Today we’re joined by Michelle. Michelle is an amazing artist who specializes in character and fashion design. She’s also a dedicated fanartist and she writes as well. Michelle has just started to study video game design, so she’s quite a versatile artist with a variety of interests. If her work is anything to go by, she has an incredibly bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
It’s kind of a mess. My earliest passion was Fashion Design, I try to think up a new mini collection for each Season (I will confess I often let Resort fall by the wayside). I also really enjoy designing characters, since I feel like you can really tell an interesting story through clothes. Pokemon is my one true love (besides Persona of course) so I do a lot of fanart in the form of Gijinkas (really it’s another excuse to make more cool designs). I changed my major from Fashion Design to Video Game Design, right before I started college so I’m starting to learn more about all of the art forms that contribute to making a game.
Outside of visual art, I also do a lot of writing (it’s my job actually), however it’s been a long time since I posted anything. I used to have novels and fanfictions out the wazoo, but most of my projects just end up getting absorbed. I started writing a novel about 7 years ago. It started as a hobby, but ended up being a sort of coping strategy. The past 7 years have been some of the toughest in my life (go figure since I’m 18 now), and throughout all the changes that story and those characters have remained a constant. It’s grown as I have, a lot of my experiences end up influencing the world and stories. It started as the cliché “we’re all high schoolers with super powers and some of us have amnesia” and now it’s “we’re all 6-48 year olds who are in organized crime secretly fighting an extremist groups out to eradicate people with super powers on the side”. I’m actually really proud of the current plot and hope that I can release it someday.
What inspires you?
Lots of things. I tend to have a few ‘muses’ at a time. People (real or fictional) I can just look at or listen to, and suddenly I’ve got an idea. Right now my main muse is Myoui Mina (from the girl group Twice). Other than people, inspiration often comes in random objects (I once was inspired to make a 15 piece collection based off of a cool lightbulb). Most prominently though, is atmosphere. I’ve found that in different periods of your life or experiences/occasions the atmosphere is most memorable. How the air felt, what I smelled, the color of the sky. Remembering how a time in my life felt is often the best way for me to get those creative juices flowing.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’m not really sure what made me take the leap, but I didn’t always want to be an artist. I was ready to be a Doctor until I found out that I have horrible Hemophobia (just the mention of it used to make be dizzy). I doodled absentmindedly a lot, and it wasn’t until someone asked me if I wanted to be an artist that I realized you could be one. Overtime, art just became something I couldn’t live without. The only issue I had, was that I couldn’t fully dedicate myself to one discipline, as a result I’m, a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none. But that’s alright, because the other thing I love about art, is that you never stop improving. Even though I’m not terribly good, I know that I will be eventually.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?
No, not really I’m afraid. I know that I have a penchant for high collars, but outside of that nothing.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Keep going. Your art will grow with you, even if it doesn’t look how you want it to now, it will someday if you keep trying.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
It’s a bit convoluted I must admit. The short answer I use in most conversations is Bi-romantic asexual. The long answer is Demi(questioning)-Multi-Romantic Autochoriflux-Asexual.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
YES. Absolutely. Honestly, I just kind of let it happen nowadays. If you’re ignorant enough to tell me that I don’t exist/don’t have a place in a specific community to my face then you’re probably not going to take anything I have to say to heart. I have a bad habit of letting people rile me up when I get into arguments, so I just let them think what they’re going to think and continue my business. This is not the case however if I see someone picking on another Ace Spectrum person. Hell hath no fury such as a pissed off Ace, I swear.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been working on something when someone looks over my shoulder and says something to the effect of “Oh! It’s so risqué/mature. But I thought you were Asexual?” or “You said that you were Asexual right? Then why are you making outfits like this? What a fake.” A lot of people are thrown off by that fact that the clothes I wear/design aren’t just a bunch of glorified potato sacks. Like why show my thighs or wear a low cut shirt if I’m not trying to get some. A lot of people don’t seem to get that I dress for myself. That if I’m showing a lot of skin it’s probably because I’m trying to be more confident about it (or it’s like 110 degrees outside). I’m not here to have sex, I’m just here to design some cool clothes and look good doing it. I’ll admit that my personal style has often been described as “chapstick-grandma” (I’m not super thrilled with that particular name), and that I hate it when people are pressured into dressing sexy, but being asexual doesn’t necessarily mean you have the fashion sense of someone from the 1700’s.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Don’t worry about the haters. You are exactly who you’re meant to be, even if that’s a work in progress. Our world isn’t always the most ace-friendly place, but you aren’t alone in it. You’re just as valid as any other orientation, so don’t let people make you feel that you’re not. And remember, you decide how you live your life.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
My Deviantart is Childofaeolus3.
Thank you, Michelle, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.