Today we’re joined by Amanda Steuck. Amanda is a wonderfully talented digital artist who creates some incredibly striking images. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’m a visual artist, and most of my art exists in the digital realm. I graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2014 with a degree both illustration and art history. For all intensive purposes, I’d consider myself an illustrator. However, I also have interests in concept art, character design, comics, animation, and game design.
As far as my style goes, my earliest inspirations were Disney and Lisa Frank. So for the majority of my art, it has a cute, approachable tone to it. Through college I faltered back and forth with my style, often trying to just please my professors. The last semester of my senior year, I finally had a moment of clarity and embraced my style for what it was: a perfect reflection of my interests. Ever since I realized this, I’ve become much more in-tune with my style and have been able to make it truly my own.
What inspires you?
I actually have a strange array of inspirations these days. Obviously Disney and Lisa Frank have faded more away at this point, however films and product design still find ways to inspire me. With film, it’s small moments with characters that tend to inspire me the most (i.e. an expression, a line of dialogue, or their design in general). Product design and packaging really interest me because someone could package a generic product with a fabulous package design, and I’d probably want it (which is why I wanted everything with Lisa Frank on it as a kid).
In terms of style inspirations, I get a lot of inspiration from various tumblr users. I’ll be scrolling along and see something that catches my eye. Sometimes it’s the image as a whole, or it’s something as simple as how the artist drew the eyebrows. I don’t always incorporate the things that I find, but they certainly help me look at my art in different ways.
Oddly enough, as far as inspirations for trying to make it as an artist, I really look to youtubers (especially Markiplier and Game Grumps). Those people get to do what they love for a living, and I think that’s so amazing and inspirational. It’s also inspiring for the fact that they’re several years older than me and they’re just now really getting to exclusively do what they enjoy. It really takes less pressure off me to have my dream job right off the bat.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be an artist. When I was a kid, my mom would draw me various Disney characters to the best of her ability so that I could color them in. One day she said, “Why don’t you draw your own characters to color?” Long story short, I did and basically never stopped. Having been an artist my whole life, I honestly couldn’t see myself going into any other field.
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 really have a love for textures and nearly every piece of mine has an overlay of some sort of texture. I exclusively use textures that I’ve made myself through various means. The majority are watercolors that I’d heavily messed with. I also have some that I made in the photo lab in college. I even use pictures of various unique things I find.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
The biggest thing I realized going through college is that, don’t ever change your art just to appease others. I’d done that far too many times, and it seemed no matter how much I changed my style or subject matter, critiques still went bad. So for your own mental health and for the sake of your style, draw what you love. You’ll be a lot happier with yourself and your art.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m panromantic demisexual.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Luckily I haven’t really encountered much prejudice towards my sexuality. However, there’s a massive amount of ignorance. There have been very few people that I’ve come across that know what asexuality (or demisexuality, for that matter) is. I always try to explain to the best of my abilities when people don’t know. I have a slew of metaphors at my disposal and those typically help people understand. Reactions, for the most part, have been pretty positive.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
In terms of asexuality, I’ve seen mostly people thinking that it just doesn’t exist. It even comes from the LGBT community, which is really depressing. I’ve never felt “straight”, and felt sort of weird and out-casted before I found out there was a word for what I am. But after I found out, I saw that there was an erasure of asexuality in the LGBT community, so I feel left out there as well.
As far as demisexuality goes, what I’ve come across the most is “well everybody’s like that”. This is really frustrating to me, especially when people say that women are exclusively like that. I know for a fact that’s just the misogynistic standpoint of women not being “sexual creatures”. Which is, of course, a load of crap. Women at my job will go on about how attractive certain actors are; meanwhile, all I really contribute to the conversation is, “I thought that scene they were in was really funny.”
I suppose what it boils down to is the human condition of projecting one’s own experiences and feelings onto others, expecting them to be the exact same way.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
You are not a prude. You are not messed up. It’s completely normal to feel the way you do. For 20 years of my life, I was under the impression that I was just an overly loyal prude. It wasn’t until I was discussing my feelings to a friend at college that I learned there was a word for what I am. (I couldn’t tell you how relieved I was when I found out there were other people like me.)
If you think you may fall into the asexual spectrum, do some research on it. There are a lot of helpful sites that explain the different types of asexuality. And don’t be afraid to call yourself asexual. If you change your sexuality one day, great! If you don’t, great! What matters is that you’re true to yourself (however cheesy that may be).
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I keep my website up to date as best as I can: www.amandasteuck.com
It showcases a lot of my work, but most of it is on the more formal side (aside from some personal art).
I also have my tumblr art blog: www.rebelpandadraws.tumblr.com
This shows just “casual art” (i.e. quick pieces & fan art) and hopefully will display some comics in the future.
Thank you so much, Amanda, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.