Announcement: Ace Art Show!

Reminder: Only a few more days to submit work for the art show.

Hi everyone!

I come to you today with a huge exciting announcement. Next year, April 26th – 27th, I’m co-curating an art show for asexual identifying artists. Next April, there is going to be an international asexual conference in Canada entitled, “Unthinking Sex, Imagining Asexuality: Intersectional and Interdisciplinary Perspectives.” As part of the conference, there’s going to be an art show in a gallery featuring the work of asexual-identifying artists. This would be an amazing thing to put on your resume. We’re also going to have a table to display books and zines written by asexual writers.

I am super excited to have been offered this opportunity and I hope that some of  you will consider submitting work. I have interviewed so many talented artists and I’d love to show off your work to the world.

My co-curator, Heather, and I have written up the following call for artists. I’m looking forward to hearing from many of you.


CALL FOR ARTISTS

The inaugural international conference “Unthinking Sex, Imagining Asexuality: Intersectional and Interdisciplinary Perspectives” will be held April 26-27, 2019 at Simon Fraser University’s Harbour Centre Campus in Vancouver, located on unceded Coast Salish Territory, the traditional territories of Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. We are excited to announce an Asexual Art Show to be held in tandem at a local gallery in Vancouver, and we want your work!

Submissions will be received up to 12:00pm (Pacific Standard Time) on:
Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Eligibility:

  • To apply to this Call for Artists you must be someone who self-identifies as asexual and/or aromantic (including gray-asexual, demisexual, or on the ace spectrum).
  • You must be someone who creates art, broadly understood (including, but not limited to: painting, digitized art, visual poetry, mixed media, photography, drawing, printmaking, etc.).
  • Authors and zine-makers are also welcome to submit work (there will be a table to display written works by ace-identifying creators).

Details:

  • This exhibition does not charge exhibiting artists to display their works.
  • Unfortunately, due to the size and nature of our gallery space, we are unable to accept any sculptures or installation art. Please only submit 2D, and/or ready wall-mounted 3D works.

Application:

  • Attach to email no more than 5 images of your work (.jpg format- 300 dpi, no more than a total of 5MB).
  • Should you be submitting more than one work for consideration, please provide only 2-3 images of each work.
  • Proposed artwork must include title, material(s), dimensions, and date.
  • Please include a short bio (75 words max).
  • Please also include an artist statement that provides an introduction to your practice and artworks submitted (250 words max).
  • Selected artists are responsible for delivery, or shipment (as well as return shipping), of their works. Low-income artists, or artists that need financial assistance to participate, may be eligible for financial support.
  • Artwork must be ready to display (printed, ready-mounted, or framed).

All submissions must be in pdf format and emailed to aceartshow[at]gmail[dot]com by January 1, 2019 at noon. Artists will be notified no later than February 15, 2019 if their submission has been accepted for the art show.

Contact:

Should you have any questions regarding the conference or your application, please direct them to Lauren Jankowski and Heather Prost at aceartshow[at]gmail[dot]com


I will periodically reblog this to remind artists who follow this site as well as for anyone who may miss it the first time around.

Thanks, everyone!

Interview: Jude Moss

Today we’re joined by Jude. Jude is a phenomenal visual artist who works with a variety of materials to create gorgeous works of art. Their work is stunning and incredibly unique, obviously made with a great deal of care. When they’re not creating visual art, Jude enjoys dancing and has done a variety of ballroom styles as well as performed in drag shows. It’s clear they’re a passionate artist who loves what they do, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

4. DSC_0562

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’ve worked with many, many materials and prefer mixed-material pieces. I’ve also spent the better part of my life dancing, but didn’t incorporate my own choreography until I had moved away for college.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by what I see most often. That used to be nature – animals, pastel colors in the plants, fluid movement – but after moving into a huge metropolitan area for medical school I’m struggling to draw inspiration from the urban disaster that I live in. The architecture is all sharp lines and dark colors, neither of which appealed to me and yet both of which have influenced my work.

That said, when I previously lived in smaller towns I created some of my favorite pieces. This first one is a dress made wholly from dried maples leaves and tulle. The leaves were collected slowly from my school’s campus, dried over the course of a month, and pinned into place with needle-thin sewing pins. Because the leaves are attached by one pin each, their edges rustle and they move around a bit when the piece is being transported. It sounds like fall.

The second and third pieces were forays into materials that I did not have previous experience with. I was encouraged to try plaster casting, and found that it is a pain in the rear to dry the plaster (I lived in a very humid state) enough to paint and seal the form. I did enjoy the beadwork aspect. The fish was my shot at metalwork – every scale is hand-cut from copper sheeting and attached individually to the aluminum body. I had fish of one type or another for nearly 18 years, and their constant motion was hard to capture in a still object.

I started dancing when I was very young, but I found a home with ballroom. I danced the waltz, foxtrot, tango, rumba, swing, west coast swing, bolero, paso doble, cha-cha, and some others that I’ve forgotten. I keep up with waltz, foxtrot, tango, and paso doble as best I can – in college I joined a graduate student tango association – but after moving I have not found a new partner. Ballroom was so special to me because I danced for five years with one partner and the bond we created over those years has lasted even after I stopped competing and moved away.

After moving for college I ended up getting involved with my school’s drag show. At that time I was encouraged to try performing solo and choreographed a burlesque routine. At my college I felt overwhelmed at the sexual undertones of everything and being able to perform on a stage where I could step into a sexualized persona and step out of it after was gratifying. The confidence from performing gave me a way to block sexual advances off stage too. I performed in that drag show every year.

1. Dress
Dress

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

I’ve always wanted to create. I didn’t know until I started elementary school that creating things was generally called artwork and could be executed to a more satisfying degree with the help of new materials, new inspirations, and enough space to test my ideas. My favorite media is actually white clay. It’s cheap, it’s hard to ruin (and if you do, just recycle it into slip), and you can produce art with it in so many ways: wheel throwing, hand sculpting, slip casting, the list goes on. Ironically I never thought to take photos of my clay work because I imagined that I would always have the pieces in my living space.

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 used to sign my work with a fang stamp when I was in high school, but that was only because scribbling your name onto a clay pot makes the glaze run funny. I don’t usually sign my work. I like to use as much color as I possibly can on every piece to create dramatic contrast and draw the eye through my work. I got better at this while making my costumes for dancing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would advise you to make art that makes you happy. If you try a new material and every time you revisit it you want to throw it away in frustration, stop using it! When making art becomes a chore you will struggle to impart meaning into your work and you will burn out.

2. RaSekhmet
RaSekhmet

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m one of the people that ‘just knew’ they weren’t straight. I was raised in a small town with very conservative views about sexuality, so I grew up thinking you had basically two options: straight or gay. I figured that since I was absolutely not straight, I must just be gay. I kept thinking that until a good friend made a comment about my absolute lack of desire and said “I think you’re some flavor of asexual”. I had never heard that word in my life and didn’t give the label much thought until several years (and failed relationships) later, when I did some very basic research and realized that my friend was right. But I didn’t search much after that. The town I grew up in was unsafe for gays and I seriously doubted that ‘changing’ to asexual would make the hostility better; in college I just let the LGBT community assume I wasn’t interested in a relationship. Even in medical school I let people make whatever assumption they need to, and if they ask I still answer just gay. It’s hard for me to conceptualize myself as asexual and harder still for other people to understand it without a five minute Q&A that I am not prepared to give.

Having taken to google just now, I see that there are many identities inside of asexual. I am wildly unprepared to choose one of them and will continue to define myself as an asexual person who is interested in having an intimate relationship where the emotional connection between my partner and myself is the priority.

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

I’ve encountered a great deal of ignorance, usually in the context of a joke. Lots of variations on “You are in a bad mood because you just need to get laid”. Lots of backhanded comments about how anyone who doesn’t want sex must be broken, or that asexuals just need to see this one great porn movie to realize they aren’t actually asexual. It makes me very uncomfortable. I try to respond with the assertion that jokes of this type aren’t welcome and if they are going to continue with them I will excuse myself.

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

Easy – it doesn’t exist. I read it when I google asexuality and I heard it frequently in college from my LGBT community. It sucks. It’s like saying a certain flower doesn’t exist just because it’s not in your garden. It is very weird to hear people deny asexuality out loud.

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

I would advise you to not give into peer pressure and do things because someone else says you will like it. Specifically, if you have to get black out drunk to consider having sex with your partner, you should probably re-evaluate your situation.

I would also like to point out that doing research and reading about the difference between aseuxal identities and other LGBT identities will help you become more secure in your identity. At the end of the day it’s just a label. If it’s really important to you, great! And if it’s not, that’s fine too.

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

I don’t know! I don’t have an online gallery or shop since I don’t sell my work. If people want to get in contact with me they can use my email – phagequeen@gmail.com

3. Fish
Fish

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

Interview: Leo

Today we’re joined by Leo. Leo is a phenomenal photographer, singer, and guitarist from Mexico. He is the lead singer and guitarist in an emo band. He also makes music on his own. When he’s not creating music, Leo also enjoys doing photography. It’s clear he’s a driven and passionate artist who loves to explore the world through art, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Processed with VSCO with dog3 preset

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well my work might be seen as intermedia, I like to use photography, video and music. I have a kinda emo band and a solo folkish project, I also work as a photographer in the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco in Mexico. It all started as a way to get through things in life, then I realized that other people experiment the same things and that we are all in this experience called life together and that is important to share it with the world so we don’t feel alone.

2. Poortraits-7

What inspires you?

The people most of all, I think that there’s beauty in every heart but sometimes you have to seek for it. I also love music, movies, and love and childhood stories from others.

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

I wanted to be an astronaut or an engineer but in middle school I got some troubles because I used to fight a lot with other kids so my physiologist told my parents that I should try something more artistic and started to play guitar, then I wanted to make music for films so I started working on some short films and finally an ex-girlfriend has an online bazar and I started taking pictures of her with the clothes and the photography just made the way through my art.

3. Poortraits-6

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?

Emotions and films, my work such as music or films or photography always have the style of some 90’s 00’s movies.

4. Poortraits-13

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never give up, always give your best to yourself and be honest. Help others to get better and you’ll get better too.

5. Poortraits-11

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demisexual close to asexual, biromantic.

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

My friends still think that I’ll “get better” and stop of being asexual. It’s also so boring to explain to others what asexuality is and that is valid.

6. Poortraits-63

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

That’s for being a man I have to seek sexual intercourse with every person I meet.

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

It only matters what you think of yourself, you are valid and you are not alone. It is ok if you don’t feel that you don’t fit quite well on any label. There are more people like us than you think, you are not alone.

7. Ameyalli-2

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

I have two Instagram accounts at poortraitsphotography and at tinaparados and a YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/Leokitee

My band is called Sylvia. For Sylvia Plath and here’s a song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TVAWCvbxrY

8. Ameyalli

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

Interview: Noel Arthur Heimpel

Today we’re joined by Noel Arthur Heimpel. Noel is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in illustration and comics. They have a couple webcomics out, one of which is completed and the other is currently being posted. Both sound like fascinating stories and have multiple ace and ace-spec characters. When they’re not working on webcomics, Noel also works on Tarot and Oracle decks. The guidebook for their Tarot Deck (the Numinous Tarot) has ace inclusive interpretations. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

artist-portrait
Artist Portrait

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a cartoonist and illustrator—in particular, I do webcomics and illustrate Tarot and Oracle decks, although I also do book covers and such once in a while. All of my work is done traditionally in watercolor and ink; the process is just so absorbing and fun. I absolutely love vibrant colors and so my art ends up being very rainbow-y no matter what I’m making.

I currently have one finished webcomic, Ignition Zero, and a new one that just launched recently called The Thread That Binds. Both are stories about trying to understand yourself, your emotions, your relationships to others, and how to heal the hurts we all carry. And magic, of course! Ignition Zero has faeries and The Thread That Binds has magical bookbinding and a giant magic library. Both stories have ace- and aro-spec main characters who are comfortable with themselves and get to be happy and have happy relationships.

My Tarot deck, the Numinous Tarot, came out earlier this year. It’s a very personal take on the Tarot made to be a tool for healing & for marginalized people to see themselves in—I tried my best to include as many gender expressions, orientations, races, body types, ability levels, etc. as I could. The card titles and guidebook all use gender neutral language to make it as accessible as possible, and the interpretations are ace-inclusive as well, of course!

IgnitionZero_pg98
“Ignition Zero” page 98

What inspires you?

My own life experiences and those of my friends inspire me the most. I want to tell stories that I haven’t seen before, or don’t see enough of, so that people like me and my friends can find ourselves in them. Stories are such an important way we figure ourselves out, whether we’re the creator or the reader. I’m also very inspired by nature, especially flowers, and all the magical things I do and experience as a witch. I like to think a lot about the nature of the universe/reality and put that curiosity into my work.

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

Pretty much! I come from an artistic family, so I’ve been making art since I was very little, and my interest only grew from there. I wanted ways to put all the stories in my head onto paper. At first that meant writing and drawing separately, but eventually I combined them into making comics. I started reading Tarot when I was 13, and being an artist, of course I knew I wanted to draw my own deck one day. The deep and complex symbolism of Tarot is very much like storytelling to me, so it also falls under that desire to share my stories and imagination with people. Stories have always been important to me, especially growing up in a difficult home I needed escape from (and hope for the future), and I want to give that back to others.

IgnitionZero_pg309
“Ignition Zero” page 309

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?

There are certain themes that almost always appear in my work, the biggest one being healing from trauma and loss. I’ve been through a lot of that myself and my art is one way I’ve worked through it—by sharing it, I hope it can help others as well. I also use flowers symbolically in my work on a regular basis, deciding which ones to draw based on the Victorian flower language or common magical associations that go with the story/piece.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just keep going! Follow your passion and make what you want to make. A lot of times we second-guess ourselves and say “I’m not good enough to make this great idea yet, so I’ll wait,” but a) the best way to get better is through experience, and b) you’ll have more amazing ideas later, I promise, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Also, as much as we all want to improve our skills, try to focus on having fun and enjoying it! There will always be times when we’re frustrated or doubting ourselves, but if you don’t like making art most of the time, why are you doing it? The enjoyment of the process is a reward all on its own.

NuminousTarot01
Numinous Tarot 01

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demisexual, although it has taken me a long time to figure that out and find the label I feel suits me best! I’m also grey-aromantic and agender.

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

Not any more than I’ve encountered everywhere else. I feel lucky that when I marketed Ignition Zero specifically on having ace characters and an ace romance that the response was overwhelmingly positive. Otherwise it’s usually just that people don’t know anything about asexuality and need it explained to them, which I typically do as patiently as possible. I know I’m not obligated to be an educator, but currently I feel comfortable doing that in most cases. Or just ignoring it if it’s not worth my time!

NuminousTarot02
Numinous Tarot 02

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

Probably the one where asexuality gets conflated with aromanticism. I myself knew the word asexual since I was 17, but I didn’t use it for myself until I was 20 because I didn’t know about the split attraction model and assumed the romantic attraction I experienced meant I wasn’t ace. I see this misconception around a lot still, years later, although it’s getting better. I also often struggle to get people to understand demisexuality—the response is often “that doesn’t exist because that’s just how everyone feels and it doesn’t need a label.” It can be difficult to explain to people how my experience of attraction is different in a way they understand…or maybe there are way more demi people out there who just don’t realize that the label could fit them!

ThreadThatBinds_pg038-039
“Thread that Binds” pages 38 – 39

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

Find like-minded people who you can talk to. Meeting other ace people was how I began to question and understand myself. When they shared their experiences, I found stories, feelings, and words I could relate to that I didn’t even know I was missing. Being part of a community made me feel less alone and more empowered and certain in my identity. Also, sometimes this exploration can take a long time. I started identifying as ace when I was 20 and over the last eight years I’ve readjusted which label on the spectrum I use several times. And that’s ok! Sometimes it doesn’t feel great to be constantly wondering and changing, but every time I’m glad I went through the process.

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

You can see all of my work on my website, noelheimpel.com! I’m also very active on Twitter and Instagram, where I post my art and the occasional ramble. I have a Patreon with tons of fun content, and the Numinous Tarot is currently on Kickstarter to fund a second print run. Lots going on!

Website: http://noelheimpel.com
Twitter:
http://twitter.com/noelarthurian
Instagram:
http://instagram.com/noelarthurian
Patreon:
http://patreon.com/noelarthurian
Ignition Zero:
http://ignitionzero.com
Numinous Tarot:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/noelarthurian/the-numinous-tarot-2nd-printing

ThreadThatBinds_promo-banner
“Thread that Binds” promo banner

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

Interview: Connor

Today we’re joined by Connor. Connor is a wonderful artist I met at ACE Comic Con Chicago. He’s a visual artist who specializes in character design, both original characters and fanart. He works in mostly traditional mediums. It’s clear he’s a passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art consists of characters both original and already existent ones. I enjoy creating things from video game or fandom characters, to more animated self-portraits and original characters with unique traits. I’m fairly skilled in creating sad pieces, though I also like making happier ones with two or three characters, too. I’ve stuck almost strictly to traditional art, but I have done a few digital on a preloaded desktop application. Traditional is more preferable, though.

What inspires you?

Things that inspire me may vary, but sometimes my inspiration comes from boredom, emotions I’m feeling at the moment, or even from random thoughts. I can sketch blankly, but the higher quality art comes from the things I think more thoroughly of. If I’m extremely dedicated to one of the pieces, I will take hours to add detail and make sure it looks decent at the very least. Sometimes others inspire me as well! Something they say that’s funny or neat could give me a click to create something.

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

I believe I’ve always wanted to be in some sort of art field, though I guess it’d be more of a hobby than a job. I’m not sure about selling commissions just yet. I’ve done art since quite a young age, so that may tie into the progress I’ve had with tuning and bettering myself with what I draw.

2

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 used to create my signature with large first letters for my first and last name, but lately it’s either been a mixture of all capitals or simply small cursive. I’ve been told that my cursive is small enough to resemble chicken scratch, which I do find pretty funny! But, even that’s honed to look better over the years. Once in a while I’ll add tiny hearts or a smile next to my signature, but it varies.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

For advice, I’d like to tell young artists that guidelines are important! No matter what you draw, try to make it mandatory that you plan your piece! It may take some time to try and get used to it, but it will help with proportions and spacing. It’ll look pretty neat in the end, I’m sure of it! Be sure to make guidelines softly on pages (or in a light colour if using digital) so as not to see them as much whenever you go over it with a better outline.

3

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

As of now, I’m currently a questioning, panromantic, transgender male!

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

Sadly enough, I have. I try to tune it out unless directed towards me. Then, sometimes I’ll ask them about why they’ve said what they did to try and understand them. If they become ignorant, I try to leave it at that.

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

The most common things I’ve heard would tie into the biology topic with the whole “you cannot multiply with yourself” or “you have to like one or the other, that’s how it is.”

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

I would try to get them comfortable with themselves and mention that I’m willing to support them. I’d try to also remember to let them know that their orientation is okay to be and that they’re fine the way they are.

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

In regards to art, I post mainly on Instagram on my art/cosplay account (timaeusterror0), though I haven’t managed to keep a regular posting schedule. I have some older works on my Tumblr (frickonfanta), too!

4

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

Interview: Amy Valentine

Today we’re joined by Amy Valentine. Amy is a phenomenal visual artist who does a lot of art journaling. She uses mostly colored pencils, watercolors, and various markers. She’s also an art student, so she works in a variety of mediums. When she’s not creating visual art, Amy also writes quite a bit of fanfiction. It’s clear she is a dedicated and passionate artist with a very bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. green lady
Green Lady

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

On my free time, I do a lot of art journaling, which is basically having a sketchbook expect I put more effort in decorating the pages to fit with my current mood. I also enjoy writing, mostly fanfictions, but I’m very eager to write something of my own someday.

I’m also an art student, so at school I also do paintings, photography and whatever else, and hopefully after school I could practice painting at home, too.

For art journaling, I like to use watercolors, color pencils and different kind of markers. Sometimes I just glue things in.

What inspires you?

Music is a big inspiration for me, because I’m almost always wearing headphones. I also get a lot of ideas from movies – When there is a scene that is just so pretty to look at, I always want to draw my own version of it.

I also take a lot of inspiration from my own feelings, since art journaling is kind of something that you do to express your emotions.

I also draw a lot of women’s nude bodies as a way to start learning to love my own body, so I guess they also give me inspiration. Don’t know what to draw? I’ll draw a torso. The headless statue of a woman is always there to save me from art block.

2. kissing watercolor
Kissing Watercolor

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

Yes, definitely. As a kid, I loved drawing comics and other cute things. I was really into manga back then. I would always be sketching at the edge of the test paper, even if the teacher told me not to.

At school, we also wrote a lot of our own stories, and I was always told that the stories I wrote were good and unique, so I got more inspired to write every day. I guess I can safely say I have always wanted to be an artist/writer. At this moment, I think I’d want to be a writer more than an artist.

3

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?

At the moment, I don’t think I yet have my own style or my own unique thing. In art, I’m still figuring out what I want to create and what kind of a style fits me the most. In writing, I’m trying to experiment a little to see what kind of stuff I want to write and how. So, for now, no unique signatures or anything.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice, practice and practice. And do not compare yourself to others. I did that and only felt worse about my skills. The first 6 months at art school were rough because I kept thinking everyone else was better than me. But when I learned to just focus on my own work and did my best, my drawings ended up looking a lot better. So just don’t give up. We’re all at different skill levels here, so just focus working on your own thing.

5. big painting
Big Painting

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’d say I’m somewhere between being a demisexual and asexual.

I did just find the term ‘aegosexual’ that fits me quite well, but, I’m still trying to figure myself out. And that’s okay.

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

When I told my parents, both of them were confused but supportive, thankfully. Before I tried to get into art school, I told my school nurse that I felt like I was close to an asexual, and they said to me ‘I WILL find the right one’, and if I wouldn’t, I should seek medical help. I also told my friends that I was in the ace spectrum, and they said that wasn’t possible.

I’ve also been in two relationships before and in both of them I felt like being asexual was wrong. I felt like saying ‘no’ to sex was wrong, and that was used against me. I’m still healing from that.

I think the best way to handle any kind of prejudice is to know that you aren’t broken, and that there is nothing wrong with you. Also, calmly explaining to them what asexuality is can help them understand it better. And honestly, never, EVER, do something that feels uncomfortable to you just so you could please someone else. Listen to your own feelings.

4

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

Probably the one where they think that if I’m in the ace spectrum, I can’t feel any kind of sexual pleasure, or that I can’t have sex, or that I can’t include sex scenes in my writing, and so on. Asexuals aren’t 100% sexless – some can be, but some asexuals are okay with having sex for their partner, and some asexuals masturbate. Some people don’t seem to get that.

The other misconception is people thinking asexuals can’t experience romantic feelings. And the third one that my school nurse one suggested – that being asexual meant you were afraid of sex.

6

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

It’s OK to not be sure where in the ace spectrum you are, and it’s OK to change labels later on, and it’s OK if you’re still searching for yourself. Just know that there is no rush. You are what you are, and even if you aren’t 100% sure what your label is, then that’s alright. You don’t have to put yourself into a box if you’re not ready yet. Just take your time with your inner self, love yourself.

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

Tumblr: https://paper-star-fight.tumblr.com/
AO3: https://archiveofourown.org/users/ValentineRunaway

7. lake
Lake

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

Interview: Anne

Today we’re joined by Anne. Anne is a phenomenal artist who specializes in crochet. She crochets the most extraordinary things: from dishcloths and scarves to actual sculptural crochet. Anne enjoys making things that make people smile. Her work is beautiful and adorable, filled with gorgeous vibrant colors. It’s clear she’s a passionate and talented artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I crochet as a hobby, mostly small pieces like amigurumi (sculptural crochet) dishcloths, potholders, market bags, scarves and hats. I like to create things that make people smile or bring people comfort.

2

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by people most often. I see a pattern and think of someone who could use that. I love the feeling of something coming together in my hands, stitch by stitch.

My mind becomes so engaged through my hands and my tools, that even if a project sits in a drawer after I finish it, I can pick up that piece and remember something. I love that feeling.

3

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

A therapist suggested I take up a hobby at a time when I was unemployed and unhappy. I had been working with one of those Nifty Knitters you find in craft stores, but I never thought of myself as a crafty or creative person. Since she crocheted, she suggested I try that; the supplies and instructions were right next to the Nifty Knitter looms, so I grabbed a book and taught myself. I never expected to succeed, but I was determined to get out of my depression.

4

I tell people that it took a lot of swearing and frustration, but I sure had the time and the stubbornness. I did the basics for a while, making plenty of mistakes (I still do) Right as I was getting confident, my friend got me interested in Bloodborne. I watched Let’s Plays and chatted with him about it a lot. (Spoiler Alert) I ended up creating the Moon Presence infant from the game, a black, slug/squid like creature (it’s cuter than it sounds!) It’s the first pattern I ever drafted myself. I had to learn Amigurumi techniques first, and then prototype a bunch of different ways to create the shape. I even gave it a little sweater. In the end, he said it was a good neck pillow and his cats liked it. I knew from then on that I could create anything I wanted.

5

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 often have a chance to “sign” my work, so I don’t have a maker’s mark as such, but every piece feels unique. Even if I’m working off a pattern, I get to choose the yarn color and style, I have my own way of doing things and modifying it to fit my needs and desires. In the end, it’s my hands that have created it, and no one else’s hands could do it quite the same. I know every inch of that piece and it’s mine.

6

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Play! Play is how you discover your next project, or the next skill you need to develop. Play will often inspire you to something you didn’t imagine before. The pressure to make money and produce value can often take us away from the freedom to experiment without consequences. I take a very loose philosophy with life and crochet. If there’s too much tension, you won’t be able to work with it, or the thread may even snap.

7

If you feel you’ve lost your spark, it will come back, perhaps differently than before. If you get stuck on something, then maybe it’s not the time for that project to happen. The whole reason I crochet is to relax and be happy, if I get away from that, I can’t do it. Don’t loose sight of the reason you create.

8

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual and aromantic, because the basic definitions feel right to me. Beyond that, it’s complicated. I’m a fan of the word queer, because attraction is strange. I grew up with very clear, heteronormative expectations to marry and have a family, and now I have a very different concept of what that “family” could look like.

9

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

Mostly ignorance. If I go to knitting and crochet circles, I’m often the only queer person there, and the only single person in my age group.  Crochet is included in the “homemaking” arts, and I have zero interest in that field. People will ask, “Who are you making that for?” And more often than not, the answer is, “myself” because I don’t have a partner or kids. It can also be a good conversation starter if I’m making something in ace or gay pride colors, I get to explain why I chose them. I see more assumptions about gender when it comes to fiber arts, myself included.

10

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

Most people assume that it’s a function of my anxiety. It’s not. Most people assume I’m never interested in sex, or I have none of the accompanying desires. I often have to remind people that I do experience attraction, but not the way most of them are used to it. I guess the biggest misconception is that I don’t have feelings for anyone, and that I’m somehow innocent or that I’ve given up. I haven’t given up on love or people, I’ve accepted who and how I love, and I have learned to love myself and my curiosity.

11

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

If you’re struggling with your orientation, find other people who talk about it. Read about their It’s not always going to be a clear and fixed thing, and that’s okay. Respect that part of yourself, and you’ll learn a lot about it.

12

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

I’m on Reddit, u/theta394 where I post my progress and finished objects. I’m also on Pintrest at anelysis and Ravelry at SailorArtemis collecting patterns.

13

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