14th, but both will be done within 7 days. My vision is so bad that if they only do one eye I will have large images in one eye and small images in the other. I will not be able to live a normal life between each operation. I’ll post updates as I can on this.

Specifically for donations related to this eye surgery time period I am creating a password protected page for you guys. On that page will be a selection of new art, formatted in wallpapers for you to use on your various devices or computer desktops – and anything else I can think of to give to you to show my gratitude. I had to stop making art due to my medical situation and because of you all I will be able to do it again. If this works out I may just figure out a system to do this for donations all year that grants time frames to people who contribute amounts. But anyone who contributes anything will get in for now. :)

In fact, for EVERYONE here’s a previously unreleased sketch of a 1 page comic I did before I retired from cartooning. This one never got produced and it makes absolutely no sense as usual. Click for larger:

unreleased comic

I personally like to bypass 3rd party crowdfunding sites and keep it as close to my self-hosted site as possible because 3rd party sites take a cut of what you receive.

You can still and always contribute to my work via this blog to get access to the secret page. Please note that I am working right now with only about 1/4 of my vision left and so it may take until January/February for me to get all of this new art together. If you haven’t donated but want in on this you can still contribute:

1. My mailing address is:

Oni Hartstein
PO BOX 1392
Highland Park, NJ 08904

2. My Amazon wish list is here.

3. If you’d like to donate at any time you can use my Tip Jar link:





The extra money over my medical costs will go to the community and not to my wallet. It will be used to help me bring more to the community by helping fund the humanitarian events that I produce.

For 7 years now I’ve been working for free creating events that truly elevates artists, held mentor sessions with all who ask at my events for free. In many cases I’ve been in a situation where I have to pay out of my own pocket in order to work on these projects, but I believe the impact we have had is worth it. We get people going to college, and help people who have a need for it find their own community and family. The best part is that we do it all with a focus on Art and Technology, so there’s really no limit to what we can accomplish.

This is why donating is still relevant. Not only will you get some cool art that no one else has, but you will be supporting things like the new Children’s Track at (Re)Generation Who this year and the educational workshops at Intervention.

For new readers – (Re)Generation Who: The Doctor Who Convention (takes place this March 18-20 in MD so register now) and my awesome multi-genre artist art / tech makerspace and festival Intervention (takes place this August 16-18 in Rockville, MD, registration goes up in January for Intervention.)

I’d also like to specifically thank:

Cat for sending me the Hamilton soundtrack

Missy and Gillian for sending me a Shure SM-58 mic each to replace the ones that went missing at my cons years ago

Brian for sending me Deathwish Coffee and a sweet Unicorn mask

IMG_5834

I am mostly on medical leave now from the internet and can’t easily go out to cover events. My apologies to everyone who I had to turn down this year. I barely made it through Haunt Season and it seemed that every month the lights were noticeably dimmer and dimmer. I’ll still post here as much as I can and will return to normal after my surgery mid January. Please make sure to bookmark my blog and/or add this to your RSS. I’ll be posting quick updates on my personal Facebook which I use as a public fan page so you are more than welcome to check in on me over there. I don’t think I’ll be gone for long. I’m too much of an obsessive overachiever. :)

Thank you to everyone. Happy Christmas, Happy Holidays, and may you and your family have an amazing end of the year. I care about you more than you know – even the people I haven’t met yet.

Why? Because the fact that you read what I write means we connect on some level. I appreciate that immensely. <3



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02
Dec

doctor-who-convention-sixth-doctor-cosplay
 Doctor Who Convention Sixth Doctor cosplay!

So I went to visit our friends at LI WHO a couple weekends ago. They were nice enough to give us a panel to promote my Doctor Who con, (Re)Generation Who in MD this March. Of course, I had to dress for the occasion:

Photo by John Horne

Arnold Blumberg, James Harknell, and Oni Hartstein. Photo by John Horne

Photo by James Harknell

Photo by James Harknell

Monica, Oni, and Johnny Blaze Leavitt

Monica, Oni, and Johnny Blaze Leavitt

Photo by Allison Eckers Hoffman

Photo by Allison Eckers Hoffman

Photo by James Harknell

Photo by James Harknell

Literally everyone loved it:

colin baker costume reaction

Costume graciously sponsored by Frockasaurus. See more of her work and get your own here.



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