Today we’re joined by Lana, who also goes by Deact. Lana is a wonderful visual artist and writer. She does a lot of portraits of women and girls, as well as mermaids. She uses both digital and traditional mediums. When not drawing, Lana also dabbles in writing and tends to write a lot of short stories. It’s very obvious she’s a dedicated artist who enjoys what she does, 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 predominantly deal in drawn visual art and short story writing. My art is mostly self-taught and usually involves portraits of women/girls and a lot of mermaids. I use both traditional and digital methods (although not together) and I have recently picked up watercolour painting, but I tend to stick with line art and block colour. My writing is very vague and laconic and feedback usually deems it unsettling. I prefer short stories because the reader never really finds out what’s going on (also I can’t seem to stick with a long term story for more than a fortnight).
What inspires you?
With art, I’m inspired by colours, light, and biologically plausible mythology (e.g. mermaids coming in different fish species and the way the human part of the body would adapt to the sea). With my writing, I write mostly about the places I’ve been or have knowledge of, or situations and places that everyone has experienced (e.g. train stations, restaurants etc.). The familiarity of these places and the subversion of safety is a common theme in my work. Writers like Angela Carter, Daphne du Maurier, and Stephen King all contributed to the short story element of my writing style. The mangaka Junji Ito and the manga Fuan no Tane also inspired me due to their simple-yet-scary art.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I think I probably got myself into art, and I think my first dream job was ‘novelist’. Not a lot of people around me growing up considered art a big part of their lives. I have always enjoyed creating things and learning new techniques. Handing impressionable thirteen year old me a stack of manga pushed me to copy the style and then develop my own further down the line. I tried to pursue art seriously, but disliked the way my education system taught Fine Art and dropped it in favour of Classics. The story’s pretty similar with writing too, only I have always excelled in literature classes regardless of my interest level, whereas art classes felt a little too restricted. A tiny part of me is always going to want to be a successful artist, though.
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?
Winged eyeliner, and I try to draw different noses!! Noses are pretty cool but it’s easy to fall back into the acute angle shape. In writing I tend to use short sentences and the second person ‘you’.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Draw what you feel and don’t worry if it doesn’t have a deeper meaning. Also use references and take specialised classes for your art form if you can.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Asexual. I’m not going to pretend to understand what my romantic orientation is doing, but I’m not worried about it either.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I study Translation. The first person I came out to was in my language class, who told me on three separate occasions that I would find someone later in life I’d want to have sex with, that I should wait until I’m twenty to decide, and that they thought I was “just afraid of men”. I wasn’t sure how to handle it as I’m a fairly reserved person, so I just never brought it up again. Another person who previously identified as grayace realised they weren’t (and y’know, there’s zero problem with that), and tried to convince me relaxing in a club would make me want sex. I don’t think I’ve talked to them since, as their insistence kinda pressured me to say I would sleep with someone if I loved them enough (which I felt very uncomfortable saying).
Luckily the majority of people I’ve told have been super accepting (shoutout to my cheer team for accepting me in a pub, of all places), and when they haven’t understood they’ve asked for clarification.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That I’ll meet someone and my feelings will change. I think it hurt the most coming from my mother.
Also ‘lol is that like a plant’
A friend once asked me if chickens were asexual as if a) I was an expert on chickens and b) I knew every asexual being that existed. Bless her.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Take your time. Try things out if you want, or don’t if you don’t want to. Never let someone else try to dictate your feelings to you. Don’t think there’s some sort of hierarchy amongst ace communities either – whatever you feel is what it is.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you, Lana, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.