Today we’re joined by Tish Rodriguez. Tish is an awesomely talented artist who is currently majoring in film at Syracuse University. They enjoy movies and comics and representing asexual people of color in their work. They do freelance drawings, scripts, and short videos by suggestion. Judging from the quality of work they sent along with their interview, I think we’ll be seeing a lot of Tish in the future. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
Well, I do all sorts of art, depending on how I feel at the time inspiration strikes. I started off doing basic sketches and drawings of anime characters when I was a kid and then I got into making AMVs (Anime Music Videos) for some of my favorite shows. Now, I do mostly digital or traditional sketches/paintings of various things. When I decided on what I wanted to do with my life career wise, I chose to go to school for film, since I couldn’t become a super cool superhero. Haha! I mix my love for illustration and drawing with my love for movie making almost daily. I’ll draw “movie posters” for a new idea I have for a film or TV show. Sometimes, I do little video projects that have a specific theme and post them on YouTube.
What inspires you?
Believe it or not but cartoons inspire me. When I was a kid, my mother and I moved around a lot, mostly because of a bad situation with my father but wherever we settled, cartoons were always there to make me feel better and ignore the negative stuff around myself. Watching old, kitschy cartoons like the Pink Panther, The Jetsons, and He-Man, gave me a lot of memories and a huge imagination. Cartoons and their ability to reach people of all ages, colors, genders, and religions. I want my art, especially my films, to bring people together and teach them something they never knew before. My family also inspires me! I have two mothers, who are happily married and they are both women of color. They inspire me to do better by pushing me past my limits, though it can get on my nerves. They always tell me that I must do so much better than they have so I won’t have to worry about being poor like they were when they were younger. The fact that if I honestly try and never give up and possibly make a difference in someone’s life gives me the most inspiration in my work.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Honestly, I wanted to be an author when I grew up so I could write a better vampire novel than Twilight. Those were my thoughts when I was in middle school but once I was in high school, I decided to get more into theater and script writing, mostly because it didn’t require as much extensive detail to write about. After watching The Avengers, I decided that I wanted to be in the movie making business so I can make big action, superhero movies like Joss Whedon, Zach Snyder, and Guillermo del Toro. For me, creating superheroes and general main characters who reflect the people and things I see everyday would make my message of equality and love easier to understand in film form. I want to open doors for LGBTQIA people and people of color who love acting and movies and want to see people like them in lead roles.
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?
In most of my original character sketches, I have the person I’m drawing wear overalls. Overalls signifies innocence and childhood in my opinion and I always miss wearing them. It’s more a personal, nostalgic symbolism for myself.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
I would want to tell them to keep pressing on and try everything once. As in try all forms of art at least once so you can get a feel of what you really love to do and then it’ll be easier figure out what you want to do about it. I’ve done writing, video editing, acting, directing, photography, illustration, and countless other artsy stuff just so I can see what I would like the most. Stick to your passion once you find it and don’t let anyone talk you out of it.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Well, I know I’m mostly a sex repulsed asexual person with no desire to have sex with someone but I’m ok with simply dating.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I haven’t faced any ace discrimination in my field specifically but I have witnessed it more within the LGBTQ+ community and it does feel a little alienating, seeing as how we are all in the same boat. All of us are weeded out and discriminated against by bigots everyday and yet even people within this group hurt their own people. It’s very harmful to the movement and takes away from wanting equality.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That I just haven’t found the right person to show me what sex is like and that once I have it, I’ll realize what I’ve been missing. Honestly, I’ve been fine without sex for most of my life and when most people use this line of thinking, they seem to forget that anyone could figure out what a climax feels like through physical, self-love. I’m not interested in sex but that doesn’t mean I need it in order to have a strong relationship with someone.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Take your time and don’t rush to label yourself. It takes time to figure out what you really like in people and what you don’t like in people. It can be difficult but stay true to yourself and be honest with people.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
You can find out more about my art and commissions I do at:
Thank you so much, Tish, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very, very much appreciated.