Interview: Joey

Today we’re joined by Joey. Joey is a wonderful visual artist and singer who does both drawing and painting. He uses art as a kind of catharsis and his pictures are filled with gorgeous colors. When he’s not creating visual art, Joey enjoys singing. He has a particular fondness for showtunes and opera. It’s very clear he’s a passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

This is a complicated question because I’m involved in many forms of art. As far as visual arts are concerned, I enjoy drawing and painting. I use these as ways to express my emotions and interests when others are unwilling to listen. The other artform that I am heavily into is singing. I prefer singing showtunes or opera, but any singing makes me happy. Sometimes I go busking with my friends, and my voice alone can make a lot of money. I’m currently training to become an actor, and I dream of being famous one day for my talent.

What inspires you?

As an aroace people might think that I’m cold or uncaring(not to throw “cold or uncaring” aces under the bus of course!), but my inspiration for much of my art comes from my love of life! Some of my art is from a darker time in my life where I had to use my art to vent, but I’ve always tried to use my art to make sense of the world. This carries over into my singing as well when I pick songs to sing. I naturally feel connected to the music, and songs have always been a great way for me to communicate feelings.

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

I have always been an artist. When I was younger I would create houses out of paper for my stuffed animals until I had a whole village. Eventually I started to take drawing more seriously, and that evolved into a love of painting. Within the last 2 years I gained an interest in musical theatre, particularly singing. Although singing and drawing are my two main creative outlets, I’m a lover of all forms of art. I’ve always been a thoughtful person, and art helps me to feel calm and joyful.

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?

In my visual art I often end up sneaking pride flags into my work! Admittedly I more often put in the trans flag than the aro or ace flag into my work though. This is because being trans, while being a tough journey, is something I often feel more validated in. Recently I’ve been on a kick to feel more confident in my aroace-ness, and I know I’m gonna use my art to accomplish this. Time to make all of my art in purple, white, grey, and black!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

One mistake in my thinking as an artist has been that there’s an age where it’s too late to try. I was so nervous to get into serious singing, because I thought it was only something I could do if I already had experience since childhood. When you’re an artist you will see people who have more skill than you, but the best way to prove yourself is to keep trying anyway. If it takes until you’re old to master your skill then so be it!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identified as aroace for years up until about 1 year ago when I kind of broke and gave up on identifying as such. Being aroace, but receiving no validation or help other than through the internet coupled with my other emotional issues made me internalize it, and for almost a year I identified as straight. I’m not sure why I choose that out of any identities (awfully heteronormative), but I was so tired of constantly questioning my own identity that I wanted an easy lie. This lead to almost dating one of my friends that I really cared about, which lead to me panicking and breaking up before it even started. A few months ago I got myself in a good enough place where I was finally able to realize again that I was aroace! Trying to forget my identity did a lot of damage, so now I’m just trying to get comfy with the label for good.

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

To me, I feel like artist spaces are usually more open to queerness in general, but I often feel disconnected to these communities. It was one of my friends that happened to collaborate on lots of my art that refused to understand why I didn’t want to date my friend I cared so much about. Other than rude/ignorant comments, the rest of the prejudice is more implied. In theatre, almost every single has romance. As a soprano, almost any role I could possibly be assigned is the love interest! Of course this is what acting is for, but I think there’s an idea that romance is put into stories because it’s relatable to all. As an aromantic, singing songs over and over again about the inevitability of love can be heartbreaking.

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

I think a lot of people assume that alterous love has to be accompanied by romance and sexual attraction. The thing is, I think allo people experience alterous attraction too, but they can’t tell because it’s mixed in with those other feelings. We may not experience more alterous attraction, but I think perhaps it’s easier to identify something if it’s not mixed in with other feelings. All my theory aside, people really do misunderstand when I want a platonic life partner. It might be what has made me so anxious to identify as aroace too!

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

I would say that accepting yourself can be hard, but all of us aces are in it together. Sometimes it can feel like you’re going in circles with your identity, but I believe that your value is great no matter whether you find the right identity immediately or not. I would also say to not be afraid to go outside the box. Sexuality is a strange thing, but I can promise that having a strange or unidentifiable identity is a-ok! If you wanna use a rare label, or maybe step outside the SAM model? I say go for what makes you feel at ease.

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

I do not use the internet as much as I should to get myself out there, but I do have an Instagram (smallbirdboy) that is mostly my art!

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

Interview: Ryan Meier

Today we’re joined by Ryan Meier. Ryan is a phenomenal podcaster who hosts a podcast focusing on videogames, geek and popular culture. When he’s not working on his podcast, Ryan also acts as a dungeon master for a 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons. He writes the stories and paints miniatures. He’s incredibly dedicated and passionate, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Beholder Zombie

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My main outlet is my podcast, The Bear vs. Man Cast. My co-host and I discuss video games and other geek/pop culture goings on. We have casual conversation about things we’re interested in in the realm of games and try to be funny about it. We were attempting to get into streaming last year but we’ve pulled back from that because finding time for everything we want to do is rough.

I also run a Dungeons & Dragons game for a small group of friends, so I do some story writing for that. We play D&D on a grid, so we use miniatures, which I’ve started painting and 3D printing for. Very hobbyist; I haven’t been painting minis for very long, but you learn something new with each one you do.

What inspires you?

I get a lot of inspiration from the things I look at, the things I play, what I watch etc. just like everyone else. It’s hard not to. When you like something, it ends up in your work in some shape or form. For podcasts we both came from listening to things like Giant Bomb and Idle Thumbs, and that round table discussion that’s free form and fun. When I’m writing stories I try to pull from personal experience that’s reformatted to fit the context of the story. Characters are based on people I know or observe, same with conflicts etc. There’s that idea that there are only seven stories, and it’s all about how you tell them. I am not a professional writer by any means, so I say paint the wheel a cool color instead of trying to reinvent it.

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

We started our podcast almost three years ago now (!), and we were both listening to a lot of podcasts at the time. One thing lead to another and we started doing one. It’s very much something we do for ourselves, and if people like it great, come along for the ride we’d love to have you, but becoming a huge success in podcasting has never been our aim.

I’ve dabbled in art for my whole life. Coloring outside the lines in kindergarten. I played a lot of music in grade school. Brass instruments, drum line, guitar. I was composing for a while in high school but that dropped off. And now I podcast and I write stories for the games I play with my friends and paint some miniatures. Always the dabbler, and never the master, but I’m working on finding focus.

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 think I do!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just make the thing. Just do the thing. If anyone is like me (and they probably are) they always feel like what they’re doing is not enough, always room for improvement, always that one thing you wanted to change. So just make it. Don’t feel like you can’t start, or can’t show it to anyone. Be proud of what you make and improve as you go.

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Ogre Zombie

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and aromantic.

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

I try to up play my aceness on my Twitter as often as I can. I think it’s important for people in the wild to see ace people being ace in all sorts of situations. I’ve gotten some slack for it, but I try not to engage, and just let those moments pass.

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

For me it’s a lot of unawareness. A lot of people don’t know the first thing about folks on the spectrum as I’m sure a lot of your readers know. What does it mean to be ace? What do you do with all your free time and money? (Spoilers I have neither.) If I had one thing I wish could be made more apparent is that the ace spectrum is a spectrum, full of individuals with a wide variety of experience. No two ace folks will approach the same situation the same way, no two ace people will have the same previous sexual experience. So take the time to hear their stories.

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

A) if you’re not sure, it’s totally fine. Questioning anything as important as your sexuality is so incredibly valid. It impacts the way you see the world, and how the world interacts with you. You should spend some time wondering, if that’s what you need to feel comfortable.

B) If it feels right to call yourself ace, then call yourself ace. Or whatever orientation really, I feel like this applies to every sexuality. On your own, in your own personal space, just try it out. You don’t have to come out right away. You don’t have to be sure. But just, be ace with yourself. Be ace with those you trust, even if you don’t tell them. Just telling yourself you are something is a good way to see if it fits. Only time will tell if being ace is who you really are.

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

You can find my podcast, The Bear Vs Man Cast, on iTunes or on the web:
https://bearvsman.simplecast.fm/

I’m on Twitter, at ace_phd
(I keep my DMs open if you ever have ace related questions. I try to help when I can)

I’m on Tumblr: https://ace-phd.tumblr.com/
(Same: message me anytime about ace stuff.)

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Olaf

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

Interview: Teloka Berry

Today we’re joined by Teloka Berry. Teloka is a phenomenally talented visual artist from Australia. She’s a digital artist and specializes in comics. She also does portraits, original characters, and fanart. Aside from that, Teloka also does crafts. It’s very clear that 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.

I’m a digital artist, and primarily a character illustrator and story-teller. I do stuff like portraits, comics, original characters and fan-art, and sell crafts and merch like stickers.

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My very favourite things to do are comics, both short ones and long form ones! I like stories with a strong focus on acearo, queer and neuroatypical characters who are just having adventures in various genres, and my personal schtick leans heavily towards acearo girls who want to form lasting commitments and have relationships with other girls.

I have two long-haul projects. Let’s Celebrate!, my queer magical girl themed webcomic has been live for almost three years now, and features an acearo lead and a bunch of silly festive super powers. It’s very lighthearted but still explores various celebrations from around the world, mental illness and communication, and features a bunch of monsters that the girls/guys/nb-pals fight with improbable weapons like giant candy canes. You can see it here: http://letscelebrate-comic.tumblr.com/

My second long haul project is collaborative with my girlfriend which we’re hoping to release early next year, and it will be an online graphic novel in installments. It’s a supernatural, Lovecraftian kind of adventure-thriller, structured around the Great Australian Road-Trip in rural Queensland. It follows an established acearo f/f couple, who accidentally enter an outback region they can’t leave filled with frightening “Locals” and those long roads that go on “forever”.

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What inspires you?

I’m going to sound super cheesy when I say this but… my girlfriend? Haha, I’m pretty inspired by personal experiences and personal interests, I suppose. I spend a lot of time drawing and illustrating stuff based on things we’ve done together or concepts we talked about and came up with together.

Maybe also like … spite, to be honest. I’m kind of tired of heteronormative stories and the same straight white male leads who fight the Big Bad and get the girl with very little actual effort. I love to write and see stories about girls, especially queer and neurodivergent girls, doing cool stuff and saving the day and being in genres they’re generally sidelined in, like action stuff or zombies.

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That aside I find music and bright cheerful colour palettes quite inspiring, and use both of them a lot in my work. And the work of other artists who I look up to, of course! I’m pretty visual so if I see something that is just aesthetically pleasing to me (like some architecture, a posing angle, fairy lights in a shop window) I’ll probably think about how to incorporate it into an art piece sooner or later.

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

I’ve always been really crafty and drawn or scribbled stuff, so I guess so? I got serious about artwork at about 13, when I entered high school and fell in with fellow artsy-sorts who enabled the habit. I started out like most teens on DeviantArt back then with an anthro fursona, and made more friends online that encouraged me, and so I just… persisted with it. I don’t think I ever had particular plans to be an artist, or to be anything for that matter, but it’s probably my stand out skill now. I draw every day and love my stories and characters a lot!

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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?

Probably like I mentioned in that first long ramble I did, I have a really strong narrative interest in queer stories, and especially a focus on acearo mentally ill girls and healthy relationships. Artistically/Stylistically though… no, haha, I have absolutely zero consistency in my work, I’m so bad at that!

Usually when I pitch it to other people they’ll say stuff like “sparkles!” or “colours!” or “same face syndrome!”, so maybe that’s the answer here? I like colours a lot and playing around with harsh lighting. I also draw a lot of birds, because… birb.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

1. Give it a go! If you want to do it, just do it. It’s worthwhile, even if all it ever does is bring you happiness or relaxation to create; that’s super important and you deserve it.

2. Quite difficult, but don’t compare your creation to other peoples work negatively. Be critical of your own work, sure, and always, always strive to improve. But your work is not anyone else’s but your own, so try not to be disheartened if it doesn’t look like something else you wanted it to look like. It looks like it’s yours, and that’s the best thing it could be.

3. This one is for minority groups in storytelling especially (I figure relevant here on an ace positive blog), and something I’ve struggled with a lot but: Tell that story about your own experiences/preferences if you want to tell it. Create your own representation if you can and want to.

It’s not self-centered, it’s not “too much”, it’s not unpalatable, it’s not boring, and it’s not cheesy. Don’t feel like you can only put one character from a minority group in your story, and don’t feel like you can’t have characters who you relate to or have traits like you in your story. You do not have to write in something for “someone else” to relate to or have straight white men in your story for it to be “acceptable”, regardless of what popular media seems to be trying to say.

For example, when we started on the roadtrip story I mentioned earlier, we thought “is two whole acearo girls in a story… too many? should one of them at least… be bi?” and while scripting I’ve often wondered ”is this chronically anxious character having too many anxiety attacks…? should I just have them handle this thing better so that their mental illness is showing less?”. And the answer to those things is obviously no. Show that mental illness. Have only acearo leads. Have a whole cast of POC. There’s no such thing as “too much” representation of your minority characters and stories, and if they’re based on your personal experiences or desires- great. Because nobody else can tell that for you; it’s yours.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a cis girl (she/hers) and I identify as asexual and aromantic, though I might more accurately be quoiromantic as I don’t really understand the difference between platonic and romantic relationships, though I absolutely don’t experience attraction regardless. I previously considered myself panromantic because I “want to be emotionally intimate” with friends quite intensely and have close relationships, but I later realized that I don’t experience romantic attraction so… aromantic-spec it is.

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

I’ve actually experienced very little ace prejudice. I’ve found straight people to be confused and commit some naïve-microaggressions at best, and mostly they just want me to explain what it meant and expressed general confusion about how I could not feel sexual attraction. (except for those dudes, you know, the: “well you just haven’t been with ­me yet” narcissists.)

I also had an abuser who ID’d on the ace spectrum, who would constantly guilt me about my orientation and say I would be a disappointment to my partner/s, that I was “broken”, or that I was just “trying to be holier than thou” and all kinds of toxic shit. So it really can come from anywhere.

The absolute worst ongoing prejudice I’ve seen has been from gatekeepers in the gay and lesbian communities. No surprises there. So many “sapphic safe place” blogs will reblog artwork of my girlfriend and I, which is clearly f/f and I get the lovely gift of seeing their acephobic descriptions on how ace people don’t belong in the queer community and queer is a slur, while they profit from artwork literally featuring two acearo girls.

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

Lately there’s plenty of stuff going around tumblr especially about how asexuality doesn’t equal celibacy, and that it’s not a choice. True, absolutely! But I still very often see asexuality conflated with sex repulsion, or a lack of libido (and aromance with a lack of interest in close intimate relationships at all).

Sure, it can be that way, but it’s not universal for all aces or aros. Just like any orientation, asexual people can sit anywhere on the libido and/or repulsed spectrums. They are not the same at all, and it’s super toxic that it has become popularly interchangeable, because I’m often seeing ace characters who “hate to be touched” and it just…

Ace people can be sex positive and interested in intimacy.

Allosexual people can be sex repulsed or simply disinterested.

And sex repulsed people of any orientation can also still be highly sensual and have a libido and still really want to have sex (that’s me!).

All these things are separate experiences. Neither drive nor repulsion are intrinsically tied to each other or to asexuality, which is the lack of sexual attraction, and not the lack of desire for touch.

I think that’s a super important distinction that’s often lost. My stories focus on this a lot, and almost all of my comics and stories feature acearo characters who still actively seek close emotional intimacy- because aro people are not unfeeling robots- and who also like to experiment or be close to their partners physically- because ace doesn’t necessarily mean no libido or interest.

And it’s super alienating to sensual or libido aces to see the narrative that “to be ace means you can’t ever want to have sex with someone else” perpetuated. It feels like something that, in years to come, is going to segue into Ace-Gatekeeping-v2.0, and I’d like to see communication and compassion stop that before it happens.

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

Auuhhh… uhmmm I’m really not an ideal person to put in like… advice giving roles. I’m still learning stuff myself; the Living Experience is pretty enormous! But perhaps the best thing I found (for me) was to have close friends who I could talk to about being ace and aro. If you have other friends who are already knowledgeable or confident in their own sexuality and ID on the acearo spec then that is probably the safest way, and they can explain things to you and answer questions.

There are also a variety of previously linked ace-help blogs and websites, and probably honestly… a lot of the artists featured on this blog would probably be happy to answer anon-questions and stuff about their experiences if you get in touch? I’d be happy to, for sure. That might be good for anyone who feels isolated or confused and doesn’t want to have a name attached to their questions!

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

You can find my artblog, where I post most of my art and links and updates on the above mentioned projects here: http://berryartistic.tumblr.com. I should warn that there are some suggestive works on there and it’s pretty heavy on the f/f content. There’s nothing graphic and no actual nudity, mostly just implications of intimacy and some power dynamics, but it might be a bit much for some minors or anyone intimacy-repulsed, so take it with a grain of salt.

Let’s Celebrate! is completely PG and can be found here: http://letscelebrate-comic.tumblr.com/ which has links offsite to places like Tapastic.

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

Interview: KC

Today we’re joined by KC. KC is a phenomenal author who specializes in children’s books. She wants to write for older children who don’t like to read, since there aren’t many books aimed at that demographic. When she’s not writing, she also enjoys doing crafts, knitting in particular. KC is clearly a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I knit as a hobby and tinker with water coloring and brush lettering on the side, but my real love is writing. I’ve always been enthralled by stories. I wrote a handful of books in middle school and high school, but they were short, dry, and lacking in substance. Now that I’m in college, I’ve become more serious about the quality of my work.

I like writing for children, upper-elementary kids in particular. Fifth grade is typically the age when kids decide if they love reading or could do without it, and I want to do what I can to hook the kids that might miss out on what could be a great passion. In my experience, there aren’t many older children’s books out there for kids who don’t like reading. I want to change that.

What inspires you?

In life, I’m inspired by the feisty women of history. Anne Sullivan Macy and Eglantyne Jebb, to name a few.

In my writing, I’m inspired by the people around me. The kids at my work who have big personalities and even bigger souls, but no one to take them seriously, are my muse.

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

I’ve loved stories from a very young age. My fondest childhood memories were spent playing elaborate games of pretend with my siblings, and weaving epic tales with my toys.

It was The Tale of Desperaux that made me want to be a writer. Kate diCamillo lit a spark in my eight-year-old heart and showed me the true beauty and power of stories. I wanted to be just like her and spread that spark to other eager hearts.

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?

For the longest time, I always had “green mush” slipped into each one of my stories one way or another. I’m still deciding whether or not I want to keep up the trend.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Find a community of artists to surround yourself with. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without the constructive feedback and unwavering support I found in my high school writing club.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aromantic asexual.

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

I’m not out yet, so I can’t really say for sure. Interestingly enough, my roommate is also a writer, and one of her protagonists is asexual, so I’d say it’s actually going very well on that front.

At the moment, the most difficult part about being an aspec writer is that I can’t write romance. It’s actually really pathetic. Nonetheless, I know that many haven’t had it as easy as I have, and I don’t want to play down the difficulties experienced by the ace community as a whole.

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

That we’re cringy loners who made up an orientation to feel good about ourselves. I’m sorry to say it, but before I knew I was ace, I bought into this.

The main reason I haven’t come out is because I’m afraid people won’t take it seriously. I’m afraid they’ll think I found some label in the deep crevices of Tumblr and now I’m convinced that I’m not straight anymore. I very much wanted to believe I was straight, but that didn’t help the horrifying nausea I felt when I was asked out to prom, or the petrifying fear when the guy I thought I was crushing on texted back.

My orientation is not for anyone to deny, because trust me, I’ve thought about it a lot longer than the person who asks if I’ve ever had my hormones checked or the people who say I’ll change my mind when I’m older.

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

Give yourself time to come into your asexuality. Don’t rush it, just let it happen. I’ve spent way too many sleepless nights with racing thoughts. Take your time. Maybe you’ll find that you don’t identify with what you originally thought. Maybe you were right all along. Whatever happens, your identity is your own. Don’t let anyone define it for you.

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

I have an official author website, but as I’m not out yet, I won’t disclose it publicly. My inbox is always open at helpful-hardware-folk on Tumblr, and I’m more than happy to chat about anything, writing and asexuality and everything in between 🙂

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

Interview: Li

Today we’re joined by Li. Li is a wonderful and talented aspiring author who has published a couple things in his school’s literary magazine. He writes mostly comedic poetry and short stories that fall under the horror genre. He’s a dedicated and passionate writer, as you’ll soon read, and undoubtedly has a bright future ahead of him. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an aspiring writer and enjoy writing comedic poems and short horror stories. My writing style can be very hyperbolic when writing poetry, while with my horror it can be very uncomfortable. My writing style as a whole still hasn’t fully developed, as I began writing only two years ago (Infrequently, though I’ve been trying to write more as of late), and my writing reflects that, though it’s slowly becoming its own thing.

What inspires you?

A mixture of pop-culture, music, my hometown, and my friendships/acquaintanceships. A lot of my comedy is inspired from my town specifically, where I’ve met a lot of interesting folk alongside a lot of strange ones. I wrote a poem recently about a PTA mother writing to another one named Barbra; Barbra was an actual mother I knew, but I did use a different name for her.

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

I’ve been interested in writing since I was very young, though I became more intensely interested in it about two years ago. I only recently decided I would like to write, as before this I wanted to be an astrophysicist (Admittedly, I’m not that much good at math) but decided that wasn’t quite the right career for me. What got me interested in horror was a mixture of things; artists like Junji Ito and movies like Perfect Blue are what got me interested in writing horror, as I wanted to provide the same intense feelings that they are able to produce. I only just became interested in writing comedy, and no one in particular has inspired me- I write to make myself laugh, not others, though I want to be able to write well enough to write things that others will enjoy besides myself.

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 actually don’t have any sort of thing like that, though as I develop my writing skills, I would like to make one.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

There’s always that cliché of working hard, but it’s a cliché for a reason- work on your craft, and try to really make it your own. For writers specifically, there’re a lot of skills you’ll need to learn to help you further your writing and help get yourself out there (A video titled Skills You Never Thought You’d Need as a Writer by Jenna Moreci is a very good in-depth video that I would recommend checking out, as she explains things far better than I could.). It’s important to remember that, in general, to try to not compare your work to others. Where you are with your skills are different from others, and though it’s good to strive to continually better yourself, it’s important that you don’t drag yourself down as “not as good” or “not good enough.” Keep your passion for your art burning, and make sure you have other things you’re interested in to go to when you need a break from your art.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aromantic and asexual. I’m sex-repulsed, and am open for a queer-platonic relationship, but will be perfectly happy if I never end up in one.

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

I haven’t experienced any sort of prejudice, but there’s definitely been a lot of ignorance my way. Most of it has been confusion as to what asexuality is, while some of it has been more vitriolic. Everyone who finds out I’m asexual asks what it is, and the more pleasant reactions included asking a lot of questions about it and what it means and so on, which I am always happy to oblige in. The more negative ones include being offered massages to see if that will “awaken” anything in me, getting sexual advances, butt/boob grabs to see if it will help me “get excited”, and being told I need to go see a psychiatrist to get medication to help “fix” me. For those who physically touch me, I cut off all contact with those people and warn others about them. For those who are just unaware of what asexuality is, I try to answer everything to the best of my ability.

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

One of the most common that I’ve personally received about being asexual is that I’m “a late bloomer” and that eventually I’ll begin to feel sexual feelings, and that I should try to get laid. For being aromantic, a lot of people think I’m just cynical about love and shouldn’t “give up on it” even if I express that I genuinely have no interest in it. In general, for both, people say that I’ll end up “alone and sad” because I don’t want a sexual/romantic relationship, alongside not wanting children. Just because I don’t want none of these, it doesn’t mean I’ll be alone and that I won’t have people who care about me- I’ll have friends and family (Plus my lovely pets), and that’s all I could ever ask for.

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

Remember that there isn’t anything wrong with you. Granted, there aren’t as many of us as there are gay, straight, or bi people, but that doesn’t mean your sexuality isn’t as real as anyone else’s and that you’re in any way dysfunctional because of it. Just because you don’t feel sexual/romantic attraction doesn’t mean you aren’t perfectly capable of being a whole human being, and as worthy being treated as well as everyone else.

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

I suppose the easiest place to find it would be my DeviantArt, Hid3AndS33k, as that’s the only place where a lot of my writing can be found.

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

Interview: Mies Nestor M

Today we’re joined by Mies Nestor M. Mies is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in drawing characters, both their own and fanart. They started out doing mostly traditional art, but have recently started doing digital. They have an incredible amount of talent. The amount of detail in their drawings is extraordinary, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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A Family Photo

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a cartoon artist on Instagram. I did majorly traditional art in the past but due to minimal amount of space in college dorms for art supplies, I have only really been doing digital art mainly for the last few months. I enjoy making both fan art and art of my own characters. Making characters is one of my favorite things about drawing. I don’t write about them a lot, but I am very passionate about making unique and diverse characters, though I laugh to myself that most of them are asexual.

What inspires you?

I have always been a fan of cartoons and anime, mostly shows that are peaceful and revolve around characters and character relations, but mostly in the way of friendships and family. Within the last year I’ve really gotten into Dungeons and Dragons and I’m very inspired by both the campaigns I am in as well as the ones I watch online. I feel like the parties that are made in those games show great and loving friendships that are different from usual media.

Fate
Fate

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

I actually hated drawing when I was young. I had a very “if I’m not good at it now I’m not going to do it” mentality. I always enjoyed cartoons and the like and eventually got around to drawing. I also had ideas for characters and I couldn’t help but want to draw them.

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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’m a sucker for symbolism and wordplay. I tend to have characters wear joke t-shirts as well as have color codes for certain characters of my own. It’s nothing too big, but I love having little callouts to certain aspects of a character

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep practicing. It’s an oldie but a goodie. Anything you want to do will take time to get good at. Surround yourself with people to share your art with too. There’s nothing that makes me want to draw more than my friends telling me they enjoy my stuff.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a Aromantic Asexual. I have never had any attraction I guess haha.

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

I’ve only really had an audience of younger artists following me, so I’ve never had any pushes to do anything I’m uncomfortable with in my art, thankfully. As well as that, my art style is rather cutesy and “innocent”, so I’ve never gotten any inappropriate comments or questions. I’ve talked about my identity on livestreams, but everyone has been fairly kind.

momhouse
Momhouse

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

Offline, I’ve definitely gotten a lot of the “you’ll find the right person one day” stuff. I rarely explicitly state my identity, but I often say “I’m not interested in dating/sex” and gotten quite a few confused and, while well-meaning, demeaning responses. People seem to expect everyone to experience attraction, and get confused and act sorry when you express that you don’t.

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Persona Glasses

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

What you’re feeling is normal, and there are people out there just like you.You don’t need to follow everyone’s expectations of what you should be and take all the time you need to figure out how you identify and you are always allowed to change whatever labels you use if you find a new one that fits better or figure something out about yourself. That doesn’t mean you were faking it or wrong, figuring out yourself is a process and it’s okay to take your time.

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

I post on Instagram! My main account is ShadowGingerdapple and I talk about my own characters on ShadowOCdapple. If you want to find me on Tumblr I’m at ShadowSnowdapple!

Radiant Soul
Radiant Soul

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

Interview: Zombie

Today we’re joined by Zombie. Zombie is a wonderful young aspiring author. They are gravitating toward writing YA fiction, mostly in the fantasy genre. They have an incredible creativity and an awesome enthusiasm for their craft, as you’ll soon read. Zombie obviously has a very bright future ahead of them. 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 consider myself to be a beginning author. I’ve been writing since 8th grade and the things I write tend to be geared towards young adults. My characters are from a variety of backgrounds. For instance, there’s a character by the name of Ozymandias who is a gay immortal alchemist who appeared in literature and art all the way from 1337, his Latino husband, and the main protagonist of the Eden series; a psychic Puerto-Rican aro-ace girl named Kira Black. I enjoy coming up with unique characters. I euphoria I get from creating them on paper is what I imagine to be the feeling of artists when they draw their OCs. Even the villains I work hard to create.

Honestly, I’m very proud of what’s in my head, and I can’t wait to show it to you all!

What inspires you?

My life experiences and the things I’ve read. It’s hard trying to find characters that relate to my struggles in the genre I prefer to read and honestly, I’m tired of seeing pretty female protagonists with perfect bodies and flawless skin and love triangles. I always wanted characters that I can relate to! Ones with physical and mental flaws! I want heroines with OCD and depression! I want girls to wear glasses because they’re visually handicapped! I want protagonists who DON’T want to get the guy/girl! And since I could never find any, I set out to write them myself.

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

I guess it was the books I read. The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod and Artemis Fowl by Zac Brewer and Eoin Colfer respectively. I think to a degree, I always wanted to write. When I was a kid, I’d beg my teacher to let us have time to write. When I grew older, I’d write in my notebooks instead of doing school work and then my grades started to slip!

There’s something beautiful in writing and I’m not quite sure I know what it is.

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?

Actually, yes! Characters from previous works/series will always be mentioned. Remember Ozymandias who I mentioned earlier? I’d keep an eye on him if I were you!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice makes perfect, and there’s no shame in starting off your writing career with fanfictions! You have to learn somewhere, right?

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Romance-Repulsed, Sex-Neutral Aromantic Asexual. I identify as the gender I’m born with (female) because I’m not sure I have the right to call myself anything else. Though I’d love to have an androgynous form. Having no gender sounds amazing and honestly, being a girl is just a bit tiresome. I guess I’d feel more free and less ashamed.

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

Not really. The only other authors I talk to are Ace positive or Ace themselves. I don’t appreciate being called Heterosexual.

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

That we don’t understand sex or can’t handle sex jokes. I assure you guys I know plenty about sex, which is why I’m uninterested in it. Also, I have a huge repertoire of sex jokes just waiting to be set free because of the shows I watch and the company I keep.

They do get some things right, though.

I effing love cake.

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

You’ll figure it out by yourself in enough time, and when you do, don’t let strangers or even family tell you you’re wrong.

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

On my Wattpad, AO3 account, Tumblr and Twitter! ZombiesNeedCoffee, CemeteryLights, Kirablackisback, and Zombieaugust respectively. While my Tumblr is a roleplay blog, I do post frequent snippets from my stories and information about my characters there. You can send me emails at ghostwritergraves@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from people.

(Zombie also has a blog they made strictly for writing: https://zombieastronomy.tumblr.com/)

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