Interview: Sylvia Odhner

Today we’re joined by Sylvia Odhner. Sylvia is a fantastic visual artist and writer. Her visual art mostly consists of comics, fanart, and illustrations. She also has a few webcomics. It’s very apparent that she’s incredibly passionate about art. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I mostly create comics. I have one webcomic that I’ve been creating for over 7 years, Think Before You Think. It’s a romance/comedy/drama about a mind-reader. I’ve also done various fan comics and fan art, as well as illustrations for specific projects. My latest project is a blog I co-write and illustrate, Averting the Flame Wars, about online communication.

What inspires you?

Probably the thing that inspires me the most is whatever fandom I happen to be obsessed with at the moment. A large portion of my art and comics has been fan art of bands, TV shows, etc. I currently have a Tumblr blog dedicated to Vlogbrothers fan art and comics.

When I’m not doing fan art, I’m usually doing something for a specific purpose, and I get my inspiration from different places, depending on what it is. For my webcomic, I get a lot of inspiration from the TV shows and books that I like. I also get inspiration from TV shows and books that I don’t like, because I think to myself “this is so frustrating, I could do this better,” and then I create the thing that I wanted to see instead.

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

I’ve always been interested in art, as long as I can remember, and people always told me I was good at it when I was younger, so I just kept doing it. I always enjoyed the satisfaction of being able to picture something in my head and then bring it to life on paper.

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 think I have anything like that.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m not sure what advice to give because I think every artist needs different advice. I think my general advice would be to keep trying new things. Ride on the waves of your inspiration but also try being disciplined and sticking to a schedule. Try learning new skills by taking advantage of online tutorials. Nowadays it’s possible to learn practically anything you want to for free, so don’t let the limits of your knowledge or skill hold you back.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I currently identify as asexual and hetero-romantic, although I’m not totally sure about either of those things. If I’m not completely asexual, I know I’m somewhere on the spectrum.

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

I haven’t, maybe because I haven’t ever really dealt with the topic of asexuality in my art (at least not yet), so the subject doesn’t usually come up.

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

I don’t think I’ve encountered people explicitly voicing misconceptions about asexuality. But I do hear people talking in general with the assumption that everyone experiences sexual attraction, or everyone wants sex, and is either in or looking for some kind of sexual relationship.

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

You don’t have to have everything figured out. You don’t even have to have a label for your orientation. And if you do adopt a label, you don’t have to be sure about it. I’m not even sure whether or not I really am asexual, but I call myself asexual because so far, I don’t have any reason to believe I’m not. Asexuality is probably harder to figure out than other orientations, because you’re trying to identify something that you may have never experienced yourself.

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

All my projects are listed at http://sylviaodhner.com/
Think Before You Think: http://thinkbeforeyouthink.net/
Averting the Flame Wars: http://avertingtheflamewars.tumblr.com/

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

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