Interview: Jainai Jeffries

Today we’re joined by Jainai Jeffries, who also goes by fydbac, llc. Jainai specializes in creating violent and erotic imagery to break through mediocrity. They specialize in concept design, tattooing, and violent webcomics. It’s clear they’re a dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for participating in this interview.

Warning: potentially triggering material in this interview and the images included. Views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this interview don’t reflect those of Asexual Artists.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Its aim is to murder off the mediocre and cliché.

What inspires you?

Exploring the unseen and untold. The countless unexplored (or rarely explored) ideas and concepts.

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

I always loved fantasy and hearing stories I never heard before.

Where does “always” start for you? Let’s just say, yes; if we don’t count the half day I considered being a Veterinarian, or the month or so I reached out to the FBI about being a sniper/assassin.

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 change it periodically: For the past year or so, I’ve been stamping my work with “©fydbac,llc”.

I hope that’s what you meant. Is it what you meant? …We’ll just say that’s what you meant.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Undercharging yourself (anything under $20 for line art) is a sign of an amature, and makes you look unprofessional (like you have no respect for yourself).

Don’t half ass shit: like relying on only social media. Work on your presentation and business as hard as you work on your craft.

But then again, there are folk out there who are half assing it, but still making $2k+ on Patreon, so da fuck do I know?

Point is…there are countless paths to maintain an art career. There is no “correct” one. But they ALL share one thing: Luck. [Don’t obsess over it.]

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Sex: Ace [thought not ruling out demi, cause I think I have the capacity, but never had such a connection]. Romantically: Aromatic (my idea of “romance” doesn’t fit into the general category of this era I think).

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

No. I actually still don’t understand how prejudice against ace is possible: The lengths folk go to infringe upon someone’s existence over something that ain’t they fucking business is just utterly ridiculous to me in general.

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

Probably, “you just haven’t found the right person yet”. That was mostly just before I realized I was Ace, or just as I was realizing it. Cause I have yet to share that I was Ace to those people, (no reason why I haven’t, I’m just not one to share myself unsolicitedly).

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

I don’t think I can give “advice”, as I never “struggled” about it. I guess I can share my personal attitude about things pertaining to myself? What other people think have no relation on what I think about myself and how I view the world. They have their world, and I have mine. Sometimes they brush against each other to learn from each other, but…yeah, my orientation has never been a “struggle”, so don’t think I can help

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

Official: http://fydbac.com
Webcomic: http://ipity.me
Tattoo boutique: http://fydmi.ink

My current primary social medias:
http://twitter.com/fydbac
http://instagram.com/fydbac

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

Interview: Ash Kleczka

Today we’re joined by Ash Kleczka, who also goes by Umber online. Ash is a phenomenal visual artist, an all-around fantasy enthusiast. They love using visual art to tell a story and highlight beauty. Their images show a unique style and a very vivid imagination. It’s clear Ash loves to create, 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 fantasy illustrator, a painter, concept artist, and all around enthusiast… I was going to add more to that statement, but honestly I think ‘enthusiast’ about covers it. I get really excited about concepts that are self-reflective in some way, or that highlight an unexpected beauty.

I really try to create art that tells a story.

What inspires you?

Nature, mythology, the occult. Things that are taboo or archaic. I’m also deeply inspired by role-playing games like D&D and the character building process.

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Hogwashn Newton

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

The simple, inelegant answer is that I got into visual arts because I was dissatisfied with the attractiveness of some characters from a video game I was into at the time – and I wanted to make characters that would appeal to me.

It’s an ongoing struggle haha.

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?

My super-secret naming convention for pretty much any character I’ve ever created ever is to try to match their personality/appearance/some interesting feature to a bird or other natural flora or fauna and then I build their name around the scientific binomial of that thing.

So for example, one character named Cyril Alcyon is based around the belted kingfisher megaceryle alcyon. Another is named Melia Edarach which is taken from the chinaberry tree, or Melia azedarach.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My advice is to just keep going. It’s OK for things to not look exactly as they do in your head, or to be dissatisfied with where you are with your art. It means that you have room to grow! Stay open to new ideas and roll with the punches. Art, like life, is full of happy accidents.

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Greed

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Grey-Ace/Pansexual

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

I’m not particularly open about my sexuality in the workplace, but the few times it’s come up typically end with the person I’m talking to feeling sorry for me. It’s not hateful – just a lack of understanding. So I try my best to explain that it’s not a negative part of my life experience. It’s just an orientation in the same way that being gay, or bisexual is.

I have encountered prejudice in my personal life however. One instance was in my last D&D campaign. I played an ace/aro character, and was met with some questionably in-character commentary from another player. That was really the first time I’d encountered something like that in the wild before, and honestly…I’m open to advice myself.

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Fort Save Web

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

That it’s something to be fixed.

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

Find people you trust that you can talk to, and be patient with yourself. Sometimes it’s not as simple as just being one piece of the big sex/gender pie. Sometimes you’re a triple decker slice of pie with whipped cream and cherries.

I’ve found it really helpful to talk to my husband (who’s allo) to see where we differ. Sometimes the answers you’re looking for are in the empty spaces between two truths.

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

I have a website umbertheprussianblue.com!

You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter at ThePrussianBlue

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Solas

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

Interview: Lucas Wilga

Today we’re joined by Lucas Wilga, who also goes by luci online. Lucas is a phenomenal game maker and writer. They create tabletop role-playing games and the first one is entitled Sundown, which sounds fascinating and I highly recommend checking it out. Lucas has recently branched out into writing short stories set in the Sundown universe. It’s clear they’re an incredibly passionate and driven 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 make tabletop role-playing games, and I recently branched out into writing fiction as well. The first game I’m creating professionally, Sundown, is currently in an open playtest. It’ll have an official launch sometime next year. It’s light on rules, and it’s set in this cyberpunk, biotech inspired fantasy setting. It has transhumanism, politics, and sword cowboys. My work on it is mostly done, so I’ve started occupying my creative time writing a serial of short stories set in Sundown, starring a sarcastic young monster slayer.

What inspires you?

Other games and works of fiction. I’m always itching to design something new after I read a new game. Sundown itself came out of a modification of a different game I’d recently picked up at the time.

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

I’ve always been imaginative. I entered the hobby at eleven, and I started running games and designing adventures at fourteen. This eventually turned into creating my own games, but I didn’t know I wanted to make a career out of it until a year ago.

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

My style is all about keeping people engaged, so my signature has become brevity. I keep things short and snappy. Whether teaching a game or weaving a narrative, it pays to avoid toiling too long on the nitty gritty.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Especially when designing a game, start small. Keep your scope limited. Know what you want to say and cut anything that isn’t in direct support of it. Don’t overthink it. Don’t spend too long thinking about one specific thing. Don’t try to create the perfect piece. You’ll burn yourself out chasing perfection.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I don’t know if there’s a word for this yet, but I’m okay with sexual things that take place entirely within my imagination. Things like smut. Sometimes images are okay, too. But I have no desire for, and am usually repulsed by, sex ‘in real life.’

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

I’ve had folk tell me to tone down the queerness in my work, but I haven’t really encountered any sort of acephobia. There is a strong queer independent tabletop role-playing game community, so I don’t really have to try to sell to, or interact with, non-LGBT+ spaces.

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

The most common misconception, I’d say, is the idea that asexual is synonymous with aromantic. Especially for ace folks in relationships, it can get tiring to explain the difference.

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

This might be hard advice to follow, but just don’t give it so much weight. It’s okay for your sexuality to shift or change as you grow as a person and learn more about yourself.

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

Grasswatch Games is the company my two creative partners and I created to work on Sundown. Its website, grasswatchgames.com is the hub for our current work. You can find Sundown itself there, as well as my first short story. You can also find our Twitter, Facebook, and the Discord server we’re running Sundown’s playtest on.

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

Interview: Anne Hawley

Today we’re joined by Anne Hawley. Anne is a phenomenal novelist and editor who writes queer-themed historical fiction. She has a novel entitled Restraint, which features an ace secondary character. Anne is currently working on a new historical novel that features an ace protagonist, which is exciting (we need more historical fiction featuring aces). It’s clear she’s a talented and passionate writer 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 write novels featuring queer characters in historical settings, exploring issues of identity and acceptance. I’m also a Story Grid Certified fiction editor, helping other writers shape their novels and screenplays.

What inspires you?

People’s individual search for wholeness and self-acceptance. The search for meaning. My stories revolve around people on spiritual journeys, and my editing work is focused on helping writers find and tell the story that’s in their heart to tell.

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

I’ve been writing since I could read. I started my first novel when I was nine. I was inspired by fantasy novels and wanted to create my own worlds.

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 always name something after a notable feature in my hometown of Portland, Oregon USA

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you’ll permit me to change the question, I’d like to say something to aspiring artists who may not have started young, or aren’t young anymore. Ageism is real and insidious in our culture, and it has a huge silencing power. Just as the dominant culture would still prefer it if you were allosexual and cisgendered (though thank goodness that’s changing), it would like you to be silent and invisible if you’re not young. If you have a story to tell, tell it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aromantic asexual. I think “autochor” is probably a term that applies to me.

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

There’s not much ace representation yet in fiction, and as a person who came to the identity late in life, I’m still working to change my own ingrained belief that “nobody” wants to read stories without sexual tension, or about individuals who are fulfilled without romance.

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

That asexual people don’t really exist, and that people in my age group who claim that sexual identity are simply resigned to being “too old” for love or sex–or that we’re some sort of holdover from an earlier and more prudish, sex-negative era. We aren’t.

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

Many, many people in older age groups like mine have never even heard of asexuality. If you’re like me, hearing about it at a late age might create a real internal struggle, especially if you’ve given a lot of energy over the years trying to conform to old cultural standards of “normal” sexuality.

It helps to read as much as you can about all the nuances in the spectrum of asexuality, and realize that it’s okay to try on different names and labels. It might take a while to feel at home with one or another of them. But you might also find, as I did, that little by little embracing asexuality solves so many mysteries of your life.

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

https://annehawley.net

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

Interview: Micah Amundsen

Today we’re joined by Micah Amundsen. Micah is a phenomenal artist who writes webcomics. They’re best known for the webcomic The Roommate from Hell, which they have the best summary for in their interview. They’re also currently working on a graphic novel entitled Cursed, which sounds fascinating and is something to look forward to. It’s clear Micah is a dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Floating Hugh

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m most well-known for creating the webcomic The Roommate from Hell, (http://enchantedpencil.com/roomie/) a supernatural slice of life about gays and their metaphorical and literal demons, which updates with a new page three times a week.

I’m also working on a 10-part graphic novel series called Cursed, a fantasy adventure about a bunch of thieves, family, and what it means to be human. I’m hoping to release the first book May 2019. Follow my Twitter to get more updates on that. (https://twitter.com/enchantedpencil)

Besides those and other comics, I write and perform music and sell art online.

What inspires you?

A lot of my inspiration comes from other stories and art that I’m a fan of. Either I see something I really like and think “how can I do this my own way?” or I see something with potential and think “how can I do this better?” I get a lot of enjoyment and comfort from the comics and shows I watch and read, and I want to create these emotions in other people. There’s also a lot of themes I like to explore and beliefs I hold that I want to share with others through my comics.

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

I’ve been “creating comics” since 1st grade of elementary school, even though it was a weird stick figure scribble that was stapled together and drawn in pencil. I made quite a few comics that way through middle school, tying pieces of paper together and binding them with cardboard from cereal boxes. At that time, I was mostly inspired by the limited selection of Japanese manga I could buy at the Scholastic Book Fair every year. Discovering that you could read comics online for free basically blew my mind, and I published my first webcomic (Opertion: Reboot) in 2012 while in high school.

While I create lots of different kinds of art, comics are my primary passion, and I can’t imagine life without 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 do. I have a signature that I use to sign my comics, but I also created a unique icon to represent each of my comic series. I like to doodle these icons next to my signature when I do book signings to personalize the comics a little more.

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Symbols

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Create work for yourself. If you keep chasing ideas of what other people want you to be as an artist, you won’t be happy with your work. Find a way to break the cycle of needing validation from others, and find that validation inside yourself instead. You can’t please everybody, but if your work pleases yourself, it’s bound to please others too.

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Orev

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual demiromantic… Maybe. Relationships don’t interest me much in general.

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

I really haven’t. In fact, a number of my artist friends identify as ace as well. I think I got really lucky in that regard. Being ace isn’t exactly something I advertise, though, so there hasn’t been a lot of opportunity for others to react.

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

That it’s “just a phase.” That’s the misconception that I’ve actually had told to my face, but it also bothers me when people assume that being sexual is inherently human nature and applies to every single person. Have you ever heard this? “There’s three things all humans have in common: The need to eat, sleep, and have sex.” Yeah, that drives me nuts.

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

Don’t let other people tell you what you are or aren’t. Nobody understands you, your body, or your feelings better than you do. Being ace isn’t weird, and you aren’t broken. Find friends in real life or online who identify similarly or who understand you. Finding those kinds of people is really important when you’re still exploring your identity.

As a non-binary person, I extend this advice to those who may be transitioning as well. Also, I find the NB and ace identities seem to get overlooked by regular LGBT+ discussion sometimes, so don’t feel like you aren’t important too.

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

Read The Roommate from Hell here: http://enchantedpencil.com/roomie/
Follow me on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/enchantedpencil
Find lots of extra art and bonus content on my Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/enchantedpencil

If anyone wants to chat about comics or being ace, don’t be afraid to contact me on Twitter.

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Stole from Code Geass

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

Interview: CG Thomson

Today we’re joined by CG Thomson. CG is a wonderful fantasy author who is currently working on a seven-book fantasy series. She’s currently pursuing representation for the first novel of the series. CG is an imaginative and passionate 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 fantasy writer, currently working on the fourth book of my seven book series while seeking representation for the first book.

What inspires you?

Everything. 🙂 No, really. I have so much wonder for this world we live on. I find inspiration in nature, humanity, everyday life. I can spend twenty minutes marveling at sunlight dappling the ground, lose hours by the sea.

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

I’ve been writing since I was three. My mother chose storytelling as a way to focus her very ADHD toddler and whether I was simply telling her stories or learning how to write them down, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a writer of fantastic tales.

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 always an element of found family in my work, specifically a flawed heroic father figure, a man whose daughter is not his biologically but chosen by heart. This is an homage to my father who is (technically) my stepfather. We chose one another when I was very young and he has defined my life like no other.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

There’s so much advice out there, and most of it is good, but no matter how good, no matter how successful the person giving that advice, that does not mean it will work for you. Figure out what you want from your art. Not everyone wants a career and not everyone can make a career of it (I’m certainly still waiting to see) and there’s nothing wrong with that. Figure out what you want and then figure out what works for you. Sadly, there isn’t a formula for success, but if you’re doing something you love and you’re improving regularly, you’re on the right path.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m demisexual.

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

Interestingly enough, I would have answered this with a no just a week ago, but when I tweeted a boost to this website’s call for interviewees, I lost followers. That said, as a cisgender female married to a cisgender male, I am heteronormative passing. There is some privilege there and I acknowledge that and try to use it to raise asexuality awareness.

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

That being on the asexuality spectrum means a person must be sex-repulsed. Of course a person can be, but frankly a person who is not asexual can be sex-repulsed. Likewise a person can be asexual and sex-ambivalent or even sex-positive.

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

Understand that you don’t have to “know” right now. You can be questioning. You can still be figuring things out. No matter what, you are perfect and lovable just as you are.

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

I’m currently seeking representation, so there’s nothing out yet, but anyone wishing to keep up with my process can find me at onaredhorse on Twitter.

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