Interview: Sarah

Today we’re joined by Sarah. Sarah is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in digital mediums. She draws mostly characters and famous figures. There’s a remarkable realism in her work and some of her drawings are incredibly expressive. She is clearly very talented and has an amazing eye for detail, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WARNING: One picture in this interview contains nudity.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw art mostly of characters and famous figures. Occasionally I draw a subject of my own creation as a representation of an idea, but almost all of my art features recognizable subjects. Although I can draw realism using traditional mediums of pencil and paper, it’s frankly easier, more fun, and less expensive to draw digitally in a far less realistic style.

What inspires you?

Because my drawings are mostly fan art for things that I like, the love for those things is what drives me to want to produce art for it. I like the feeling of contributing something to the fandom. By no means am I a famous fan artist, but a few of my pieces have amassed some good recognition from blogs from that fandom.

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

Somewhat embarrassingly, although not uncommon, I became interested in art in sixth grade when I saw an anime-style drawing. I’ve always loved to draw, but I think that was the moment where I became a die-hard art fanatic. In high school, I realized that I should try my hand (literally) at styles other than anime, and branched into realism. However, my “style” is by no means realistic.

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 really. The only kind of recognizable element to my art is that I use very vibrant color pallets, and (usually) do line art in a non-black color.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice, and don’t get hung up on how “good” you are. Art should be about the fun of creating something, not the end result. Even if you think that something sucks, there will always be someone who thinks it’s really cool.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Well, this is a question I myself am still wondering about. For a long time I identified as asexual biromantic, but now I think I’m demisexual biromantic.

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

In the field of art, there is usually a bit more acceptance about someone’s self-identity. I will say that although I myself have been privileged enough to not experience them, there are some issues with asexual intersectional representation. Asexual POC aren’t represented well enough.

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

That asexuality just means you haven’t found the right person yet, and that demisexuality just means you’re not a slut (although most of us know that there is no such thing as a slut except those who take back and own that label). For me, personally, I did think I was asexual until I dated some (for a long time) and I developed sexual attraction for that person. One friend in particular has used that as “See? You just needed to find the right person!” justification, but the fact is that just because it was the case for me, that doesn’t automatically make it the case for everyone who identifies as asexual.

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

Some people really feel the need to label themselves so that they have a sense of belonging, and that’s okay. But if you’re stressing yourself out over what label fits best, just remember that asexuality is a spectrum and its okay to use the word “asexual” as your label no matter where specifically on the spectrum you’re trying to find out where you fall.

At the end of the day, the greatest sense of belonging you can have about your sexual orientation is not from a label, it’s not from other community members, it’s not from friends and family. It’s from knowing yourself, being kind to yourself, and accepting yourself.

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

They can follow me at pohlarbearpants and search the “my art” tag.

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

Interview: Claire Greenhalgh

Today we’re joined by Claire Greenhalgh. Claire is a wonderful visual artist who is a freelance artist and university student. She does a bit of everything: digital art, fanart, and original work. Claire is versatile when it comes to style but she tends to favor cartoon/comic visuals and digital painting. She’s very enthusiastic, 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’ve been a traditional artist, favoring pens and wet ink, for most of my life, but once I started using my graphics tablet in earnest for a university module in 2015, I’ve been completely hooked on digital work. I still love to draw on pen and paper, but working digitally has a lot of advantages and is much more cost effective in the long run.

I’ve been told I have either a talent or a curse for managing to make almost everything I draw cute, even when it probably shouldn’t be, which I’ve embraced (though I’m still trying to get better at drawing less friendly looking monsters)

What inspires you?

My inspirations change over the years, but the things that seem to have stuck in my head most in the past 5 years or so are sea creatures (specifically octopi) and magical girls. I draw a lot of inspiration from the video games I play and the anime I watch, and since I like to have music on whilst I draw, I’ve got numerous playlists of music to suit different themes, characters and overall feelings that help me feel inspired as I work.

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

I’ve been drawing for longer than I can remember, but I know when I was very young, we’re talking about 5 here, I wanted to be a vet or a zookeeper, something that involved working with animals. This was before I understood what allergies were, or why I always seemed to get sick near furry things.

My first inspiration for my art, my interest and eventual study in video games, that all gets traced back to Pokémon. I watched the anime so much as a child, the whole concept of a world with magical sentient animals was enthralling to me, and my art started developing properly with me copying the style of the show and expanding on that. Learning that there were Pokémon games too is what got me into video games, and that turned out to be a form of media I was never going to fall out of love with. Now I’m a few months away from having a degree in Graphics For Games.

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?

Well aside from my watermark, my work often includes a lot of glowing sparkly things. The ability to draw things which are emitting light so much more easily is one of the things which solidified my working with digital art more frequently than traditional. It’s one of the reasons why I set so many of my compositions, and the bulk of my current project’s story, at night, to make the glowing parts stand out more.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Experiment and persevere. Observational drawing is good groundwork to build your skills and understanding of the basics, and there’s not much better practice for drawing people than life drawing. But try using as many different forms of media as you can, paint, ink, pencils, sculpture, various digital methods. Try out every technique you can, see what gels well with you and feels right, and don’t give up, if it feels like your work isn’t getting better, you’re probably just getting better at analyzing artwork and your skill at drawing itself will catch up soon. You’re not going to improve if you don’t keep trying.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m demisexual and biromantic.

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

Ignorance certainly. My field currently consists mainly of the other games, animation and visual effects students at my university, most of whom aren’t unpleasant people, but they don’t seem to know much about any orientations other than straight and gay and the occasions I’ve mentioned that aro and ace spectrum identities exist it was met with confusion and dismissal. Hence why I’m only half out to most of my peers, I don’t really feel like having some guy from class interrogate me or try and convince me my orientation doesn’t exist, or should be ‘fixed’ by now because I’m not single.

I’ve tried coming out about my demisexuality to my parents but they just laughed at me and told me I was confused and that ‘every woman waits before she sleeps with someone’. That at 17 I was too young to know, which is an argument I will never understand. They didn’t want to listen to me when I tried to explain that it’s not a matter of choosing it’s a matter of feeling nothing at all before a bond is formed, so I’ve avoided talking to them about my orientation since.

Hence why as far as I’m aware they don’t know I’m also bi. Unless they’re reading this. They’re not homophobic people I just get the impression a lot of the time that I keep disappointing them by being myself and I’m not sure whether that’d extend to my not just liking dudes, so I’ve avoided having that particular conversation with them.

Most of the outright prejudice I’ve faced has been online. I’ve gotten death threats and some very unpleasant anonymous messages to the effect of ‘you’re lying, asexuality is a fake orientation so that fat ugly cows like you don’t feel so bad about never being loved.’

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

Well there’s the plant thing as you might imagine. Personally I’ve had people ask me repeatedly how I can be ace and still have a boyfriend, seeming to be confused as to how he hadn’t ‘fixed’ or ‘cured’ me. Thankfully, my boyfriend himself is a very understanding person who doesn’t exhibit these misconceptions and prejudices.

There’s the assumption that asexuality is a sickness, or tied to mental illness, which whilst yes, for some of us there is a connection, but as a neurodivergent woman myself, I don’t like people to assume that that’s the case for absolutely all of us, or that asexuality is any kind of illness or disorder in and of itself.

That and the idea that someone under the age of 18 can’t know they’re ace, or that ace and aro spectrum identities are somehow inappropriate for children and teenagers to know about or identify as. My childhood and teens would have been much less miserable if I’d known I wasn’t sick or broken before all my classmates suddenly started taking an interest in sexual things and started ostracizing me for not being able to relate to them, rather than about 4 years after that started.

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

Particularly with young aces struggling to feel at home with their peers, it’s tough, there’s no denying that, and people won’t always be accepting of who you are, but your orientation doesn’t make you any less worthwhile as a person. You don’t ever need to feel like you have to ‘try’ anything to be sure that it’s not what you want, you can live a happy and fulfilling life without ever feeling sexual attraction, or wanting sexual contact with anybody. Sex repulsion is a real chore, I’m lucky that I only experience it periodically rather than all the time, repulsion can be frightening and deeply unpleasant to go through, but you’re not sick and you’re not broken, you’re you, and you don’t need to conform to what others want you to be to be a good person.

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

My art blog, where you can find my recent work, my commission information, and where you can submit drawing suggestions, can be found at: http://cgreenhalghart.tumblr.com/

I also have a Redbubble, which I also take suggestions for, you can send those to my art blog’s inbox as well should you wish: https://www.redbubble.com/people/Mewsa/shop?asc=u

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

Interview: Kit

Today we’re joined by Kit. Kit is a wonderful writer who writes a bit of everything. She writes a lot of speculative fiction with queer characters and aspires to be published one day. When she’s not writing, Kit enjoys fanart and dabbles in cosplay. She’s got an incredible love of her craft, as you’ll read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I write speculative fiction of just about every kind you can think of — high fantasy, urban/contemporary fantasy, occasionally sci-fi or Twilight Zone-style horror — with plenty of queer characters. I have been known to write the occasional fanfiction, and I cosplay as well! I love making cheap/DIY and “closet” cosplays. In this picture I’m playing DC’s John Constantine, with an embarrassingly bad temporary dye job.

What inspires you?

Everything. I’ve gotten sparks of inspiration from everything from my own day-to-day life, to History Channel documentaries and Wikipedia rabbit holes, to binge-watching Shadowhunters. I believe in actively seeking inspiration from the world around me, because it really has so much to offer!

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

I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since I started reading, which was at the age of 3. It took a little longer before I learned how to write, but in the meantime I made stories with crayon drawings and Little People dolls. I’ve always been a storyteller.

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?

All of my main characters have some kind of physical scar or injury. I’m a self-harm survivor, so showing characters with scars that they don’t hide, that they consider part of their story, is really important to me.

Also, this is more of a recurring theme, but I love writing “roguish” characters — “outlaws with hearts of gold,” as the saying goes. Characters whose hearts and intentions (and hair) are good, even if sometimes they do bad things. I’m a sucker for guys/gals/NB pals like that.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just go for it. Seriously. You will think, “Oh, I’m not good enough,” “Oh, no one’s going to read this/like this,” “I’m just going to get rejected,” etc, but don’t listen to that. Yes, you’re going to write stuff that isn’t good, you’re going to write stuff that no one likes, you’re going to get rejected, but you’ll also write stories that people love. That will make it worth it, believe me, and you’ll never get there if you don’t JUST START.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demisexual (I go back and forth between that and greysexual, I’m still questioning, but for now I think demisexual fits best) and bi-romantic.

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

I wouldn’t consider it prejudice, or even ignorance, but there is a very pervasive, and kinda frustrating, idea in modern publishing (especially YA) that a story isn’t ~interesting enough~ without romance, and the sexier the romance the better. I think it’s important for both ace and allo readers to see that, first, you can have a perfectly good story with no romance, and second, you can have a perfectly good romance with no sex!

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

A surprising number of people — including my parents! — don’t really “buy” that I don’t experience sexual feelings (or, more accurately, don’t experience them outside of people I already have romantic feelings for), because I’m a teenager and aren’t all teenagers always thinking about sex?? (Well…no, actually. I have to go with no on that.)

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

No one gets to define asexuality for you except you, just like no one gets to define your romantic orientation, gender identity, etc. Whether you’re completely sex-repulsed or you still want to have sex one day, whether you consider asexuality a huge part of your identity or NBD, whether you experience romantic attraction or not, you are ace and aces totally rule, ergo you totally rule!

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

I write under the name K. Noel Moore at https://www.wattpad.com/user/K_Moore13, most stories there have also been published on inkitt.com, and I sometimes post flash fiction on my personal (well, my only) blog at http://gayamericanoutlaw.tumblr.com. I’m also working on selling my first short story (a ghost story set in the 1930s with a gay narrator), so if you follow any magazines in the vein of Apex or Nightmare (by which I mean fantasy/sci-fi/horror-centric stuff) keep an out for me!

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

Interview: Ursari

Today we’re joined by Ursari. Ursari is a phenomenal artist from Slovakia who does both visual art and writing. For visual art, she loves to draw and frequently draws original characters, animals, and concept art. She’s also interested in photography. Ursari enjoys writing fantasy and writes both original stories and fanfiction. She is an incredibly enthusiastic 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.

I focus mostly on visual art – which is a fancy way of saying I like to doodle. But I also (would) like to write and take photos. As for those doodles, I like to portray my, and others’ characters – also animals! – And I also do illustrations and concept art of sorts. I prefer a simple style and find backgrounds too challenging to try to get done despite me being lazy – which might or might not be the real reason why I don’t. And as for writing, both original and fanfiction focuses on fantasy, that is my genre of choice. And some sci-fi on the side.

What inspires you?

Other people’s art – I use stories and pictures to fuel my own muse, and music is also a huge help, it lets me imagine mostly action scenes. Feedback also provides a drive. Any artist would be happy to receive more than just a heart on their work, I think – but even that is great!

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

My family says my grandfather’s genes from my mother’s side and my father’s are responsible for my creative indulgences, but my interest started when I saw my mother drawing a baby for me. That was, I think, when I realized you can put whatever you want on paper. I was so happy when I managed to draw the baby, Kubo, myself, but also disappointed, because that meant I could not ask my mother to do it anymore 🙂

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

I don’t. And as for my style, well, that still needs polishing. In drawings, you might notice I am trying for realism and use softer tones, and in writings I have a lot of dialogue and no descriptions. I think. It is hard to judge my own work.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It is OK to never be satisfied with your work – or love it and then not get any likes or notes or positive reviews – it is ok if they say you are doing it wrong, because you are not. Embrace your passion, hear people out, but ultimately, your art is yours. You share the art with people, you are not creating it for them. Let your art show what you feel very passionately about, what you love and what you hate – and also what you just don’t know how to wrap your head around. Let it bring joy, hope and inspiration to you and the others. I mean, these are easy to say… but worth it. Also chill. I know you are pouring a lot of yourself into your work and words can hurt, but they mean nothing. Your art is yours, but the opinions of others are not worth being upset about.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual in general – and demisexual specifically. I am not sex repulsed, but I need to feel the emotional or romantic connection before sexual attraction. I am also biromantic and I just love how the flag colors go together 🙂

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

I have not, actually. Yet. I do think I have an issue with writing allosexual characters with average or higher sex drive, though, so it might turn out to be an issue. Or I’ll just have to only write aces 🙂

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

That asexuals are either freaks, jokes, or just sick. I mean, sure, have your hormones checked just to be sure (it’s true that lower sex drive with a cause is different than asexuality, but it can be a symptom and I think that fact should not be erased, as it might be difficult to tell) – but that is nobody’s business but yours. As for the freaks or jokes mentality, it just shows how people refuse to broaden their horizons and still think in the terms of – either you are like me and with me, or you are against me and a threat. That is why good representation is so important for the community. It’s showing people that different people exist, be it in their gender or orientation or sexuality preferences and experiences.

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

Be patient with yourself and with others. Your experience might be different from the experiences of people who you were raised by and around and you might have little to no point of reference, but it’s OK. You can find information and talk to others and not label yourself – or do – and you can wonder. You owe nobody, but you can tell others or use your experience as an inspiration for your work. This is you we’re talking about and you are in charge. No pressure.

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

Well, other than Tumblr I am Ursari on DeviantArt and Ursar on Archive of our own. What can I say, I love bears.

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

Interview: Jordan

Today we’re joined by Jordan. Jordan is a wonderful and versatile artist who does a bit of everything. Her main passion is visual art and she specializes in digital mediums. She does both original work and fanart. Aside from visual art, Jordan is also interested in theater and music. She’s got an amazing amount of enthusiasm, as you’ll soon see, and her work is beautiful. 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 visual artist. I mainly work digitally but I do a lot of sketches traditionally. My program of choice is Paint Tool SAI. I do a lot of fanart and pieces of my original characters. My favorite thing to draw is people & characters.

Besides visual art, I also participate in community theatre, I act and also have an interest in costume design. I also love music and I sing, and play the ukulele. I’ve also started to write songs. I don’t do it very often, but I write poetry and sometimes, rarely, short stories. I’m currently trying to put together a script for a webcomic based around my original characters.

I have a lot of hobbies, but visual art is the one thing that has been a constant throughout my entire life.

What inspires you?

A lot of stuff inspires me. I follow a lot of artists on Tumblr and Instagram who influence me a lot. Some webcomics such as Ava’s Demon and Lackadaisy Cats, as well as mainstream Marvel & DC comics offer me a lot of inspiration as well. The movies and TV shows I like to watch offer a lot of inspiration, especially Star Wars. Music inspires me in all art forms. I have an eclectic music taste, but I would say the most inspirational music for drawing and writing is classical, movie soundtracks or instrumental, and for acting it would have to be musical soundtracks.

I have a lot of friends who also draw, write or act and they offer me a lot of inspiration. For example, my best friend who I met in an acting class actually, her older sister who has a webcomic of her own, and another friend who has lately been furiously writing a novel. They inspire me to keep working at my craft and to pursue new interests.

Telling stories is probably the reason I would say I do most things. Stories are really important to me and I love to read and see and listen to them. Visual art, writing, music and theatre are all different ways to tell a story and portray emotion.

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

Well, when I was around 8 years old I was really into neopets. I feel a little silly admitting that but I used that site for years. I was fascinated by the art people would create for their virtual pets. They took the time to create characters and character designs that were completely different from the source material. And their styles were almost always influenced by anime/manga which I didn’t really get into until much later. But I picked up lots of books on how to draw in that style, and sifted through lots of tutorials artists put up on DeviantArt. About visual art, it’s something I’ve definitely always loved to do and I don’t think I’d want to ever stop.

I didn’t develop a particularly deep interest in music until I was older, but I grew up singing in church and school choirs. Once I got older, and I guess, a little sadder, I began to really relate to and rely on and love music more than when I was younger. Acting wasn’t even something I considered until my junior year of high school, I’d always thought it was frightening. I took an acting class, the one where I met my best friend, and it turns out that it was something I really enjoyed. I’ve always said I wanted to publish a novel ever since I was younger, my love of visual art comes from a love of stories and characters and so I was also interested in writing. I always felt my visual art and writing went hand in hand.

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?

My signature on my art has changed a lot since I was younger. It used to be more definitive but now it’s simply my name and a year. I really like to use interstellar objects as symbolism or features in my art.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Love what you do. So many people will tell young visual artists that they have to draw every single day to get better. Acting in general is stressful and requires a lot of hard work, and certain people you interact with can be less-than-pleasant with personalities that don’t quite jive with your own. Writing can be extremely stressful for me personally and so I don’t do it often, but once in a while I’ll find the inspiration to pursue it again. I’ll find the joy I found in it once more.

What I’m saying is, if you want to explore an art, make sure you like it. Don’t force yourself into it. Take a break if it’s causing you stress. It should be fun and you should enjoy what you do, everyone deserves that from life.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as biromantic demisexual

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

I haven’t seen anything specifically in any art specific communities or settings but I’m also not particularly public about my sexuality outside of my personal Tumblr.

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

I’ve seen a lot of crazy things on this website recently. A lot of bad stuff going around. Besides that, I’ve always seen people claim demisexuality is made up, so that’s never fun to encounter.

I think a lot of people just don’t realize how diverse asexuality is as a spectrum, and how people experience it in so many different ways.

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

You’ll figure out what labels best fit you over time, don’t be afraid to change them as you come to know yourself better. Your identity is your own, and no one else can tell you how to identify. Discovering your sexuality and using a label should be for yourself and no one else.

You’re valid. You can count yourself as a member of the LGBT+ community if you want that, and no one should tell you that you can’t. If a romantic or sexual relationship is something that you want, your identity will not prevent you from finding that. The right person (or people) will be able to respect your boundaries. And if it’s not something you want, you aren’t weird or broken because of it. As well, the right friends and people in your life will respect your identity, and if they don’t, you’re not obligated to keep them in your life.

Do what’s best for yourself, you’re amazing. Go live life to the fullest.

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

I have about a million places where people can find me, I’m kind of ridiculous.

Art Website: http://joniha.weebly.com/
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/junebugjo
Art Blog: http://junebugjo.tumblr.com/
DeviantArt: http://joniha.deviantart.com/
Personal Blog: http://aahsoka.tumblr.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/forgivenessiscompassion/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jordieha

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

Interview: Brie Clemens

Today we’re joined by Brie Clemens. Brie is a phenomenal and unique artist. She specializes in customizing Converse sneakers (all of which are absolutely gorgeous). Brie is also a painter who paints murals and enjoys cosplaying whenever she can. She draws inspiration from a number of places and she’s a fellow Lloyd Alexander fan! Brie is an incredibly passionate artist and it really shows in her work. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

For the past few years I’ve been customizing Converse for people who want to really show off their geekiness. Everyone likes having something that’s just them so I really strive to make sure no two pairs are alike. I’ve done everything from comics to anime to sports and I love every minute of it.

In addition to the shoes I’ve done a couple of children’s room murals. Those were super rewarding. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a kid get excited about something I’ve made because kids are so honest with their emotions. They’re not going to pretend to like it to spare your feelings. I painted a Lego superhero wall for this 8 year old . . . sweet kid. I thought it’d be funny to have a Deadpool figure “helping” me paint, really take advantage of the whole breaking the fourth wall gimmick. I figured it’d be a bit subtle for the kid, but it made me laugh. Funny thing was, it was the first thing he noticed. Kids don’t get enough credit.

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I’m also a huge convention nerd: I love going and dressing up. I wish I had the budget to really go all out but I’ve become pretty decent at modifying thrift store finds to work for me. I’ve made some pretty neat costumes that way. I save up for Dragon*Con every year and it’s always worth it to get appreciation for my Moaning Myrtle or my Fruity Oaty Bars spokesgirl . . . I hope to recreate my Barbara (Beetlejuice) costume from Halloween a few years ago out of more sturdy materials once I learn how to work with them.

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What inspires you?

I’m a born and bred fantasy nerd. Harry Potter, Prydain Chronicles, Dark is Rising, His Dark Materials, Redwall, Pern . . . you name it I’ve probably read it, purchased it, and read it a few more times. I’m also pretty lucky when it comes to artistic influence. My stepdad, henceforth known as Moony, is an amazing artist (you can see his stuff at jerrymoon.net) who paints really beautifully. He’s actually teaching me to work with oil paints in his (practically nonexistent) spare time. One of his friends is a major artist for DC comics and aside from being majorly talented and always willing to give advice he’s also one of the nicest people you could ever meet. (Freddie Williams II. His current work is the TMNT/Batman crossover, but I’m particularly fond of Robin and The Movement)

I also live in Kansas City . . . which is great because Hallmark (whose creative offices are stationed in downtown KC, which is actually where Moony works) donates a lot of money to keep the museums free to the public. I can go and see all of my favorite artists whenever I like. I’m constantly inspired by the likes of Vincent Van Gogh, Wayne Thiebaud, John Singer Sargent and Thomas Hart Benton to name a few.

On a less globally-recognized scale, I’m constantly blown away by the talent of fan artists on Tumblr and Deviant Art. The love and effort that goes into their fan art blows me away. Off the top of my head I’d cite feriowind’s adorable Pacific Rim art as an example of the kind of thing that blows me away.

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

No, actually. I’ve always been a big doodler. My high school and college notebooks are more illustration than notes to be totally honest. Kept my hands busy. I was always more interested in acting and writing in school. What got me started was actually a gift from Moony back when he first started dating my mom. He made me these really fantastic Converse for my 17th birthday, covered in quotes and doodles all relevant to my interests. Quotes from my favorite books, TV shows and musicals, that sort of thing. I loved them. Wore them every day. So, when the guy I was dating a few years later wanted a pair, I decided to try my hand at it. I posted the pictures on Facebook and suddenly I was getting requests from coworkers to make shoes for their kids. I ended up making an Etsy store. It’s not super successful but I’ve really grown to love it.

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

I’m still kinda working on a personal style. I don’t think that’s something you ever stop doing. But one of the things I really enjoy is working with glow-in-the-dark paint to create transforming effects. It’s almost invisible in the light so you can make create hidden secrets in your paintings. I’m particularly fond of these Walking Dead shoes I did where in the light Rick Grimes is human, but in the dark he becomes a zombie. It’s like an Easter egg in the artwork.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I spent a lot of time minimizing my talent. “Oh, I’m not an artist. These people: they’re artists. I’m just goofing around.” I felt like, because I hadn’t dedicated all of my life and time to art I wasn’t really worthy of the title. And that’s dumb. It minimizes the effort I make and it’s insulting to the people trying to complement me. Don’t be arrogant or anything, but take pride in what you do. It’s OK to be proud of your work. You don’t have to do art full time to call yourself an artist and you don’t need to be your best right away: you just need to love what you’re doing and keep trying to improve. It’s part of why I’m doing this interview: an effort to really put myself out there and treat myself like an artist.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m still kind of figuring out which label works best for me. I’ve identified as demisexual biromantic for a while now but I really think sex-positive asexual is more accurate. I don’t experience any sexual attraction, but I enjoy sex as an act of intimacy with a partner I’m close to romantically.

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

I haven’t really had trouble in my field, necessarily. It doesn’t really come up all that often . . . especially since a lot of my work is with kids: sexuality of any kind doesn’t really factor in. At my waitressing day job, however. Yikes. I think because I’m in a relationship with a boy a lot of people tend to assume I’m straight. I work with a fairly conservative group and they’ll run their mouths off with homophobic/transphobic/etc. B.S. or make these really sexual comments and I either tell them off or ignore them, depending on how poisonous the statements are.

The hardest part is when customers aggressively flirt with me. I’m really not comfortable with being touched or with overly flirtatious comments and you’d be surprised how often people are comfortable with harassing their waitress. Mostly you learn to read body language and keep a hot pot of coffee between you and the customer.

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

I’ve mostly found that allosexuals have a really hard time understanding the difference between abstaining from sex and being asexual. It’s so ingrained in our culture that everyone becomes interested in sex eventually. The phrase “I don’t see people like that” just doesn’t compute.

Honestly, if asexuality had been mentioned as a possibility even ONCE in my sex-ed courses I would have been a lot less confused growing up. It’s like going through life with the wrong owner’s manual. You try to find the functions they’re talking about and you come up with something similar and think “Oh, OK. This isn’t quite what the diagram shows but it’s close. This must be it.” I spent a lot of time thinking everyone was exaggerating when they said things like “oh, man. I’d totally have sex with [celebrity] he’s so hot!”. I applied my own aesthetic appreciation for things – glasses, jewel-dyed hair, kind smiles, honest laughs – and assigned them the designation “sexy”.

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It’s also totally different, as far as I can tell, from the self-discovery allosexual LGBT+ people go through. You take heteronormativity making close friendships between women Always Platonic with no “BAM! Sexual attraction! Like in the stories! You like girls!” and you get some awesome regrets about girlfriends-that-could-have-been. When you finally realize the difference between romantic and sexual attraction, the difference between romantic and platonic attraction is easier to recognize too and suddenly it’s “Oh my god. She was flirting with me. I’m an idiot: we would’ve been a great couple!!!”

It’s made coming out really difficult. I swear I’ve come out to my mother about fifteen times including publicly on Facebook, and she still refers to me as “straight” (especially frustrating because I’m biromantic, not heteromantic. She’s not even in the ballpark of being correct.)

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

Don’t feel like you have to be a sexual being to fit in. I went through a really awkward phase in college of trying to force myself to relate to people on a sexual scale. I tried to mimic the way my friends talked about sex and in hindsight my utter failure should have been a big sign. The desire to fit in also meant that I pushed myself to do stuff with a (now ex-) boyfriend that while I don’t regret necessarily, I don’t think I would have chosen to do if I hadn’t felt like I was “behind” my peers.

On the other hand, don’t feel like you’re not “asexual enough” if you enjoy sex. There really is a difference between getting pleasure from the act and experiencing sexual attraction. Your identity is still totally valid if you find yourself in a relationship where you want to have sex for whatever reason.

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

For pictures of my past work:
www.geekwearbybrie.tumblr.com
www.facebook.com/geekwearbybrie

To order something:
www.etsy.com/shop/GeekWearByBrie
Or email me at geekwearbybrie@gmail.com

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

Interview: CV Addams

Today we’re joined by CV Addams.  CV is a phenomenally talented and versatile artist, who I met at Indy PopCon (one of my favorite parts of conventions is meeting fellow ace artists).  They’re a dedicated cosplayer, an actor, and an aspiring writer.  They’re currently working on a webcomic with their girlfriend.  Their cosplays are absolutely amazing and their passion for art really shines through in this interview.  My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My main artistic expressions are acting, cosplaying, and writing. I have been cosplaying for almost eight years now and it has lead me to meet most of the friends that I have now, helped further my passion for acting, and introduced me to many new communities. Writing has been an excellent way for me to keep my brain excited and the creative gears turning, I especially enjoy writing fantasy or sci-fi! Oh boy, I have so many started stories on my computer that I hope to finish!

My art is all about expression or enjoying myself, if it isn’t fun for me then I won’t do it. That, for me, is the way to produce the best art!

What inspires you?

Two things: enjoyment and recognition. I will admit, I do share my art for the recognition for it. But, I wouldn’t do any of it if it weren’t fun for me!

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

I got interested because I discovered a cosplay YouTube channel called “Parle Productions” that cosplayed from a video game that I really enjoyed playing. They inspired me to begin cosplaying myself! Acting has always been a part of my life since I have family who was in theater and the independent film industry for many years while I was growing up. Writing has always been a way for me to escape, to venture into new worlds and meet new people! … Well, create them.

I have loved acting and performing as long as I can remember! I was performing when I was 5 years old in the family room of my grandma’s home dancing to Britney Spears for them. When I was closer to 7 I was in tap dancing. I have been on the stage and acting for quite a while, I’m hoping to get back into theater within the next year! I have been writing for ten years and cosplaying for about 8. Artistic expression has always been very dear to me.

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

Not exactly, no.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep at it! Practice, practice, practice! Don’t beat yourself up or down about it, you will get better the more you do it! ❤

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demisexual biromantic.

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

Not from fellow artists, no. But in general: yes.

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

“You haven’t found the right person”. Or that I’m now practicing celibacy? No?

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

You are valid. It is a real thing that MANY people experience, thousands of people even. You are not alone. ❤

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

I have a blog where I post photos and gifs of my cosplay, posts about my writing, and reblog a lot of things. I shall soon be creating a blog strictly for my cosplays, writing, and acting, which I shall have a link on this blog for when it is created! I am always up for answering any questions and making new friends, so do please send me messages! http://www.witchyrobobabe.tumblr.com/

I also have a YouTube channel which at the moment it’s mostly just vlogs and videos with my girlfriend (we are both actually asexual artists), but soon we shall be posting cosplay videos, short acting skits, and videos about our writing! We do also discuss mental health/LGBT related themes so there shall be content about asexuality! http://www.youtube.com/c/casperaddams/

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