Today we’re joined by James. James is a phenomenal visual artist and writer. He draws and takes amazing photographs, capturing the complex beauty of the world with still images. He also draws people and has such a talent for capturing emotion in his art. James also has a passion for writing and aspires to be published one day. It’s very obvious he’s an incredibly passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
My art is quite varied, I think. I am both a visual artist and a writer, and I occasionally dabble in photography as well. The style and mood of my art changes with my own mood and with the things happening in my life.
What inspires you?
The world around me. For all the ugliness in the world, there is also joy and beauty and happiness, and I try to capture that in my art. Or, occasionally, I’ll try to capture the ugliness. It really depends what I’m trying to convey.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, and it was encouraged by my family. I’ve never felt as though I was good enough to make a career out of it, but it’s one of my favourite hobbies. I do want to be a published author one day, though I am well aware of how difficult it is to get there.
Being autistic, art is a great way for me to convey my emotions without struggling to use words
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?
Well, I’ve tried a few different signatures. I’ve tried using my Tumblr URL, I’ve tried using an icon to represent my Tumblr URL as well. But then I’d change my URL, so it was all kind of useless. Recently I’ve started signing my work with my actual signature instead.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Don’t give up. Even when you think you’ll never be as good as anyone else, keep going. Stop comparing yourself to others and instead compare your progress against where you started.
When you think you’re finished with a drawing, keep going. There’s always room for improvement, even when you can’t see it. Don’t stop until you’re truly satisfied.
If you look back on your work and hate it, that’s okay. That’s even good. If you hate it, you’re seeing all the places you went wrong, and now it’s time to fix those mistakes. Make it better. Make it something you’re proud of.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I am a transgender biromantic grey-ace. I used to think I was aro-ace, and identified that way for almost a year before getting a crush on two boys at once. It was quite the sexuality crisis, as I hadn’t had a crush since about ten years previously.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
No one knows what ‘asexual’ means in my town. I’ve gotten very used to explaining what it is. I say, “I am attracted to any gender romantically, but none sexually.” That seems to explain it well enough to satisfy their curiosity, even if it is not the full story.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Everyone assumes that just because I am not attracted to anyone sexually, I must not want sex. Mostly, I am indifferent, but it’s annoying when people assume I won’t understand sex jokes or read smut or have anything to do with the subject at all.
Additionally, I’ve been asked if my parts work. Generally, I’m in a good mood when asked this, so I will calmly explain what asexuality actually is. If i were in a bad mood, however, I might just ask if their parts work.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
It’s okay to be asexual. It doesn’t mean that you’ll be alone forever, or that you can’t satisfy your partner or make them happy. You will find that person one day, and they will love you for who you are and they will respect your sexuality.
And it’s okay if you don’t want to have that person, too. If you’re happy on your own, there is absolutely no reason you should go out of your way to change that, no matter what anyone else says or does.
A lot of the asexual community is very out and proud in visible ways, like making bracelets or drawing pride flags, or wearing ace rings. You don’t have to, if you don’t want to. Being asexual is a part of you, but it’s not a part you have to flaunt if you don’t want to flaunt it. You don’t need an ace ring, or a pride flag, and you don’t even need to come out, either, if you don’t want to. Just be yourself, and you will be okay.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you, James, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.