Today we’re joined by Lehenne. Lehenne is an amazingly versatile artist who dabbles in a bit of everything. They currently have a book out, which they’re trying to get some buzz for, so please check out their links (their work features prominent LGBT+ characters as well as angels, demons, and maybe even an apocalypse). Aside from writing, Lehenne dabbles in a number of visual arts and even enjoys singing. They’re clearly a passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I love every kind of art. I sculpt, I paint, I sing (I’m probably driving my colleagues crazy over this one), I do origamis and engraving, I knit and sew, I also dabble in the art of Bonsaïs…
But most of all, I draw and I write. Like, an unhealthy amount. It’s my thing, when I do something, I don’t do anything else until I bore myself out of it. And I love the art of words (the puns, spoonerisms and malaphors, oh my colleagues, my poor colleagues!)
What inspires you?
My dreams! I dream all the time always. To the point where I eagerly wait for any alone time to do so without distractions. And when I’m not dreaming, I’m doing art… Or looking at it. And my dreams are inspired by everything that surrounds me; To the films I watch at the cinema and the TV series I follow, the museums I visit and the images I come across on Internet, the ancient mythologies and the comic books, nature’s work of art and pareidolia I catch on my tile floor, to the medieval choruses and chiptune I listen to.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve always been drawing, since I can remember; my oldest memory is of me drawing in kindergarten. And I’ve started to read and write in sixth grade after my French professor (I’m French so the equivalent would be your English professor) gave us this short stories book, and I flashed on it; I mean, a light went on in my head, and I thought to myself “that’s it, I want to write. Create my own stories and share with everyone.” Watching movies and reading books, that’s good and all, but I thought to myself, my dreams deserve to be written down, if only for my own consumption. I have so many plot bunnies in my short stories’ file.
As to wanting to be an artist, I don’t think I ever had a choice, it’s my life, and I don’t think I could bear going through it without doing art. It’s not what pays the bills right now, but I hope the current book I’m working on will launch me into the fabulous world of paid authors. For now, I share it for free on the site “Booksie”.
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 do enjoy writing about supernatural characters, going inside their head and change the way I think to show an original point of view. I love drawing winged characters, probably because it’s my dream to fly (Yeah, I know, how original). I’ve also been told my original portraits’ style is somewhat always androgynous. My current book (see link below), regroups all that, I realised just now!
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
DON’T study art. Study whatever else you’re interested in. But always keep art on the sidelines, never give it up. And when you’re set in your life, with what society calls a “real job”, you’ll have every occasion to art and live from it. With your hard-earned money, you’ll buy as much art supply as you wish, and you’ll art whenever wherever.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m relatively new to this part, I’ve found all those amazing descriptions and denominations earlier this year. But I can affirm that I’m asexual and aromantic. I’m also pretty sure I’m agender, but I can’t be certain (I don’t really know what a gender is supposed to feel like, but I suspect, from my fascination with agender characters and my agender dream alter ego I’ve thought up when I was six and still imagine stories for, that that’s what I am).
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I’ve never come out, so that’s going to be difficult to answer. I don’t feel like saying, “I don’t do that” to somebody, that would just be… odd? Also, I don’t hang out with many people, but! One conversation I’ve had with a lively colleague did stir in that direction. When I bluntly said that I was aromantic and told her what it was, she simply said, “That’s not possible, ‘cos you aren’t a snail!” I’m still unsure what that means, but it did discourage me to ever talk about it again (I’m the epitome of shyness and introversion, so…) It still hasn’t come up again.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Mmh. When I was little, I would ask how I was supposed to know and feel like when I’d fall in love. I’ve always been told, “You’ll know”. But I never did. And I went through my teenage years thinking I would know when I’d want to have sex with someone. But I never did. I don’t think I answered that question correctly, but I don’t really know what to say, we don’t talk about sexuality much, here in France; People just kind of just openly lust over random people, and we don’t go beyond that. So if like me, you don’t lust over people, you just don’t say anything. I do have been called a prude for not enjoying sexualizing strangers, though.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Don’t struggle? I have never given it any thought, really, it just seemed like a natural thing to me. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering if I should be (sexually/romantically) attracted to people I found attractive, but the answer has always been “nope”. I’ve just found out it was aesthetic attraction (because I love art so much!) So really, I don’t know what to say to people that don’t feel comfortable with who they are.
Just know that you aren’t alone, there are plenty of good people around to support and love you. With some introspection, you might even come to terms with and enjoy who you are!
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Here’s the link for my current book (It’s a work in progress): https://www.booksie.com/502306-dragged-out-of-heaven
If there’s any French speakers around, I also have another book here (still free): https://www.404-factory.fr/story/feroces-heros
As for my drawing, I haven’t spent much time on my Tumblr blog yet (I’m still new and haven’t yet completely understood how it worked), but I will make some efforts to post stuff on it in the near future: https://lehenne.tumblr.com/)
Thank you, Lehenne, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.