Today we’re joined by Raven Jay. Raven Jay is a phenomenal visual artist who is currently studying at uni. They mostly draw fanart and original characters. They currently have a fascinating webcomic entitled Anthrel, which is summarized as follows: “A comic series following the lives of the Anthreligions; immortal personifications of the world’s religions, sects, and other spiritualities.” (It updates on Fridays). It’s clear Raven is a very creative and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’m a visual artist and illustrator, and most of my work is cartoonish. I draw a lot of both fanart and my own original characters and ideas. I have a few webcomic ideas in the works, and my current one is named Anthrel!
What inspires you?
My current favourite shows to draw from are Voltron: Legendary Defender and Boueibu, but most of my inspiration comes from religion, magic, and art history!
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve wanted to be an artist since primary school! I remember spending most of my time ignoring chances to socialize so I could sit and draw. My drive to draw – especially comics and illustration – became a lot bigger in high school because of friends I made and my supportive art teacher.
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?
A lot of my original work centres around religion and mythology and the beauty I see in it, and my webcomic is about personified religions, so I guess that’s a recurring theme I have?
My physical artist signature comes from a messy stylisation of my deadname; I just kept it because I’ve been using it for so long and it doesn’t really look like a word anymore. That being said, I forget to sign half of my art anyway.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
It might sound cliché but don’t give up on art because some people think it won’t amount to anything; instead, keep making art because they think that. My father used to tell me I’d never make a living out of art, and his girlfriend’s friend once laughed at me for wanting to be an artist as a job. But now I’m at uni studying a creative industries degree and building art into a career, so the joke’s on them!
Also, don’t forget how important art theory is. Not only does art history tell you where you came from, it can inspire you too.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m just asexual. I’m also sex-repulsed but don’t mind talking about/drawing sexual themes within certain boundaries.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Though I’ve experienced ignorance from peers, I haven’t experienced much prejudice, as most of my network is my university cohort and close friends. Normally I deal with ignorance by just politely explaining what asexuality is! Most people understand after that.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
The most common misconception that I’ve encountered, I think, is that all asexuals are by default sex-repulsed. Though I am, I know not every ace is, and we all have different comfort boundaries for any sort of physical affection.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Always remember you’re valid in your asexuality. Maybe you’re questioning where you sit on that spectrum, and that’s okay, and maybe you’ll wake up tomorrow and realise you don’t identify as ace at all! We learn more about ourselves and about sexuality all the time; what matters is knowing that identifying as ace or aspec right now is a valid thing to do, and you don’t need to prove yourself to everyone.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
You can find my art at draweththeraven on both Tumblr and Instagram! I also have a website, draweththeraven.com, which I try to update regularly (aka, I never update it). My webcomic Anthrel is at https://tapas.io/series/Anthreligion.
Thank you, Raven, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.