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: Lima

Today we’re joined by Lima. Lima is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in drawing characters, both her own and others. Lima is an art student in Germany and hopes to be a storyboard artist. She is currently working on a personal project, which she’s very excited about. Lima’s work is brimming with details and vibrant colors, which make the images pop off the page. It’s very clear she’s a remarkably talented 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.

Well, I love to draw characters the most, whether they’re my own or someone else’s. I love to give them a story, make them act with their poses and expressions! I also really like making little comics or storyboards – which is why I’d love to be a storyboard artist someday!

When I use colors, I love to use complementary contrasts to bring out different sides of a character!

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What inspires you?

Many things! Mostly my favorite shows, like Star vs the Forces of Evil, Steven Universe and my all-time fave: Kim Possible. There’s also a lot of artists I look up to, like Babs Tarr, Stephen Silver, Mergan Ferguson (at littledigits on Instagram) Loish, Pernille Ørum … there are so many! Also Hayley Williams (singer of my favorite band Paramore) never fails to inspire me with her energy on stage and gorgeous outfits!

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

I guess I’ve always been a very creative person bursting with way too many ideas. I’ve been drawing ever since I can remember, but only recently I discovered I also love telling/creating stories and making characters interact with each other. I guess the biggest factor is and was my undying love for everything animation and reading a lot of comics growing up that sparked my wish to be part of the creative, pre-production stage. That’s what made me sign up for art school and hopefully my education will help me reach those big goals of mine!

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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?

Hmm … I guess I have a thing for drawing big, button-y noses! I have kind of a button nose as well and it’s something that other people pointed out in my art. I also love drawing big, expressive eyes and fluffy, voluminous hair!

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t worry too much about ‘having a unique style’! Style is something that comes on its own over time. Just let yourself get inspired by everything around you, study other people’s art and definitely use a TON of references! References are your best friend!

And remember to take breaks once in a while! Being an artist does not mean working 24/7, surviving on coffee and no sleep. Practice as much as you can, but also take care of yourself – your older self will thank you for it! (:

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am an aromantic asexual, but I do consider myself more of a gray-asexual. I’ve felt very uncomfortable about labeling myself for years, until I researched the term ‘aromantic’ and it’s like a light bulb went up above my head and everything was clear.

The whole story is: we did a personality quiz in school, where we were supposed to prioritize things like ‘love/romance’, ‘money’, ‘fame’, ‘family’ etc. and without even thinking I put ‘romance’ at the bottom of that list and that got me thinking and the rest is history 😀

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

In my field, no. I am very lucky to be surrounded by young, open-minded people and I’ve even encountered another ace person in my class.

Truth be told, I am not that comfortable explaining my sexuality to people who might be ignorant, so I usually keep it on the down-low. If someone directly asked me, I wouldn’t lie, though.

It’s mostly because I feel aromanticism/asexuality is so severely underrepresented that it’s hard to be taken seriously in a society that actively promotes women having sex, having children, having romantic partners etc. that if you don’t want any of these things, you are the ‘odd one out’.

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

Probably that it’s simply ‘being straight without sex’ or that all asexuals have to be aromantic as well, which of course is wrong. I even heard someone say that asexuality can only be caused by some sort of mental/physical disorder and that every healthy person has a sex drive. What people don’t understand is yeah, I might have a sex drive but that doesn’t mean I’m supposed to act on it. Also the fact that I’m aromantic doesn’t mean I’m a cold person without feelings.

I love very strongly – just not romantically. I love my friends, my family, art and many things. I am a very emotional, sensitive person and I’d love for people to realize that romance is not the ultimate life goal for everyone.

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

I’d ask them for a hug and say: you’re not alone.

There’s a lot of false information going around, and not a lot of media representation, which is important especially in these days.

But despite what other people might say: You are 100% valid.

Your feelings are real and you are not weird, or broken. You are a wonderful individual who deserves just as much love and appreciation as any other member of any other (LGBT+) community.

Don’t be afraid to be proud of yourself and take all the time you need to figure out what you’re comfortable with.

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

I am most active on my Instagram: at sparkly_eyed_dork where I post sketches, comics, full illustrations and more (mostly fanart).

There’s also my Tumblr: sparkly-eyed-doodles.tumblr.com (which is still on hiatus, but I’m planning to revive it in the near future.)

Also: I don’t wanna promise too much, but I’m gonna start my very own webcomic soon!

I can’t say too much about its content yet, but I’m working on it non-stop and I can’t wait to share it with everyone, so stay tuned for that!

All I can say is that it’ll involve friendship, music and wacky adventures! 🙂

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Thank you, Lima, 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: Al

Today we’re joined by Al. Al is a wonderful visual artist who has her own style and characters. She is a self-taught artist, who creates some absolutely beautiful imagery as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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CeeCew

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a cartoonist. Overall though, I like doing my own thing. Own style, own characters, and own stories to go with them.

I’m more or less self taught, I enjoy drawing both digitally and traditionally, and I also animate. Usually on my DSI and 3DS though, as I don’t own the appropriate tablet yet.

I mostly draw my characters and occasionally I don’t know, draw a tree or something.

What inspires you?

The idea that someday, I might be able to put my ideas and creations out there and they will be forever immortalized so that when I die, they will continue on without me.

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Flyte and Marquel refs

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

Oh, I’ve been interested since I was a little kid. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, even before I hit preschool. My parents seemed to like what I created with my grubby little hands- so being the attention seeker that I was, I just kept drawing and drawing, until I eventually started to really like it and here I am.

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?

Sure. I have an art logo I created a few years back, and although it’s not in all of my art, it gets some cameos here and there. It’s of a dead fish, looks like this-

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice. Practice a lot and stop comparing yourself to others and belittling your art just because you don’t think you’re good enough. No artist improves at the same rate or the same way, and the only thing that will happen if you keep drawing is that you get better and better, until you become absolutely fantastic. The worst thing you can do is give up.

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Monstrosity

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

For sexual orientation, I just call myself ace/asexual. On the romantic side, I’m grayromantic.

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

Honestly, I never really got anything bad directed towards me in terms of my asexuality. There was one time where a person believed that it was the same thing as celibacy, saying that being ace is a choice and if you have sex, it automatically makes you well, not ace. But y’know, it’s just ignorant words coming from an ignorant person.

As for parents/family, I hinted it at them a few times but I’m pretty sure they just think I’m some sort of late bloomer or saving it for marriage or something. They’re no doubt just waiting for me to suddenly wake up one morning and be like, “HEY!!! I’M NOT A SQUEAMISH SISSY ANYMORE!! I’M GONNA HAVE SEX LIKE A NORMAL PERSON!!!”.

It never really bothered me though. The worst kind of prejudice/ignorance I’ve seen is from Tumblr itself, but it’s not exactly personal so, I just get angry for a second and then move on.

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Panic Icon

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

Oh, there’s a lot. “Only girls are asexual.” “If you have sex, you’re not ace.” “It’s just a phase.” “I wonder what made you decide to be asexual?” etc. Yknow, the usual ace myths.

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

First, don’t beat yourself up for how you feel. Not only is it possible that other people are already hurting you for being ace, but now you’re hurting yourself, and that just makes things ten times worse. Your lack of sexual attraction is fine and normal, and if you’re gonna take the word of someone else about how YOU feel, then you’ll be as misguided as they are.

Second, if along the way, you end up discovering you aren’t as ace as you thought, don’t beat yourself up about that either. You’re not a fraud. You just learned more about yourself, or changed over time and that’s perfectly fine. And don’t feel obligated to keep calling yourself something just because that’s what you already told others. Like I said, labels can change and you should accommodate them to describe yourself.

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

Oh, mostly Deviantart or YouTube. My YouTube account is SaltyMilk and my DeviantArt is Captain-Dark-Kitty.

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Skele Duck

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

Interview: May Barros

Today we’re joined by May Barros. May is a phenomenal Brazilian artist who does both visual art and writing. She has published a book in Portuguese, which has a short story about an ace princess. When she’s not writing, May does a lot of digital drawing. Her pictures are brimming with vibrant colors and beautiful characters. 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 very focused on original stuff, even if I like to interact with fandom, my own imagination has a bigger pull on me. My drawings tend to be character-driven, be them from my own stories or friends’ or even rp characters.

My writing, though, can go both ways. Sometimes it’s more metaphorical and emotional, even if there are characters in the tale I’m telling. Other times, I focus on characters and their struggles and it really makes me happy when people relate to them.

What inspires you?

Fantasy, all the way. I love anything magical. Be it full blown dragons-in-the-sky or small town witch shop stories, it just pulls me in. I have a collection of other artists drawings I save on my computer for inspiration, when I’m out of ideas, I browse the folder until something clicks (I never trace or copy anything, that’s just wrong).

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

Being a writer has been my dream ever since I was little, but it was Harry Potter that really made me consider it as a career. The drawing part came from watching anime and cartoons. I had a group of friends in high school that got together to learn how to draw manga style and I just never stopped.

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Witchsona

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?

If I do, I haven’t noticed. The only thing that I have to be careful not to do every time is draw girls with big thighs. I even forget to put my signature sometimes, one of the many things I’m trying to get better at.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t give up. If your art seems bad to you, it just means your inner critic has more practice than your inner artist and you have to work hard to catch up, but it’s not impossible. Also, never compare yourself to other artist, if you want to see how much you’ve improved, compare your work to your past works. Your journey as content creator is your own, no one can do the things your imagination can.

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Galáxia

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m demisexual / demiromantic.

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

I can’t say that I have because it’s not a topic that comes up often. I’m not hiding anything, I just don’t feel the need to bring it up. My personal life though is another matter entirely.

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

I’ve had people think it’s a choice or that it’s no different than “waiting for the right person”. I’ve also had asexuality be mislabeled / mispronounced and the person dismiss my correction.

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

Know that you are valid. Understand that whatever you are feeling is justified and you have every right to self-discovery. Your orientation and identity is your own and only you can define it.

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

I publish my writings on Wattpad (https://www.wattpad.com/user/MayFPBarros), though most of it is in Portuguese, my native language. My drawings are on my DeviantArt account (http://mayhigurashe.deviantart.com) and on my Tumblr (http://mayarab.tumblr.com). I also have a Twitter account (https://twitter.com/May_Higurashe/) and an Instagram (http://instagram.com/mayhigurashe)

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Unicornio

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

Interview: Dee

Today we’re joined by Dee. Dee is a fantastic musician who is currently studying jazz at university. She has dabbled in other arts like filmmaking and drawing, but it is clear that her heart and passion lies with music. An incredibly dedicated musician, Dee’s lively answers demonstrate a love of music. 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 do a couple of forms of art as a hobby. I draw the occasional fanart, which I’ve been doing as a hobby for about six years. I did art at school though the restrictive nature of it never appealed to me. I was also interested in filmmaking at school, and my best work would have to be the documentary I made on asexuality for my final project last year. I haven’t yet found a way to incorporate my interest in filmmaking into my everyday life as I don’t have access to a lot of the necessary equipment but hope to get back into it sometime in the near future. I also recently started writing thought pieces on subjects related to asexuality which helps declutter the many thoughts in my head and a lot of people seem to enjoy reading them.

My main form art is music. I have been playing the saxophone for 8 years now and it has become a central part of my life. I was a huge band geek at school, playing in jazz band, concert band and saxophone quartet and received some highly regarded awards in music from my school during my final year. The highlight of my time as a musician would be when I played in the Western Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) back in 2014. A lot of the photos you’ll see are from back then as I don’t have any other performance photos. At the moment I am studying a Diploma of Jazz at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) which is an absolute privilege. I started study recently, though I have found I’m not getting much of an opportunity to do what I love (that is, playing in band) so I’m considering my study options at the end of the year including the Bachelor of Jazz.

What inspires you?

When it comes to art, my direct influences which I am often inspired by are my other interests. In the past I have always drawn my favourite characters from video games and anime, and also write the rare fanfiction of my favourite ships. I have found in the past year that asexuality (and aromanticism) have become more and more of an influence on my art. It started with my documentary when my media teacher suggested we each pick a topic we are passionate about. I have been increasingly interested in writing on asexuality and after contributing to a couple of the Carnival of Aces I decided to give hosting a try, and did February on platonic attraction. Recently I have started a side blog where I’m posting my writing pieces from my main blog.

With music it is very different and a little more vague. As a musician I am inspired by the feeling that I get when I perform in a band setting and if I’m not feeling it, I will follow paths that are likely to lead me to it. It acts as a driving force in my life and shapes a lot of  the decisions I make. It’s involved me taking some risks, such as prioritising music over academics and even pursuing it as a career though everyday I feel like I’m closer to where I want to be (that is, playing in a professional band setting).

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

I guess just being exposed to different forms of music (particularly jazz) was what got me into music. I had no musical experience or interest until I started playing the sax at age ten, and my teacher dove me into jazz within my first year of playing and that’s how I came to love it. I didn’t know how much I’d love playing in band until I actually experienced it, and that was definitely a turning point for me.

I’ve definitely always been interested in art, though. I was always drawing, colouring in and making crafts when I was little and that has continued to this day.

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’d say I’ve developed a particular style when it comes to drawing, especially my way of colouring and shading. It’s a little unrealistic and more bright and fun. I want to make my drawings pop off the page in a cartoony way.

Music has taken a bit longer but I’ve recently started to develop my own style of playing and what I’m aiming for is a crisp tone that’s rough around the edges, if that makes sense? Haha

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t listen to people who tell you you can’t do it! While it is always important to keep back up plans in mind, your passions should always be a priority. Set short term realistic goals and don’t let yourself be effected by other people’s negativity. If they’re not giving you constructive criticism, then they’re not worth your time.

Another piece of advice is have patience. Improvement can be slow and hard to notice at first, but over the long term you’ll start to notice your improvement in different areas so it’s important to be patient, not be so hard on yourself and stay positive!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aromantic and asexual, though it has taken me a long time to realise because I only found the asexual community a year ago.

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

When it came to school there wasn’t any ace prejudice but there was an abundance of ignorance when it came to LGBTQ issues. It became frustrating listening to conversations where people were trying to decipher trans identities because if they can’t even understand transgender people, how would they understand asexuality? There was even a time when I was talking to a guy in my tutor group who was going off about how marriage equality isn’t a big deal. Because school can be a toxic place, I only came out to my group of friends and even then I had to get out my dictionary. I suppose just keeping in mind that ignorance is not intentional and that people don’t mean to come off as amatonormative in their everyday conversation got me through my final year of school.

It’s been a lot better since I started university, as I’ve already made a bunch of queer friends that I was comfortable enough to come out to and they all seemed to know what aromantic and asexual were, which is great! University tends to be a more openly sexual environment but in a more casual way that isn’t so in your face like school was for me, which is a lot easier to deal with.

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

The only misconceptions I’ve encountered since coming out have been from my sister, otherwise, everyone else has been very understanding. She has that attitude where everything she says is gospel and it’s included cliches like you don’t know until you’ve tried it (and funnily enough I have) as well as being convinced that I’m putting myself in a box and closing myself off from experiences. So I guess it’s pretty obvious why I’ve only come out as asexual to my family, and avoided using the word aromantic (while still expressing my disinterest in further relationships).

The Internet, on the other hand, is full of acephobia and ignorance. I most often see the you can’t be asexual if- line as well as that asexuals can’t identify as queer unless they experience same gender attraction or are trans (which I completely disagree with).

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

If they’re struggling to figure out their orientation, I’d say don’t rush it. You can take as long as you want to find the word that’s right for you, and even then, you don’t have to use labels. If they’re struggling accepting their asexuality I’d suggest surrounding yourself with people who accept you, and get involved in the ace and LGBTQ communities if that will help you feel better about your orientation. (I couldn’t tell which you meant)

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

– For my asexual writings check out http://ramblings-of-an-aro-ace.tumblr.com/
– For my drawings take a look at sexyaussiekirkland.deviantart.com
– My main blog is sexyaussiekirkland.tumblr.com

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

Interview: Bxndit

Today we’re joined by Bxndit. Bxndit is a phenomenal artist who is incredibly active online. She contacted me after a number of her followers directed her to this site and I’m grateful they did, because her work is awesome. She is currently working on a webcomic and her work is very character focused. There’s a wonderful lightheartedness to her drawings, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Warning: the last picture with some blood in it.

angel 2
Angel 2

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is mainly based around a set of characters that I’ve created to be featured into a web comic that is currently in the works. Up until recently, I kinda moved between different styles before settling on a very cartoony-style. My art consists mainly of these characters that I’ve been working on, and their developments. I’ll sometimes dip into fanart from time to time, of whatever I’m into at the moment, and I’ll do quite a lot of art for other artists, whether it’s in trades or commissions or even just gift art. I’ve started to create silly little comics that are very rough and sketchy, mainly for humour purposes. I’ll usually use these to convey a zany persona for myself, and they’ll usually feature me with another friend. All in all my art isn’t super serious and it’s meant to be quite light hearted and follow my sense of humour, which is pretty zany and goofy. Some of it will be serious, but man that is pretty rare.

What inspires you?

SO MUCH! Especially the art style from any of the Gorillaz’ music videos, I adore that style and have tried to incorporate it. A lot of shows that I watched as a kid inspired me a lot, I was super into Disney, which lead to my art having a very limited sense of realism to it, I’ve always tried to show the same kind of flow and emotion that Disney character art show in my own work. One of the biggest inspirations to my art and the characters I work with especially was a lot of the anime-ish styles from shows that I was into, especially Fullmetal Alchemist and Teen Titans. These shows in particular are still a driving force in my desire to create very in-depth and relatable characters. As I think about this I keep pulling more things that inspire me, even things with really nice atmospheres and aesthetics like Rapture from the Bioshock series and the Wastelands from the Fallout series. More importantly I take a lot of inspiration from the artists that I speak with and the encouragement I get from the people around me. I have quite a few friends that really push to get me to be the best that I can, which is awesome. Both my parents help quite a bit too. Just seeing that genuine love and interest in what I’m doing really gives me this rush of motivation to keep going and to get better, even if I’m not feeling great about my art.

For any of my dumb-humour comics that I’ve done, they’re usually based on something that has happened, and all I’m doing is recreating it.

angel
Angel

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

I’ve always been encouraged to draw, from the moment I was able to hold a crayon I’ve been encouraged to create. Back home my Mum has every drawing I’ve ever done tucked away in ring binders and boxes, and we used to hang up a lot of my drawings from when I was very young. My grandparents did the same thing. I remember specifically one day I was in a group project at school when I was maybe 6 or 7 years old and we were drawing animals out of picture books to create puppets for the story we were putting on for the class, and my best friend turned to me and said something along the lines of “Wow! That is really good you should draw them all” and at that point I started thinking about whether I was good at drawing. I mean, speaking as someone who is training to go into teaching, kids adore those kind of compliments, and I totally rode on that compliment and it drove me to get better and better, it was even better that I found that I really enjoyed drawing. I was encouraged to doodle on my jotters a lot going through Primary School, since it really helped my focus. So it’s really all been down to encouragement from others and then actually realizing that I liked drawing. Creating my own stories and characters just seemed to fit in naturally with that, especially since I’ve never been good at actually writing stories down, it fit in nicely with my want to draw. I did get made fun of it for a while in school from kids outside of my social circle, but my love for it has been too great to actually let it get to me.

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 art styles have been changing quite rapidly since I started drawing seriously after school, so there isn’t anything consistent other than my watermark, which I’ll fit in somewhere in each drawing. It depends on the characters I’m drawing, some of them have specific symbols relating to them that I’ll fit in. For example, my character Bandit has the alchemical symbol for Earth on him in a few places (He’s similar to an earth-bender from The Last Avatar series)

bandit
Bandit

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice! I’ll always preach that drawing and art is a skill, not a talent. Like any other skill, you’ll have to practice it to get better. No-one is born drawing flawless art, in the same way that no-one is born being able to swim perfectly. Don’t be too harsh on yourself, either. Comparing yourself to a ‘better’ more experienced artist is one of the most disheartening things to do. It’s happened to me a few times where younger, new artists have compared their work to mine and felt like they’ll never get to the level they’ve put me at. I’ve been drawing since I was able to pick up a drawing utensil and I’m 21 now, which is such a long time to be drawing, you’re just starting out. It’s your art, not anyone else’s so don’t compare it (the only comparison you should make is when you look back on your old art, and honestly when you look back and see the difference it’s the best feeling.)

Don’t feel invalidated because you don’t produce the kind of art that gets attention, a lot of artists, including myself, feel like they’ll never be ‘popular’ unless they draw fanart. If you want to draw fanart go for it! But if you wanna draw some of your own characters don’t let that stop you, draw for yourself, the attention from others will come later. Personally it is a much more satisfying way to treat art. Don’t think you’re creative? Quick! Think of two things and mix them together, what do you get?

Finally, speak with other artists! I know that starting out can be really daunting with artists that appear to already have their own groups of friends that they work with, but you’ll be surprised how many of us want to talk with others and work with as many artists as possible. Personally, I’ve set up quite a few groups that artists are welcome to join and just hang out and get to talk to other artists. Just speaking with and getting advice from other artists is great! There are a lot of ‘popular’ artists that love helping out aspiring artists, we all started out in the same place, it’s good to help others.

isa believe
Isa Believe

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aromantic Asexual. For a very long time I wasn’t really sure where I would fit in, and there was a period of time that I was convinced that there was something wrong because I just wasn’t interested in relationships or sex. Even after trying being in relationships it still got nothing out of me. It wasn’t until I was doing research on inclusion for a teaching module at university and I had come across the treatment of LGBT+ kids in secondary schools in Scotland, and after a little further I realized that, hey, other people are like this, I’m not crazy!

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

Personally, no. I have seen it around the internet, but it’s never actually happened to me. Whether that is down to the fact that I am very sparing with sharing my personal life online or if I have surrounded myself with the correct people, I don’t know. Though in the rare times I have spoken about asexuality I’ve been informed that it’s not real, though I find myself ignoring those kind of comments, the only person that actually gets to have a say is me.

murkIPLERGH
murkIPLERGH

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

That it doesn’t exist? I dunno, so far it’s been the only way that I’ve been able to explain to myself about where I sit in the spectrum.

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

There is nothing telling you that you must find what you identify as at this very moment, and don’t stress out that you haven’t found yourself yet. One day everything is going to fall into place and it’ll all work out, you’re just working up until that day at the moment. Regardless of what happens and where you place in the spectrum I believe in you.

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

I consistently post on my Instagram and I’m the most active on there.
I am working on getting all my work over to my Tumblr and eventually set up my own site, but for the moment it is mainly Instagram that I operate on.

oz
Oz

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