Interview: R

Today we’re joined by R. R is a phenomenal makeup artist who does a lot of character makeup. They’re also starting to do Harry Potter roleplay as well and dabble in photography. They’re very passionate about makeup, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1qpt9c

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I currently do character makeup/cosplay, but I am starting to do Harry Potter roleplay on my Tumblr blog. Most of my makeup is also Harry Potter, but I have tried Supernatural stuff as well. I enjoy photography, and I am currently in the process of improving my makeup application skills. This is a fairly new hobby, so I have a lot of room to improve my work.

What inspires you?

I’ve always enjoyed using makeup to create different characters, and I also enjoy acting, which is why I have started RP. My main inspiration is the HP RP community on Tumblr, as I follow many of their blogs and I really like their work. Makeup gives me the confidence to do things I wouldn’t normally do, and using it to portray characters is really exciting for me, because it allows me to express my support for my fandoms.

IMG_1973

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

I haven’t always wanted to do this. It is a fairly new thing I’m doing, but I am enjoying it immensely. I have done character makeup in the past, for Halloween and fancy dress events, but I haven’t shared it on social media or made it a regular thing.

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, actually, unless you consider my face to be a special feature in my work? I do use my face a lot for my art.

IMG_2858

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just do what you love. Seriously, even if you don’t get any followers or any likes, do it anyway. If you truly enjoy it, then make the most of it, because it’s really, really fun. Even if you aren’t any good at first, keep trying because you will get better and better. It’s about the effort and time you put into things. People will see the passion in what you do, and they will ignore the little flaws.

1qputu

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and aromantic.

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

I haven’t experienced anything like that (yet) but there is a lack of ace representation in this field (from what I’ve experienced at least).

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

That we’re heterosexual. I know some people want to call themselves heterosexual when they are asexual, but to me this isn’t who I am.

IMG_2974

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

Um, I don’t really know. Being ace is always something I’ve been proud of, so I don’t know if I can give anyone any advice. What I will say is that you are all super valid and good people and you are wonderful. Be proud to be you, even if you don’t want to label yourself. Also, please don’t force yourselves into situations that make you uncomfortable, because that’s not good for anyone, especially you.

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

I have Tumblr, which is where I post my RPs and makeup pictures: amateurcharactermakeup42.

1qimk2

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

Interview: Shalyse

Today we’re joined by Shalyse. Shalyse is a phenomenal author who is currently working on a novel that features a main character who is an asexual POC and also polyamorous. That novel will be published under the name Zephyrrine. Aside from writing, Shalyse is also the founder of DFW Asexual Meetup and has a couple other blogs. Aside from fiction, Shalyse also writes poetry and nonfiction. She’s quite a dedicated writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

12417862_10153378249197183_3122474789850108087_n

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

The primary piece I want to discuss is a book I am writing that features an asexual polyamorous character in a queer polycule. The primary character is a cis-woman of color who is asexual and some of the secondary main characters are multiple men of varying sexualities. This book will also feature aspects of the kink community as well to show the various ways asexual and kink relationships can play out. It is also based in a fictional timeline and with the characters begin from a fictitious civilization that integrates into our modern world. This is a fantasy style novel.

My secondary piece is my poly blog, lettalkaboutpoly.wordpress.com, that seeks to explore polyamory and the intersection that individuals bring to the relationship style. Similar to the way the book will, but with real life experiences.

My other blog is my xoxshalyse.wordpress.com, which host some of my poetry and think pieces.

What inspires you?

The need of visibility and education for alternative lifestyles. I know what it’s like to feel so completely broken because I didn’t know that it was OK to go against the societal norms, especially when my norms seem to contradict watch other.

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

I have always written stories and poetry, as well as I used to paint and draw. Creativity and art were my main outlets for dealing with being suicidal and having trouble understanding the illogical world around me. I recently however decided to use my love of writing to promote alternative lifestyles to give us the visibility we need.

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 running theme of finding and addressing the dark parts of yourself and embracing it to become whole person that loves and respects yourself.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just do it. Even if you think it will suck, because it will probably turn out better than you thought.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a sex repulsed asexual. I am also aromantic and polyamorous, though I engage in relationships as bi/pan – romantic.

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

Not professionally.

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

That we are celibate and abusive to our partners for disliking or refusing to force ourselves to participate in sexual encounters.

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

It’s OK to be confused. Asexuality means you don’t experience sexual attraction. There are a hundred plus ways we can present. There is no rush to figure it all out even in a relationship. Just be honest with yourself and your partners.

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

You can find me on Twitter at xoxshalyse.

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

Interview: Jai M. King

Today we’re joined by Jai M. King, who was interviewed quite a while ago. Their company has since evolved into something almost completely new. Jai is a fascinating and unique artist that has a style that’s entirely their own. They’re behind Madjaw Dolls, a brand gearing toward multimedia arts. They do a lot of illustrations but also quite a lot of writing as well. Jai is currently working on a science fiction series, which is part of the Madjaw Dolls universe. Based on their interview, Jai is a fascinating and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

(WARNING: Some images contain nudity and are risque)

king_wtercolor
King watercolor

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Madjaw Dolls is brand gearing towards the multimedia arts. There is one main universe in which all products and creations stem from. The stories under MJD combine influences of retro-fantasy, raypunk and Grimm’s fairytales to create a distinct branch of dark tales that are both innovative in terms of character and world design but also blunt in terms of political and social commentary.

My work ranges from traditional illustration to digital most recently with working on the IPad Pro. I am also going into producing for multimedia to expand MJD so I am also a creative director in collaborative projects.

Currently I’ve been in the process of producing a science fiction series called “Sector M.I.” which takes you through a multi-world war. The world design is very distinct to the universe in which a multitude of my stories derive from. Most of what will be seen at Madjaw Dolls exists within that universe.

What inspires you?

My inspirations range from the array of media I grew up on to naturally being attracted to retro-media such as anime/manga from the 1970s-1990s to western influences such as Ralph Bakshi’s “Cool World” to much of the bizarre fantasy works from the 1970s and also the strange futuristic narrative of 1970s funk music. I also grew up loving the Grimm Brothers which has influenced my work and story process quite a bit. I love creating words that feel at least a little uncomfortable. A lot of my work has a warped quality that I’ve developed purposefully for the stories. I’m not so much about supplying reality as I’m about creating something entirely new.

Since my last interview with Asexual Artists I do think I’ve returned to my roots a little more with my influences. Every project I take on entails a good amount of research which I personally love as I often find that people tend to overlook just how much time and research it takes to develop a well-crafted creative process. I think my influences change the more I grow and learn.

kingfin
Kingfin

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

I’ve been illustrating since I was little though around 17 was when I landed my first job illustrating a children’s book, though I didn’t know very much about illustrating at the time and taking on the process of illustrating a book was hard, I learned a lot about what to do and what not to do when illustrating books. I went back and forth for a while as I was potentially good at so many things, ultimately illustration is where my roots have always been, I’ve been looking into multimedia producing for the very reason that I can expand in the future through different platforms and ways to tell the stories, starting with graphic novels; which the graphic novels under MJD will be a combination of written and illustrative narrative, a format I’ve been working on to be a little more unique to MJD.

I learned quite a bit in the last year after interning for another comic artist and developing sound connections with illustrators and comic artists who’ve helped me a lot with both communications and not to let the mainstream dictate my vision.

mm02

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?

At the moment, I’m working on the first installation under “Sector M.I.” Which is currently titled “The Hanged Man’s Plan” though changes are always possible in editing. I’ve been quiet about much of the story, in previous experiences I’ve had, I’ve learned to do so, haha. What I will say is that HMP occurs 200 years prior to the main events of “Sector M.I.” It was a story I started last year, nixed, and then decided that it had more potential as it establishes the birth of a lineage with one of the main characters of SMI, King. At least right now, all of the stories will be told in relatively short books, similar to a children’s book, but with a more mature story. HMP is relatively benign compared to what I have lined up for the future editions in the series. All of the stories cover particularly controversial subjects, one of the mains in HMP suffers through a smear campaign within his own workplace, and there’s a huge focus on the destruction and outcome of jealousy as well as laying the groundwork for the world seen in “Sector M.I”

The story has undergone rights and registration along with the entirety of the Sector M.I. series so it’s a matter of completely the first story. I’ve been experiencing the ever-so-lovely world of publishing but I’ll be happy when it’s done.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Take pride in the effort you put into your work, but always be open to learn more. It’s a process first and foremost, there is no golden finish line where you’ve made it as an artist. The moment you close yourself off to growth, you’ve basically cheated yourself from the next level of your journey. It takes time, and at times it really sucks. Also, if you have an idea you believe in, don’t bend to please other people. I’ve learned that the hard way throughout my journey so far, there are literally thousands of ways to be an artist, if one idea doesn’t work, keep pushing and don’t take no for an answer when you know what you have to offer. Also process the rights to your work, haha I also learned that the hard way after experiencing content theft!

sm_work_bird02

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m still asexual and aromantic, I don’t really know if that will ever change.

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

Yes and no. It’s not so much in my field as it has been coming out of art school. Oddly enough, most would think art school is particularly accepting of every type of person but I’ve learned the opposite. My art tends to trickle over into my daily outfits, I still work as a creative director for photo shoots from time to time, so I love to express through creating extravagant outfits, but I’ve found that with creating flamboyant outfits people tend to assume you’re an equally flamboyant person. Flamboyance has its own set of stereotypes as people assume I’m someone who goes out and dates a lot or dressing up to impress others. I’m a bit of a contradiction in that sense, how I dress is mostly because I love to create myself every day, it’s an extension of my art to me. I’ve faced the expectation to “stop being ace” because of what someone else expects or wants and it’s very uncomfortable. It’s disturbing that much of society doesn’t accept no as a valid answer when it comes to relationships (this is when “no” should be taken as an answer!).

smiconpillus3t

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

I would say for me that it’s a phase. Or that I’m waiting for some knight in shining armor to save me from asexuality as for me, it was never a choice. I can’t speak for every asexual but I have always been this way, though there were times in high school before I knew who I was, where I tried to date and be “normal” due to social pressures. In many communities, even in black/mixed communities, asexuality isn’t fully accepted due to the heavy stigmas black people still face. Black women tend to automatically be sexualized and stereotyped (and it’s even worse for non-binary folks, as I am as well) that it’s even harder to say I’m asexual without being laughed at or denied.

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

Definitely to speak up when you feel uncomfortable. If you feel like someone is pressuring you, speak up and leave the situation. You shouldn’t have to explain who you are to those who don’t get it.

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

“The Hanged Man’s Plan” is still in production, so whenever all the cards are in place is when it will come out, there’s no telling how long it may take but I’ve recently be finishing the process for the rights and registration for “Sector M.I.” and Madjaw Dolls so it’s all in that awkward phase of planning to put out actual products and not just prints of works.

http://madjawdolls.com/
https://www.instagram.com/madjawdolls/
https://www.facebook.com/Madjawdollsmjd/
https://twitter.com/MadjawDolls

unnamed (1)

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

Interview: Orion

Today we’re joined by Orion. Orion is a wonderful visual artist who does both original and fanart. They’re currently doing a lot of work with ink and watercolors. Their work has a delightful sense of whimsy and playfulness to it. Their characters are so expressive, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

New Doc 2017-04-25 (1)_1

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I like to try many different types and styles of art, though at the moment I’m focusing on inked and watercolour fanart and original visual art.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by my desire to see more positive representation of LGBT+ people in art and media. And by the desire to continue to develop my artistic skills.

New Doc 2017-04-28 (2)_2

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

My grandfather is an artist. Throughout my childhood I loved to visit him, I’d look through his hobby room at the artworks on the walls, the huge painting station, the sketches and canvas spread throughout and I loved it. I’d draw with the art set (a plastic half oval case filled with pencils, crayons, etc.) he had for his grandkids and a drawing I had done as a child of a girl in a dress (me? I cannot remember) was always proudly displayed in Grandpa’s study.

I’ve been interested in art since childhood thanks to Pa’s influence, and messy drawings with crayons slowly turned into something better.

New Doc 2017-04-17 (2)_3

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 have any intentional things like that, though at the moment, binders have been featured in a lot of my works.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Be a good consumer of art.

Learn to give reviews to other artist’s works, even a short sentence explaining what you like about it. It helps to encourage a culture of interacting with art and sharing it rather than just letting it go by unnoticed and it’s a nice thing to do for the artist.

New Doc 2017-04-17 (1)_2

Additionally, if you learn to see what makes an artwork good (e.g. “Hey! This is a great work and I really love the detail put into the hair and freckles!”), you’ll know what to put into your own work to make it better (e.g. Detailed hair/freckles).

And keep practicing, create as often as you can, and, if you feel comfortable with it, show as much of your work as you can to the world.

BLOOP

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am an asexual nonbinary person. The romantic part is slightly more complex as I go by many terms, grey-biromantic, aromantic, and cupioromantic.

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

I’ve gotten hate mail and death threats on Tumblr for being openly ace but overall most people are okay with aces and if they’re not (or send hate mail) I block them immediately.

New Doc 2017-03-09_1

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

That asexuals just don’t like sex or haven’t found ‘the right person’.

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

Understand that if the issue is figuring out where on the asexual/aromantic spectrum you lie there’s no rush. There’s no real reason you need to have that figured out by a set date, just let yourself explore and eventually you’ll figure it out.

And if it’s becoming comfortable with your orientation that is the issue, firstly try to find other aces to talk to about it and then try to remind yourself that there’s absolutely, 100% nothing wrong with being asexual.

New Doc 2017-04-04 (1)_1

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

My Tumblrs: orioart.tumblr.com for original artworks and orionsfanart.tumblr.com for fanart.

Or my Deviantart: amazingacearmy.deviantart.com

New Doc 2017-04-16 (3)_2

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

Interview: Amanda

Today we’re joined by Amanda, who also goes by doctortreklock. Amanda is a delightful and incredibly talented artist who specializes in crochet. She crochets a bit of everything from pot holders to little models. When she’s not crocheting, Amanda dabbles in fanfiction, mostly Supernatural. It’s obvious she loves what she does, which makes for a great interview. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

IMG_2101

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a crocheter.  I make (a lot of) pot holders, these days. But I’ve also made butterfly ornaments, bookmarks, and bags.  I’m a bit of a spinner also, and have been known to write a bit of fanfiction, mostly Supernatural.

What inspires you?

I love the flexibility that crochet gives me (I wasn’t really getting that with knitting).  I love being able to just start with a circle and make something.  I like trying to find ways to make utilitarian pieces efficiently or to make existing patterns more efficient.

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

I had been knitting before, but I really started crocheting in college.  My mom had taught me the basics when I was in high school, but I hadn’t really used it until it was my junior year of undergrad and I had a paper to write.  I had some yarn already from my stalled knitting projects and I borrowed a hook from a friend and ta-da!  I’ve always loved trying to find new, creative ways to think about things, whether it be math problems or crochet problems.

IMG_2122

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?

*chuckles*  Um, no?  Not that I know of, at least.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just do something. Start small.  Go with it.  Don’t be afraid to mess up, you can always try again differently next time.  Make this one unique.

IMG_2239

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am an aromantic(-ish?) asexual.

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

Not really.  I have been fortunate enough to not have to deal with a lot of prejudice.  If there are people I know who would say things about it, they haven’t said them to me.

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

I really only have one. I was seeing a counselor on campus and we were talking about my orientations and how I wasn’t absolutely sure I was aro, but was sticking with it for the time being.  He asked me if I thought identifying as aromantic might be hurting my chances at a future romantic relationship.  Insert eyeroll here.

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

It’s okay to not have it figured out.  I’ve gone through several labels myself.  There is only one queer person I know who hasn’t questioned their romantic/sexual identity at some point and he’s gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide. It’s fine.  You’ll figure it out at some point.  😀

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

My Tumblr is doctortreklock, and I’m on AO3 under the same.  My Etsy is HarmoniaThreadwork.

IMG_5321

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

Interview: Will

Today we’re joined by Will, who also goes by Parzifals Judgement online. Will is an amazing visual artist who does a lot of stylized illustrations and small comics. His work is brimming with vibrant colors and remarkable expressions. Will is a very passionate artist who loves what he does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Meet the Artist 2017
Meet the Artist 2017

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I mostly draw stylized illustrations and small comics. I really enjoy digital art’s flat colors and bold lines, and traditionally I like using markers and soft blending. I can also do some small craft things, like make sketchbooks, though that’s more of a new thing.

What inspires you?

I love fairy tales, villains, pastel gore, mythology, monsters, Arthurian legend, and fantasy. I also draw a lot of inspiration from modern superhero comics and deconstruction stories! It’s just really fun to explore the limits of certain ideas, and I enjoy putting it all into comic form, because it tells a long, involved story.

Capra Spring Banner
Capra Spring Banner

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

I didn’t really start drawing seriously until I was 14, and funny enough, theater and self-inserts got me into that. I really started making stories and characters back then and hardcore got into the idea of having my own stories to tell then. After that, I didn’t really know I wanted to be a visual artist until I was in college- I thought I wanted to be a writer, but I just kept drawing as a hobby and eventually after my senior project was a comic, I realized that I really enjoyed drawing comics as an art form.

Lam's new fireproof armor
Lam’s New Fireproof Armor

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 have anything special, but I have a watermark and signature that I use that’s a combination of a P and a J. It’s honestly not the most creative thing, but I enjoy drawing it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I could say blah blah, learn your foundations, follow your dreams, blah blah, do what you love, but I think my first advice is if you have a thing that you enjoy doing with your art, whether it’s making speedpaint videos, or selling prints on RedBubble, or making sketchbook videos, or making a webcomic, whatever it is. Start early. Start now. Having a strong foundation early on really helps, and it’ll give you a goal to work towards. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but if you start now, you can get good habits earlier.

Will Icon 2017
Will Icon 2017

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

It’s complicated. My general labels are asexual aromantic, but I’m pretty sure I’m some sort of male-leaning demi-grey-something for both, so I also just use queer.

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

I don’t … really understand the latest anti-ace discourse, especially from within the LGBTQ+ community. It really confuses me and I don’t really understand it, and people always seem to wonder what my thoughts as an ace person are on the issue. I tend to just avoid that specific discourse and say that I’m not going to share my opinion on it, but it saddens me to see infighting.

Luke Ranger Ribbon
Luke Ranger Ribbon

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

Asexual people don’t belong in the LGBTQ community, currently, but before that, it was “A in LGBTQIA+ Stands for Ally.” Honestly, besides those two, people around me just don’t seem to understand it as a concept, so for better or worse, I don’t get many other irritating misconceptions about asexuality.

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

It’s okay to not know right now. It’s okay to not know for a while. Labels are something to help you, personally, not a thing you have to keep for your entire life. Maybe you won’t be ace tomorrow. Maybe you’ll keep that label forever. Either way, It’s okay.

War Machine Star Garnet
War Machine Star Garnet

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

I have an art blog here on Tumblr at http://will2draw.tumblr.com/  a Deviantart at http://parzifalsjudgment.deviantart.com/ and an Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/parzifalsjudgement/

Light on the Sea
Light on the Sea

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

Interview: Fereby

Today we’re joined by Fereby. Fereby is a phenomenal artist who does a bit of everything. She’s mostly a singer who has a wide vocal range. When she’s not singing, Fereby does a bunch of different kinds of crafts like knitting and sewing. If that weren’t impressive enough, Fereby also does a bit of visual art as well. It’s clear she’s a very dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

IMG_0362

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

First and foremost, I am a vocalist. I have been singing in my high school choirs for four years, three of which I’ve been in the advanced choir. I recently participated in the ACDA honor choir at the regional and state levels. I love choir because I love to harmonize; singing without harmony gets boring quickly. In choir I usually sing soprano, but I’ve gotten so tired of singing the melody that I take any chance I get to sing lower parts. I have a satisfyingly wide vocal range that allows me to sing most tenor (higher male) parts up through the highest soprano (high female) notes, which is nothing but fun for me since I like variety.

IMG_1430

I also love to make things with my hands. I cook, sew, knit, crochet, draw, paint, craft. I make tiny animals out of chewy candies and kneaded erasers. I daydream about building things, and would build them had I the time and means to do so. I just love to make stuff, but on a day-to-day basis when I have to go to school, I tend to stick to drawing and singing, with an occasional poem or short story if I feel like it. I may or may not be mildly obsessed with being able to do everything.

IMG_1060

Visually, I mostly focus on pencil and paper and other readily accessible traditional media. I do use a free mobile application, Adobe Ideas, which lets me do some simple digital drawings in a very nice vector format. I generally don’t have the time or patience to work with the digital medium for most of my ideas, but it’s great fun for playing with color.

IMG_1108

What inspires you?

The way I see it, there are two kinds of inspiration. The “idea” kind and the “inspirational speech/quote” kind. I get ideas from everywhere, anything, from random thoughts that pop into my head at all times of day and night. Sometimes I take them and run with them, sometimes they don’t get very far before I give up or move on to a better one, but ideas are abundant and everywhere and totally random. The other kind, the motivational kind, tends to come from people I admire. Professional choral conductors are highly skilled at being inspiring. (I suspect it’s a trained skill, because without it they would not be able to so easily win the enthusiastic cooperation of a hundred plus people in a short enough amount of time to begin making good music.) However, I also find inspiration and motivation watching some of my favorite YouTubers like Josh Sundquist and the Green brothers, John and Hank.

IMG_1112

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

Both of my parents sing, so from almost the day I was born my life has been influenced by music. My parents wanted to get me piano lessons when I was little, but they were told my hands were too small and so they focused on teaching me to sing instead. I have never had private formal vocal training, but years in choir have taught me a lot about technique and improved my technical skills tremendously.

IMG_1470

My interest in drawing came from I-don’t-know-where. Little kids are encouraged to draw and color and otherwise be creative, and I guess I just never really lost interest in that. There have been periods of time where I didn’t bother to do any drawing, but I keep coming back to it.

IMG_1278

I have always considered myself somewhat artistic, and there were times in my childhood when I aspired to become a singer professionally, but because of my skills in math and language I am continually overwhelmed by all the things I could be and have trouble thinking of myself as any one thing. I currently consider myself an artist, but in a very general sense of the word. I participate in too many forms of creativity to call myself anything more specific.

IMG_1382

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?

Not an established one, no. I keep changing my signature on my visual art as I mature and get new ideas, but it’s usually some version of my first and last name in swoopy artistic lettering. Music-wise, I don’t do enough original work to warrant a signature, but my usual vocal style tends to include smooth, clear tones that blend well in harmonies or with soft guitar accompaniment. The songs I write tend to sound like lullabies, as I usually prefer to sing in a relaxed style and focus on melody. I have no experience writing high-energy songs.

IMG_1519

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You do you. Skill and experience are important to do anything well, but at the end of the day, art is about making things, and it’s up to you what you add to this world. Do what you enjoy. Make something you can be proud of. Especially with performing arts, your audience will enjoy your art much more if you enjoy making it. If you’re bored and tired of what you’re making, your audience may notice and be bored along with you. So do things you like to do.

IMG_1620

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aromantic asexual. I still haven’t figured out what gender is.

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

I’m not really out among musicians, and I don’t really have a community when it comes to visual art, but there are always people in my life who don’t understand. I tend to just put up with whatever comes my way, though not without doing my best to correct misconceptions first. People don’t tend to give up their preconceived notions so easily though.

IMG_1646

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

For some reason, I keep encountering people who think they know what I’m feeling better than I do. When I honestly disclose my experiences, they express disbelief that it’s possible for me to feel that way, and then tell me what they think I must be feeling based on what I’ve told them. They can’t imagine how anyone could possibly not have a sex drive or sexual attraction, and they are incapable of understanding that wanting to experience kissing or other romantically-coded activities does not equate to romantic attraction.

IMG_2108

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

Listen to yourself. No one can decide how you feel about something but you. Learning about the experiences of other people who came to identify on the ace spectrum can be a tremendous help in giving you a frame of reference as to what your orientation might be, and there are plenty of blogs on Tumblr dedicated to patiently answering the questions of people just like you. Just remember that the words you attach to yourself should be there because you feel they are right and not because someone told you that’s what you probably are.

IMG_1983

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

I don’t currently have an internet presence as an artist, but that may change at some nebulous point in the future. Any information about my art will most likely be posted to my Tumblr at ferebypie.

IMG_1661

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