Interview: Jones

Today we’re joined by Jones. Jones is a phenomenal musician and visual artist. He specializes in a variety of music genres and plays no less than six instruments. When he’s not creating music, Jones does a lot of visual art including graphic design and drawing. His work shows an interesting use of color and beautiful visuals. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

The artist
The Artist

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

The only place I fit in this world is behind my guitar (or PC). I’m the weirdo loner that your parents probably warned you about. (And if they didn’t warn you about weirdo loners then you should get new parents). My name is Jones and I like creating music, filming, writing, editing, producing, photography, drawing, and graphic design. I love mimicking psychedelic art (cause the 60’s were awesome . . . duh lol) but my real passion is music. I taught myself six instruments (thanks YouTube!) and decided to get involved in producing my own work. I especially love beat making and sound designing. Anything that keeps me in my room. I’m an introvert. Outside to me is the hallway lol.

Asli Omar
Asli Omar

What inspires you?

Pot, Anime, and music… well that’s the vague answer… What really inspires me are events in my life whether it’s friendships, manic depression, music, or…. pot. I normally use my experiences in songs. I’m a huge lofi indie rock fan so I like to think of myself as the millennial version of Daniel Johnston (Shout out to the few people who know who Daniel Johnston is lol) but rap and metal are another form of inspiration.

I’m a huge fan of Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler the creator, 2pac, Wu-tang, Future, Migos, Kung-fu Kenny and J Cole. My favorite metal bands that inspire my “Dark art” so to speak are: Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Bathory, Acid Bath, BreakDown of sanity, Killswitch Engage, Alice in Chains, Mercyful Fate, Straight Line Stitch, Heaven Shall Burn and Uncle Acid.

But I’m a huge Indie rock nerd. I love Beat Happening, Beach fossils, Car Seat Headrest, Neutral Milk Hotel, Beulah (basically anything from the Elephant 6 label), A great big pile of leaves, Empire Empire I was a lonely estate, Marietta, The Ton Tons, Modern Baseball, and the War on Drugs.

Demon child
Demon Child

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I wanted to be Goku when I was a kid… but that didn’t seem like a lucrative career choice so I opted out to drawing comics. From there I was hooked into art and drawing. I was always introverted as a kid. I stayed alone and watched cartoons all the time and tried making my own cartoons. I was always the weird kid at my school and I never fit in so I just avoided people and focused on my artwork. I found everyone to be distracting and I only hung out with people that shared my interests in art. It really freaked out my parents because I would stay home and watch cartoons all day then stay up at night acting out what my cartoons would say and do. I was living in my own world of art. It was pretty chill.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Lo and Cho (Lo’s the dude and Cho’s the girl). They were doodles associated with my music because I was inspired by Beat Happening’s first album and the child like appeal of it. I wanted to mimic that for my lofi music. I also made comics with these two that I may or may not release. It’s mostly about tripping acid and contemplating life as a drawing inside of a huge notebook of drawings.

kinky sheets
Kinky Sheets

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you’re a musician, just starting out I’ll be straightforward in saying this: nobody is going to like you. Don’t ever get discouraged by this fact though. When the Doors had their first show, nobody came. Few years later, they had riots at their concerts because people lost their minds hearing Jim Morrison’s voice. Any skill takes time and it will take a while for some to build up a fan base whether you draw or sing. My best advice is to create something that changes YOUR world first. When I first started making music I’d put it on my iPod and pretend like I was a famous person before I started uploading songs online. I used these moments to critique and rewrite my work and improve my sound. Don’t worry about what anyone else says because your talent is something that they cannot take away. If you want your moment you’re gonna have to stay motivated because time and practice goes a long way. Some people blow up overnight while others never do, that’s just how it is. You just gotta stay focused and do it for you and you alone. This is YOUR world of art, use it to create something meaningful for yourself.

Frostburg Sunset
Frostburg Sunset

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m somewhere between Asexual and Demi/grey sexual. I’m still figuring it out but I find it hard to be attracted to people. Sometimes I can get curious (key word: sometimes) but when I notice someone it’s like “Oh He’s handsome” or “she’s pretty” but it doesn’t lead me to sexual feelings. I’ve had mild interests in sex but not to the point where I wanted to experiment because sex and body parts always looked weird to me. I was always interested in voyeurism and fetishes like BDSM, macrophilia, etc. because I got to notice body types without really touching them. My motto in life was always Snack, Fap, and Nap lol.

I never cared about flirting signals from others and I didn’t reciprocate any feelings whether it was from men or women. In late high school/early college I thought I was heterosexual but when I had sex for the first time it was kinda weird (Nothing wrong with my partner, she was wonderful, I just wasn’t really invested during the times we… you know). I tried experimenting with both men and women and neither really interested me. The only time I actually liked someone is through personality.

But just because I’m asexual/demi doesn’t mean sometimes I don’t get curious. I feel like that’s just a part of human nature to notice members of your own species and to identify with them. Sometimes I notice people and although for the most part it’s difficult to sexualize them sometimes I fantasize (again keyword: sometimes). For me it’s mostly from a voyeuristic standpoint where I’m not involved or I’m looking in from a third person viewpoint. My fantasies are not as common as regular people but sometimes it happens. For the most part, they’re just thoughts and I don’t really have any interest in acting on them but I don’t want to be seen as anti-sex because I’m an ace/demi. I’m indifferent when it comes to sex because it’s not that important to me and I can definitely live without it but if I ever fell in love with somebody’s personality I also wouldn’t mind exploring our buttons together.

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Giantess Ayisha

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Oh yeah. My friends used to think I was only asexual because I couldn’t get laid. When you’re a black male you have to be this hyper-masculine oversexualize creature and here I am avoiding anything with parents LOL. I probably handled ace prejudice poorly when it happened to me.

But when I came out I didn’t fit in with my friends. All they did was have sex with each other and I felt suffocated by this because I was the odd man out who didn’t want to be touched.

I was also very misogynistic back when I first came out because I used to think hypersexual girls were disgusting. I’m not like that anymore and I now believe that women have the right to sexually express themselves any way they want to without anyone’s opinion but back when I first came out I had a different mindset. It started when the girls that wanted to sleep with me were more puzzled that I wasn’t as hypersexual as they were and they just simply marked me off as gay and spread rumors about me. This lead to the dissolution of a lot of female relationships because I felt weirded out that there was this unspoken pressure to form sexual bonds with them. I became the odd man out not only around my female friends but my male friends also and for that I became a slut shaming bitter misogynist and a loner. Many of my female friends were hypersexual and looked at me differently because I was this anti-sexual Queer that didn’t fit in with any group. Again I’m not misogynistic anymore but back then I had a different mindset and a lot of conflicting emotions that really came in the way of a lot of friendships with other people. For some time, I avoided girls because many of the females around me preached about their sex lives. This was also common with my male friends. I just started avoiding everyone. I especially avoided female friends because I was the “diary” to some and I didn’t want to be. (I also learned that a lot of my female friends could be very Queerphobic.)

What was worse was that some of my male friends would avoid me because I wasn’t interested in girls while others would accuse me of making up asexuality to get “closer to sleeping” with their girlfriends. It was insulting because it was like my sexuality didn’t matter to anyone. Even when I told them “I’m asexual, I never slept with any of your girlfriends” they would give me puzzled looks and brush me off. It was even harder explaining my asexuality to friends that I used to have crushes on. Every crush that I ever had I liked them for their personality. Some instances it got sexual but I was much more interested in their persona than the sex. When I came out some of these friends would hang it over my head like “didn’t you used to like me, what happened?” etc. I felt broken because I thought I was heterosexual then the more I experimented with people the more I realized how different my sex drive was compared to theirs. It was like I couldn’t shake my old hetero identity and my old identity wasn’t even the real me. It was an awkward time. I even used to joke about how college “ruined my sexuality” because I thought rejection was the cause of my lack of sex drive but it was the simple fact that I was always different and experimentation with both sexes showed me how different my sexuality was compared to my peers. Now I just avoid making friends and talk to people online. It’s easier to find people who like the same interests as me online instead of the real world.

frostburg watercolor
Frostburg Watercolor

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That asexuality is the result of a mental illness. It’s insulting because there are plenty of Aces who ARE NOT mentally ill who live perfectly normal lives and there are Aces who do have mental illnesses that do not relate to their sexual orientation. It makes it difficult for Aces who actually suffer from mental illnesses to seek help because they fear that their entire sexual orientation will be put under the microscope. ASEXUALITY IS NOT A MENTAL ILLNESS IT’S AN ORIENTATION JUST LIKE OTHER SEXUAL ORIENTATIONS. DON’T FEEL ASHAMED IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE MENTALLY ILL AND ASEXUAL BECAUSE THE TWO ARE NOT RELATED IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM.

Hello (1)
Hello

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Don’t take your sexuality so seriously. Feelings change and shift all the time and in the end Gay, Straight, Trans, and Asexuality are all labels. If you follow your heart and find what you love out of life the right people will come along eventually and you can establish any relationship you want with another person (just don’t be a creep about it). Don’t be worried if you’re struggling to find your sexual orientation. There’s nothing wrong with staying to yourself and there’s nothing wrong with experimenting. Just trust yourself to make the best decisions when the time comes and know that you don’t need all the answers all the time. Sometimes life just happens…

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

https://soundcloud.com/94sheets
https://apppk.bandcamp.com/ <- For Lofi/indie pop fans
https://apppk.bandcamp.com/album/projct-skybomb-cloudy-dreams-forever <- Chillwave beats

lianne la havas watercolor
Lianne la Havas Watercolor

Thank you, Jones, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Leon

Today we’re joined by Leon. Leon is a wonderful writer and dabbles in crafts. They are an eclectic artist who has done a bit of everything. They have worked in theater (acting, tech, stage management, directing) and do quite a bit of writing. When they’re not writing, they also do a lot of knitting as well as coloring. It’s very clear they’re a passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Untitled 3

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’d consider myself something of a ‘jack of many (creative) trades’. I have a short attention span, the constant need to be busy, a long-standing habit of having whimsical trains of thoughts I can hardly keep track of myself and I grew up with the internet where any number of basic skill sets are a quick Google search away. I collect funny little ideas and random hobbies and nifty bits of information that eventually I figure I will find use for (like book binding … haven’t gotten around to using that info quite yet but some day)

I’ve been a storyteller practically my whole life and a writer for most of that. My dad was a writer, so I picked that up from him. I got involved with theater during middle and high school. First acting, then various back stage and tech theater works. I lived in a small town a few years ago where I was the designated ’emergency backup’ person for the local theater company, always available for lighting, sound, props, painting, costumes, whatever they needed. I picked up knitting in my early teens, played around with that, taught myself how to knit plush animals and dolls and such. I’ve made several based on some of my favorite video game characters. I also like just experimenting and messing around with various creative projects.

I got really taken in by the adult coloring book trend, which has been exciting for me. I don’t really have much of a talent for drawing and that kind of visual art, and not enough patience to really develop it. But I love coloring. I love messing around with my colored pencils and my gel pens and figuring out how to make nifty little effects with glitter. I can work on multiple different pages from multiple different books as the mood suits me. Plus, I am so absolutely a crafter. So I get to think of fun ways to use the pretty colored in pages when I’m done. (I am in a ‘modge podge the heck out of everything’ phase right now) and then I get to figure out how to do those things and pick up a bunch of little crafting skills. It’s been tons of fun.

bat box3
Bat Box

What inspires you?

So many things. I have a real habit of latching on to little ideas or tropes and just trying to figure all the possible ways I could express them and in what medium and why. And then latching onto random ideas that come up when I think about this stuff.

Example: I got stuck on this nifty idea of inverting the ‘The Dead Have Names’ trope and giving a related speech to the villain. Because it’s such a ‘hero’ thing, giving it to the villain gets really chilling and strange. So then I think about the general idea of inverting tropes along those lines. Since I’ve been coloring a lot lately I start thinking about color inversions. And now I have two dragon pictures, one of which is a ‘water dragon’ which I’m going to coloring in various shades of red and orange and the other is a ‘fire dragon’ I’m going to be coloring in shades of blue.

With all the coloring I’ve been doing lately I tend to get inspired by the pages themselves. I know I want to color this or that page in with only metallic gel pens. And I’ve been working so much in color lately I’ll get color schemes stuck in my head even if I don’t know where I want to utilize them yet.

And in a more abstract sense… my dad taught me to look at creative ‘problems’ (in the loosest sense of the word) like riddles, to apply whatever creative skills/knowledge I did have to fill the rest in. So I tend to have a ‘make it up as I go’ approach to all my art/creative stuff. And that inspires me too, just trying to work out a ‘problem’, the constant thinking and wondering and ruminating.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I guess I always sort of wanted to be an artist, but I never really had a specific idea of what that meant. I liked writing so I figured I’d just … write stuff. Which I did. I liked theater so I did that too. I liked knitting and coloring and wood shop and cooking and so on.

I got the writing and storytelling thing from my dad. And everything else just sort of blossomed from that in a weird organic kind of way that I can’t really pin down, even looking back on it. A lot of the stuff I’ve learned to do was to facilitate a vague idea of storytelling. I got into tech theater, into lighting and sound design, so I could figure out how to make the best use of that to facilitate a stage show. I started knitting plush dolls of video game characters to be able to bring those characters and ideas into another aspect of my life, off the screen (also the reasoning for why I write fanfic). I love looking at the different ways people color the same coloring page because of how drastically different the end results of coloring the same image can be. I over analyze the crap out narrative heavy video games because I like seeing how different narrative tools can slot together and all of the ways video games making story telling weird or strange or unique.

Untitled

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

When I do visual type art (in the broadest sense) I very often end up using various pride flag colors (which makes me chuckle to myself) just because I can

I also have a serious love of inverting various tropes, just turning basic common assumptions on their head. Not so much a signature as a ‘reoccurring theme’.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.

Not just for the experience or for the opportunity to get better either. But because it’s fun, it makes you happy, it’s something to stave off the boredom, it keeps you busy, it just something you want to do. It’s worth doing because it’s worth doing.

flower lantern 6
Flower Lantern

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a bi/pan ace.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Yeah, typically of the general, non-malicious ignorance variety, which usually results in me just offering some basic 101-type information.

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What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

The ‘attraction = behavior’ thing. Like the assumption that celibacy and asexually are the same thing

And because the fact that I’m trans often comes up around the same time as the fact that I’m ace comes up, I also get the ‘hey do you think maybe you’re ace because you’re trans’ thing a lot personally, usually with the implication that if this is the case it means one of those IDs is therefore less valid. Which usually results in me just going flat ‘no’ because I often don’t have the time (or emotional energy) for a long nuanced discussion.

metalic bookmarks4
Metallic Bookmarks

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

It’s okay to not totally have your orientation strictly defined. It’s okay to take time to figure it out. It’s okay if you never figure it out completely and if whatever labels you use are basically ‘as accurate as I can be right now’. It’s okay to be as specific or as nonspecific as you want, you have no obligation to define your orientation to any arbitrary degree of specification. It’s fine if your ace-ness is/was influenced by some external factor. It’s okay if you weren’t ace before but are now. It’s okay if you stop IDing as ace later. It’s okay if you only ID as ace with no other labels.

You don’t have to justify your orientation to anyone. You don’t even have to explain any more than you want. It’s fine if you can’t explain. It’s fine if you just don’t want to.

Just… you do you.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

Some older tags on my blog have some of my knitting stuff.
http://i-sauntered-vaguely-downwards.tumblr.com/tagged/leon-the-ace-knitter
http://i-sauntered-vaguely-downwards.tumblr.com/tagged/leon-knits-things

I have an Etsy shop up that has the results of my ‘what can I do with these pretty colored in coloring book pages’ adventures.
https://www.etsy.com/shop/ColorToTheMoon

metalic cat purple2
Metallic Cat Purple

Thank you, Leon, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Shay

Today we’re joined by Shay. Shay is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in a cartoon style. She is a self-taught artist and is currently working to get a degree in animation. Her work has a masterful use of color and a sense of whimsy, which just makes you want to smile. She’s clearly a dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

me windbreaker teal
Me Windbreaker Teal

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a self-taught digital illustrator and I’m pursuing a degree in 2D animation! I prefer to use a very Western cartoon-like style. Picking out bright or pastel color schemes is my favorite!

What inspires you?

I often draw my favorite YouTubers, my friends, and my two adorable dogs! I also do a lot of self-portraits. Lately I’ve been trying to create my own original characters, but those are all still a work in progress. When I’m not sure what to draw, I sometimes will come up with a color palette that I love and go from there!

amy sick
Amy Sick

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always been interested in drawing, but I didn’t set my mind on really trying to improve until about 6 years ago. Growing up I would only consider more “practical” careers like graphic design or marketing. That is, until a year ago when it suddenly occurred to me that real people with real lives actually get to illustrate and animate for a living. And it made me think “Why couldn’t that be me?”

chica colored
Chica

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Not typically, but when drawing myself I often include daisies somewhere in the illustration just because I really love them, and four-leaf clovers because I have a knack for finding them and they just seem to appear everywhere in my life. And it couldn’t hurt to have a little luck on my side!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to try out elements of a style from artists you look up to. As long as you’re not tracing or essentially/literally claiming their work as your own, it will certainly help you discover your own unique style. Everyone’s signature style is just a conglomerate of things they saw and just thought to themselves “Wow! I really like that! I wonder if I could replicate that!” Trying out styles like that really helps you come into your own with time.

ethan peace
Ethan Peace

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and heteromantic!

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Not really, mostly just those that have never had the concept of asexuality explained to them. People tend to associate sex with something artistic, and therefore assume that all artists want that in their lives, which is not the case at all!

jack and mark dudebros fixed
Jack and Mark Dudebros

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That it’s just being picky or that an ace person just “hasn’t found the right person yet.” If you’re asexual you don’t have any interest at all. I have never once in my life looked at someone and fantasized about having sex with them, and I’m in college. That has nothing to do with not finding the right person.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Please don’t stress about it too much! You may face some prejudice and ignorance about asexuality in your life, but at the end of the day you know how you feel, and nobody else can change that about you no matter how much they want to. You are not broken!

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I’m most active on my Tumblr blog, but you can find me on these social medias:
DeviantART: https://sorrelheart.deviantart.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sorrelheart_jpg
Redbubble: https://www.redbubble.com/people/shaytastic

baylee happy
Baylee Happy

Thank you, Shay, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Mia

Today we’re joined by Mia, who also goes by Aljoscha online. Mia is a phenomenal photographer. They specialize in nature and architecture photography. Their work is brimming with life and an astonishing amount of detail. Mia truly captures snapshots of life and places with their gorgeous pictures. They are an incredibly talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Basically, I’m interested in any kind of art, because my family has an artistic disposition. I tried several things like drawing or making music but photography is the one field where I see my qualities. I do this as a hobby but I try to specify my work to nature and architecture photography.

I love to travel and I want to show other people what I have seen on my journeys. And of course photos are the best way to do this. 😀

What inspires you?

First of all, nature is a huge inspiration for me. It just offers the best subjects. Also cityscapes are incredible amazing. You just need to visit other towns and you see such a difference. It’s the diversity I want to capture and that gives me the inspiration to do my hobby.

Other huge inspirations are several photographers, e.g. Olaf Heine and Farin Urlaub. They both are in really different fields of photography but their works are impressing as heck. Their works give me a self-confidence boost à la “I can do this too!”

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What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

As I said I saw the works of Olaf Heine and Farin Urlaub and I wanted to do the same. First I thought I couldn’t do this because these people have a good qualification and worked in their field for years. I was nearly giving up when I saw that my brother autodidactically learned how to photograph and it turned out really well! This was the moment I got the self-confidence to also start photographing.

When I was a child, I was actually really annoyed that everyone in my family was so talented. I think it was because I am by far the youngest one and I wanted to be able to do all the art stuff my family did at the first go. I took me some time to realise that it takes time and patience and that you have to practice a lot. Now I’m happy with what I’ve already achieved and that I make people happy with my art.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I’m currently working on a signature. 😀

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Take your time! And don’t be sad if it doesn’t turn out well immediately. It’s hard work but in the end it was worth it, I promise. Also share your art everywhere you’re comfortable with. And always stay positive! When you see other peoples’ works don’t get sad – tell yourself you can do this too! Because you really can 🙂

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as polyromantic (sex- / touch-repulsed) asexual.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Luckily not. When I’m taking photos / traveling I’m alone or with people who don’t know I’m ace — and that’s fine.

font_de_la_cascada__1_by_fdjpunx
Font de la Cascada

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

The most common misconception I heard about is that asexuals are broken and need to be “convinced” to have sex. People don’t seem to understand that you can be totally fine without having sex and that this is not bad.

And of course that asexuals wouldn’t belong to the LGBT+ community.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Keep calm. There’s nothing wrong with you and your identity.

Also make sure you have someone you can talk to – on the internet or in real life, doesn’t matter. If you’re sex-repulsed immediately tell your partner and talk about it. It’s important that they accept your boundaries and that you don’t push yourself into something you don’t want and / or you’re uncomfortable with. And don’t be afraid that you won’t find someone when you’re asexual! You’ll and so did I. It may be hard sometimes but life would be boring otherwise. 🙂

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

All my works are on DeviantArt: https://fdjpunx.deviantart.com/

Also I have a blog about photography where I post my works too: https://wuestenkind.tumblr.com/

strasse_bei_nacht_by_fdjpunx
Strasse Bei Nacht

Thank you, Mia, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Sophia Hodgson

Today we’re joined by Sophia Hodgson. Sophia is an amazing young visual artist who does a mix of original work and fanart. She uses bright colors and lines to bring vivid images to life. She’s a talented and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Abstract
Abstract

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My work takes 3 forms: fan art, assignments, and anxiety. My personal work tends to revolve around feeling like an outsider, feeling empty, or feeling useless. I like using bright colors and big shapes.

What inspires you?

Dynamic lines, pretty colors, simple forms, and because I’m a student, deadlines,

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

Not always. For a while I wanted to be a teacher, then I wanted to be a police officer, then a librarian, etc. I don’t think I settled on artist until Freshman year of high school, and even then I wasn’t totally sure. I got interested because it’s always been a fun thing I enjoyed doing, and I think I’m pretty good at it!

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Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

It’s weird, but I’ve been including fish in my work a lot lately. Especially goldfish, I love painting goldfish. There’s something about their blank stares that lets you project any emotion onto them.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Draw things you hate. Do things you hate, and don’t hesitate to ask for help! I hated painting for years but now oil and watercolor are some of my favorite media. I realized I had never really learned how to use them and sometimes it’s nice to have someone explain how you actually use turpentine.

Nine of Swords
Nine of Swords

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual/Aromantic

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Not in my field, no, day to day life is a different story though.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That I’m too young to know I’m asexual, despite everyone else my age being perfectly capable of knowing if they are straight or not.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Asexual doesn’t mean alone and neither does Aromantic! Romantic love isn’t the only kind out there, and anyone who doesn’t respect you isn’t your friend.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

My Instagram is xx_g0ldf1sh_xx and my art Tumblr is xxg0ldf1shxx!

rose 6
Rose 6

Thank you, Sophia, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Nicole C.

Today we’re joined by Nicole C. Nicole is a wonderful young up and coming artist who does a lot of acting. She also professionally models. For acting, Nicole does a number of theater arts: musicals, plays, one acts, and improv. She’s clearly a very passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a part of my theater group in my high school, this is my 7th year being in theater, I’ve been in countless productions including, Musicals, Full plays, One acts and Improv Shows. I recently won an award from my County event for directing a short skit. I am working with a talent agency that has allowed me to book modeling gigs and auditions in LA/Hollywood

What inspires you?

When I’m on stage I get to be someone else, I become this character that gives people the opportunity to feel things they may not feel in their day-to-day lives. When an audience member comes up to you after a show and tells you that they were laughing so hard they were in tears or that they cried because something touched them, a warm feeling bubbles into your stomach just to know that you did something amazing, that not everyone can do. It’s the relief of looking around after a long day of building sets and arguing with cast members about props and saying, we did good. That is inspiring.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I was placed in drama at a young age because I was shy and scared; I was stuck in my shell. I didn’t want to be in front of people until I realized I liked talking to a crowd knowing someone out there is understanding what I’m saying. Drama got me out of my shell and boosted my confidence.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Before a show, I always pray. Not even as a religious Dear God don’t let me screw up kinda way, more so of, please, to the good spirits around, aid us in this journey and help us out.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would tell them it’s okay to be scared, that fear is there for a reason- to push you forward and help you feel calmer and more accomplished afterwards.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a panromantic Demisexual.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I have not

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That we aren’t real, it’s all an act, or we have trust issues

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Who cares? You date who you want to date not whom other people want you to. If you’re scared talk to someone, be open with yourself, explore if necessary. You are valid and real and wonderful. You will be okay.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

My Instagram at raincloudingg or Tumblr at raincloudingg.

Thank you, Nicole, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Kaj

Today we’re joined by Kaj. Kaj is an awesome up-and-coming writer and a former actor. They’re writing blends a number of different genres, though they write quite a bit of fantasy. Kaj used to perform as an actor in the theater and hopes to return at some point in the future. They’re clearly and enthusiastic and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a writer and used to be an actor.

Acting was fun, my favourite parts so far (I’m hoping to get back into it one day) were Horatio in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Mrs. Erlynne in Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan. It was just my school’s drama club, but we had the reputation of doing a pretty decent job.

Writing is mostly an outlet for a lot of feelings, for things I think about, and sometimes just plain stress relief. I write basically everything. I started out with Harry Potter-ish fantasy, then crime stories, urban fantasy, and my most recent project is some kind of Fight Club inspired tragedy. -Ish. Actually, I just start writing whatever comes to my mind and see where it takes me from there. I never know what’s going to happen in a story until it happens. Party because of that (and because I keep getting distracted) I never finished one of my “big” projects. I do fine with short stories, but actual novels are usually abandoned somewhere along the way. But maybe my current idea will work out. Being almost ten chapters deep is quite a step forward for me.

What inspires you?

I started writing at a young age (I hardly remember a time where I haven’t been writing), so I have no idea anymore why I started writing in the first place.

And for the individual stories, it depends. My first big project was obviously inspired by Harry Potter. In general, it often happens that I read a book (or fic or watch a movie etc.) and get an idea about what might happen if you took /that/ element and spun it another way.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

As I said, I don’t remember when and why I started writing. But I think it’s safe to say that my love for books might have something to do with it. As soon as I could read I was hardly ever seen without a book. I think we sometimes got assignments in school to do some creative writing and I kinda noticed how much fun that is.

As long as I’ve been writing stories I also wanted to be an author – as in, a published author. And I still hope that one day I might be able to finish one of my bigger project and actually get it published. But since I have a “real” job, writing is and will always be a hobby.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

There are definitely a lot of queer characters in all my stories, but I don’t think that counts. Another constant, I think, is that my protagonists tend to be thrown into some kind of trouble so I can just watch them react. They hardly ever make the first step in the stories, it’s usually something that happens /to/ them. Reactions interest me, because there are so many ways to react to the same situation and every character behaves differently.

Also, many – if not most – of my stories /don’t end well/. Idk why, but tragedy always intrigued me. So, death and violence could probably be counted as “recurring themes”.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

1. Don’t stop. No matter what kind of art you produce, keep doing it. Write short-short-short stories in the notebook on your phone. Write some sentences on the back of your homework and see if it takes you anywhere. It will get messy, you will have loose ends /everywhere/ and the amount of abandoned stories will grow daily, but that’s okay as long as you keep writing. And if you have an idea for a novel, try and work on it whenever you can. You can write the first chapter on your computer. Maybe you get an idea for the next chapter at work – scribble it down on whatever piece of paper you can find. Try to outline the plot in your head when you’re in the supermarket.

2. Don’t beat yourself up about it. It doesn’t matter if it’s not Shakespeare. It doesn’t have to become a novel. It’s okay if you can’t write on your wanna-be novel every day. It’s okay to let stories sit on the shelf for weeks. And it’s okay to abandon stories.

3. Don’t let the muggles get you down. Don’t let anyone talk shit about what you write. Or about the fact /that/ you’re writing. You do you.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual. I didn’t realize until a couple of months ago, because I never gave much thought to it. I experience very strong sensual attraction, which is probably why I never thought about being ace. Only when Tumblr made me realise that sexual attraction actually means looking at someone thinking “I want sex with you” it dawned on me that I might not experience that.

I’m also pretty sure I’m aromantic. This one’s a bit tricky though, because I’m also hella romance-repulsed and I can’t quite tell if I’m not interested in romance with anyone or averse to the thought of a romantic relationship itself.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I haven’t encountered any prejudice. But that’s mostly because I’m not out in RL, and I usually don’t connect much with other writers on the internet. The only people who know about me being aroace /and/ me being a writer are close friends, most of them queer. So, I’m in a pretty good place when it comes to that.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

Being asexual = not liking/having sex. I mean, it’s kinda true for me, since I’m also trans/nonbinary/agender and dysphoria makes it kinda impossible for me to undress in front of anyone, let alone have sex with them. But there are many aces out there who enjoy sex, and the orientation isn’t defined by the behavior.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

It’s going to be okay. You’re not broken. You’re not alone. And no matter what exclusionists say, you DO belong in the LGBTQIA/Queer Community.

There are many people out there who feel like you do, and just because society tries to tell us we must always want sex with basically anyone, that doesn’t make them right and you wrong.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

On my http://daughterofhecata.tumblr.com/ blog there’s a page where you can find http://daughterofhecata.tumblr.com/stories my stories. It’s just a tiny bit of my work, because most of it is in German (my first language). Maybe I’ll add some of the German short stories as well, I’m not sure yet. I also have accounts at ff.net and AO3, but I rather not link them with my Tumblr because I’m honestly not too proud of that stuff.

(In shameless self-promoting: Janus is my favourite story so far; it’s actually the longest story I ever finished. Also, once in a lifetime I did plan ahead and outlined the story before jumping into writing.)

Thank you, Kaj, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.