Sorry and an Update

Hi all!

I know I’ve been super inactive for a while. I’m going to explain part of the reason why.

I went to the art show in Vancouver in April. It went really well. We had a lot of great submissions and showed some beautiful art.

Me subtly being Lady Loki at an academic event

I thought the panel on writing was also really well put together. Everyone was very nice and I was super happy with how it went overall.

Then I got home and the university started trying to back out of paying me for my flight home (something that was agreed upon beforehand). I still have yet to be reimbursed for my flight home and it was not cheap. It was the cheapest I could get and it still cost a lot of money.

Because I don’t know when or if they’re going to reimburse me (like they said they would), and because I have to start traveling to more cons to sell my own series, I’ve had to get a side hustle to off-set the costs of travel. I like my job, it’s a good albeit challenging part-time gig, but it frequently leaves me feeling tired. I’m still adjusting to it.

The reason why this has affected my work on Asexual Artists: I’m just tired, people. I’m worn out and I feel so used. I know I mentioned I was struggling with feeling burned out in an earlier post. This situation has just pretty much just doused whatever embers I had managed to reignite during the weeks I took off. I put a lot of time into this art show, time and emotional energy, and I feel like the university took advantage of that. I hate saying that because again, the people I met were incredibly nice. I got to meet a friend from online for the first time ever and that was thrilling.

I don’t often cry, but this actually made me cry. Because they didn’t just take advantage of my time, they took advantage of me monetarily. I feel so damn stupid for not asking for the travel costs up front. I should have done that (if I ever do something even remotely like this again, I will definitely learn from that mistake). I’m hurt and angry, but mostly I’m just tired.

I have interviews that need to be uploaded and scheduled and I’m going to do that, but I really need to take the month of June off. I really need some time for myself, to do the things I enjoy doing, to let loose and unwind a bit. I need to put work into my own projects.

I hate saying that because I know how important this site is to people, but I’m a human being. I can be hurt and I need breaks too. I love this site and I love that people get so much from it (I hate that there are people who take advantage of it and of me, but I know they’re a very small minority).

I’m going to try my best to dredge up the energy to upload and schedule the small batch of interviews that have been sitting in my inbox for months now. I’m really trying my best, people.

Again, I’m going to be taking the month of June off. However, I will still respond to any emails that are sent to me (so keep sending interview requests, please).

If you’re interested in my travels during June (or just want to keep up with me, I will be posting pictures on my Instagram (laurenjankowski27) and Twitter (lauren_jankowsk).

Thanks, everybody! I hope to bounce back soon 🙂

Announcement: Ace Art Show

Hi all!

I know this is short notice, but I’ve been swamped with work. I still have interviews that need to be scheduled and posted, apologies for that.

One thing that has been occupying the majority of my time has been the Asexual Conference in Vancouver, which I’m co-curating an art show for. I’m hoping some followers of the site might be interested in attending (more information about the conference can be found at the following link: https://asexuality.wixsite.com/conference)

We’ve recently gotten a flyer for the art exhibit:

art exhibit

Aside from co-curating the art exhibit, I shall also be speaking on a panel about being an asexual author. I will probably speak on what it’s like to be an asexual fiction author who also happens to be from a non-traditional family. Copies of my books will be available for sale and I will be more than happy to personalize them for anyone who is interested.

Here’s the flyer for that event:

book launch

I’m hoping to get back in the swing of things soon, but traveling kind of eats up all my time. I’ll figure out a balancing act eventually.

Anyhow, I hope to see some followers of the site at the show!

Thanks everyone!

Call for Interviewees

Hello all!

Once again, I’m low on interviewees. Since I don’t have the time to constantly post calls every single time I’m running low, I’m hoping to use this post as a kind of a reminder:

ASEXUAL ARTISTS IS OPEN FOR INTERVIEWS YEAR-ROUND!

I’m always looking for artists who are on the spectrum to interview. Any and all kinds of artists are welcome.

This is including but not limited to:

WRITERS: all genres and forms are welcome (novelists, short stories, poetry, flash fiction, etc). It doesn’t matter if you’re unpublished, just starting out, a student, a hobbyist, or established. Traditionally published, self-published, small press, etc. You’re all welcome and you all have something to offer.

VISUAL ARTISTS: Self-explanatory, any kind of visual art you can imagine (photography, painting, sketching, drawing, sculpture, installation, etc.).

FANARTISTS: Another self-explanatory category. Cosplay, visual, fanfiction, etc. Whatever you do in your fandom (any and all fandoms welcome), you’re an artist.

FILMMAKERS: YouTubers, directors, cinematographers, anything that has to do with making films (short, features, documentaries, etc.).

PERFORMANCE ARTS: actors, theater arts, singers, mimes, any sort of performers.

DANCERS: Any kind of dance style you can imagine is welcome here (ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, burlesque, belly-dancing, ballroom, etc.)

MUSICIANS: playing instruments, composing, singing, anything involving music

CULINARY: maybe your medium of choice is food. If so, you’re welcome here.

CRAFTS: any sort of craft you can think of (sewing, knitting, crocheting, candle making, jewelry making, etc.)

All levels of artists are welcome: whether you’re a student or a professional, just starting out or already established. If you create, you have something to offer and therefore I want to interview you 🙂

If you’re still unsure whether or not your art qualifies (there’s a 97.9% chance it will), and your question isn’t answered in the F.A.Q., please contact me at laurenjankowski27@gmail.com

If you want to be interviewed, please email me at the same address (laurenjankowski27@gmail.com)

This site continues because I get requests for interviews. If the interviews run out, this site will remain as a resource 🙂 Updates will continue as long as there are aces out there willing to be interviewed.

Thank you, everybody.


Hey everyone! Still open for interviews. And I just want all you amazing, talented, wonderful artists who have already been interviewed: you are making such a difference. Giving an interview may seem like a small thing, perhaps even insignificant, but believe me when I say that so many aces have found comfort and inspiration in your words. I have received numerous messages about how much this blog means to people, especially to aces still coming to terms with their identity. That’s a truly wonderful thing 😃 So please, keep those interview requests coming!


All ages, races, religions, genders are welcome. If you’re on the ace spectrum and you create, I would love to interview you for this blog.

ALL aces are welcome on this blog! It doesn’t matter if you’re a hobbyist, a professional, a dabbler, a student, aspiring or experienced. Your art is important. Your voice is important.

So please, keep those interview requests coming 😀 ❤

Interview: Kiowa

Today we’re joined by Kiowa. Kiowa is a phenomenal visual artist and jewelry maker. She also makes a few odds and ends with yarn, mostly ropes. For visual art, Kiowa uses traditional mediums, favoring chalk pastels and chalk pencils. Aside from jewelry, Kiowa has also made some cool things for her horses. It’s clear she’s a passionate and creative individual who loves making things, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Firefly
Firefly

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I dabble in a few different artistic pursuits – drawing, writing, and making jewelry, primarily. I also make all sorts of things with yarn, mostly by braiding it into ropes. I draw the old school way, on paper and board with usually chalk pastel or chalk pencil; I have no idea about all this new-fangled electronic stuff. I mostly work with beads for jewelry, though I’m branching out into working with horsehair a bit; I’ll try whatever I can get my hands on. My yarn crafts began out of boredom; I would braid long chains of yarn to keep my hands busy and keep awake during boring classes in college, and then I had all this yarn, so I used some of it to reinforce a rope halter and then realized I could make all sorts of cool shit for the horses. I’ve made fancy Arabian necklaces, a tie down, some little bits and bobs to adjust tack to fit my weird horses…

2. Rio
Rio

What inspires you?

Horses, mostly. Horses are definitely the focus of my drawing, and a lot of my miscellaneous crafts tend to be making things for the horses. My jewelry making tends to be more “on a whim,” just making whatever strikes me when I look at the beads. Sometimes my ideas are really vague and other times they’re super specific. You just never know!

As for my writing, I have always had some sort of story or another that’s playing out in my imagination. I tend towards fantasy, and just about anything might inspire me. I’ve dabbled in fanfiction more than a bit over the years but always like to come back to my characters and my stories to see what I might put to paper. I am also quite good at non-fiction and persuasive writing, particularly short form. I can write a mean email.

When I’m creating anything, I have to have some kind of auditory input. It’s usually music, though I will watch/listen to movies or TV when I’m making jewelry. And it has to be the right input – if I’m going to be drawing Kalarime, I have to play the songs of his people (Bastille). If I’m writing particular characters, I want to listen to their favorite music.

3. KIMG0782 (2)

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

When I was four, I was asked what I’d like to do when I grew up. I said “artist, writer, horse trainer, and one of the people at the airport that directs planes to the gates with glow sticks.” I have since aimed for slightly different employment but I’ve never lost my interest in creation. I have no earthly idea how I arrived at that but here I am, twenty-three years later, still doing my first three goals. I got to wave glow sticks somewhere else so I can check that off the bucket list.

4. 15b

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?

Well, most of my drawings are horses. This is not surprising to anyone who has ever met me. For both drawing and jewelry, I naturally gravitate towards cool colors because I like them and I think yellow and orange are ugly colors and I can do whatever I want so there. My stories are often very dark and bloody and someone dies. But we’ll all die one day so there’s that. I really just do whatever I like.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Whatever it is you like to do, do it. No one will do it the way you can do it. You will get better over time – but first, you have to be bad at it. It’s okay to hate what you’ve made, because the act of making something bad is part of learning how to be good. You don’t have to share every single thing you make with the world – art can be just for you. Listen to your teachers, but they don’t know everything either. Work from left to right (if you’re right handed) with chalk pastels and charcoal, and don’t touch anything until you’ve washed your hands; you will have pastel all over you. Don’t drop your bead containers, because cleaning beads up off the floor sucks.

5. Fishtail1
Fishtail

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aroflux asexual and genderqueer to boot

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

I have not yet and I am grateful. I hope that if I ever do, it comes not to my face but in written form so I can dismantle that ignorance with my words. I am much more eloquent and composed in text than in speech.

6. 9a

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

I’ve been extremely fortunate not to encounter out-and-out acephobia. Most people that I’ve spoken to IRL about asexuality have assumed that asexuality and aromanticism go hand in hand (and they don’t usually have a word for aromanticism). Since I’m just a hair shy of being fully aromantic myself, that hasn’t caused me many issues but it’s also a lack of education that can be confusing to people.

I have had people (including my mom) wonder what made me this way. I’ve always been this way. There was no event or trauma. I’m just… me. I think it’s really disheartening for all queer folk, regardless of identity, to have a piece of our selves be questioned and assumed to be a result of some action or event. No one is ever asked what made them cis or het, yet we all have to explain that our identity is just… part of us. It’s also so hard to say how much of an identity is innate and how much comes to the environment we grew up in and the things we internalized – the gender stereotypes that one person internalizes and performs can cause another person to develop dysphoria and be a part of their trans identity. So who is to say why we have the identities we have or what made us a certain way? That’s not the point. The point is that this is who we are.

7. 30a

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

I’ve never struggled with it, even before I had a word, I just always assumed that since this is how I am, that’s okay. So, to anyone lost or confused or unhappy – you are how you are, and that’s okay. Even if it doesn’t feel okay now, it will be okay. Your sexuality is a part of you, as much as your eyes and your fingernails and every other bit of you. Don’t fight with yourself – learn about yourself. Seek acceptance and understanding both internally and externally. You cannot and should not force yourself to be anything you are not. Authenticity is the best trait, so be authentically asexual and authentically you.

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

I have a Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/littlehorsedesigns, where I post all the stuff I’m making and offer jewelry for sale. I also take art commissions (particularly if you have horses). Little Horse Designs pretty much just goes straight into paying for my three horses, Kalarime, Geronimo, and Gabe. You can also find me at nolivingunderstarlight.tumblr.com and message me either place.

8. Edit 2

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

Interview: Mushki

Today we’re joined by Mushki. Mushki is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in comics. She has recently finished a comic specifically about asexuality. She has a running manga-style comic entitled Peripety. Aside from that, she also does mini comics, random illustrations, and fanart. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. SkrimWEB
Skrim

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make comics! I got one long manga-style comic called Peripety that I hope will reach about FMA length. And many mini comics and random illustrations/fanart.

What inspires you?

Stories that are about found families, adventure, brotherhood…psychology, compassion, human depravity mixed with human beauty…etc.

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

Reading stories or playing video games with compelling stories – that’s the language I understand, and I guess I just couldn’t help it when I started speaking that language as well. So yeah. I’ve kind of always wanted to do it in some way, though at first I thought I wanted to be a novelist instead.

2. Gods Acre Pg3
Gods Acre Pg3

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?

Ummm… When it comes to stories, I guess, I’m always putting secret symbols in my stuff. Flowers, motifs, animal parts, etc. Things that represent certain things or mean something to a certain culture.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Make LOTS of stuff, make lots of BAD stuff, keep good posture, and have FUN.

3. Final Page 1 WEB
Final Page 1

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Ace / Aro

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

Not so much about my work. But when people want to show me their work, and it has sexual content in it, some berate me and tease me about me being ace. I really just ignore that? And give them a solid critique anyway. I find kindness is the best way to make people feel bad.

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

That I just haven’t found the right person. That I need to try it. Many people who express this have good intentions, but seem unable to understand that not desiring sex or romance is even possible.

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

Don’t be pressured into things. There’s a difference between getting out of your comfort zone, and doing things you don’t want to. When people tell you to try things, ask yourself if you actually WANT what they’re suggesting. If you don’t, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean your denying an opportunity for growth.

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

I post my comics on Tapastic, (https://tapas.io/MushkiKizou) and I sell my art on Etsy! (https://www.etsy.com/shop/MushkikizouArt) Still working on a good way to sell my comics online, but you can bet it’ll be on Etsy someday.

4. Sepas hoard of boys
Sepas Hoard of Boys

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

Interview: Kaylee Schuler

Today we’re joined by Kaylee Schuler. Kaylee is a phenomenal author and visual artist. She writes a number of different things, including short stories and poetry. She’s currently working on a novel with an aro-ace protagonist. When she’s not writing, Kaylee enjoys drawing. She frequently draws characters from her stories. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist who loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. E2-E

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an author and an artist. I usually write short stories, but I’ve dabbled in poetry, spoken word, and am currently working on a novel that happens to feature an aro-ace protagonist. I’ve self-published a children’s book and plan to self-publish its companion once my edits are done. One of my short stories just won 10th place in a Reader’s Digest competition, so I’m very excited about that!

What I value most in writing is emotion, so I try to write things that make people feel. I try to tell stories that I think are important, that I know no one else can tell. I strive to write pieces that are powerful, influential, and cathartic. Even though it’s a lofty goal, I want to write something that will change the world.

As for art, I started out with sketches and drawings, but I currently work with a variety of mediums, some of my favorites being watercolor and digital. Good old graphite never fails me, though.

I create art about pretty much anything — I draw a lot of people, often characters within the stories that I write. Drawing for me is somewhere between a hobby and a potential career. I’m currently studying it in college, but I still draw mainly for myself and create things that I want to create.

What inspires you?

I get inspiration for my work in everything I experience. The villain in my novel is based on a character who showed up in just one episode of a TV show from the ‘90s that I used to watch reruns of. Another character is named after a friend who was super supportive of my writing. I write the books I want to read, so I often take inspiration from a lack of content. I don’t see enough diversity in the media I consume, so I want to add that to my work. My visual artwork is often inspired by my writing or other people’s work that I enjoy. The main thing that inspires me is the hope that someone out there will encounter my work and be inspired to create something of their own. Art is such an incredible force for change, and my desire to be a part of that drives me to create.

2. art1

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

I’ve been writing for my entire life. It’s something that comes naturally to me, but even beyond that, I feel like a part of me is missing if I’m not writing something. It’s a huge part of who I am. I started writing my self-published book when I was 8 years old and haven’t stopped since.

I’ve also been creating visual art as far back as I can remember. Just like my writing, my artwork feels like an extension of my very being. Because art, be it written, visual, or otherwise, can be a catalyst for social change, and because I’ve always wanted to use my talents to better the world, I figure that the best way for me to make an impact is to combine those two things. My desire to improve this world and my desire to create go hand in hand.

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 one of those artists who’s never been able to pin down a style. I suppose that’s a blessing because it gives me greater freedom and versatility in the content I create, but it’s also a curse because most of my pieces aren’t recognizable as belonging to the same artist. One thing I aim to do is include as much diversity in my work as I can. I think everyone deserves to see someone in media who they can relate to. I’m still learning how to improve my art and my representation, but I feel like making an effort to be inclusive and diverse is crucial to being a good artist and a good person.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Art is something so incredibly personal to each individual. My advice is, first, to not be afraid to pour your soul into your work, and only share it when it’s ready. Share it first with people you trust. This especially applies to writing, though also to visual art you’ve worked particularly hard on. Find people who will build you up, not tear you down. And a note on criticism—at the end of the day, this is your work. Create for you. When people tell you what to do with your craft, that’s what they want. I’m not saying to never listen to criticism. Feedback can be very useful and it will help you grow as an artist. But make sure you put what you want first and remember that, at the end of the day, what you do with your work is up to you. And try to remember that critiques are about the work itself, not the part of you that you put into it. On a different note, something I want to stress is that artists have to support each other! We all face challenges in art and in life and I believe that we can never spread too much compassion and positivity. And finally, never give up on your dreams. One of my creative writing professors once shared something with us that his friend told him—the reason successful artists become successful is that they’re the ones who don’t give up. If you want to create, create. Keep at it, you’ve got this!

3. Mental Illness 2017 12 18
Mental Illness

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic and asexual. I always knew there was something different about me, and finding labels for my feelings was an incredible relief. I’ve never felt romantic or sexual attraction, and I’m also sex-and romance-repulsed. This definitely affects my work, especially my written work, because you create what you know. It’s hard for me to imagine being anyone other than myself, holding any identity other than aroace. As a result, much of my work features characters who are asexual and/or aromantic.

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

Specifically related to my art, I haven’t come across much negativity. I think this is largely because most of my work concerning asexuality hasn’t made it very far out into the world yet. I worry that readers won’t understand the way my characters feel and interact with the world, and I worry that artwork about my asexuality will result in negativity directed at me. I think it’s likely that I will encounter prejudice or ignorance when my work spreads around a little more, and when faced with it, I think I’ll have to remember that all of us are ignorant to something and that the only way to educate is through understanding. I’ve been uninformed and misinformed about countless topics, and I was able to learn more about them when people treated me with respect and open-mindedness. I will strive to do the same. If that fails, though, if I run into someone who can’t see my point of view and won’t make an effort to do so (as I have frequently encountered outside the art world), I’ll need to remember a mantra my therapist once gave me: “They’re doing the best they can.” Sometimes, other people’s “best” isn’t enough for us. But we have to remember that we all have our limits and that, sometimes, our knowledge is beyond the limits of someone else. At that point, I’ll have to take a step back from my stubbornness and abandon the argument. It’s not always worth it.

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

I commonly see this both outside and within the LGBTQ community, and the latter can be particularly frustrating. Many people think that asexuality is synonymous or similar to abstinence, which isn’t true. They believe that asexuality is simply a lack of desire for sex, and that’s not quite true. Asexuality is a lack of attraction (and even beyond that, it comes on a spectrum). Not all asexuals are sex-repulsed or sex-averse, and some asexuals engage in sexual acts for a variety of reasons. Furthermore, many people seem to think that being asexual is the same as being aromantic. I often find it difficult to explain that there’s a difference between romantic and sexual attraction and that some asexuals do, in fact, feel romantic attraction.

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

The main thing that’s often said but can never be said enough is never be said enough is you are NOT broken. I spent years of my life thinking I was and became resigned to the idea that one day I would have to have a relationship, even though I didn’t want one. Here’s what I have to say about that: you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You don’t have to try to force yourself to feel something you don’t. Wherever you lie on the spectrum, you are valid, you are seen, you are whole, and you are not alone. You may feel guilty sometimes for not reciprocating someone’s feelings. You may feel empty sometimes, or alone, or angry. And all of that is valid—your feelings are always valid—but you don’t have to feel any of that. Teach yourself that you don’t need to be ashamed of your orientation. It’s a part of you, you can’t get rid of it, so you might as well learn to love it. And you can. I have.

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

I don’t yet have a proper website, but you can find me on social media. My art Tumblr is https://www.deepspaceart.tumblr.com and my main Tumblr is https://www.deepspaceace.tumblr.com. I’m also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/deep.space.ace. You can find my art on Redbubble at https://www.redbubble.com/people/deepspaceace. You can read some of my written work at https://www.wattpad.com/user/CelestialFalcon. You can buy my children’s book at https://app.thebookpatch.com/BookStore/midnight-a-wolfs-tale/ce878c14-8bd6-44ad-bb38-93b585c582e9?isbn=9780984719808 .

Have a great day! 🙂

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Enamorarse

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

Interview: Gemma Irene

Today we’re joined by Gemma Irene. Gemma is a phenomenal writer who writes a variety of things. She’s written a few novels and hundreds of poems, as well as some fanfiction. When she’s not writing, she enjoys visual art. Gemma draws, paints, sews, and takes photographs. She even plays the violin. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate individual who loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m primarily a writer, though I’ve been known to draw, paint, sew, take pictures, and play violin. Anything to keep my hands busy! As far as writing goes, I stick to fiction, with occasional detours for poetry, and a song on the very rare occasion. I haven’t published anything yet, but I’ve got about three original novels and around a hundred poems under my belt. I’ve also been pretty immersed in fan fiction the past few years, writing for The Phantom of the Opera, The Boondock Saints, The Walking Dead, and Supernatural.

What inspires you?

I hate to say it, it sounds cliché, but inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere. I wrote my first novel after a daydream I had when I was bored at the mall and trying to entertain myself. I’ve drawn things I’ve seen in dreams. I’ve photographed things that happened to catch my eye. One of my favorite poems I ever wrote came about while I was sitting outside listening to the creek flow. I try to stay alert to anything that feeds the muse, which means either living very much in the moment, or hiding out in my own little world.

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

I’ve always loved stories and storytelling. One of my earliest memories is of sitting in my grandpa’s lap with a book, with me reading to him as much as he read to me. I remember telling stories to my mother and her writing them down in a blank journal. I relate a lot to Anne Shirley, or Sara Crewe in A Little Princess like that; my stories always started as a game of pretend, and realizing I could share them with people was a game changer. With the Internet, I could share with even more people. And in the case of fan fiction, connecting with people who were as passionate about the same characters as I was helped me get even more joy out of it. So, long answer to a short question, I’ve always wanted to do this!

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?

In my writing, I notice a lot of alliteration, and a lot of fire imagery. I like getting down into the deep, personal aspects of storytelling, so I’m very concerned with the soulful and intimate. I don’t know if there’s any specific thing that watermarks my writing as mine…if any readers would like to point something out?

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Experiment. Let yourself suck. That first novel I wrote? As is, nobody is reading that, if I have anything to say about it. There’s a lot of hang-ups about being trite or cringey, but that’s the only way you grow and evolve. And it’s cool if you want to pursue more interests than one, or if you’re only so-so at something else but do it for the joy of it. I’ve worked for years at my writing, but only ever turned to drawing when I needed the release it gave me. Consequently, it’s not one of my strongest skills. Same deal with the violin. I’ll never be the next Van Gogh, or play in an orchestra, but that’s fine. I draw and play for love of both, and that’s enough for me.

The inverse is true, as well. If you’re passionate about your art, don’t be afraid to invest yourself in it. Any way you feel called to. I’m going to go off on a tangent for a second and say how glad I am that fan fic is slowly getting positive traction, because if I hadn’t started writing fic, I would never have found an audience, much less one willing to give feedback and help me grow as a writer. That’s the thing about finding someone genuinely interested in what you’re sharing, they want more, and they’ll often help you in the process. Whether it’s encouragement, advice, or simple enthusiasm, it’s out there. Hold it up to your ear and give it a listen, then decide if it will help you develop your art. Keep what does, discard what doesn’t. That’s what fan fiction did for me, is help me find my voice a lot sooner than I might have without it.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a panromantic demisexual, which is at once very broad and very specific. To me, they go hand-in-hand. I don’t develop sexual attraction without an emotional bond, and if I’ve gotten close enough to someone to form that bond, I’m unlikely to care about gender. It’s the person I’ve developed feelings for.

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

In my field? No. In my life? A bit. I was discussing sexuality and orientation with a group of ordinarily open-minded individuals and casually mentioned I identify as demi. I explained it was similar to being asexual, and they were on board with the ace part but casually dismissed the demi part. “Some people just want to be special.” It took a while to get past that, and I’ve presented myself since then a little differently. On social media, I proudly post all the ace, aro, demi, bi, pan, gay, trans, nb, everything, supporting positivity that I want to see in the world. In person, I’ll comment on my aesthetic attractions, regardless of gender, I’ll express support of representation, and shut down discourse when I hear it. I do what I can to be an ally and a safe space, and hopefully send a message that I won’t stand for any prejudice.

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

That we’re prudes, afraid of sex, damaged, or “waiting for the right person.” Yeah, some of us are, but so are some allosexuals. Sexuality is such a complex, complicated subject, and I don’t understand the aphobia and ace discourse I’ve seen. The thing is, we’ve always been here, it’s just that now we’re willing to claim our space, and hopefully we can spread more knowledge to put an end to the misconceptions.

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

Hang in there. It’s a process. I remember that I was elated at first to realize I was demi, then I had to process what that meant to me, evaluate my relationships with people in light of my new understanding of my identity, decide whether this was something I wanted to keep to myself or make known to others. Then on down the line, after I felt reasonably secure in my identity, I realized I was panromantic and had to start all over again. I’ve found my writing is a very good way to explore my sexuality and my orientation, and I’m working on more aspec characters to reflect how I feel about my identity.

My biggest ongoing struggle is feeling ace enough to identify on the spectrum. I’m very sex positive, and I lean towards the, let’s say, colorful side of sexual expression, which is far removed from the misconception about asexuals and how we’re all prudes afraid of sex. That’s where the ignorance hurts us the most, in my opinion. We measure ourselves by the stereotypes and assumptions, which are often incorrect, and we cut ourselves down when we don’t fit. Thing is, I’m still aspec whether I like sex or hate it, whether I’m kinky or vanilla, because it’s about attraction, not action.

Aces, grays, and demis, you do you. Own your identity. Share it if you want, or keep it secret. It’s who you are, and it’s as much about discovery as the rest of you.

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

Tumblr is my primary hang out. My URL is at risingphoenix761, and my blog is a giant mess of fandom, writing, music, humor, and positivity. I’m also on Fanfiction.Net as AngelxPhoenix, and Archive of Our Own as RisingPhoenix761. For anyone interested in my visual art (I consider myself a passionate amateur), my Instagram is at risingphoenix_761. Come say hi to me!

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