Today we’re joined by Ray. Ray is a phenomenal visual artist and writer. They mostly write fanfiction but hope to publish some original work in the future. Aside from writing, they are also a dedicated visual artist who enjoys drawing and painting. They do a lot of portraiture work and their art is extraordinarily detailed. It’s clear they’re a passionate and talented 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.
My work varies, but I enjoy writing, drawing and painting. My writing is most often fictional pieces with characters I’ve created, and while I try and branch out with my artwork my strongest pieces have always been portraiture. In all my work I try and integrate what I know, in terms of my experiences and imagination. I’ll mainly referencing my artwork in this interview as it’s what most of my time and my education is dedicated to!
What inspires you?
Other people inspire me. I’m driven by seeing creators do what they love and doing it well, it really pushes me to try and be better.
But for choosing what I want to draw or paint I’m inspired by perception. I find drawing exactly what I can see boring, and I want to explore more emotive ways of portraying people and places. Usually this means playing with the features of the subject matter, taking them away or changing them through distortion or obstruction.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve always wanted to create art. I’ve taken it at every level available to me through primary and secondary school, but it’s only recently at college I became determined to find some sort of career in it. I think most of our everyday life is the way it is because of artistic people, from film to advertising to product design, and yet it goes by unnoticed. Almost every field has a need for us, and when I realized that it only helped push my interest in the subject.
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 really? There are maybe certain things I always do that I’m not aware of, but as someone who’s still trying to find their own style and techniques I don’t think I have any repetitive patterns, but I suppose I always draw specific attention to the eyes or the obstruction of them. I feel like that makes or breaks a good portrait.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
I would say that I know, I understand it’s frustrating sometimes. There will always be others that are around your age, who you think has work that surpasses your own. There will be times where you can’t get a picture JUST right. But you have to realize that your art is always changing and improving. It’s hard to notice day to day but try and redo a piece from just a few years or even months ago to see how you’ve changed! Practice, there isn’t a shortcut to progress! Support and learn from each other!
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I identify as asexual, but I don’t know where on the spectrum. I’m in a serious relationship, but I haven’t been for long enough to know whether or not I could be demi. Currently I identify as a panromantic ace, meaning I can have romantic attraction to any gender but sexual attraction to none.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I generally encounter confusion when talking to someone about my sexuality. It’s difficult, because as someone who didn’t find a label that worked for them until their late teens, I spent a lot of my childhood thinking I was ‘broken’ or otherwise ‘wrong’. And hearing it insinuated from someone else saying ‘how do you know? Maybe you just haven’t found the right person, etc. etc.’ can hurt a lot. Especially if coming from other people in the LGBT+ community.
But I have to remember I’m valid, and that’s what I tell them. I calmly explain that I just don’t feel sexual attraction, I never have, and it really isn’t a big concern. And if they don’t accept that, I stop conversing with them.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
The most common misconception is that asexuality is comparable to practicing abstinence, as if sexuality is some sort of choice. Another common one is that all ace people ‘become’ asexual after some sort of traumatic experience
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
I would say it’s not your job to educate others, and it’s okay to not have everything figured out! You’ll hear about how it’s a ‘phase’ at some point in your life, and this will suck. But remember that no matter what, whether how you identify changes over the years or if a label you found at 13 still works for you at 33, you’re valid.
I’m not going to tell you it isn’t a phase and you won’t experience doubts. I’m going to tell you that if it is, that’s okay too.
Take time figuring yourself out, research the spectrum of different sexualities, and don’t feel bad if things change. How you identify at this moment is still 100% valid and don’t settle for anyone that doesn’t respect that.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
You can find more of my work on Instagram! I also do commissions; my username is at Rachel.Wyse ❤
I’m hoping to branch into other social media sites soon, but for now the majority of my work is on Instagram.
Thank you, Ray, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.