Interview: schattenmitternacht

Today we’re joined by schattenmitternacht. schattenmitternacht is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in ink drawings and watercolors. They have recently started working with gouache as well. schattenmitternacht draws inspiration from many different places and are clearly very passionate about art, as you’ll soon read. 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 do simple ink drawings and occasionally paint with acrylics and watercolors. Recently, I have started to use gouache as well. Subject to my art can be anything; people, animals, things. I love to illustrate feelings and emotions as metaphors.

What inspires you?

The world around me. I believe that beauty is everywhere and I try to capture it for me and for others in my drawings and paintings. The works of fellow artists are also very inspiring.

I do create things inspired be my personal experiences (my diary is mostly drawings) but those are things I’m not always fond to share with people.

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

I remember spending a lot of time at the drawing desk in kindergarten and going to exhibitions with my best friend’s grandmother. But only in middle school did I start to take art more seriously, when I got into manga thanks to a classmate. That’s when I wanted to get better at it.

To be honest, I never wanted to be a professional artist. It was always other people suggesting it to me and at one point in my life I thought it’s the only option available. I mean, I am an artist and I love being one and creating things but there are some aspects of being a professional artist that leave me uncomfortable with pursuing this career path. I’m afraid I won’t like drawing anymore when it’s what I have to do for a living.

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?

There is a set of symbols that I use in my more personal artworks. Arrows for example. But you don’t really get to see a lot of them. Because personal.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Challenge yourself and set yourself a goal. I for example want to create more “finished” works this year and not just elaborate sketches.

I love to do challenges or make lists of projects I want to realize because when I don’t know what to draw, I already have some to work on and don’t have to spend time thinking of something.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aro ace.

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

Not much actually.

My boyfriend asked me once if I was sure I am ace as he couldn’t understand that even though I like physical intimacy, I am still asexual. I explained to him that even if I don’t feel sexual attraction, I still like how it feels and that I think it’s fun.

I myself have never actually experienced prejudice or ignorance against aromanticism, but my friend has. Their mother keeps pressuring them to find a romantic relationship. So that’s something.

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

That

  1. I don’t have,
  2. don’t want or enjoy and
  3. am not able to have sex.

A lot of people don’t have sex. This doesn’t make them automatically ace though.

Second, I can understand how someone could think that this is what it means being asexual, as it was something that kept me from calling myself ace for some time. I don’t really know how to put this in words but you can still want to or enjoy it to sleep with someone without finding them sexually attractive. Sex is something very intimate and wanting to share this intimacy with someone does not in any way conflict with being ace.

The last one… What has my lack of sexual attraction to do with my body? It’s just another way to say that we are “broken”.

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

You are not broken. Your needs are as valid as those of allosexual people and your boundaries are to be respected, don’t ever think they are not.

If you have a hard time telling different attractions apart, look up their definitions or people describing them.

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

I am the most active on Instagram. Then of course on Tumblr and on Amino. Actually, you can find me everywhere under schattenmitternacht.

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

Interview: Noreen Quadir

Today we’re joined by Noreen Quadir. Noreen is a phenomenal filmmaker, actress, and writer. She has acted in stage productions and short films. Noreen also writes screenplays and has written a feature length script about an asexual character. When she’s not working on film or stage, Noreen also writes in other forms too. She has written a children’s book, which she plans to self-publish soon. Noreen is an exciting artist and definitely someone to watch 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 an actress, writer and filmmaker with a background in theater and media studies. Aside from having acted in stage productions, I have also acted in short films and did background work on TV. I have also written and produced my own projects. I wrote a feature length script which is still in works, but I’ve produced a short scene from the script. The film is about a high school girl who is discovering that she’s asexual. And as she is realizing this, she is struggling with feeling like an outsider, especially when no one around her believes that she is asexual or that asexuality is even real. In addition to screenplays, I write in other forms and have written a children’s book which I intend to self-publish soon.

What inspires you?

I get inspired by so many things. I certainly get inspired by bits and pieces of my own life, but I have never really written or produced anything that exactly mirrors my life and experiences. It’s a little too intimate for me and I value my privacy. The feature length screenplay I wrote has certainly been inspired by my experience as an asexual, but it is still a very different story. The character is a bit different and how she discovers, processes, and handles her self-discovery is extremely different than my own story. That of course made it more fun to write because I got to invent stuff and had to look for inspiration from other places. I do get inspired by other artistic works including music, books and other movies. Inspiration is something that just happens organically for me. I can’t force it, which can sometimes be frustrating because when I want to write something, I am out of ideas. But when I do get inspired, I am able to put the words down which is always a great feeling!

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

I suppose it all started when I took dance classes around the age of 5. I loved performing and being up on stage. And then as I got a little older, I developed an interest in singing and music. I sang in my school’s choir and I also played the flute. Sadly, I cannot play the flute anymore. But, I remember it was a lot of fun. I also learned a little bit of piano. So, I had a huge appreciation for the arts at a very young age. And eventually, I got interested in acting and performed in plays in high school and then decided to study theatre in college. And then from there, I wanted to create my own projects. I was also a writer from a young age. I remember I used to write a lot of short stories and poems in elementary school and my teachers would compliment me on my works. I was not getting high marks in math, but I found my skill in writing. And in fifth grade, my teacher encouraged me to become a children’s author and that always stayed with 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?

I don’t think I have any special symbol, but I love the color pink. It’s my favorite color and it is what I wear in my headshot. My room back at my family’s home is also pink. And it is often that you will see me in that color. 🙂

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would say to really invest in yourself and in your dreams. Whatever it is that you want to do – be it writing, filmmaking, performing, drawing, singing, etc., make sure you’re really committed to it and spend time each day on your craft. If you want it to be more than a hobby, then you have to do more than just dabbling in it here and there. It’s good to invest in adequate training, be open to feedback and learning, and exercise your artistic muscles daily.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an aromantic ace.

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

A little bit, but not any more than I’ve encountered in other areas of life or in general. Since most of the people I meet in my field are professional contacts, my personal life isn’t much of a topic anyway. Occasionally, people have said ignorant things because sex is a big part of the film industry and it has been kind of implied that if you don’t fit in with that, you don’t fit within the industry. I suppose the only way I handle stuff like that is by calling people out on their ignorance and letting them know that despite the sexual liberation, there is still hypocritical close-mindedness when it comes to sex.

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

It’s really hard to pinpoint one, because there have been many. I think probably one of the most common ones is that asexuality is impossible or that if you claim to be asexual, you either have experienced abuse or trauma, you have a medical disorder that is causing you to feel that way or you’re repressed. Some people think it’s just a phase and that you haven’t met the right person yet. I used to get a lot of comments like that when I was a teenager and when I was in college. There’s also this view that if you dress and act very feminine, wear makeup and perfume, etc., that you can’t be an asexual. I think some people equate asexuality with unattractiveness and a neutral gender expression.

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

I would say to know that asexuality is not abnormal and that they are not the only ones in the world with this orientation. And even though it is still not widely acknowledged, it really will take people being confident with their orientation to make the difference and to change how people view asexuality. So I would say to embrace yourself and that your orientation is just one aspect of you. It doesn’t define your entire self and there are so many other interesting aspects of a person. I tend to define myself and other people by choices and how you treat and interact with others. That’s what really matters at the end of the day.

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

Here’s my YouTube channel:  https://www.youtube.com/user/ZizzyNQ

And this is my actor’s website: https://www.noreen-quadir.com/

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

Interview: Skye

Today we’re joined by Skye. Sky is a fantastic visual artist who specializes in drawing heads with colored pencils. She’s starting to work on drawing landscapes and nature. Skye is also planning to branch out into digital art as well. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and talented 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 use Prismacolor Colored pencils currently, but I just got a Huion tablet so I’m hoping to begin digital art soon. I’m best at drawing people (mainly headshots) but I’m trying to do more landscapes and animals.

What inspires you?

I get inspired by aesthetics and moodboards, as well as random people I see on the street and other artists’ work.

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

I honestly don’t remember. I just remember always loving to draw and it’s always been a big part of my life.

I’ve always wanted to draw, but I’ve only just began to have the confidence to begin sharing about a year ago.

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 still developing my style, so I definitely do not have and special features yet, but I have a few ideas in mind.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Accept that you probably won’t like everything you make, but that doesn’t mean it’s not amazing, because it is.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I don’t know the exact label, but I am definitely on the sex-repulsed side of the asexual spectrum and somewhere on the aromantic spectrum. I’m currently doing research to find my exact place.

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

Not specifically in my field, but I have with family and other people. I usually just say that they can’t change who I am and that if they have that big of a problem with it then they have a problem with me and should just leave me alone then.

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

That people on the asexual/aromantic spectrum are that way due to a mental illness or traumatic past experience and that we should see a therapist to be “fixed” like we’re broken.

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

You are not broken. All throughout life until I learned about asexuality I would hear people talk about who they had a crush on and who they wanted to date or have sex with and I never felt that. I never had a crush or a desire for a relationship and I felt so broken and different until I learned there were more people like me and I was normal.

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

I post WIPs on my Snapchat (skyberson4) and completed works on my Instagram (skyberson). But I do post other stuff on both, not just my art.

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

Interview: Jessica

Today we’re joined by Jessica, who also goes by stormleviosa online. Jessica is a wonderful up and coming writer who recently had a short story published in an anthology. She’s currently a student studying English and writes in her free time. Jessica hopes to write longer narrative forms, such as novels and novellas, in the future. She’s clearly a dedicated artist with an incredibly bright future ahead of her as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer when I have time but mostly I’m a student because education is important. I’ve written a few short stories and I’m currently working on longer pieces (novellas or eventually a full-length novel). I also write a lot for my college newspaper which I am also an editor of.

What inspires you?

I don’t really have a specific inspiration for my work. Some of what I write is heavily based on current affairs, particularly those I have an invested interest in such as the refugee crisis. I also write from prompts or based on other author’s works which includes dabbling in fanfiction. For my most recent piece of coursework, I wrote a short story based on 1984 with heavily implied connections to the Brexit situation in the UK.

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

It sounds cliché but I’ve been writing since I was a young child. I read a lot of books (and still do) which helped develop my skills and it escalated from there. I’m also useless at art so being able to express myself with words rather than images was important.

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 write about things I am passionate about and problems that need to be resolved. Often, I try to include characters that are marginalized or misrepresented by the media to spread the issue to a wider range of people. It is something that challenges my writing but is very rewarding for me.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop writing! If you truly feel passionate about it, write about it and don’t let anyone convince you it’s worthless. If you hit a writer’s block, work around it by writing something else. But at the same time, it’s OK to take a break if you need to. Your writing will only suffer if you work yourself into the ground.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an aromantic 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 yet although this may be because I’m not out to many people. My sexuality does make it difficult to write romantic subplots between characters because I don’t experience those kinds of feelings.

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

Mainly that asexuality is something you will grow out of. My parents don’t know I’m asexual but whenever I mention that I don’t want a relationship they tell me I’ll change my mind. It’s not a phase to grow out of and that’s perfectly alright.

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

Don’t worry about figuring it all out right this second. You have all the time in the world to sort out what you feel and if you never find a label that fits that fine too. Any feeling you have is valid so don’t worry about categorizing them all right away.

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

I don’t have much published work but my most recent is in the DoveTales anthology (published later this year) which is compiled by Writing for Peace. There is more information on their website or you can ask me questions directly via my blog (stormleviosa.tumblr.com). I sometimes write fan fiction on AO3 under an account with the same name (StormLeviosa).

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

Interview: Mirella

Today we’re joined by Mirella. Mirella is a phenomenal fanartist who started out writing fanfiction in the Doctor Who and Sherlock fandoms. She has recently gotten into drawing and draws a lot of art in the Celtic Thunder (a musical group) fandom. Her work is beautiful, brimming with vivid color and detail, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Lady Alaidhrm Gallaher and Rowan Caleraine in Forest of Fir Lí (1)
Lady Alaidhrm Gallaher and Rowan Caleraine in Forest of Fir Lí

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Historically I have always written fan fiction about Doctor Who/Sherlock, but recently I have taken to drawing on Adobe Sketch. I’m still very much in the process of developing my style and skill, but I’m working on making it much more realistic.

What inspires you?

My art is all fan art inspired by a show called Celtic Thunder: Storm. Celtic Thunder is an Irish singing group who normally perform just their songs in any random sequence with anecdotal bits every few songs – basically just a normal concert, but for this one show did a musical theatre style performance. Each member of the group played a character and each song – either a solo or group number – developed a story, but there was no dialogue. I’ve been working on a fan fiction based on Celtic Thunder: Storm so the fan art is also just productive procrastination for that. I develop potential story lines through the drawings, but the more I draw, the less I write.

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

I became interested in fanfic through Tumblr. I always wrote stories and poems for competitions, so writing stories about already established characters was a really easy step to take. I’ve always wanted to write, and am trying to write something good enough to be published professionally, or even just self-published on iBooks or something like that. I became interested in drawing through a friend of mine who was always drawing at school. I wanted to be able to draw like her so as soon as I got a decent iPad, I started experimenting. She’s been really helpful in giving me general tips and encouraging me even though she’s far beyond my level.

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?

Because I’m basing my drawing off Celtic Thunder: Storm, I try to stay as true as I can to the original characters I’m using (I add a lot of original characters due to expansion of my fanfic) while adding a lot of Irish and generally Celtic motifs. The colour green is a nice colour to draw with so I use a lot of that and add Celtic knots or symbols to my drawings.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just keep doing whatever you enjoy, even if you feel you’re terrible. Don’t feel like you need to master seriously advanced techniques that the professionals are using early on to try and improve the quality of what you’re producing. Even if you do the same thing the same way 1000 times, you will improve noticeably in your confidence and style.

Lady Alaidhrm Gallaher and Rowan Caleraine in Forest of Fir Lí (2)
Lady Alaidhrm Gallaher and Rowan Caleraine in Forest of Fir Lí

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as both asexual and aromantic.

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

I’ve encountered general ignorance about asexuality on Tumblr, but not in the circles where I draw art or write fan fiction. God, sometimes people really have no idea what asexuality is and when in that ignorance, they bash it within an inch of its life, I get quite upset. I’m thankful for all the brave people online who speak calmly and logically about it, so that the truth can be told, rather than spreading misinformation.

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

That we hate sex, and that by refusing sex to a potential partner, it’s a form of abuse. This one gets me really upset. I’m entirely sex-repulsed, so the thought of even holding someone’s hand is not a pleasant one, but I know that it’s entirely within the realms of asexuality to have sex and enjoy sex but still identify as asexual. So people who argue that asexuals are inherently abusive towards any partners because we refuse sex have not only mis-identified what asexuality is, but also seek to do us harm.

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

Find a group of people who can support you, even if they’re strangers online or some looney people on kik, and try and find a way to be confident in what you identify as. I thought for a while I was demisexual, and I might still be, but without ever having had a relationship it was too hard to tell at the age of 14 or whatever I was, so I went with asexual. It’s okay and perfectly normal to have a bit of fluidity in your sexuality. Even if in 20 years you go, “oh wait, I’m actually *insert different sexuality here*”, that is seriously and honestly okay. And if your support group doesn’t like that you’ve changed, screw them and get better friends. You need real people who will support you in all stages of life, not just when you match their narrow view of you.

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

You can read my *horrible, horrible attempts at* fan fiction on Archive of Our Own (AO3) under whovianlord and view my art on Tumblr under celticfangirl.

Princess Alaidhrm Ó_Braonáin and Rowan Caleraine Character Reference
Princess Alaidhrm Ó’Braonáin and Rowan Caleraine Character Reference

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

Interview: Rachel S.

Today we’re joined by Rachel S.. Rachel is a wonderful up and coming writer who is currently studying for a degree in English, journalism, and creative writing. She writes quite a bit of poetry but also writes long-form pieces. Rachel is a phenomenally talented and dedicated writer, 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 writer currently living in Arizona and I am in the process of gaining degrees in English, journalism, and creative writing. After almost seven years of writing everything I could, I find that original, thoughtful pieces suit me more than anything else!

Right now I’ve been working on more ethereal themes in my writing along with more detailed scenes and dialogue.

What inspires you?

As cliché as it might sound, I find inspiration everywhere. Car rides and flowers will inspire poetry just as Tumblr posts and things my friends say can inspire full stories. Personally, I find that anything can be inspiring – it’s just a matter of how you look at it.

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

Oh, not at all! When I was younger I had wanted to be a singer, believe it or not. I got interested in writing in middle school because a friend of mine wanted to write our own Harry Potter fanfiction. It was absolutely horrible: our OCs were Mary Sues and I couldn’t take valid criticism. But if it wasn’t for that first and delightfully bad venture into writing, I don’t know where I’d be now.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I don’t know if I’d call this a signature feature I do but I have been known for doubling up and my tone. I’m a very long, drawn out writer and when I give detail I love to give it two adjectives or just unneeded adjectives in general. (It drives my editor mad, let me tell you.)

As for my tone, I’m a very bittersweet writer. I don’t care for strictly happy things or continually horrible things. I’m very much “sad beginning, happy end” or “humorous beginning, sad end”.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Write whatever you want. Write what you know, write what you don’t – write with too many commas and spaces and ellipses and exclamation points. Write happy things and dark things and then write the one you like the most. Write fantasy and science fiction and mythology and about what happened last week in school. There is nothing you shouldn’t write. And don’t forget to read either! That is just as important as writing most days.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a sex-repulsed aromantic asexual … kind of. It’s really hard to explain exactly how I feel most of the time. I’ve learned to just say that I’m gay or bi if someone asks but I’ve been lucky enough to encounter people who genuinely take the time out of their day to listen to me talk about my orientation. I’ve learned to not limit myself to, in full, I consider myself a pan-aromantic asexual.

I have no romantic or sexual inclination but I’d be ecstatic to date any person should we be compatible. Orientations are fluid so why not put a prefix on your prefix?

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

I have never encountered prejudice but ignorance has definitely been a theme. I’ve been lucky enough to encounter well written asexual characters but misinformation is, sadly, a norm. Sometimes the character is hypersexualized and other times they’re a complete prude – which I understand to a degree. However, there was one non-ace writer who had called the asexuality their character portrayed as “their favorite type” of asexuality—which, you know, was a little creepy.

Other than these few instances, I don’t think people write about asexuality enough as is.

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

The most common is that the asexual will still be “like everyone else” and have sex. There are real asexuals like that but this also ignores all the sex-repulsed asexuals (like me and a good friend of mine). I wouldn’t call this a misconception but it is a fact that not all facets of asexuality is being represented.

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

There’s sex-repulsed asexuals, sex-positive asexuals, gray-asexuals, demisexuals – there are so many ways you can identify. Don’t feel ashamed to identify as one and then realize your something else. Take all the time in the world; only you can decide who you are.

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

I’m here on Tumblr at miistical as well on DeviantArt and Twitter under the same name. I’m also on Instagram as miistical but that’s purely for everyday photos! If anyone is interested in my poetry, I’m on DeviantArt as hedonophobe (and will eventually get to making a poetry Tumblr account as well).

If anyone has any questions about me or my work/commissions or requests, feel free to email me at miisticalwrites@gmail.com!

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

Interview: Rosa

Today we’re joined by Rosa. Rosa is a fantastic visual artist and fanartist. She mostly does digital art and enjoys drawing her interpretations of characters from fandoms she follows. When she’s not drawing, Rosa enjoys writing fanfiction and has recently gotten into costume making. She also dabbles in cosplay. It’s clear that Rosa is a talented and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Fallen
Fallen

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

The majority of my art is fanwork; I get great enjoyment out of creating content for my favourite series and getting to explore how I depict the characters and events in them! I do mostly digital art, though I also love writing fanfiction. I do cosplay on the side as well! I’m still learning with that, but costume-making is an absolute blast to me and I look forward to seeing how my skills with it will grow.

What inspires you?

This has always been a really hard question for me! My inspirations always seem to either be very nebulous or very, very obvious. “What inspires you?” This videogame/book/movie inspires me because I like it! Because I like it, I want to create things with it. The interest in a particular series creates the inspiration to work with it, for me.

I do have some specific inspirations, mostly from nature. Certain environments – huge mountainscapes, the open ocean – always light up my imagination.

The idea that I can create content that others will enjoy or relate to is always a good one. Whenever I make something, I’m often thinking “I wonder what everyone will make of this. I wonder what their favourite parts will be”.

2. Moonstruck Blossom
Moonstruck Blossom

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

I’ve been drawing since before I could remember! I still have sketchbooks from back when I was four. It’s always been a pursuit I’ve loved dearly, but I’d have to say that one of the very first things that got me into it was my active imagination. As a kid I was coming up with new creatures and mythologies almost on the daily, and drawing was the easiest way for me to manifest them. I’ve always wanted to be an artist, yes – but not necessarily a visual artist! My earliest passion was to be an author, and I still consider that my primary “thing”. (Even if I’m the world’s slowest writer…)

3. Nebula
Nebula

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 have a lot of creator’s thumbprints in my designs – I’m not necessarily aware of them all until someone comes up to me and says “as soon as I saw that, I could totally tell it was yours”! That said, I haven’t actually had a specific symbol or signature for a very long time. Back when I did, it was a stylised eye. I absolutely love the image of piercing, staring eyes still, so it’s definitely stuck with me!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I hate to give the cop-out answer, but listen: you gotta practice! Everyone knows that though, so I’ll tell you some things I wish I’d learnt earlier.

You really are your own worst critic. I’ll look at a feature on my art – a hand, a shading technique, whatever – and look at someone else’s art where it was drawn exactly the same, and I will still think that my version of it looks worse. Sometimes the best thing you can do is pass your work to someone else and say, “hey, this thing here, how does it look?” You’ll be surprised how often the problem is only in your head. Taking breaks from a piece is great for that; if you’re running up against a wall with something, I can guarantee you that trying to bruteforce it will just exhaust you and make you hate that piece. Step back, do something else, let yourself forget about it for a while.

References are your friend and they will help you mightily. Never be afraid to use them – that’s why they exist! And believe me, there’s a reference for everything. It’s wonderful. Go nuts with it.

4a. She Who Holds the Stars [resized]
She Who Holds the Stars

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aroace.

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

In my field specifically? Thankfully, no, not really. It has almost never come up regarding my art, but sadly, I’ve encountered all sorts of prejudice in other areas of my life. Admittedly, I haven’t really intertwined my orientation with my art until very recently, so I don’t have the most experience.

When it does come up, I tend to just block and move on, or if I feel that the person involved might be receptive to a discussion, I try to engage them. Thanks to my personal experiences and the recent environment around asexuality and aromanticism, I’ve become very scared and cautious about even getting into it. If I even suspect that someone might have something bad to say about us, I tend to shut off to them entirely.

5. Teeny Tiny Master
Teeny Tiny Master

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

Offline, people making the absolute conflation that sex = love/romance. Almost every single person I’ve ever tried to explain asexuality to immediately gets stuck on the snag of “but if you don’t have sex does that mean you don’t love anyone?” It’s baffling and incredibly frustrating. Sometimes it goes as far as the person assuming that a lack of sexual attraction makes me some kind of cold emotionless freak. Just because I don’t do the do doesn’t mean I lack the capacity for warmth, genius.

I encounter lots of misconceptions about asexuality in general. Visibility and resources about it are so low that people genuinely don’t know anything. Even my other LGBTQ+ friends sometimes struggle to come to grips with it. Oftentimes people default to thinking it’s a choice and equate it with abstinence or celibacy.

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

Don’t ever feel ashamed to question yourself and explore what everything means to you. Asexuality can be hard to recognise in yourself – especially if you’re surrounded by media and things telling you that sex is the bomb-diggety. Take your time with it.

Being asexual doesn’t mean you’re “frigid”, “evil”, or “just haven’t tried it”. Anyone who says so is ignorant at best and malicious at worst. Ignore them. You know yourself best.

Just as importantly: please don’t feel ashamed if you find out that you’re not asexual. Identity is a journey and making a few missteps on the way doesn’t render your or your current identity wrong!

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

I’m an awfully disorganised person, so my “portfolio” – as it were – is all over the web! One day I’ll collate it all in a single place, I promise.

The best place to start would be my deviantART, where I post the more finished pieces: https://electrosa.deviantart.com/

I also post on Tumblr! I have a few blogs where I post the rest of my art, which includes all the more “casual” and scribbly things that I don’t port over to my dA. Here they are: http://electrosa-rs.tumblr.com/tagged/my+art and http://queensectonia.tumblr.com/tagged/my+art.

6. Butterflies and Roses
Butterflies and Roses

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