Today we’re joined by Stacey. Stacey is an incredibly talented visual artist whose subject matter leans heavily towards traditional fantasy (be still my heart). Looking through her work, I was struck by the attention to detail and wonderful use of color. There’s an amazing sense of motion in a lot of the pictures she sent to go along with her interview. I was truly awestruck. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
My art consists mostly of traditional fantasy stuff. Wizards, dragons, mythical creatures etc. I have been working on finding a style I like, and have finally found one I think I enjoy that has a bit of a painterly style, and have really enjoyed playing around with it a lot.
What inspires you?
I am mostly inspired by the D&D and Pathfinder games that I play. The worlds are rich and I have a solid group of friends to play with. I actually DM (or am the one in charge of) two games (one Pathfinder and the other Dungeons and Dragons 5e) and I’m playing in a D&D5e campaign right now, and it’s inspired lots of character designs and I’ve even started a comic version of the Pathfinder game I’m running right now. It’s currently on hiatus while I study comic paneling and visual storytelling, but it can be found on ComicFury if anybody is interested in checking it out! (http://shatteredstar.thecomicseries.com/comics/first)
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Technically my field is private tutoring, but I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and I’ve been drawing for as long as I could hold a pencil in my hand. I don’t know that I’ve always wanted to be an artist, but I’m lucky to be able to make a living tutoring, so I can just do art because I want to.
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 do! It’s an icon of a phoenix because I’m kind of obsessed with them.
My name comes from the Greek word Anastasius, which means “resurrection,” and I went through a personal life-up-in-flames-to-recovery about 6 years ago when my father died suddenly. So Phoenixes are basically my patronus. (Ironically, Dumbledore is also my fave character in the HP series)
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Draw every day. Even if it’s a sketch in your algebra or biology notebook or whatever. Just draw something every day. I also HIGHLY recommend joining art groups on Facebook or other social media. I am a part of the Daily Spitpaint group (which posts 4 new themes every day and challenges the members to spend 30 minutes working on a drawing of one of the themes. It’s SUPER stressful, but I’ve improved my speed and overall composition SO much with this group) and you can get great feedback!
If you’re looking to improve and have a group you can always get good critiques on, I also recommend the group Draw or Die on FB. They have monthly challenges with a theme and everybody that participates posts updates so that everybody can help them improve. There’s no prizes, so everybody’s always really good about pushing each other forward. This group is also great for any piece you’re having trouble with and has people from all over the world. They also do Google Hangouts where you can have other artists online to talk to and show them your work in real time to get instant feedback. It’s basically my favorite thing ever.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m 100% ace, and strongly lean aro. I am also sex-repulsed.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Most of it’s just ignorance. I recently posted a note on FB for ace awareness week to invite people to send me questions anonymously (or publicly if they wanted) for a kind of Q&A for my friends and family on FB. They were all really cool about it.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
I’m lucky to say that most of it that I’ve experienced is about just whether or not asexuality exists. And it’s pretty much always in the form of “oh, what’s that mean?” as opposed to challenging its existence.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
This is true for more than just aces, but you are the only one that gets to define you. Like, I used to work in a copy center and we’d have a ton of people coming to print of genealogies and they were always super proud of where they came from because to them, that history defined them. Which is fine, but not something I’ve ever understood. I am me, and I choose what labels I want to use. If you don’t like a label, don’t use it. And if you don’t know what label fits you best, don’t worry about it. You are you, and ultimately that’s the most important thing. You are valuable because you are You. Not because you’re a boy or a girl, or because you’re straight or gay or trans or cis or whatever. Those don’t make or break your value. Use labels if you want to. Don’t use them if you don’t want to. And you can also change your mind later!
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I also have a commission post on my Tumblr if you’re interested (or if you know someone that might be) and I offer special discounts for characters that are POC or LGBTQIA+
Thank you, Stacey, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.