Today we’re joined by Nikki Hasselhoff. Nikki is a phenomenal author who has published two novels, which have ace characters in them. She enjoys writing scifi and fantasy. When she’s not writing, Nikki is also a concert-level pianist and an actor. She also dabbles in visual art as well. She’s an incredibly passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I write sci.-fi./fantasy novels, draw (mainly fanart of my favorite books and shows), am a concert-level pianist, and act for both film and stage. I’ve published two novels, played live in open communities, and played the lead role of Cinderella in Game of Tiaras by Don Zolidis.
What inspires you?
I’ve always had a natural drive to create—or to do something productive in general. I love the beauty in art and the freedom of expression that accompanies it. My inspirations come from music, my favorite actors, my favorite shows, visiting new places, and experiencing life in general.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve always loved art. Art is inspirational and beautiful and creative. Art molds our culture and can change the way we think. For instance, if I represent L.G.B.T.P.Q.I.A.+ characters in my books in a positive light, that representation encourages real people to treat our real community with dignity.
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?
As a person who loves symbolism, I encourage those who view my art to dig for the deeper meaning, not just the textual. Certain numbers, color schemes, and word choices often have double meanings. For instance, if I make a character wear purple, black, gray, and white clothing, that character is asexual.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
There will always be people whose art seems “better”. There will always be people who brag about certain styles of art. Don’t be discouraged. Continue to do what you do because you will improve. It took me years to get the hang of my skills, and only by determination and not procrastinating can you achieve the level of skill you desire.
Be patient with yourselves. Nobody is instantly perfect. Some art pieces turn out badly. Some turn out amazingly. Take the good and the bad.
Consider how you represent groups of people in certain lights. Avoid misrepresentation and nonrepresentation.
And last, don’t worry about what other people think. You are who you are. Your art is what it is. Nobody can take them away from you.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Aplatonic Autochorissexual Aromantic
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
The most common form of prejudice I’ve faced is the denial of asexual issues. As an asexual, I have been told “you just haven’t found the right one yet” and “you’re just gay and waiting to come out”, just to name a couple of phrases.
The worst has been the denial that asexuals belong in the L.G.B.T.P.Q.I.A.+ community. One of my idols said that “ace problems aren’t gay problems. Therefore, ace people don’t belong,” which is ludicrous because gay problems aren’t lesbian problems, lesbian problems aren’t trans problems, trans problems aren’t pan problems, pan problems aren’t bi problems, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. All non cis/het identities belong in the L.G.B.T.P.Q.I.A.+ community. To say that “certain identities don’t belong” as exclusive as the homophobes. It’s elitist, hateful behavior, and I call people out when I see them doing it.
I also keep a very friendly environment around me, discussing with the loving parts of the community who know that asexuals are part of the spectrum and that we have our own set of problems, too.
I remember that everyone experiences intersectionality. For example, a person may be heterosexual aromantic, but that person still belongs in our community and should be welcomed because that person will experience discrimination on the basis of being aromantic. It’s like how a white person can experience prejudice for being lesbian, but not for being white. We all must be aware of our privilege and our oppression.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That asexuals “haven’t found the right one and are being celibate”.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
There are whole communities devoted to helping you. If you’re having a hard time discovering your sexuality, don’t be afraid to reach out. We are here for you. There are artists like myself who are creating art to represent the L.G.B.T.P.Q.I.A.+ spectrum to reject our heteronormative society and make life easier for non-cis/het identities.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
My first book: https://books.pronoun.com/dragon-realm-chronicles-volume-one-the-amulet-of-the-green-dragon/
My second book: https://books.pronoun.com/dragon-realm-chronicles-volume-two-the-silver-key/
Facebook page for my books: https://www.facebook.com/DragonRealmChr/
My artwork: https://www.instagram.com/nikki.hasselhoff/
Thank you, Nikki, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.