Interview: Schi-Lee A. Smith

Today we’re joined by Schi-Lee A. Smith. Schi-Lee is a phenomenal artist who is incredibly versatile. She does a lot of visual art and even teaches painting classes. When she’s not doing visual art, Schi-Lee enjoys writing and writes both original work and fanfiction. Schi-Lee also has a passion for singing and even has some karaoke fans. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist with an impressive amount of passion, 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.

Well, I paint quite often, I actually teach painting classes sometimes.  I sing, a lot; I have some fans at karaoke.  I draw with pen or pencil, too, and I write, both fanfiction and original works.  My writing is usually like what I read, sci-fi ish, and I pride myself on making realistic dialogue.  I like to paint and draw realistically, haven’t quite gotten abstract down.  My singing can be just about anything, I can sing Creep by Postmodern Jukebox and Highway to Hell just as easily.

What inspires you?

When I was a child, it was my Dad.  I still have his drawings and poems around my house, and when I was very young, he would record us singing on a giant cassette tape recorder thing and let me do skits in between songs.  He was very artistic, and just about all my artistic tendencies stem from him.  Now, it’s still that in a way, but also I just want to see the beauty in the world, and add to it if I can.  Lots of people love hearing me sing, and love my writing, and love my artwork.  If I can make someone else happy, then I’ve succeeded.

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

Technically my field is Biology, that’s what I’m majoring in in University, but I’ll always consider myself a musician, artist, and writer.  My Dad never put me down for any art I did, so I was never afraid to get into something I wanted to do, and it’s always been with me since childhood so even if I never get any recognition for any of it, I’ll always be an artist. Therefore it’s not as much something I want to do, as something I’m doing, even if I stay obscure.

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 do, actually.  My Dad’s signature was a heart with ‘LAB’, his initials, in the center, all interconnected, it’s really neat.  I made one for myself when my initials were still SAB, but it looked really weird, so when I got married, I changed it to a kind of horns, or something, to match SAS.  It’s hard to draw with a mouse, but it’s basically this.

Signature

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t worry about what others say is art, art is what you want it to be.  I have friend who play metal that people say isn’t music, but it is to them, and it makes them happy.  Draw/sing/write/do whatever to make you happy, or to get it out of your head, don’t do it for others.

And don’t be put down if it sucks at first, most everyone’s first drawing of a person is a stick figure, just practice, and practice a lot.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a biromantic asexual.  I suppose if one goes for this part, I’m sex-positive.

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

I have encountered some people that didn’t really know what it was, but my friends were very supportive and defended me before I could.  I have awesome friends.  Thankfully I have yet to encounter any prejudice or ignorance that scared me like I know plenty have, so I thank God every day for where I am in life.

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

That we hate sex, or we never have sex.

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

You aren’t alone, that feeling that you don’t understand what all the fuss is about?  Other people feel it.  It’s not weird to think that a ‘hot’ person isn’t hot, according to your body. You don’t have to pretend.

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

Well, I have a YouTube channel, youtube.com/schihigh, where I’m attempting to post my singing and music videos I make on.  I also have a Tumblr and a specific tag with my art on it.  You can just search ‘schi’s art’ on schi-walker-locked.tumblr.com.  If someone were to want commissions, they could message me on Tumblr, or email me at schihigh@yahoo.com.  Just put commission in the subject.

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

Interview: Linz Vandermeer

Today we’re joined by Linz Vandermeer. Linz is a phenomenal writer who has recently gotten into cosplay. They mostly write fanfiction, but they started out writing poetry and stories. For the cosplay, they’ve only recently started dabbling in it and enjoys it. It’s clear they’re a passionate artist, 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 have been writing for as long as I can remember, it’s almost a compulsion with me. I started with poetry, some bad, some even worse, and then branched out into stories. Eventually, through my love of comics and movies, I ended up in the realm of fanfiction, and that’s where I’ve focused most of my attention for the last 3 or 4 years. The other thing I have really started to get into is cosplay, and though my sewing skills are not the greatest, I have a great group of friends to turn to where my abilities are lacking.

What inspires you?

I get a lot of my inspiration from daily life. I take a situation that I’ve encountered, and wondered ‘what would such-and-such a character do in my place’, and ‘how could this have gone worse’? It’s like a little mental exercise, and then before I know it I have 1200 words on a page. When I am cosplaying, I try to find a character that really calls out to me, someone that I can see a bit of myself in.

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

Even from a very young age I wanted to be a writer. I used to write stories with my friends about the adventures we would go on if we didn’t have to be in school, or if our parents were actually super spies, and things like that. As I got older I realized that I didn’t want writing to be my job, it was my mental escape from life and to put pressure or deadlines killed my creativity. Cosplay naturally evolved from my love of roleplaying games like D&D. I took part in a LARP (live action role play) for almost a decade before health issues made it too difficult, and that’s where I really started to learn to build costumes.

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 use British cuss words, they’ve always entertained me and I grew up watching shows like Monty Python and Red Dwarf, so that coloured my view of humour. More than that I like to take one scene and add more description than necessary, really make it the centerpiece of my work. I also rarely have sexual content in my fanfiction, which makes it a bit of an oddity.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

When you are writing, write for you. That way any person who likes what you have done, that’s just a bonus. Art should come from inside of us, and serve us, the rest of the world is a distant second. Do it to make yourself happy, that’s where the best art comes form.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a panromantic asexual and agender individual.

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

There’s a lot of pressure towards sexualization and romanticism in writing, and fanfiction in particular. I occasionally get pressure to add sex scenes, and I will the odd time concede and add them, but it always feels wrong to me. I have no interest in sexual actions, so I’m not certain that I can really build them appropriately or accurately.

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

I find that for the most part I encounter a lot of confusion over the fact that my partner and I have been together for almost six years. We’re both asexual, and though we live together we have separate bedrooms because I am an extremely restless sleeper. When people hear that we have never even kissed (I’m touch-averse), they assume we are more like friends that live together, but it’s not that at all. I love and adore my partner, and being with her is very different than being with even my best friend.

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

Struggle is natural. I grew up in a world where asexuality didn’t exist, and where even more standard queer identities like gay and lesbian were barely discussed. I tried on a lot of hats when I was trying to figure out who I was, but it wasn’t until I found asexuality that I felt comfortable and that it was ‘just right’. Don’t be afraid to change your identifiers when they don’t suit you anymore. Sexuality is not only a spectrum, but it flows and changes as your identity and personality develop.

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

I have some of my old poetry up on Deviantart at https://www.deviantart.com/cavannarose and my fanfiction is up on AO3 at https://archiveofourown.org/users/CavannaRose

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

Interview: NotAVampyre

Today we’re joined by NotAVampyre. NotAVampyre is a wonderful YouTuber who specializes in media analysis. She makes videos analyzing TV shows, films, and even musicals. Her videos vary in length and subject matter, but all are incredibly interesting. It’s clear she loves what she does. 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 video maker on YouTube where I create analysis content about movies, musicals, and television shows like Degrassi, Steven Universe, and Peter Pan. The type of video ranges from review to talking at length about one aspect that I found notable in a work.

What inspires you?

The things other artists create. They are the catalyst for what ends up in my videos, whether it be positive or negative. I’m also inspired by other video creators who paved the way for me to see YouTube as a viable place to start making art, and who helped me consider ways that I could further the genre of videos I make. I haven’t fully implemented the fruits of this consideration yet, but I hope they see daylight in the near future!

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

I’ve always wanted to create art, but I never found a medium that fit. Drawing was fun but I never wanted to practice, and poetry was a great outlet but relied too much on inspiration. But something clicked with YouTube analysis. I’ve always had deep thoughts about my favourite fiction stories, but as a shy introvert, I had nowhere to voice them. I also had no idea that other could be interested in these type of opinions until my friend showed me other people doing what I was already doing in my head. Talking at length about art and why I feel the way I do about it.

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 finding my style, so at the moment I do not, though it would be fun to have!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep looking for your style. If something doesn’t fit, don’t give up on your creativity. You will find a place tailor made to you skills and that need your personal touch that only you can give. Just don’t use it as an excuse to not practice though!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m biromantic asexual. That’s actually really nice to say having gone 23 years of not knowing there was a name for how I felt. While not entirely sex repulsed, I don’t care much for it and truly could live without it.

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

Luckily, I haven’t encountered it in the comment section of my asexual related videos. I’m certain though that it exists on YouTube, but just not in the channels I subscribe to. If and when it does come up, I’d try to clear up misconceptions if the person is just honestly misinformed. Information and representation is key to ending ace prejudice.

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

That all asexuals don’t want sex, and therefore asexuality is not a sexual orientation. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be fore aces who love sex but are constantly told that it makes them not ace.

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

You’re not broken. It’s okay if you don’t fit in a clearly outlined box. People are often more complicated than that, and even those who seem secure in their labels are questioning. Explore yourself, and if a better descriptor comes along, welcome it. You weren’t lying. You were figuring yourself out.

I went 23 years thinking I was just a super mature probably straight girl, and discovering that I am asexual only re-contextualizes my past. Not invalidates it.

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

Most of my work can be found at youtube.com/notavampyre, but I’m hoping to start uploading videos to Tumblr as well.

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

Interview: Laura Welch

Today we’re joined by Laura Welch. Laura is a phenomenal musician who makes a living as a pianist. She mostly performs for musical theater and she also plays at the local dance studio for the ballet classes. Laura plays a wide variety of musical styles and has even performed as part of a symphony orchestra on occasion. It’s a clear she’s an incredibly passionate and dedicated artist who loves what she does, 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 am a musician – a pianist, specifically. I am classically trained, though nowadays I am highly experienced in playing a multitude of genres, from your typical “classical” fare to jazz to modern-day pop. I make a living primarily through playing piano – something I try not to take for granted as not everyone can say they live off doing something they love and don’t really consider “work.” I play for a church service (sometimes two) every Sunday morning, and I currently accompany ballet classes at a dance studio. In the past I have accompanied voice classes held at various schools in the area, and at one point I was part of a thirteen-piece jazz orchestra as well as a ragtime band. Occasionally I am given the opportunity to play in the local symphony orchestra, but it does not happen too often.

Currently one of the biggest presences in my life where my talent is concerned is the theatre community where I live. I played my first musical back in 2007 – I was freshly nineteen, I recall – and after that I was quickly absorbed into the world of musical theatre. Since then I’ve played for a plethora of shows (I stopped counting about three years ago), and I’ve even gotten to music direct a small handful of them! I can’t see myself stopping any time soon, so long as I am available and can be put to use.

What inspires you?

I find much of my inspiration comes from the people I get to work with in whatever environment I happen to be playing in. In theatre, it’s the actors, crew, and musicians I get to perform alongside. In the dance studio, it’s the teachers and students whose movements are supported by my playing. In both of those cases there’s a feeling of collaboration for me; we are creating something together by combining our respective talents, whether it’s for an audience or for ourselves in that moment. The challenges that come with playing alongside other people – be it other musicians, dancers, vocalists, or whoever – push me to do better, to be worthy of working with these other performers who have dedicated themselves to their own crafts and are working just as hard to do well by them.

I also get inspired by particularly moving pieces of music, especially ones that are adept at conveying an emotional story. I am a huge instrumental score/soundtrack junkie, whether it’s from films or video games or what have you, and it’s not uncommon for me to shut myself away in my bedroom with my phone and a pair of earbuds and just sit and listen for an hour or three. Doing so when I have the time is relaxing for me, but it also reminds me why I do what I do and why I love it so much. Having a story told to me through music alone reminds me that I’m capable of doing the same, and what a pleasure and privilege it is to be able to reach someone else’s mind and heart through something that I can create.

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

I’ve always held a fascination with music, even when I was a very young age. At this point I really don’t remember always wanting to be a musician, but when I was seven my parents asked me if I wanted to take piano lessons and I recall taking to them immediately. My parents got me this tiny little keyboard to practice on, and once it was apparent that I was getting better and better – and fast, at that – my teacher urged them to buy me an actual piano. (Spoiler alert: they chose to make the investment, and I bet they’re glad it paid off!) As time went on I got more and more invested in being able to play the piano, so much so that I left other hobbies and commitments behind (including playing softball and learning to play the trumpet). It got to the point where it followed me to school, so to speak: I got my first real shot at accompanying in sixth grade, when I learned to play a song we were singing in choir and was then allowed to accompany the group at a concert. More opportunities arose in middle school when I joined the orchestra and jazz band, and by high school I was both singing and playing piano in the choirs I had joined. By the time I was nearly a legal adult I had clearly decided that yes, this was definitely the path I wanted to continue taking.

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 not sure if calling it a unique feature is correct or not, but I’ve developed this one tendency that pops up when I’m involved in musical theatre that people have come to associate with me: I have to see to it that the production’s band/orchestra gets a name. I just do. Every musical has a band, and every band needs a name. It’s silly, but I’ve found it can be a bit of a bonding experience among the musicians (and even the cast and crew) when it comes to deciding upon one.

Often times the names will be inspired by something from the musical in question; sometimes it’s a line of dialogue, sometimes a lyric, and sometimes even a tempo marking in our music. Two years ago when I music directed a production of The Rocky Horror Show, we named our band The Satanic Mechanics (inspired by a lyric taken from “Sweet Transvestite”). Last year in a production of Little Shop of Horrors, inspired by the brief gore featured at the end of the first act, we called ourselves Gut Buckets (but you can’t just say it; you have to sing it to the tune of the Hot Pockets jingle). And recently for a production of Chicago, we had two drummers splitting the five-week run between them, which essentially meant we had two different bands, so we needed names for both of them! We ended up alternating between The Spread Eagles and The Dirty Bums (both names having been pulled from one of the show’s most famous numbers, “The Cell Block Tango”).

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It’s easier said than done, but try not to let your mistakes and insecurities discourage you from practicing your craft. Growing up, I was very much a perfectionist concerning just about everything I did, and I practically crippled myself with doubt whenever I hit too many walls when it came to practicing piano. I could be very impatient with myself, and it took me years to allow myself the courtesy of making mistakes without beating myself up afterwards. It doesn’t mean that I don’t still occasionally have bad days where I get frustrated with myself. If it does happen, though, I do allow myself some distance from whatever hurdle it is I’m trying to overcome before I attempt it again. Practicing in anger does me no good at all, and brief time away can help refresh my mood.

One other thing I try and make sure I do when practicing is give my weaknesses twice the time that I give my strengths. Sure, it’s fun playing the passages I’m good at over and over again, but that intimidating section I’m still struggling with will continue to be difficult if I never actually practice it. Yes, it will be tedious and slow-going and I may not enjoy it at first, but before I know it a week will have gone by and suddenly it’s that much less intimidating! Why was I ever afraid of that section in the first place? It’s so easy now! Because I gave it time. Slowly and in small increments, yes, but time nonetheless.

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Photo by the Humboldt Light Opera Company (https://www.hloc.org/)

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am gray-romantic asexual.

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

I’ve never encountered prejudice in my field. I was never really worried about judgment from within the theatre community, considering the vast diversity of orientations and identities I’ve seen among the people in it. Though I publically came out as asexual about four years ago, I’m sure there are still plenty of people I work with at places like the dance studio and the church I play for who have no idea I’m ace. The topic of my orientation is not one I feel comfortable just diving into without good reason, though if it happened to come up I think I’d be fine with divulging the information. The majority of people I work with outside the theatre community are pretty broad-minded, so I’d like to think I wouldn’t encounter any prejudice from them either.

I’ve only personally experienced a couple of moments of ignorance, and outside my field at that, but it was never anything hurtful. One instance was a person not knowing of the existence of the asexual spectrum (who listened intently when I offered to explain it to them), and the other was a person making a (mostly) harmless generalizing assumption about asexuality in an offhanded comment while in conversation with me.

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

The idea that because a person is asexual, it means that they don’t desire – or even understand – relationships at all is one that I’ve encountered enough that it’s starting to give me a headache. I’ve seen it perpetuated in various forms of media, from fanfiction to comics and then some. It feels like too many people zero in on the misconception that asexuality = NO SEX, and then too many of those people continue on and assume that without sex there can be no relationship, which is utter bullshit.

People can be asexual and enjoy and desire sex, just as they can be asexual and not enjoy or desire sex. People can be asexual and feel and desire romantic love, just as they can be asexual and not feel or desire romantic love.

The lack of sexual attraction towards others does NOT automatically disqualify the possible desire for romance and/or intimacy.

The sooner the general populace starts to understand this, the less headachy future me will be.

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

You do not have to figure yourself out right now. You have time. Some days it will feel like you needed to figure shit out weeks ago but the answer is nowhere in sight. Some days it won’t bother you at all. Just know that solving the puzzle that is you often takes more than a day. Sometimes it takes months, or even years. It’s possible you may never figure it out completely. But know that in the end, regardless of everything, your feelings are still valid. It sounds cheesy, but listen to your heart and your body. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If you think it feels right and you feel safe, maybe give that something a shot.

And if in the end using a label makes you feel that much more comfortable, use it. If the idea of using labels is uncomfortable, then don’t. You are no less valid regardless of what you do or don’t do. You are you. And you matter.

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

I don’t really have an online space dedicated to my craft. (I keep telling myself to make an artist page on Facebook or post recordings on Soundcloud, but so far no dice.) I do, however, occasionally post things on Instagram (at flamingo.hate.marshmallows) related to my adventures in musical theatre. I’ve got two shows in the works as we speak, so there should be some fresh musical-related content added soon!

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

Interview: Ashleigh Nicole

Today we’re joined by Ashleigh Nicole. Ashleigh is a wonderful young up and coming visual artist who is currently studying illustration at uni. She specializes in character, concept, and storyboard artist. Her work is beautiful, showing an amazing use of color and line. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist with an incredibly bright future ahead of her. 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 second year Illustration student and my work focuses on concept, character and storyboard art, but I also like to create random illustrations of my own. I also want to move into comics at some point!

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by plants, superheroes and fantasy- they feature a lot in my work. But I also watch other people’s work on Instagram and twitter and I enjoy getting inspiration from their work too whether its colour pallets that I didn’t think of exploring or a brush technique.

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

I have always drawn, but I was actually set on becoming a fashion designer since year 7. I changed degrees before I started because I was filling sketchbooks more than I made clothes in my gap year and thinking about selling my art. I still like fashion so maybe I’ll go back to it at some point.

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Friends Girls

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! I feel like I should though!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Learn anatomy, perspective and colour theory. I still haven’t done that to be honest but I’m on my way!

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Rosa Signature Version

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I just go by asexual- sometimes demisexual but very rarely.

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

I have encountered people (not in the creative sector just in general.) that think it’s a choice…I have no words. Asexuality is still a bit unknown in the wider world so it’s mostly a general prejudice towards LGBTIA+ people that I’ve seen.

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

Many people don’t seem to understand asexuality as a spectrum. People have different levels, if’s buts and whys and don’t experience things the same as another person.

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

Find people like you! Whether that’s online or in person, speaking to people who share similar experiences is great!

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

I’m on Tumblr, Instagram, and YouTube under the username mashmato!
My portfolio is http://ashleighnicole.myportfolio.com

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

Interview: Ellison

Today we’re joined by Ellison. Ellison is a phenomenal actress and an aspiring writer. She writes mainly poetry and short stories and hopes to be published one day. When she’s not acting or writing, Ellison enjoys to work on her visual art. She draws and sketches frequently. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist who really loves to create. 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 dabble in lots of art forms, but mainly pursue theater, writing (poetry and short stories), and drawing. I’ve been in multiple productions, most recently A Midsummer Night’s Dream and will be playing Penny in You Can’t Take It With You this fall. If you’d like to contact me about doodles, sketches, poems, or stories, please contact me directly on my Tumblr:   wellnoduhofcourceimafangirl.

What inspires you?

I get a lot of my inspiration from my past and experiences I’ve had, a lot of which were bad. I also take motivation from close friends and one that not many people seem to talk about, but the media I consume. I read all the time, almost always fiction. In a well written book there might be a storyline that inspires me or the way something is described, I just have to sketch it out.

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

I’ve always loved art, in some form or another and I’ve been a performer, or depending on who you ask, a drama queen, as long as I can remember. I wanted to be an artist but not until high school did I actually think about making a career out of it. Little kid me would’ve been okay with princess, but really wanted to be a spy. Currently I’d go for taking deep breaths and making it through the day because the future is big and loud. As a career, I think I’d be most likely to pursue my writing.

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

I don’t, I’m pretty boring. Though, now that I’m thinking about it, I should totally come up with one. I’m always willing to listen to suggestions.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

No matter your art form, never stop. Ever. If you practice your art every day, you’re an artist. If you only practice one a year, you’re still an artist. I’ve been at an art school for over two years and I still invalidate myself as an artist. You’re not an imposter, you are good enough. And if anyone tells you otherwise, contact me for a hug plus I’ll fight them.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Currently I identify as asexual but I’m still trying to figure myself out. One of the biggest problems I’ve had is feeling like it is just a phase, or maybe I am just doing for attention. I still struggle with that. It’s okay if you try on labels to see what fits you. It doesn’t make you a liar or an imposter. All I really have to do now is figure out how to take my own advice.

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

I haven’t. I hear the stories about acephobia and I haven’t experienced any yet and I have to remind myself that everyone’s experiences are different, and that doesn’t make you wrong.

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

That Aces can’t have or don’t like sex. It’s not about whether we enjoy, or even have sex. It’s not about sex drive, nor about whether we think someone is beautiful or hot. We just don’t experience sexual attraction. That’s it.

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

Talk to people that understand. Talk to people who love you regardless of how you identify. Try as hard as you can to love yourself and remember that it isn’t anyways easy. Remember you aren’t alone. You will find love as you are, whether it’s physical or romantic or platonic or familial or self-love. You’re amazing.

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

To see my work or ask about commissions, contact me at my Tumblr:    wellnoduhofcourceimafangirl.

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

Interview: Raven Jay

Today we’re joined by Raven Jay. Raven Jay is a phenomenal visual artist who is currently studying at uni. They mostly draw fanart and original characters. They currently have a fascinating webcomic entitled Anthrel, which is summarized as follows: “A comic series following the lives of the Anthreligions; immortal personifications of the world’s religions, sects, and other spiritualities.” (It updates on Fridays). It’s clear Raven is a very creative and dedicated artist, 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’m a visual artist and illustrator, and most of my work is cartoonish. I draw a lot of both fanart and my own original characters and ideas. I have a few webcomic ideas in the works, and my current one is named Anthrel!

What inspires you?

My current favourite shows to draw from are Voltron: Legendary Defender and Boueibu, but most of my inspiration comes from religion, magic, and art history!

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

I’ve wanted to be an artist since primary school! I remember spending most of my time ignoring chances to socialize so I could sit and draw. My drive to draw – especially comics and illustration – became a lot bigger in high school because of friends I made and my supportive art teacher.

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?

A lot of my original work centres around religion and mythology and the beauty I see in it, and my webcomic is about personified religions, so I guess that’s a recurring theme I have?

My physical artist signature comes from a messy stylisation of my deadname; I just kept it because I’ve been using it for so long and it doesn’t really look like a word anymore. That being said, I forget to sign half of my art anyway.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It might sound cliché but don’t give up on art because some people think it won’t amount to anything; instead, keep making art because they think that. My father used to tell me I’d never make a living out of art, and his girlfriend’s friend once laughed at me for wanting to be an artist as a job. But now I’m at uni studying a creative industries degree and building art into a career, so the joke’s on them!

Also, don’t forget how important art theory is. Not only does art history tell you where you came from, it can inspire you too.

roman standoff
Roman Standoff

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m just asexual. I’m also sex-repulsed but don’t mind talking about/drawing sexual themes within certain boundaries.

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

Though I’ve experienced ignorance from peers, I haven’t experienced much prejudice, as most of my network is my university cohort and close friends. Normally I deal with ignorance by just politely explaining what asexuality is! Most people understand after that.

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

The most common misconception that I’ve encountered, I think, is that all asexuals are by default sex-repulsed. Though I am, I know not every ace is, and we all have different comfort boundaries for any sort of physical affection.

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

Always remember you’re valid in your asexuality. Maybe you’re questioning where you sit on that spectrum, and that’s okay, and maybe you’ll wake up tomorrow and realise you don’t identify as ace at all! We learn more about ourselves and about sexuality all the time; what matters is knowing that identifying as ace or aspec right now is a valid thing to do, and you don’t need to prove yourself to everyone.

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

You can find my art at draweththeraven on both Tumblr and Instagram! I also have a website, draweththeraven.com, which I try to update regularly (aka, I never update it). My webcomic Anthrel is at https://tapas.io/series/Anthreligion.

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