Interview: Hazel Riley

Today we’re joined by Hazel Riley. Hazel is a hobbyist who enjoys realistic sketching, particularly the human body (be forewarned: some pictures have nudity in them). She works mostly in pencil, but her work shows extraordinary detail. It’s very apparent she has an eye for form, which makes for some beautiful work. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I like to draw as a hobby! I’ve found I work best in black and white mediums and pencil is the easiest of those to access, so that’s what the majority of my work is in. Currently I enjoy doing realistic sketches of the human body so my search history is very dubious at the moment. (It’s not until you search for nude models on the internet that you realize exactly how much porn is there, but maybe that’s an Ace thing.) My first models/subjects were my cats though, so my early sketchbooks have a lot of cat drawings in them.

What inspires you?

For me it can be anything however, any emotional work I do is usually related to something someone else is going through. For example I have a couple drawings that were inspired by a friend’s breakup and one that was inspired by my perception of one of my roommate’s relationships. Recently though, as I’ve been doing body studies, I’ve found myself being struck by inspiration at totally random moments. I’ve paused TV shows to take a picture of the screen because I like the pose that an actor is holding at the time, it’s very odd and unpredictable but I feel that that comes with the territory.

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

I don’t really know why I was interested enough in drawing to continue doing it past elementary school, I guess I did it long enough that I got good enough to keep trying. I always enjoyed art class when it was mandatory so I just kept signing up for it in high school. As I moved on to college it was a nice thing to do if the inspiration struck, so I always had a sketchbook in my room somewhere just in case.

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?

I don’t really have a specific symbol, but I like to play with the idea of dichotomy. For example light versus dark, male versus female (if you’ll excuse the gender binary there) , beauty in the grotesque, etc.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do not, It do not, be afraid to use references! It seems obvious but for the longest time I didn’t use references because I figured if I couldn’t draw it on my own I wasn’t a good artist. That is wrong. Using references is what makes you a good artist! And it’s what makes you better! References can come from anywhere, I follow a blog that I wouldn’t otherwise be interested in because I’ve found some great references there. And don’t be afraid to use yourself as one if you can’t find the pose you want.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am an aromatic asexual.

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

Not really in my field as this is only a hobby, and every place of work it’s either not a big deal or it’s never been a topic of conversation. So I’m very happy to report none!

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

Not exactly a misconception per se. But kind of the idea that asexuality is an option. Like that fact that I have to explain asexuality to almost everyone that I come out to has definitely made me white lie my way out of situations before just from sheer laziness.

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

Do little things for yourself. Just small self care things that lets you know that you know that you’re Ace, even if no one else does. Follow some positive Ace blogs (this one is a good start!) Even if you don’t reblog anything you’re still seeing Ace things that are there for you. Also small physical reminders, like an Ace ring, are good ways to make a little Ace bubble around you. Play with the idea too, my ace ring is an ear cuff on my right ear because I can’t handle stuff on my hands. To everyone else it looks cool but I know what it means to me.

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

Unfortunately as this is a hobby of mine and not really anything more I don’t post my art publicly anywhere. But if you see something here that really strikes your fancy you can ask me about it on my blog: ober-affen-geil.tumblr.com.

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

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