Today we’re joined by Masha Tate. Masha is an incredibly talented visual artist who specializes in digital character/concept art. They also draw a lot of dogs (so many adorable dogs!). Aside from drawing, they are involved in roleplaying groups. Their love of drawing really comes through and that’s always fun to read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I am a digital character/concept artist. The bulk of my work centers around character/species design, and way too much dog art.
I run, and co-run, multiple Roleplay groups, and spend quite a bit of time creating for those; new species, flavour art, things to make it all pretty and appealing to new and old players alike. On the subject of roleplay, I have over a dozen established characters, all of whom I spend far too much time doodling.
On the local aspect of my life – everything outside of the computer – I’ve made art for the local Juggling club, am currently working on a piece for an art show, and fairly regularly spend time doodling up little nothings for children and acquaintances.
What inspires you?
As you might have guessed by now, roleplay, certainly. A good story makes me want to draw way too many things. How much of that gets drawn, on the other hand, well, that’s a different story. But that’s what gets me going.
Alternatively, the multitude of games I play and books I read will occasionally spark something, but by and large, I’m more interested in things I play an active role in having created a concept of.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Again, roleplay cemented me in. I was twelve, thirteen, and began roleplaying with my first online friends after reading way too many fanfictions. I searched and searched, but none of the art I found looked even remotely like my character! And then there were those pesky little blurbs that said ‘do not reuse, not for free use’. I can’t even make my Dragon Age characters do mean things, I certainly couldn’t disobey that! (This being, of course, well before I understood what copyrights were, and how not to be a douchebag) So, clearly, the only option was to draw my own!
I got sucked into it. I had a bad home life, was lucky to have made two friends in school finally after years of transferring to new schools every three months…this was a constant for me, something that made me happy, and something that occasionally managed to net me some positive attention. Win-win, on top of, you know, finally having accurate (-ish. I wasn’t too great, as a tween!) art of my own characters!
I’ll be honest, though, even as a young child, I was always an artist. I spent all my time colouring, and eventually even getting frustrated with pre-drawn things and wanting to draw and colour my own things. I managed to get detention in kindergarten (What can I say? True bruiser here) and spend the entire time doodling dogs. In fourth grade, I argued so passionately with my teacher that clouds do, in fact, have shadows, that I was sent to time-out and not allowed to finish my project. I’ve always drawn, always seen more in everything around me than the layperson. Always.
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 probably should, hm?
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
The usual: keep drawing. Also, when that kid grabs your art and starts drawing huge tits on it, when those jerks tell you you didn’t draw the boobs big enough, ̶p̶u̶n̶c̶h̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶m̶ don’t let it get you down, they can’t see what you can, they have no bleedin’ clue.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Plain old Asexual! My full identity can be described as ‘Asexual, Biromantic, Agender Transperson’.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Generally not among artists, no. It could also simply be that I don’t speak to enough people that I haven’t already essentially vetted, anyway. Well, I guess that’s how I handle it: I vet people before I really am willing to talk much, and make it known up-front that I will not tolerate their bigotry.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Personally, that I just haven’t found the right penis. Which is amazingly uncomfortable and makes me feel unsafe.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
The best advice I can give is that, if it’s feasible, cut toxic people out of your life. This doesn’t just relate to asexuality, but it’s very helpful to do. It’s gonna hurt, it’s gonna suck, you’re gonna be alone and depressed at some point. You might even regret it. But in the long run, you will be happier. At least, that’s my experience. Take the plunge.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you, Masha, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.