Today we’re joined by Aki. Aki is a very talented visual artist who uses his emotions as inspiration for the art he creates. The imaginative pictures he creates are quite striking. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
My art is generally an outlet for my emotions and imagination. It’s for things I can’t express any other way, and as a kind of catharsis.
What inspires you?
Things I find difficult about myself and my life, the world in general, things that upset me and make me angry, and when it’s not about the outlet, when it’s more about the story or character or whatever, I’m inspired by manga and anime, other artists work, music and films.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I didn’t really get into art until I was about 12/13. Life was really difficult for me and art became the only way for me to deal with things that wasn’t self-destructive. I have Asperger’s as well, so I’m totally obsessed with something one moment, and then I’ll lost interest completely. This has happened a lot with my art, so it tends to happen in bursts rather than a continuous interest. However, there are only two things that I know I want to do professionally, and that’s writing and art, because it allows me to work in my own space, as well as allowing me to just be myself.
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 almost always sign my work with my actual signature. I’ll include a picture that has it.
The only other thing that often shows up in my work is a specific kind of ‘character’ as it were. A lot of my art ends up having this almost stick-man type person, and it’s become kind of a theme.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Take criticism on board if it’s useful, but don’t judge your art on other people’s opinions. Your art is about you and what you want it to be. As long as you enjoy it, keep doing it no matter what anyone else says.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I identify as Asexual, but that doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes think I might have sex one day, y’know? I don’t find people sexually attractive at all, and most of the time, I don’t have any desire to be physically intimate. But at the same time, you never know how things are going to turn out. I’m not ruling out sex completely, but I don’t have any particular desire for it. If I never have sex for my entire life, it wouldn’t really matter to me, but you never know. I hope that makes sense.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Not so much in my ‘field,’ but I have encountered ignorance in other areas of my life. I didn’t know about asexuality until quite recently, so I thought there was just something wrong with me, and everyone around me did too. The idea of sex has always made me uncomfortable and quite disgusted actually, but I didn’t start expressing these thoughts until I was about fifteen. When I did, my mum asked if something had happened to me to make me feel that way (like if I’d been raped). My sisters found it hilarious – they’d talk crudely to make me squirm and then laugh at my discomfort, and call me a prude. They were sure that when I was older and I met the right guy, I’d want sex just like everyone else. A guy on my course when I studied photography told me I was just immature because I didn’t want to talk about sex, and when I matured I’d get used to it. I didn’t really handle it. It still makes me angry thinking about it.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That something horrible happened to me to cause my asexuality, or that I’m just a ‘late developer’
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
I’m not really sure to be honest. I haven’t had anyone to really talk to about it myself. What I would say is that it is difficult to be surrounded by people who don’t understand your sexuality, but it does NOT make you a freak, or damaged, or anything like that. Stay true to yourself, and do your research too. You live in the time of the internet – there are places where you can find people to talk to, you’re not alone.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I have a DeviantArt account rhi-the-grotesque.deviantart.com uh, it’s a little lacking in my paintings right now – it’s mostly photographs and manga practice, but I’ll be updating soon with more paintings and such. Also, I spend a lot of time on my tumblr Aki-13, so anyone’s welcome to drop by. It’s as much an outlet for me as my art is, but I’ll occasionally drop links on there when I’ve done a new piece.
Thank you so much, Aki, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.