Interview: Sam

Today we’re joined by Sam. Sam is a fantastic fanartist who does a lot of drawing and also writes fanfiction. When they’re not creating fanart, Sam enjoys baking and hopes to open a bakery one day. It’s very clear they’re an incredibly passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

For the most part I’m a fanartist. I write and draw, mostly as practice. I enjoy creating original content, and have done so in the past, but currently I find it easiest to take ideas from existing media and make it my own or change it to reflect how I think it should be.

I also bake, although that’s unrelated to my fanart. I’d like to open a bakery at some point, once I have the funds and opportunity. I’ve been told I’m pretty good at it, so I think I’m moving in the right direction.

What inspires you?

For my non edible art, I’ll draw from personal experience, or from ideas I’ve seen in other people’s art. I’m currently working on a story that struck me while I was shopping with my sib, and it made one of my friends mad (in a good way), so I started writing it.

In regards to baking, I’ll usually just make whatever in the mood to eat. A lot of the time, I’ll look up a recipe involving a certain flavor, chocolate for example, and then from there I’ll look for interesting combinations to experiment with

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

My mom and sib have been visual artists for as long as I can remember. Since it was something I was exposed to regularly, I started experimenting with it, too. Writing came a bit later. When I was about nine my dad started participating in online flash fiction contests. My sib and I soon joined as well. For a while I worked exclusively in original content, but more recently I’ve found that fan works are easier for me to create.

When I was little, a babysitter I had would make and decorate cakes with my sib and I. I enjoyed it, but didn’t do it much once my sib and I started looking after ourselves more. Recently, around the middle of last year, I wanted cookies and we didn’t have any, so I made some. From there I started baking a couple times a week.

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 have a symbol, no, but in terms of content, my works are pretty linked. I usually write science fiction with no romantic subplot, usually about a group of teens or young adults defying society’s expectations of their abilities and figuring out who they are as people.

My unifying trait in baking is chocolate. We almost always have cocoa powder at my house, but rarely have chocolate chips, so a chocolate base is always an option and always delicious.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It’s okay to change media and subject. You’re growing and developing as a person, and that means your interests will change. If for a while you love to draw or paint, but then you prefer to write, or suddenly you’re passionate about photography, that’s fine! You’re going to shift as you figure out who you are and what you want your identifying traits to be.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an aromantic asexual.

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

I’ve had people tell me that I’ll change my mind when I find the right person, which is easy enough to ignore. I’ve also had people who accept my asexuality assume that I’m the standard for all aces. One guy I knew told me that he didn’t think aces would dress in revealing or alluring clothing, which ignores sex positive aces and any aces who just like typically attractive clothing. In those situations, the person is usually willing to listen and learn, and it’s nice to have someone who doesn’t disregard your opinions.

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

That it’s a phase. A lot of people are convinced that as an asexual person gets older, they’ll grow out of it. And sometimes that does happen, when a person IDs as ace and later realizes they’re a late bloomer and attracted to people after all. But not every ace changes, and a lot of people don’t realize that.

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

It’s okay. You’re not broken. And you’re not making it up. If you think someone looks nice, that doesn’t mean you’re attracted to them, and if you are occasionally attracted to people, you can still identify as ace or ace spectrum if that’s what fits best. Society tells us what is considered conventionally attractive, so it’s easy for anyone, even those not attracted, to figure out who’s considered “hot”.

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

My Tumblr is: mockingajaybird.tumblr.com

and my AO3 account can be found at: http://archiveofourown.org/users/Mockingajaybird/pseuds/Mockingajaybird

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

Interview: Ella

Today we’re joined by Ella. Ella is a phenomenally talented artist who specializes in designing creatures and props. She works as a graphic designer and also writes, both original work and fanfiction, and bakes. Ella is most passionate about making creatures from movies. They’re exquisite, as you’ll soon see. Ella is a passionate and dedicated artist, which really shines through in her work. 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 do lots of things! I’m a graphic designer, I bake, I write stories … But I think my creatures are the things I’m proudest of, so I’m gonna talk about them.

Have you ever sat in a movie theatre and went: ‘that animal is the most adorable thing I have ever seen and I want to hug it!!’

Me, too. Sadly, most of the animals on films and series are either lethal, imaginary or trained. So you’ll have to live out the rest of your life, knowing you would never get to hug that little critter.

I refuse to live out my life that way. That’s why I make the animals myself.

I have made a Toothless costume from How To Train Your Dragon, a BB-8 from Star Wars, two creatures from Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, and a plaidypus and the pig Waddles, from Gravity Falls.

My greatest joy comes from bringing the creatures to a convention, so other people can hug them, too.

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What inspires you?

The movies the creatures are in, mainly. But never underestimate the reaction other people have to your creations. People keep me going. People going “He’s so CUTE! Where did you buy him?” And then I can say: “Oh, no, I made him!”

Then again, everything can inspire me. A walk through the dollar store is very helpful, for instance.

The thing that inspires me the most is that sometimes, kids believe that my creatures are real. To me, that’s the best compliment I can get.

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

I just sort of… ended up in it. My job is graphic designer, but I only went to that school because it was close to home. I started working on Toothless when I was 18 or so. I always thought I wanted to be a comic artist, or just an illustrator. Or maybe an actress. Or maybe something with languages! Then it turned out that my drawings are not that good, I don’t have patience to practice and I didn’t like languages all that much.

But, man. I started work on Toothless, and it just flowed. And then I started to work on BB-8, and that flowed as well. Writers tell about it, too. As if a book wants to be written.

I guess my creatures just want to be made.

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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?

For some reason, I love the number eight. I usually try to put it somewhere in my writing, art or creatures. Or I incorporate something of myself. The lines on the hands of the big white ape-like Dougal are the same as the lines on mine. And I love special effects. The eyes of Dougal light up, the Niffler has a pouch in which bells are glued so he rings when he is shaken. BB-8 rolls and makes sounds. Toothless’s wings could go up and down.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t force yourself to do anything that you deep down feel you don’t want to. If drawing secretly isn’t your thing, try clay! Try writing!

If you wanna do something like the things I do, buy a glue gun. It’s the best tool ever.

Stay kind to the other artists. They started like you did. And above all, stay weird. Find that one small spot inside yourself that screams “this is me!” and hold on tightly.

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you aren’t good enough. If they do, hot glue their fingers together. Trust me, it hurts.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Straight and Asexual Until Further Notice.

That basically means that I have no sexual interest in people, but I don’t know what happens when I actually do get a relationship at one point.

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

My colleagues don’t often understand it. They ask questions like “But if your partner wants to, and you don’t, what do you do?”

The answer is “We don’t do the do.”

I don’t have much prejudice or ignorance, really. I guess people already see me as a strange person and are like “well, we’ll just add that up to the total picture”

Most people just want explanations on How It Works. Here’s my tip on that:

Ask if they have pets. Most people do. Then ask them if they think that their pet is the most beautiful thing in the world. Most people say yes. Then ask them if they would like to have sex with their pet. The people go “NOOO EEEEW”

Then you go: ‘That’s how I feel about everyone’

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

That you can get rid of it.

“Oh, no matter. Once you meet the right person…”

You can’t get rid of it. It’s like your spine. Sure, you could try to get rid of your spine, but that would take immense force and possibly trauma.

Please don’t get rid of your spine. (unless you medically need to or something)

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

Relax. Sexualities change. At first I thought I was completely and utterly asexual, now I’m thinking I might just be demi. Your atoms and molecules replace completely every seven years or so. Who says you can’t?

If you don’t want sex, don’t have it. And if you are struggling with anything, do some research. Talk to people. Talk to your partner, for goodness sake.

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

My stories: SleepingReader on AO3
My cosplays: EllaFixIt on Facebook or FixitCosplay on Instagram.
My Tumblr – feel free to talk to me about anything- SleepingReader.

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

Interview: Britani Palazzolo

Today we’re joined by Britani Palazzolo. Britani is an awesome artist who is incredibly versatile and works in a variety of mediums. She does a lot of papercrafts and other visual arts. When she’s not drawing, Britani does a lot of writing and some baking as well. Her work shows a fascinating sort of surrealism. It’s very clear she’s an incredibly dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon see. 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 do a little bit of everything! I write, draw, sew, bake, papercraft, paint… If there’s an art medium out there, I’ve probably tried it haha! I usually jump around from one to the other, so right now I’m working on papercrafts mostly (my current project is making one for each Overwatch character) but I’ll probably drift back to drawing or writing soon. I mainly draw my OCs or myself, and I love drawing cute but gross stuff and object heads. I draw traditionally sometimes, but most of the time I use Adobe Illustrator because I love how it works with my style. I’ve been doing art since I can remember, and I’ve watched my style change over the years and it brings me a lot of joy just doing something with my hands. There’s really no telling what I’ll come up with next.

What inspires you?

I guess that depends on what I’m doing. If I’m drawing, usually it’s movies or other media because I’ll make a self-insert character or an AU for my OCs and draw according to that. I think my friends inspire my writing a lot of the time because we bounce around ideas and I just have to get them out! I also draw a lot of creepy/gore things, so catch me at Halloween time really inspired! Fandom also inspires me, but sometimes I’m afraid to contribute fanart because I compare myself to others (a bad habit I know, but I’ve been working on it!) and will instead stick with my own characters haha! I also use my own life as a lot of inspiration, including the fact that I’m ace. I make music playlists (I guess you could call that an art?) and I have an “All Your Favs Are Ace” series which are just character playlists based on my headcanons of characters being on the ace spectrum. I’ve written a fic involving a character coming out to their partner as a sex repulsed ace which I based largely on my own feelings and experiences. Music is also a huge inspiration provider, as well as long showers!

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

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to be creative and do art projects. Art class was always my favorite thing about school, and I would make things at home all the time. It was really in high school that I started figuring out that this was a real thing that I could do with my life. I learned a lot about digital art in high school, and had some great teachers that helped me along, so I decided to go to college for an Art Education degree. At the time I was working in a fabric store so I was teaching myself to sew and cross stitch, and in school I learned about oil paints and charcoal. I got to try every medium and it was fantastic! The chips fell as they do, and I got into baking and cake decorating. So, instead of teaching, now I bake and do art on the side!

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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 sign everything with my initials, but it’s not very special haha! If I sew anything for someone though, I attach a little tag that I made that says “Handcrafted”. I hand carved the stamp used to make these tags on an eraser, so I guess that’s kind of cool! Other than that I think it’s just my personal drawing style that is pretty unique. I tend to over exaggerate certain features (legs for example) and simplify others (feet).

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do not stop. If someone tells you that you can’t do something, you look them in the eye and you do the thing and you keep doing it until they close their mouth. It might take a while, but if it makes you happy, just keep going. Art is what you make of it. There are no rules!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a sex repulsed asexual panromantic!

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

I haven’t had a lot directed specifically at me (except somebody once didn’t like my ace playlists and called me homophobic for making them, which baffled me), but the first year I went to the pride parade in my area only ONE booth sold ace flags and they were those tiny ones on sticks. When I went to pride this year, I was hoping maybe asexuality had gotten a little more out there, but again only ONE booth sold the full size flags and the people at the booth had very little knowledge on the subject (didn’t know which flag I wanted until I pointed directly at it, didn’t know if they had any more ace merch, etc). Mostly I just ignore it or roll with it. If there is an opportunity, I will attempt to educate people on the matter, but most people spouting ignorance don’t want to learn, so I’ve found there’s not much point in trying.

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

That ALL ace people HATE sex/anything to do with sex/are innocent pure beings who don’t know anything about sex! It makes me laugh because I know so many ace people who are very sex positive, a lot are very kinky in their own ways, and are in no way ‘innocent and pure’. People assume you’re an emotionless robot (especially if you’re aro ace, I’m so sorry to those guys) and it just astounds me.

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

It’s alright to take your time learning about your sexuality, and do lots of research, read a lot of info! I thought I was straight until about the first year of college (19 years old or so), and from there I was maybe bi, but something just didn’t feel right about that. It was only once I started seeing a lot of info about the ace spectrum on Tumblr that I was like “Hold on… this sounds like me!” I identified as demisexual for a while, but did some more research, did some soul searching, and decided to go with full asexual. But just know that this could change too! Sexuality is fluid. Just go with the flow, meet people, make friends, maybe fall in love? Who knows!

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

You can find me basically anywhere on the internet by the same username: ranebowstitches
I’m most active on Tumblr, AO3, Instagram, and 8tracks.

Pop by and say hi! I love to chat!

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

Interview: Mady

Today we’re joined by Mady. Mady is a phenomenally versatile young artist who hasn’t yet met a medium she didn’t like. She specializes in music, playing both the flute and the piccolo, though she does play other instruments as well. When she’s not making music, Mady enjoys drawing, photography, and baking. She clearly has an enormous amount of passion and enthusiasm, 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.

So I do participate in a few different artist outlets. Music is what I am most skilled in as I’ve been practicing and performing for about 10 years now. Flute and Piccolo are my main instruments, though I do occasionally mess around with others! My favorite pieces to perform are usually from a movie score or a stage musical. I love how easily the emotional flows from them since they are designed to illicit a specific emotional response from an audience while a composed piece on its own is more open to interpretation.

As for other things I do a lot whenever I have free time! I like to write, cosplay, bake, take photos, doodle, etc. Honestly most artistic outlets have become a hobby of mine even if I’m not that good at it!

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What inspires you?

Gosh I feel like there are so many things. Honestly, I tend to find most inspiration in the people around me. I’ve met so many people over the years that are so dedicated and passionate about their craft that I can’t help but also want to be the best I can. That sounds so cheesy to say, but it is how I feel!

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

Well for music I would almost be tempted to say it was in my blood. Kind of like a destiny thing! Everyone in my family is musically inclined. I mean literally everyone. To be honest at first I very strongly strayed away from anything musical. My dad is musician and plays in a band on his off days from work so for some reason when I was a younger that caused me to shy from it.

In fifth grade I joined Orff Orchestra to get out of sitting in the gym in the morning and that was kind of the end of that line of thinking. The middle school band teachers came and did a presentation on beginning band and the rest if kind of history!

Everything else was something I picked up along the way. There was no specific moment like with music. They were hobbies that I just came to enjoy.

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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 can’t think of anything that really that stands out to me. I think everything I do just kind of has a look or sound to it that relates back to me in a way? Which I do think is true of most artists. There isn’t something tangible for my art; it’s more of a feeling if that makes sense?

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Try not to compare yourself to those around you and never give up! This is something I personally have a problem with and always need to remind myself. It’s okay not to be at the same level as someone else, no matter where they are in life. You’re allowed to go at your own pace and that isn’t a bad thing!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Panromantic Asexual! (Though I’ve found I tend to lean more towards ladies than fellas)

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

Mhm personally I haven’t dealt with too much as I’m not very vocal about my sexuality. It’s kind of on a need to know basis so I’d be willing to bet most people I know, excluding my friends, have no idea I’m ace. I did have a friend once brush me off and patronize me, but after talking with them they came to understand a bit better. I, of course, have also had the general stupid comments about being a plant or partaking in mitosis.

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

Probably that it doesn’t exist in the real world and that it’s only a “Tumblr Thing” It’s frustrating to hear because for me personally without Tumblr and the internet as a whole making information about sexuality so accessible, I wouldn’t have realized I was ace. I spent a long time confused and unsure of what was wrong with me. I never really had physical crushes and was never able to relate when my friends would point out someone and gush about how ‘hot’ they were. Tumblr helped me start looking further into terms and information and has led me to where I am today. It’s not a perfect site and definitely has its faults, but I really do think it has the potential to be a wonderful place for spreading information.

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

It’s okay to be unsure and afraid. You don’t have to have all the answers. Even just recently I had to make some adjustments to how I see and refer to myself. Life is constantly a learning experience and that’s okay! Have fun being yourself!! No one else can do it better!

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

I post anything I create that I’m proud of on Tumblr at venasven. Any and all of my cosplays and photography can be found on Instagram at the same name! Venasven!

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

Interview: Kate Urquhart

Today we’re joined by Kate Urquhart. Kate is a phenomenal artist who does a number of things. She participates in choir and chorale, a talented singer. Kate also does a lot of writing. When she’s not doing either of those, Kate is a dedicated crafter who does a number of things, including embroidery. She has included a truly gorgeous embroidery that took her two years to complete. 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 singer, a writer, and a craft lover. I’m currently a member of two different choirs/chorales. I’m still not sure what the different is between choir and chorale, but anyway… One is definitely a choral, and the other is a small church choir. Between the two I get the opportunity to sing and perform heaps of different songs. So far this year I’ve performed Beatles classics, cheesy love songs, old show tunes, a small Latin number, and a lot of songs about Jesus (church choir, obviously).

My writing is just something small I do on the side as a way of coping with life. Sometimes I write poems, sometimes its snippets of stories, and sometimes it’s just a stream of consciousness to clear my head.

Alongside singing and writing, I also do knitting, crocheting, quilting, embroidery (cross stitch), and baking.

What inspires you?

I guess the need to cope ‘inspires’ my singing, writing, and craft. It gives me an outlet to deal with emotions. When my mind feels cluttered and fuzzy, I need a way to redirect whatever I’m feeling, and this is the best way I’ve found.

The internet is also a big source of inspiration. If I see a cute blanket or scarf online that is too awesome to be real, I can’t help but give it a go. Sometimes I’ll just happen upon an image that fills my mind with words, but I also follow a few writing prompt blogs to help generate ideas.

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

I’ve always had an interest in creative outlets. Over the course of my (short) life so far, I’ve had a go at all sorts of things. I have little to no talent in drawing, painting, photography, dancing, acting, or playing a musical instrument, which I discovered in each and every one of them. But along the way I found where my true passions lie.

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?

Ace characters. Literally always. Every single character, narrator, or persona in my writing is somewhere on the ace spectrum. Even if you don’t know anything about their sexuality, they are secretly ace.

I am also particularly fond of the oxford comma, so if you read a story or poem and it doesn’t have said grammatical necessity, please know it was not written by me.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m not sure I really have any advice to give. Just do whatever you love. Be passionate about it. Even if you think your work isn’t great, it is, and if you love it you should keep doing it. The world is an ugly place at times, so by being an artist– by making beautiful things in an ugly world, you are doing something wonderful and brave and amazing.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and biromantic (I think – I haven’t quite figured myself out yet, but that label has worked so far). More specifically, I’m a sex repulsed ace. Quite frankly I’d rather eat a bowl of brussel sprouts. Ew.

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

I’m not all that out there, both with my sexuality and with what I do, so I haven’t really come across prejudice. Generally speaking, though, I have come across a bit. My mum initially told me I’d grow out of it but she’s become a lot more accepting/understanding recently, and some of my friends had never heard of the ace spectrum before (but they fully supported me after they found out).

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

“It’s just a phase.” What more do I need to say? It’s not a phase, I’m not being dramatic or ‘unique’ or picky or prudish. It’s just who I am. I was born this way; I will most likely die this way. Asexuality is valid and real.

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

Don’t let anyone else tell you who they think you are. You know yourself best. If someone tries to say that you’re too young to know, or you’re not valid, or it’s just a phase, bite their head off. Seriously, bite. Their. Head. Off. You get to pick which labels you want, and you get to decide who you are.

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

Please visit (and follow) my blog: http://www.passive-soldier.tumblr.com/.

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