Interview: Allyzah Allene

Today we’re joined by Allyzah Allene, who also goes by Ani or Ani Fangor. Allyzah is a phenomenal visual artist who works with in digital and traditional mediums. They haven’t met a material they didn’t like and work with just about everything. Their work is brimming with detail and a masterful use of lines and colors. They’re incredibly dedicated, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Self 2017

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an artist that likes to dabble in just about everything I can afford. I have worked with traditional mediums like pencils (graphites, colored pencils), charcoals, markers, paints (acrylic, watercolor, oil) and digital mediums (limited photoediting, mostly digital art). My goal is to be able to learn as many mediums as I can because I want to teach art. I also occasionally write, and recently began posting my comic on Tapas.

While many other artists have a “deeper meaning” behind their artworks, or a consistent theme, I find art to be most enjoyable when it is “whatever I feel like.” I don’t like stressing over incorporating hidden meanings and “how it may be interpreted,” but rather getting the idea out of my head. My art blog and my art tag ends up being full of random half done pieces and concepts because it’s not always about finishing, but expressing my ideas. (Perhaps not the best rule to live by, but as a student, it’s enough for me.)

What inspires you?

Most of the time, the deadline. Otherwise it’s usually whatever I find aesthetically appealing enough to draw!

For my writing and my comic, though, that was inspired by the lack of diversity in the media I consumed. I got tired of the same old “boy meets girl” plot/subplot found in most things I read, and especially, the lack of characters who even vaguely looked like me. Growing up, the books I read often degraded characters that shared my race or ethnicity, and I struggled with my identity until I was 16 (a mere four years ago). I hated who I was because I wasn’t white, and I thought that I would only be successful if I were like the white characters in my books—even then, that could be a stretch, as there were very few books with girls as the lead. I didn’t find out that I wasn’t cishet until I was about 15, and by then I barely read outside of the class readings, so I wasn’t as bothered by the lack of LGBT+ positive books just yet. In my junior year, I had my “if no one else is going to do it, I will” moment and decided I would make a comic featuring a diverse cast in both ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual/romantic orientation. It took a while, but I finally decided I had put it off long enough and started publishing pages early July 2017 as my 20th birthday gift to myself.

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

When I was in the second grade, my school’s art teacher brought a guest artist to speak to everyone. I don’t remember the name of the artist, but I remember being so intrigued—it was one thing to learn about Van Gogh and Picasso in class, and a completely different thing to see someone live at work that wasn’t my teacher. The way he worked was by covering a canvas with black charcoal, and slowly erasing it away to create an image. My art teacher later caught me trying to do the same thing while waiting for my dad to pick me up, and asked me if I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. It wasn’t something I had thought of before, but I remember being so happy that she thought I could, and I said yes. Since then, I have been on a quest to learn as much as I can about art so that I can help as many people as possible when I become a teacher.

As for writing, we have a rocky relationship. During elementary school, I had a pattern: I would love writing one year, and hate it the next. I didn’t really take it seriously for a while, even when I started writing and posting fanfiction. I found out about NaNoWriMo in middle school, and became serious about writing original work, although the passion and motivation is not nearly as consistent as with art.

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Death Lingers

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 if I’ve been consistent enough with anything to have one of those! The closest thing is the stamp I use to sign my artwork (when I have it). I visited China two years ago as part of an exchange program, and the Chinese students gave me an approximate phonetic translation of my name so that I could have a “Chinese name.” I bought a stamp with that name on it to remember them and the trip, and I use it as half of my artist signature.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Besides the ever present “keep practicing,” I’d say “if you can’t figure out what’s wrong with it, put it on pause and work on something different; it’ll come to you sooner than if you keep focusing on it.” If it’s art, that one part will still be waiting for you to come back, and if it’s writing, you can always just type in something like “akdguhos” or “[COME BACK TO THIS]” and continue. (Just make sure that you go back to it before you publish it or turn it in!) You don’t have to finish everything in one go. Take a break, let your creative juices recharge.

Something specifically for visual art: we tend to hyperfixate on the small area that we’re currently working on. Every now and then, remember to step back (or, if digitally, zoom out) and look at the piece as a whole. Something might look okay while zoomed in… and then you look at the whole picture and realize that it’s completely misaligned or maybe the color palette doesn’t match the rest. I’ve worked on several semi-realistic pieces and realized that the “perfect nose” was too far right, or that it looked like the neck didn’t come from the same body as the head, because I didn’t look at the whole picture as much as I should have.

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Lumos

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual sex-repulsed, and demi-panromantic. (As well as agender/non-binary.)

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

I’ve been lucky enough not to encounter any prejudice in my major related classes yet, but that’s partially because I don’t know anyone well enough to actually care what they say, partly because I have headphones in during class almost all the time. I have had people try to get “creative” with their flirting though, automatically assuming that because I’m an artist, I draw nude people, and that I’d want to draw them … How I respond to them depends on how rude they’re being.

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

Ohh boy, there’s so many that I spent three years researching asexuality in order to academically debunk misconceptions and presented speeches about asexuality to just about any academic platform I could reach. (I’m no longer doing competitive speech as I switch to the coaching side of things, but I’m still ready to spread asexual awareness.)

The one that I hate the most is when people think asexuals are being childish if they state that they have no sexual attraction, especially if they say that they’re a sex-repulsed ace. I’ve had people say that I’ll eventually “grow up and want sex,” and when I literally had an anxiety attack due to a class assigned movie (marked UnRated and with no CW/TW in the film description, nor from the professor) that featured multiple explicit sex scenes and nudity, I was told to grow up and realize that “sex is an art form. You’re an artist, why can’t you appreciate that?” It’s frustrating that sex is seen as a major turning point in your life, the time you’ve “finally reached adulthood,” when there’s plenty of us who can live without it.

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Southern Belle

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

Most importantly: you are not broken. Your orientation doesn’t make you any less valid than anyone else! Remember, for every person that takes you down, there’ll be many ready to help lift you back up again.

Also, it doesn’t matter if you fit some of the stereotypes or misconceptions of asexuality or not, you can still identify as ace. Things like “you can’t know if you’re ace if you’re a virgin,” “it’s just a hormonal imbalance,” “it’s because of PTSD/similar,” it doesn’t matter if these are true or not for you. If you feel like asexuality is the best label for your orientation, then you’re ace.

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

I post my work on Tumblr with the tag “#ani amount of art” on both aniamountofart.tumblr.com and aniamountofsketches.tumblr.com; on Instagram/Twitter tagged #aniamountofart on artisticAllyzah; and my comic can be found at tapas.io/series/OMNI!

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Marco the Mallard

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

Interview: Orla

Today we’re joined by Orla. Orla is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in traditional mediums, painting specifically. She works with a variety of paints: oils, acrylics, and watercolors. Her work demonstrates a vivid imagination and a masterful use of color and lines. Orla is also a spoken word artist and her spoken word art deals with a variety of topics. She’s an incredibly dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Oh I always find this question so difficult.  I’m a visual artist and a spoken word artist. I love life drawing and portraiture and I work with oils, acrylics and watercolors. My favourite medium is oil pastels. My visual art deals with themes like nature and dreams and my personal mental health. My spoken word deals with relationships, (cultural) politics and mental health among anything and everything.

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What inspires you?

I like narrative poems and telling stories and I love spoken word that is really heartfelt and uses personal experience to relate to political issues.

I’m really interested in disability politics and justice and the work of community art with oppressed groups.  I guess I’m inspired by the idea of art as a tool for social change and personal narrative as a tool for empowerment.

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

I was a constant doodler in school. I was always confused about what I wanted and still am somewhat am. Hard to say what got me interested, it was always natural and almost compulsive to draw. I had a great art teacher too. I also had friends who did art and this all had an influence on me. I wanted to study art but was swayed by other opinions like it would never amount to a career so I studied politics and now I’m trying to combine the two. It’s only dawning on me in the last few years that art and spoken word are truly what I want to spend most of my time doing and I’m trying to work on that. I got interested in spoken word when I became unemployed after university and joined the Dublin Writers Forum. They were an inspiring bunch of people and introduced me to open mics in the city. I didn’t even know spoken word existed before then! However I love helping people and have a certificate in adult health and social care, my last job was in a kindergarten and before that I worked with adults with profound multiple learning difficulties. I hope to continue working in social care perhaps with homelessness until I save enough money to do a masters in art psychotherapy.

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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?

No. Although I go through thematic phases. I did a series of poems on free speech and I went through a phase of putting starry skies everywhere in my art because of a dream.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I am one of those lol!

Do it all the time!  I wish I could take my own advice though as I get lazy and miserable often lol.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I spent quite a while trying to figure this out but I can pretty firmly say I’m gray-sexual now. Sex isn’t a big factor for me in relationships, the only thing I find ‘hot’ about people are their personalities and I’ve never had a sexual fantasy, I just fantasize about conversations haha. I’m hyper-romantic though if that’s such a thing and fall in love with everyone like a lunatic. I’m cisgender.

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

So so. I’m sex positive, enjoy sex and have a long term partner. People find it very difficult to get their heads around having sex and being on the asexual spectrum and don’t understand the difference between a need for sensual intimacy and experiencing other varied forms of attraction and not sexual attraction. I guess because the majority tend to experience sexual and romantic attraction simultaneously whereas I tend to only experience romantic attraction and very rarely sexual attraction with it.

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

As I mentioned people find it hard to differentiate between romantic and sexual attraction probably as I said because they experience it simultaneously. As it’s outside their realm of experience they don’t understand the concept of fancying someone without wanting sex. Also people seem to think you can’t be sex  positive or have sex at all if your on the spectrum. Basically it all boils down to taking the feeling of sexual attraction as a default and thinking sex is impossible without it.

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

That’s me lol. Do research and talk to queer friends.

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

www.sillical.tumblr.com

I also run a creative mental health magazine distributed free to mental health services, which you can find on: http://www.facebook.com/anomaliemagazine

And: www.anomaliemagazine.tumblr.com.

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

Interview: Vide Frank

Today we’re joined by Vide Frank. Vide is a phenomenal illustrator from Sweden. They’re part of a group made up of asexual and aromantic individuals. Vide was also on a panel about asexual and aro issues at Stockholm pride. Their work is gorgeous and vivid, evoking an incredible amount of emotion, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a visual artist, which is a very broad term. I paint and draw both digitally and traditionally but have also dabbled around in sewing, sculpting, writing and jewelry making. I mostly stick to painting and drawing though. I use a lot of different mediums, like watercolor, markers, graphite, oil paint, acrylic paint, colored pencils, photoshop and paint tool sai.

What inspires you?

So many things, like music, movies, books, fanfiction, poetry, photos, drawings, paintings and real life. I’m very driven by my emotions though, so it all depends on how I’m feeling in that moment.

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

I guess I always had this fascination with art, I used to beg my mom to draw things for me and I loved to use my hands to create things. Art has always been a part of my life, although I didn’t really try to improve until I was around twelve, and it wasn’t until I was fifteen that I actually thought of making it into a carrier. I don’t believe enough in myself to actually take that leap though, so I’m studying to become an assistant nurse at a gymnasium in Sweden.

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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?

I don’t really have a symbol or feature, since I think I would grow tired of it and start to hate it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It’s okay if your art look like crap, your dance can be off or you could have fucked up that seam, and that’s okay. Perfection isn’t necessary, it’s just tiring. Keep practicing, keep making mistakes, keep working and someday someone will say that you did well, and maybe that won’t be enough, but maybe it will. Learn to love the journey, not the result (as cheesy as that sounds).

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demi gray asexual, which means (according to me) that I need to have an emotional connection to a person to feel sexual attraction to them, but it’s still very rare for me to experience sexual attraction.

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

In my field? No, but that’s mostly because I’m not very open about my “queer-ness” around my art. In other places? Yeah, defiantly. I mostly try to keep a calm and open mind when I meet these people, and try to calmly explain my point of view with examples and such. Most of the time they understand or we agree to disagree.

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

That we don’t have sex or that we just need to find “the one”. Both are complete bullshit, I can have sex with a person and still be ace, asexuality isn’t about our actions, but about our attractions.

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

You don’t have a find a label or figure everything out, it’s okay to just be. If the people around you don’t support you there’s always other people in the world, someone out of the seven billion are going to understand.

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

You can find my art on my Instagram at plantrot:
https://www.instagram.com/plantrot/

Or my portfolio http://vide.teknisten.com/

You can also buy some of my works at my Redbubble: http://www.redbubble.com/people/videfrank
(or contact me at vide.frankh@gmail.com)

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

Interview: Julia

Today we’re joined by Julia. Julia is an incredibly talented painter who is currently studying A level art. She mostly works with oil paints and acrylic paints, which she loves. Julia is an incredibly passionate artist who has a great amount of enthusiasm, which clearly shows in her beautiful work. This is an artist who obviously has a very bright future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Final Piece, year 10

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am currently studying A Level Art and it’s my favourite thing. I prefer to use paints with oil paint being my favourite closely followed by acrylic. At the moment our project is about nature and I have chosen leaves as my focus point, however the attached pictures are works from my GCSE where the projects were Land, Sea, Sky; The Senses; and Past, Present and Future.

What inspires you?

I suppose at the moment I draw most of my inspiration from other artists as that is required for the A Level course, however lots of the time I just get inspired by objects and things around me. I like to work from real life so I mainly choose my focus in a project to be something I can easily work from without the use of pictures from the internet etc.

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

I have definitely not always liked art, I remember being absolutely terrible at it probably until year 9 (age 13/14) until I had a major turning point which I don’t know where it came from. The interest definitely came when I learnt the joy of acrylic paint, I REALLY love to paint, and acrylic was the first proper paint I learnt to use, before then I thought paint was only those awful ready mixed watery cheap paints which are impossible to use well.

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Hands Oil 1

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 have a signature but I think my style is quite recognizable- I use a lot of different colours and quite clear brushstrokes, apparently my drawing style is quite distinctive too.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep at it, because you’ll definitely improve. If you love it, pursue it. Try to work as much from observation as possible, even if it’s hard at first you will get better.

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Hands Oil 2

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Panromantic asexual, kinda sex repulsed

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

No I haven’t really, but I think that’s due to the fact that I’m only out to my friends who are lovely. One of my friends didn’t know what asexuality was so I explained and she was very understanding, I don’t know if that’s particularly ignorance from her, because tbh I think most people don’t know or have the wrong idea of what asexuality is.

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

That we don’t want any kind of romantic relationship, that none of us have had/will ever have sex. Yeah, but with a little bit of explanation its fine (as far as my experience goes).

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Final Piece, year 11

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

You don’t have to label it right away if you don’t want to. Read around asexuality more if you want. If you feel alone or don’t know any other aces try and join a group if possible or otherwise just follow ace blogs on Tumblr. Doing that helped me a lot and doesn’t may asexuality seem so weird or unheard of anymore. I saw a video on YouTube recently on asexuality which I thought was pretty good called ‘Taking the Cake’ so watch that if you want. Remember that asexuality is so broad so if you see something which doesn’t apply to you don’t worry, you can still identify as ace.

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

Well I have a Tumblr: moundodirt.tumblr.com but tbh that’s mainly cats and memes rather than art, but who knows maybe one day I will include art on it too.

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Toys, oil and oil pastel

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

Interview: Chloe Rogers

Today we’re joined by Chloe Rogers. Chloe is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in fauvism and surrealism. The imagery in her paintings and drawings demonstrate a vivid imagination and she is very obviously passionate about her art. It’s very apparent Chloe has a wonderfully creative spirit. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw and paint mostly, sort of mixed media. I use oil paints now, I’ve used Acrylic paints and added liquid soap and/or olive oil in abstract paintings. Most of my paintings are fauvist (impressionism with more color). My drawings are usually surrealist.

What inspires you?

Emotions, color, and Florence and the Machine.

I’m very emotional and I’ve had various mental illnesses since I was very young, I express a lot of my mental state in my paintings.

I love color, so, so much. If I had one wish it would be to see more colors other than our visible spectrum. That’s why my paintings are pretty brightly colored. I love it. If I see a particularly vibrant flower, I’ll stop and just marvel at it. “It’s just so… Blue.”

Music is inspiring to me, specifically the group Florence and the Machine. I have a weird painting inspired by the song “Rabbit Heart” by Florence and the Machine. It’s taken quite literally.

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

I liked drawing as a kid and art was my favorite class. But I never wanted to be an artist, I always thought I’d be a scientist like the rest of my family since I liked that too. A physicist for a father, an epidemiologist for a mother and an older brother studying microbiology had a lot of influence.  For years I wanted to be an Engineer. About 2 years ago after some intense depression issues and hospitalizations, I realized that science wasn’t really my thing. Art calmed me down and helped me the most through all of that. That’s why I got into painting, and I’ve known what I wanted to do since.

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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?

Maybe it’s unique that I never sign any of my art?

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just go for it. Do what you love, and don’t listen to elitists that tell you art is worthless. Art is everywhere, art is priceless. I’m 18 and haven’t been to art school so that might make me a young artist too… But the point is that you should follow your passion. Also don’t be afraid to mess up. To be creative you kind of have to accept that not everything’s going to be perfect.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Grey asexual. Demisexual might be more accurate but I rarely say that because no one really gets it, so I go with the umbrella term since that’s accurate enough.

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

Not in my field, because I haven’t been to art school yet or had any kind of art education beyond middle school, so I haven’t been with other visual art people as such. There’s a lot of ace prejudice and ignorance in my life, but I can’t speak for the field of visual art.

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

People probably 9 out of 10 times think it means that you just don’t have sex. They tell me I’m oversharing. I’m not oversharing! It’s just like saying you’re bisexual or anything else. Like of course that’s accurate for a lot of asexuals, but that isn’t the definition.

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

I myself am still struggling a bit with that, specifically with validation. So I’ll share some advice on that aspect.

I’d say especially to gray aces and demisexuals, or asexuals who are also in relationships that appear to be sexual, or are sexual. Being with someone doesn’t make you any less of who you are. A good analogy that I like to use is about cats, this is also very helpful for explaining gray asexuality and demisexuality to other people. Alright, so say you don’t like cats, you’re not a cat person. But maybe once (or whatever amount of times), you knew a cat that you really liked. But still with every cat you meet, you don’t get along, there’s lots of hissing and whatnot. You just aren’t a cat person. So, would you then call yourself a cat person? No. That’s why I call myself an asexual and not straight or something. I have one cat I like. And it took me a while to warm up to that cat in the first place. Never has any other cat appealed to me. I’m actually talking about a person, sorry. I love cats. I’m a cat and dog person equally. But anyway, do your thing and don’t let people be the sexuality police.

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

You can see more at my website: http://chloerogers.org/

There’s also a link to my Society 6 for prints on there. I’ve had no action on there so feel free to check it out!

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

Interview: Sarah

Today we’re joined by Sarah.  Sarah is an amazingly talented visual artist who hails from upstate New York.  She specializes in animals and fantasy.  Her attention to detail is absolutely extraordinary.  I was truly awestruck at some of the animal portraits on her site (the tiger in particular is incredible) and the pictures she sent to go with this interview are also quite amazing.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I focus mostly on animal and fantasy subjects, as well as fanart. I’ve done works in several different mediums, but my favorites at the moment are acrylic paints, oil pastels, and digital painting. For digital work, I use Photoshop and Art Rage for most things, while inkscape is my go-to for stock imagery and most of the designs I put on Zazzle.

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What inspires you?

Color, nature, the work of other artists, and music. I find sometimes a good song is what it takes to break me out of an art block.

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

When I was really little, my oldest brother brought home a “How To Draw Cats” book from the elementary school library. We spent a lot of time drawing together and comparing our progress. Eventually we both moved on to other things, until Toonami (an anime based programming after school on Cartoon Network) came around. He liked DBZ, and I was really fond of Sailor Moon. I drew pictures of her constantly–and they were terrible looking back, but it’s what really got me started. From there, I became a fan of the Legend of Zelda series and began drawing quite a bit of that. Shortly after, I started to spend a lot of time on Neopets, and began to enter art based contests on there. That time period was when I made the most improvement.

I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to do art full time, but I do commissions on the side to help flush out my budget a bit.

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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?

I sign my work, but that’s pretty much it right now. I’ve always wanted a brand of some sort, but I’ve yet to come up with a design I like. As far as features, I tend to use very bold colors. My art teachers would get frustrated with me because more often than not I would paint “from the tube” rather than bother mixing paints on a pallet. I prefer mixing right on the canvas, and using layers and opacities to bring out different tints of color.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep practicing! It really is like any other muscle or skill–if you put it down for a while, you regress and it take s a little while to get back into the swing of things. Everyone gets frustrated, everyone struggles with it now and then–even the artists you look up to.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual. Possibly aromantic, though I’m not opposed to the idea of a romantic relationship if I find the right person. I gave dating a couple of tries and felt incredibly claustrophobic and forced in both cases; neither relationship lasted more than a month.

I’ve always been ace, but I didn’t know what it was or that it was even something you could be until I was halfway through college. I took some sexuality quiz online and that was the result I got, and I remember feeling quietly stunned that I finally had some kind of answer to that nagging feeling that I wasn’t experiencing the same thing that my peers were.

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

Not so much in the art field, but I have faced quite a bit of ignorance otherwise. I rarely bring it up in real life, but the one occasion that comes to mind was during an annual training tour with my national guard unit. Somehow the discussion of sexuality came up and I mentioned I was ace and I immediately got bombarded with every ignorant reply in the book (it doesn’t exist, you just haven’t found the right guy, that’s a plant thing, I could fix that, etc.). I kind of just let the subject drop because they weren’t letting me get a word in, anyways, and I’m not fond of conflict. I’ve also had people in real life pressuring me about why I don’t prioritize finding a relationship. My mom likes to drop the “I want more grandbabies” line–she has no idea that I’m Ace, either–neither did the manager at work that decided she had any business asking me what I did outside of work and “how are you ever going to meet guys?”

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

There seems to be this idea that you have to be sex-repulsed to qualify as being asexual, when that isn’t always the case. I personally am not opposed to the thought of trying it (I mean, who wouldn’t be curious about something society shoves in your face on a near constant basis?), but because I don’t experience sexual attraction and I’m not terribly motivated to be in any romantic relationship, that kind of means sex isn’t really on my to-do list by default.

It’s my understanding that sexuality in general has little to do with the act of sex itself, and instead is used to describe what you’re attracted to naturally. An asexual can have sex and still be asexual, just as a gay man could have sex with a woman and still be gay.

selkie_06

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

You’re not alone.

If you’re like me, you wondered at some point if love was even real, or if it was just something in story books and fictional tales, and that people in real life were just playing along and didn’t actually feel anything magical. That view got me into a few hard spots while I was growing up, but I had nothing to go on but my own experience.

Obviously now I know why I feel that way, but I still feel like I’m missing out on something now and then. Just remember that you are capable of love; it may not be the same star-struck sort of love people describe–especially if you’re Aro like I suspect that I am–but you love people in a way that’s unique and special to you. Those closest to you will understand and accept that ❤

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

I have quite a few different platforms I use~

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sasust
Deviantart: http://selkie-gal.deviantart.com/
Weasyl: https://www.weasyl.com/profile/selkiegal
Tumblr: http://kitschmyart.tumblr.com/
And my website: http://www.sasust.com/

selkie_07

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