Today we’re joined by Ingrid Allan. Ingrid is an incredibly talented visual artist who sent a couple pictures with her email that are just gorgeous. She is currently studying for a BA in illustration. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
Well that’s always a tricky one because I’m still working out what direction it’s headed in. I mainly do pen and watercolor illustrations but every time I think I’ve found a style it changes. Mostly I enjoy making things which are very removed from the nihilism and grittiness of the ‘real’ world. The characters and animals which populate my work build the story around themselves and I try to tell it as best I can.
What inspires you?
I had reasonably odd childhood; grew up running wild the Scottish highlands then moving to a city while I was still at primary school, I’ve always had a lot of pets and a great love of nature so that pops up a lot (my rex-rabbit Juniper is just the latest to feature in my illustrations). I’ve also spent every summer and Easter holiday in Finland for as long as I can remember thanks to my mother’s family who live over there. I find it a constant source of inspiration with its beautiful, un-spoilt landscape and fascinating culture.
Other than that I read a lot (especially fairy-tales and folklore), take photos, go cycling or hiking and watch way too much TV. One thing people are usually surprised by when they meet me is that I have a great love of Science-Fiction and Classic-Horror.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
No. I spent the first twelve years of my life wanting to be a Marine Biologist, the next four wanting to be a Chainsaw Sculptor (believe it or not it’s a popular art form in Finland) and a couple of months considering Costume-Design. I found Illustration by accident while attempting to write short-stories and before I knew it I was putting a portfolio together.
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?
There’s usually a duck standing somewhere in my scenes; it’s partly down to having three of my own which I adore and enjoying those picture books with the ‘crikey-duck’ hidden in the corner when I was a child.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
I would tell them that the arts is a gateway to the rest of the universe and to never stop finding things out; the stranger the better. If the one thing that makes you stand apart from a pack of near identical graduates all after the same commission is that you’ve read a 400-page book on the Norman Conquest and lived in a Yurt for two weeks; it’s your win. Remember; if someone catches you reading about serial-killers online at 3 am and starts looking worried; you’re an artist.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
When I was younger the idea of romance with members of the opposite sex appealed to me though I had no desire for it to go any further than that. So I’d say I sit somewhere between Aromantic Ace and Heteroromantic Ace
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Prejudice not so much, but most people I knew before I moved away from Scotland weren’t actually aware that it existed. I was constantly told by friends and women my mother’s age “You just haven’t met the right person yet.”
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Besides the idea that it doesn’t exist; probably that Asexuals who actually engaged in sexual intercourse just had a bad experience or that those who haven’t don’t know what they’re missing. I had a few boyfriends when I was at school who assumed I was really uptight because I wasn’t comfortable telling them how I actually felt.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
It’ll get better. When I was younger the only time I even heard the word ‘Asexual’ was while reading a literary criticism of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries and although there are many other fictional characters who matched the traits it was never actually confirmed. Since I moved to Brighton most people I’ve spoken to on the subject are not only aware of what it means but accept it as a legitimate orientation. If you live somewhere that’s not quite as liberal it’s still important to be open especially in relationships; you don’t want the other person thinking that it’s just them that you don’t want sex with. And if your friends act like it’s a joke or make fun of you for it ask them what they’re afraid of; that you’re going to not sleep with their girl/boyfriend?
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I’ve got a tumblr; ‘uncommon-etc’ where I occasionally post work (it’s mostly just a personal blog at the moment) and an etsy shop which I update often, it’s called ‘Pointless but Lovely’
Someday I might succeed in setting up an actual website.
Thank you so much, Ingrid, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.