Today we’re joined by Ryan Meier. Ryan is a phenomenal podcaster who hosts a podcast focusing on videogames, geek and popular culture. When he’s not working on his podcast, Ryan also acts as a dungeon master for a 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons. He writes the stories and paints miniatures. He’s incredibly dedicated and passionate, 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 main outlet is my podcast, The Bear vs. Man Cast. My co-host and I discuss video games and other geek/pop culture goings on. We have casual conversation about things we’re interested in in the realm of games and try to be funny about it. We were attempting to get into streaming last year but we’ve pulled back from that because finding time for everything we want to do is rough.
I also run a Dungeons & Dragons game for a small group of friends, so I do some story writing for that. We play D&D on a grid, so we use miniatures, which I’ve started painting and 3D printing for. Very hobbyist; I haven’t been painting minis for very long, but you learn something new with each one you do.
What inspires you?
I get a lot of inspiration from the things I look at, the things I play, what I watch etc. just like everyone else. It’s hard not to. When you like something, it ends up in your work in some shape or form. For podcasts we both came from listening to things like Giant Bomb and Idle Thumbs, and that round table discussion that’s free form and fun. When I’m writing stories I try to pull from personal experience that’s reformatted to fit the context of the story. Characters are based on people I know or observe, same with conflicts etc. There’s that idea that there are only seven stories, and it’s all about how you tell them. I am not a professional writer by any means, so I say paint the wheel a cool color instead of trying to reinvent it.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
We started our podcast almost three years ago now (!), and we were both listening to a lot of podcasts at the time. One thing lead to another and we started doing one. It’s very much something we do for ourselves, and if people like it great, come along for the ride we’d love to have you, but becoming a huge success in podcasting has never been our aim.
I’ve dabbled in art for my whole life. Coloring outside the lines in kindergarten. I played a lot of music in grade school. Brass instruments, drum line, guitar. I was composing for a while in high school but that dropped off. And now I podcast and I write stories for the games I play with my friends and paint some miniatures. Always the dabbler, and never the master, but I’m working on finding focus.
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 don’t think I do!
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Just make the thing. Just do the thing. If anyone is like me (and they probably are) they always feel like what they’re doing is not enough, always room for improvement, always that one thing you wanted to change. So just make it. Don’t feel like you can’t start, or can’t show it to anyone. Be proud of what you make and improve as you go.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I am asexual and aromantic.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I try to up play my aceness on my Twitter as often as I can. I think it’s important for people in the wild to see ace people being ace in all sorts of situations. I’ve gotten some slack for it, but I try not to engage, and just let those moments pass.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
For me it’s a lot of unawareness. A lot of people don’t know the first thing about folks on the spectrum as I’m sure a lot of your readers know. What does it mean to be ace? What do you do with all your free time and money? (Spoilers I have neither.) If I had one thing I wish could be made more apparent is that the ace spectrum is a spectrum, full of individuals with a wide variety of experience. No two ace folks will approach the same situation the same way, no two ace people will have the same previous sexual experience. So take the time to hear their stories.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
A) if you’re not sure, it’s totally fine. Questioning anything as important as your sexuality is so incredibly valid. It impacts the way you see the world, and how the world interacts with you. You should spend some time wondering, if that’s what you need to feel comfortable.
B) If it feels right to call yourself ace, then call yourself ace. Or whatever orientation really, I feel like this applies to every sexuality. On your own, in your own personal space, just try it out. You don’t have to come out right away. You don’t have to be sure. But just, be ace with yourself. Be ace with those you trust, even if you don’t tell them. Just telling yourself you are something is a good way to see if it fits. Only time will tell if being ace is who you really are.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
You can find my podcast, The Bear Vs Man Cast, on iTunes or on the web:
I’m on Twitter, at ace_phd
(I keep my DMs open if you ever have ace related questions. I try to help when I can)
I’m on Tumblr: https://ace-phd.tumblr.com/
(Same: message me anytime about ace stuff.)
Thank you, Ryan, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.