Today we’re joined by Kara G. Kara is an amazingly talented visual artist who works mostly in digital. A lot of their work is fanart and the attention to detail is incredible. I was particularly taken by the eyes of the characters in the pictures they sent along with their interview. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I draw almost exclusively digitally, using a Wacom tablet and PaintTool Sai. I do a lot of fan art, so my art work focuses on characters – their actions and emotions, as well as portraits. I like to use line art in my work. It gives my art a nice clean look, and I really like that changing the angle of a line can totally alter what a facial expression is interpreted as.
What inspires you?
The Wheel of Time series, by Robert Jordan, is my favorite book series right now: fourteen books and a prequel filled with fantasy and adventure, a huge cast of complex characters, and an elaborate magic system (and the Gandalf figure of the story is a short bisexual woman!). Several important characters can easily be interpreted as asexual, which is really exciting to me. The great diversity of the characters in this series makes it a huge inspiration for me.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’m entirely self-taught. I’ve loved drawing ever since I was young, but it was only in 2012 that I really got serious about art. It’s unlikely that art will become my full time job (I’m entering my last year at university this fall, and I’m majoring in cell and molecular biology with a minor in biochemistry), but I hope to continue creating art for a long time, for both personal projects and commissioned artwork.
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 have a small signature that I include in the corner of every piece. It’s not much, but it’s nice to have since artwork does get reposted online all the time without a credit to the original artist.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
I’m sure you’re tired of hearing this, but practice! Even if you only take out your sketch book for 30 minutes a day, you’re still going to be that much better the next time you draw. Everyone’s first drawings looked terrible – talent is a pursued interest.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I am agender, and I identify as a biromantic asexual.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Many people just aren’t familiar with asexuality, and so say offensive, inappropriate, or just plain incorrect things out of ignorance. I try to educate those that ask, but it’s often a difficult concept to swallow for some, considering that our society constantly pushes messages that place sex as the ultimate way to express affection for another person. It can be very difficult to simply exist in a society that constantly tells people like me that I am somehow broken. Asexual people – and I’ve experienced this personally – are often called things like “amoeba” or “robot,” implying that our asexuality makes us less than human, or that we lack all emotion because of it. Before I understood my asexuality, there was a running joke amongst my friends that I was actually a robot, due to my subtle expression of emotion in general. So I have a fondness for the idea of myself as a robot, though obviously not all asexual people feel similarly.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
What a lot of people don’t realize is that there is much variety amongst asexual people. There are asexual people who enjoy sex, who are indifferent to sex, or are repulsed by sex. Some people identify as asexual as a result of past trauma, and some have known they were asexual (maybe not in specific terms, but the knowledge of that feeling was there) as long as they can remember. Everyone is different in how they experience their sexuality, and all of these variations are perfectly ok and do not make anyone less asexual. Some asexual people have had sex before deciding that they are asexual, and that is ok too. Whether someone’s asexuality is a “phase” or not doesn’t make what they’re currently experiencing any less real.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Don’t feel like you need to figure out exactly what your sexuality is right away. Make choices that are good for you, and a label that fits you will be found eventually. There are many others out there like you; you are not alone. You are not broken.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you so much, Kara, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.