Today we’re joined by Mani Masenos. Mani is a remarkably talented illustrator who has a very active Tumblr. Their work is absolutely beautiful as you’ll see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I create illustrations and sketches, mostly fantasy and sci-fi. (And a smattering of fan art.) I’m still learning, but my art generally focuses on monsters, aliens, and other strange, non-human things. Currently, I’m picking away at the alien designs for a sci-fi setting that I’m building.
What inspires you?
Oh, goodness, lots of things. Comics, movies, video games, music… anything that gets my brain going, I suppose. I’m a big fan of sci-fi and horror, and sometimes I’ll turn on The Thing or Alien or something to get the creative juices flowing. I’m a big fan of Junji Ito, too, and his overall style (particularly the way he handles inks) has influenced me quite a lot.
Other cool people that make me want to create: Juanjo Guarnido, Hiromu Arakawa, James Gurney, Brandon Graham, EK Weaver, and Evan Dahm.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I haven’t always wanted to be a professional artist (there were brief stints of wanting to be a marine biologist or paleontologist when I was a kid), but I’ve certainly always wanted to draw. It’s almost a reflex for me –I draw during a spare moment at work, when I’m watching TV, or any other time I have my right hand and a pencil free.
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?
Stars. Things with too many teeth or eyes (or eyes that have teeth.), Big, monstrous things of the dragon-y sort. I draw them because they’re fun, although there’s probably some odd whys that fuel me scribbling them all the time.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
A lot of the time I hear advice saying that you should always be drawing, no matter how ill or burnt out you might feel. This is terrible advice. Creating anything is like tending a field: sometimes you have to let the field go fallow every so often, or the soil will be so leeched of nutrients that it can’t grow anything. If you’re feeling burnt out or find that your work is falling flat, take a little while to fertilize your think-pan: watch movies, read comics, read/watch/do whatever normally inspires you, until the drive to create comes back.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I am gynoromantic asexual. I usually just say I’m a lesbian or asexual because those have less syllables and require less explaining.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Not particularly. I’m not really out to too many people, as a matter of practicality. I do run into the “oh but you’ll find someone that’ll change that” every so often, and I just disagree as politely as possible.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
The idea that it’s a phase, or that there’s a “special someone” that will suddenly make you more comfortable with sex. That might be a thing that happens sometimes, but I suspect it’s pretty damn rare.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
You are okay. You are whole, no matter how you identify. It’s okay if your sexuality shifts later, or if it remains static. You are made of iron and bone and the last glittering remnants of stars, and you are fantastic.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you so much, Mani, for participating in this interview and project. It’s very much appreciated.