Today we’re joined by Angelica Bentley. Angelica is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in traditional media. She works with oils, watercolors, and graphite. When she’s not working on visual art, she does graphic and communication design. Angelica is also a stage technician for the theater where she does a lot of lighting design. And on top of all this, she also writes. It’s clear she’s a versatile and 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’m a traditional media artist. I work primarily with oils, watercolours, and graphite. Right now, my work tends to follow themes of life and death as well as showcasing what I call ‘organic human spaces’ (unaltered rooms and living spaces that are telling of what the person living there is like). I also work with graphic and communication design. I’m still working on learning the more ‘artsy’ side of that line of work, but for right now I do more design and layout oriented things. At my school I work as a theatrical stage technician where I focus mostly on lighting design, i.e. I program and operate lights for shows and events. Lastly, I’m a writer, though I don’t consider myself as successful with writing as I have been with my other forms of art. I enjoy writing young adult fantasy novels…when I can get myself to actually write.
What inspires you?
This is hard to answer because it totally depends. Other people’s art is probably my biggest inspiration. Seeing or reading something really cool someone else has done gets the gears in my head turning. It makes me wonder if I could create something like that, or do it even better. But a lot of other things inspire me too. Nature, cool architecture, songs, movies, dreams. Just living is an inspiration to create art.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I think I have always wanted to be an artist. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawing or painting. And ever since I could pick up a pencil I’ve been writing. Of course, I went in and out of phases of inspiration throughout my life. In middle school I was determined to be a writer. In high school I couldn’t see myself doing anything other than art. Toward the end of high school I felt really down about being able to do either art or writing, and I hadn’t had any exposure to graphic design or lighting design at that point. So I went into college majoring in–get this–accounting. I changed my major to a double major in art and graphic design within the first semester. That’s what got me interested in graphic design. A lot of the requirements for an art major overlapped with a graphic design major and taking design classes really appealed to me. Going into college I got a job as a theatrical stage technician (basically a techie) and I learned how to operate a light board and program lights, which I fell in love with. Now I can’t see myself not doing all of these things!
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?
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Try it all! And don’t be afraid to be bad at it. I used to avoid painting like the plague because I was afraid of being bad at it, but after I forced myself to learn how to paint it’s become my favourite media. The same with graphic design and lighting design. I thought I’d be no good because I’d never opened adobe illustrator before or touched a light board. But then I did. And I learned how, and I practiced, and I found out I really enjoy it. Of course, there will naturally be some things that you try and try and try and never become good at. And that’s okay! Now you know! There’s no shame in trying and failing as long as you tried first.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I currently identify as asexual, though I’ve definitely been questioning whether or not I’m also aromantic lately.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Thankfully, I haven’t. Though I don’t consider myself ‘closeted’, most people who consume my work don’t know that I’m asexual.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That they can’t ask questions. I think a lot of people don’t want to come off as uneducated or intolerant of asexuality, so when I come out they don’t ask any questions. It’s so frustrating because I know they probably don’t have a complete understanding of what the a-spectrum is, and they definitely don’t know what it means for me to be asexual, but they pretend they do. I went out with a guy one time (sort of by mistake, but that’s a different story) who, when I told him I was asexual, thought I meant that I was bisexual and refused to ask questions about it. To avoid this I normally ask people if they have questions about it when/if I come out to them. Even then people are often still too afraid to ask.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
It’s totally okay to not know what the hell is going on. Change is hard, especially when it’s a whole shift in your identity, but change is okay too. If you need to identify as a-spec now only to realize a different identity later that’s totally cool. And you can always try labeling yourself as questioning, or simply queer. I still struggle with my romantic identity, but I find it helpful to identify as a questioning aromantic. That way I don’t feel guilty about identifying a way I’m not sure I am yet.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I just got an Instagram account, so it’s kind of bare right now, and I also use it a bit as a personal account, but my art is still there! My handle is at a.n.g.e.l.i.c.a_b.e.n.t.l.e.y. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions, commissions, and interests in my art.
Thank you, Angelica, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.