Today we’re joined by Taia Hartmann. I first met Taia at a convention last year and have bumped into her a couple times since. It’s always awesome to meet a fellow ace at conventions. Taia’s always a friendly face at some local conventions. Thank you to her for taking time out of her day to answer a few questions.
Please, tell us about your art.
I currently work as a production artist for American Needle – a hat and shirt company. This means I put logos on different hats and shirts. I also get to make some brochures and booklets for new programs.
Personally, I sketch and paint a bit, but the art I sell tends towards linoleum block prints.
What inspires you?
I admire simplicity – logos that are one or two colors and often reveal something about the company they represent. I love shapes that lead you to see something that’s not really there. On the other hand, I love the incredibly detailed paintings of the Northern Renaissance and the Impressionists always have a special place in my heart.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
From childhood, when I would draw constantly and make little books, it was always a tossup as to whether I wanted to be an artist or an author. Especially because as I got older, I realized that I always had trouble writing long stories and I was never satisfied with my art. When I was in high school, I took a graphic arts class and found out about this program called Illustrator. Being able to make art on the computer, where I could undo lines that were misdrawn and tweak shapes until they curved just right, made it clear what I wanted to do with my life.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?
I don’t really have an icon for myself, but most of my personal work at the moment has been based around a figure. The figure is usually solid black, and generally gender-neutral.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
To be an artist, you have to be dedicated to your work. Fine art’s not an easy field to be in, and there’s a reason everyone knows the phrase “starving artist.” There’s no shame in having a job simply to pay the bills, because being an artist means seeing and defining yourself that way from the inside.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Until about a year ago, I wasn’t even aware that there was an “asexuality spectrum”. Just identifying as “asexual” has always been good enough for me. I guess I’d technically be an aromantic asexual, but I feel like that’s an excessive amount of labeling. Really, I’m just asexual.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I don’t usually bring up my orientation unless if someone asks, questions like “do you have an S.O.?” It’s easier for me to just answer up front that I’m asexual. Beyond that, I don’t really care. It’s a part of me, it’s not changing, and it doesn’t matter what they think.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
I don’t know that I’ve really encountered misconception. When I tell people I’m asexual, I usually get a slightly confused look that dawns into semi-understanding. That’s usually the end of the conversation except for the obligatory “so you don’t…?” questions.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
It doesn’t matter what anyone else says or thinks. If you’re comfortable with yourself as asexual, then stick to your guns and ignore them. We’re not as uncommon as people think, and you probably already know at least one other person who identifies as asexual.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Anyone who’s interested can view my portfolio online at www.taiahartman.com.
Thank you so much, Taia, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.