Today we’re joined by Tzologeist. Tzologeist is an exceptionally talented visual artist with a versatile style. She’s been drawing for most of her life and it really shows. She has an exceptional eye and her imagery is fascinating. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’ve been drawing since I was around four years old, and I think I picked it up because my big brother drew, and being the younger sibling, I had to do whatever he was doing. Our subject matter varied greatly, though. Where he drew the bionic man’s arm one thousand times, and other technical drawing, I drew monsters and other weird animals. We didn’t have a lot of money, so drawing became my toy. I would draw stories, instead of acting them out with say, plastic figurines.
I’ve always enjoyed drawing, and I would often draw things to amuse and entertain my friends. I remember this one time in high school, a good friend was feeling rotten because a particular boy was being kind of a jerk to her, so I drew a comic where I pretty much made fun of him, and he blows up only to have been saved by his “dynamite proof New Order T-shirt”. It did cheer her up, but she also showed it to the boy in question, which made things kind of awkward there for a bit between him and me, as he knew it was him in the comic. But I think he actually also thought it was funny.
Later on I would accept commissions and actually make money off my art work, but I don’t really do that anymore, but it’s because I’ve gotten super picky about my art. In the last five or so years I’ve gotten more serious about drawing backgrounds and machines, like cars, etc., because I really wanted to draw those well. I invested some cash at second hand shops looking for books with pictures of cars and planes, and architecture so I had something to look from. I still want to improve, and feel like I’ve personally matured where my art work is concerned.
I also started learning how to use Sai (a drawing and art program), which I am finally getting the hang of, although there are still many features I don’t know how to use. It’s made a big difference in how I color in art, and I have to admit, those buttery smooth lines are a big draw (pun totally intended).
What inspires you?
I would have to say emotions. The times when I am most in the mood to draw is when I am feeling something, weather that’s anger, joy, fear or sadness, and I must get that out on paper. Many times when I draw a character, I want the viewer to be able to imagine something about that character. I want them to be able to see something of their history, maybe that will be in the expression on their face, a visible scar, or their posture.
In other instances I want to convey an emotion in my art. These two for example. With the deer facing the path through the woods, I meant to convey a feeling of oppression and fear. With a lot of dark gnarly trees, and some grinning wolves hidden among them, you know that tiny little deer isn’t going to simply prance through there. Life is a lot like that. It’s often frightening and you might feel like you don’t have a chance, but you have to go on.
In this other piece, the emotion is chaos. Not too dissimilar from the drawing with the deer, except it’s obvious this ship is definitely in danger. The massive waves, the lightening, and the dark clouds are all meant to give the viewer a feeling of danger. Will the crew make it? Are you on the edge of your seat? What do you think will happen?
Most of all I don’t want to be accused of always doing the same thing over and over again. I hope that I offer a lot of variety, if not in the style, at least in the subject matter.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Since I began so early in life, I can’t say for sure if it was solely because big brother was drawing. But I do know for sure, that when I stop drawing for extended periods of time, I get to feeling unhappy. Art work is something I MUST do, rather than something I want to do.
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 am told that the way I draw eyes is very telling. I don’t think so myself. If anything, I think the way I draw eyes is like every other cartoon artist in the world. It’s a circle with a dot in it. Otherwise I have to say, no, there is no symbol or secret feature. When I was little I did used to draw a little curled up crocodile in every drawing, that was my “trademark” because I had learned about them, and wanted to have one, too, but I don’t do that anymore.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Well, it’s probably be said a million times already, but one thing for sure is do not compare yourself with other artists. If you’re just getting started, be aware that it takes years and years of practice before you will get comfortable with your medium. Another thing I would like to say is, never stop trying to improve. Don’t decide you’ve reached a state of perfection in your art, and that you can’t do any better “than this”. You can, you just have to keep at it. Get reference books. Trace if you have to, if you think that will get you used to the shapes or whatever. Work on it until you feel confident with your line work. You will get there, but don’t be discouraged if it takes you 100 tries to finally get a decent looking drawing of a rabbit, or whatever it is you want to draw.
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?
Not that often, fortunately, but I pretty much knew it would be something people would argue with, so I almost never bring it up. Those times where I have, the reaction was sometimes really very nasty, where people insist I am broken, or just haven’t found the right person.
Then there are those who for some reason confuse being asexual with being prudish. Or they think asexual means incapable of loving or caring about someone, like as if we’re robots or something.
I handle it like I handle anything else that upset me. I generally just keep quiet and pretend it’s all okay. It’s been my experience that if people discover something upsets you, they will do that thing again and again and again, because I suppose it gives them a feeling of power over you or something. I don’t really try that hard to figure out why people want to be horrible. I guess it’s because being decent is too hard.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
A couple I already mentioned: that we’re prude, or that we are incapable of loving someone. But most of all that there is simply no such thing, like unicorns.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Unfortunately I really don’t know. I find that I still need to defend myself to some people, even though I am now well into my 40’s there are still folks here and there who think I am a very late bloomer, as if any moment now I will want to join in, or whatever. I sometimes have a lot of resentful feelings about it, but I do try to look on the bright side.
The tide is turning, and people are slowly getting the memo about the existence of aces. I try to remember that once upon a time there were things I didn’t know. For example, I didn’t learn what it meant, really, to be gay, until embarrassingly late in life, because it wasn’t something taught, or something I ever read about. I feel really bad about all the ignorant and possibly mean things I ever said about gay people. I just didn’t know. Likewise, I think many people just genuinely have no idea what asexuality is, so I want to go easy on them, so they will go easy on me, when I say something really dumb or insensitive out of ignorance. It’s just easier going through life giving people the benefit of the doubt.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I post art in many places, including Fur Affinity, under the name Tzologeist. On Deviant Art under the name Bailzzararco, Weasyl (also under the name Tzologeist), and of course I also post art here on tumblr.
Thank you, Tzologeist, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.