“My kitten is staring at me,” Genesis (Gen) Whitmore says to me just a few minutes into our conversation over the phone.
Gen had me in stitches throughout our phone call. She told me about her new kitties, her 5 rats (all named after Final Fantasy characters, mind you), and her art.
“One of the problems with being a freelance artist is you have to live, eat, breathe, excrete art every waking moment in the day,” she says. “It’s expensive to buy art supplies. The money I have invested in markers could buy a car!”
Gen is one of the lucky few who can make a living with their art. She frequents art conventions where she exhibits her work. But in between, she has a fun, creative way to live off of her passion for drawing animal comics—specifically cats.
To help showcase her work, Gen started webcasting herself as she created pieces for her clients. It was a great way for them to watch her livestream as she worked on their piece, and be part of the creative process by telling her what they liked. This grew in popularity, and in recent webcasts, Gen has averaged 70 to 80 viewers per night.
But Gen is human, so there are nights when the creative juices aren’t flowing.
“One night I said to my viewers, ‘Screw this, I’m going to play video games,’ and I put on a headset.”
She set up the webcam so her viewers can see the video game and listen her to rant as she was playing. It was a hit.
“Everybody loved it! When I do my art streaming, I’m a happy, perky, nice person but when I do my game streaming, I am very mean!” Gen says.
Video Gaming For Good
When Gen’s friends took her to Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, FL for a visit, she came back impressed and educated at the situation big cats are facing.
“The first thing I learned is that BCR was supported 100% by donations,” she says. “I was impressed with how they did things. They’re very thoughtful about the cat’s environment. You don’t get to pet them, and there’s a fence around the enclosure so you don’t go into their territory.”
As she toured the facility, she felt a connection not only because of her love of drawing cats, but also because of her lost cat, Feep.
“My cat wasn’t friendly, and I saw a similarity with the cats at BCR who are anti-social grumpy cats that don’t take visitors very well,” she says chuckling. “So I thought ‘that would be a good place to donate!’”
Gen is putting her love for cats and entertainment video gaming together to help raise money for BCR.
On October 13th, Gen is going to find a game she can play for 24 hours, and set it up so viewers can listen to her banter, and support her cause. She’ll have a chat window open, with a 3-monitor setup so she can see what the viewers say, and they can interact with her while she’s gaming.
“This kitten is so cute, it’s distracting,” she interrupts herself laughing.