Today we’re joined by Johanna. Johanna is an incredibly talented and versatile artist from Sweden. She enjoys artistic pursuits judging from the variety of mediums she works in. She definitely has a creative spirit and it shows in her work. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
There is some mature content in this interview (and in some of her work on DeviantArt)
Please, tell us about your art.
I’m very diverse when it comes to the mediums work with. I write, draw, paint, knit, photograph, crochet, embroider, quilt, tat, and do pottery. My style is admittedly a bit naive, but that is mostly because I don’t just focus on one thing long enough to perfect it. I often feel like a need to do many different things at the same time and can’t contain myself before starting something new.
What inspires you?
At the moment it’s mostly fandom stuff. I enjoy most of the Marvel movies, Sherlock, and of course Harry Potter that was my major gateway drug in to fandom. I’m a huge slash-fan so often it’s the relationship between two male characters that inspire me. What fascinates me about slash is probably because it is about two men and as a cis woman I don’t have any way to identify with them sexually, only emotionally.
Outside fandom I mostly look to nature or music for inspiration, or just my own imagination.
My dream is to write an original fiction and then illustrate it, working towards that goal is very inspiring.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Ever since I learned to read at about age four or five I wanted to be a writer. I guess it comes from there, being able to create worlds and images not only with words but with drawings as well.
My mother taught me how to knit, embroider, and quilt, otherwise I’m self-taught through books and inspired experiments.
For fandom and slash it was Harry Potter that got me sucked in (I came for the Harry/Severus and stayed for the Harry/Draco). Though I must confess that I was seventeen when I read the first book and I didn’t know about fanfiction, or even the possibility of pairing characters -let alone male ones-, until I was about twenty-six. I have made up for lost time though.
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 as such, but I do have a special flower that I often return to in my drawings. The style and shape of my initials JLB are also quite fun to play around with.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Don’t ever think as you get older that you are too old to enjoy something because you think you should grow out of it. I once met a woman of almost eighty who was the biggest and proudest Dr Who-fan you’d ever see. I want to be her when I’m that old.
It’s also okay to change things up and move from the things you love to try new things. The best thing about art is that leaving one thing behind is that it’s still there when you want to return to it.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I just identify myself as asexual. I can sometimes get momentarily aroused at the fantasy or imagery of sex, but any attempt to do something IRL have either disgusted me or left me feeling nothing.
I’m not sure where I identify on the romantic spectrum. I have never been ‘in love’ in the sense that love is usually described, but I have had several crushes, mostly on males but some on some female and trans-people as well.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Not per se. Since I’m diagnosed with depression and anxiety, most people I associate with have some kind of psychological disorder or have experience with disorders. Not that I see asexually as a disorder in any way, but I think that people who have met with prejudice are less inclined to give prejudice. The biggest ‘shock’ about me to other people is that I’m 35 years old and never had sex.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
I have met some guys that think that they can ‘cure me’ or ‘be my exception,’ they have a hard time to accept that asexually doesn’t work that way. People are also confused by me making sexual jokes, having crushes on celebrities, or me being so interested in sexual male/male relationships.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Just go with it. Being asexual doesn’t mean that you are broken. On good or bad, asexually isn’t as openly stigmatised as homosexuality and more often easier to ‘hide’ in public.
I think the biggest problem with being asexual is the more likely prospect of being alone in older age. Don’t sacrifice your comfort for a partner. Sitting around feeling sorry because you can’t find a comparable partner doesn’t help you one bit. Try to find good substitutes, like friends, pets, hobbies, or classes.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
My art can be found as Naturegirlrocks on both Tumblr and Deviant Art. (My main Tumblr is multiplefangasms were I mostly reblog fan things. I also have asexualstripclub on Tumblr were I reblog asexy things.)
My newer fanfiction can be found on http://archiveofourown.org/users/naturegirlrocks, (the older ones are on fanfiction.com)
Thank you, Johanna, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.