Interview: Morgan

Today we’re joined by Morgan. Morgan is an awesome writer who has done a bit of everything. They have had a few short stories published in online and literary journals. They have also done academic writing and presented at conferences and symposiums. When they’re not working on original work, they are quite a prolific fanfiction writer. They are obviously a very dedicated writer, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer. I currently have a few short stories published both online and in literary journals. I also write novels, of original content and novel-length fanfics. I’ve written three original novels so far, and I’m drafting my fourth. On average, just about everyone who’s considered to be a “master” in their field has worked about 10,000 hours, roughly equivalent to 10 years at it. So I view my first three novels as practice, learning how to write, what characters I have, how to use their voices. I already hit my one million words mark a couple of years ago, so I guess now I’m aiming to write ten million words. And after that, I probably still won’t consider myself a master and just up my goal to a hundred million. It’s kind of scary to think that I might consider my very best work now to be crap later on in life, but also kind of encouraging, that I’ll always keep improving and doing better.

What inspires you?

Myself. Which sounds like an egotistical answer, and it probably is. But all of my characters are just me trying to work out a new piece of myself. In my second novel, the main character is a bisexual woman and her partner is an asexual man. But I didn’t know why it was so important to me that she be bi and I didn’t even have the vocabulary to label the man as ace. I just knew that’s who they were, and then it turns out, writing that book helped me ID first as bi, and then as ace. In my third novel, I insisted on having an AFAB protagonist who rejected gender and only used they/them pronouns, despite protests from my professors and classmates—and a whole crap ton of misgendering. But then I discovered what I was describing was called “agender” and eventually accepted that’s what I wanted for myself too. In the fanfiction I’m currently working on, the main character is autistic, and in researching how I should write her, I discovered I identified with a lot of those symptoms myself. Now I’m trying to figure out where I might fall on an autistic or ADHD spectrum, which has been difficult due to how rarely they’re recognized and diagnosed in AFAB people!

So everything I’ve written has really just been my flailing attempts to create representation for myself. To figure myself out in a heteronormative, cisgender, sexual society. To see people I identify with be strong and save the world and punch aliens in the face. Less “I’m sad because it’s so hard to be gay” stories and more “I’m queer and I’m here to punch aliens in the FACE” stories, please.

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

I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer. I’m one of the few people I know who never changed their major, and now I have a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing (and a second in Humanities). I wanted to be a writer because I really can’t stop. I made up stories as a kid using characters from my favorite books, as sort of like a combination of imaginary friends and proto-fanfiction. Every time I have a free moment or my mind isn’t seriously occupied, I’m writing out scenes and conversations for my characters. That’s what I think about at night before I fall asleep. If I had a billion dollars and never had to work at all, I’d still be a writer.

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?

Mentally Fucked Up Female Characters ™. That’s just about all my different works have in common. Also, the very important theme of “The Dog Never Dies. Ever.” I think more books and movies should adopt it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Write for yourself, and write a shit ton. Same principles go for any other type of art. Do it for yourself. And yeah, if someone says “this is hurtful” or “this doesn’t make logical sense,” take another look at what you did and be willing to learn and grow. But otherwise, if your critiques are “this is too weird” or “this won’t sell” or “but WHY does that character have to be gay/trans/POC/etc,” then fuck them. Write what you need. Someone else out there probably needs it too.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual.

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

I wasn’t out to anyone at my college while I was getting my Creative Writing degree, so not directly. But in the overall field of writing, there’s definitely a lot of mischaracterization of asexual and ace-spectrum people. It’s frustrating to think you have representation, and then to see that character you identify with reduced down to harmful tropes or “fixed” at the end. I don’t really have the energy to try to confront people who write like that, so I think the best thing I can do is to make sure there’s good and accurate representation of asexual and ace spectrum people in my own works.

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

It’s a toss-up between we’re some variation of “broken” “confused” or “unnatural” (in a way that directly states or implies that we’re inhuman, to boot) or, conversely, that we’re totally normal straight people who just have low sex drives. It’s like whiplash, trying to counter straight people yelling that we aren’t real people, we’re incapable of experiencing love, we should be raped to be “cured” and then in the very next breath, trying to prove that we really do face stigma and negative consequences for being asexual.

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

It’s OK. I didn’t want to identify as asexual when I first heard about it because I felt that surely if I reeeally loved someone, then I’d “feel it” for them. I thought I just hadn’t found that person yet, or maybe that plus I was demisexual, or maybe I wasn’t eating right?? Or a thousand other excuses. So it’s OK if you’re struggling to accept it too!

And it does get better. It was so freeing when I finally accepted that I wasn’t interested in sex and that I didn’t want it. Sometimes I’m still kind of amazed that I have the agency to say, “I don’t ever have to do that if I don’t want to, and I don’t want to.” I always, always assumed I would marry a man when I grew up and that I’d have to have sex with him after that — that’s what I was saving my virginity for, after all. And it’s been so great to reject all of that and embrace what I really want and who I really am as a person.

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

You can follow me at http://thisiswhymomworries.tumblr.com/! I post a lot of my writing there, and I’m working on getting pages up that list the original content I’ve written too. And it’s all cross-posted on AO3 too, under the penname MorganOfTheFey. I currently have 19 works for Fallout 4 listed on there~

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

Interview: Maddie

Today we’re joined by Maddie. Maddie is an awesome young artist who is quite versatile. She works in a number of different media. Mostly a visual artist, Maddie is also learning to play the piano and she’s also a filmmaker. Her drawings show an amazing attention to detail and emotion. It’s clear that she has a very bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Emma
Emma

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make a range of different art in my spare time, but mostly drawing. I tend to draw fan art a lot but I also like to try making original works because those feel more personal. I have a few smaller art-related hobbies, I like having lots of ways to express myself because sometimes one method feels better than another. I used to make a lot of small animations, I am teaching myself how to play piano again through YouTube tutorials, and lastly I love making short films. For the most part I make “term videos” of all the things my friends and I have done in each term at our school, and I’ve made several short films for school projects, my final one for my last year of high school is going to be a documentary, but I’m actually not allowed to say what it’s about ‘cause it’s a secret! I upload all my films to my YouTube account so it’ll be up there sometime next year.

What inspires you?

I’ve found that I’ve always been inspired just by other artists. I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil, so when I was a kid I’d just copy the drawings I saw in picture books so I could make my own, whenever I’ve started a new style of art I’ve always taken inspiration from artists in that field so I can try to gradually find my own style, this was especially helpful when I started drawing manga.

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

I’ve definitely always wanted to be an artist, for as long as I can remember it’s all I’ve wanted to do but I don’t really remember why. Growing up my relatives were all really trying to get me into tennis but I always preferred to spend my time drawing in my room. I’ve always loved movies so that’s how I got into making short films and animations, I also love music so that’s why I started playing piano. As for manga drawing, I have my best friend from primary school to thank for that, she first showed me the art style when we were eleven, and I’ve been drawing it ever since.

Kamala Khan
Kamala Khan

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?

Unfortunately, I don’t but I’m hoping to think of one sometime in the future, I love when artists use their own unique symbol in their work, my favourite being Gabriel Picolo’s cat that he includes in every art piece, I hoped I would have come up with one by now but I think I should just wait for it to come naturally rather than force it for the sake of having one.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t worry if your art isn’t as good as you want it to be, every artist, no matter how good they are, struggle with the feeling that it’s just not good enough. But you need to remember that you’re not making something for it to be perfect, and you’re not making it just to please other people, you’re making it for yourself. So make art that you want to see and don’t worry if it doesn’t come out the way you want it to. We’re lucky to be able to express ourselves through art so we should appreciate having that ability, because it is very special.

Punk
Punk

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Apothisexual, which is just a more specific term for “sex-repulsed asexual”, although when asked I just say “asexual” so as not to confuse anyone who wouldn’t be familiar with the topic. I also used to identify as demi-romantic but I’ve found that hetero-romantic fits better. Romantic and sexual orientations can be very fluid sometimes so I’m happy to switch between whatever feels best.

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

Since I’m not very “out” I thankfully haven’t experienced much personal prejudice, the only person who I’ve talked to about my sexuality in person is my sister, and recently the topic came up again and I mentioned how I used to be terrified of relationships and she said “yeah you thought you were asexual for a while!” as if it was silly that I identified that way, so I just said “… I still do!” and left it at that, so that really hurt me to hear my sister laugh about it that way. Apart from that incident it’s mostly just hearing relatives talk about how I’ll definitely have kids one day, and people acting like you need sex to have a fulfilling relationship, so I’ve learned to just give myself reassuring words during those times and remind myself that I’m still valid and that there are people who will accept me along with my sexuality. As long as you can support yourself you can get through any of the ridiculous things people will say to you!

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

I’d say the most common one is that we’re all aromantic as well by default, I feel like I have to remind people sometimes that I can be romantically attracted to people and that I do want a relationship in the future. I’m glad people recognize aromantic as valid, that’s for sure, but it’s very frustrating that people think if you won’t have sex with someone then you don’t want a relationship either, they don’t go hand in hand, you can have a loving relationship without sex, but a lot of people seem to struggle with that concept.

Skeleton Girl
Skeleton Girl

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

Just remember that you can be loved regardless of your orientation, whether that’s romantically or platonically, and you don’t have to do anything for anybody just because their orientation is different, your comfort is what matters most to you. And if you’re a relatively young asexual like me, remember that sexuality can be fluid, and if one day you find you aren’t on this spectrum anymore then that’s totally okay, always do what feels right with you.

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

I’m mostly on my Tumblr account ‘chibi-choo’, my Instagram ‘chibi_mads’ and my YouTube channel Chibi Choo: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClXY6SgR91jw5Tu_f2SSkZA (They all have chibi in the name because that used to be my favourite style of manga ‘cause it’s very simple.)

I’m also going to be launching an art store on Society6 soon so stay tuned for that on my Tumblr as I’ll announce it there.

Winter Soldier
Winter Soldier

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

Interview: Mel

Today we’re joined by Mel. Mel is a fantastic writer who writes a variety of things. She mostly writes fanfiction, but also writes a lot of original fiction. Aside from those, she also dabbles in songwriting and poetry. It’s very obvious that she’s incredibly passionate about the art of writing. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer who mainly writes fanfiction, original fiction, and occasionally songs or poems. Writing is one of my main hobbies, and even though my anxiety can make it harder to start on a piece, it’s something I adore doing. I’m also a singer, but that doesn’t play as big a role in my life as being a writer does.

What inspires you?

I get inspired by a lot of things. Going to see a movie in theaters almost always gets me going with a brand new ideas or a brand new perspective on the old ones. Reading and watching shows in general also tends to gets me writing more fanfiction!

My main genre is fantasy (urban fantasy especially), so a lot of times when I’m reading or watching other fantasy it helps me fine-tune my own world—what I like, what I want to change, etc. For example, right now I’m rereading Harry Potter, and since my fantasy has a similar concept of magical beings living among humans (albeit a very different execution), it’s really useful for figuring out how the world works for my characters.

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

I’ve always been a big journaler, and I was writing fanfiction before I knew what it even was! The first “real” story I can remember writing was basically a Peter Pan ripoff that’s pretty laughable now, but it was an honest attempt back then. Over the years I’ve had various projects, ideas and characters running through my head. Some of them work, some of them don’t, and all of them are hard to get on paper/document!

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?

Many of my stories tend to take place in one of the two cities I made up, Lilac and Maverick (both of which are somewhere in or near New England, where I grew up). I invented them partly to give myself total freedom over what’s in them, and partly so I don’t have to do any research on location! Lilac is fairly large and somewhat unwelcoming, particularly to anyone involved in magic, while Maverick is smaller, kinder, and easier to blend into, due in part to the many magic-users and non-humans living in it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t worry too much about getting it right the first time. Having a rough draft in front of you, even if it’s so bad it makes you cringe, is better than having it stuck in your head, especially if you want to do something with it. Drafts can always be edited, sliced, diced, and polished til they shine like you want them to. Also, remember that if you never get around to actually using some of your ideas, that’s okay. The important thing is that they making you happy. And if you’re pretty sure you’ll never have any ideas as good as that one, you can A) remember that you’ll have many, many other ideas that are probably just as good as that one, and B), feel very smug because you know something awesome that nobody else will (probably) ever know.

Now if only I could just take my own advice…

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

As ace as can be, and sex-averse. Romantically I’m arospec (really aroflux but not confident enough to use that term whenever I’m feeling more confused than usual), heteroalterous and bisensual. (I only ever want to be in a long-term, semi-romantic relationship with a guy, and I think girls and guys are really, really pretty and I just want to cuddle them a lot)

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

Not that I can think of.

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

Well, going by my real life, that it doesn’t exist. So much so that no one even knows or uses the word.

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

It’s okay to be different. You’re not broken, and you’re not alone. Figure out what labels fit you best if that’s what you want to do; move on if it’s not. Either way, celebrate who you are, right now, regardless of how you may change in the coming weeks, months, and years. You’re amazing just the way you are. 🙂

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

My main Tumblr is alterouspotato if you have any questions. I also just started a sideblog called thewritermelodyjaikes, where I’ll be dumping whatever writing I actually manage to get done. I’m also on Fanfiction.net as MelodyJaikes, and hopefully I’ll be able to get an AO3 someday soon.

Thanks for reading, and thank you so much for the interview!

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

Interview: Ami

Today we’re joined by Ami, who also goes by Hyperionnebulae online. Ami is another first for Asexual Artists: she’s a product designer for a glass-blowing company. An industrial designer by trade, Ami also has a variety of artistic interests. She also paints, draws, sews, and takes pictures. She hasn’t met a medium she doesn’t like and is an incredibly enthusiastic artist. It shows in her work, which is absolutely beautiful. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

590x382_Orleans

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an industrial designer as a professional and an artist as a hobby. I currently work at handblown glass company in Vermont, USA where I draw and brainstorm designs for their glass and pottery. In my spare time, I like to paint, sew, take pictures, draw, etc. I like to try out new mediums whenever possible.

What inspires you?

Everything!

At work, I’m inspired a lot by nature. I’ve drawn a lot of sculptural pieces. Shells, branches, and antlers have been referenced recently in my work, though the pieces in question haven’t been released yet. I also do a lot of market research and occasionally will create things similar to what is trending.

In my art, I like thinking about animals in general. I love painting close-ups of them. I play various tabletop rpgs and will occasionally draw/make vector images of characters and/or write short stories featuring them. I like photographing naturing a lot too and since I live in Vermont it’s pretty easy to access.

P1130982_Grey

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

Haha. Growing up I always thought I’d be a veterinarian or marine biologist. Something sciencey. And then I took this explorer scout program and abruptly realized that I really didn’t want that. I went to a summer program at what became my college and thought I’d go to an information session on industrial design. I feel in love thinking “this is what I want to do!” Everything fell into place after that.

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.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t give up. There is absolutely a place for you in the world. There is absolutely something you are phenomenal at that sets you apart. Keep working on your craft and never let others’ success let you down. Be inspired by everything around you. Know that someday you will inspire someone else.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Panromantic grey-sexual

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

Not due to my sexuality. Some do to being a woman in a male dominated field. I handle that by calling out the sexism and then being better at what I do than the offending party.

tumblr_nqeqvmN4g21qe8rwlo1_1280

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

People say that “hetero-on-the-outside” ace/pan/bisexuals don’t belong in the LGBT community. This is the most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard and extremely damaging. Just because my SO at the moment fits me into the heteronormative society doesn’t make me any less of what I am.

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

Find a community that accepts you and helps you accept yourself. This may be a community online and/or a group of friends in real life who understand. There are certainly others out there; you are not alone; you are not broken.

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

My professional work is mixed into the simonpearce.com website. Check out the Orleans line.

Other work can be found on my Tumblr blog. http://hyperionnebulae.tumblr.com/tagged/my-art and on Redbubble, Society6, and TeePublic search Hyperionnebulae.

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