Interview: Renn

Today we’re joined by Renn. Renn is an extraordinary visual artist who also dabbles in embroidery and sings in their state’s LGBTQ+ chorus. They have mainly worked in traditional mediums, though they have recently started branching out into digital art. Their work is fascinating in its use of color and light. It’s clear Renn is an incredibly talented and passionate artist who enjoys what they do, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m something of an ace-of-all trades (pardon the pun). Most of my work has been traditional pen and ink drawings- I’ve always been the most comfortable with felt pens as my medium since you can re-do the sketch as many times as it takes to get each line juuuuuuust right before finalizing it in ink. Every now and then I’ll do a watercolor- the colors can be quite vibrant and watercolors can blend together in a way markers and ink can’t. Watercolor is something of an exercise in discipline for me; I’m not the most patient of persons even without taking my ADHD into account- so waiting for the paint to dry before adding another piece of color can be trying sometimes. I’ve ruined plenty of paintings only because I just couldn’t wait! I recently started painting digitally with my beloved Huion tablet- a much better way for me to explore painting as a medium because there are no more wait times for colors to dry! And layers! Oh do I love my layers. Working digitally, I enjoy using a limited but vibrant pallet to challenge myself to really bring out the highlights and shadows of what I’m drawing, making the artwork overall more striking.

Sometimes when I have the time + materials + energy, I craft my own cosplays (and bowties!) In my spare time I also enjoy doing embroidery and singing with the Rainbow Chorale, my state’s local LGBTQ+ chorus!

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What inspires you?

A lot of my main drive to create comes from seeing the work of other artists. You know how your brain will see someone else’s work and go “Gee I wish I could draw like that!” I take that feeling and turn it into “Well why don’t I go and draw something I want to create that will look just as good that I and other people will enjoy!”

I also enjoy doing art as an out and visible queer asexual person, because it gives other people like me the chance to see themselves reflected in my art and see themselves being represented, even if they themselves cannot be out and visible like me.

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Butterflies

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

I’ve been drawing since I was really little, like 4 or so. Creating art through drawing was something I would do to relax after school…  or something I did to avoid taking notes or doing homework… ah ha. For young, awkward, socially anxious me, art was the best way for me to express myself and communicate. So, in a way, I’ve always been interested in creative fields because that ability to create from my own ideas has always been with me. With respect to “wanting to be an artist” (I’m interpreting this as become a professional) drawing as a job isn’t something I want to do. I’m happy to take the occasional commission, or make something as a gift, but drawing as my main profession isn’t for me. Art is an escape for me, for when life gets to be too overwhelming. If that escape was invaded by the stress and pressure to constantly create and keep churning out artwork, then creating would no longer be that escape for 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?

I always sign my work (well, when I remember) with my screen-name (Renaissance Aeroplane) initials “RA” and a little airplane flying out from the “A”. Typically I’ll put it in the corner of digital paintings, and tuck it in somewhere in sight when I do pen and paper drawings.

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I’ve had that screen-name for a while, except ‘renaissance’ was spelled with two Ns since spelling wasn’t a strong suit of mine. Thus that turned into the nickname “Renn” which I’ve gotten rather attached to and started using as an offline nickname as well.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Take a deep breath, and relax. Sit back, stretch your arms, and release that tension you’ve been holding in. It’s okay- if you aren’t as popular as that one artist, if that one line just refuses to come out right, if you fudged up the inking, painting didn’t come out the way you wanted it to- It’s going to be all right! There’s always so much pressure as an artist, to keep making more art and be perfect and get likes/reblogs/retweets/site traffic. That pressure is overwhelming and the last thing that will help you improve is pushing yourself so hard that creating art becomes stressful and overwhelming. So take another deep breath, relax, and continue to do what makes you happy.

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Palette Portrait

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Definitely full-on asexual; the frying-pan of sexual attraction feelings won’t be hitting me in the face anytime soon. It’s not a sensation I’ve ever felt, likely will never feel, and I am cool with that being so. I’m probably?? somewhere on the gray-bi-romantic scale of things; every now and then I’ll become romantically inclined towards someone, but it doesn’t happen all that often. *shrug*

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

Fortunately I haven’t had much experience with prejudice aside from the occasional bigot being rude online. What I have encountered more of is well-meaning but ignorant folks coming into my inbox and expecting me to educate them. Which can sometimes be annoying, and other times be emotionally draining and exhausting. So, what I’ll do is send them a few links with good articles about asexuality (or trans/nonbinary issues because I get questions about that too. Yaaaaaay.) that I’ve read through beforehand to ensure all the info is correct. Then I’ll let them know I’m glad they want to learn more, but I don’t have the time/energy to educate them one on one on the basics, that the links I sent contain more info about the subject, and once they’ve read through what I’ve sent and understand it, I’ll be happy to talk with them later.

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

That eventually I’ll “grow out of it” or “there’s always the possibility you meet the right person!” *barf* I get that for some people, sexuality can change or you can discover something you didn’t know about yourself, but that is not me. I already did all my soul-searching and exploring and I am quite happy labeling myself as ace, thanks very much. That and there’s something so gross about the insistence that I will become sexually attracted to someone. Euggggh.

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

It’s helpful to ask for advice or experiences from other ace folks and to ask other LGBTQ+ folks about their experiences to help you figure out what you’re feeling- BUT what determines your sexuality, above all, is what YOU think and how YOU feel. So, if you think “Well I’ve never/rarely/only sometimes feel sexually/physically attracted to people” then congrats! You’re ace! And that is for you to decide whether or not you want to label yourself that way.

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

Y’all can find me on Tumblr at renn-aeroplane-art.tumblr.com where I post all of my recent works or if you want to trawl my old Deviantart for some of my older stuff I go by Senkokura there. If you like goofy cat pictures interspersed with the occasional drawing or selfie, then check out my Instagram at renaissance_aeroplane!

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The Witch

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

Interview: Emilie Tremblay

Today we’re joined by Emilie Tremblay. Em is a wonderful visual artist who is just starting out and already shows a great amount of talent. They paint and draw mostly. For painting, they draw inspiration from abstract art. Drawing is a little different: Em enjoys drawing all sorts of life, like people and plants. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and passionate artist with a bright future ahead of them. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a visual artist. I practice mainly with the traditional media of painting and drawing. I really love abstract art and you can probably see that style influences my paintings a lot. I also love to play with colour and shapes. When it comes to drawing though I tend to be more interested in life; people, plants, architecture (especially people) I just find it all very fascinating.

What inspires you?

The world I would say. The people around me (my family and friends, even strangers on the bus), the people I see on TV (Bob Ross, Tuppence Middleton, etc.) Anything and everything I set my eyes on has the potential to be… reformed? Perhaps you could say. I just love to create. And the things that I encounter, the things that I participate in or engage with, they all stay in my mind and gather into these weird abstract ideas that can become beautifully interesting things that I just need to set to paper. It’s all very poetic I think; to have so many wonderful things and people around you that can inspire you to create something or do something that can make you so happy.

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

Honestly I can’t remember a time I wasn’t playing in paint! I’ve always liked getting dirty and splashing different colours together. It’s just something that has always been a part of me. Obviously I’ve refined the skill since I was two, but yes I’ve always wanted to be involved in the arts in some way. My mother being an artist probably also had something to do with it!

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

Nope! Just my personality 😉

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just do it. Practice, practice and practice some more. Do a little bit every day and just keep doing it. Never stop and never give up. I understand it can be a lot and you might not always want to or have the energy to, but if it makes you happy it can be the most wonderful thing in the world. However it is not just raw talent that is going to get you in the business! You need to refine your skills, diversify your portfolio, make connections and share your work (not all of it though because you do still want to make money and you definitely don’t want anyone to steal your work and say it’s theirs! Be careful!) Especially in this technology obsessed world, it is very important to have followers. The more you post and the more consistent you are with posting the better! But please don’t overwork yourselves. You all need to remember that the most important thing, before anything else, is to take care of yourself: mentally and physically! Take a me-day if you have to; it’s okay!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Biromantic asexual

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

I’ve only fully come to terms with my asexuality last year (2017) during my final year of high school and let me tell you that was an intense journey. I’ve also only decided I want to be a professional artist probably about six months ago? (I am the most indecisive person ever!) Saying this, however, I have encountered my fair share of ignorance (not as much prejudice thank the lord) and it has made me wary of sharing my sexuality.*I am open with myself and whoever wants to know me, I am completely comfortable with my sexuality and full of pride let that be known!* But I’m also incredibly socially awkward so I don’t particularly like to flaunt myself (if that is even the right word) Oh gosh what am I even saying anymore (sorry I ramble!) The point is yes I have encountered it in my field and yes it sucks every time but the best way to fight ignorance is with knowledge! I will be the first to say it honestly sucks having to always explain and re-explain what something is, especially when that something is so ingrained in your identity; it can be a very personal blow. Being a non-binary person as well, I am no stranger to ignorance when it comes to identity and it can honestly be so exhausting to have to constantly have a 300 page essay on hand with varied, credible sources stating that “yes, it does exist. I’m not making this up.”

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

The most common misconception is that asexual people don’t feel romantic attraction either. Yes, there are also aromantic people and yes, those are two attractions that often coexist. However, they are two different things; asexual just means that I don’t feel sexual attraction. That’s it, that’s all. Another one would be that I hate sex. Personally I am not a sexual person, nor do I think I ever will be, but I am fine talking about it and watching movies with sex scenes. But not every asexual person is the same. Again; asexual just means that I don’t feel sexual attraction.

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

Don’t rush it. And don’t fight it. Please. Life is so complicated and so difficult already, don’t force yourself to do anything you don’t want or feel comfortable doing just because it’s what everyone is saying you’re supposed to be doing. You have the best knowledge of who you are. Remember that.

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

You can like my Facebook page: artisteft, or follow me on Instagram: at eft.art! And please feel free to DM me, my inbox is always open and I would love to talk to you about art, asexuality or anything else at all!

Thank you, Em, 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.