Today we’re joined by Alyssa Furtado. Alyssa is a young artist who is remarkably talented. She is a visual artist who works with a number of different mediums, everything from digital to charcoal drawing. Even though she’s young, her work demonstrates someone with a keen eye. It’s clear she has a very bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I still feel as if I am fairly new to the art world. Even though people say I am good for my age, I feel really behind. Maybe it is, because I’m always really hard on myself. But besides that, I like to work with a variety of mediums. I have done print making, digital art, paintings, and charcoal drawings. When I started to take my art seriously, I noticed that a lot of my portfolio surrounded around when I discovered I was asexual, and coming out to the people around me. since then I have enjoyed making most of my art as stories about being asexual, even if it is not completely noticeable when you first look at it.
What inspires you?
My sexuality has to do with a lot of the art that I make. But there are other things, like my anxiety that pushes me to do better. I also love to listen to classical music when I am doing art, and I am obsessed with Van Gogh. I sound like such an art nerd, but I can’t even defend myself. I am one, and will always be one.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
When I was younger my uncle used to stay at my house, and he would bring his portfolio. Since then I have been mesmerized with artists, but it was not until I started high school that I tried it myself. To be honest, I wanted to be an archeologist when I was younger, and I would draw dinosaurs all the time. When my mom gave me a Barbie doll, I had my plastic T-rex tear her head off in the first day. You could say she was not happy with me.
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 am constantly worried that someone will steal my art! So I always try and include my signature. This is what it looks like:
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Seriously, do not give up. I remember one time I had spent hours drawing something, and I showed my friend who is also an artist. Then within 15 minutes she whipped up something that was 10 times better than mine. I felt like crap, and completely ashamed of what I made. But after years of just practicing every day, I am now applying for art school and I actually love what I make. There are days when I panic, and think I will end up as a hobo on the street, but I always try and remember that nothing else makes me happy. Even though I could have applied to a medical school, or became the hottest farmer in town, I knew that nothing else would make me as happy as my art does. And even if you don’t want to do art for a living, and it is just a hobby, never let it dwindle away, because it is more important than you think it is.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I identify as just asexual, but I am panromantic.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
A lot of people like to think that we don’t face any phobia, but honestly that is a complete lie. I unfortunately don’t have a family that supports my sexuality. I came out to my mom, and she said what most ace kids get. She said “it’s just a phase. One day you’ll find someone who will change your mind”. Like I said, a lot of people experience this as an asexual. I also came out to a friend once, and she asked me when I was going to go to a doctor to get it fixed. Usually I don’t get insulted so easily, but I was a bit irritated so I explained to her why that wasn’t ok to say. Then she said I didn’t understand her point of view, because being asexual was a disability. Obviously, this is not true, so I was very angry. Luckily I am pretty level headed, so I did not freak out, but I have not talked her since then.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
One of the things that people don’t understand, is that we can still feel romantic attraction. I have dated people before, and I have loved someone. I understand why it is confusing for people who are not asexual, because I find their sexualities confusing also.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
I would say that you should do as much research about it as possible. It helped me a lot when I had a better understanding of what other people experience. This also helped me feel like I was not alone, because I knew that what I am feeling is not fake. Once I found out I was asexual, I have met 2 other people who are ace, and 3 other people who are on the ace spectrum.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
You can follow my art account on Instagram called at acedthis. I post most of my art, and I have my own original characters. My favorite character is named Row, and he is ace. (You will see a lot of him) There is also my Tumblr account, acceptanceofthenerds.tumblr.com, but I do not post my art on there often.
Thank you, Alyssa, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.