Interview: Enzouke

Today we’re joined by Enzouke, who also goes by Enzou. Enzou is a wonderful visual artist who does both traditional and digital art. They’re heavily inspired by anime and a lot of their work reflects this. They enjoy drawing comics, illustrations, and even do some animation. Enzou is a talented and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

01

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Oh boy, where do I start! I guess one thing that does stand out about my artwork is that it’s all over the place. I enjoy using a variety of mediums, styles and types of art. I can do both traditional and digital artwork, but my passion lies more with digital. I also love drawing comics, making illustrations, and creating animation. There are just so many types of things I want to try, that I end up doing a little bit of everything. My art style is very anime-influenced, and while I draw a majority of “cute” things in my gallery, I enjoy drawing dark/guro content. If I were to describe my art in two words, it would probably be “always changing,” since I can never sit still with what I make and I’m constantly striving to improve.

What inspires you?

Fashion, monster kids, dark themes, and anime inspire me! Most of my character designs aren’t too complex, but I enjoy being inspired by a plethora of clothing that other people wear. Anime and dark themes are pretty obvious, since I’m just really into that stuff (sweats nervously). Anime is pretty broad, but my favorite types include shounen, horror, and psychological genres. I no longer enjoy romance as much as I used to back in middle school, because the protagonist and side characters always had strange logic when it came to falling in love. That’s why I’m making my own drama/romance webcomic, so I can delve deeper into the character motivations and mostly to satisfy myself, haha! Oops, I’m sure I went off tangent there! But I guess things I don’t like/hate also inspire me to make something better!

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

When I was a kid I used to draw a lot and I think I unconsciously did want to become an artist, even when I was telling my friends and family “I want to become a teacher/vet/etc.!” I only continued to draw because all my classmates, friend, and my parents said I was really good. Their praise is what kept me motivated to create and I’m very thankful for that (because looking back at my old art … oh wow … please don’t stare at it for too long … it’s embarrassing…)

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 a pretty lame artist, so I don’t have anything cool like that (sighs sadly). I think the only feature I include in all my artwork is a 3/4th view of the character facing to the left. These are my true masterpieces.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Jokes aside, practice a whole damn lot, as if your hand is going to melt by all the heat you’re creating, due to the friction of your pencil and paper (or tablet and tablet pen). There are days, or probably every day if I’m being honest, that I just don’t want to draw because I have zero motivation. But if you don’t draw, how will you improve? I’ve already sold my soul to Satan for a lifetime supply of Costco ice cream bars (how dare they discontinue them), so I guess the only way to improve my art is to actually draw daily. Another piece of advice that isn’t practice, is to BE CONFIDENT IN WHAT YOU CREATE and DON’T BE COMPLACENT WITH YOUR CURRENT ART. Keep your head high and keep improving! If you get rejected for certain projects or events, don’t get discouraged! That just means there’s more room for improvement. If you ever find yourself getting stuck, find something NEW to draw! My university professor made us draw dinosaurs one time, and I thought I would hate it but it was fun and now I know how to draw dinosaurs. One last thing, one thing I regret, is not listening to my high school teacher to draw realism. If I had practiced it early on, I would be so much better today. You may find it boring, but you’ll easily see how much your art will improve if you practice realism! Sorry if I blabbered on for too long, but I hope these will help any aspiring artists, like it has helped me in my own art journey.

02

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a panromantic asexual. Sex doesn’t interest me, but I do crave love and attention.

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

Unfortunately, I’m a closet asexual and even on the internet, I don’t usually tell people what I identify as, unless I’m asked. Maybe this is one reason why I haven’t encountered or noticed any prejudice against aces. I’m also a very oblivious person, so this could’ve also played a part (laughs nervously).

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

I’ve encountered a lot of people who tell me that “it’s just a phase / I’m too young to know”. It’s very aggravating to hear this, simply because they can’t fathom someone being uninterested in sex. It’s very hard to convince someone otherwise, so I usually just smile and change the topic.

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

There will always be a trial-and-error sort of thing when you’re trying to figure yourself out. Personally, I switched from bisexual, to pansexual, to demi-sexual before figuring out I was asexual. This took me yearsss to figure out, so don’t rush it. Also, since no one around me was asexual, I felt like I had to conform to a sexuality that wasn’t myself, mostly because I didn’t want to be so alone. However, with the help of the internet, I’ve been able to meet so many other asexuals and feel less lonely. Stay true to yourself. Even if it’s not now, later in life you’ll find out you’re not really alone.

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

If you actually enjoy my work (or my personality based on this interview winkwink), consider visiting my website: enzouke.com! My social media can be found through there, too~ I’m a lot more consistent with my comic updates (shameless plug incoming), so if you want to see more art from me, consider checking it out here: https://tapas.io/enzouke! Thank you very much for reading! I’m sending you all my warm, abundant love. Please allow 2-3 business days for it to arrive. ❤

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

Interview: Baku

Today we’re joined by Baku. Baku is a wonderful visual and fanartist. They mostly do fanart, but have done original work on occasion. They’re incredibly passionate about comics and plan to be a comic artist in the future. Baku is a very gifted artist and their work is brimming with color and life, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. de-er
De-er

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a fanartist for the most part with random original pieces thrown in here and there. I’d say my specialty is comic, but I don’t really think that’s true yet, haha … It is something I’m working towards though. Being a comic artist. Right now it’s just a lot of doodles, illustrations, short comics, sometimes fanfictions, sometimes even more out-of-the-blue fan contents, like song translation for example.

What inspires you?

Naming any specific category of thing wouldn’t seem right, because I kinda draw and write for the randomest thing … I’d say love. Or emotions, in general. My strong emotions for something make me pick up my pen. Drawing and writing has become one of my main ways to express emotions now, even more of use than just proclaiming it sometimes.

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

I’ve always been a fan of things, if my memory serves me well. The first time I tried writing was after I read Harry Potter and thought to myself that I wanted to write something like this. The first time I took drawing seriously was after reading a magical girl manga and being introduced to the “standard manga style” so to said by my cousin. I think I’ve always had that fascination with narratives and stories, and the desire to make them came the moment I was exposed to the possibility. These people who are still alive made these things, why don’t you try your hand too, etc., etc.

The fact that I’m very emotion-driven probably adds to my becoming a fanartist, in that I’m most productive when I feel strongly about something, and that’s one thing that being a fan delivers plentily.

2. street god
Street God

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?

Lampposts, bus stops, electric poles, and liminal spaces in general. I also draw/write about dreamscapes a lot. Dripping/splashing effects are my favourite too.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Everyone starts somewhere. Everyone goes somewhere. There’s this special brand of nihilism that I find serves an artist well: all our struggles are ultimately objectively meaningless, so what matters is our own perception. If art fits somewhere into your perception, keep it. Do it for yourself. Give it the meaning you want to. Have your fun.

3. frog2
Frog 2

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aro/ace.

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

I am lucky to have found a very accepting community in the Mob Psycho 100 fandom around the time I started realizing that I’m as aro/ace, but there are stories told, of course. I myself try to distance myself from that; luckily no problems have wandered to my part yet.

In my personal life I haven’t officially come out to my family yet, but I’ve made my decision to not find a life partner quite clear, and my parents have long accepted (or emotionally dealt with) that. My extended family is another story; some of them don’t believe I can make it out there as an artist either. My mom taught me to consider talking to them ‘diplomatic work’. I’ve never been good at that, but I manage. Most of the comments on my choices come hand-in-hand with those on my appearance (and how I don’t care about it as much as I’m supposed to), so it’s a bit easier to dismiss them altogether.

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

That there are no such thing, mainly. My mom denied the existence of asexuality and aromanticism when I brought it up to her. Most people I’ve met in real life say that one can’t live without love, and that everyone will find their chosen one someday.

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

You are who you are. As long as you hold that belief dear and clear in your heart, there will be ways to work around everything else.

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

My Tumblr is bakanohealthy: http://bakanohealthy.tumblr.com/

And I have an AO3 account for my fanfictions: http://archiveofourown.org/users/BakanoHealthy

Some of my works are up for purchase in my Redbubble: https://www.redbubble.com/people/bakanohealthy.

4. moped
Moped

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

Interview: Alanna

Today we’re joined by Alanna. Alanna is a phenomenal mixed media artist who dabbles in a bit of everything. She specializes in digital art and animation. When not drawing, Alanna enjoys creating comics. Her work is beautiful and eerie, reflecting her enjoyment of the weird and the macabre. She also loves using intense colors and lighting. It’s clear that she’s a passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

BUNBUN
Bunbun

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a bit of a mixed media digital artist; I animate, illustrate, make comics, write, do 3D, and even dabble in music. I never like staying in one style, I always like adopting a new trick or tip into my art and varying it up for each project I choose so I never get stale with what I do. What is consistent is my obsession with the weird and the macabre and my love for intense colors and lighting (and seals!)

Melanistic Seals
Melanistic Seals

What inspires you?

Surreal garbage! Bizarre trash! Anything strange and jarring interests me, fuels my creativity to create something new and unseen. Outside of the strange I really can find inspiration practically everywhere. Anything that tickles my fancy will give me an idea for something unique.

Snow City
Snow City

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

My mom was an artist so I guess it rubbed off on me. I was thinking about maybe becoming a scientist but I kind of had a drive for art since it didn’t require the brainpower haha…

Girl 3D Model
Girl 3D Model

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 have a thing about my art where colors and objects play a strong role in categorizing things. Certain areas and characters usually have an extremely distinct color or shape to them, so much so it’s bordering onto obsession to keep things looking the same.

Goat Robot
Goat Robot

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice, practice, practice! Never ever think little of yourself because you need to improve, many artists take forever to get their art right, being bad is always the first step to being good. Always, always draw from life, photos, anatomy books, etc. CONSTANTLY. I made the bad decision of not doing that as a kid and your work suffers because of that. Also taking art as a profession is something you really need to think about in the long run. Find a field with work in it and decide if its really want you want to do. Make sure to always have a back up plan and understand how this is going to impact you in the long run.

Comic
Comic

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m both Aromantic and Asexual.

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

I usually tell my identity to people I know and trust very well so my colleagues finding out would be happenstance. As for outside of my field I completely understand and know my identity is far beyond anything close to mainstream. Whatever backhand comments I get I understand people have no idea what this identity is and I’m fine with that even if it is a little annoying. I relate this back to my digital art because I know too well people believe I will my art into existence by pressing a button or I can somehow “draw” a 3D model into existence. People just don’t know and that’s fine for me, it’s going to take a many years before being ace is even recognized as much as being gay is. People telling me my identity is fake and that I must have issues on the other hand I don’t take as lightly.

Snow
Snow

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

Oh, damn, too many, both perpetrated by non-aces and aces alike, which frankly scares me. I consider asexuality a lack of an orientation or lack of attraction to genders and many LGBT places do use this too as a definition though still too many asexual sites list asexuality as having to do with sex, libido or interest in sex. Shame because being a non sex-repulsed ace I feel I’m not “ace enough” to be fully asexual because of this stigma. Asexuality has nothing to do with sex but it doesn’t stop people from believing that.

Spirit
Spirit

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

Be patient and realize coming out of the closet is not a one-time experience; it takes years, maybe even decades to fully realize yourself. Never force yourself into anything, never let anyone decide your orientation for you, its all up to you in the end. If in the end you realize you are ace or not that’s fine too, you’re no less valid no matter what label you find. Also know that it’s even harder for people around you to understand you right away, parents, friends and relatives may take years, decades to understand coming out of the closet is but what matters is they love you even if you feel they don’t “get” what asexuality is. And remember if you feel you’re in an abusive/neglectful home, you don’t have to tell your parents your orientation, tell people you know you can trust and when you can, move out. Safety is more important than wanting acceptance from people who won’t give it. I’ve met people who were kicked out of their homes and this is the best advice I’ve gotten if you’re not sure about your situation.

Swamp
Swamp

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

I have a Tumblr: http://indagold-orchid.tumblr.com/
Various comics I’ve worked on: https://tapas.io/indagold/series
And my Twitter: https://twitter.com/BunSeals.

Girl and Shield
Girl and Shield

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

Interview: Grace Schodel

Today we’re joined by Grace Schodel. Grace is a phenomenal visual artist who is currently studying in uni. She does both traditional and digital art, drawing a variety of subjects. Her art is remarkably beautiful, showing an incredible attention to detail and a masterful use of color, which draws the viewer in. She’s an incredibly passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. 19 copy

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My name’s Grace Schodel but I go by knittinganarchist online, I use the pronouns she/her, and I’m studying a bachelor in animation. My art is pretty all or nothing honestly! I use both traditional and digital mediums to either spend 3 months working on a series of conceptually similar drawings, or spend 3 minutes smashing out cute and stupid cartoony comics.

What inspires you?

Probably a mixture of a good colour palette, my drawings are all pretty heavily inspired by colour palettes that caught my imagination, and romanticizing everyday life. A lot of my drawings are about making mundane everyday things fun; my uni induced breakdowns are overdramatic and honest, forgotten gift cards are a cause for celebration, and messy hair can be a Look. I love positivity; at the moment I’m working on a series for an art show in February that focuses on the spacy disassociation I felt for most of my first year of uni, but instead of going over old wounds is supposed to represent me working through that feeling.

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

I’ve always loved art, but was never really allowed to think it was a viable option for my future. I did design after graduating school because I thought it was a good balance between creativity and responsibility. But I was miserable, and decided to just follow my heart instead and study animation.

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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 have hidden codes in my drawings, but now I kind of wish I did because that would be rad. The closest I have is that for a while now all my lineart is in two layers, one red one black and the black one is set to a lower opacity. I think it just makes the picture a little softer and adds something cool to the overall look.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to use references. I spent so long feeling guilty for using reference photos or other artworks, that I tried to do everything from my head. In my opinion even tracing something is okay (as long as you don’t try to pass it off as your own original without giving credit) it helps immensely with anatomy, perspective, and developing your own “style”.

6. finee3 copy

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a sex-neutral asexual.

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

In my field? No not really, everyone at my uni so far seems to be fairly open minded and accepting of everyone. But in my personal life I’ve been mostly met with confusion and disbelief, the classic “What happened to you?” and “But you wear short skirts and have dated before” get thrown around a bit. A few deeply uncomfortable conversations about sexual scenarios have happened where someone has said “Well, what if …. happened, would that make you normal?”, but I mostly just avoid that by only telling people who need to know, such as my boyfriend, and the close friends I trust.

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

Of course I can’t speak for everyone here, but personally its either been that I can’t be ace because I like dressing up nicely, and apparently people only do that to seem attractive so they can hook up? Or that aces are afraid of sex? Some aces may be, and that’s their choice to identify as ace, but its endlessly annoying so have to explain no I’m not afraid I’m just not interested.

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

It’s perfectly fine to have no interest in sex. It can seem the be all and end all of relationships and growing up, but honestly if it’s not for you, it’s not for you.

7. bbbb copy

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

Either on my Facebook page where I offer commissions:
(https://www.facebook.com/knittinganarchist/)

Or my Instagram where I post a lot of my personal and uni work!
(https://www.instagram.com/knittinganarchist/)

8. interior copy

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

Interview: Teloka Berry

Today we’re joined by Teloka Berry. Teloka is a phenomenally talented visual artist from Australia. She’s a digital artist and specializes in comics. She also does portraits, original characters, and fanart. Aside from that, Teloka also does crafts. It’s very clear that she’s an incredibly dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

aceinterview_01

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a digital artist, and primarily a character illustrator and story-teller. I do stuff like portraits, comics, original characters and fan-art, and sell crafts and merch like stickers.

aceinterview_02

My very favourite things to do are comics, both short ones and long form ones! I like stories with a strong focus on acearo, queer and neuroatypical characters who are just having adventures in various genres, and my personal schtick leans heavily towards acearo girls who want to form lasting commitments and have relationships with other girls.

I have two long-haul projects. Let’s Celebrate!, my queer magical girl themed webcomic has been live for almost three years now, and features an acearo lead and a bunch of silly festive super powers. It’s very lighthearted but still explores various celebrations from around the world, mental illness and communication, and features a bunch of monsters that the girls/guys/nb-pals fight with improbable weapons like giant candy canes. You can see it here: http://letscelebrate-comic.tumblr.com/

My second long haul project is collaborative with my girlfriend which we’re hoping to release early next year, and it will be an online graphic novel in installments. It’s a supernatural, Lovecraftian kind of adventure-thriller, structured around the Great Australian Road-Trip in rural Queensland. It follows an established acearo f/f couple, who accidentally enter an outback region they can’t leave filled with frightening “Locals” and those long roads that go on “forever”.

aceinterview_03

What inspires you?

I’m going to sound super cheesy when I say this but… my girlfriend? Haha, I’m pretty inspired by personal experiences and personal interests, I suppose. I spend a lot of time drawing and illustrating stuff based on things we’ve done together or concepts we talked about and came up with together.

Maybe also like … spite, to be honest. I’m kind of tired of heteronormative stories and the same straight white male leads who fight the Big Bad and get the girl with very little actual effort. I love to write and see stories about girls, especially queer and neurodivergent girls, doing cool stuff and saving the day and being in genres they’re generally sidelined in, like action stuff or zombies.

aceinterview_04

That aside I find music and bright cheerful colour palettes quite inspiring, and use both of them a lot in my work. And the work of other artists who I look up to, of course! I’m pretty visual so if I see something that is just aesthetically pleasing to me (like some architecture, a posing angle, fairy lights in a shop window) I’ll probably think about how to incorporate it into an art piece sooner or later.

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

I’ve always been really crafty and drawn or scribbled stuff, so I guess so? I got serious about artwork at about 13, when I entered high school and fell in with fellow artsy-sorts who enabled the habit. I started out like most teens on DeviantArt back then with an anthro fursona, and made more friends online that encouraged me, and so I just… persisted with it. I don’t think I ever had particular plans to be an artist, or to be anything for that matter, but it’s probably my stand out skill now. I draw every day and love my stories and characters a lot!

aceinterview_05

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?

Probably like I mentioned in that first long ramble I did, I have a really strong narrative interest in queer stories, and especially a focus on acearo mentally ill girls and healthy relationships. Artistically/Stylistically though… no, haha, I have absolutely zero consistency in my work, I’m so bad at that!

Usually when I pitch it to other people they’ll say stuff like “sparkles!” or “colours!” or “same face syndrome!”, so maybe that’s the answer here? I like colours a lot and playing around with harsh lighting. I also draw a lot of birds, because… birb.

aceinterview_06a

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

1. Give it a go! If you want to do it, just do it. It’s worthwhile, even if all it ever does is bring you happiness or relaxation to create; that’s super important and you deserve it.

2. Quite difficult, but don’t compare your creation to other peoples work negatively. Be critical of your own work, sure, and always, always strive to improve. But your work is not anyone else’s but your own, so try not to be disheartened if it doesn’t look like something else you wanted it to look like. It looks like it’s yours, and that’s the best thing it could be.

3. This one is for minority groups in storytelling especially (I figure relevant here on an ace positive blog), and something I’ve struggled with a lot but: Tell that story about your own experiences/preferences if you want to tell it. Create your own representation if you can and want to.

It’s not self-centered, it’s not “too much”, it’s not unpalatable, it’s not boring, and it’s not cheesy. Don’t feel like you can only put one character from a minority group in your story, and don’t feel like you can’t have characters who you relate to or have traits like you in your story. You do not have to write in something for “someone else” to relate to or have straight white men in your story for it to be “acceptable”, regardless of what popular media seems to be trying to say.

For example, when we started on the roadtrip story I mentioned earlier, we thought “is two whole acearo girls in a story… too many? should one of them at least… be bi?” and while scripting I’ve often wondered ”is this chronically anxious character having too many anxiety attacks…? should I just have them handle this thing better so that their mental illness is showing less?”. And the answer to those things is obviously no. Show that mental illness. Have only acearo leads. Have a whole cast of POC. There’s no such thing as “too much” representation of your minority characters and stories, and if they’re based on your personal experiences or desires- great. Because nobody else can tell that for you; it’s yours.

aceinterview_07

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a cis girl (she/hers) and I identify as asexual and aromantic, though I might more accurately be quoiromantic as I don’t really understand the difference between platonic and romantic relationships, though I absolutely don’t experience attraction regardless. I previously considered myself panromantic because I “want to be emotionally intimate” with friends quite intensely and have close relationships, but I later realized that I don’t experience romantic attraction so… aromantic-spec it is.

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

I’ve actually experienced very little ace prejudice. I’ve found straight people to be confused and commit some naïve-microaggressions at best, and mostly they just want me to explain what it meant and expressed general confusion about how I could not feel sexual attraction. (except for those dudes, you know, the: “well you just haven’t been with ­me yet” narcissists.)

I also had an abuser who ID’d on the ace spectrum, who would constantly guilt me about my orientation and say I would be a disappointment to my partner/s, that I was “broken”, or that I was just “trying to be holier than thou” and all kinds of toxic shit. So it really can come from anywhere.

The absolute worst ongoing prejudice I’ve seen has been from gatekeepers in the gay and lesbian communities. No surprises there. So many “sapphic safe place” blogs will reblog artwork of my girlfriend and I, which is clearly f/f and I get the lovely gift of seeing their acephobic descriptions on how ace people don’t belong in the queer community and queer is a slur, while they profit from artwork literally featuring two acearo girls.

aceinterview_08

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

Lately there’s plenty of stuff going around tumblr especially about how asexuality doesn’t equal celibacy, and that it’s not a choice. True, absolutely! But I still very often see asexuality conflated with sex repulsion, or a lack of libido (and aromance with a lack of interest in close intimate relationships at all).

Sure, it can be that way, but it’s not universal for all aces or aros. Just like any orientation, asexual people can sit anywhere on the libido and/or repulsed spectrums. They are not the same at all, and it’s super toxic that it has become popularly interchangeable, because I’m often seeing ace characters who “hate to be touched” and it just…

Ace people can be sex positive and interested in intimacy.

Allosexual people can be sex repulsed or simply disinterested.

And sex repulsed people of any orientation can also still be highly sensual and have a libido and still really want to have sex (that’s me!).

All these things are separate experiences. Neither drive nor repulsion are intrinsically tied to each other or to asexuality, which is the lack of sexual attraction, and not the lack of desire for touch.

I think that’s a super important distinction that’s often lost. My stories focus on this a lot, and almost all of my comics and stories feature acearo characters who still actively seek close emotional intimacy- because aro people are not unfeeling robots- and who also like to experiment or be close to their partners physically- because ace doesn’t necessarily mean no libido or interest.

And it’s super alienating to sensual or libido aces to see the narrative that “to be ace means you can’t ever want to have sex with someone else” perpetuated. It feels like something that, in years to come, is going to segue into Ace-Gatekeeping-v2.0, and I’d like to see communication and compassion stop that before it happens.

aceinterview_09

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

Auuhhh… uhmmm I’m really not an ideal person to put in like… advice giving roles. I’m still learning stuff myself; the Living Experience is pretty enormous! But perhaps the best thing I found (for me) was to have close friends who I could talk to about being ace and aro. If you have other friends who are already knowledgeable or confident in their own sexuality and ID on the acearo spec then that is probably the safest way, and they can explain things to you and answer questions.

There are also a variety of previously linked ace-help blogs and websites, and probably honestly… a lot of the artists featured on this blog would probably be happy to answer anon-questions and stuff about their experiences if you get in touch? I’d be happy to, for sure. That might be good for anyone who feels isolated or confused and doesn’t want to have a name attached to their questions!

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

You can find my artblog, where I post most of my art and links and updates on the above mentioned projects here: http://berryartistic.tumblr.com. I should warn that there are some suggestive works on there and it’s pretty heavy on the f/f content. There’s nothing graphic and no actual nudity, mostly just implications of intimacy and some power dynamics, but it might be a bit much for some minors or anyone intimacy-repulsed, so take it with a grain of salt.

Let’s Celebrate! is completely PG and can be found here: http://letscelebrate-comic.tumblr.com/ which has links offsite to places like Tapastic.

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

Interview: Sami Mariano Vacari

Today we’re joined by Sâmi Mariano Vacari. Sâmi is a phenomenal visual artist who does illustration and animation. They’re currently studying animation at uni. They do some Overwatch fancomics and have an original webcomic entitled Dead Hearts, which is currently on a temporary hiatus while they finish up at uni. Sâmi’s work shows an incredible attention to detail and color, as you’ll soon see. It’s clear they have an incredibly bright future ahead of them. 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 love designing characters and digital cut-out animation, but I also do illustrations and comics! I create mostly Overwatch fancomics for my art blog, at least they are the most popular thing I do and I try to keep them frequent. I’m an animation undergraduate in my last year of uni, I’ll be working on my conclusion short film for a year, and I hope I can create something very good to add to my portfolio!

I also have a webcomic project that’s currently on hiatus so I can focus on uni, it’s called Dead Hearts. The main character is an aroace trans woman, and it’s something that doesn’t follow her all the story but it has a big impact on how her life plays. It’s a project I’m hoping to go back to as soon as I can!

What inspires you?

What keeps me going forward is mostly the fact that I see so little of myself in animated TV shows. I’ve seen a growth in them the last years, but I see a lot of ace and non-binary characters alike being portrayed as robots or aliens. Very hard to find them as just common human beings who happen not to have sexual attraction. I try to create stories I would like to see myself.

All ponies
All Ponies

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

I grew up with anime, specially magical girl animes. I’ve always loved Sailor Moon, it’s still my number one show! My first serious piece of illustration was a Sailor Jupiter fanart when I was in fifth grade, and I’ve never stopped creating since then. When I discovered I could go to university and get a degree in animation, I didn’t think twice!

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 guess my work has a very cutesy feel to it, my color palettes all have pink in it somewhere. I’m fascinated by that fantasy sunset color palette with a pink-purple-blue gradient so they are pretty recurring in my work.

anamaria
Anamaria

 

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I guess, most of all, you need to be having fun with what you’re doing. I see many friends starting out and worrying too much about technique, and I see that hindering them from finding a style they can call theirs. You gotta have a base too but you can’t forget the creativity when creating.

Also, animation has a very interesting concept that is, why is your film important? We are asked this question when presenting ideas to producers and studios. Creating content for others isn’t only you fulfilling your artistic need to share your ideas, but it also has a big social impact when it is experienced by other people, an impact we sometimes undermine. I carry this very close to me when creating my work. What will others experience when they see you work? It can change your perspective.

beforecontact story
“Before Contact” story

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m pan-demisexual/romantic, I have always been, it’s just easier to put it in words now.

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

My animation classmates have been the best. I didn’t disclose me being ace to all of them, but the ones I did, were very understanding. But I also understand they are all pretty much outliers, and many others I know wouldn’t be too welcoming to it.

concept aliens
Concept Aliens

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

I see the whole “humans can’t be asexual, they reproduce, they’re not plants” a very lot and it’s very annoying by the sheer plainness of argument. Also the whole “asexuality is just a phase” be it someone thinking that you’re just a late bloomer or anything else.

deadheartsavatar
Dead Hearts avatar

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

Take pride in what you are. It’s you and if you’re ace, it’s great! It’s not just some phase and it’s something very real for many people all around the world.

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

My art Tumblr is faeri-sami, and I also post frequently on my Instagram stories faerisami. Some of my comics are on tapastic too.

header

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

Interview: Hill

Today we’re joined by Hill. Hill is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in digital mediums. She draws mostly people and dabbles in fanart, though she also enjoys drawing original character. She is currently working on a comic called “AVG” and plans to draw more comics in the future. It’s very clear that she’s a dedicated and enthusiastic artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

AVG c1p7 fin
“AVG” c1p7 fin

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I mostly draw people! Faces are my favorite part to draw; it’s all about the wacky expressions! I started at a young age (about 3rd grade) using traditional methods. I tried all kinds of mediums like pencil, inks, paint…but my favorite for a long time was inks. I liked them because you could create a stark contrast. I would draw characters from “One Piece” and “Bleach” in inks all the time.

In high school I started the change from traditional to digital art, mostly because my sister was doing it and so it was cool. I had no idea what I was doing, but stuck with it. I currently use Photoshop Elements 12 and a Wacom Intuos Tablet. Doing digital art allows me to make speedpaint videos set to music! I love creating comics and portraits of my own characters. I have one comic that I’m currently working on, called “AVG” and several more planned.

What inspires you?

Music is my greatest inspiration! I can hardly ever draw without something playing. I feel like it adds more emotional strength to any piece I work on. My best friend is a music teacher and she always inspires me when she shares her knowledge.

I’m absolutely inspired by other artists! There’s so many artists I look up to and have learned from, like: Eiichiro Oda, Tite Kubo, Kohske, and Rebecca Sugar. They’ve each influenced my art style in some way. My friends on DeviantArt have inspired me too! They’re always trying new things and it makes me want to be better!

AVG c3p0
AVG c3p0

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

My sister is the person who got me interested in art! She was drawing long before I ever wanted to. When we were little, we loved playing with paper dolls and you couldn’t buy Pokémon or Digimon paper dolls, so my sister drew them. I picked up art, because there were so many characters we wanted to add and it would take a while for her to draw them all! I wanted to help out! Next thing you know I was drawing celebrities with giant heads and tiny bodies (they were awful)! It was always just for fun, but I really became invested in art when I started reading “One Piece”. I wanted to learn to draw the characters and I needed to practice for an upcoming art scholarship opportunity. It worked out!

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

My signature is my initials HRH with three lines through it. I wanted to have a cool signature and played around with a bunch of options. I’m not sure when I got to that one, but it stuck!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

What always helps me, especially if I feel art block coming on, is sketching. Sketching has led to some of my favorite pieces. It takes pressure off and can result in some really fun ideas! Always keep trying, because in just a year you can make so much progress!

Princess Leia grey
Princess Leia (grey)

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual. I don’t know where I am on the romance end yet, that one hasn’t quite clicked like being Ace did. I had originally identified as Demisexual, but when I explored Asexuality, I felt it fit me better.

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

I haven’t encountered much prejudice or ignorance in my field. I’ve really only told those I’m close with or potential significant others. The only time I personally experienced it was when I identified as Demisexual and someone I know said they “never heard of it, so it must be fake”. I wanted to cry, so after that, I mostly kept it to myself. Since I’ve identified as Ace, I’ve only had positive reactions from those I’ve told. I’m happy to be a part of this interview, because it is a positive experience for everyone, especially artists, in the community.

SU Crystal Gems for V 6 fin
SU Crystal Gems for V 6 fin

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

“If you haven’t tried sex, how can you know you’re Asexual?” I just know. I don’t experience sexual attraction. I don’t mind talking about sex and I am interested in the possibility, but I don’t feel I need it to happen.

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

It’s okay to wonder about it. You don’t have to figure it out, now or ever. It’s about what suits you and your needs and what makes you feel comfortable. Either way, you’re always welcome in this community! You’re valid and you’re loved! 🙂

I’m very proud to be a part of this community! I’m even crocheting a scarf, though I dropped an abysmal number of stitches haha … I hope that if you find yourself in this community, that you can be proud too!

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

You can find me on DeviantArt: https://drawuntooblivion.deviantart.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/drawendlesstars
YouTube, where I post short animations and speedpaints: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-RyTP_dlLqlkuF2hBIEAIw
and my comic is on Tumblr: https://avgcomic.tumblr.com/ and my website: (where I also plan to share other comics) https://avgcomic.com/.

We Go Everywhere Together 4
We Go Everywhere Together 4

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