Interview: Sara

Today we’re joined by Sara. Sara is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in acrylic painting and digital photography. She enjoys experimenting with different mediums and styles. Her work shows an incredibly creative mind with beautiful colors and amazing detail, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Pezzella Pattern and Texture Portrait

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a contemporary minded fine artist whose training was in traditional representational art. I have a history of bouncing between mediums but for the time I’ve settled on acrylic painting and digital photography. Although I alternate between styles and mediums, in my work I consistently use bold compositions and colors as a means of expressing my innermost thoughts and emotions.

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What inspires you?

I’ve always found sources of inspiration to be a tricky thing to nail down. I think there’s probably a lot of things in my life that inspire me in ways I’m not even aware of. A big thing for me is that fact that I’m a workaholic and very passionate about art. The drive to create new works is always there and working on projects usually helps me generate more ideas so I never really run out.

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

I’ve been a creative person my whole life. As a little girl, I wanted to be an artist but at some point that shifted to wanting a career as a chef. Midway through high school, I did a lot of soul searching and realized I was spending significantly more time on photography than cooking. I began to more consciously dedicate time to art and decided to study art in college.

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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?

Most of my work is very bold in nature especially in terms of the colors I choose to work with. This is super reflective of my personality. I’m not a very subtle person.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Work like you’re running out of time and use the work of others as inspiration, not fuel to tear yourself down. If you don’t want a career in the arts, it doesn’t matter how good you are as long as you get joy out of your work. If you do want a career in the arts, don’t sweat it because it takes work to get where you want to be. Look at your work with a critical eye so you can improve, but never tear yourself down.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an aromantic demisexual

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

I’m not out to most people so I haven’t particularly encountered prejudice personally but that being said, the assumption that everyone is allosexual is always alive and well. There’s a lot in both fine art and marketing that is very sexualized either intentionally or unintentionally. As an art student, I was always super confused by the awkwardness most people have around doing figurative work especially for the first time. I was always just like, “Well they’re naked and this is a part of my training and also bodies are really fascinating to study this isn’t a sexual thing.”

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

That it’s just another type of being straight. I’ve had friends be like “oh I’m glad you found a word that describes you!” while also downplaying the fact that it’s an orientation just like being bisexual or gay and I’m like wait no you don’t understand I thought I was broken.

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Brooke

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

Follow positivity blogs. Being demi immediately made sense to me once I found out it was a thing but figuring out, and accepting, my aromanticism was much more of a journey. Seeing aro positivity and posts about how there’s many different ways to be aro did a lot for me.

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pezzella.sara/
Tumblr: http://spezzella.tumblr.com/
Website: https://www.sarapezzella.com/
RedBubble: https://www.redbubble.com/people/spezzella

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Dust

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

Interview: Daniel DeLion

Today we’re joined by Daniel DeLion. Daniel is a wonderfully talented death metal vocalist who also writes quite a lot. He is obviously very passionate about his art, which tends to be rather dark and some would consider it disturbing. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Warning: this interview touches on some pretty heavy subject matter (probably much heavier than any other interview)

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer and death metal vocalist. I sometimes draw as well but nothing spectacular. My focus is sadness. I write mostly poems but have a few short stories. This is actually the first time I’ve ever attached any image of myself or my name to my poetry blog. This is sorta a coming out. Perhaps my biggest goal of my writing would be to produce a graphic novel (or series) or TV series about an asexual anti-hero, a fantastically gory dark comedy. For now, my art is mostly about myself and my internal struggles.

What inspires you?

Irony. Contrarianism. Depression. Suicide. Self-harm. Anxiety. Realism. I’ve known for a long time that there was something different with how I see words and performing and other people. Since coming to terms with myself, I definitely cite my aro-asexuality as a reason. Since I’ve always had a hard time understanding love, sex, relationships, and everything else that American culture attaches, I don’t share certain solidarities as most others. I see a poem or Facebook post describing love and I say, “You’re wrong. Don’t tell me how I experience the world.” One common recurring theme is color. I’ve heard dozens of times that falling in love is like seeing a new color. So… I wrote a poem about “falling in love” and the world turning black and white titled “Too Good For This Universe.”

When it comes to singing and performing, it’s all about the performance. It’s all about giving people something to remember. Death metal is such boring scene. For years, I was typical and wore my most brutal shirt and casual jeans with Converse or Vans. Then one show, I decided to go with a kimono instead of a shirt. Then a flower crown. Then purple Sketchers. It was liberating. I was on stage, crying. I was screaming, confronting my depression, suicide ideation, anxiety, loneliness, and bodily insecurities. I never felt more alive.

I can name a couple dozen heroes that helped me embrace being myself, but in the end, I owe it to my need to rebel.

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

I have no clue when I started to like writing. I’m still not entirely sure if I do. I didn’t know I was any good at it until senior year, 2011. I hate reading. I could rant for a while of how the school system failed at making me comfortable doing art. I joined my former band in 2012. I had only been practicing death metal growls for a few months. The band The Project Hate MCMXCIX got me into death metal. I didn’t expect my band to last the almost 5 years it did. But, it was having to write lyrics that made me write outside of schoolwork. It was stupid. It still took almost two years for me to really start thinking of myself as a writer. School really hindered my confidence in myself. I was always being told that I was wrong. That’s what made me think of myself as an artist. Artists don’t follow rules.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Trigger Warning: Ridiculous Pretension Imminent.

Pursuing art is awful. Like, I don’t believe I’ll ever be a traditionally successful writer because I don’t ever want to make money from it. I write because it’s the only thing I have control over. I can control my artistic expression.

My advice would be to expect to hate art. Expect to hate what you create. My father always told me, “People always hate what they create.” That’s how he signed one of my birthday cards. I still don’t know what he created though… I’m sorry to be a downer but that’s my place in the “community.” I’m a tortured artist. I beat myself on stage. I bleed on paper.

“Artist” is a heavy word to me. I don’t know if I believe in “aspiring artists.” You’re either an artist or you’re not. If this was, “What advice would you give aspiring writers?” Then I could say, “Read the dictionary,” or whatever. But art is different. Over the years, I’ve met hundreds of musicians, writers, illustrators, composers, and plenty of others. You can tell an artist apart from the others. There’s a passion in them. Most people I met were just trying to make money from a hobby. Bands with more shirt designs than songs. They just wanted attention. If you’re that person, I don’t have much more to say. Enjoy your hobby.

But if you think you’re an artist, Be Prepared For Suffering. Know that you’ll lose sleep. You’ll lose friends. You’ll lose or gain weight from skipping meals or comfort eating. Know that you’ll question everything. You’ll wonder why you’re working so hard. You’ll wonder why it’s worth it. You’ll finish something after months or years and still be dissatisfied. But in the end, it’ll be worth it because it’s yours.

Bonus Tip: Drink tea, eat Swedish Fish.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I sometimes call myself Demisexual but usually stick to Asexual because it’s easier to explain. I also consider myself Aromantic. More specifically I’d be a Quoiromantic but don’t really consider that a label, more of a superlative. I only started thinking of myself as asexual last year and publically came out in June. It’s been an awful journey of self-discovery. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve hurt people I care about. But I’m still learning. Being asexual is tough. I think being male compounds the problems. Still learning. Always learning.

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

I don’t think so. Interestingly enough, sexualities and various nuances don’t come up too often at metal shows. Before my band broke up, I was working on a novel/collection of poems/anti-love story about an asexual and pansexual that would be a full album. It would’ve been cool to see some reactions but that’ll have to be put off until further notice. As a writer, I don’t know if I’ve ever faced anything explicit. It would take a lot for me to consider it “prejudice.” At my day job, I’ve dealt with some ignorance and rude questions.

Handling it is easy. I simply remember that it’s hard for people to understand. Most people never think of not having sexual interests. Most people are curious and don’t mean to be unbecoming. When I have had actual arguments, I do my best to be as easy to understand as possible. Not everybody wants to be educated, so to say. As long as they’re not being physically intrusive, I ignore it. I would advise the same to anybody reading. We don’t need bad vibes.

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

  1. Contextualize everything. Most people aren’t bigots. They just don’t understand. You have to be better and choose to understand their misunderstanding. This also means that you can sever sex from anything and everything. Recently, I’ve gotten interested in rope art. Bondage art. It took effort but I learned that I could enjoy various BDSM aesthetics without being aroused by them. It’s all about context. This is a dense thing that’s hard to unpack.
  2. Never compromise or force anyone else to. This one is really tough. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve done things I wish I hadn’t. You need to exist for yourself. If someone wants you in their life but rejects your identity, move on. Do your best to educate but never force anyone to think anything. This also goes for struggling with representation. Don’t ever sign a petition to get asexual characters in a movie or whatever. That’s pandering. That’s dishonest. That’s fake art. You want asexuals in fiction, you write it. If someone says you can’t, write more. Never Compromise.
  3. Remember we care. The ace community is super rad. Without the online presence, I don’t know if I’d ever come to terms with myself. For reals. The Ace community is always here. You can try your luck with other LGBT groups but I say to stick with us. Maybe not me specifically because I’m a terrible listener, but the group.

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

My poetry: nothingbutaspaceman-writings.tumblr.com
My music from my first, and now defunct, band: deserteclipse.bandcamp.com #DefendDepressiveMetal
My new musical project: facebook.com/redruminthewheatfield

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