Interview: Marine

Today we’re joined by Marine. Marine is a phenomenal fanartist who enjoys writing fanfiction in different fandoms. She hopes to start posting in English soon. She is an incredibly passionate writer, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write fanfiction. I never really considered it as an art, more as something I could rely on when I felt bad, or happy. I write alone a lot, but I used to write with my best friends too. However time and fandom has made us all change, so now I only write alone. Recently I have discovered the Harry Potter fandom and have almost totally let go of my ancient vice: Johnnys. It’s the name of a Japanese agency that trains boys to become idols, and some are very renown. I spend 4 years of my life writing things about them, and I think if I add all my documents, I have about 3000 pages. The stories I write can go from very happy to very depressing, and I have to admit I have a soft spot for sad endings, difficult storylines, and usually character death.

I also really like drawing and painting a lot, and I especially like finding a beautiful picture, and drawing it back again with pencils and charcoal. Adding water colors to the clothes looks great too, and enables me not to draw the folds, because even though I find peace in drawing, I will never say I can draw.

What inspires you?

Very random stuff. For examples, I can watch a movie, and then during a specific scene I will start feeling an emotion, and tell myself: This, I want to see them feel this. Or even random sentences I hear, a painting I see on the wall with colors that speak to my mind, or even a short tune. I always have a specially created playlist for the story I want to write in order to sustain the emotion I want to get through.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I started writing fanfiction when I was around 14, because I stumbled on a blog and fell in love with a story. I read it again two years ago, and now don’t see the appeal I saw in it when I was younger, but that was what initially got me into writing. I wanted to create a beautiful story that would inspire others too. My grandmother always tried to get me into writing but it never succeeded, so when I finally started I think I was more fulfilling her dream than mine at the beginning (even though it was gay fanfiction, never would I let her read that). But then I really got into it, and as I said, I wanted to write something beautiful to make other people feel how I felt. As a kid, I wrote a lot of poetry and dreamt of being a painter, but had never touched story-writing before, and now it is the kind of art I practice the most. I think it’s wonderful how words have so much power over human beings.

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?

If there is a signature in my works, I think it’s definitely the names Eri and Hiroki. They are Japanese names, and you can be sure that, if I’m writing a long story, they will appear at least once (even now I have changed fandom, dedicating myself to Harry Potter, although I may write something about Lord of the Rings one day. However, these names will not appear there, for obvious reasons). Eri is a very important name to me, and can be a nickname for Elizabeth, which is also very important to me. Hiroki is a name I used in my first fanfiction, and that has always been there when I needed a name, and it has almost become a joke with a friend of mine. Otherwise, a symbol or feature? I don’t think I have anything, except these two names. Or maybe I just don’t know yet and in several years someone will reveal some to me, that would be very interesting!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If I had one piece of advice to give is: go for it. The first step is hard, and the second is worst, because you have to continue going on. To be honest, I would never re-read what I wrote when I started writing, because it isn’t good, and I don’t understand why I ever thought this was an acceptable thing to publish on forums. But, in a way, I’m proud of it, because even if the style isn’t good, there are so many ideas in the script! And it was the first step to a great journey. Because of writing and fanfiction, I met new people, learned new things, and grew up in so many ways. I think art makes you grow up, because at some point, you have to look at it, and then you see what isn’t good about it, and what is great, etc. Then, you try and making something better of your next piece. And it goes on, and on. And finally, someday you will compare what you did recently with what you started with. I think this is really revealing, because when you compare your works, you will see what has changed in your work, your ideas, your life, and how you made yourself grow. So just go for it, passion will change your life. Don’t care if it’s good or bad, just do your best, that’s all that counts. Do it because YOU want to.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I would identify between sex indifferent and having a sex-drive. It’s actually pretty difficult because it depends on the day, and the person. For example some days I will switch the TV off if I encounter a sex scene, and some days I will ring a friend and ask her if she wants to have sex. But most of the times, I will be sex indifferent, and I don’t feel bad engaging in sexual intercourse. I don’t care if I don’t get anything during it, because I like the way it makes me feel close to someone, and the heat of a body. I like making people happy, and figured out I could do with sex.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I don’t think I encountered prejudice, or just don’t remember it. When I wrote and published a lot, I didn’t know that asexuality existed, and now I don’t publish anymore, preferring to take my time. But ignorance, certainly did. Most of my friends either co-wrote, or beta-ed some of my stories. I got comments on how maybe I shouldn’t get involved in the romantic things because I “couldn’t understand” (I also identify on the aromantic spectrum), or sexual activity because “I had no idea how it felt like”. It is true, I never had sex with someone I love, or taken particular pleasure from stimulation by another, but hey, I don’t always write things about people who are in love. Furthermore, some of these friends were virgins, and in ANY case, they were all girlfriends, so there was no way that, following these principles, we had any right to write gay male sex scenes, or romance, or just everyday life. That made them think, and also took this opportunity to explain more about asexuality to them.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

In my everyday life, it must be “So you can’t orgasm?” or “You’re sick”. My own grandmother told me that I had to see a doctor when I came out to her and it hurt.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

I’m not officially out for the moment to my family or relatives, but most of my friends know. And they genuinely don’t care. Of course I got a lot of questions that would not have been asked in another context in the beginning, but being an honest and open person I didn’t mind them that much. And answering questions or comparing your experience to other situations can help them understand you better so it’s all good for me.

So if I had any advice to give is, do what you want. You don’t have to out yourself to everyone you know at the second you understand. Take your time, do as you feel. There is no need to feel rushed. Also, if you are not sure of what you are, it’s okay, don’t worry. If you can’t fit under a single label, I don’t care. A friend of mine is struggling to find out what she is; lesbian, pansexual, whatever. She doesn’t know, and she feels guilty for not finding a label to belong to, but I don’t care, I love her as she is because she is a wonderful person. Life is too short to try and define exactly what you are. If you know, that’s great, well done! But if you’re still unsure, don’t worry. The only label that people will remember anyway is “nice person”. So be nice to people.

And also, very important, asexual doesn’t mean you’re condemned to a sad life, because you’ll have no partner (if you’re aro too, but I don’t think soulmate can be used only to describe a romantic partener with whom you want to start a family, like, friends are really cool too and I’d say my soulmate is my best friend rather than some random partner) and sex (because “heeeeey, sex is so great, it’s life” … like no? Don’t let people tell you this, sex is something like everything else, you’ll not be telling someone who doesn’t like green peas what he’s missing, he doesn’t care, and neither should you. And, I think baking cookies is as good as having sex, maybe even better). Don’t let anybody tell you that, it’s not true, I’ve never been happier than when I found out what asexuality meant. Sure, sometimes I feel jealous of people who feel attraction for other people, because I would really have wanted to know what it felt like. Sometimes I tell myself it would be sooo much easier if I were heterosexual, or even just gay. But I’m pretty happy to be what I am, because I can’t change, there’s only one of me, and I’ll just try my best in my everyday life. Find the best in what you can!

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

Hopefully, one day on archive of our own under PsychoFrog. When I finish my fanfic. Because I want to publish in English from now on (it isn’t my native language), so I have to find time to work on new projects!

Thank you, Marine, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

A Short New Year’s Eve Post

Hello all!

We’ve reached the end of 2016 and I find that I’m feeling rather reflective. It has been a rough year, but this site is still going (it will be three years old on January 15th). It will still be going next year and the year after that and the one after that and so on and so forth.

Some time ago, I was asked if I ever regretted coming out as asexual. Was it worth being threatened, mocked, rejected by half my family (some of whom have threatened and bullied me)? And, I didn’t even have to think about my answer: Yes. Yes, it was worth it. Yes, it will always be worth it.

Because by embracing my asexuality, I freed myself. By finding a way to take pride in my identity, I broke out of the toxicity that surrounded me and I found that I was not alone in the world. I found love and hope.

This site is difficult to run and requires an enormous amount of time, but I do so because when I read through the interviews, when I look at the amazing and unique images, I’m reminded of just how much beauty there is in the world. Some work has made me smile or laugh, some work has brought me to tears or moved me. I feel lucky to be able to speak to so many of you and am humbled by your courage.

There is so much beauty and love and kindness out there. Even in the darkest of times, even when everything seems so wrong, even when there is doubt and fear, people continue creating and filling it with beautiful things. People continue to love and smile and laugh.

And that gives me hope.

Things will likely be tough for a while, but this site will continue on. And it will remind asexual artists that we’re capable of so much. Our voices may be silenced. We may be ignored, forgotten, pushed aside, bullied, talked over, scorned, mocked. But one day we won’t be.

One day, asexuality will be accepted and embraced. Future generations will see themselves reflected in books and media. One day, asexuality won’t just be an afterthought. One day, asexuals won’t have to go through a period of feeling broken or freakish. They will be able to embrace who they are and find their community. And they’ll always be able to find this site and marvel at just how amazing fellow aces truly are. They’ll find new worlds that we have created, filled with heroes who are like them. They’ll read the words of ace artists that came before them and feel a sense of pride.

That is truly an amazing thought.

Whatever happens in the coming years, just remember that there will always be love and hope and laughter and joy. Be proud of who you are. And always remember that myself and this site shall always be right here to help feature some of that beauty.

Happy New Year’s and thank you 🙂 ❤

Interview: Inge/Issak

Today we’re joined by Inge/Issak. Inge/Issak is a wonderful writer and visual artist. They enjoy drawing their original characters from the stories they write. They have an extraordinary amount of passion and enthusiasm for their art, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I usually draw my own characters due to the simple fact that they are easiest to practice on. Of course, I have to write stories for these characters too so I both draw and write simply to create a new works people will hopefully be interested in.

What inspires you?

I know this sounds as cheesy as can be but my friends! We bounce ideas off of each other and with most of my friends being artists such as myself, we find it helps us include diversity and develop our characters.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

My grandmother used to draw squirrels all of the time. She’d sit in the car with me and doodle them as she pleased. I would be silent in awe as I watched her. Then along came cartoons and the internet. I began developing stories and drawing characters and it flourished into an entirely new world that kept me inspired. It was from that first squirrel doodle was when I wanted to create art.

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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?

Honestly, no. My signature is very out there visual wise when I draw or paint. However, when I write, I tend to have my characters use southern dialect, which I grew up around. Even with “proper” characters, they can slip up and give tge the occasional “gonna” or “ain’t.”

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Uh… Well, keep working hard! I know the notes may be scarce and the comments non-existent but one day you’ll find that one fan who adores everything you do and you make sure to treat that fan right.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and most likely sex repulsed.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

People want to tell me that I can’t have asexual character because then they’re “basically straight.” But I adore my asexual characters and every time someone complains that asexuality isn’t real so therefore the characters are straight,I push their asexuality a little more into the light. Same with every other aro/ace spectrum character I have. They deserve to be heard because someone out there feels broken and hopefully my characters will help them know they’re perfectly normal.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That we can’t get laid so we came up with the term. My parents actually told me I’m asexual because I can’t get anyone to sleep with me.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

As someone who is struggling themselves, it’s okay to wonder who you are. It’s okay to be confused. You’re not anything less if you have no idea where on the spectrum of any sexuality you fall upon. Just know that there are people out there who will love and accept you through every struggle. Just be you.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

Well, I have a comic going on at fallenstarscomic on Tumblr and a few of the characters fall right into the ace spectrum. Also screamingasexual on Tumblr as well showcases a bit of my art but most of the information about the characters I draw so much falls right on fscomicoffical on, you guessed it, Tumblr.

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Thank you, Inge/Issak, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Jennifer M.K.

Today we’re joined by Jennifer M.K.. Jennifer is a fantastic, incredibly versatile artist who does a bit of everything. She’s an aspiring writer who has written both fiction and nonfiction. Aside from writing, Jennifer is also musically inclined and enjoys singing. She also weaves potholders and creates virtual pottery. Jennifer is an incredibly dedicated artist who loves to create and it shows in her beautiful work, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

The Search 230 x 300 PX

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an aspiring writer who also sings, weaves potholders, and creates virtual pottery on the Let’s Create! Pottery app. As far as writing goes, I’ve dabbled in poetry, short stories, and I accidentally started a fantasy novel last month (a one-shot hit a growth spurt). For school, I’ve mainly written literary analyses, sociological essays, and other nonfiction pieces.

What inspires you?

I’m not actually sure about writing. I always want it to be perfect on the first draft, so I usually lose sight of whatever inspired me in the first place. Using prompts, doing writing exercising, taking a break, and reading fanfiction all can help me climb out of the perfectionism rut.

For singing, just listening to other musicians can easily inspire me to improvise a cover, even if I’m just doing things around my room or something. Singing just feels so wonderful when I don’t put pressure on myself to perform.

When it comes to potholders and virtual pottery, I usually look to my surroundings, or I make the piece with a specific person or theme in mind.

Image-1

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I actually hated reading and writing when I first started school! I didn’t catch the bookworm until the spine of Ron Roy’s The Invisible Island caught my eye from a library shelf when I was eight. By the time I finished his A to Z Mysteries series, of which Island is a part, I was hooked. As I read more, my writing improved, and by the time I was eleven or twelve, I knew I wanted to explore writing more. I’m finally taking the plunge and declaring a writing major.

I’ve just loved music and singing for longer than I can remember. Both of my grandfathers were musically talented, so it might be in my DNA.

I started the potholders because I was stressed out and nostalgic. It’s something for my hands to do when I need to concentrate on a simple distraction.

I actually found out about the pottery app when I was working with summer preschoolers. It just seemed so fun and relaxing.

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 know yet. I’m only beginning to explore and expand my creative pursuits.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You will always doubt your own work, but everyone is too busy freaking out about their own to notice the flaws in yours. We’re all in the same boat, so we might as well sit back and try to have some fun on the ride, even when the hull springs a leak (or fifty). Yes, that advice is much easier said than done, and that’s OK too. We have life vests and duct tape.

IMG_0750

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual, who-knows-what-romantic

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I’m still super new to the field, so I haven’t yet. If I do, I hope to remind myself that asexuality is valid, and I know I could reach out to asexual people and safe spaces.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

It’s a tie between the idea that asexuality “isn’t possible,” and that it’s synonymous with celibacy. Honorable mentions: asexual humans are not capable of sex, or we just need “to find the right person.”

Image-1 (2)

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Pretty much the same advice I have for aspiring artists: questioning your own is normal, and you are not the only one going through the struggle right now. This boat, too, caries many a passenger at any given time. Some stay for a short trip, others seem to become part of the woodwork. However long you ride, you might as well take the time to explore and chat with the rest of the crew.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

https://jmkfan.tumblr.com/ask

http://campnanowrimo.org/campers/jennifermk/novels/the-search-and-four-bonus-tales

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Thank you, Jennifer, for participating in this interview and in this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Call for Interviewees

Asexual Artists

(Reposted from Tumblr)

Hello all!

Once again, I’m low on interviewees. Since I don’t have the time to constantly post calls every single time I’m running low, I’m hoping to use this post as a kind of a reminder:

ASEXUAL ARTISTS IS OPEN FOR INTERVIEWS YEAR-ROUND!

I’m always looking for artists who are on the spectrum to interview. Any and all kinds of artists are welcome.

This is including but not limited to:

WRITERS: all genres and forms are welcome (novelists, short stories, poetry, flash fiction, etc). It doesn’t matter if you’re unpublished, just starting out, a student, a hobbyist, or established. Traditionally published, self-published, small press, etc. You’re all welcome and you all have something to offer.

VISUAL ARTISTS: Self explanatory, any kind of visual art you can imagine (photography, painting, sketching, drawing, sculpture, installation, street art, etc.).

FANARTISTS: Another self-explanatory category. Cosplay, visual, fanfiction, etc. Whatever you do…

View original post 214 more words

Interview: Hallopino

Today we’re joined by Hallopino. Hallopino is a fantastically talented artist who specializes in comics and cartooning. They had a table near mine at last year’s Indy PopCon and I wish I had known that earlier! Because Hallopino is an amazing visual storyteller, judging from what I’ve seen of their work. The images they sent along with their interview drew me in immediately. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

11th
11th

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I always been a bit of a jack of all trades. Which can also mean master of none. I’ve split focus a lot between writing, drawing and photography, with varying levels of success. Been working to focus more on cartooning again, it is the thing I picked first and the most reliable way of telling a story that I enjoy telling in my opinion.

What inspires you?

I love the mix of the extraordinary and the mundane. The cosmic force that can fight galactic monsters, but struggles to send a text. I tend to find that is the sweet spot of entertainment where it’s both can be engaging or funny depending on how you balance it. So it does come from a mix of looking at other stories and the real world.

Bad_Witch_by_hallopino
Bad Witch

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I just fell in love with comic strips immediately as a kid. It just connected to me in a way that never let go. Even when I went a different path because making comic was closed to me, I eventually found my way back to it. I love the visual element and I can tell the stories that come to me.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?

There has been a couple over the years. Signature has changed more recently into more of a symbol that is included in each piece. It tends to be more obvious. When storytelling, I tend to omit eyebrows on the character that is my stand in. Came out of an old strip where a character had carelessly burned off their eye brows.

cricket
Cricket

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I think math and science can be a key to improved art. It’s been countless times where it helps me be a better cartoonist, graphic designer, and photographer, because of having that baseline knowledge.

Mythbusters-1000
Mythbusters

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I normally just say Ace. I may slide more into grey. But it comes up so rarely, that I’m not exactly splitting hairs over it.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

It’s more ignorance. There is the common requirement that every story has to have a romance. I know I’ve put it in some early stories. But I feel much more confident about not going down that road. As an much as the romance is required for most. In comic strips and super heroic stories, they can focus elsewhere. It is discouraging seeing fans react to two people having affection for each other as instantly romantic or sexual. As if the concept that someone could be friends, or not think about sex is somehow an abstract a thought that is entirely elusive.

invisible-wrappings
Invisible Wrappings

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

It’s largely the combination of that it’s either doesn’t exist, or that they would just moan about having an asexual week because they couldn’t get laid. Both are dismissive to the idea.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Just know that what you are feeling is true. Don’t let someone demean or talk you into something that doesn’t feel right. The discovery process can be hard for some people, and I know I’ve had moments on the road that I wish I wouldn’t have happened. Be careful.

Shinedown06
Shinedown 06

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I have my main site at Hallopino.com, where I will be posting new comics as they are ready later this year.

Also on Tumblr (hallopino.tumblr.com) I’m posting a new sketch every single day.

Avengers Women-1000
Avengers Women

Thank you, Hallopino, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

A Special Thank You

Hello all!

I hope all of you are having a wonderful holiday season. I’m currently taking a break from my own writing because I really wanted to write a thank you to all you artists and followers for being the amazing people you are. January 19th will be the one year anniversary of Asexual Artists and this site has become bigger than I ever dared dreamed. And that’s entirely thanks to you.

I started this blog in large part because when I was in a very vulnerable state, someone told me I would never be an artist because I was asexual. There were few resources on asexuality available at the time and I couldn’t find any openly asexual artists, so I pretty much lost hope in achieving my dream of being an author.

Fast forward to this year, I’m an openly aro-ace fantasy author who has gone the self-publishing route and yet, all the examples of ace representation I can find are written almost exclusively by allos. I’m infuriated by that and by the way people seem to settle for this kind of representation. Asexual-identifying people deserve so much better. And for f*cks sake, can we please pay a little attention to the indie ace authors out there?

I thought about my days in the closet and how much less painful they would have been if I’d had even a single example of a badass openly asexual author. I know I’m not the only ace author out there, but everything about asexuality revolves solely around asexuality itself. There’s no attempt to show a person as being both asexual and a fantastic artist.

So, I figure, “Why not make a site that I would have found hope in? A site where artists talk about their work and their asexuality? Where people are shown as artists who happen to identify as asexual?” I quickly get to work and set up the Tumblr account, which is later followed by the WordPress site.

I figured I might get to interview maybe 50 artists if I’m lucky (I thought 25 was more likely). Perhaps I’ll even get 100 followers. My voice may be small, but maybe I’ll be able to introduce some people to artists they never would have found otherwise.

As of this writing, I’ve done over 200 interviews with asexual artists and the blog on Tumblr has well over 3,000 followers (I think there’s about 60 on WordPress). I’m just beyond amazed at this point.

Thank you, artists, for trusting me to interview you and show your art to these sites. There have been many times that I’ve been moved to tears at the beauty of your work (that goes for writing and visual arts too). Your kind words and emails have often taken the sting out of some of the bullying and hatemail I occasionally receive. When my dog passed away last month, running these sites helped me deal with the pain of losing him. So thank you for that.

I’m continually amazed by how you’re all unique in your approach and your subject. This site is what it is because of your courage, your talent, and your passion. I’m beyond humbled to have been able to talk to you. Know that you are all so wonderful and ridiculously skilled. You have been the highlight of 2015 for me 🙂

Thank you, followers, for following this blog. Thank you to those who signal boosted interviews, who left incredibly kind comments, and for those who just read an interview or two. These artists work so incredibly hard and sometimes those comments and likes can make the immense amount of frustration worth it. Thank you.

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I hope to continue highlighting the phenomenal art of asexual-identifying artists into 2016. As long as there are artists who are willing to be interviewed, I’ll continue running this site. Because we’re here and we’re creating and our stories deserve to be told. So please, keep signal boosting the site and keep supporting each other.

Most of all, keep creating. Because you’re wonderful and amazing 🙂

Happy holidays, everybody!