Today we’re joined by Eva Holder. Eva is an amazingly talented illustrator. They’re currently a student by show a remarkable amount of skill and a great eye. Their work is incredible and quite interesting to look at. This is an artist with a very bright future ahead of them. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I like to experiment here and there but mostly I’m a student illustrator with a style somewhere between manga, BD and British comics, and more recently American children’s cartoons and the illustrative styles that have become prominent from the renewed popular interest in them. Contrary to popular belief though, I don’t want to write comics for a living, I don’t think.
What inspires you?
Anything goes! Things in pastel, unusual people on the street, Japanese and British street fashion, cute things, shoujo manga and “otaku” culture in the Western sense, other comics and books and things and sometimes current affairs- I’ve illustrated about Islamophobia, North Korea, feminism and gender identity before, for example.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
In primary school they got you to write down what you wanted to be when you were older every year and every year, without fail, I put that I wanted to be an “artist or an author”. I think the author thing came first for a loooong time until I read the start of “Blackbird” at about 14, which is a shoujo manga that seemed to be in with all my friends- all the volumes got passed around person to person. Soon after that I got an iPod with internet connectivity and discovered reading manga online, I started copying panels obsessively and it just kind of went from there?
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 think I’m really bad at detailing backgrounds and things but sometimes there are little references- I wrote a comic back in January that was scripted and briefed for me by and indie publisher Planet Jimbot, and they asked for a sort of style/feel around manga and Doctor Who, so although I’m not hugely into Doctor Who, the main character’s Erin’s tshirt has “42” on, which I hope is sort of tongue in cheek in a similar way.
Also, I don’t think it’s a secret but if I can, I get eggs into a composition. Fried eggs, specifically.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
I’m going to skip all the stuff that’s already been said and say: don’t get starstruck! Don’t look up to artists too much- I see crazy skilled artists beating themselves up because they’re not as good as so-and-so, or have worked on projects where people will go out of their way just to please a certain artist! To start with, a singular obsession isn’t healthy; taking inspiration from here and there and nicking a dozen different styles and colour palettes from a dozen different artists all in one go is what leads to a unique style, not obsessing over one artist. Plus, man, your art is rad, appreciate it for what it is and don’t compare yourself to others too much dude! Take a minute to be proud of your achievements!!
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m aromantic asexual, and sex-repulsed at that.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I’m fortunate that the people I work with are chill about it and I don’t think it comes up much, but maybe I don’t like bringing it up because it has come up in work environments before and the results weren’t good. Besides the basic “that doesn’t exist” or “so you reproduce asexually?” I had someone straight up say that if I wasn’t interested in people then I must be interested in animals. Mostly though it’s just erasure, like getting asked “so are you gay or straight?” as if those are the only two choices.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Probably that it doesn’t exist- it does!! And if more people knew about it earlier, I feel not only would it be way better for people on the ace spectrum to feel normal and validated, but also I think people in general would have a much healthier attitude to sex.
Within the ace community too, I feel sometimes there’s a lot about ace peeps being so worried about being alone and not having some kind of SO that there’s the inference that ace people can have sex to please their SO. I realise it’s cool if you’re fine with that and that’s what you’ve worked out, but asexuals aren’t second class and in a world so saturated with sex and sexual imagery, I don’t think it occurs to some allosexuals that maybe sex is not the be-all and end-all and that maybe putting the sexuality (or lack thereof) and feelings of your SO before your own libido isn’t such a bad thing.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Take your time homie! Unfortunately, with the lack of education on asexuality, you might upset people in your journey to working out who you are and it can also be dangerous, so please stay safe! In the end though, when you come out the other side potentially with a better understanding of what’s romance, what’s sex and what you like (or not!! That’s also cool; labels can help you feel part of a community but also not wanting labels is fine, don’t let anyone gatekeep that community for you) you will hopefully feel like things you’ve overcome have taught you things about yourself and other people.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you, Eva, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.