Signal Boost: “Centralia 2050″ Kickstarter

Hi everyone!

The ace author of Centralia 2050 is launching a Kickstarter to fund the first volume of the comic today! A female-led cyberpunk mystery written by an incredibly talented ace author, what’s not to love?

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Here’s the press release:

CENTRALIA 2050- Lonely, never alone

THE COMIC

CENTRALIA 2050 follows Midori, who wakes up lost amidst the hi-tech metropolis of Centralia. Without memories, her only connection to this place is a psychic link to a missing child.

With the help of her new friend(?) Grey, Midori sets off in search of answers– but soon finds that this pristine city has a sinister underside. What’s more, there’s something about these two that’s putting them in more danger than they realize…

The comic explores themes of isolation, trans-humanism, and technology’s effect on our lives, for better or worse.

Volume 1 of CENTRALIA 2050 contains chapters 1-3 and is the first installment of the comic. It features over 100 pages of stunning black and white artwork that captures the vastness, isolation, and mystery of Centralia as our protagonists navigate the dystopian city.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

CENTRALIA 2050 is the creation of storyboard and visual development artist Michelle Stanford. She emphasizes creating narratives with well-rounded, relatable female characters, having often felt alienated by the representation of women in media. She has been creating CENTRALIA 2050 since late 2014 and plans to eventually publish the comic as a graphic novel.

THE KICKSTARTER

Volume 1 of CENTRALIA 2050 contains chapters 1-3 and is the first installment of the cyberpunk mystery comic. The book is currently available for pre-order on Kickstarter.

You can follow updates and announcements about the comic on Michelle’s Facebook, Twitter, and Patreon.


I’m really looking forward to this comic and I hope a lot of you are as well.

So please, donate to the Kickstarter if you can. Signal boost if you can’t. Show Michelle some love 🙂

Thanks everyone!

Interview: Michelle

Today we’re joined by Michelle. Michelle is the phenomenal artist and creator behind the comic Centralia 2050, a “female-led cyberpunk mystery comic with themes of isolation, oppression, and transhumanism.” The comic has a variety of diverse characters and Michelle puts a lot of importance on creating ace-friendly material. Michelle is soon going to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first volume of the comic, which I’ll post a signal boost for in about a week (so keep an eye out for that). Michelle is an incredibly talented and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a storyboard and comic artist, currently working on my original cyberpunk mystery comic Centralia 2050. Right now, the comic is just starting its 4th chapter, with a volume 1 book in the works. I also work as an artist doing live-action storyboards for commercials and music videos. Now and then, I like doing watercolour painting, too.

What inspires you?

Usually the people around me. Each person I get to know inspires me with their unique life story, their struggles, their aspirations. A lot of that gets subconsciously channeled into the stories I write and the characters I create.

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

I’ve always been drawn toward telling stories, and drawing is the easiest way for me to get my ideas out. I’m not great with words, so it’s often easier for me to just show what’s in my head. It wasn’t until I was in middle school that I thought about pursuing art professionally, though I didn’t know what kind of job I wanted. Eventually comics and storyboarding became the most natural path to satisfy my love for storytelling.

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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?

Nothing I’m aware of! I’m not great at noticing those little trends in my art, honestly. Like, I couldn’t tell you what my style is or any direct visual inspirations. I just draw what looks right to me.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Perfection is the enemy of finished. A lot of young artists hide their work because they feel it’s not good enough to share, but the world can’t know about you if you hide everything you create. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, and have a constructive attitude towards failure. I think that’s a quality that every successful artist must possess.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a heteromantic ace.

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 don’t typically make my orientation known, largely because it only invites a lot of awkward questions. Of course there’s going to be ignorant people in the artist community, but I’ve been fortunate to not have to deal with any of them personally in my career.

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

That I’m ace because my partner is lousy in bed. It sucks, because I’m inclined to not “out” him as having an ace girlfriend– I don’t want to potentially embarrass him. When you tell people you’re ace and in a relationship, they want to know how that works. It’s different for every couple, and I don’t think it should be anyone else’s business.

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

Find ace-friendly communities online. I didn’t even know what to call myself until I was in my mid-20s, and it caused me a lot of grief. I hear a lot of aces say they thought they were “broken”, and I absolutely felt that way before I realized asexuality was a thing. I felt a lot better when I started reading about other people’s experiences and having the validation that I wasn’t a broken person.

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

You can read Centralia 2050 at centralia2050.com. There is also a Kickstarter for the first volume of the comic, which you can find at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/michelledraws/70043576?ref=355027&token=8e80ddd4. (Kickstarter will be live on October 15th)

I’m Art of Michelle Stanford on Facebook, at michellestanfordart on Instagram, and at Michelledrawz on Twitter.

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

Interview: Hannah King

Today we’re joined by Hannah King. Hannah is a phenomenal visual artist who works in a wide variety of media. They’re currently attending university again to become an art teacher. Hannah hasn’t met a medium they don’t like and has this amazing enthusiasm for visual art. They do illustration, mixed-media fine art, abstract photography, and a variety of other things (as you’ll soon read). There’s an amazing eye for detail demonstrated in the images Hannah sent and it’s very apparent they’re amazingly talented. 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 have three different styles I work in. I’m a Fine Artist and an Illustrator, with training in both, as well as a lot of self-directed study in other styles and media.

My first and most often seen style is my illustrative western-comic’s influenced style. With this I tend to do character art, concept art, book illustrations and comics. I use both traditional media – pen and ink – and digital media – anything from Photoshop to PaintTool Sai and MediBang to Corel Painter – to create these images.

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My second is mixed-media fine art, in which I use every media I can get my hands on, including everything from stamping-ink to acrylic, fine-line pens to sewing, dried flowers/leaves to hand-made papers, and even found objects. I work mostly on canvas for this art, but sometimes I use hand-made paper. My fine art is either figurative, architectural or non-representational abstract.

My third is a recent foray into abstract photography, using the medium of Instagram. I have a deep and abiding love for texture, so I collect photographs of those textures I discover in my daily life – often these are crumbling walls, peeling paint, shattered concrete and so on – and I have started using these photographs to create abstract images.

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My passion is the human figure in all its shapes, colours and configurations. So a lot of my work tends to focus on people, whether characters from novels/tv shows/films/etc or models I have had sit for me or drawn/painted from photographs. I have been making myself work on my non-figurative work, though, so I’ve started having fun with architectural art.

I am also a huge fan of fantasy. A lot of my work, including my fine art, incorporates fantastical elements or is fantasy illustration outright.

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What inspires you?

It’s a little cliché to say ‘everything’ but that really is the most correct answer. To get a little more in depth, I guess the human figure inspires me. And well written fantasy. Folk tales. Myths and legends. Painted concrete walls where the weather and age has conspired to peel the paint in interesting ways. Abstract art. Songs with meaningful lyrics. A pretty face. A complicated hairstyle. My own emotions. Ancient, neglected and rusty farm equipment. Weird and wonderful fashion. Tattoos and scars and body modification. I could go on.

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

I come from a fairly arty-crafty family. My mother dabbles in abstract art, sewing, knitting and scrap-booking. My father makes dioramas and scale models of armed forces vehicles. My maternal grandfather was an architect and painter, maternal grandmother was into hand crafting, knitting, crocheting, drawing. My paternal grandfather was an architect, paternal grandmother is into sewing and knitting.

So when I first started showing signs of wanting to be creative it was encouraged. Even when I drew and painted murals on my walls, ceiling and the back of my bedroom door, I wasn’t reprimanded, just told to keep it to my bedroom. My maternal grandmother taught me all sorts of crafty things – like collage and stained-glass painting – and my maternal grandfather got me started on the basics of perspective.

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I first got into comics when I was 11 or 12, and that obsessions lead to my wanting to be a comic artist and an illustrator, which in turn lead to me taking fine art at college and illustration at university. I do now work with a couple of writer friends on some webcomics – not yet published, but looking to get them up soon.

In more recent years I discovered a love for teaching, so now I’m about to go back to university for a post-grad degree in teaching art to 11 – 17 year olds.

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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?

Because I’m heavily influenced by the likes of Klimt, Mucha, Shiele, Yoshitako Amano and comic artists like Dave McKean, David Mack and J.M. Linsner, my work tends to have a lot of idiosyncratic marks in it.

Normally this shows up in my Fine Art or personal illustrative art. Most often, the marks are tiny squares picking out a checkerboard pattern, sometimes it’s circles picked out in tiny triangles, or negative space filled with interlocking circles or even dotwork.

I try not to do this in commissioned character art, but even then, Mucha’s influence shows out strongly in the way I draw hair and folded clothing. Dotwork sometimes also makes an appearance in my commissioned character art, but I try to restrain it.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Life Drawing.

Seriously.

Do as much Life Drawing as you possibly can – not only does it fill out your portfolio and make University professors very happy indeed, it also very quickly builds up your ability to not only draw the human figure but also your ability to SEE.

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Once you know how to draw a person, once you’ve learned the anatomy underlying how the body works, you can start breaking rules and developing a style of your very own. And once you’ve trained yourself to actually SEE what’s there, rather than draw what you EXPECT is there, you can draw just about anything.

Basically, draw from life as often as you can, even if that means taking a sketchbook out to a public place and drawing what’s around you (you don’t HAVE to go to an actual class to do this!)

Draw everything. Draw all the time. Learn how to see what’s there.

You’ll thank yourself for doing it. Trust me.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Celibate Asexual, Pan-Demi-Romantic – I’m sex indifferent and mostly find it boring, but I am willing to have it with a partner if they want it. I have been celibate for 5 years and single – with the occasional date – for most of them.

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

Thankfully not so much prejudice in my particular experience, though there has been some ignorance, mostly in the form of misunderstanding where I’m coming from on certain projects.

I have ended up having some interesting conversations with other artists about the difference between sexual and aesthetic attraction. I think what has helped in my case is that many of the artists I know are also LGBT+ or allies so they have at least some idea of things to start from when they learn of my asexuality.

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

That I just haven’t had good enough sex, or sex with the right partner yet. Which is extremely condescending and annoying. Often when this is said to me I’ll give them an abbreviated list of all my sexual partners and the various fetishes I have tried out with them all. Normally this makes them shut up, so I can then give them a basic Asexuality 101 class.

I wouldn’t recommend this for everyone, I only get away with it because I’m in my 30s and I’m normally talking to other people my own age; I also discovered my asexuality late, after a series of relationships, so I actually have a laundry-list of info to dump on people who say this.

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

I discovered asexuality very late – I was 28 – and it took me both by surprise and as a huge relief, it explained so many things that had been confusing me and causing stress and anxiety for most of my post-pubescent life. It’s been amazing to know that what I experience is actually a thing, that there is a community I can become part of, that there is a name for me to use.

My advice is to own it.

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Read up on it, talk to other asexuals, get to know the community, find your particular flavor of asexuality and own the hell out of it. There are haters – as we’ve seen in the Tumblr community – but they’re not as many as Tumblr makes it look like, I promise, Tumblr’s just a very noisy place, so you can ignore them fairly easily in the real world.

Accept that the majority of the world is sexually oriented, accept that you’ll have to deal with annoying advertising and friend and family comments and opinions. It’s difficult, but it’s not insurmountable, I promise. There are people who get it, who are like you, or who will accept you. There are even people – even non-asexual! – who will date and love you just as you want (if you want! I’ve been mostly single for 5 years now and I have been thoroughly happy!)

There is a place in the world for you, for us, and we are absolutely allowed to take it, on our own terms, whatever they are. So go ahead, own it.

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hannahlkingart/

Website: http://hannahlking.wix.com/hannahlkingart

Tumblr: http://hannahkingart.tumblr.com/

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