Interview: Fiona

Today we’re joined by Fiona. Fiona is a wonderful visual artist and writer. For writing, Fiona is working on a number of stories at the moment and enjoys writing a variety of genres. She’s no less versatile when it comes to visual art, doing both traditional and digital art. Her work demonstrates a keen eye and an amazing attention to detail, 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 both write and do visual art. Both vary quite a bit as I am currently working on 3 extended stories/novels and all three are vastly different genres. As for visual art, I used to do a lot of traditional art in varying media (acrylics, graphite, pen, etc.) and most of it was as realistic as I could get it. Now I do mainly digital art mainly because it’s hard to get materials for other forms and Photoshop has an undo button… My style in digital art is still fairly realistic but more comic book like with lines and kind of soft cell shading.

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What inspires you?

I have never been able to give this question a good answer. I guess I’ll do ‘who’ inspires me because I’m honestly coming up with a blank for ‘what’ inspires me. Currently I am working on a Sci Fi story/novel and that was really inspired by The Martian by Andy Weir because I really like the more realistic type of Sci Fi where it could conceivably happen. In my digital art, my style was inspired a lot by Fiona Staples’ art (Fionas are generally gr8) though my style has evolved a bit and is far from just copying what she does. (Hopefully.)

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

When I was a little kid I drew so much it was ridiculous. Whales mainly for some reason. I kind of lived in the middle of nowhere and the only thing to do was draw or read so I did that 24/7. I blame that for why I like to write, read, and draw to this day. I never really wanted to do art as a job, I’m more science minded, but since I could remember I’ve loved to draw and I started writing extended stories in probably 6th grade.

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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… my stuff is way too all over the place to have a connected symbol of some sort.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I know young artists have heard this time and time again but Practice. When I was younger I always was told I was good at art and it was just because that’s all I did. I never really took any formal art classes that would teach me how to draw (I did take some classes but they were more ‘studio time’ kind of things where the teacher didn’t actually teach anything.) I only started digital art the summer before last and already my stuff has vastly improved as I’ve gotten used to the media and practiced with it. Scrolling through my art blog you can see my improvement in digital stuff from my early posts to my more recent ones. Other than that I would just have advice for people who want to improve with anatomy which is take a life drawing class. If you can’t do that, watch a dance video or something and pause at different times to do drawings of different lengths. (10 seconds, 30 seconds, 5 minutes etc.) it really helped me a lot.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am sex repulsed and bi romantic (if you really want to get into it, demi romantic as well) basically I’m a massive amalgam of ‘hard to explain’ so I usually don’t go into it lol.

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

Well, as far as my art goes, I just work in my room and post stuff online so I haven’t experienced much in that regards. I’ve encountered it a bit with just people I tell I’m ace (which honestly, hasn’t been that many people) but mainly it’s just along the lines of ‘wait that’s a thing?’. Ignorance as opposed to being outright mean basically.

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

Mitosis? Lol. No seriously I’d say the most common is that ace people are just people who ‘can’t get any’. Like, honey no. I just don’t want any.

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

I’m really bad at giving advice like this lol but maybe just that a lot of people feel the same way you do and those who say it’s fake are just as ignorant as someone who looks at some characters in a language they don’t speak and insist that therefor, it isn’t a language. (Basically, those people are just ignorant and you should ignore them). Don’t ask me advice about coming out because I am just as lost about that.

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

My main blog is kvothe-kingkiller, my art blog is cork-run and I’m uploading one of my stories chapter by chapter as I finish them, both on my fictionpress account (cork-run) and AO3 (cork_run)

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

Interview: Isa C.

Today we’re joined by Isa C. Isa is a phenomenal photographer from Costa Rica. She specializes in photographing people, exploring the stories that can be told through a person’s face. Her work is fascinating, showing a fantastic eye and an incredible amount of uniqueness. Isa is so passionate and dedicated, 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’m a photographer from Costa Rica. I’m still learning, but always put out my best work. Currently I’m really into portraits, mainly because I’m interested by people and how much their faces can tell. I love exploring with different styles and get weird with it. I have the most fun when the shoots end up being confusing even to me.

The other part of my art is the editing, this is the part in which I spend most of the time. It’s a long process, but color grading and making things look magical is what I’ve come to love the most.

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What inspires you?

I find it incredibly hard to narrow down the things that inspire me. The more I think about it, the more sources of inspiration pop up in my head. I guess I’ve always been a person that spends more time inside her own head than anything else so, in a way, I inspire myself. I know that might sound a bit arrogant, but I’m not too sure it actually is.

The thing is, most of my ideas come out of, like, odd feelings that a song, melody or phrase may give me. I cling on to that emotion and freeze it in an image because otherwise, it’d be gone. Sometimes I end up shooting self-portraits out of sheer impulse, and the inspiration comes out of my need to constantly create.

On the other hand, my friend’s inspire me when I shoot them. Sometimes I star sessions with close to no premeditated ideas because I want to capture the essence of the person I’m shooting that specific day. So if they walk in with an air of curiosity, I’ll try to make that the theme. Same goes with any other emotion.

I guess, I get my inspiration out of the world I’ve built around myself, and use its unpredictable fluidity to my advantage.

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

My dad has always been a lover of the arts, not an artist at all though. I grew up in a house so completely covered in painting, drawings photos, and sculptures that it was weird to me when I went to other’s houses and they had close to non. As a consequence of his love of it, but lack of ability for it, I was enrolled in plastic arts classes at a very young age. As thing usually do, it evolved into different interests. I hovered all over the arts, but kinda just landed on photography when my dad bought me a point and shoot camera for me to use on a trip and I fell in love with it.

I don’t think so, probably still completely don’t. I like what my art communicates, and I hope to never stop creating, but I’ll always be a part time artist. My photos are part of me, but there’s other sides to me too.

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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 necessarily, but one thing I know is that every photo I put out is most definitely a product of my passion and something I am proud of. There must be tons of edited pictures in my hard drive that will never see the light of day.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Hustle, but with passion. There’s no way you’ll get anywhere if you don’t put in hours and hours of hard work, but if you stop loving what you do it’s not really worth it to me. I’m honestly still a young aspiring artist, so my best advice is to get yourself out there and kick some serious butt.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

That THE QUESTION. I’m not big on labels, that’s just my personal way of thinking. Why limit myself? It took me a long time to land on asexual, and even a longer time to acknowledge it as part of my identity.

I do like boys, girls and whatever falls in the middle. If I like you, I just do. Regardless of your gender.

When it comes to sex, I’m not repulsed by it, but instead have a certain aversion to it. I find pleasure in it, which is undeniable, but I never want to really do it with anyone. I acknowledge it feels good, I know I enjoy the feeling, I just don’t want to do it. It’s quite complicated to explain, but I do hope I’m making myself clear enough.

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

Not really, artists have a tendency to be open-minded. I’m really thankful for that. That being said, I’m somewhat of a private person. If it doesn’t come up, I will not mention it.

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

That it means I hate sex, or won’t have sex. The fact that I am not sexually attracted to people doesn’t mean that I won’t do it, or won’t enjoy it, if the situation arises.

Another matter is that it’s some kind of defect. As if my aversion to is a reaction to trauma. No one touched me when I was little, no one forced me to do things I didn’t want to do… I just never felt that attraction.

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

Take your time, there is no rush. No one gets to tell you who you are, but yourself. There’s no need to stress about it because regardless of who you mingle with, or don’t, is your own personal business. Labels give people comfort, but can also bring distress. If saying you are asexual makes you feel comfortable, then that’s all you really need.

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

My Tumblr is: itsleatherweather (but its personal so there’s a lot of random stuff aside from my photos)

My Instagram is: _isacastillo_ (purely my photography)

My Snapchat: isacastillo90 (I post behind the scenes of shoots and before and afters a lot. Plus, my life if you are interested. FYI I don’t add back people I don’t know.)

My Webpage: https://isacastillophoto.wixsite.com/photography (Includes my portfolio and contact info)

If you came from here and want to talk to me feel free to do so through any medium you find most comfortable! I love talking to fellow artists, and art lovers so don’t be shy!

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

Interview: Victoria Jeon

Today we’re joined by Victoria Jeon. Victoria is a phenomenally talented writer and visual artist who specializes in webcomics. Most of her work falls under dark fantasy, though she explores many themes and ideas through her art. Victoria currently has a webcomic entitled Perfection Engine, which has just the most fascinating premise. She’s clearly a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read and see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Lucifer
Lucifer

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a digital illustrator and a webcomic artist. I mostly draw original character art, although I’ve drawn and sold some fanart in the past and recently started to participate in fanzines. My art often involves dark fantasy, symbolism and wordplay, philosophical subjects, and I strive to make works that look like traditional, oil paintings.

My current webcomic project is “Perfection Engine,” a fantasy webcomic that involves an angelic race in a seemingly perfect society, devoted to bringing back their beloved Maker. It is meant to be a shorter webcomic before I start some of my longer stories, but it’s a dark satire that hopefully comes across with a lot of insight and symbolism.

I am actually also a first year law student, meaning I am effectively living a double life with the beginnings of my legal career and my art. My art, whether I am painting illustrations or making webcomic pages definitely is a source of joy and comfort when I’m burnt out from law school work. It’s a huge challenge keeping up with both, but when both are in balance, I get fulfillment from both sides of my life.

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Perfection Engine Cast

What inspires you?

As far as my art style goes, I primarily draw inspiration from Blaze Wu, Yoshitaka Amano, Ayami Kojima, and Minori. I also tend to draw inspiration from baroque paintings, rococo paintings, and impressionist paintings, although it’s really hard to pinpoint a favorite or several from there!

Fashion also is a huge inspiration for me as well. I’ve been involved with Japanese fashion styles (i.e. Lolita fashion, Shironuri, and Mori fashion) for quite some time, so some of my characters naturally have designs similar to those fashion styles. I’ve been looking a bit more towards Haute Couture and up and coming fashion designers for inspiration too. Lately, I’ve been looking towards Comme de Garçons, Alice Auaa, Alexander McQueen, Linda Friesen, and more.

Subject matter for my stories is a lot darker, haha. I take from fairy tales, world history, philosophy, real life events, my life, and general observations about human nature and society. For example, one of my future projects brings a question, “What would it be like to search for truths people have taken to the grave?” Another explores the question, “What’s the point of all that power in your hands if you cannot reach for help?” Perfection Engine, my current webcomic, explores, in part, the question, “What if a God does not want to be worshipped?” and is very loosely based on a toxic relationship I’ve had in my past. A lot of my stories thus tend to lean to a tragic atmosphere, although I do hope people get some food for thought in the process of exploring them! It’d be good if some people got good out of what spite or anger I may feel against real life.

Aside from fairy tales, history, philosophy, and just reality in general, video games, movies and TV shows inspire me greatly as well. I take great amount of inspiration from Yoko Taro (Drakengard/Nier series), Final Fantasy 10, Dark Souls, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Pan’s Labyrinth, Project Itoh (Empire of Corpses, Harmony), and more.

Lastly, close friends are always an inspiration, even if we have very different philosophies and inspirations for our respective works. They help provide the drive and the food and drinks when all the visual and material inspirations cannot. Literally.

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Golden – Self Portrait

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

It’s a bit embarrassing to say, but I got into drawing a while after writing terrible fanfiction of video games when I was ten. At first, it was drawing fanart and self-inserts. Then it was a bunch of RP characters. I eventually got introduced to DeviantArt when I was 14, at which point I started to devote serious time and effort into drawing, writing stories, making characters, and improving my craft. I think I always enjoyed drawing, but it wasn’t up until this point that I seriously considered a path in art.

Due to a variety of personal reasons, circumstances and other interests in my life, I’ve ended up going to law school instead. I definitely was not going to give up art just because I was going into an entirely different field altogether though. I still have some stories I want to tell and endless things I want to illustrate.

4. Conjoined Souls
Conjoined Souls

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?

The penname “Alberloze” is a word in a fictional language that spans across almost all of my current stories. It means “White Rose,” but it colloquially means “True Love.” This is not restricted to romantic love either; it could be true love between friends, family, and so on. As for certain symbols and features, I tend to use a lot of flower, animal, and divine symbolisms. I also adore wordplay (namely palindromes, dual-meanings, and anagrams), and use them where I can.

It’s probably worth noting that a lot of my stories involve the soul in some form or another. I can’t exactly divulge how so as some of these stories are not published yet, but the human soul has always fascinated me. So many people define the soul in vastly different ways. Some do not believe in souls or anything spiritual, that it is a fictional concept. Some believe humanity and souls are the same thing. Some believe the soul is made of our thoughts and feelings. Some believe it is our will. Some believe souls straight-up cannot be comprehended.

My stories also tend to revolve around a theme. For my current project, Perfection Engine, for example, the theme is “Obsession.” Another story’s is “Truth.” Another story’s is “Vengeance.” And the last in that sequence of stories is “Karma.” I’m aiming to make stories with the theme of “Hope” or “Dreams” eventually too — something a lot happier and lighthearted. I’m contemplating on a magical girl series or a series of fairy tale retellings.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Take some time to figure out who you are. Your artwork will seem a lot more genuine and interesting when you take time to figure out what you like, what stories you have to tell, and who you are as a person. Think of it like going to an isolated mountain and meditating to become stronger like in kung-fu movies.

Always be open to experimenting. I found that experimenting is a sure way to get out of your comfort zone and discover art styles and work styles that you wouldn’t have discovered for yourself otherwise.

And lastly, do not be discouraged by other people. This ranges from societal expectations, to disapproving family members, to perhaps artists that you think are above and beyond where you are currently. It could be hard, that drawing in and of itself in those circumstances could feel like rebellion, but if you fight the good fight, I promise you will be satisfied with yourself in the long run.

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Deficient Heaven

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a cisgender woman (she/her), although sometimes I do question whether I really am cisgender as opposed to say, being genderfluid or genderless; I am also totally fine with they/them pronouns and allow people to use she/they interchangeably.

I am also biromantic asexual. I’d say I sit somewhere between sex-neutral to sex-negative asexuality, meaning I’d likely only volunteer to sexual activity under very narrow circumstances (with a significant other and after much deliberation and communication probably).

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

I have not experienced ace prejudice in my field yet —in law school and in art—, although I’ve seen quite a lot of people become confused about it. I am a part of the executive board in my law school’s OUTlaw group (LGBTQ+ lawyers group), and I’ve simply been doing what I can to accept any and all orientations that come in. As far as in the art field, I try to add more ace/aro representation with my characters. Many of them fall into the ace/aro spectrum, whether they are ace, aro, both, gray, or demi.

The one notable “prejudice” I’ve had was outside my field, in my personal life. After I’ve decided to come out as ace, I’ve had a conversation as to how my allosexual significant other (at the time) and I were going to “work something out” in light of me coming out as ace. Was it an attempt to “fix” my orientation, or was it trying to open up communication? I could not quite tell from the tone and facial expression. In the worst-case scenario, it was certainly prejudice of sorts. Other than that, I’ve been fortunate since my family and friends have been general accepting after I’ve explained how asexuality works.

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Starkest Contrast

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

There’s two in my case. The first is that asexual individuals are cold or antisocial. The second is that because we are ace, we are suddenly for some reason not allowed to enjoy certain aesthetics.

On the first count, asexual individuals are not abstaining because they haven’t found the right person or otherwise have committed to celibacy! They just simply don’t experience sexual attraction. Just because they don’t experience sexual attraction doesn’t mean that they don’t also want to avoid human interaction.

On the second count, aesthetic attraction/appreciation are very different from being sexual attraction. I’ve had a couple times in which I was looking at some risqué fashion (i.e. corsetry and lingerie) for designing and inspiration, and someone else asking me,

“Wait, aren’t you ace?”

“Yes but do you see the quality of that design?!”

7. Full Bloom
Full Bloom

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

Just remember that your identity is valid and you are not alone. It’s also worth remembering that a part of why a lot of asexuals are insecure of their own identity is because society really loves emphasizing sex and advertising it where they can. That is society’s inclination, and you can stand on your own against it to live out your own life. Better yet, you can find other asexual individuals, which can give you a sense of solidarity too!

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Perfection Engine 2-3

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

You can find my current webcomic, Perfection Engine, on Tapas (https://tapas.io/series/Perfection-Engine). You can also find me on Twitter, Tumblr, Artstation, Redbubble, and Instagram under “Alberloze.” Tumblr and Artstation are the best places to find my best works, although I post doodles and completed works first on Twitter.

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Blood Oath – 5

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

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.