Interview: Freya Murphy

Today we’re joined by Freya Murphy. Freya is a phenomenal dancer from England who does ballet with a bit of contemporary thrown in. She has been dancing ballet for fifteen years. When she’s not dancing, Freya enjoys doing visual art and has worked in a wide variety of mediums. She mainly does charcoal drawings, oil paints, sewing, and ink painting but has also recently gotten into nail art. It’s clear she’s an extraordinarily passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is mainly twofold: dance and the more traditional art of creating physical pieces.  When it comes to dance, I’m mainly a ballerina with a little bit of contemporary added in here and there.  My physical art is a mixture of all sorts – charcoal drawings from Life Class, clay sculptures, ink paintings, and some sewing.  My main and most favourite medium however is oil paint.  Oh, and I love doing my nails – I’ve done the ace flag on my nails several times whenever I’m attending LGBTQ+ events.

What inspires you?

Mainly my problems or difficulties in life haha.  I find it so much easier to create based upon my own personal experiences, as I find it more interesting and like it’s my own. So far, I’ve done projects on insecurities (more as a concept than any one specific insecurity), my eczema, my less than usual sleeping position (and my lack of sleep), and my bad eyesight. Seeing all of the amazing art that other artists have created and seeing what new and exciting directions that they have managed to push their art, certainly inspires me to try ideas even if I’m not certain of the results.

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

When it comes to ballet, I’ve been doing it for just over 15 years, since I was three years old.  Over time, I’ve come to realise that it helps me with my social anxiety – I can perform in front of anywhere from 3 people to 400, and I only get the normal nerves, rather than the crippling anxiety I would normally get doing anything in front of any number of people.  I also just love the beauty of ballet, and the free feeling I get when dancing.  It has become such an intrinsic part of me.

For my physical art, I have taken it throughout school, all the way to A-level.  It was only at GCSE that I realised I had such a love for it, as that was when we were given so much more freedom to do what we wanted and make it very personal. However, looking back, I’ve always been creative in some way, and I have a very vivid imagination – often too vivid! I’ve also loved museums for as long as I can remember, always needing to visit at least one museum whenever I went to a new place.  In the past four years or so this has expanded to include art museums and galleries as well.

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 so far, as I’ve just started to explore all the many possibilities of art that are out there, when you’re not restricted by trying to get the most marks in the exam!  I’m excited to find out where it goes next.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Experiment! Try things out! Art is one of those special places where you can try whatever you want, just to see what happens! Also, write down any ideas you have, or anything you find interesting.  In school we were given ‘visual diaries’ to write down anything relating to our art.  I have found it massively helpful, sometimes to just visualise your ideas, or sometimes to come back to when you’re struggling for an idea, or just to be nostalgic. I write everything in it, from the numbers of photos I want to print out, to artists I want to research or just like, to sketches of final pieces or about what materials or techniques did or didn’t work.  When your brain is always going 1000mph like mine and many others’ are, it helps to have something written down that you can physically flip back to, so that you don’t have to stress about forgetting it.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a biromantic asexual.  I’ve identified as asexual for the past three or four years, but only just discovered about myself that I was biromantic in the past two or three months, so that part of me still feels very new to say and acknowledge.

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

I’ve never experienced any when it comes to my art, thankfully, but then again, my work has never involved my asexuality – maybe that could be what my next project is about…

In my personal life I’ve experienced more ignorance than prejudice.  Most people tend to be accepting once they understand it, but it takes some people a while to wrap their heads around the idea for some strange reason.  Luckily close friends who don’t understand it have been accepting straight away, even when confused!  And I encourage them to not be afraid to ask me questions about it, as I always love to help people in any way – and I’d rather they asked me, than sat there confused and accidentally said something rude or ignorant to someone else.

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

That we don’t want romance, or that a romantic relationship with me would be ‘boring’ (direct quote from a close friend).  Not all asexual people are aromantic, just as not all aromantic people are asexual.  Actually, a lot of people don’t realise that your romantic and sexual orientation can be different, and not just amongst aro/aces.  I should hope that a relationship with me isn’t boring (my boyfriend seems perfectly happy!), or if it is, then it’s due to my personality or something, and not my asexuality.

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

I’m still relatively new to discovering my asexuality, so I don’t have any major advice, but probably never let anybody tell you who you are, or that who you are is wrong.  Only you truly know who you are, better than anybody else, even if you’re still figuring it out.  They can help you on your journey by providing advice and support, but at the end of the day it’s yourself that you’re figuring out.  Oh, and don’t be afraid to try out different labels to work out which one fits you best – AND you don’t have to end up with any labels at all, if that’s what feels right to you! I went through a period of about half a year where I tried out different labels internally to figure what felt right, from homosexual to bisexual to demi sexual, to homoromantic to heteroromantic before I finally settled on biromantic asexual, and that might even change in 10 years’ time once I get to know myself even better than I do now!  It’s also fine if it takes you time to figure out who you are, as it can be a complex thing – we are all complicated simply by being human!

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

Well I’ve just set up a new Tumblr blog for my art and ace things (along with newbie witch things and the occasional jacksepticeye reblog) where I’m going to start posting my art in the next week or so. It’s called freya-the-ace-artist.

My art account on Instagram is also very very new, but it’s called freyas_ace_art.

You’re welcome to have a look, it would be greatly appreciated

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

Interview: Elizabeth Wambheim

Today we’re joined by Elizabeth Wambheim. Elizabeth is a phenomenal author who writes novels, novellas, and short stories. All her work features ace protagonists (how awesome is that!?) and it mostly falls in the fantasy genre. She has already written an ace retelling of Beauty and the Beast. She has also written a novel about the relationship between a male shepherd and a Viking woman. It’s clear she’s an incredibly passionate and creative individual who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am the author of a small (so far!) body of published works that feature asexual protagonists and asexual relationships. My biggest work so far has been a novel titled More Than Enough which is a gay/ace retelling of Beauty and the Beast. My first piece was a novella titled Wolves in the Fold about a male shepherd and a female Viking navigating a relationship as well as language barriers. I love writing fantasy; reworking fairy tales; and establishing soft, supportive relationships between characters.

What inspires you?

Just about everything! Books, movies, television shows, video games, and even music can be a source of inspiration. If something catches at my attention, I file it away for use somewhere. My first story in high school had an ensemble casts because I loved the friendship/team dynamics between the four to eight main characters in the Tales series of video games.

Real-world relationships are also inspiring; if I notice an interesting dynamic between two people (be they friends, family, or coworkers), I’ll make a mental note of it and it might wind up as the building block of a fictional relationship. I also make use of personal experiences: I like to be able to step inside my characters and describe the way their emotions affect them physically. The easiest way for me to do that is to write from a place of understanding—where do my experiences overlap with this character’s? If I haven’t gone through exactly what they have, what comes close? What did it feel like to be there? After really good days and really bad days, I take a lot of notes about what happened and how I felt.

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

I’ve been writing since elementary school, but it was mostly something I did for fun. I took Creative Writing classes all through high school and majored in English in college. After I graduated, I realized there weren’t many fictional partnerships that reflected my preferences or my experiences. I found the undercurrent of sexual tension between would-be romantic partners to be alienating and sometimes uncomfortable. So I started writing the stories I wanted to read.

While my writing is not what I want to depend on for a living, it is a vital part of my life. I love the puzzle of crafting a story from scraps of lived experience and fictional inspirations. Writing also helps me validate who I am and how I feel; it’s a privilege to know that my stories help other people, too.

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 love mythological and literary symbolism, so there are almost always elements of that in my stories, such as a scar used as a symbol of a character’s triumph over adversity or an oblique reference to the “eating of the pomegranate seeds” in the Hades/Persephone myth.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You’re the only person in the world uniquely positioned to produce the work that 100% appeals to you in form and content. Work on what makes you happy.

Conversely, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing or you find that you’re bored with the piece, then take a break and don’t feel bad about taking a break. You’re a human being, not a machine! Treat yourself kindly and you’ll come back to the work when you’re ready.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual and sex-repulsed as hell. I’ll say that I’m biromantic, but my take on romantic love is best described by that Pepe Silvia screenshot from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

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

I’ve worked in public libraries for the last three years, and I haven’t experienced any prejudice from any of my coworkers, thankfully! But I’m also not really open at work (either about being ace or about being bi), so that might be part of it.

The only issue I’ve had has been that I have a really hard time shelving titles in the romance section. The covers make me kind of queasy (no one on them is wearing nearly enough clothes), so I just avoid working in that section as much as possible.

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

On a general level: it’s a phase and something we’ll grow out of, or that there’s something inherently childish about it as an orientation.

On a personal level: being asexual means that I’m inherently not interested in (or incapable of having) a committed partnership with another person.

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

Where you are and how you’re feeling is okay! Give yourself space to figure out how who you are and how you feel. Don’t let anyone convince you that your truth isn’t a valid truth.

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

https://ewambheim.wordpress.com/ is the hub for my published work. I have one short story there that you can read for free as a PDF, and it also includes links to the Amazon pages for Wolves in the Fold and More Than Enough.

https://ajumbleofpages.tumblr.com/ is the Tumblr I use for sharing writing updates.

Please also check out the Goodreads page for More Than Enough: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36327532-more-than-enough

Folx have left some very kind and heartfelt reviews there and on its Amazon page!

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

Interview: Schi-Lee A. Smith

Today we’re joined by Schi-Lee A. Smith. Schi-Lee is a phenomenal artist who is incredibly versatile. She does a lot of visual art and even teaches painting classes. When she’s not doing visual art, Schi-Lee enjoys writing and writes both original work and fanfiction. Schi-Lee also has a passion for singing and even has some karaoke fans. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist with an impressive amount of passion, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

Signature

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

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

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

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

That we hate sex, or we never have sex.

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: NotAVampyre

Today we’re joined by NotAVampyre. NotAVampyre is a wonderful YouTuber who specializes in media analysis. She makes videos analyzing TV shows, films, and even musicals. Her videos vary in length and subject matter, but all are incredibly interesting. It’s clear she loves what she does. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a video maker on YouTube where I create analysis content about movies, musicals, and television shows like Degrassi, Steven Universe, and Peter Pan. The type of video ranges from review to talking at length about one aspect that I found notable in a work.

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Scott Pete

Today we’re joined by Scott Pete. Scott is a phenomenal photographer who is just starting out and already displays a remarkable amount of talent. Aside from photography, Scott also runs an asexual meetup and discussion group, in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, called ‘A Space for Aces’ (Twitter & Meetup). His photography shows an incredible eye for beauty in nature. It’s clear he’s a passionate artist who loves what he does, 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 photography (as art, rather than play) is still somewhat in its early stages but I’m developing the idea that photography is inherently surreal; a facsimile of reality, copied under a certain set of conditions and translated into the photographer’s visual language.

What inspires you?

The effortless, self-unaware beauty of nature. The play of water, moss, and plant life. Light and motion.

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

I used to buy disposable cameras and try to get as many good photos on a roll as I could. When you’re 9-years-old, 24 exposures usually isn’t enough. I was given a 1.2 megapixel digital camera at 15 started playing with Photoshop and editing techniques.

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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?

A common theme in much of my photography is a long exposure, resulting in any moving objects leaving a trail. For example, when I’m shooting a waterfall, I’ll set the camera to expose for 3 to 4 seconds to give the water a soft texture and make a still image look like it’s in motion.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do what you want to do, but look to other artists to help you develop your craft. The study of art is just as important as your raw talent and the moods, concepts and images you convey through your art. I’ve been reading books on photography theory but, also, studying paintings and their painters, trying to see the images conveyed by the music I listen to and, (if this makes any sense) trying to feel the emotional texture of what other photographers are putting out. Do whatever you can to mindfully develop your style, your technique and the personal language of your art.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual, Biromantic.

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

Not in my field, but the prejudice and ignorance I encounter in my daily life, I face head-on. I don’t worry about seeming pedantic because the only way to combat ignorance is with education. I try not to use the word “actually” and I have a kind of script that I follow.

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

That asexuality means having nothing, as if it’s void that speaks of an emptiness of being. That “you seem so normal, though” and implying there’s something broken or abnormal about being Ace.

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

Those who are uncomfortable with the idea of asexuality are probably uncomfortable with themselves. If a person is ignorant, you can choose to educate them or not to do so. It is your choice and you don’t owe anyone an explanation for who you are. Everyone has questions about their identity at some point in their life. You are valid and no one can ever take your identity away from you.

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

I’m on Instagram at scottpete_photography and on Twitter at scottpetephoto. I’ll be starting on Zenfolio in the next couple of years, too.

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

Interview: Nya Holmes

Today we’re joined by Nya Holmes. Nya is a phenomenal musician who plays the bass. She plays in jazz bands and orchestras. When she’s not playing the bass, she plays the guitar just for fun. It’s clear that she’s a passionate and talented artist who loves music, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a classical and Jazz bass player, but above all that I am a musician. I can play all kinds of music, pretty much anything you put in front of me I’ll be able to figure out eventually, so long as it’s on my instrument. Music is my entire life. I dedicate all days of my week to go to a performing arts academy at my high school where I am in the top jazz and orchestral ensembles. I’m in outside ensembles as well, dedicating my Sundays to music from 10:30 am to 8:00 pm. I love it, and hope to do it for the rest of my life.

What inspires you?

Honestly, the thing that inspires me the most is my friends. They are all incredibly talented musicians, and we all motivate each other to be the best version of ourselves. Besides that, it’s listening to recordings of accomplished musicians and orchestras that truly inspiring. Listening to the Berlin Philharmonic, or people like Bozo Padzick inspires me to be the amazing bass player I know I can be. My ultimate goal would be to play in pit orchestras of Broadway musicals, so going to musicals really inspires me and gives me an extra boost of inspiration to continue my craft.

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

I became interested in my field through school. I began guitar in second grade, then started bass when I was in sixth grade. Before this however, music has been around me my entire life. I looked around and I wondered why I didn’t play and instrument and wanted to so badly. I felt like I didn’t have a talent, and I’m so grateful to have found one. I guess I always wanted something, and I hoped it would be creative because I am greatly influenced by my father, who is an artist and an animator. He went to art school, so that concept has never been foreign to me and with my mother signing me up for music classes at a young age I have definitely always wanted to be creative.

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?

Being a musician, it’s hard to include your unique touch to work that was written up to hundreds of years ago, but I guess whenever I perform I make these really dumb faces that make people think I’m upset or in pain, but I’m really just concentrating.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It sounds cheesy but just keep going. If your art is making you unhappy, take a break. Take a walk. Then come back to it. Always come back to it, remember why you love your art, then keep going.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a bi-romantic asexual.

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

I have been fortunate enough to not encounter any ace prejudice in my field but that’s most likely due to the fact that I live in Los Angeles, a very liberal place.

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

That I asexually reproduce. They don’t actually think that, but it’s the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when I come out to them as asexual. Other than that they usually don’t know what I’m talking about, and when I add into this that I also identify as bi, they become even more confused. It seems like they cannot distinguish between romantic and sexual attraction.

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

Find people who understand and support asexuality. It’s impossible to go through something alone, so find people who understand to talk to. If that’s not feasible, then read about asexual people who have gone through what you are going through.

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

I don’t post too much about music but the best way to contact me would be on my Instagram, which is at nyaholmie, I plan to post more about music in the very near future.

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

Interview: Ellen

Today we’re joined by Ellen. Ellen is a phenomenal freelance artist who does both traditional and digital art. She loves to draw and specializes in both cartoons and realism. Her work has an incredible vividness to it and demonstrates a masterful use of color. She’s a talented and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Pride

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is a combination of cartoons and realism. I have been developing my art for 8 years. I love to draw humans, animals or mythical creatures. I use drawing as an escape from the hardships that I face, when the pencil touches the paper or when my stylus touches the tablet, I enter a world where I can express myself without being judged for who I am. In some ways art can be very therapeutic, whether it’s because of school or life in general, I pick up the pencil and doodle away……until the lead snaps or the battery dies on my stylus.

What inspires you?

My friends, they have inspired me and stood by my side through thick and thin. They have supported me for the longest time and they’re the reason I’m still drawing! My dad is also my biggest inspiration, he has supported and inspired for many years. I remember when he would put up my pictures on the fridge when I was in preschool.

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

I started drawing in 1st grade. I would just draw the usual stick figures with noodle hair. But, one specific person kick started my love for art. When I was in 4th grade, this one girl taught me how to draw humans in a way that looked like a human it didn’t have all those advanced features that an actual human had. Ever since then I started to develop that style into what it is today. I never thought that I would ever become an artist but, look at me now!

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?

Whenever I draw my main human character, I draw this little curl on the top of their head. This trait came from my love of anime as a child and it carried through my style for as long as I can remember. Also I draw the tips of shoes/feet very pointy.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Always take constructive criticism! It will help you in the future when you want to become professional!

two time
Two Time

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Biromantic Asexual 🙂 but I’m still contemplating if I really like boys or not

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

Unfortunately, yes. Sometimes I’m really scared to go to a pride event because I’m scared that I will receive backlash due to my orientation. And I have been told constantly that “It’s just a phase, you’ll grow out of it” or “You don’t belong here because you’re basically straight!” Every time I make something pride related and I don’t add the lesbian flag or if I add the ace flag, I will get attacked by other artists who will flood the comment section saying that I’m homophobic for not adding the lesbian flag or that asexuality doesn’t exist and that I should remove it, and that really hurts my self-esteem. I try to ignore it and move on.

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

That we’re all just whiny virgins who can’t get laid or that we are just “innocent space beans uwu.” another thing that I’ve encountered is that all asexuals are sex-repulsed, some asexuals can have dirty minds or they can view that kind of material, it’s all up to them what they do. If you’re sex-repulsed, that’s fine, but all of us are different.

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

You are not alone, trust me. I was having trouble with my orientation when I was figuring out where I belonged in this community. You are valid! Don’t let anyone tell you that you are not, you are a part of this community and you matter! We are one huge asexual family.

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

You can follow me on:

Deviantart: https://www.deviantart.com/datshinyzoroark
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/datshinyzoroark/

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