Interview: Presley Smith

Today we’re joined by Presley Smith. Presley is a phenomenal visual artist who is incredibly dedicated to her drawing. She loves to draw and has even had a couple things tattooed on herself. For Presley, drawing is an escape and her work is brimming with color and life. And she has drawing The Beatles! (Confession: I’m a huge fan of The Beatles). It’s very apparent that she’s incredibly talented, as you’ll soon see. 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’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, and art has always helped me cope with my depression and anxiety. I feel like it’s an escape. I’m always drawn to pen and ink and acrylic but honestly, put any medium in my hand and I’ll do something with it!

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What inspires you?

I’ve always been a leftover hippie, or so my mother tells me. Everything I do is inspired by one of two things: Summer of love or the macabre. Very different, yes, but I find that these things bring me so much inspiration and always intrigue me.

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

I’ve always wanted to be an artist in some capacity. I’m an English and sociology major in college and I like to think that English is spoken art. I currently work at an art supply store as well. Incorporating art into my life comes naturally and I couldn’t imagine a time without it.

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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 try to add a flower wherever possible, or a skull or triangle.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t give up. Be inspired by the world around you and you can create some amazing things. Just because you think someone may be better at drawing something than you are doesn’t mean that your art isn’t as important and unique in its own way.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual

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

I’m a writer and an artist and I find more prejudice in the field of writing. I find that people will wonder why I even write a novel if there’s no romance involved. I don’t have an answer other than that it just doesn’t occur to me. I just brush it off and try not to focus on it too much.

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

I find that a lot of people don’t think that I can find people attractive. It’s not like I’m blind, I’m just not sexually attracted to someone. If I see a person with a face that I find attractive, I’ll he like “wow what a beautiful human” along the lines of “I want to be your friend so hard” and not “I’ll sex you up”.

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

YOU ARE NOT BROKEN. You are valid in your feelings and it’s not that you haven’t “found the right person yet”. You are wonderful and loved.

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

My Instagram! It’s at pretzeleeee. I’m nice, come interact with me there!

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

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Interview: Kodiak Rain

Today we’re joined by Kodiak Rain, who also goes by Kodi. Kodi is a phenomenal visual artist who does a bit of everything. Ze enjoys colored pencils and watercolors mostly, although ze has worked with clay, acrylics, and oil paints as well. Kodi also illustrated a graphic novel written by zer son entitled Trayvalle Tales (it can be found on Amazon, here). Ze are incredibly passionate about art and zer work shows a remarkable amount of depth and complexity as well as a phenomenal use of color, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to zer for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I work with a variety of mediums from oil paint to acrylic to watercolors, sculpting with clay, drawing in pencil, ink or colored pencil or a combination of those, pastels, charcoal, using a Wacom drawing pad to create digital art, woodcuts and printmaking. Of all those things, I think my current favorites are colored pencils and watercolor paints. I like how those methods are easy to use so that I am able to work quickly without a lot of set up or clean up.

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What inspires you?

Nature is my biggest inspiration. I wish to capture its beauty while also offering a perspective on it that reminds others that we are part of nature and that nature is alive all around us. Even more alive than we tend to give it credit for on a daily basis. Emotions also inspire me. I want my images to evoke feelings although I don’t always want to determine ahead of time what those feelings will be. And finally symbolism inspires me. When working with images, there are so many ways to express different ideas, emotions and messages through symbols both ancient and more modern. It is fun to think about what symbols are universal and what may be very individualistic.

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

My mother was a professional artist all my life so I was exposed to art from the beginning. It wasn’t what I dreamed of being, it was just something I loved to do and found myself doing most, in fact with every opportunity I was creating something. I was fortunate that I had access to so many materials and was encouraged by my mom. I eventually discovered that I simply cannot live without making art. It has been many things for me. It has been my saving grace, my therapy, a way to tell my own story and the stories of others, a way to communicate my character and a way to express things I find hard to say in words.

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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 often include spirals because the spiral is found in the double helix of DNA and also in the vastness of a galaxy. It has mathematical qualities and just seems to be the most magical of symbols to me. I also like to draw eyes in my trees (not always but sometimes) to symbolizes that nature is watching us and judging our actions. I guess I am a bit of an agnostic pagan.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Draw every day! Try every medium! Find what you love and don’t stop. Develop tough skin so that if you are criticized or critiqued, you will hear what is beneficial to you and toss out what hurts. Do it for YOU.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I guess I am somewhere between asexual and demisexual and often sex repulsed.

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

I find more prejudice about being agender than asexual because I think people haven’t wrapped their heads around the idea that someone can be genderless. I think though that my sexuality doesn’t come up often enough for me to experience prejudice, although I know that some people think that it means something is wrong with me. I even had someone take it personally as if it were a judgment about their sexual ability when in fact it has nothing to do with other people and is simply all about me.

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

I guess that being asexual means that there is something wrong with me physically or that I just haven’t been with a good lover or found the right person. Also that I am a prude. I am not a prude and can talk about anything regarding sex with an open mind AND my asexuality is not about other people. It is all about me, what I feel and how I identify.

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

Just be true to yourself and know that you are healthy. What matters most is what makes you happy, what makes you feel good about yourself and your life. Nothing else matters as much as that. Remember that most of the time, people are projecting their own experiences and ideas onto each other so know yourself and don’t worry about what other people think.

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

I used to use Tumblr under a different name but I have forgotten the account info for that so now I have my own blog here on WordPress: kodiakrainblog.wordpress.com. It is fairly new but I plan to share my artwork and my life story there. I hope you check it out and subscribe if you like what you see!

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

Interview: C. Reyes

Today we’re joined by C. Reyes. Cee is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in a lot of mediums. They do both digital and traditional art. They do some fanart and enjoy using pen and ink. Cee also does some mixed media work. They’re obviously very enthusiastic and dedicated to their art, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Stevonnie

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hello! Well, I think my art is varied in the sense that I do both traditional and digital. Most of the pieces I post online are digital (simply for convenience’s sake), but I like to do mixed media —watercolor, gouache, and acrylic — and pen and ink (mostly Prisma and Copic markers, and Micron pens). Lately, I lot of my digital work has been in the Steven Universe and D. Gray-Man fandoms as they are some of my favorite show.

What inspires you?

I have a lot of things that inspire me, and it’s all dependent on my mood, to be honest. Steven Universe can get me in a very artistic mood due to the unique color choices and art style. In addition, I love Gustav Klimt’s work—his pieces introduced me to gold leaf and made me incorporate it into my art work. I’m also a big fan of Leonardo da Vinci, and he inspired me to look more deeply into human anatomy.

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

Ever since I could remember, I’ve always been drawing. Looking back on it now, as a child, I think what made drawing so appealing to me is that fact that I could create something with my own hands. Superhero twins shooting lasers out of their eyes and fighting crime? Done. Doll that had animal best friends and drove a firetruck? Finished. Even now, I look through the stuff I’ve done over the past few years, and I always remember why I loved drawing it.

Awesome warrior amputee queen that rules justly over her land in a castle of bones? Did that a few months ago, haha.

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Blue Diamond

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?

Now this I really have to think on. For my artistic style, I think one thing that people always tell me that helps them identify a work as mine is detailed lineart; they also say my range of colors, too. One thing that I am very conscious of is my signature — first initial, last name, with the date riding on the end of my signature. I always make sure I sign my stuff.

Recently, now that I’ve started selling some of my prints and such online, I’ve been putting a crown with my signature as a play on my last name and store/account name. (Rey = Spanish for ‘king’; crown = king)

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would definitely say keep drawing no matter what. You think your character’s arm looks wonky? Keep practicing on arms and look up references. Having trouble understanding how watercolor paint works? Ask someone for help and practice. Asking for help or looking up reference pictures is not cheating—it’s learning.

Also, do not throw away your old sketches or drawings. As cringe-worthy as you may think they are (I’ve been there and I understand), keep them. You’ll look back and see how much you’ve improved. In fact, I’ve looked back to some of the stuff I made just last year and I can see an improvement. You may not see it as the year progresses, but after that good chunk of time, you will most certainly see it. No matter how small the progress (you’re better at drawing paws, your tree finally doesn’t look weird, you understand how water reflects, you’re progressing at drawing fur), progress it progress. Keep at it! 🙂

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Mersons

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a nonbinary person that identifies as panromantic-asexual.

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

I haven’t encountered any prejudice per se, but I’ve come across people who ask, “How can this character look like this? I thought they were asexual.” They often mean, how can a character look pretty, handsome, or sexy if they are asexual.

I usually just try to explain to them that just because a person is asexual does not mean they cannot dress or look a certain way. Clothes and appearance are just that—clothes and appearance.

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

I think I’ve come across two: 1) Asexual people are boring, confused, and/or broken; and 2) Asexual people cannot enjoy romance or sex/sensation.

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Monster Girl

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

You are not broken, no matter what anyone tells you! You are you, and you are just fine.

Asexuality does not exist stagnantly — it’s different for everyone. One ace person may absolutely hate sex and be sex-repulsed (which is totally okay), and another ace person may only like sex once they get to know the person or persons, or have finally established feelings for them, a grey ace (which is also total okay). In another example, one ace person may just like the sensation of sex because it feels good, while another ace person may not like sex with people but is comfortable taking care of their body’s needs on their own. Both are valid and okay. ❤

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

I actually have a few platforms where I can be found!

Art Blog Tumblr: http://el-c-rey.tumblr.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/el_c_rey/
(Misc. Merchandise) Redbubble: https://www.redbubble.com/people/el-c-rey?asc=u
(Prints) Storenvy: http://elcrey.storenvy.com/

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Person Praying

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

Interview: Andi

Today we’re joined by Andi. Andi is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in a cartoon style. They also do a bit of realism and do both original and fanart. Andi is inspired by many things and has a wonderful amount of enthusiasm, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Aang

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a cartoon style artist first and foremost! I love digital art and watercolor the most, but I’m well versed in graphite, acrylic, colored pencil, pastel, and most recently oil paints. I also have a touch of skill in realism! I do a lot of fan art, but I also make original art.

What inspires you?

Nature and animals most of all! I love plants and animals and natural things. I’ve also been heavily inspired by media about magical characters and fantasy worlds. I usually combine features from whatever I’ve most recently been obsessing over, and different aesthetics I enjoy. Video games and TV have had huge influences on my art.

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

Art has always been a part of me for as long as I can remember. I feel like Pokémon probably had the biggest impact on my early art direction and interest. Both the games and the anime drove me to create and helped fuel my love of art. Art is life.

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 like to include diverse features and shapes to my art to create variety! I love unique nose shapes a lot and different body types are lovely uwu

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

USE REFERENCES PLEASE! Honestly I’m still taking my own advice here. Learning from life and having patience to do so will take you far. You begin to develop your own shortcuts that you can translate into cartoon styles and simpler designs.

Also sketch! Build up shapes and lines before you solidify details!

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Charconcept

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am Panromantic Asexual! I experience no sexual attraction, though I’m not sex repulsed. I actually find it really fascinating? I have no interest in participating but I’m totally comfortable talking about it. I’m rather frank, actually.

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

Luckily I haven’t. Only people I’m friends with know I’m ace and they’re supportive. It’s pretty easy for me to avoid sharing with others. People I know are open to learning.

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

People thinking that I can’t/won’t/don’t have sex. I have and honestly, not impressed.

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

Please be patient with yourself. Don’t force yourself to do things you don’t want to. It’s hard to recognize a lack of something, and it’s confusing watching other people do and say things that you may not experience the same way, or at all. Be good to yourself!

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

My art Tumblr!
https://ag-art-things.tumblr.com/

My website!
http://andreargraham.wixsite.com/agart

My FB page!
https://www.facebook.com/ANDILION5356/

And my Twitter!
https://twitter.com/Andilion5356

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Panther

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

Interview: Lindsey Alvord

Today we’re joined by Lindsey Alvord, who also goes by Mudora. Lindsey is an absolutely spectacular visual artist who creates some absolutely beautiful imagery. She specializes in fantasy and her elves and dragons are absolutely gorgeous. There’s so much character in her work and going through her portfolio, the viewer sees an amazing imagination as well as an incredibly skilled and enthusiastic artist who loves what she does. 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’m a fantasy nut. Dragons, elves, magic, fantastical landscapes, you name it: I blame my wonderful mother for such things. Dungeons and Dragons and video games also add to the craziness.

I mostly do traditional sketching and digital painting, but I have backgrounds in watercolor and acrylic as well. I like fast mediums, as I work quickly. That likely adds a sense of impatience to my process… but there you are.

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Forest Thicket

What inspires you?

My family for sure. They inspire in the encouraging and loving kind of way. I’m also SUPER inspired from videogames, other professional artists, the old masters, J.C. Leyendecker, nature, and a whole myriad of things. I would also say the Legend of Zelda inspired me back into art, so big kudos there.

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

I’ve been drawing since I could hold something remotely like a pencil in my hand. Since the age of 8, I knew I wanted to work in art. Later on down the road, I understood that I absolutely loved videogames, and that I wanted to design for them. And, I’m helping out game designers do that now!

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Lijering

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?

As far as I know, the only thing I add is a signature, but only to commissioned work. I used to sign everything, but I trailed off of that. Not sure why. Maybe I just don’t like my signature.

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Midna

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you want to be an artist, you can’t stop being one. What I mean by that is if you stop drawing because you feel like you’re not good enough, you’ll never reach the level you want. Don’t think that the masters ever stopped learning their craft. The only reason they were masters at all, was because they didn’t fall in the face of adversity.

Be patient with yourself. You will grow in time.

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Tarot Collection

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Totally and completely asexual: I am asexual and am sex repulsed. Totally love other people getting together though. Just keep it away from me!

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The Warden’s Return

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

Not yet, as I haven’t really talked to anyone about it unless they were already aware of what I meant. I have told my mother, who was very confused. But after a couple of times she understood what I was talking about.

So, as of now, I have dodged that particular ugliness.

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

The one I’ve encountered is the common, “Oh that’ll change when you find… THE ONE.”

I’ma tell you this, folks. I thought I was going to marry a guy, because I did love him. But, I was not sexually attracted in any way to him. It does not change when you find THE ONE. So, dodged a bullet there in that case.

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Winter Walk

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

It’s okay to be sad about finding this out. Life puts a lot of expectations on you, and sometimes some of the things you thought were going to happen to you won’t as a result of finding out your orientation. I, for one, was accepting of it, but still have bitterness toward it. I’m not ‘normal’. It’s no longer easy for me to participate in conversations about relationships. Heck, I have to hide a major aspect about me to a majority of people still. There’s a lot of things that come with realizing who you are, and how you are. The hard part is learning to cope with the realization.

But in the end, I am happier to know what my body wants… or in this case, what it doesn’t want. And the fact that there is a name for it, that I’m not as alone as I thought I was, makes it better to embrace something new.

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Wound

 

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

You can find me on here at mudora.tumblr.com. I also have a portfolio website: lindseya.portfoliobox.me. Tumblr is probably the best place to get to know me on a semi-personal level, though. If you don’t mind crazy folk, that is. Whatever you find there, I hope you enjoy! I aim to please.

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The Forest Queen

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

Interview: Claudia

Today we’re joined by Claudia. Claudia is a phenomenal artist who specializes in traditional mediums. She has started to branch out into digital and even dabbles in animation. If her work is anything to go by, I expect we’ll be seeing a lot more from her in the future. 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’m a traditional artist before anything. I’ve been doing digital artwork for more than 5 years but I still struggle; these past few months I’ve been trying new mediums like acrylic and watercolor, and also been trying to animate! Although I haven’t practiced the latter a lot because of the concentration I need to give it. I do mainly fan art, but I’ve been working in a couple of personal projects that I haven’t finished yet.

What inspires you?

To be honest it’s kinda difficult to put it in words. Things like cartoons and anime have and always been my main inspiration, watching the style they have and the colors and the background it makes me want to improve myself. And I guess also my friends, who are really talented and this past year has been great for them in terms of success! Like one moved to the US and been working on commissions, a couple are working together in a RedBubble store, another one designs merch for Hopeless Records; I think it helps me seeing such close friends of mine being successful in art, and makes me think I can do it too!

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

It may sound cliché but cartoons and anime did! Watching them as a kid shaped who I am today, and when I found out you can work in one and do your own I didn’t think of any other career I would do. I guess I’ve always wanted to be an artist, as a kid I would sell drawings in my school, and when my mom put me in an art class I didn’t want to ever leave, it felt right. I really can’t imagine me not being an artist.

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?

My signature it’s just my initials, CA, the A being turn into a star because I love them. I don’t have any special feature, but I’ve been told I draw hands in a very particular way? My friends say that they recognize my style by the way I draw hands.

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Rosalina Colores

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would say to always try new mediums! You don’t have to be perfect at first, just keep trying and figure out a way to be comfortable with it. Also, whatever you do, try doing it every day or a lot! Try drawing doodles in your desk at school, try writing a one shot of someone cooking, try playing that song you heard on the radio the other day by memory or search the music sheets. Also remember, not everything you do has to be a masterpiece.

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Sardonyx Babe

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m polyromantic sex-repulsed asexual.

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

I haven’t, because I’m not working in an office. I’m sure I will when I do but I’m prepared for that.

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

Being a sex-repulsed ace, that you haven’t found the right person yet, that you can’t be in a happy relationship without sex, anything sex-related really. With being ace in general, that I can’t find anyone attractive, how can I be romantic if I’m asexual, I’m too young to know my sexuality, asexual it’s a plants thing, all that kind of stuff.

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

I say don’t let it go in your head. If you identify as asexual, then you’re asexual. Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t because of this or that. Also, it’s OK to go through the spectrum. And don’t feel bad if you don’t “fit” the stereotype, you don’t have to! You can experiment, and if you don’t want to it’s also OK, it’s difficult to know you’re asexual when we live in a society that makes you think you need sex for a happy relationship and that casual sex it’s wrong.

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

I’m very active on my Tumblr which it’s tonguetiedartist! I have an Instagram also called tonguetiedartist but I haven’t used it lately, maybe I should start using it again. I have a RedBubble store called tonguetiedart and I’ve been working in new designs so they’ll be up maybe in mid-December!

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When the Day met the Night

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