Today we’re joined by Amanda Sexton. Amanda is a phenomenal visual artist who recently did a painting for the Haitian American Museum of Chicago (a fellow Chicagoan, who is also a feminist and fan of Myrna Loy. Insert squee here). When she’s not painting, Amanda enjoys dabbling in poetry and has written an epic surrealist poem in the past. It’s clear she’s an incredibly talented and very 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.
My art is all over the place really, as I only do it for a hobby. Last year I did have the privilege of working with the Haitian American Museum of Chicago. My piece represented the first black men in Chicago—first resident/founder [Chicago] from Haiti, first black mayor, first black president. Then I worked with the art gallery next door, Sustain, who wanted to make t-shirt designs from my painting. Lately, I’ve been working with watercolor, and really, I have no aspirations to be an artist, I do it for fun.
What inspires you?
I have a fair amount of inspirations, nature–trees, especially. History and politics, I have a degree in historical interpretation, and that has definitely played a role in my creative process—a big influence on my poetry. Other artists also inspire me, film, paintings, music, literature. Dali, Jheronimus Bosch, John Bauer, Zdzisław Beksiński, Leonora Carrington, and Remedios Varo. You can see the influences in my 2017 Inktober set on my Tumblr. Music plays a big part as well, for the last few years Swedish synth pop has been my jam, my creating music, and my muse, like iamamiwhoami and the knife. I’ve also been working to musique concrète lately. Anything weird haha.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve always been artistic. I’ve been drawing my whole life. Though I’m not a career artist, I try to incorporate my artistic nature in my field of work, which is archiving and curating. Working on exhibits taps into my creativity.
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?
No, I don’t think I have anything symbol or unique feature
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Take the risk, because there could be a time that it works out! You’ll spend the rest of your time regretting it.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I identify as a homoromantic asexual
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Not in any fields I’ve worked in, but I don’t typically bring up my sexuality unless asked. I know I did have someone assume my sexuality at an art showing, and I revealed that I was asexual. I had the support of my director, who is mentor and stand in mom at the Haitian museum, which was nice.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That it doesn’t exist, I haven’t met the right person, or I have a phobia. All untrue of course! I do want a relationship, just not a sexual one. I want to hold hands with a girl in an art museum and that’s about it. And I think that’s very sweet. Also, I wish allosexuals would stop asking asexuals questions that are very personal, especially involving sex, it’s rude to ask anyone.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Don’t be afraid of not knowing where you are on the spectrum and not being afraid of changing if something fits better. Also, not feeling ashamed if you want to talk about your sexuality (you are valid!) But also don’t be ashamed if you have to hide who you are. I for the most part still live in the asexual closet, because of the prejudices I would face where I live.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
My painting at the Haitian American Museum of Chicago can be found at : https://www.hamoc.org/product-page/first-black-chicago-commemorative-t-shirt
My other art is scattered on my Tumblr between a lot of asexual postings and Adventure Time references: https://iamamianarchivist.tumblr.com/
I also have a YouTube channel with some art pieces: https://www.youtube.com/user/AMsexton7
I have poetry as well, I haven’t put it on any kind of platform yet, but if anyone wants to drive into a 42 page epic, surrealism poem, PM me!
Thank you, Amanda, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.