Interview: Erin Malo

Today we’re joined by Erin Malo. Erin is a phenomenal visual artist who was interviewed some time ago on this site. She has done quite a bit of work since then, including some design work on asexuality. She works in a number of mediums, both traditional and digital. Her work is fascinating and diverse, showing a great amount of talent. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a 4th year visual communication design student, and I work primarily with logos and identity branding. I also love both digital and traditional illustration, and traditional art when I have the free time. Photography is a recent darling of mine as well. I guess I do a little bit of everything!

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What inspires you?

When it comes to design, I get really inspired by other creators. I can scroll Instagram and Pinterest for hours, looking at all the amazing and unique ideas people have! In my illustration work, I’m endlessly inspired by the various D&D campaigns I’m in. I feel like I’m always doodling the characters and the monsters we come across. For my traditional art, I’m inspired by the body and the natural world.

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

I’ve always wanted to be an artist, as far as I remember. I loved art as a kid, so I did it a lot and got good at it. I didn’t want to formally pursue art after high school because it’s such a difficult field to break into, especially in a fairly small city like Edmonton, so I looked into animation, interior design, and visual communication design, and settled on the latter. It turned out to be much closer to my heart than I expected, and 4 years into my degree I’m still loving 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?

No, I don’t think I do.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Nobody can create exactly what you can. Don’t get discouraged because there’s artists out there better than you. Just do your own unique thing, and do it lots, and share it with everyone you can. You’ll find the people who love what only you can do, even when you don’t always love everything you make.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual when asked, but I’m probably more specifically demisexual. I’m biromantic as well.

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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’ve received very little negativity in person when it comes to my identity. I’m pretty open about being asexual, so if people have a problem with me, they’re staying quiet. I presented a zine I made on asexuality to my design classmates in my second year, and I got polite curiosity and even some praise for my openness.

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

Definitely that (some) asexual people never have sex, or are incapable of sex. It’s very difficult to explain to people that attraction is highly separate from libido – especially when those people are people you don’t necessarily want to sit down and have a conversation about sex with. An unfortunate part of coming out as ace (I’ve found) is having to do the internal work to understand how your own attractions and feelings mesh together, and then articulate that to others if you want them to have an accurate picture of what asexuality is to you. Not that it’s anyone’s business. I just have less and less pride about it every passing year and I’m fine detailing the nitty-gritty to people who ask me questions. Aces with big ol’ sex drives exist, and I’ve had to become fine with explaining that to non-aces.

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

You’ll probably figure it out, but if you don’t, that’s okay too. It doesn’t matter how long you identify as ace, you will likely always doubt that you’re “actually” ace, and that’s okay. If it’s comforting to you and it describes your experience better than other labels in the moment, by all means, use it. Also, if you’re feeling like aces aren’t accepted in the queer community, get off Tumblr, and go make your presence known in a LGTBQA+ group in your school, community, whatever. You’re much more accepted and wanted than others would have you believe.

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

I’ve got an art blog on here at neon-biology, and an Instagram account full of art at erin_aceous. As well, if you’d like a free 12-page pdf. of my zine on asexuality, titled “Visible”, you can email me at emalo[at]ualberta[dot]ca.

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

Interview: Angelique Nguyen

Today we’re joined by Angélique Nguyễn. Angélique is a wonderful visual artist and writer. She writes a lot of poetry and short stories, mostly in English and she’s soon going to start writing in French as well. When she’s not writing, Angélique does some visual art, mostly drawing and painting. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I will draw and paint visuals from time to time, but my current works mostly consist of writing. I like writing poetry and short stories, and I’m currently working one long-term piece of work.

My mother language is English but French is my up-and-coming second language; I have plenty of poetry written in either language.

What inspires you?

There are many things out there and within that inspire me. Often times it is a mix of my current/remembered emotions, my life experiences or other’s life experiences, the aesthetics of my world, and the lessons I’ve learned from life and others. I like taking in what happened in my world and taking it apart, mixing it up, and reconstructing it again to tell stories. The influences can be big or small. Such influences can be as large as my mother’s presence in life or as small as the way the white markings fall on my rabbits coat. Culture is also a very grand influence in my life. I always loved learning something about my own culture’s or another culture’s stories and imagining how they would fit together in the grand scheme of storytelling and human life.

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

Throughout my life, I always knew I wanted to do something to express my artsy heart, even when society seems to demand me to focus more on mathematics and science. I’m pretty good at math and science but I find I will always be more appealed by art and emotion. At the beginning of sophomore year of high school, my English teacher assigned everyone to write a short story. As I was writing my short story, I realized that not every good story needed to be long like a novel. Before, I always had this idea that good writing takes a very long time and needed to fill a lot of pages. But now I know that this is not always true.

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 relatively new to my creative writing so I still need to explore what makes my writing unique from others. However, I find myself attempting to just the pen or fingers write and type away without thinking too much. Sometimes, it just makes sense to follow your gut feeling and see what comes out of it. This is especially true for my poetry.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you find there are no big themes or events you want to base your writing off of, then look for the small things. Even the small things could have a story behind it. You could make the story behind it. Write what you want to write and write how you want to write it. Inspiration always exists; it is up to you to find it. That will lead to you finding your comfort in writing.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

For the most part, I identify as a demi-sexual and bi. However, the truth is that my actual identity is very complicated. Even I don’t know all the answers to who I am.

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

So far, there is no aphobia I have encountered in my field. If I do encounter it, then I would simply continue living my peaceful a-spec existence.

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

The most common misconception about asexuality that I have encountered is that asexuality is all out being repulsed by sex, which is simply not true. When I first heard of asexuality, even I thought I qualified because I was repulsed by sexual activity. Now I know it is simply about lacking full attraction to any particular person, which is also true of me. Also, my *favorite* misconception of demi-sexuality is that it is “practical”- therefore, not a separate orientation. That is also not true because a demi-sexual actually lacks any attraction to a particular person until they get to know and bond with them as much as it takes. Whereas a typical allosexual may instantly feel attraction to this person but still take their time to get to know them before jumping into any sexual activities. That is the main difference.

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

It is okay to be or not to be asexual. Sometimes, asexuality may be permanent for one individual, but not for others. That is okay and totally valid. Maybe you know your reason to identify as asexual but maybe you don’t. That’s all right! Exploring my orientation has been a struggle for me, and it might be one for you too. However, you are never alone. All I suggest is that you simply move forward and embrace whatever identity you feel is best for you. If you don’t want any labels then that is okay, too.

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

My work is currently all over the place. But here are some common spots for posting my work:

Tumblr: 17angelsprings.tumblr.com (search “my post” or “my poems” and you will certainly find some of my poems and other works posted there)

DeviantArt: 17angelsprings.deviantart.com (you can find some written works as well as some visual art stuff)

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/17angelsprings (my current long-term writing project, Speaking My Language, is posted there, and that is where I’m compiling poems into anthologies)

Instagram: 17angelsprings (mainly reserved for my visual art)

I also hope I can eventually start a YouTube channel about mainly centered around my writing and being a writer.

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

Interview: Emmy

Today we’re joined by Emmy. Emmy is a wonderful writer, fanartist, and visual artist. She writes a lot of fanfiction, but she’s also currently working on an original novel with a fascinating premise. When she’s not writing, Emmy does a lot of digital drawing. She hopes to one day to write and draw a graphic novel. It’s clear Emmy’s both a passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Lion Fishrhett

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write mostly fan fiction, however I’m working on writing an original novel! It’s a story about a salty, magicless witch named Felix, who lives with his aunts and older sister – powerful witches who keep the peace between all of the magical creatures in their coastal town of Hagstone Grove. When an obnoxious vampire named Rhett comes along, Felix tries to ignore his flirtatious advances while dealing with all the other vampires that seem to have followed him into town.

Other than writing, I enjoy doing digital art to relax. I draw most anything that’s suggested to me and more often than not I draw silly things for friends. I would love to develop my art enough to do a graphic novel someday as well so that my writing and art can come together to make something amazing!

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Birb Boi with his Big Wings

What inspires you?

My inspiration comes from life in general. My friends and family, music, other content, etc. I’m inspired most when I talk to people who read my stuff because sharing my stories with them is a lot of fun!

Doing fan fiction helped inspire me a lot in the beginning too, because there’s usually a community behind it and you’ll often get feedback soon after posting. Plus, it’s easy to bounce ideas of your own off of the original content to get you started and spark up some creativity!

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Black Sea

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

I first started writing when I was about eleven. I had a cool dream I wanted to share with people, so I wrote it and other things that came to mind. I didn’t think of it as my calling then and it took me a few years of writing on and off before I realized that I really love it. I went through a quite few career choices during that time, jumping from psychologist to baker and everything in between.

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TEETH

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 put a lot of myself into everything I do. Whether it’s a large trait I share with a main character or a similar problem we face in our lives, I do what I can to connect myself with the story and people in it. To me, it helps make them feel more like real people, which in turn makes them easier to write.

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Hawkward Felix

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

This is going to sound cheesy, but never give up! You’ll hear it a million times, probably to a point where you think it’s stupid advice, but it’s true! There will be many –many– times you feel like giving up, or even times people will tell you to give up, but getting through those is unfortunately part of the process. If you truly want to be an artist those are things you have to power through. Just find the parts about it you love the most, hold onto them like your life depends on it, and you’ll make it through all the other crap just fine.

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Mudblood

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m demisexual biromantic

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

Not personally, whoever I’ve heard some people suggest that Asexuals can’t properly write anything on the…E-rated side of things because they, “don’t know how”. I think we all know how it works, even if someone doesn’t want it for themselves, thanks.

Sure, experience can help you write a scene, but I’ve written about demons and magic. I didn’t/can’t have experience with those and I did just fine.

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Wiiitch Boi

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

A lot of people don’t seem to know about the spectrum and how everyone is different. Even though someone identifies as Asexual, that doesn’t mean they’re sex-repulsed or are prudes.

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Kae

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

It’s okay not to know. It’s okay to never know for sure. Sometimes in life we never settle, and it’s perfectly okay to never pick a label if you don’t find one that’s right for you.

If you feel like having a specific label will help, then do some self-searching and read up on some to see where you might fit best. Remember, you’re not a puzzle piece designed to fit perfectly in place, you are clay meant to be molded into whatever shape you want. If you don’t 100% fit under a label, just find what’s closest and stick with that until you find something better.

If it’s a matter of wanting to be able to explain it to others, try to narrow it down into a few bullet points. Leave any of the super specific things aside at first and get out the main bits. If they still don’t understand, it may be best to just point them to the internet where they can Google these things for themselves. Don’t stress over other people not understanding because sometimes they just can’t/won’t.

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Hug

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

My fan fictions and original novel can be read in their first-draft forms as I write the chapters on my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/roboticspacecase

For anything else, I often post my art and writing updates on my Tumblr, which is here: http://roboticspacecase.tumblr.com/

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Felix Magic

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

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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Feminine

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.

WORK

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.