Today we’re joined by Oliver. Oliver is a wonderful visual artist who works in both traditional mediums and digital as well. Their style is inspired by cartoons and anime, though they also do realistic drawings as well. Their work is brimming with beautiful vivid colors and wonderful flowing lines, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I love drawing people. I like to draw realistic portraits, but I find a more cartoony/anime inspired style is very fun as well.
The majority of my work is done traditionally, usually an amalgamation of water colour, coloured pencil, and ink is used. But I dabble in digital art as well.
I’m the kind of person who carries around ideas for pieces for years without actually ever putting them on paper. I find it very hard to translate the bigger concepts and visuals I have in my head into real life. So it’s not often my drawings make it past the sketchy pencil stage before I shove them away in exasperation never to see the light of day. Often times I go through these sketches at a later date, going “this is really good! But it isn’t like how I had conceptualized it all” and back into the abyss it goes. *laughs*
I use art as a personal casual hobby. I often struggle to express myself effectively in verbal and text communication, so sometimes drawing out what I’m feeling, or how much I love something can be really soothing. So in that regard my art is very self-centric, art to me is about showing who you are in a way others can relate to.
What inspires you?
Other artists always! I love storytelling, especially visually, and don’t think I ever would have found the drive to draw if it was not for other artists around me. I specifically know I’ve been rather influenced by Shigenori Soejima, Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt.
I can’t really pinpoint for my original pieces what inspires me, striking visual thoughts or feelings mainly. It’s very abstract. I have whole reference folders dedicated to abstract imagines that make me feel ___ to help me draw that visually.
For fan art pieces, this is always much easier. I just have to try and channel what I love about that character, and then think of a dynamic visual way I can show that love to people.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
DeviantArt was definitely a game changer for me. Little grade 5 me was introduced to it by one of my older siblings. I formed a close knit community with other artists around the same age and artistic level as me, and I was always pushed to keep producing things and learning and help them do the same. I thrived there for a long time.
I really wanted to be a professional artist, and had a lot of support in early high school to try and make a portfolio to attend a university art school. But I found once I put my nose to the grind stone and lived , breathed , and sweat art for that portfolio , that art wasn’t something I was interested in pursuing professionally. I hated the restrictions of what I could and couldn’t draw. I hated the class time as I often didn’t want to draw past 20 minute intervals. It was around this time I decided to see art as a hobby, because it was the only way I really enjoyed it.
Now with other obligations and just life in general , I don’t get to draw much , and I don’t see as much rapid progress in skill as I did once , but I really enjoy drawing and that’s something I’m really glad has persisted. It’s so relaxing!
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 have been told I have a very unique line texture by several people though (I’m not sure that’s a good thing though!)
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Keep drawing what you like, not what other people like!
And if you’re considering becoming an artistic professional give yourself a time line where you will dedicate yourself to you’re art 100% to see if it really is the right fit for you! Evaluate, after that time line and make your choice from there. There is no wrong choice either.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m a Nonbinary Panromantic Asexual.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I’m actually incredibly lucky to live in a big city, which has a pride center that specifically organizes asexual pride events and casual hang outs.
At my job, I work with several A-Spec coworkers. And the rest are part of the Queer community themselves or are very supportive Allies.
I tend to get flack for other aspects of my identity, more so because it is easier to see upon introduction that I am trans, versus asexual, which is only brought up when discussing sexual activities (which rarely is a work topic, which makes the NSFW acronym pretty relevant *finger pistols)
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Probably from my family, they are all incredibly sex positive, and so am I, so I’m very open that sex is not something that appeals to me. I have identified as Asexual since I was 13. I am now 21. My mother was a late bloomer and she keeps insisting I’m just a very very veerrryy late bloomer.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
I never really talked about my lack of sexuality until I connected online with other Aces. Foster a community and raise awareness. It’s very hard to feel isolated when you know others are experiencing the same thing as you are. Plus you will make some amazing friends along the way. 🙂
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you, Oliver, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.