Today we’re joined by Natasha Dancy. Natasha is a wonderfully talented visual artist and writer. She’s the author of Tethered, an ongoing webcomic set in a dystopian Britain. Reading her interview, one can tell how passionate she is about her art. Tethered sounds absolutely fascinating and the imagery she sent with the interview is stunning to look at. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I am the artist and creator of the on-going webcomic Tethered. It’s set in a dystopian Britain, after a political war had devastated countries, leaving survivors to fend for themselves. The story follows a young woman and medical android as they travel up country in hopes to accomplish their own individual goals.
I’ve been drawing it for about 2 years now, it started because of several reasons, the main ones stemming from how I was tired of always drawing art for other people, with barely anything to show for myself, and also because I want to build up a story that will eventually raise awareness for many things I have encountered in my life. One being in regards to what it is like to have a disabled family member, and another being how I interpret love, in both relationships, friendships and family.
What inspires you?
I would definitely have to say my family. I never started Tethered in hopes of making money, I wanted to raise awareness and to have a solid piece of artwork that I was truly passionate about and could call my own. That being said, I do remember thinking that if I could really make this comic work, and people were willing to put money towards it, I could use the profit to help improve my family’s quality of life.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I cannot really remember the first time I drew, ever since I was little I had a strong imagination. I always loved my art classes when I was at school, and each art tutor I had always encouraged me to keep pushing my skills. I find it a great way to express myself, it just gives me a wonderful sense of freedom that I cannot find elsewhere. In regards to my comic, I chose to do that because it meant I could tell a story without relying on anyone else, I could do everything. I used to work on Indie films and animations, and the waiting around, then complete mad rushes with tight deadlines frustrated me. It was too unpredictable and unstable, so it pushed me to become more independent.
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 don’t really have anything in my work that is personal to me, I do put small things into the background now and then, but that is part of the storyline that I cannot reveal yet!
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Well, you have plenty of advice telling you to keep following your dreams, push yourself and don’t stop drawing. All of that is true, but I think great advice would also be – don’t let people take advantage of you. In my experience, a lot of people will think that because you enjoy drawing you should be willing to do it for free. Remember, once you’ve gained your skill you tell them that they are not only paying for you to draw, they are paying for the years it took you to get there. You would be shocked at the amount of people out there who are willing to just take the work and run. So please, become a great artist, but also be precious with your skills, a new and eager artist is always an easy target, and don’t let “but it’s good experience” be the only reason to do a job.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’d class myself as an Agender Asexual.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
To be honest with you, I have only recently discovered this about myself. All through my life I knew there was something different about me, but because I was naive to the large spectrum of identity out there, I foolishly allowed a few people to make me feel like it was wrong or strange to be this way. So I guess the ignorance comes from people who were not open to other options – for example, at one point I wondered if I was bisexual, but had an extremely negative response when I was trying to be open about it, so I ignored the possibilities I could have been anything else but a ‘regular’ person. However, after meeting someone who was asexual, we spoke in great depths about his experience, I researched into it and my entire world opened up. Since then I’ve not held myself back. I know who I am and I no longer care who knows or what they think.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That everyone is really this way. When I tried to talk to someone about it, they kept shooting me down, saying “we all feel that way sometimes”, and making up excuses as if asexuality didn’t really exist. I think some people just can’t comprehend the idea of not being sexually attracted to someone, especially through physical appearance. I also hate hearing how some people believe asexuality is just a phase, you just haven’t met the right person yet or going through emotional turmoil which is blinding you to who you really are. As if meeting the right person instantly means sex, that there is nothing else in a relationship other than that. For me, “meeting the right person” means someone I can connect emotionally to, without those pressures of needing to provide something that I am not at all that interested in.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Sit and think about you and your life, when I was discovering myself I actually read through some old diaries of mine (I kept some through my teenage-hood), and came across an entry that said “at school today, all the girls were talking about boys, I felt so left out, I don’t like talking about that. But I did, I pretended to be interested”. This was at the age of 13, at the age of 16 I told my mum I refused to have a boyfriend, at the age of 26 I was asked to name a celebrity I would want to sleep with, and I couldn’t, I was confused with working out who I was attracted to. There are many more examples, but this alone confirmed to myself I really have felt this way my whole life. After that, it seemed so obvious who I was, there is no shame, and don’t feel alone 🙂
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Oh boy, I’m in quite a few places, but if you visit www.tethered-comic.com, you will find links to other locations on the web! I hope to see you there soon!
Thank you so much, Natasha, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.