A native of Damascus, Syria, Renderosity vendor Muwawya ALhamadi had very few options when he graduated from high school in 2013.
He was in the middle of high school in 2011 when his country broke out into an on-going civil war.
By 2013, Syria was in crisis with an estimated 100,000 dead, including 11,000 children. According to the United Nations, 4.9 million refugees have fled the country and nearly 200,000 civilians have been killed in the six-year conflict.
"I started creating digital art after I finished high school in 2013," he said. "There were a lot of problems going in my country, which prevented me from attending college."
To avoid the gruesome details of daily life in a war zone, he spent a majority of his time watching movies and playing video games.
"When one day, I stumbled upon a YouTube video called 'RWBY Chapter 1: Ruby Rose,'" he said. "That moment turned to be a new chapter in my life."
He was mesmerized by the American anime-style cartoon and wanted to make art like creator Monty Oum.
"So I did some research and I was very surprised when I discovered that everything was made by one person, Monty Oum, which made me see the possibility of fulfilling my wish," Muwawya said.
He has since started working with Blacksmith3D and has collaborated with RPublishing on some projects.
"At first, I started it like a hobby; something to pass time until I find my way for the future," he explained. "Then I found out that I can actually sell my designs and get benefits of my work."
Being able to make money from digital art was a dream come true for him.
"I'm really happy that something I love and enjoy can be my profession and have a future of it," he said.
While Muwawya has designed all types of products, like environments, vehicles, characters, hair and poses, he likes designing clothing best.
"I get my inspiration mostly from video games such as Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts, I have always loved their style and found it to be very beautiful," he said. But he said the new collection will be a new style than what he usually creates.
Muwawya is currently working on an original collection in the martial arts category that will include clothes, hair and poses.
"I love making all the details and trying to make up unique stylish costumes," he said.
And he's going to continue to create his art while living in the middle of a war zone.
"Living in a war zone isn't easy for anyone," he said. "Since the conflict started in 2011, we have been living a complicated life."
He explained he has to wait until electricity and an internet connection are available to work. And he constantly saves his progressing to make sure he doesn't lose anything if the electricity should go down.
"All basic life conditions are very hard including the electricity and the internet connection, which really affected my professional life badly," he said.
He only leaves his home when he needs to and the local economy is shattered, calling the situation "awful."
"That's why many people try to flee from the country, even me, I have been thinking about leaving the country lately but I'm waiting for a good chance," he said.
Until then, Muwawya will continue creating anime- and manga-inspired products for his store on Renderosity.
Contact SchelleFire at mwillard(at)renderosity.com.