Today we’re joined by Hei. Hei is an amazingly talented visual artist who sent along a couple gorgeous examples of her work. She does both fanart and original work, both of which are heavily influenced by anime style. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I do digital drawings in an anime style. Both fanart of my favourite shows and my own characters. Mostly I enjoy drawing BL (Boy’s Love) or male characters.
What inspires you?
Generally anime and manga series I’ve read, books, films, photography… All sorts really. Sometimes I’ll come across a picture of something, say Pripyat, and be inspired to create a storyline and characters even if it just stays inside my head.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve been drawing since I was about 8 years old, I don’t really remember what made me start, I’ve just always liked creative pursuits. When I was about ten I saw anime for the first time and started to emulate the style.
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 always sign my work ZHei (Although I’ve had quite a few different screen-names over the years and used to sign for those)
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Never give up! Even now I’ve been drawing for almost 20 years I see other artists and feel like I’ll never be that good, but then I look back on some of my art from years ago and can see how far I’ve come. There’s no special tricks or shortcuts, I would draw for 8 hours a day sometimes more, almost every day. It’s a lot of hard work and I think us artists will always feel there’s more to improve on for ourselves.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
A lot of people don’t seem to understand it, especially when they see I draw homoerotic stuff. They see that, and my filthy sense of humor (because sex is hilarious to me) and assume I’m suffering depression or just need ‘a man who knows what he’s doing’. I’ve also got a couple of female friends who recently went out with me to a bar and spent the night pushing me and various men into conversation saying ‘she’s single you need to get with her’ or ‘she can be wife number two, give her a kiss!’ One of them knows quite well I’m asexual and even somewhat grossed out by (real) men but she still did it. That’s the kind of thing that’s most common I think.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That we’re mentally ill or frigid. Also ‘too picky’ or have just had really poor sexual partners / sexual abuse in the past.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
I’m not sure … Because when I found out about Asexuality it was such a relief to me, I can’t imagine struggling with it. It was like I finally found myself and the confirmation that, actually, I’m not broken in some way.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you, Hei, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.