Today we’re joined by Rachel-Mai Keehl. Rachel is a wonderfully talented visual artist who works in both digital and traditional mediums. The images she creates are stunningly beautiful (I love the last picture of the green lady, which I believe is entitled “Radioactive.” I have a massive soft spot for characters with glowing eyes). My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’m an aspiring, student artist, who prefers to dabble in both the digital and traditional styles of art. Mostly it incorporates a type of horror or super-realist twist, as my way of trying to explore a less real type of ideology on life, even if then it becomes slightly dark. Why stick to a simple idea of just our world, when there are so many possibilities!
I also work with photography, taking photos and using them to create an atmospheric scene.
What inspires you?
Books, shows I watch, scenes I see. Sometimes, if I can, I just sit and listen to people talking, and you can get some pretty cool ideas from just that.
Mostly though, it’s my friends and family that inspire me to constantly try and improve, to never give up. It’s my mother, pointing out areas I can improve and giving me prompts to get going, allowing me to grow. I would not be where I am as a person and an artist today if I didn’t have my family.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Ever since I was a child, I’ve always had a pencil in my hand, a doodle on the paper. I guess I was born to be a creative person.
Although, when I first discovered anime, it was like everything became so much clearer, I fell in love with the style practically, I altered it, enjoyed it, it was so amazing and perfect to get me back into the spirit of art.
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?
Usually I put a small white “MaiKeehl” somewhere on the piece, in my own messy handwriting, which is my name almost everywhere on the internet, although I guess I also have a strangely semi-unique style where I have a very heavy or obvious line-art on my work, which is just what I prefer, but it certainly isn’t all that common in art- that I’ve seen anyway.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Never give up, try and do at least one thing every day, a small doodle on a post-it note, or a full-blown masterpiece. Always practice, and never doubt yourself, because everyone is talented in their own way- always be experimenting! You’ll be sure to find that little spark that makes you think “this is where I was meant to be” and always keep going, no matter what anyone says. You can do it!
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m a Biromantic Asexual . . . (maybe demi, I’m not 100% sure!)
I used to think identify as bisexual, before I knew you could have sexual and romantic orientations . . . it’s funny to look back on it now.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Um, my family isn’t the most understanding. They support me with the “Biromantic” part, but they don’t really believe that asexuality exists. I’ve tried telling them, but they always just say “one day you’ll find someone and all these silly thoughts will go away” and things like that. Mostly we just don’t talk about it anymore.
Also, with other students in my school, it’s pretty awful, so I haven’t fully “come out” as asexual or anything, just as biromantic, which didn’t go down well at first. My friends are all really supportive, though, and that’s all that matters to me.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Being compared to a plant or micro-organism is probably the most common I’ve heard. People ask if we multiply or get pregnant on our own, stupid things like that.
It’s kind of funny, to be honest, so mostly I laugh it off.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Don’t worry about it. You are you, and you are perfect just as you are. Never be ashamed of yourself for being who you are, because the truth is that every person in this world is unique and brilliant, and some day you’ll find that labels don’t matter. As long as you love yourself for who you are, other people will love you too!
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
You can find more of me on my various internet pages!
My Tumblr is http://maikeehl.tumblr.com/ where you can find out more about me and see more of my art;
Either way, please feel free to say hi!
Thank you so much, Rachel, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.