Interview: Beth Murten

Today we’re joined by Beth Murten, who also goes under the URL hawkeyetoo.  Beth is an incredibly talented visual artist who makes the most adorable clay dragon sculptures.  The Peggy Carter and Angie Martinelli dragons are particularly adorable.  Beth works in a number of other mediums as well and her work is absolutely beautiful.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Mainly I make little polymer clay dragons, inspired by Chris d’Lacey’s Last Dragon Chronicles books. I’ve made Glinda and Elphaba dragons for some of the cast of Wicked (Louise Dearman has 2, Nikki Davis-Jones has 1, and I have a Glinda in reserve that I intend to give to Gina Beck when she performs at a town near me at the end of the year.) and I also gave Peggy Carter and Angie Martinelli dragons to Hayley Atwell. I’m very proud of that.

I do offer commissions for these dragons.

I also draw a lot. Often animals that I know. My cat is a regular model, as are some more exotic animals that I’ve had the pleasure of working with (I’ve been a Zoo Management student for the past 2 years and now I’m trying to get a job as a full time keeper.)

My boyfriend’s Mum also got me into papercutting. I’ve incorporated it into some of my drawings, creating windows from quotes and letting the pictures behind show through. Most often though I do regular papercuts. Sometimes from templates, sometimes inspired by pictures I’ve seen. I have a few ideas floating round my head at the minute, which I hope to work on soon.

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What inspires you?

I’m a Scout Leader, so I spend a lot of time outdoors, and even though I’m no good at landscapes and can’t draw the beautiful views I get to see, it still helps me come up with a lot of ideas. The scouts are some of my biggest fans, and I get a lot of encouragement from them. Quite a few own some of my dragons, and the Explorers (the 14-18 yr old section) are among the few who’ve seen my earlier drawings (I got a badge for that.)

I’m also really inspired by mythical creatures, hence the dragons. I love to give them bright colours and make them all unique. My little brother knows this, and often shows me cool pictures, or drags me downstairs to watch the Dragon cartoons. He also has a lot of my works. Mostly the earlier ones that didn’t work out how I’d hoped, but also some specially made for him.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always loved drawing and crafting, ever since I was old enough to actually do it. Art was always a subject I enjoyed at school, but I sometimes got frustrated that everyone seemed to be so much better at it than me. I think now it was just that I hadn’t figured out what was going on. I still haven’t, really.

My Grandma got me into papercrafts because she started cardmaking, which she’s bloody amazing at. She encouraged me to make cards for my parents and close friends, and I’d often use her scraps to make little pictures and stuff. Then Josh’s mum started papercutting (she’s really good at that too!) and I was curious, so she put together a starter set for me for Christmas.

The dragons were inspired by Chris d’Lacey’s Last Dragon Chronicles books, where one of the characters makes little clay dragons (whose names all begin with G, a tradition that I tend to keep with my dragons), which are secretly alive. The books caught my imagination, but it wasn’t until a few years after reading the first three, when I finally found them in a bookshop and finished the series, that I decided it’d be cool to make my own dragons. Sadly, mine don’t move or blow smoke rings when they’re annoyed, but they ARE very cute!

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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 really. I’m trying to get into the habit of signing my work with a cute little dragon drawing, but I maybe need to simplify it a little bit first.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m still working on building myself up properly myself, but I’ve learnt a lot since high school. Mainly that practice really does help. I was terrible in high school, but I’m pretty good now.

Also, you might not be good at, let’s say drawing, but try your hand at other things and you’ll find something you’re great at. My dragons are a hell of a lot better than my portraits.

There’ll always be someone willing to give you praise and encourage you. And that helps more than making a couple of pieces that you’re proud of.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and biromantic

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Not really. I don’t exactly hide my sexuality, but I don’t go around shouting it from the rooftops either, because I kind of think it’s nobody’s business. So only a few people, close friends and my boyfriend, know.

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What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

A lot of people seem to be under the impression that Asexual people don’t want to have relationships at all. Sure, some people don’t. But I’ve been in a happy relationship for 4 years now, and I couldn’t imagine my life without Josh. See, it’s possible!

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What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

It really doesn’t matter! Sure, being able to put a word to how you feel is great, but it’s not the be all and end all. Your sexuality is not everything you are. And anyway, you’re not broken, sometimes people just feel this way. Just like sometimes people like boys, sometimes people like girls, sometimes people like both, or more than that. And sometimes, people don’t really like anyone. That doesn’t mean you’ll never have a partner. And there’s always that quote, which is always true: “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

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Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

On the tag on my blog: http://hawkeyetoo.tumblr.com/tagged/beth%20draws%20stuff

On my dragon’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bethsdragons

And on my DeviantArt: http://bindah.deviantart.com/

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Thank you, Beth, for participating in this interview and this project.  It’s very much appreciated.

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