December 16, 2021

Disabled And Here illustrator feature: Dice

Hi! How would you like to introduce yourself? Hiya! I am Dice Bundy, a Black and Indigenous artist based in New Jersey! I am trans, disabled, and love to create and redesign characters.

Dice portrait

Dice holds up his phone to take a selfie. He looks towards the phone and wears glasses, red lipstick, a black flowery lace shirt, and black nail art.

When and how did you get started with art and illustration? I started drawing around age 6! I used to draw a bunch of Sonic characters and make my own. Over the years, I was interested in character design, analysis, and creation. This led me to where I am now; planning comics, making a bunch of my own characters, and putting my own twists on characters I love.

Would you say that lived experiences have influenced your art? Absolutely! My generalized anxiety, major depression, and borderline personality disorders influence my character creation and how I view my favorite characters made by others. Because it is extremely difficult for me to know how people without these disorders act, I tend to project a lot onto said characters.

Original character

An original character named Joule, an androgynous being with light purple skin, lightning bolt horns, and short blonde hair, rocking out on their electric guitar. They are surrounded by electric currents, with beams of light shining from above.

As the creator of #Nativember, can you tell us more about the event? Friends/mutuals of mine created Blacktober, which was amazing! I participated in the first one and have participated when I could ever since. It is a month-long event in which black people can draw their favorite or original characters, based on a daily prompt list, to express the black representation we crave. It inspired me to create my event! I did not want to step on the toes of other Black artists by making my event in the same month, so I scheduled it for the month of November! It also makes a ton of sense, considering November is Native Heritage Month!

#Nativember is for any Native person from any country; not just the U.S. I wanted to keep that kinship natives have and apply it to the event by making it inclusive. And I absolutely don’t care about the blood quantum rule! As long as you have a nation you can be claimed by — have native lineage or are learning about/exposed to your culture — you can absolutely participate!

Is there anything you wish that more people understood about disability or accessibility? I have chronic fatigue and an ankle that aches when I am on it too much. With my chronic fatigue, my body hurts at random times, I’m constantly tired, and worst of all, it does not improve with rest — it only becomes bearable.

Additionally, my mental disorders (as stated a little before) keep me from being productive sometimes. I get overwhelmed and worn out very easily, I’m rarely ever motivated to do anything, I’m anxious about the world as a whole, and I fear abandonment. Basically locking myself in my room eases my fears and keeps me from draining myself, but I always fear not being productive enough.

Dice self-illustration

Dice sitting at his desk, drawing a character on a tablet. His two black canes rest on supply drawers in the background. The left cane is foldable and has a floral pattern. The right cane is a basic sturdy cane with a gold handle and gold squiggles along the body.

The most important thing I want people to understand about disability and accessibility is the fact that we only want to live an easier life just like everyone else. It’s not crazy to believe everyone wants a simple and enjoyable life free from frustration. To add onto this, lots of people don’t even know disability includes mental illness; it can absolutely keep you from living an enjoyable life and only adds onto your personal fears.

For example, for how some things can make life a tad easier for disabled people, I’ve seen a video showing off a cool dishwashing tool for hand washing that makes it faster and easier to do so. People only saw it as lazy, but as someone with body aches and limited physical and mental energy, it would be an amazing tool for me to use.

As of this interview, we’re about a year and a half into the pandemic in the US. Do you want to talk a little about life in the time of COVID? I used to go out whenever I had the chance and I was a tad more content with life than I am now — cooped up in a house with people I barely interact with (my parents). I had to quit my job at Joann [Fabrics] during peak Covid (April 2020).

Because of all the people that would sweep in just to get 100 fabric quarters I had to cut, I’ve had anxiety attacks and my body would hurt from working quickly and putting all the fabric back. I have been unemployed for over a year, doing commissions when I can and trying to go back to school after I pay off what I owe. Just recently, I’ve been trying to go back to work, but I know now to be patient with myself and not overwork if and when I do get employed again.

Ugh, yes, please take care of yourself as much as possible. On a more whimsical note, is there a superpower you would enjoy having? Oh my god, this is so fun. Um, I would love to read minds in all honesty. My personality disorder makes me fear vagueness, so naturally, I would want to know what people think about me IF I’m allowed to turn my powers off.

Space illustration

Close-up illustration of a Black person silhouetted in space, with their hair and body partially blended with all the surrounding stars.

Is there a dream project that you’d love to work on? Or a dream collaboration? I have so many comic ideas that I am trying to find the time to plan out/put down on actual paper. I want to show off my characters I’ve spent years designing and analyzing specifically for these ideas I have! The main one I’m trying to work on is “His Kin” which is, in a way, a love letter to myself to be my own person, live my life, and eventually stand up for myself to my abusers.

Wrapping up: what are the best ways to support you and your work going forward? Commissioning me, retweeting or sharing my work on any social media platform, sending tips, any way that can help me gain a following or potential customer would help me a BUNCH! My Twitter is @VanNegraux and my Instagram (that I don’t use much), is @SimplyNovology!

If you wanna throw some tips my way, that’s appreciated too!

Photo & illustrations from Dice Bundy
Interview by Elea Chang

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