Today we’re joined by Natasha. Natasha is a phenomenal visual artist who is currently studying art in college. They mostly do painting, drawing, and printmaking. Their work shows an incredible use of color and a vivid imagination. They’re an amazingly 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’m currently a student, so most of my work right now is from the classes I’ve been taking. I’ve been doing a lot of painting, drawing and printmaking, but I’m interested in just about anything that keeps my hands busy. Honestly I’ll probably spend far too long at this college, taking all the classes I can before moving to a 4-year art school.
What inspires you?
Nature, small details, everyday moments … but mainly contrast. Not only literally (I actually love working with a still life) but also the integration of contrasting elements, such as color and texture, and with subject matter. The one I like to play with most is real/imaginary.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
When I was very young I wanted to be an artist, but I’ve always had many interests, and I never thought I was good enough to “make it” as an artist. I toyed with the idea of careers such as biologist and architect, where my analytical mind would be of use, but I soon realized I would be just as happy with a job that didn’t require as much training, and art was what kept me alive. I didn’t care if it was my day job, but I wanted to learn more. I wanted to be good. And I didn’t want to go back to school for it.
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?
A lot of my work has a strong idea, emotion, or memory attached to it that really doesn’t make sense without context. Sometimes I give clues to it, but sometimes I don’t. It’s unlikely that someone else will “get it”, since so much of it is connected to my memories and experience… I do love to hear other’s interpretation though, and it’s exciting it when people get close.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Don’t worry about your subject matter or style too much. If you only draw birds, or maybe cows, that’s OK. If you don’t feel like you draw enough of something, don’t worry. If you’ve had the same style for a long time, or even if you have a different style every time, that’s OK. Create what you want, what inspires you, no matter if it’s the same thing you’ve done a million times before or if it’s nothing like what you’ve done before. You don’t need to keep a style, or a series, unless you want too. “Artist” is not some mold you need to fit, every single one I’ve met is different in so many ways.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
For most purposes I’m aromantic and asexual, although I have a rather confusing orientation (and my non-binary gender makes it harder) so I also use cetero/skolio-greyromantic/alterous/platonic… but that’s confusing so depending upon who I’m talking to and the information they’re looking for, sometimes I just say gay.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I don’t really out myself to people unless it’s necessary, or I feel like know them well enough. My orientation has been well received by those I’ve voluntarily come out too, but they’re all LGBTQ+ too. To those I’m forced to come out to, I just say that I’m gay, because the information they need is “Go away I’m not going to date you”, and I really don’t want to give a vocabulary lesson in that moment. Even that’s usually not respected, so I don’t think asexuality is something I’ll ever start with.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That it means that I don’t love at all. Since I’m also aromantic, it’s an easy misconception. But that’s just not true. I want companionship. I want stupid jokes, domestic drabble, and old TV shows late at night. I want little adventures and silly arguments that end in laughter. I love plenty, I just don’t want the sex, romance, and 20 years of marriage to get there. Even if I was aplationic though, I love my friends very much, though they’re few and far between. I love my family, I even love random strangers. Love is a funny word, it can mean so many things, but people only seem to care about one.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
It’s OK. It’s not your job to please anyone with your orientation. It doesn’t matter what other people think about it either. If you feel like it describes you, that’s good enough.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I have an art blog on here, awkward-asexual-artist. I’m not super active on it at the moment, it’s mostly just what I’ve been doing in my classes, but I hope to do more in the future.
Thank you, Natasha, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.