There's been a ton of silence at VAlzheimer Studio in general since the beginning of 2017, which is about to change really soon, and I am happy to say I'm back, doing promos, making products and doing new artwork that is soon to come to my galleries
As some of you know my (real) name is Verica and I am from Serbia, Europe (former Yugoslavia, on Balkans). I first started playing with Daz Studio and models in the ending of 2012/beginning of 2013, and little did I know it would change my life completely in the time span of 4 years to come. I remember that time when I started Studio, I wasn't feeling well on the health field and spent a lot of my time on sick leave from job I did, I wasn't feeling like myself in the real life which all became overwhelming and I was looking for an escape. For years prior to it I had Blender installed on my laptop, under Ubuntu OS, yet never quiet grasped on it, so I sat down and tried to learn it. Search for free 3D models led me back to Daz 3D website, where I already once landed few years earlier purchased some models and got some free, but didn't find formats friendly for learning Blender and abandoned the account leaving that interest aside.
What lured me into the Daz Studio was the birth of Genesis figure, DS being in its 4.5 version and free for download, so it occupied me during that time I spent home, and provided a much needed escape from troubles I found myself in. Troubles passed by, yet Daz never left me, it became a hobby I enjoyed, gave me just enough insight for 3D I was eager to learn and artworks I made became better and better. I started meeting artists, created my new DeviantArt profile and soon a Facebook page where I discovered several groups I could find people like me in.
It opened a whole new world.
A year into making art with Genesis and 3Delight, great feedback on my self-taught skill and results, I got courageous enough to start applying to become a promo artist, as there were several promotions teams out there, who would get free content from vendors and done images showcasing those products. Shyly at the time I saw Elite Models 3D among them, and a post in one of the Daz groups I was in, from the Man himself, the leader and owner of the team and EM3D name, thanking the community for the support his team has received and how much they have grown.
Of curse, I have instantly messaged the Man before my
courageousness flees, and asked is he looking for new artists and that I would like to try my luck in the business. Not only the answer was yes, he said my inquiry made his day, and along with a few other artists we all jumped into the new world of promotions. The whole world became so much closer, I learned who the vendors were, connected with artists and creators on a professional level and worked harder and harder to enhance my art while still learning 3D and making my own characters and contents on the side.In the team we had people we would contact if we faced any issues, but being in the European time zone it appeared when I needed help nobody was online. So I went straight forward and wrote the message to the Man, whom I almost never seen posting anything, or interacting much, but I gave it my best shot and wrote "Hey Boss, stupid question incoming..." To day we giggle at that entrance of mine as from that moment up till today him and me just kept on exchanging messages, then calling each other on Skype, and grew very affectionate towards each other.
Finally we announced that we are in the relationship, which raised many eyebrows, as he was in USA and I was in Serbia and there was 5000 miles between us for anyone to take such announcement seriously. But we knew it from the start, that there is something special bonding us and that there is a good reason we just couldn't pass a day without hearing about the day of the other. Fall of 2014, Todd invited me to the USA and to come visit for Thanksgiving, no expectations, no obligations, just to come and visit and return after a week or two. I am very cautious when it comes to meeting people from the internet, let alone traveling across the world alone as I never flew in an airplane before, but before we knew it we made all the arrangements and I submitted the application to US embassy in Serbia to acquire a visa for the trip.
My visa got denied without much explanation. I was devastated all of a sudden and my world came crashing down. This silly, online thing and this crazy plan of traveling to meet him and see this far away country, suddenly became the most important thing in my life, overwhelming me with devastation that embassy doesn't want to let it happen.
My aunt, whom I called right after I exited the interview that I failed, all in tears trying to explain I got denied, right off the bat said "Why don't you both meet half way and go somewhere in Europe where you don't need a visa? Rome is beautiful, why don't you both go to Italy?" There was hope again, and we started working on Plan B, not everything was lost just yet. We started working on getting us both to Rome, changed dates of our vacations, and booked a small suite in Rome. Needless to say lots of eyebrows got raised again, but we didn't care. Flights got booked, we packed our bags and got on the planes to meet in Rome.
How do you just go and do something like that? I can't explain that to day, I don't know how I did it or what drew me there, or how he just sat on the plane and went to meet someone he knew from Facebook and Skype. But, we did, we knew. I don't believe in destiny, but if I did, that would be mine, that would be something I was supposed to do. Because that week in Rome, was the best vacation I have ever had, at the very time at the airport and our first "live" meeting there was a man that I knew, who hugged me not like a stranger, but like someone I've known forever. There was nothing awkward about it, and everything went even better than we thought it would.
It went so well that on our last night in Rome, Todd popped out the ring and a question to marry him, on which I instantly said Yes.
New process and a bunch of paperwork started from there, applying this time for K1 (fiancee) visa to get me to the States and marry him, this man I so ridiculously fell head over heels in love with, this relationship so impossible and irrational, but it led the life of its own. It dragged us in, it consumed us, to be together was all we wanted.
In August 2015 my first product (Wear Them All) got released at Daz 3D. I officially became a vendor with Todd having my back, encouraging me every step on the way of growing as a 3D artist and content creator. Not only had I this weird relationship with someone I met online and got engaged to, now all of a sudden I had this new job, I was doing what I love and it all grew so much that I've quit my real job in the company in December 2015 after almost 7 years working for the mobile network operator, to commit myself only to 3D, this new job, new man and new life I had so much faith in.
Visa process took almost two years. In the meantime Todd came to visit Serbia and fell in love with my homeland, he learned all of our customs and we enjoyed every single second we spent together on his arrivals. And our hearts broke every time he had to leave. Numerous times we just begged, why don't they approve or deny already, and why is it taking so damn long. But we stayed on our track and we wouldn't give up. We had to be together.
Right before his arrival to Serbia in September, I finally received the letter from he Embassy to get ready for the interview for a visa to immigrate to USA. Interview took place in October after collecting a bunch of paperwork and paying a ton of fees, just to go there and tell somebody the story about us, and them to judge if I am eligible to enter the States and go get married. The moment the consul said "Congratulations, your visa is approved..." I didn't hear anything else through the tears I started crying trying to keep myself together and not look like a complete lunatic in front of those important people. Lady just smiled, told me where to go next and said my passport is waiting for me.
From that moment everything got real. This impossible, irrational thing, just got real. We started planning, Todd would have to come and get me because with my anxiety and everything he just wouldn't allow me going that long flight from Serbia to USA alone, booking the tickets again but this time without dreading departing on Nikola Tesla airport in Serbia, but me going on that plane with him. In the meantime I cancelled my apartment, shut down my bank accounts and contracts I had... and Todd came a week earlier to help me pack my stuff into two suitcases, and leave with him.
I arrived to Texas USA ending of January 2017. We instantly signed the lease to a small apartment for the two of us, moved both of us in and with lots of help from family and encouragement of our friends got ourselves settled in. I've not stopped smiling since that day. Todd says he has never seen me smile this much. Life together now, just as every time he came to Serbia and that crazy Rome vacation, just started off perfect from the first day. I look at this man and I can't believe he really exists. We have same habits, we have so much love and tenderness for each other, every time he leaves for work I wish he was at home and around and cannot wait for him to enter the door when he comes back. We sit at our computers and do renders, we play games on PlayStation together, we cook, we laugh, we sleep holding each other tight.
USA is different than I ever thought it would be. People are warm and nice, I've not felt anything but welcomed since I came here, I got a whole new family that I love and most importantly, Todd by my side, not having to leave again. I arrived from freezing winter straight into the Texas summer. Buildings are different here, roads are wide and everyone drives fast, and even fast food actually tastes like food and not what I thought it would. Everyone works hard, sometimes two jobs at the time, rents and taxes are high, and people are just trying to get by, just like we did back home. Underneath, we are all the same, and I said, I will do my best to break all the stereotypes and bring that opinion closer to everyone I know. In Texas I have "an accent", it confused me at first as I was learning English since I could write, but now I find it cute when someone asks where I am from, because people get curious to learn about Europe, while I am still learning like a baby everything over again, from how to use utensils around the house to how to pick the right products in the store.
We got married last week, on March 15th, 2017. We wore blue, and had a civil rockabilly-style wedding, just the two of us and Todd's sister with us who took amazing photos and spent that day with us. I officially became Mrs Todd Hupe, Verica Hupe. And there is nowhere I would rather be, nobody I would rather be with, or job I would rather do.
It all seems like a dream to me and I smile, I smile all the time thinking about this life around me, that moment we said "I do", looking at our wedding rings, and how we ever even happened. We've beaten all odds, we made it happen. What started as a hobby and a passion for art has changed my life forever.
So this is why I've been a little away form doing art and posting. Aside form some further paperwork to readjust my immigration status, my new life and a completely new era starts from here. Now on, making art and Daz and 3D content is my job. USA is my new home. And I'm a proud wife of an amazing husband, who always believed we will get here, and that I will come this far
If you're still reading this... YOU are the ones who encouraged my art and blew wind into my back, so YOU are the part of this long story, and I am so very eternally thankful for ever starting playing with Daz Studio, and not giving up.
Never give up on things you love doing, it may change your life forever.