Today we’re joined by Alyssa. Alyssa is an amazingly talented visual artist and writer. She sent along some of the most breathtaking images to go with her interview, which left me awestruck. Just wow. Alyssa does graphic design and she also writes fantasy. She is definitely an artist to watch. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’m a graphic designer and writer, having delved into both when I was in eight grade (I’m a freshman in college now). I write fantasy fiction, my main interest being angels and shape-shifters that have to face destiny. In graphic design, I vary from my personal interests of photomanipulation to creating logos for small and large businesses. My portfolio (not to brag but hey, ambition is good to have) has won small scholarships and contests. I have created a logo for my career center, which they use on a daily basis, as well as a mailer for a large company that caters all over North America.
What inspires you?
I take inspiration from daily things turned magical. I’m a sucker for other young, aspiring artists; I’m on Tumblr, and I see just a simple drawing and yet I’m struck with the movement or the colors, and I’m severely tempted to create something with that flair with my own spin in my own way. I’m inspired by so many wonderful people from all over the world, and my own imagination, and my hopes for the future. I really like Cassandra Jean’s art, too, who (I hope I’m not overstepping my boundaries), is also ace. I keep track of my inspiration here: http://hh42references.tumblr.com/tagged/art
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Destiny, I think. I’m an introvert, I’ve a few medical issues, etc. Everything points to me doing the things that let me be in a quiet place, do my own thing, and express myself in ways I’m totally comfortable with as well as meeting so many wonderful people and experiencing amazing things. Initially, however, it was my mom. I owe my mom so much. She’s a writer as well, and the online community she was involved with drew me in as much as her. I saw all these people (mostly women, which was also cool) creating stories (yes, Twilight fanfiction) and connecting with others who made banners and covers to match. The combo kickstarted me, and I began graphic design as a measly amateur with good ol’ Picnik. As a writer, it started in 5th/6th grade when my teachers gave creative writing assignments. From there, I always got simple praise from my awesome English teachers, who inspired me to keep going with it. Have I always wanted to be an artist? Maybe in my subconscious. When you’re a kid, you don’t think too much on what you want to be, or don’t take it seriously (I wanted to be a vet; yuck). But I was always drawing or coloring and doing puzzles – again, I think it was destiny. We’re all built to do something; graphic design and writing is my thing.
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?
Not particularly. I’ve noticed a lot of artists put their personal logos in the corners, or have a specific color palette, or always put a particular piece of stock in each and every single work. Me? I’m still finding mine. Right now, I’m super into stone textures (which you can see haha).
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
My advice is to be strong, be brave, and smile a lot. There’s going to be times where life is too much, and all you want to do is lay down and cry. Crying is good, but after, pick yourself up and keep going. For the love of whatever god(s) you believe in, keep going. People are going to doubt you – you are going to doubt you – and your ability, your sensibility, and who knows what else. But if it’s your dream, if you want to do it above all else, then DO IT. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you. Make something amazing and show everyone. Do it grinning your face off, and you’ll see yourself grow. And when you look back at it all – the struggle, the bad first attempts, the hours spent laboring over something that might’ve not worked out – you’ll be so proud of yourself. Also, don’t forgot the people who helped you out, good and bad.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
As I’m still discovering myself, I’m pretty gray. I’ve never been interested in sex except for the fluffy romantic parts. I’m aesthetically pleased with things like nice collarbones and chiseled jaws, and that’s about it. Still might discover demisexuality, but I’d have to stay set in a relationship for that generally.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
In my field, not really/yet. I work in a small place, so… With my parents and family, yes. When I first told my mom, I was sobbing my eyes out because I didn’t fully understand any different sexualities. She told me the stereotypical stuff: “You’ll find the right man,” etc. A while later, however, I learned much more and became more set and fully embraced accepting everyone (especially others accepting themselves). Now I’m more open in voicing my opinions when people shame different sexualities. I still get eyerolls and curled lips, however. When I casually told my mom again, she got irritated and told me to not label myself. I had mixed feelings about that. I understand her reasoning, and I’m still mulling it over. Either way, I’m not interested in seeing anyone getting undressed in front of me with an entirely different idea in their mind than me.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That asexuality isn’t considered straight/heterosexual!
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Take things slow and be open. The ace spectrum is pretty broad, and don’t be afraid of moving around it. And don’t feel you need to label yourself.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
You can visit my many sites!
Thank you, Alyssa, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.