Interview: Emily

Today we’re joined by Emily. Emily is a fantastic younger artist who enjoys drawing. Using mostly traditional media, Emily draws in ink, colored pencils, and has begun experimenting with watercolors. She also enjoys music and plays the alto saxophone. Her art shows a phenomenal attention to detail and a wonderfully vivid imagination. This artist has a bright future ahead of her. 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 a lot. I’ve managed to take 3 art classes so far in school and will be taking another in the upcoming year. Within the past year I’ve been inspired to sketch more than ever and have filled a little over one and a half sketchbooks with drawings of various things. I enjoy drawing dragons and other fantasy-related art. I normally work with ink, whether it be by using ballpoint pen in the margins of my notes, or using nicer pens in my sketchbook. Recently I’ve also started using dip pens and ink which has been an interesting experience. For color I normally prefer colored pencils, although recently I’ve dabbled in watercolor. I normally use colored pencils because they are significantly more portable and cleaner.

I also play alto saxophone in both full and jazz band, and enjoy participating in school plays and musicals as an actress.

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What inspires you?

For visual art, I’m inspired by the books I read and the world around me. I often find myself drawing flowers or things inspired by the curves and colors found in nature, even for fantastical doodles. For music and theatre I’m just inspired by the passion of the people around me. Music and theatre can be filled with so much emotion. I also have been grateful to have such talented musicians/actors as my friends in my school.

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

I’ve always been a doodler and recently decided that if I’m going to keep doodling, I might as well put it to good use and try to improve. I still don’t know if I will pursue art as my only career path, but it will definitely be a constant in my life even if I don’t only make money via art. I’ve always been interested in band and theatre. Both of my parents were involved in both subjects in high school and college and their stories intrigued me. I also have always loved music and singing, so musicals are great fun.

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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 signature object in my art, although I do always sign it with Em.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I know everyone says this, but just keep drawing, or playing, or doing whatever you want to do, even if you’re just doodling a quick BB8 in the margin of your history notes, or learning how to play the Sherlock theme song, or memorizing a dramatic monologue about cheese. Just do what you love and don’t force yourself to fit in with what others think you should do. Even if you don’t want to become a full time artist, actor, or musician you can still do those things casually. They’re meant to be enjoyable.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual and who knows what romantic.

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

I’ve only recently (as in, this summer) started identifying as asexual. I feel like we are generally ignorant of the concept of asexuality as a society, but I haven’t encountered any prejudice.

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

As I’ve only recently identified as ace, I haven’t really encountered many misconceptions other than the general thought that I might someday meet “the one” from my relatives who I have come out too. In all they were pretty accepting of the general idea of asexuality though.

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

Story time- the first time I heard about asexuality was probably around 2 years ago in an online chat with a gay guy who was my age. We had met from an online art app and were generally discussing outlooks on life and religion. Somehow the conversation turned to crushes/sexuality and I mentioned that I’ve never had crushes. He proceeded to try to explain what crushes felt like, and then asked me if I had heard of asexuality. I looked it up and then decided that I was probably demisexual because at that point I thought that announcing that I had no sexual attraction was a bit extreme and weird. Now, a year later, I am very chill with the idea that I don’t experience sexual attraction, and there are others like that, and we’re all pretty cool people. Coming out of that story, my advice is to identify with what you feel fits your feelings. Other people don’t know how you feel or what you experience. Worst thing, you’ll end up changing your label at some point in your life. It’s not the end of the world. Someday I might find that I was right a year ago and I am demi or gray. Or I might be an 80 year old cat lady, or happily married with a great romantic relationship. Who knows? God made you the way you are and loves you like that.

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

All of my reblog stuff can be found (at) ladyknighttime which is where I also post any ace stuff I do beyond art. My art blog is (at) themanyartsofemily.

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

Interview: Philomena

Today we’re joined by Philomena. Philomena is a wonderfully talented and versatile artist, who does both music and writing. For music, she performs solo on piano, flute, and vocal. She’s currently studying at the Royal Conservatory of Music. For writing, she is working on a queer-centric romance involving mer-people, which sounds fascinating. Philomena is definitely an enthusiastic and dedicated artist. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do quite a bit artistically, but I generally fluctuate between music and writing. I’ve even bound my own books before, actually! What I currently do can be sort of condensed into those two main things, though. The big thing that I’m currently working on with my music is getting all of my Royal Conservatory of Music certificates for Grade 8 Piano and Voice, Grade 5 Flute, and my Advanced Theory. I’m doing my exams for everything except Piano in June. Instruments that I just play for fun are sort of just variations on the theme. Other strings I play include pixie harp and ukulele, and I also play piccolo and alto saxophone in woodwinds. I’ve got my sights set on learning violin and guitar in the future.

With regards to my writing, I’m working on a novel called A Tale of Tails, that I’ve entered in NaNoWriMo, which is a month-long writing challenge that involves setting a word-count goal, and hitting a certain amount of written words each day to achieve it. The novel is going to be a queer-centric romance involving a girl n amed Calliope, who gets dragged into a crisis amongst nations of merpeople. It’s actually been in the works for a little under three years at this point. Oops.

What inspires you?

I’ve been really inspired by mainstream writers, Neil Gaiman being a major player, but I also owe a lot of my inspiration to a friend of mine named Kathleen. She’s a marvel of talent and skill, and I definitely wouldn’t be writing without the constant barrage of well-meaning texts. I can say without a doubt that she is amazing, and deserves a world of success and good fortune.

In music, I was really inspired by my choir director, Dr. Heather Eyerly. She’s also amazing, and she was the first music teacher I had that actually made me love it. I just realized, while writing this, that 40% of my music teachers have been WLW. The universe works in mysterious ways, I guess! Anyway, back on track. Dr. Eyerly was a huge influence in the way my vocal music flourished, and I don’t think I would have kept up with Vocal if not for her.

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

As a child, I was very interested in learning useful skills. I took a pottery course, I learned how to knit and crochet, and I learned how to play piano. My brother was also learning how to play, but he quit after two lessons. I kept with it because of the sense of pride it gave me in my abilities as an artist, and because of how fun it was for me.

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?

The Nordic rune for M is something that I used as a signature back when I was really into Flipnote Studio, standing for the first letter of my nickname “Mena”, but I’ve yet to integrate it properly into any of my current artistic ventures. Nowadays I’ve taken up witchcraft, so it would be even more poignant, I guess–what with the Elder Futhark rune alphabet being used as a divination tool.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice! It doesn’t matter what you do, you just have to practice. You need to practice to get better, and you need to practice so you can commit your skills to memory. I still remember how to play songs I memorized years ago, because I practiced them! If you do traditional or digital art, look up references and practice drawing the poses or elements in them. If you sculpt, practice!!! Buy cheap clay and sculpt things with it. Knit? Thrift some wool and learn how to make socks! Dance? Learn the choreography to Single Ladies! Play an instrument? Learn all the songs from Ocarina of Time on your instrument! Have fun with your practice, but always practice your craft!!!! You won’t improve otherwise, and then you’ll be sad when you lose a skill you enjoyed. Like me when I forgot how to center pottery on a wheel. It’s devastating! PRACTICE AND YOU WILL NOT REPEAT MY FAILINGS.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a Panromantic Asexual. I’m currently in this sort of nebulous ‘gender-conscious’ place, where if someone asks, I’ll say I’m a cis girl, but I know that could change.

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

I’m from a fairly liberal part of eastern Ontario, so there’s not much more than the occasional ‘Oh, yeah, I heard about that. Can you explain further?’ There are the few times every once in a while where I have to explain that ace people exist, or I have to ask my mom not to constantly out me to people who don’t know me, but other than that I’ve had a pretty safe run of things.

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

A lot of people seem to assume that aces don’t understand attraction, or that we’re all prudish wallflowers who don’t want anything to do with any sort of relationship. Not to say that it’s a bad thing if that’s how one feels, I just don’t really enjoy when people around me say things along the lines of, “Not like you’d know” when they talk about pretty people.

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

Make an account on a social media platform that works for you. You can meet other people who identify in the same way you do, and who experience the same types of attraction as you, and this can really help you to make decisions about yourself. It can take a while to completely find where you fit in the mould, and you may decide that you don’t want to identify as anything. That’s perfectly fine too!

When I originally came out, I thought very much that I was heteromantic because I loved the boy I was dating. I still think very highly of him, even though we eventually stopped talking. What I needed to figure out, though, was that my romantic attraction to one person didn’t need to dictate my attraction to everyone else on this giant planet.

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

I’m on Wattpad and AO3 for my writing as TheMenasaur, and I’m on YouTube and Soundcloud for my music at the same username.

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