Interview: Tina Speece

Today we’re joined by Tina Speece, who also goes by tinadrawsstuff. Tina is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in pinups and portraits. She mostly does black and white and grayscale. Her work is beautiful and has an extraordinary amount of detail. It’s clear she’s a talented and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Pink Pop Dress
Pink Pop Dress

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My name is Tina, and I’m multimedia artist-illustrator with a deep love of stories and storytelling. I love color, but I wind up working in black and white and grayscale a lot for reasons I still haven’t figured out. Pinups and portraits are my bread-and-butter and I take a lot of pride in making things “cute”.

What inspires you?

Stories!  Especially the way themes cycle and recycle and how we relate to those themes.  Cautionary tales disguised as kids’ bedtime stories, campfire scare stories that you know by heart but still a net a scream in the right atmosphere, stories “you think you know BUT” with some aspect changed [anything sympathetic to the monstrous is my favorite in this category]–there are patterns and beats that are older than time, but they still draw us in and we still keep going to those themes no matter what the world is like, and that’s so amazing to me!

2. Flapper Carmilla
Flapper Carmilla

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

Funny story: my 4th grade art teacher told me I had no talent for art and needed to pick a new elective, which as a highly impressionable child pretty much destroyed any confidence I could’ve had at any point as a kid.  I switched to vocal music and theater and didn’t really make any art for a long time after that.  I was still fascinated by visual arts but since I “had no talent” for it, I settled for watching tons of movies and cartoons and writing fanfiction, and telling myself “This is good, this is fine”.

Then I got to college, and was planning to go on as an English major.  My first semester (like most everybody’s first semester) was a hodgepodge of “required” Gen. Ed classes that didn’t have anything to do with what I wanted to be doing but I had to do it.  I had some really good friends in my Japanese class, and to practice both the writing and our vocab, we started making silly little comics with the characters in our book (the illustrations in GENKI! were really easy to copy). Because we were all doing little comics and we were all friends, there wasn’t pressure to be “great” at it? They were just silly little things that we made, that I enjoyed making–that I drew during other lectures because I have always needed to do something while listening to something else so I could focus.

So I was sitting in Philosophy one day, doodling the ongoing love-triangle between Mary, Susan, and Takashi and listening to the lecture when it hit me [we’re talking a metaphorical punch to the face]: I like language, I don’t like it enough to sit and analyse it to this kind of depth for the next four years.  I called my mom, told her I didn’t want to study English, I wanted to study art, no I don’t know what I’m going to do, but it’s more right than anything I’ve thought about studying.

Fortunately for me, my mom was (and still is) super supportive.

I graduated with a BFA in 2013 and after a year of not being sure what to do (because freelancing is hard and art-focused opportunities in my area wanted more degree than I had), I applied and got into the Masters program at Columbus College of Art & Design in Ohio, finished THAT in 2017 and am still freelancing but now with a much better idea of what I’m doing. I honestly can’t imagine having gone in any other direction at this point in my life, and I only regret not drawing for so long between 4th grade and college.

4. Deep Sea [3x3, acrylic pour]
Deep Sea (acrylic pour)
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 try to remember to sign everything, but I like a small unobtrusive signature, so I tuck a TS somewhere in just about everything.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

1. You are going to make some really, really, really ugly things.  Sometimes you’ll be proud of those ugly things for a while, but they’re still gonna be ugly.  And that’s a good thing: you have to make ugly to understand what it is and whether you want to use it actively.

2. Do your best to purge the pop-culture expectation of an artist from your brain.  That way lies the path of disappointment and being really freaking annoying, not to mention it takes a lot of energy to namedrop and fake ennui.

3. Don’t fear the “art block”.  It’s your friend in the long run, because it lets you know something’s not working–either your mental health needs some attention and that’s why you’re not making, or you’ve stopped actively trying to hone your skills and have gotten lazy and your brain is bored and that means you need to get out of your comfort zone for a while, or that you need to take a break from the thing you’re currently doing and go do something else; even if that “something else” has nothing to do with art–everyone needs a break regularly.

3. Glow Up 2007-2019
Glow Up 2007-2019

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a demisexual bi!

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

Oh yeah–I get it two-fold for being both demi and multi-attracted.  I usually get asked if the figures and character I’m drawing are ideal sexual partners or if my conflict and discomfort with another person in my field is because deep down I just want “bang them”.

The subject question is easy to displace, I just start ranting about the lack of variation in character design and that kills almost all follow-up.  The second question I usually just shut down with a face-melting stare because sometimes it’s not a judicious moment to ask someone if they’re a friggin idiot.

5. Penguin [3x3, acrylic pour]
Penguin (acrylic pour)
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That it’s something that can be “fixed” by an encounter with “the right person” and you’ll know in an instant

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

1. How you feel does have a name, and there are other people who feel the way you do.

2. You’re not alone, and that’s important.

3. You’re not broken, you’re not stupid, and you can’t just “pretend to be normal” because there’s nothing abnormal about you.

4. Most of the people you try to explain this to probably won’t get it, and they’ll say things that hurt because they mean well.  You have every right to correct them, you have every right to defend yourself; don’t feel bad when you do, because you deserve that respect, even from people who generally mean well.

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

My portfolio
My studio Instagram
The Facebook page
Ownable, hard copies of work here, here, or here!

6. Valentine [Silicone] 9x12
Valentine (silicone)
Thank you, Tina, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Jasmine Aguirre

Today we’re joined by Jasmine Aguirre. Jasmine is a wonderful fanartist, who also does a little original work. Her art has a very dreamy and surreal look to it with quite a lot of bright and vibrant colors. Jasmine is a very dedicated and driven artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. space ace pride
Space Ace Pride

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art mainly consists of like 95% fanart and the other 5% is some original art, which I don’t make a lot of. I usually get much more enjoyment working with already existing characters and worlds, whatever holds my obsessive interest at the time.

The art I create has a lot of hours and passion put into it. I dabble often with pairings, I love the inspiration they give me after a small artist’s block. I draw a lot of romantic pieces as well, it’s what adore doing. I love drawing details of the clothing and hair and expressions and actions in my own art style. I go for very semi-realistic vibes and bright, fun colors. Colors are my favorite part of any piece, pink and purples are my go to!

What inspires you?

Music, day dreaming and other artists, so much really, but what towers over those is self-improvement. I struggle with still needing practice on different aspects of drawing. But, with every frustration that emerges from me when I can’t get something right, I tend to reverse that and use it as optimism that I’m still learning. It might not look right now, but in the future I will get way more better and get less stressed. Looking at a piece from 2012 until now causes a huge boost of confidence and satisfaction, knowing you heavily improved on drawing eyes the way you wanted to or getting better at legs, etc.

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

I have always wanted to be an artist (more specific an Illustrator), since I was super young. I remember how obsessed I was with Disney’s The Little Mermaid and loved Ariel so much, I tore out a piece of notebook paper and opened my Little Mermaid illustration book and drew Ariel on the paper on one side of the book while her image was on the opposite end.

Since then, I was enthusiastic about drawing at school and even my art teachers supported it and wanted me to thrive, knowing I had this creative ability. I did especially well in high school where my final year there I won an art contest and got a medal. My biggest art related accomplishment goes to having my illustration design as one of my local libraries new library card designs while I worked there, it was the most popular and it was flattering seeing everyone adore my card.

There isn’t anything I see myself being but an artist for the rest of my life! There isn’t a day I go without drawing something, anything.

2. jessica rabbit
Jessica Rabbit

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 suppose my art style is quite unique, it’s a mix semi-realism, yet it’s still got cartoon vibes to it. At the moment, I don’t have anything special to reveal.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never compare yourself to anyone, you’re never a step behind. Never say to anyone that you can’t draw and what’s the point in trying. Drawing does take loads of time and patience, but it’s honestly extremely rewarding. Go above and beyond with drawing, with the whole media of art. The best things about the art field is that its big, so you can try your might with animation, painting, cartooning, watercolors, markers, even sculpting. It’s all about creativity and we all have a great deal of creativity to find within us and use and show.

Always be proud of what you make. Make mistakes. Learn from them. Let yourself thrive.

4. heart attack sketch
Heart Attack sketch

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

It’s slightly complicated, but let me break it down.

My sexuality was fluid for years. It wasn’t easy, I was actually scared to find out I was a-spec and worried about what I should label myself, but once I did research and found out it was normal and I wasn’t alone, I felt more comfortable.

Since I was 20, I generally identified myself as being Asexual to anyone that’s curious to know. In a nutshell I would say, “Im Ace, I’m not interested in sex or anything sexual.” I have asexual merch, like the ace flag, pin, shirt and popsocket. However, if you want a more detailed look into who I am, I’m on the a-spectrum, I am autochorissexual.

Autochorissexual is “Predominantly or entirely fantasize about fictional characters or celebrities, rather than people in real life they know. Identify as asexual and feel no sexual attraction to people, but enjoy masturbating, are aroused by sexually explicit content, and/or have sexual fantasies” (Quote from Asexual’s Wikia).

Now this isn’t 100% believed to be a real sexuality. But, personally as someone who knows themselves and has experienced such strong and similar feelings, I know I am.

As for romantic, I still have yet to fully figure out what I’m comfortable with, or if I want to ever put a label on it. All I know is that it’s on the aro-spectrum at the moment while I do.

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

Luckily, I have not at this time. Everyone I have encountered and that know I am on the a-spectrum are quite positive and supportive.

For pride month last year, while I worked at the library at the front desk with my co-worker (who I also found out was queer and was ace as well, very happy revelation,) we put the flags on the window. The one people asked about respectively was the asexual flag. I would nervously but proudly tell them about it and they would nod and understand. It was nice to know that others were genuinely willing to know.

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

That it’s a phase, we’re doing it for attention, we wanna be unique and quirky, or we have yet to find the right person; also, that every asexual person is sex-repulsed. Or the worst one, we don’t really exist, so to say. But, none of those are true.

We’re entering a new generation of people who identify more as asexual than ever before and we’ve always been here. It’s even more incredible to see older folk learn about what asexuality is and finally come to a conclusion that they’ve felt that way all their life and never knew why, or that it had a name, and that they were not alone.

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

It’s okay to keep questioning what you like and don’t like, your sexuality is fluid, there’s an entire spectrum for you to discover. It took me my entire life until I was 20 and a few relationships to figure it out completely.

You’re not broken at all and you’re not alone. It does get so much better, I promise. Don’t give into pressure either. If you feel like you have to be in a relationship of any kind like your peers, don’t push yourself to that degree. Trust yourself and your feelings.

All in all, it’s your label if you want one or not. No one knows you better than you! You know who you are, you are valid and you are real.

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

I’m almost all over the place, but here’s where you can easily find me!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/supernovajazzy
Art Blog: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/supernovajazzy-art
Twitter: https://twitter.com/supernova_jazzy

3. peterwendy
Peter and Wendy

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

Interview: Meredith Dobbs

Today we’re joined by Meredith Dobbs. Meredith is a phenomenal filmmaker based in London. She specializes in narrative films, particularly improv drama. She currently works on short films and web series. Meredith hopes to get into indie features eventually. It’s very clear that she’s an incredibly passionate 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’m a writer, director, and editor of narrative films. I’m working on shorts and web series now, and I want to make indie features long term. As a writer and director, I work primarily in improv drama.

What inspires you?

I’m really interested in relationships, and I’m interested in space between reality and fiction. Films can feel so realistic, so much like life, without ever being truly real because at the end of the day, film is still an artistic medium. And that line between film and reality that you can strive for but never cross is really interesting to me. Not in terms of pushing people to that edge, but pushing the art to it. So I think my stories will always be about relationships, and my techniques will in some way explore that edge.

2

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

I always loved movies. We watched a lot of movies together as a family when I was a kid, and we still quote movies all the time.  When I went to college, I knew I wanted to take some film production classes, but I only saw them as fun electives because I felt I had to do something “serious” like biology.  So I arranged my classes to do a film degree alongside my biology degree.  But after one semester, I completely fell in love with film, and I really found myself in it.  I dropped the bio major and never, ever looked back.

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 use an improv technique that I didn’t invent exactly, but I really had to work out for myself, so there isn’t anyone else that does it the way I do.  My scripts don’t have any dialogue at all — they just describe the characters’ thoughts and feelings — and the actors have to improvise their own dialogue.  I like how it requires listening and responding (the two key tenets of improv) between actors, but also between director and actor.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I think the best advice, which is also the hardest to follow, is to do whatever you want to do. If you’re interested in something, try it out.  I wanted to do this film production summer camp when I was in high school – I really, really wanted it – but I was afraid to ask my parents to pay for it, so I didn’t go.  It makes me wonder how much time I lost not doing this thing I love so much.

3

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demisexual.  I have a long term partner who has helped me explore my sexual interests, but I also know I would happily be on the asexual side of my spectrum if I were single.

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

Not in my field, no. Honestly, my work has been the most accepting place for me to talk about my asexuality.  I’m currently working on a short film about a woman trying to tell her boyfriend that she’s bisexual, which was inspired by my experience telling my boyfriend that I’m demisexual.  (I hope to explore asexuality directly in a longer piece in the future.)  Everyone on the project has been nothing but engaged and accepting.

All the resistance and prejudice I’ve experienced has come from family and close friends.  I also struggle a little internally. Understanding the in-between nature of demisexuality has been hard, because I don’t fit in either camp: ace or allo.  I have to remind myself that fluid doesn’t mean unsure, because I’m certain demisexual is absolutely the right term for me.  So I work really hard to understand myself and communicate to my partner.

4. Sam and August Theater

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

That it’s not a sexuality; that it’s just my opinion, or just a phase.

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

Just knowing that a definition existed for me made all the difference in the world.  There’s nothing wrong with who you are, and there’s nothing wrong with defining yourself differently tomorrow, or next year, or 10 years from now.  It’s all fluid.

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

www.meredithdobbsfilms.com

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

Interview: Zen

Today we’re joined by Zen. Zen is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in watercolors. They mostly paint landscapes. Aside from watercolor, Zen has been dabbling in a number of other mediums and fields, including fashion design. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. concept i

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Primarily I am a watercolour artist, and I usually create landscape paintings. I also dabble in digital art. Currently, I’m working on a 5 painting series titled ‘Night in London’.

I am also trying to get into fashion, designing and making my own clothes. I have an ace shirt up for sale in my Etsy store, and I’m working on creating more asexual merch.

Aside from that, I am attempting to get a full-time job in games design, amongst other ventures.

I’m probably biting off more than I can chew, but surrounding myself with work motivates me to do said work, so I’m not planning to stop.

What inspires you?

Life. Music and nature. Pretty much everything to be honest.

I once got an idea for a piece (that is waiting in a queue to be made) while tying my shoelaces. The night in London series came to me while walking around London in the evening. I have another series called Shangri-La (unfinished) that was inspired by a song called ‘Shangri-La’.

2

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

I started at a very young age because a close friend of mine started taking art classes, and I didn’t want to be left out. In the subsequent years, I kept going to classes even after we moved countries.

I am ashamed to say that after developing depression at the age of 12, I stopped doing art unless it was for homework. I still kept picking art electives and going to art studios after school, but I never really put much effort into it. I only did it because it was expected of me.

It was in year 12 (I was 17) that I started to get back into painting. I realised how nice it is when my paintings made other people happy. I really got into it while in college (not uni), which is when I started posting on Instagram.

I now create not only because I want to make other people happy, but I am also starting to regain the enjoyment I felt while creating.

Honestly, I’m still not sure if this what I want to do with my life, but I’m only 21, I’ve got plenty of time to figure it out.

dav

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?

Aside from my signature, unfortunately, I don’t have anything like that.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep going. Keep creating. Observe the universe.

However obviously don’t force it, don’t push yourself to the brink. Take breaks if you need to.

dav

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and currently questioning my romantic orientation, I currently identify as biromantic

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

I have been lucky so far not to encounter anything like that.

If I did, I’d probably try to explain it once and if that didn’t change anything then I’d just ignore them.

dav

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

Most of my friends identify as members of the LGBT+ community, with only a couple being straight. While they are very accepting of me, they do however always mistakenly assume that because I’m ace, I don’t want to have sex, ever.

I feel like I should just print the explanation on a card somewhere because explaining it, does get annoying.

6

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

You are valid and anyone who says otherwise is wrong.

If you are not certain, that is perfectly fine. If your label ends up changing over the years, it is OK. You are valid no matter what.

I went from being lesbian to bi and then pan, to then finally learning about asexuality. It’s a journey. You’ll get there.

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

My main Instagram where I post my watercolour work: https://instagram.com/paperstaradventure/
My fashion Instagram where I post fashion sketches, thou currently it’s mainly just selfies: https://www.instagram.com/straystarlights/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/paperstaradvent
Tumblr: https://paperstaradventure.tumblr.com
Art Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/paperstaradventure
Fashion Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/paperstaradventure

dav

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

Interview: Chloe Charlton

Today we’re joined by Chloe Charlton. Chloe is a phenomenal visual artist. She’s a student who is currently studying graphic design and illustration. She enjoys playing with various styles and themes. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist who loves to create, 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:

My art is a mixture of different things really. There’s no theme or particular subject to it. Sometimes it even changes styles, but that’s one of the things I love about my work and art in general. How free it is.

My art is the passion I put into projects, the thoughts and feelings I can’t put into words, the having an idea and making it into something special. Something I can proudly call my own, that I can show others and hopefully inspire others.

What inspires you?

What doesn’t inspire me. It’s anything and everything. Art movements, comics, other artist, (old and new) portraits and landscapes. It could be a holiday, what someone said, something I’ve read, a song I’ve heard, a movie I’ve watched. It could even be about a dream/daydream I’ve had. It’s whatever makes me feel, which I find very important when creating. To take that feeling and the make it through art. As one of my favourite quotes goes, “The principles of true art is not to portray, but to evoke.” By Jerzy Kosiński.

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

Family is what got me into drawing when I was young. My Dad and my Nan are great at art. I loved watching them draw when I was younger, especially my Dad, who I would always want to draw with. Obviously, I was not as good as them at the time, but they were encouraging. All my family were, which I am still grateful for.

However, I was not always into art. For many years, I fell out of it. I didn’t have much interest in art, especially in school. I think this was because I couldn’t see me going anywhere with it at the time. I was about 14 years old when I got back into drawing. I had friends who liked to draw, and it was mostly them who got me back into it.

I’m glad they did. I’m now 20 and very happy that I am continuing to do art.

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 anything specific? Right now, my art has been described as a mix of realism and cartoonish? However, it could change. I’m still learning, still developing, still discovering.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Go crazy! You want to try drawing? Do it! Painting? Sculpture? Collage? Poetry? Performance? Do it! Want to try all of them at least once? DO IT! It’s a great way to develop yourself as an artist and as a person and finding out what you enjoy best.

Notebooks! Have an idea? Write it down! Want to doodle something first to see how it would look? Jot it down! Scribble, mind-map, capitalise, highlight and underline. Whatever you may do with your notebook, keep it close. Make it your own personalised journal. It can hold ideas that you don’t want to forget, come back to later or reflect on in years to come.

Don’t throw away/hide failures. Own them! Be proud of them! Accept and learn from them.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Pan-Asexual? I’m pretty sure that’s the name. I can confidently say as my sexual orientation I’m Asexual. As for my romantic orientation, I’m sure it’s Panromantic. I’ve always thought that I wouldn’t really mind who I am with, as long as they’re happy and I’m happy.

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

Nothing too bad. (Thankfully) I think the worst experienced is mostly people not knowing what asexuality is/never heard of it before, so they either have misunderstandings of the meaning or are unsure of whether it’s a real thing.

I’ve been rather lucky so far. Usually any problems I’ve had are quickly resolved through explanation. As for other things like posts that say Asexuality isn’t a real thing, blah blah blah, I ignore them and carry on. These people are not me. They do not know who I am and how I feel. They do not get to decide that either. I know who I am and that’s all that matters to me.

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

Mostly being mistaken for not feeling anything at all.

Most people who I have told about my asexuality thought it meant I wasn’t interest in anything to do with a relationship. Which isn’t true. Luckily though, this is usually resolved by an explanation of what asexuality is.

Though it’s not always easy to do. For example, I had to explain to my Mum twice what asexuality meant before she finally understood what it was. At first, my Mum mis-heard the word ‘asexual’ and heard it as ‘a sexual’, which she assumed it meant someone who’s really into sex (the forbidden word). However, after trying to explain to her what it meant, she calmed down. Though, she still didn’t quite get it, not until many years later where she asked me about it again. After my first explanation years ago, she thought it meant I didn’t feel any romantic feelings at all and would never want a relationship ever. Now I’ve explained it better that yes, I can be interested in a relationship, it’s just sex I’m not interested in, she finally understands it better now.

To be honest though, that probably was the worst of it. I’ve had friends also think it meant I felt nothing at all, but it mostly took a quick explanation of what Asexuality meant and it would be resolved.

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

Don’t let people doubt yourself or bring you down. Don’t let them second guess who you are with their views. Don’t conform to what people want you to be instead. This is your life, not theirs. Your world doesn’t revolve around them and you do not exist to appease them. Be proud of who you are!

If you are still unsure whether you are an asexual, that’s alright. You can research, read and communicate. It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers, even later on in life. You can take your time discovering yourself. It’s your life! You grow, change and learn! Ultimately, you’re going to okay. You’ve got this!

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

You can find me on Instagram and Tumblr. Though, most of my art can be found on Instagram.

Instagram: www.instagram.com/thecharlton99
Tumblr: www.thecharltonarts.tumblr.com

Thank you for reading!

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

Interview: Kat Lawson

Today we’re joined by Kat Lawson. Kat is a phenomenal writer and visual artist. She’s working on an urban fantasy novel that is filled with diverse and interesting character. When she’s not writing, Kat is a photographer who focuses on perspective and color. It’s clear she’s a very passionate artist who loves to create, 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 primarily a fiction writer, specifically urban fantasy (though I’m not yet published, give me time). My books feature all kinds of sexualities and gender identities in the hopes that everyone who reads them can find someone like themselves, as well as a lot of vampires and other supernatural creatures. I also do a lot of photography on the side, where I focus on perspective and colour, and how changing your perspective can completely change what you see.

What inspires you?

I’m most inspired by the world around me. I go on a lot of nature walks to find inspiration for my photos, and I’ll take photos of anything that takes my fancy. Anything that holds beauty, even if it’s not traditional, will find itself my muse. I spend a lot of time down at the local gardens, the gardens there are themed and so no two photos are the same. I can often be seen in strange positions trying to get the perfect photo, especially when I’m playing with the perspective, trying to make a flower look like a tree or a puddle look like the sky.

My writing comes from the people around me and the stories they share with me, as well as a life-long fascination with the paranormal and fantastic. An English teacher I used to have in high school told me to write what you know and you can never go wrong, and I live by that. How I feel, experiences I’ve had, and research I have done all contribute to my stories.

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

My dad is a professional photographer, so he kind of passed on his love down to me. Right from the first camera I got at age ten I knew that I wanted to be able to share my photography with people and to share with them the memories that said photos hold.

I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I remember, I’ve always been a bookworm, and when I couldn’t find the sort of stories that featured people like me, I decided to write them 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 don’t really have a signature, that I know of anyway.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never give up doing what you love, and don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t good enough. As long as you are doing what you love, then there will always be someone who will recognize it and love it in return.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m one of those people who has kind of jumped around the spectrum, trying on every label I could find until I eventually found one that fit me best. I grew up in a super religious household, where it was expected that I would marry a guy and have kids with him. It wasn’t until a friend told me (right at the end of high school) that I had other options that I even began to seriously consider that how I felt was okay and I didn’t have to pretend anymore. Realizing I was ace was easy once I found the word, I always felt like the whole sex thing was a joke, I never understood it or why it was so important in every story I felt. I always thought but why don’t they just not have sex? It was a total mystery to me. But now, after several years of experimenting with different labels, I’ve settled on asexual lesbian.

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

The joys of being an independent artist is that I can pick and choose the people around me. I have come across a few people who haven’t been able to understand who I am, but I either do my best to either educate them, or simply ignore them. I’ve never really encountered true prejudice, more ignorance than anything else. All the jokes about sex and how I’d like it if I just tried it really grate after a while, but you learn to ignore it.

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

That sex-repulsed aces are the only aces out there. There’s this whole misconception that sexual attraction must be present for one to enjoy sex, which I totally disagree with. That, and that asexuality is a mental disorder, or just flat-out isn’t real.

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

It’s okay to question, and it’s okay to change your label. Asexuality is hard to figure out, especially when you have nothing to compare it to. But you’re not broken, and it does get easier. Sexuality is a spectrum, and you’re allowed to change where you fall on it.

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

As I’m unpublished, you can’t find my writing anywhere (yet, give me time), but my photography is on Instagram at Lady_Nyx and Tumblr at disaster-gay-beauregard.tumblr.com

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

Signal Boost: Others Comic

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Hey all!

I’m still alive (interviews will resume next week. I’ve been traveling).

Over the weekend, I was at ACE Comic Con in Arizona and I was table neighbors with some really amazing people. One of them told me about this extraordinary project about stories about the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a fantastic project and Mr. Vernon is always looking for stories and would like to feature more ace stories. I recommend checking it out and definitely consider submitting if you’re so inclined.

Link: http://theothers.webcomic.ws