Interview: Lawton Braun

Today we’re joined by Lawton Braun. Lawton is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in a unique form of self-portraiture: he works with fiber and makes fabrics. He has a degree in fabric design and uses bold colors to create self-portraits. Lawton also does quite a lot of digital illustration, which range from digital fabric repeats to text based designs and artwork. His artwork is gorgeous and he’s incredibly passionate, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I work mainly in fiber and digital art, have graduated from the Lamar Dodd School of Art, and am currently working a full time teaching job. My art is inspired by different interpretations of what it means to experience self-portraits. I remember being in the first years of art school when we were told to draw self-portraits and I would feel so bummed because I’m not a very photorealistic type of artist, but as I started to figure out what I enjoyed and what I was interested in I came to understand that a self-portrait can be anything that you want it to be. Capturing a person’s image can be a literal picture of the person, or a stylistic work that describes them through different aesthetics.

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What inspires you?

I take a lot of time to look at the intersectionality of my race, gender, sexuality, and my privileges in many ways and how they interact with the world. I am also really into skate culture and looking at the way that I feel and experience love. I navigate towards bold colours and high contrasting situations because I’m colour blind, and bold and neons are the colours I see the best.

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

I always enjoyed art when I was growing up and I love building things. I was originally concentrating in ceramics with a focus on sculpture when I sort of got invested in cartoons and drawing funny things. I decided to branch out and see where I could put my cartoons in places other than just on pots or cups or slabs of clay. Because of this I ended up falling in love with fiber arts and how it can be both industry focused and fine art driven; it was basically the best of all the things I wanted. When I got into weaving I fell in love with the skills and having to take the time to work at mastering the process to make fabric. Then it became all about, “how do I work to make fabric unique and tell the story of who I am using materials that I find interesting.”

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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?

Not really a signature, but most people that know me and are familiar with my art recognize the colors that I use. They are bold and vibrant and not combinations that many would pick. I love neons and mixing them with neutrals along with blacks and dark tones.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just make a lot, honestly art is just a skill like anything else, it does not come down to talent, it’s just about how much time and practice and effort you put into it. If you don’t think you’re good at it, fucking welcome it and live in the fact that you’re not good at it and just find the small things that make you laugh or smile about what you are making. You can make it for a certain audience or just for yourself, just make a lot and think about what you make a lot.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual and demiromantic. I am sexually active, but I only have or enjoy sex under very specific conditions. BDSM allows me to have sex within strictly defined parameters outlining what will and will not happen. This allows me to have sex in a way that lets me set the limits and feel relaxed while being able to enjoy the pleasure and fun of the session without having to get into a debate about me not feeling sexual attraction.

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

I’ve had plenty of partners and people tell me that I can’t be ace because I have had sex and do enjoy sex in the right environment. Most recently this came from a past partner breaking up with me because I refused to say that I wasn’t ace.

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

I’ve honestly heard people compare asexual people to sponges. Asexuality is a spectrum and it’s fluid for some people just like any identity.

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

Believe in yourself and just do you. Try your best to find other people to talk to, learn more, and take the time to experiment with the label that fits you best.

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

You can find my Tumblr at middleboi.tumblr.com and find me on Facebook here and my Redbubble shop for some stickers if you want HERE

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

Interview: Raven Black Writer

Today we’re joined by Raven Black Writer. Raven Black Writer is a wonderful upcoming New Adult fantasy author who also does quite a lot of blogging. While writing is her first love, she also dabbles in drawing and music. It’s very clear Raven Black Writer is an incredibly 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’m a writer, blogger, artist, and I love to sing and dance in my bedroom. I blog about my life, mental health, self-love, philosophy, and human potential because I like to inspire people – or  maybe show them a new perspective – and just bring positivity into the world. In terms of writing, I see my book falling into the New Adult fantasy genre because I’m not getting any younger and adulthood is scary! Lastly, my art is anything from bored doodles in notebooks to spontaneous drawings of the person in front of me.

What inspires you?

Life inspires me. My own experiences and the things and people I read about or see inform my work and encourage me to keep going.

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

In fifth grade, my teacher had us write short stories and I was hooked. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something so addictive about making up people and places and calling it a story.

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?

If you look closely, you’ll find a cesspool of angst that collected over the course of my life and never really found an outlet.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you’re afraid of being judged, wait until nighttime to do your work because it’s literally impossible for anyone to watch you or insult you. If the person who’s watching you and insulting you is you, I want you to learn to love yourself. It sounds hella sappy but self-love is the only reason I’m here today and I want everyone to know that they deserve to love themselves; whoever they may be.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aroace! I’m also romance and sex repulsed as well as touch-averse . . . in other words, I’m aggressively ace. 😉

Looking back, I think I’ve experienced aesthetic attraction my whole life, but obviously I didn’t know what it was when I was younger. So I confused that attraction with bisexuality, and eventually pansexuality, because I was aesthetically attracted to pretty much anyone, regardless of gender. Eventually, though, I realized that I didn’t actually have crushes on people so much as their style resonated with me. I felt like I was looking at artwork and was content with just seeing them for a while then leaving. Though I didn’t know about aesthetic attraction until a couple years later, I figured I was aroace because dating and sex are so not my thing and nobody can convince me into either.

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

The first place I heard about asexuality was on a women’s period forum from a woman who identified as ace. I was 16. So I think it’s pretty safe to say that ace erasure occurs basically everywhere. I’m dealing with it by making my main character in my upcoming novel, with no title as of yet, identify as ace. Bit of #ownvoices for ya.

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

That there’s no such thing as asexuality. America and many other countries have such heavily sexualized cultures that people tend to just assume that everyone wants to have sex and that anyone who doesn’t is celibate or “hasn’t found the right one yet.”

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

I want to emphasize that falling on the ace spectrum does NOT mean you’re broken. I’ve been a victim of severe bullying and for years I used to think that caused it, but it didn’t. I’m just genuinely not into dating or sex at all.

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

I blog over at <theboundlessagenda.wordpress.com> and my Wattpad username is TheOriginalPhoenix, but I haven’t posted anything yet.

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

Interview: Angela

Today we’re joined by Angela. Angela is a phenomenal artist who hasn’t met a medium she didn’t like. She does a fair amount of visual art, specializing in graphite and colored pencils. When she’s not drawing, Angela enjoys doing a variety of crafts: knitting, papercraft, making candles, etc. If all that weren’t enough, she also plays some musical instruments and works in theater tech. It’s very clear that Angela is a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m not sure where to begin. I create all sorts of art from drawing, to knitting, to music and more. In terms of drawing, my favorite mediums are graphite and colored pencil; those are about the only things I work in. I also love crafting; I knit, I bind books, I make candles, I do papercraft… you name it and I’ve probably given it a shot, or at least would like to.

When it comes to music, I mainly focus on clarinet and saxophone. I’m in my college’s pep band but in high school I played a lot of jazz and more traditional wind ensemble music. I’m not sure if theater tech counts as art, but if it does, I love building, painting, and running set pieces. I also love doing sound and lights for theater and other events, which isn’t typically seen as art, but I think there’s a certain degree of artistry to it.

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What inspires you?

I’ve never really thought of myself as someone who really has a lot of inspiration, but I guess my pure love of the arts inspires me. I love creating things for myself and others to enjoy.

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

I’m not sure what got me interested in each of my respective fields. Art is just a hobby of mine; I’m actually studying chemical engineering right now. I guess I’ve just always loved music, and everyone always told me I was good at drawing so I kept up with that too. I started building sets my freshman year of high school because I’ve always wanted to build things and the school play was my first opportunity to do so. When I turned seven, my grandma taught me how to knit so that got me started on fiber arts.

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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?

I don’t actually have any sort of signature or symbol that I include in my work, but I absolutely love when people do.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I guess the advice that I would give young aspiring artists would be to never give up. If you find an art form that makes you happy, keep doing it. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not good enough or that it’s a waste of time. The more you work at it, the better you’ll get. And even if your work never reaches professional quality, the important part is that you enjoy it and it makes you feel good.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual.

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

I haven’t really encountered any kind of ace prejudice in general. I tend to surround myself with good people, and I’ve been very lucky in that respect. The most I’ll get is people not knowing what asexuality is, but when people ask I just explain it and it’s all good.

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

I think the most common misconception about asexuality is that it’s the same as sex repulsion. I think a large part of the community is sex repulsed or sex averse, but that doesn’t mean that they’re inherently linked. Plenty of aces enjoy sex without experiencing the attraction.

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

It sounds pretty clichéd, but I would say to know that you’re not alone. It’s okay to question, and it’s okay to be unsure. There’s a great asexual community ready to welcome you home and help you through anything you need.

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

I’ve posted a bunch of my arts and crafts at angelas-arts-and-crafts.tumblr.com if anyone wants to check that out. If you want to speak to me about all the stuff that I do, feel free to message me there or I suppose you can e-mail me at emailjunkedyjunkjunk@gmail.com (yes that is my junk e-mail, I’m not kidding, Gmail didn’t accept the first five or six options I put in so I decided on something ridiculous) if you’re really that interested. I’d be happy to talk to you!

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

Interview: Taylor Jay

Today we’re joined by Taylor Jay. Taylor is a wonderful visual artist who is currently majoring in art. She shows an incredible amount of talent and her work is brimming with color and amazing details, as well as a fascinating use of lines and perspective. She’s obviously got a very bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m still pretty new to the art world, and still have TONS of learning to do! At the moment, I’ve been experimenting with anything and everything, but I really enjoy nature and landscape photography. I also enjoy ink, though I hope to learn how to create digital art soon as that’s what I’m majoring in. I just need to get a better-functioning laptop!

The picture below are some of my favorite pieces thus far! The upper left is Gazing, which is a cat sitting on a fence staring at the moon (watercolor pencil). The one next to it is a rough sketch of a future tattoo design done in Sharpie. Upper right corner is a simple gardenia flower done in colored pencil. Below it is a moon drawing done in ink and colored pencil. Bottom right is photography of mine and my boyfriend’s hands, edited in multiple photo apps. Finally the biggest square is my favorite at the moment. It’s named Uncle Death, done in charcoal.

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What inspires you?

My other art friends really inspire me. Especially my roommate / best friend. She’s super artistic, and I hope I can be as good as her someday. I am also very moved by David G. Ferrero, who is an illustrator residing in Gijón, Spain. He specializes in the art deco / art nouveau style, and I absolutely adore that style. He does a lot of Disney, too, that is amazing. I also aspire to be as good as him, of course with my own personal style thrown in!

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

I actually didn’t decide to be an artist until my senior year of high school. Before then I always admired art, but I thought I was a crappy drawer. I honestly sucked at crafts and still do, and have never been the best at drawing. However, around my sophomore year of high school, I fell in love with the drama department. I was never on stage, but behind the scenes making the show come to life. I loved the behind the scenes aspect, because the audience has no idea how much us crew kids actually do (for the most part). It got me thinking about how I would love to create this “magic” off the stage and on actual movie screens. Thus me becoming a visual effects artist and / or animator popped into my mind. Around my senior year, I decided that that’s what I really wanted to do.

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 don’t think so? Not yet, at least. I mean, I do scribble my little signature at the bottom right of my pieces. I’ll sometimes also purposely make the piece look scratchy. I really like the rough-looking sketch of things, so I guess that counts!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It’s okay to not be as good as others. Whether they have more or less experience than you. Everyone has a personal and unique style, and everyone progresses at their own pace. Have confidence in yourself, and whatever you do, do NOT compare your work to others! That will be the death of you, and I myself am still learning not to do that.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

As far as I know, I’m simply asexual. Not sex-repulsed, just a low to zero libido. I’m not sure if there’s a proper term for it, actually!

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

I have experienced it quite a bit with both friends and potential partners. With my friends, they would always make comments about these “hot” guys, or what they would do to the hot guy they saw at the mall. I would always tell them that I thought he was attractive, but not hot. I would also tell them that I have no desire to do anything with him, or I couldn’t picture myself getting intimate with a crush. They would always tell me that I “needed to get a boyfriend, then I would get those sexual urges”. Well, I got a boyfriend in high school, and those “urges” still did not come.

With potential partners — I’m into guys — I would tell them that I was asexual. I would tell them I’m not a sexual person and such. They would either say they understood but still pressured me, or they would tell me it was my excuse so we wouldn’t get sexual. I even had one guy say he would “change me” after we went on a date… didn’t happen.

I’ve always just kind of brushed it off, though. Let people think what they want to think. I know what I am and that’s all that matters. But I finally did find someone. When I told him I was asexual, instead of making a comment or saying he could change me, we stopped what we were doing and he asked questions. He asked legitimate questions so he could get a better understanding and not pass my boundaries. Now we’ve been together for nearly a year, and I’m so happy.

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

Almost every time I have told someone I was asexual, they immediately asked “So you’re never gonna have sex? What about children of your own?” or “That means you don’t have sex at all, right?” Then I explain to them how not every asexual person is sex-repulsed, and that there’s a spectrum, etc. etc.

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

It’s okay to be asexual, and to be “different” from your friends. It’s okay if even the thought of sex makes you feel gross. It’s okay to have a low sex drive, and it’s okay to fall anywhere on the asexual spectrum. It is okay to be asexual. It doesn’t mean you’re broken, even if you have a history of being sexually abused. It’s okay even if you believe you’re asexual, then discover that you’re not. No matter what, you’ll be perfectly okay.

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

I actually don’t post too much of my work, or discuss it. I’m still a little hesitant to post it. Though I do post a few things on my Tumblr from time to time (you-look-beautiful-as-always). I also have a photography Instagram: at bts.photography, but other than that, I don’t post anything.

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

Interview: Elizabeth King

Today we’re joined by Elizabeth King, who goes by LizzyKingBooks on Tumblr. Elizabeth is an amazing writer and illustrator who specializes in erotica kinky novels. She has created a lot of content she feels is lacking in mainstream media, creating erotic content that revolves around situation and intimacy instead of attraction and lust. Her experience as a kinky asexual informs her work, some of which is darker. Elizabeth has self-published an e-novel about a vampire who captures a girl (which is also in the kinky erotica genre). She is an incredibly passionate individual, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write and illustrate erotic kink novels! I began with fanfiction and have branched off from there into my own original content and characters. My work revolves around dark fantasies and kink sexuality. I currently have one novel and several short stories available. The novel is an erotic horror novel about a young girl taken captive by a Vampire Lord, and is more or less the vampire novel I have always wished existed. It is intended to be frightening as much as it is erotic, and in fanfiction terms would be labelled as a darkfic. Each chapter is illustrated with several drawings depicting the characters and scenes. It goes of course without saying that my work and content is intended exclusively for an adult audience and I will not sell to minors.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by relational dynamics, and stories about how one person might relate to another. I am also inspired by kink sexuality and rather dark themes like the relationship between life and death. The Hannibal TV series, for instance, captures such a beautiful picture of dark themes, presenting a compelling world that teeters between the morbid and the vibrant. That is the kind of feeling I would like to evoke with my work.

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

I’ve always been artistic, since I was very young. However, my particular field was not on my radar until a few years ago, when I discovered fanfiction.

Fanfiction opened up a world of erotica to me, which inspired me because it was expressive of sexualities and fantasies that are not typically seen in the mainstream world. Here were women and LGBT people writing and expressing and drawing the sorts of things that they found sexy and appealing and what they were creating spoke to me on much deeper levels than any explicit content from the mainstream world. I wanted to try to express myself as well, and as I began to write fanfiction I began to also discover things about my own sexuality that I hadn’t before.

Marginalized pornography is so important to me, because it brings light to erotic desires that are not generally acknowledged as being valid. What non-ace women want is not even typically represented, but what ace women want or find appealing is even rarer depicted. And what kinds of things kinky women think about? Again, even rarer still. Kink is a genre dominated by men and male fantasy, and I found it so inspiring to see authors writing kink from the perspectives of women.

I decided that I wanted to craft stories that spoke to my deepest and darkest desires and fantasies, because nothing else was. One of the things that I find so inspiring about fanfiction’s approach to erotic content rather than the mainstream world of published erotica, is how fanfiction focuses on characters first, and the sexual content second. The tropes and focal points of fanfiction are so very unique, and I wanted to bring that form of writing over into my original erotic fiction.

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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?

My work is all BDSM and kink related. Every story I write has a Dominant character and a submissive character, and I focus heavily on the power dynamics between the two of them. Although my stories feature a lot of explicit sexual content, the core of my stories is the power exchange within that sexual content, and how those experiences shape and mold the characters. A few of my own personal kinks tend to pop up again and again, of course!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep going! Whatever you do, no matter how down you feel, keep making things. Life is about doing things, and experiencing things. Even if something you do objectively flops, doing that thing is better than not doing it. The act of creating will enrich your life. Express. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t worry about success or failure. Just do things.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demi-sexual, although I have recently been considering that perhaps grey-sexual may be better fitting. I do not experience sexual attraction based on physical features or looks (although I do experience aesthetic attraction) but rather based on personality traits and situations. I identify as a submissive, and within the context of the ace spectrum, that means that I am only sexually attracted to dominance, whether that be in a person’s mannerisms, or a power imbalance situation. So, while I can experience attraction, it is rather rare and does not happen in the same way as for most people. I am also pan-romantic!

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

I am happy to say that I have not (yet) experienced any ace prejudice, either in my field or out of it! Ignorance, perhaps, but not of a willfully cruel nature. Many people have questions about my sexuality which I am happy to answer. In general as long as someone is respectful I have no problem answering questions. I hope that I will be gracious as well if I ever do encounter hate.

What I do, however, encounter is people assuming that I cannot be ace, or even that I must be more sexually promiscuous, because I write erotica. Many men assume that I will be open to sexting with them because of the content I write. These assumptions frustrate me, but I try to correct them gently whenever I can.

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

The most common misconception about asexuality I’ve encountered personally is the misunderstanding that all asexual people hate sex. A lot of people cannot understand how you could enjoy sex if you do not experience sexual attraction. In reality, many ace spectrum people are still interested in having sex with their partners! Many ace spectrum people may be sex repulsed, but that is not a requirement for being ace!

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

Don’t be afraid to try labels on for size and see what feels right. Your identity is not invalid if you decide to change your label later. Your journey is unique, and you don’t have to justify it to anyone!

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

You can find my work at LizzyKingBooks.tumblr.com! Please come and follow me and even shoot me an ask. But please remember, my work and my blog are 18+ only!

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

Interview: Britani Palazzolo

Today we’re joined by Britani Palazzolo. Britani is an awesome artist who is incredibly versatile and works in a variety of mediums. She does a lot of papercrafts and other visual arts. When she’s not drawing, Britani does a lot of writing and some baking as well. Her work shows a fascinating sort of surrealism. It’s very clear she’s an incredibly dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do a little bit of everything! I write, draw, sew, bake, papercraft, paint… If there’s an art medium out there, I’ve probably tried it haha! I usually jump around from one to the other, so right now I’m working on papercrafts mostly (my current project is making one for each Overwatch character) but I’ll probably drift back to drawing or writing soon. I mainly draw my OCs or myself, and I love drawing cute but gross stuff and object heads. I draw traditionally sometimes, but most of the time I use Adobe Illustrator because I love how it works with my style. I’ve been doing art since I can remember, and I’ve watched my style change over the years and it brings me a lot of joy just doing something with my hands. There’s really no telling what I’ll come up with next.

What inspires you?

I guess that depends on what I’m doing. If I’m drawing, usually it’s movies or other media because I’ll make a self-insert character or an AU for my OCs and draw according to that. I think my friends inspire my writing a lot of the time because we bounce around ideas and I just have to get them out! I also draw a lot of creepy/gore things, so catch me at Halloween time really inspired! Fandom also inspires me, but sometimes I’m afraid to contribute fanart because I compare myself to others (a bad habit I know, but I’ve been working on it!) and will instead stick with my own characters haha! I also use my own life as a lot of inspiration, including the fact that I’m ace. I make music playlists (I guess you could call that an art?) and I have an “All Your Favs Are Ace” series which are just character playlists based on my headcanons of characters being on the ace spectrum. I’ve written a fic involving a character coming out to their partner as a sex repulsed ace which I based largely on my own feelings and experiences. Music is also a huge inspiration provider, as well as long showers!

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

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to be creative and do art projects. Art class was always my favorite thing about school, and I would make things at home all the time. It was really in high school that I started figuring out that this was a real thing that I could do with my life. I learned a lot about digital art in high school, and had some great teachers that helped me along, so I decided to go to college for an Art Education degree. At the time I was working in a fabric store so I was teaching myself to sew and cross stitch, and in school I learned about oil paints and charcoal. I got to try every medium and it was fantastic! The chips fell as they do, and I got into baking and cake decorating. So, instead of teaching, now I bake and do art on the side!

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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?

I sign everything with my initials, but it’s not very special haha! If I sew anything for someone though, I attach a little tag that I made that says “Handcrafted”. I hand carved the stamp used to make these tags on an eraser, so I guess that’s kind of cool! Other than that I think it’s just my personal drawing style that is pretty unique. I tend to over exaggerate certain features (legs for example) and simplify others (feet).

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do not stop. If someone tells you that you can’t do something, you look them in the eye and you do the thing and you keep doing it until they close their mouth. It might take a while, but if it makes you happy, just keep going. Art is what you make of it. There are no rules!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a sex repulsed asexual panromantic!

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

I haven’t had a lot directed specifically at me (except somebody once didn’t like my ace playlists and called me homophobic for making them, which baffled me), but the first year I went to the pride parade in my area only ONE booth sold ace flags and they were those tiny ones on sticks. When I went to pride this year, I was hoping maybe asexuality had gotten a little more out there, but again only ONE booth sold the full size flags and the people at the booth had very little knowledge on the subject (didn’t know which flag I wanted until I pointed directly at it, didn’t know if they had any more ace merch, etc). Mostly I just ignore it or roll with it. If there is an opportunity, I will attempt to educate people on the matter, but most people spouting ignorance don’t want to learn, so I’ve found there’s not much point in trying.

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

That ALL ace people HATE sex/anything to do with sex/are innocent pure beings who don’t know anything about sex! It makes me laugh because I know so many ace people who are very sex positive, a lot are very kinky in their own ways, and are in no way ‘innocent and pure’. People assume you’re an emotionless robot (especially if you’re aro ace, I’m so sorry to those guys) and it just astounds me.

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

It’s alright to take your time learning about your sexuality, and do lots of research, read a lot of info! I thought I was straight until about the first year of college (19 years old or so), and from there I was maybe bi, but something just didn’t feel right about that. It was only once I started seeing a lot of info about the ace spectrum on Tumblr that I was like “Hold on… this sounds like me!” I identified as demisexual for a while, but did some more research, did some soul searching, and decided to go with full asexual. But just know that this could change too! Sexuality is fluid. Just go with the flow, meet people, make friends, maybe fall in love? Who knows!

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

You can find me basically anywhere on the internet by the same username: ranebowstitches
I’m most active on Tumblr, AO3, Instagram, and 8tracks.

Pop by and say hi! I love to chat!

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

Interview: Abby Ramsay

Today we’re joined by Abby Ramsay. Abby is a phenomenal model and actress in LA. She uses her art to raise awareness of issues close to her heart. Her Instagram has recently blown up a bit after she gave an interview about social media. Abby is a fellow ace feminist, which is always awesome to see. She’s incredibly passionate, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I am an actress and model out in LA. I show off my work mostly through Instagram. Just creating these images and stories, whether they be moving or still, really gives me this outlet to express my thoughts, feelings, and ideals that I can’t always put into words.

I like to use my art to bring attention to topics like asexuality, body positivity, feminism, and mental illness as those are all things that are close to me.

I also like combining them. Everything I do is done with the mindset of “just because I am asexual does not mean I am not sexy or desirable.” but also “Just because I am viewed as sexy or desirable does not mean I can’t be asexual.”

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What inspires you?

Just the idea that I can use what I love to help people. The industry that I am in has the potential to have your voice be heard by many people all over the world. If I have the opportunity to use my platform to change it for the better then I want to do it.

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

I have been acting since I was about 5 years old. Granted at the time the only reason I was in these musicals was because I was a really good singer at a young age, but they fed my love of storytelling. I would create plays at home and act them out for my parents, and it really blossomed into a passion by middle school. I fought long and hard with my parents (especially my mom) to let me try to get an agent, and they eventually gave in. I was a freshman in High School (2012 I believe) when I was signed with a small agency, and they sent me on my first few jobs. I was in love!

The agency also dealt with modeling, so the first photoshoot I ever did was with them. I was really shy in front of the camera at first. I had dealt with a lot of body positivity issues in the past, but the longer I was in front of the camera the more I enjoyed it. I actually felt really comfortable with myself.

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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?

Hmmmm. I guess I like to keep things natural. I have never been an over the top character actor (I mean it’s fun, but I have my preferences) so I usually try to take scenes to a more organic place. I do the same thing with my modeling. I always try to get a few pictures that represent me. There’s this idea that when you are modeling you can never smile and you always have to be sultry, but when I am working and talking to the photographer I like to smile and laugh and just be myself. Those end up being some of the best pictures.

I also do this hand on head leaning back pose a LOT. My friends give me a hard time about it haha. But it’s like my signature pose now I guess.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It is not going to be easy, but with hard work, dedication, and a little bit of luck you can make your art your life.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I usually just say I am asexual, but for me that means that I don’t find people sexually attractive, and I am just not interested in sex. I’m not sex repulsed and I am aesthetically and romantically attracted to people, but I would much rather kiss and cuddle than have sex.

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

There have been a couple instances. When you have your work online, you usually get some not so pleasant remarks from people. You get people who want to “fix you” you which is the one that bothers me the most.

But even outside the internet, I have had some encounters that have been less than ideal. I had a teacher at my college basically say that I was too pretty to be asexual and that it would be a waste. I know she didn’t mean it the way it came out, but it’s one of the reasons we need more visibility.

I also had a fellow acting student come to the conclusion that she did not like me because she thought asexuality was stupid. I never quite understood the logic behind that.

And it’s also hard, especially in acting, because Hollywood is so sexed up that there is just this assumption that every character interaction is because they want to bone.

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

OK, the idea that “you just haven’t found the right person yet” or “you won’t know unless you try” pisses me off. I have gotten both and my general response to that is “you could give me a cheap piece of raw fish or a $200 piece of raw fish, it doesn’t chance that fact that I don’t like raw fish.” and “I have never been shot before, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy that either.”

There is also the idea that if you have a mental illness or if you have been in an abusive relationship or raped that your asexuality is just a byproduct. You know, whether it is or isn’t that shouldn’t make their identity any less legitimate.

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

You are not broken. I promise you. Your feelings are completely normal. You are a valid part of the LGBTQIA community, and though we may be a smaller group, we are full of love, no matter where we fall on the spectrum. Just be yourself.

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

My Instagram is abbysworldsastage.

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