Today we’re joined by Gremory. Gremory is a phenomenal visual artist from Scotland who brings their ace pride with them wherever they go. An incredibly creative individual, most of Gremory’s work is original characters though they do occasionally dabble in fanart. Some of their pieces are rather dark, but they definitely have their own style, which is quite interesting. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I do a lot of writing so my art is practically all original characters though I do fanart from time to time. I used to be traditional mediums only, using ink pens, alcohol markers, white inks, etc but now my work is almost exclusively digital. I use an Ugee 1910B drawing tablet (19 inches) and recently my work has all been done using Krita. Recently I’ve been exhibiting and selling at artist alleys, notably Glasgow’s Rai Con which I’ll be returning to in October. My table banner uses the ace flag and I use my little catboy Ahceria (Ace-ehrea) as my mascot!
What inspires you?
Two things: people and the paranormal. My work is either perfectly normal people living perfectly normal lives or it’s demons, vampires and faeries. There’s no middle ground with me. Recently I’ve been doing a lot of reading on Black Eyed Kids, demonolatry, UFOs and the Missing 411 series and I’ve been combining elements from all for a new novel.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
As far as I can remember, I’ve always been drawing characters. I was inspired by shows like Sailor Moon, Monster Rancher, Dragonball Z, etc when I was a kid – I’d come home from school and sit in front of the TV like a little zombie, devouring the shows. As I grew up, I never got away from the whole “character creation” thing. All of my problems would be projected onto new and interesting people that were born in my mind – I use art as a therapist. Recently however, I’ve realised that as an exhibiting artist doing the rounds at conventions, I have a voice and I can use it to promote LGBTQA awareness and issues. I’ve also become very vocal about my pro-Scottish independence, anti-war and anti-racist stances. My moral and politics issues are often translated more into my writing than my art though – I’d say my art is my LGBTQA space and my writing is my human issues space.
A really life-affirming moment for me was at Rai Con in Glasgow, March 2016. A young girl, maybe 13 or 14 approached my table with her mum and they began flicking through my portfolio. When they reached my “I AM NOT INVISIBLE” ace pride print, the mum nudged her daughter and said “honey, isn’t this what you are? Asexual? And you’re not invisible either!” That touched me so much, to see someone taking an asexual youngster seriously instead of the usual “it’s just a phase” or “you’ll find someone” stuff that we so often hear. That was the moment that I realised I had a platform to help other aces feel comfortable and raise awareness. I’m planning a series of characters for each pride flag with the hopes that the series will open conversations at conventions and I can discuss these people and issues with my fans.
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?
Recently my theme has been either dropping hints to my characters’ sexualities or occult symbolism. I guess you could say my excessive use of blood is a theme, haha. Not all of my work is dark but I feel much more comfortable when I’m working with my vampires or demon characters.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Don’t ever question yourself. Do you create? Yes? Then you’re an artist. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you’re not good enough or that your style isn’t art. As soon as you breathe life into a new thing, whether it’s a character or a photograph, a song or a painting, you’re an artist. You’re a creator. You have a voice and you matter.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m a panromantic asexual.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Not as an artist or on my social media presence but in my personal life, quite a lot, actually. It’s mostly been in my work place. I work in a department store as an arts and crafts assistant. I actually had a conversation take place about who in the workplace we’d sleep with – when I was asked, someone interjected with “Don’t bother asking her – this is adult talk”, implying that I’m not developed or mature enough to understand the topic. I laughed but inside, I was deeply offended by the implication. I’ve been called broken, told by a couple of people online on my personal Facebook that they would “fix me” and I always get called out for being in a relationship, because apparently love is something reserved only for non-aces. I handle it by ignoring it. I know that sounds counter-productive to my promotion of asexual awareness but some people just don’t want to be educated and you can’t get through to them. I promote, I don’t preach. To those people I say, I don’t need your acceptance.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That asexual means unhappy. That you can’t be happy without sex. That you’re not allowed romantic (or sexual) relationships because you label yourself ace. Here’s the thing – aces CAN and do have sex. Not all, but some of us, and no one has any right to judge them for it. It’s just not something we’re interested in. We’d rather have cake (or pizza for me, please!)
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Be honest with yourself and those you’re closest to and trust. My current relationship (which is also the most positive, honest one I’ve had) is the only one where I’ve been open about my asexuality and I’ve been able to have discussions and we’ve both compromised. You’re not broken. You don’t need to be fixed. Trust me, you’re not alone. Even if you can’t talk to your friends or family, you can talk to me and other aces. My inbox is always open for anyone who wants to talk or needs reassurance.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I’m active on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/gremdawg) and I’m always open to banter and chat and making friends. I also have a DeviantArt, Pixiv, Twitter and Patreon. You can buy prints of my work on Etsy and Merchandace.
Thank you, Gremory, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.