Interview: Nessie

Today we’re joined by Nessie. Nessie is a phenomenal playwright from Scotland who is also working on the first draft of her first novel. When she’s not writing, Nessie also acts and directs. Nessie also participates in a medieval re-enactment society as well. It’s very clear that she has an incredible amount of passion and dedication, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a playwright, a writer more generally, an actor, and a director. I also LARP, and I am part of a mediaeval re-enactment society. I have written eight plays so far, three of which have been performed – one of them twice, the second time under a new title, Shakespeare Syndrome, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2016 – and one of which had extracts read from it by professional actors at the Traverse Theatre, as part of my MSc Playwriting programme. I will graduate in November this year and recently received my degree award; I will be graduating ‘With Merit’!

My plays so far have most been quite dark, and often historically inspired. My two most recent scripts were inspired by the lives of mediaeval queens (Margaret of Anjou and Mary of Guelders, the wife of James II of Scotland), while my first ever script, This Breathing World, was heavily influences by Shakespeare’s Richard III and was set in space; I actually have a short lived Tumblr blog about my experience directing the show if you’re interested (http://thisbreathingworld-play.tumblr.com). Funnily enough, my play that has been performed twice, and at the Fringe no less, was my first foray into comedy; Antic Disposition, later retitled Shakespeare Syndrome, is a play in which several of Shakespeare’s characters visit a psychiatrist, and things go about as well as one might expect.

What inspires you?

Shakespeare’s History plays, actual history, books I read, people and events in my life and, more recently, situations and characters from the shared universe my friends and I have in LARP. My first book, which I plan to start working on as part of NaNoWriMo, is inspired by one of my characters and his family, but this character was in turn inspired by a number of different historical figures and events, from Pope Alexander VI to the Spanish Inquisition. He’s… he’s a bit of a mess. Although he is asexual, so he has that going for him, haha!

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

I have always wanted to be a writer, since I was seven years old and ‘wrote’ my first ‘book’; basically I copied out Rapunzel and drew illustrations for it, and I specifically remember her having a triangular orange dress! I briefly swapped from wanting to be a writer to wanting to be an actor when I was in high school, but I’ve always been a writer, really; whether through writing reviews for an online publication (Broadway Baby), doing one of my degrees in English and the other in Playwriting, or making up stories with my friends when I was younger (and I still do that, to be honest)! I wrote fanfiction for a while in high school – for CATS: The Musical and Dickens books mostly, because I was, and am, a person of very niche interests. For a long time my magnum opus was a fifty-three chapter fanfic called Bill Sykes detailing the backstory of the violent thug from Oliver Twist! I started writing plays during my second year of undergrad and playwriting has been my jam ever since.

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?

Honestly, my characters die a lot, but I wouldn’t say that’s a signature, more a worryingly frequent feature! A lot of them also tend to be quite wordy, and that’s a problem I have as a self proclaimed ‘word nerd’, having done two degrees with creative and analytical slants; my characters and I tend to use several words were only a few would do. One of the exceptions to this rule is Frank Lovell, my version of Shakespeare’s Francis Lovell, who was himself a historical figure; he tends to say very little and, when he does speak, it’s monosyllabic.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I know it’s a cliché but I would say never give up on your art, you will only get better with practice. I look back on my older scripts now and I realise how far I’ve come, especially since I was lucky enough to be able to pursue a degree in Playwriting to better understand how scripts are written and how they work. I would also say be ruthless when it comes to editing, if you’re a writer; I had a first draft of a play once that was around eighty pages long, and it was only meant to be around an hour long in performance. If it had stayed eighty pages it would have taken around two hours! I would also say, again for writers, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite; your first draft is not perfect – and don’t worry, it’s not meant to be! It doesn’t have to be, it just has to exist. As my playwriting tutor used to say, a first draft is a pile of shit with occasional nuggets of gold. She was a very unusual woman.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a biromantic asexual. It took me a long time to get to this point, from questioning my sexuality, to thinking I was bisexual; I didn’t even know what asexuality was until very recently! I am now pretty comfortable calling myself asexual, and my friend recently bought me a shirt for my birthday that says ‘Asexual pirate isn’t interested in your booty’ (Look Human is an incredible website and has a huge range of ace themed shirts, accessories and so on. They’re not paying me to say that, I just adore this website!), which I hope to debut in public sometime soon, as it’s my first piece of clothing/accessory or anything that displays pride colours.

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

I’ve honestly been very quiet about my sexuality in public, as I feel it’s on a need to know basis, though a lot of my friends know. My family sort of knows (long story) and my Dad will sometimes make jokes about me needing to find the right person, but I know he’s joking so it’s OK. I have encountered a lot of ignorance online though, but as I haven’t encountered it personally, the ignorance being directly at the orientation and not me specifically, I can’t really say how I have handled it. I am more open about my sexuality online, and feel I’m able to be more proud of it there, as I have encountered a very loving and supportive community; in the real world, I’m not sure, and in fact I know, not everyone I know would be so understanding, sadly including some members of my immediate family.

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

Oh gosh, in my quest for discovering who I was/what asexuality was I encountered so many misconceptions; humans aren’t plants, that’s not a real orientation, you’re an emotionless robot, how can you not be interested in sex?, what’s wrong with you?, who hurt you? etc. No one hurt me, nothing’s wrong with me, I’m ace and that’s a-OK!

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

I would say that it’s perfectly valid to struggle with your orientation, especially when sex and sexual attraction seem to be regarded as the key to all happiness these days! No matter where you are on the spectrum and no matter your struggle, you are valid and you are loved. You don’t have to have it all figured out, now or in the future, and there is nothing wrong with you! You are not broken, or weird, or going through a phase. You are who you are and you should be proud of yourself. ❤

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

I am in the process of trying to put together a website but it’s very slow going. Occasionally – very occasionally – I will say something about my work on Tumblr, so that’d be the best place to hear about my work for now. For more about some of my plays, if you Google ‘Shakespeare Syndrome Edinburgh Fringe’ you may be able to find some reviews of the last play I had performed, and I think if you search ‘This Breathing World play review’, you may come across some reviews for my first ever play, from 2014!

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

Interview: Amy

Today we’re joined by Amy. Amy is a wonderful visual artist who does digital painting and is also a cartoonist. She mostly draws people and characters. Amy enjoys art that tells a story. Her work is absolutely beautiful, filled with vibrant colors and expressive faces. She’s clearly an incredibly talented artist with an amazing eye, 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’m a cartoonist and digital painter interested especially in figural works — characters and people. I like paintings which tell a story, or maybe just hint at one; the sort of thing that might become someone’s character inspiration. When I’m doing relaxing doodles in my sketchbook, it’s usually faces making a variety of expressions.

What inspires you?

Colour and light; humans. I love the visceral reaction to a painting which uses colour and light boldly. I am also a habitual people-watcher and am inspired by the people I see every day. As an artist, I have a habit of seeing beauty and interest in everyone. I’m not great yet at capturing that, but it’s an inspiration for sure!

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

I’ve always liked drawing, but when I was around 15 years old I decided to get serious and start really practicing and investigating. The internet especially helped me with my art — all of my early favourite artists were people sharing their work online, like Vera Brosgol and Emily Carroll.

I went to university for Fine Arts, and realized after I got my degree that I was happier doing art as a hobby than as my every day job. I’m an extrovert, and after a short stint working from home doing backgrounds for animation, I realized that almost all art jobs are solitary and would drive me totally batty if I did them as a career. It’s hard balancing art with working full time, but I’m working on learning how.

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 necessarily hide a lot of symbolism in my art, but if I look at all my paintings side by side I realize that I very much have a palette that I like to work in: pinks and teals. There’s just something about the contrast between pink/coral/peach and teal/blue/robin’s egg that appeals to me.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Look at everything and practice everything! Remember that what you put into your head influences what comes back out, so seeking more diverse stuff to look at and enjoy will help your art grow and expand. Then draw, draw, draw. When I was learning to draw hands I filled pages and pages and pages with sketches of hands while sitting in front of the TV; now I’m confident in drawing hands and enjoy including them in my work. Not every piece has to be final: go ahead and just try stuff out and see what happens.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a bi-romantic or pan-romantic ace. I usually use bi since it’s easier for people to understand, but I’m romantically attracted to men, women, and non-binary or genderqueer people.

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

I’m not extremely vocal about being ace in my field IRL as I have dealt with a lot of general ignorance and prejudice already. I’m much more open about my sexuality online, though, because I know that seeing other ace people has helped me and I want to pass that on when I feel able to. Over time, I hope to become more vocal about it in real life so that I can help people that way too.

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

That it “doesn’t exist” or I “don’t know what I’m missing out on”. Both are really frustrating to encounter! Everyone seems to think they know better than me about my sexuality and attraction and want to tell me how I should feel or identify. I’m doing my best to tune them out.

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

I first realized that I was ace when I was around 20; I didn’t actually accept it and start identifying as ace until I was around 30. It’s hard to be a part of an orientation that people either completely don’t know about or think isn’t real. It’s also hard to fit into a world that thinks sex is the be-all end-all when it just isn’t a priority or interest. I guess my advice would be: it’s okay to struggle; that doesn’t make you any less valid as an asexual person. And it’s okay, too, to decide that you’re done struggling and you’re happy being you regardless of what society thinks! I think it’s a process getting from the first to the second, and we’re all working our way along it; give yourself time.

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

I have a blog where I post my art — I’m not the most active poster, but I’ve got a good long archive of simple sketches, pen and ink work, and full paintings. You can check me out at amy-draws.tumblr.com.

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

Interview: Caoimhe

Today we’re joined by Caoímhe. Caoímhe is a young fanartist who does a lot of drawing and some cosplay. She started out drawing anime but is currently developing her own style. Caoímhe demonstrates an incredible use of color and line that make her images really stand out. She’s very talented, 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 guess I’m a fan artist really. I do traditional art of shows I watch and fandoms I’m in. I started off drawing anime and I’ve started getting into my own style more recently. I’ve also done some small cosplaying bits for conventions, nothing major though.

What inspires you?

As a fan artist, what I’m interested in really gives me ideas. I’ve been very into musicals recently like Hamilton (I know I’m basic) so I decided to draw my friends as characters from it to help improve my drawing somewhat realistically. I also get random ideas from conversations with my friends so I’ll jot them down in the notes on my phone. I always have little ideas that I want to pursue, it’s more finding time to actually do them is the work.

When I do cosplay, I pick characters I like and/or admire. My favourite cosplay is Heather Chandler from Heathers as I love to act as a bitchy character.

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

I was never really into art as a kid. I was very much a bookworm, so whilst other kids played GAA (football and hurling) I would read books or work on coding. It wasn’t until I started secondary school and a girl I became friends with got me into anime. I started with Ouran High School Host Club and got into a few others. I don’t know why but I decided to draw some of the characters and I’ve been drawing for around two and a half years now.

It’s the same for cosplay, I became friends with people who would go to conventions and I started going to them too. There’s not a major amount of them as I’m from Ireland though, but I try to get to them when I can.

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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?

Not particularly. I do sign my work and date it, so I can look back and see where I’ve improved more than anything.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Whatever area of art you are in, practice. It’s the only way to improve. I say this as someone who is still a young artist trying to work on her art. But also try not to compare yourself to others too much. Yes, you’ll always feel like there are those who are better than you, but by constantly criticizing yourself, you’ll only make yourself feel worse.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and bi/panromantic (haven’t really figured it out yet). In regards to my asexuality, I’m open to intimacy just not sex, though I’m not outright repulsed by it, I just know it’s not for me.

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

I personally haven’t experienced anything like that in real life, though I have met people who don’t get asexuality which I kind of expect. Online, I have seen a lot of ace hate, especially on Tumblr and Instagram, where there have been ace hate pages and just so much abuse thrown at the community.

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

That all ace people hate intimacy. Obviously some do, but many of us are fine with and enjoy things like cuddling, kissing and such. There are even aces who do have sex, but I feel like it’s not really shown as much in the little representation the ace community has.

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

You don’t need to have it all figured out. I’m still trying to figure out my own identity, but once you are ok with who you are you’ll be fine.

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

I’m not particularly active on Tumblr, my Instagram is really where it’s at:
https://www.instagram.com/caoimhedraws/

I also post updates as I draw on my Snapchat CaoimheDraws

I don’t always post what I’m doing so if you want to shoot me a DM to see what I’m working on or to talk, feel free!

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

Interview: Leon

Today we’re joined by Leon. Leon is a wonderful writer and dabbles in crafts. They are an eclectic artist who has done a bit of everything. They have worked in theater (acting, tech, stage management, directing) and do quite a bit of writing. When they’re not writing, they also do a lot of knitting as well as coloring. It’s very 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’d consider myself something of a ‘jack of many (creative) trades’. I have a short attention span, the constant need to be busy, a long-standing habit of having whimsical trains of thoughts I can hardly keep track of myself and I grew up with the internet where any number of basic skill sets are a quick Google search away. I collect funny little ideas and random hobbies and nifty bits of information that eventually I figure I will find use for (like book binding … haven’t gotten around to using that info quite yet but some day)

I’ve been a storyteller practically my whole life and a writer for most of that. My dad was a writer, so I picked that up from him. I got involved with theater during middle and high school. First acting, then various back stage and tech theater works. I lived in a small town a few years ago where I was the designated ’emergency backup’ person for the local theater company, always available for lighting, sound, props, painting, costumes, whatever they needed. I picked up knitting in my early teens, played around with that, taught myself how to knit plush animals and dolls and such. I’ve made several based on some of my favorite video game characters. I also like just experimenting and messing around with various creative projects.

I got really taken in by the adult coloring book trend, which has been exciting for me. I don’t really have much of a talent for drawing and that kind of visual art, and not enough patience to really develop it. But I love coloring. I love messing around with my colored pencils and my gel pens and figuring out how to make nifty little effects with glitter. I can work on multiple different pages from multiple different books as the mood suits me. Plus, I am so absolutely a crafter. So I get to think of fun ways to use the pretty colored in pages when I’m done. (I am in a ‘modge podge the heck out of everything’ phase right now) and then I get to figure out how to do those things and pick up a bunch of little crafting skills. It’s been tons of fun.

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Bat Box

What inspires you?

So many things. I have a real habit of latching on to little ideas or tropes and just trying to figure all the possible ways I could express them and in what medium and why. And then latching onto random ideas that come up when I think about this stuff.

Example: I got stuck on this nifty idea of inverting the ‘The Dead Have Names’ trope and giving a related speech to the villain. Because it’s such a ‘hero’ thing, giving it to the villain gets really chilling and strange. So then I think about the general idea of inverting tropes along those lines. Since I’ve been coloring a lot lately I start thinking about color inversions. And now I have two dragon pictures, one of which is a ‘water dragon’ which I’m going to coloring in various shades of red and orange and the other is a ‘fire dragon’ I’m going to be coloring in shades of blue.

With all the coloring I’ve been doing lately I tend to get inspired by the pages themselves. I know I want to color this or that page in with only metallic gel pens. And I’ve been working so much in color lately I’ll get color schemes stuck in my head even if I don’t know where I want to utilize them yet.

And in a more abstract sense… my dad taught me to look at creative ‘problems’ (in the loosest sense of the word) like riddles, to apply whatever creative skills/knowledge I did have to fill the rest in. So I tend to have a ‘make it up as I go’ approach to all my art/creative stuff. And that inspires me too, just trying to work out a ‘problem’, the constant thinking and wondering and ruminating.

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

I guess I always sort of wanted to be an artist, but I never really had a specific idea of what that meant. I liked writing so I figured I’d just … write stuff. Which I did. I liked theater so I did that too. I liked knitting and coloring and wood shop and cooking and so on.

I got the writing and storytelling thing from my dad. And everything else just sort of blossomed from that in a weird organic kind of way that I can’t really pin down, even looking back on it. A lot of the stuff I’ve learned to do was to facilitate a vague idea of storytelling. I got into tech theater, into lighting and sound design, so I could figure out how to make the best use of that to facilitate a stage show. I started knitting plush dolls of video game characters to be able to bring those characters and ideas into another aspect of my life, off the screen (also the reasoning for why I write fanfic). I love looking at the different ways people color the same coloring page because of how drastically different the end results of coloring the same image can be. I over analyze the crap out narrative heavy video games because I like seeing how different narrative tools can slot together and all of the ways video games making story telling weird or strange or unique.

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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?

When I do visual type art (in the broadest sense) I very often end up using various pride flag colors (which makes me chuckle to myself) just because I can

I also have a serious love of inverting various tropes, just turning basic common assumptions on their head. Not so much a signature as a ‘reoccurring theme’.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.

Not just for the experience or for the opportunity to get better either. But because it’s fun, it makes you happy, it’s something to stave off the boredom, it keeps you busy, it just something you want to do. It’s worth doing because it’s worth doing.

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Flower Lantern

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a bi/pan ace.

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

Yeah, typically of the general, non-malicious ignorance variety, which usually results in me just offering some basic 101-type information.

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

The ‘attraction = behavior’ thing. Like the assumption that celibacy and asexually are the same thing

And because the fact that I’m trans often comes up around the same time as the fact that I’m ace comes up, I also get the ‘hey do you think maybe you’re ace because you’re trans’ thing a lot personally, usually with the implication that if this is the case it means one of those IDs is therefore less valid. Which usually results in me just going flat ‘no’ because I often don’t have the time (or emotional energy) for a long nuanced discussion.

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Metallic Bookmarks

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

It’s okay to not totally have your orientation strictly defined. It’s okay to take time to figure it out. It’s okay if you never figure it out completely and if whatever labels you use are basically ‘as accurate as I can be right now’. It’s okay to be as specific or as nonspecific as you want, you have no obligation to define your orientation to any arbitrary degree of specification. It’s fine if your ace-ness is/was influenced by some external factor. It’s okay if you weren’t ace before but are now. It’s okay if you stop IDing as ace later. It’s okay if you only ID as ace with no other labels.

You don’t have to justify your orientation to anyone. You don’t even have to explain any more than you want. It’s fine if you can’t explain. It’s fine if you just don’t want to.

Just… you do you.

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

Some older tags on my blog have some of my knitting stuff.
http://i-sauntered-vaguely-downwards.tumblr.com/tagged/leon-the-ace-knitter
http://i-sauntered-vaguely-downwards.tumblr.com/tagged/leon-knits-things

I have an Etsy shop up that has the results of my ‘what can I do with these pretty colored in coloring book pages’ adventures.
https://www.etsy.com/shop/ColorToTheMoon

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Metallic Cat Purple

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

Interview: Grace Procella

Today we’re joined by Grace Procella. Grace is a member of P4 Comics, a group of queer artists that do a variety of things. Ve does mostly comics but also some character design and illustration. Grace takes a lot of inspiration from anime and is very dedicated to vis art. Ve is incredibly passionate about creating, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to vis for participating in this interview.

P4 Job Search
P4 Job Search

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

We are a group of queer (but mostly asexual) artists that do comics, videos and other content with the intent of spreading positivity and education about Asexuality. Personally, as it stands, most of my art involves comics, but I do a few character designs/illustrations here and there. Most of it is all anime inspired, as that’s what got me back into art in the first place, but I try to diversify a little here and there. Matter of fact, we run a weekly series where we feature different asexual perspectives. Since I let them tell me how they want to be portrayed, sometimes I run into some lovely challenges. From coyote shaped cakes to panda wizards, we’ve had an interesting variation of characters thus far.

What inspires you?

What originally inspired me was the works of Sophie Labelle, Serpentenial, Kate Leth and several other astounding comic artists. I really thought I had a neat experience being aporagender and asexual, so I thought sharing my experiences might make people feel like they’re not alone. Nowadays though, it’s the fans that inspire me, their passion for the message and for this community really brings about some interesting concepts and dialogues.

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

Was a total doodler when I was in school, always drawing stuff in the margins, but it never really expanded from there. When I suddenly got into anime in university, it was jumpstarted and I realized that, that was the art I wanted to do. I think I’ve always had the artsy spirit and drive in me, just some bumps along the way made me lose track of it. (Most notably, high school studio art killed the enjoyment for me originally).

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4 Kind 1

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?

Oh lord, I have bad habits, like I always use a certain hand positions, but when it really comes down to it, I think my signature would be how character interact with the dialogue bubbles and my framing. There’s a certain level of 4th wall breaking in all my work that really pops the story out on to your lap. Having character openly reference annoying dialogue bubbles or look over into other frames. It’s fun to conceptualize, draw, and read!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

A while back I made a lovely little info-graphic about this. When it really comes down to it, the main thing is to just start. Art takes lots of refinement, practice and passion. With enough directed practice, anyone can become an artist.

To be more specific, if you’re looking to be a comic artist like me, I think the best thing I could tell you is not to be afraid of sharing your stuff. You see an LGBTQ+ page that posts memes about queer stuff. Share/post it to their page, tag them, whatever. When you reach out and tap into existing communities, you’ll find it’s much easier to grow.

Trigger Happy
Trigger Happy

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a romantic asexual, more specifically a biromantic asexual. Sex negative/apathetic, somewhere there. I just don’t like it.

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

Actually I’ve encountered more prejudice FROM aces rather than naysayers. We have a way of questioning ideas on the right and left, which can sometimes draw some angry crowds. But whenever I run into prejudice or ignorance I have a conversation with that person. See what their opinions all about. Overall it usually end up with both of us coming away disagreement, but a little bit wiser.

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

Oh lord, most definitely that attraction = desire. Even when it’s so easily explained to people. You desire acts and feelings. You’re attracted to people. But everyone seems quite ignorant to these ideas. Other than that, often people will think your asexuality was caused by trauma, which I’ve always found odd. That’s ones fairly commonplace.

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

Be you. That’s all I can really say. We have an ongoing series about Gate Keepers, and the catch is always, that he can only make you think you’re not allowed in. But he can’t actually stop you from going through the gate. You know who you are better than anyone, so don’t let others tell you who you are and where you belong.

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

Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Patreon, all at P4 Comics or Perplexingly Purple Pride Potatoes. If you like food porn, you can also follow us at p4_potatogram on Instagram!

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P4 Logo with background

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

Interview: Logan

Today we’re joined by Logan. Logan is a phenomenal visual artist who does both traditional and digital art. He uses a variety of materials, but loves to draw. His work is brimming with astonishing detail, imagination, and vivid colors. It’s clear he has a wonderful love of art, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is very odd topic, for it ranges in many different forms. Digital, Traditional, painting, paper craft, clay, sometimes even photography. But of course I draw more than anything. Everything I draw is so full of life, as my friends and family put it, and while I’m still learning poses and proportions, I think I’ve found a good art style that’s easy enough to doodle with, but also exaggerated enough to make complex pieces.

What inspires you?

Cartoons and anime really inspire me, as I would like to animate as a full-blown job someday. Some of my biggest influences have to be Welcome to Hell and Gorillaz. The expressions and moods of both inspire me to make more drawings like that, ones that have a mood and can tell a story. Some of my other friends who are also artists inspire me as well. I can think of three people that helped me get better at things I’m not all that good at, such as color scheme and line art. One more thing that inspires me is one of my favorite book series Amulet. The art is so charming and the storytelling is amazing. I hope one day I could make something as great as it.

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

When I was younger, I actually wanted to be an architect. I thought the pay was good and I over designing things. I soon grew out of that when I learned how much things you would need to be one. In fourth grade I got really into Sonic games, as I’ve never had a new game before then and I loved to play the Sonic mega collection. Naturally, I started to doodle Sonic characters in class, I still have some of those drawings too. And like most Sonic fans, I made a lot of OCS as well. This actually got me into making stories and worlds of my own. I remember I had about 27 sonic characters that were all connected somehow, I ditched a lot along the way and now I number it down to about 10. It actually wasn’t until sixth grade that I got really into drawing, and by then, I was also into creepypasta, which got me even more into storytelling. Since then, I’ve wanted to be a cartoonist or an animator and I don’t ink that’ll change anytime soon.

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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?

While I wouldn’t call it special, I do have this small trick that helps me draw different sizes of body’s. (I haven’t perfected it yet though) what I do is nothing but circles for the limbs and give the torso a rectangle shape. This way I can edit how big I want the character to be. It’s a bit hard to explain so I tried my best, but it does help me quite a bit.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop drawing something just because someone doesn’t like it. I became the artist I am today because I drew things that would be considered cringy, emo, or childish. But I didn’t let that stop me from drawing something I enjoy, I kept on drawing, heck, I catch myself drawing my Sonic OCs from time to time still. Don’t let people make you feel ashamed for something you like is what I’m basically saying, keep on drawing what you want to draw, not what other people want you to draw.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a Biromantic Asexual

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

I have a few times, but they weren’t as bad as other ace people might have it. Some teasing and someone asking if I actually loved my girlfriend because I was ace.

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

Something I hear a lot is that asexuals can’t have partners. That’s kinda bullcrap. While I don’t speak for everyone when I say that, aces could and would totally date someone if their partner was accepting. I’m lucky that my girlfriend is also asexual so we don’t have to deal with that.

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

I totally get it first of all. I remember that I was very confused with myself when people would talk about doing things I had no interest in and people finding it weird, I remember thinking I had some sort of mental disorder that was preventing me from feeling those things. While I don’t think I’m the best at giving this kind of advice, I just want to say to y’all that everything will turn out fine. It’s OK to be confused and it’s OK to think you were this and end up not being that (heck I thought I was a straight cis girl for 14 years) and if you never really figure out what you are, that’s OK as well, nothing is black and white.

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

Well, I have a Tumblr, a Wattpad, and an Instagram all under the same name, Sonicrocks152.

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

Interview: Dominique Rea Parent

Today we’re joined by Dominique Rea Parent. Dominique is a phenomenal filmmaker who edits shorts. She has had two short films screened at the Digi60 Film Festival in Ottawa, Ontario: Follow That Melody and Something Beautiful. Both are available to watch online. Dominique is an incredibly passionate artist who loves film, 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, cinema is a very collaborative art in which I participate as an editor. It’s a lot like cooking, nothing comes together until you add 3 spoonfuls of garlic or you know, a star wipe here and there. In all seriousness though, I really like making people cry and laugh and shiver with fear.

I have participated in the Ottawa Digi60 Film Festival twice. The Digi60 gives you 12 days to create a 3 minute short film based on a theme. It’s a really fun process and a very satisfying goal to achieve.

Our 2016 short Something Beautiful was shot in one night and I edited it in 4 days. I had fun playing around with masking and pacing. Delivering an emotionally complex story in 3 minutes was very tasking as well as the night shoot. Thank the film gods for the pizzeria that was open at 2am when we were wrapping production. For this year’s short Follow that Melody my co-filmmaker and I decided that we wanted to centre the plot around happy lesbians and that we wanted it to be visually sound and easy to understand without any dialogue. This short pushed me further into colour coding and 3 dimensional tracking. Not gonna lie, I awed a little while editing.

What inspires you?

Cult films about a team of ragtags coming together as a family, but honestly so many things. Comic Books for when I am storyboarding, music and musical theatre for pacing and delivery, other movies and series for when I am looking for new ways to tell stories. LGBT stories and documentaries are always inspiring. The mixed tracks and moodboards that my co-filmmaker makes for me are super inspiring when I edit. Also baths . . . whenever I am feeling unproductive and need inspiration 1 hour luxurious baths do the trick, shout out to Lush.

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

So there are three movies I can thank for getting me into cinema™ and those are Alien, School of Rock and Back to the Future. But really what got me into making movies is kind of ridiculous. I was about 10 and obsessed with Nightmare on Elm Street and I had just been introduced by my brother to Windows Movie Maker. Tiny me decided that my hyperfixation could not be satiated with the existing fan content for Nightmare on Elm Street in early YouTube, specially not after Dream Warriors. With that mindset I decided that I would rewatch every movie, mark down the usable clips and make a music video of Nightmare on Elm Street to the beat of Wake Me Up Before you GoGo. The moment I finished I knew this was my true calling.

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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?

It’s all pretty gay for the most part. Very non-sexualized relationships and horror are big parts of it. Heavy colour coding because messing around with colours is fun.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Other artists are your friends and you should always try to connect with them and treat them with respect. Much like business networking and community are very important to success. Don’t undermine your own work, exposure doesn’t pay rent so don’t work for free, especially because this also undermines the work of your peers. Volunteer opportunities and internships very rarely pay off and unless you are in a position where living expenses are paid for you I would strongly advice against them. Be presentable when meeting clients. Have a contract ready, even if you are working with friends, this protects the both of you. Practice every day, eat your veggies.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and bi

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

Not really, in my experience the few people who know I am ace were just curious and asked pretty general non-intrusive questions. My co-filmmaker is also ace so I am lucky in that way that we are always in tune.

If I did come across prejudice I would try to work it out with that person, most likely they are oblivious as to how they are being offensive or rude. If they were being malicious in any way I would bring it up to a superior or refuse to work with that person. If you are an artist in any workplace you are protected by worker rights and harassment laws protect you from prejudice.

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

I haven’t really gotten all that many misconceptions to be honest. I feel like mostly people are confused as to whether I actually want a relationship or not or if I like people romantically or not. How does it work? or How does it feel? is the most common question I get.

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

Nothing is set in stone. Labels are here to help you and if they fit that’s great you have a community here for you. If they don’t fit then that’s okay too, you really don’t have to explain anything to anyone about yourself. If you’ve perceived yourself as someone different your whole life, but this new identity seems to suit you, well there’s no one here to tell you who you are but yourself.

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

I have a Vimeo www.vimeo.com/domreapar a Twitter at DomReaPar and also an Instagram at domoonyque.

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