Interview: R

Today we’re joined by R. R is a phenomenal makeup artist who does a lot of character makeup. They’re also starting to do Harry Potter roleplay as well and dabble in photography. They’re very passionate about makeup, 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 currently do character makeup/cosplay, but I am starting to do Harry Potter roleplay on my Tumblr blog. Most of my makeup is also Harry Potter, but I have tried Supernatural stuff as well. I enjoy photography, and I am currently in the process of improving my makeup application skills. This is a fairly new hobby, so I have a lot of room to improve my work.

What inspires you?

I’ve always enjoyed using makeup to create different characters, and I also enjoy acting, which is why I have started RP. My main inspiration is the HP RP community on Tumblr, as I follow many of their blogs and I really like their work. Makeup gives me the confidence to do things I wouldn’t normally do, and using it to portray characters is really exciting for me, because it allows me to express my support for my fandoms.

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

I haven’t always wanted to do this. It is a fairly new thing I’m doing, but I am enjoying it immensely. I have done character makeup in the past, for Halloween and fancy dress events, but I haven’t shared it on social media or made it a regular thing.

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, actually, unless you consider my face to be a special feature in my work? I do use my face a lot for my art.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just do what you love. Seriously, even if you don’t get any followers or any likes, do it anyway. If you truly enjoy it, then make the most of it, because it’s really, really fun. Even if you aren’t any good at first, keep trying because you will get better and better. It’s about the effort and time you put into things. People will see the passion in what you do, and they will ignore the little flaws.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and aromantic.

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

I haven’t experienced anything like that (yet) but there is a lack of ace representation in this field (from what I’ve experienced at least).

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

That we’re heterosexual. I know some people want to call themselves heterosexual when they are asexual, but to me this isn’t who I am.

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

Um, I don’t really know. Being ace is always something I’ve been proud of, so I don’t know if I can give anyone any advice. What I will say is that you are all super valid and good people and you are wonderful. Be proud to be you, even if you don’t want to label yourself. Also, please don’t force yourselves into situations that make you uncomfortable, because that’s not good for anyone, especially you.

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

I have Tumblr, which is where I post my RPs and makeup pictures: amateurcharactermakeup42.

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

Interview: Chloé

Today we’re joined by Chloé, who also goes by Chloek3. Chloé is a phenomenal cosplayer who specializes in cosplaying video game characters. She is incredibly enthusiastic and absolutely loves her art, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Photo taken by Emykitteh, Art & Cosplay (https://www.facebook.com/emykitteh.cosplay/?fref=ts)

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a cosplayer. I cosplay mainly characters from video games. I’ve been cosplaying since 2014, making one cosplay a year. So far, I have cosplayed Link and Sheik from The Legend of Zelda/ Super Smash Bros, Levy from Fairy Tail, and Henry from Fire Emblem. My next cosplays are going to be Kaden from Fire Emblem and Dead Hand from The Legend of Zelda. I cosplay for fun and have no intention of making a living out of it.

What inspires you?

I get my inspiration from the games/shows I cosplay from! When I enjoy a character and its design, I get the urge to cosplay it. Then I make plans to do it. I also get a lot of motivation from the cosplay community and the fandoms.

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

I’ve always gotten very excited about Halloween, sometimes planning two or three costumes a year for the different Halloween events. At one point I saw a cosplay of Link on the internet and really wanted to dress as him for Halloween. While I was volunteering at a Help Center, I saw some green fabric and fingerless brown gloves and thought: ‘That’s it, I’m making this costume!” A few years later I heard about anime/comic conventions and asked a friend if she wanted to come to one with me and make matching cosplays. She said yes but I ended up making my cosplay and going to the convention alone. I still had a blast and I’ve been going every year since then.

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Photo taken by Emykitteh, Art & Cosplay (https://www.facebook.com/emykitteh.cosplay/?fref=ts)

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 include a lot of hot glue and love, but I doubt that counts as a special feature, haha!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Have fun with your art! I had no knowledge in arts and crafts when I started making my own costumes. I was absolutely not prepared to make a costume, but I did it anyway because I loved the character. I had fun and as long as you have fun, that is all that really matters. Don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t cosplay for any reason. Creating is so gratifying, don’t let them take that from you.

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Photo taken by Yadonashi (https://www.facebook.com/yadonashi/?fref=ts)

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual. I don’t really know about my romantic orientation, but I do not feel the need to label it.

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

I don’t really go around telling other cosplayers ”Hey, by the way, I am asexual. How do you feel about it?” Some of my cosplayer friends know and they are pretty cool with it. The only rude thing that has been said to me related to both asexuality and cosplaying was when I was making my cosplay of Henry from Fire Emblem. I had made a post on Tumblr saying that I had just realised that this character’s costume had all the Ace Pride colours and that it somehow made me happy. Someone reblogged it and commented ”When you look too deep into something’.’ That was kind of rude. Can you just let me enjoy the small things that make me happy?

How I handled it? I ignored it. Those people are not worth my time. If happy people make them unhappy, that is their problem. I’ve encountered more ignorance with people who weren’t artists than with people who were. But even then, I’d say people are usually chill about it. It’s just that a lot of people don’t know what asexuality is.

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

The most common misconception about asexuality that I’ve encountered is that if you’re asexual, you will not have/want sex. Asexual does not mean sex repulsed or a nonexistent libido. It simply means that I am not sexually attracted to other people. An asexual individual can decide to have sex for a variety of reasons, and they might even *gasp* enjoy it. Now, some asexual individuals decide not to have sex and that is also OK!

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

You are perfectly fine, and you are not alone. What are your worries? Are you worried that you can’t live a satisfying life without sexual attraction? Because you absolutely can. Are you worried that you are going to end up alone? If you want to be in a romantic relationship, you can be! You can reach out to the asexual community for a potential partner, and a lot of allosexual people are open to having a relationship with an Ace person. Those who are not are just not worth your time. You absolutely don’t have to have sex if you don’t want to. If you don’t want to be in a romantic relationships, that is also totally OK! Your life will not be less meaningful, either way. You can achieve amazing things and impact people’s lives in the best of ways without sex or romance in your life.

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

I have a cosplay page on Facebook. That’s where I post pretty much all things related to cosplay. It’s at Chloek3 Cosplay: https://www.facebook.com/chloek3cosplay

I am at Chloek3 on WorldCosplay: https://worldcosplay.net/member/584050

I am also on Tumblr: www.chloek3.tumblr.com
But this is my personal blog where I post about anything and everything, including cosplays. If there is ever enough interest, I might make a blog only for cosplays.

I have made an Instagram not too long ago at chloek3official where I will post my Cosplays but also landscapes and dogs.

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

Interview: Nicole Blanchard

Today we’re joined by Nicole Blanchard, who is also known as nicoledraws online. Nicole is a wonderful visual artist who does quite a bit. They do a lot of sketches and drawings, as well as some fanart. They’ve recently gotten into cosplay and are currently studying Media Arts and Animation. They are obviously quite passionate about art, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Visual Artist here who mainly dabbles in sketching and drawing. Painting is on my list as well, but is done much less often due to the fact I do not get a lot of time to sit down at home where all my supplies are.

I also double as a FanArtist. I just recently got into the cosplay game and don’t possess “professional” photos, but I have been drawing fanart for at least the last six years of my life. It’s good practice and gets your name out there.

And occasionally, I do animate. Media Arts and Animation is currently what I am in school for so there’s that as well.

What inspires you?

There is no one specific thing that gives me inspiration. It comes and goes from many different places.

The only mildly consistent aspect of it is that it usually tends to be from real life. Whether it be from long talks with one of my closest friends or experiences I’ve had.

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

Memories of my childhood, in all honesty, are blurry at best. So I can’t say what got me interested in art—just that it happened.

For as long as I can remember, I have always found joy and comfort in drawing. It’s not only therapeutic but I feel I am most myself when doing it.

If nothing else, the one thing I do remember was the fact that I did always have a desire to grow up and be an artist. However, thanks to career counselors and other adults, it never seemed like a realistic goal and dream to have at the time. The whole “starving artist” myth is legitimately terrifying to a child from an already struggling household.

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. At least, not that I have personally noticed or consciously done.

Though I am hoping to fix that. I want to get to a point talent-wise and artistically where someone can immediately identify my work as mine without having to look at my name.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

There is always going to be someone better than you in some way. However, don’t let this lead you down the road of a quitter—instead use it as a motivation to improve.

With any form of art, the only way to get better is to keep doing it. Don’t ever stop, because stopping might as well be you giving up.

Some people need to work harder to get to a certain level of mastery and that’s okay. Not every person in the world has a knack for picking things up easily. Every person learns at their own pace. At least a decade worth of drawing and I’m still learning.

Another important aspect to any form of art is constructive criticism. You, as a producer of content, need to listen to the criticism of your audience. The input they can provide can be very insightful and point flaws out that you might have never noticed on your own. And this goes for not only basic theories and principles of your art form, but potentially offensive topics.

However, also keep in mind that you cannot please every single person you meet. Simply be open-minded and kind.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

The sexual identity I am currently most comfortable with and feel fits the best is “asexual” itself — not a branch of it.

However, my romantic identity remains an oddity to even myself. I am currently coming to terms with the fact I reside somewhere on the aro-spectrum, but am also hesitant to label myself fully as “aromantic” despite never experiencing the feelings in question.

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

My sexuality isn’t exactly an aspect of myself I have made common knowledge in my daily life and to the people in it. So needless to say, the answer would be an overall “no.” Very few people, even within my circle of friends and acquaintances, know about it. It just isn’t something I tend to talk about, though it’s not a fact about me that I purposely hide either.

The topic of sexuality as a whole isn’t something ever brought up at the college I attend or the places I work, so it might just be a matter of “ignorance is bliss.”

There was a misconception of “being ace means you don’t like sex” once or twice, but that’s about as far as it went.

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

In person, definitely “being ace means you don’t like sex.”

On the internet, it’s been quite an ugly mix of comments. The two worst being “aroace people are just Straight People wanting in on the LGBT+ community and its resources” and “cishet aces are Straight.” Both of which mainly come from members of the LGBT+ community and enforce heteronormativity in the process.

What many LGBT+ people on the internet fail and refuse to realize is that The Straights don’t see us as straight. In their eyes, we are not one of them.

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

Life is too short to hate yourself. There are things about you that you can’t change; so instead of letting the world make you feel bad for it, embrace and accept it even if it is difficult to do so.

Do not change per the request of anyone (partner, family, or otherwise), because I can guarantee that you won’t be happy in the end.

And if one moment you find your ace label (whatever it may be) does not fit like it did before, don’t fret. Sexuality and gender is a spectrum. Labels are meant to help identify yourself, but are not inherently permanent. Do and use what you feel is best in that moment.

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

My artwork can mainly be found on Tumblr under a side-blog with the url nicoledraws.

However, I do also have a Twitter account that has some artwork that never sees the light of day on Tumblr. As a warning though: the twitter account is a lot less organized and also has a lot of non-art related topics attached to it. You can find me currently at mokamazing there.

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

Interview: Katie

Today we’re joined by Katie, who is also known as KatieBug Cosplay. Katie is a phenomenal cosplayer. They have been cosplaying for a few years and take a special delight in bringing characters to life. Katie is awesome and so passionate about 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 am a cosplayer, and I have been cosplaying for almost 5 years.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by characters that I really relate to in anime, TV shows, movies, and games.

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

Halloween has been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember because I love dressing up. I have known about cosplay since I was in middle school, but I didn’t start cosplaying and going to cons until I was just about to start high school. I’ve also been drawing and creating art since I was very young. Though as of recently, I’ve turned my creative energy more into writing and cosplay.

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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?

Many family members and friends call me KatieBug as a nickname, and it really stuck, so I decided to use it as my cosplay handle online. While I’m not too fond of bugs, ladybugs are one of the more manageable ones for me, so I don’t mind being associated with them.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just keep going. Even though it may seem like what you’re making isn’t the best you can do, practice makes perfect. Keep at it and keep improving.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual.

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

I have not experienced any ignorance in the cosplay world, and I hope it stays that way.

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

I have had a few instances where individuals believe that my identity is fake or just a front for attention. This is not something I have chosen for myself, it is who I am.

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

Don’t mind what other people say. There are so many misconceptions about the asexuality spectrum out there, and you just have to prove them wrong. Exist and own it. Go out and be the best person you can be, regardless of your sexual orientation, or lack thereof.

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

You can find me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as at katiebugcos and on Tumblr as katiebugcosplay. You can also contact me via email at katiebugcosplays@gmail.com.

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

Interview: Kerstin

Today we’re joined by Kerstin. Kerstin is a phenomenal fanartist and visual artist. She writes a lot of fanfiction and cosplays as well. When she’s not writing, Kerstin enjoys drawing. She has been drawing and writing for years and has a great deal of passion for both, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m mostly a writer, especially a fanfiction writer nowadays. I started with original stories when I was about nine or ten years old and continued to write original works until I was maybe sixteen. I never lost interest in writing but somehow I barely ever finished anything because I didn’t have the drive to write without getting any feedback. That’s where fanfiction came in. It’s a great way to practise writing, explore different styles and genres and also get feedback from people who love the characters as much as I do.

Drawing has always been important to me, too. I’ve drawn for pretty much my entire life, anything from little doodles or abstract art to manga to attempts of realistic art. I mostly draw people, many original characters, but recently I’ve started using real people for references as well and tried myself in art studies.

Lastly, I also started cosplaying about four years ago. I don’t do it regularly but it’s a lot of fun, especially when you see other people’s reactions to your portrayal of their favourite character. I’ve made cosplays that were close to the originals as well as freeforms.

What inspires you?

Honestly, pretty much anything can inspire me. Photos, buildings I pass, sceneries I see while going for a walk, music, people or objects around me, characters I adore,… Occasionally I’m inspired works by other artists, especially when it comes to drawing – I just love Renaissance and Romantic art. In fanfiction it’s the canon characters mixed with headcanons, oftentimes also conversations with friends that give me ideas. I’m also a big fan of thrillers and medieval European literature and I try to combine these two types when I write.

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

Ever since I was a child I’ve been reading tons of books and soon started coming up with my own stories. It just fascinates me how words can create worlds and capture one’s imagination but everybody still has their own pictures in their mind while reading the exact same story or sees different things in the same painting. I love the emotions art can elicit. I’ve wanted to become an author for years now and just graduated in art history and German literature and I hope that it will help me pursue my dream.

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 really have any signature.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep creating, no matter what field of art you like. You will get better, even if it might not seem like it occasionally. Practice is crucial, but so is having fun. Create what you’re interested in, not what you think you should create. Accept constructive criticism and don’t beat yourself up if you think your art isn’t getting any better. It is. You just need some time. And remember, no one will ever be able to create the exact same things you do – your art is one of a kind and you should be proud of it.

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Jensen Jeffrey

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as akoisexual and akoiromantic. Now and then I find some people attractive but it usually doesn’t last very long and if this attraction is ever reciprocated it just fades away.

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

So far I haven’t since I only recently started including asexual characters in my writing and most people don’t even know I’m on the spectrum.

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

The misconception I get confronted with all the time is that people on the spectrum don’t ever have sex and can’t have functioning relationships because sex “is a crucial aspect to any romantic relationship”. People don’t seem to understand that sexual attraction and enjoying sex are two different things, that you could have sex even if you’re not physically attracted to that person and that there are people who make relationships work just fine without sex.

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

Personally, I was glad to find a term that describes me because I felt a little less alone, but it’s not the most important thing to find a label for yourself so if you’re unsure, that’s okay. You’re not strange, you’re not alone, and you’ll be fine. You might encounter individuals who won’t be able to understand your orientation but their opinion doesn’t matter. Find people who accept you the way you are. Try to stay true to yourself – I know it can be hard, but it’s okay to struggle and question your orientation, I still sometimes do that, too. Your orientation does not define what kind of person you are.

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

I occasionally post some of my artwork and cosplays on my Tumblr: http://crazy-walls.tumblr.com/

My fanfictions can be found on AO3: http://archiveofourown.org/users/crazywalls

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

Interview: Edy

Today we’re joined by Edy, who also goes by omegalovaniac. Edy is a phenomenal versatile artist who is mostly a writer. She writes fanfiction as well as original work. Her original work tends to be terror and supernatural. Edy is also a first for Asexual Artists: she hosts her own low-fi community radio program. It’s obvious she’s an artist with a great amount of passion. 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 writer before anything else; I really enjoy fanfiction and have for years, even if the wide majority of my older work is no longer accessible. I hope to have a few more fandoms published for in the coming year. The original work I’m pushing for publication is along the lines of uncanny terror and the supernatural, and the original work that won’t be meant for mainstream release is stuff I’ve been working on for over a decade now. Most of the artwork I put out is for fandom or the non-pub fiction. I also do cosplay, and I host a weekly lo-fi community radio show every weekend.

What inspires you?

My current font of inspiration is Disney’s Wander Over Yonder, but I have irons in so many fandoms that it’s a bit overwhelming on any given day, to say the least! There is so much inspiration in shows and films I enjoy, and comics and books I read. There’s a lot in the people I’ve met and places I’ve gone and things I’ve done. There’s a lot in the songs and poetry I hear. I find it’s important to be open and take in as much as I can, as there are a lot of stories to be found, everywhere and in everything.

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

I can’t remember a time before wanting to write. From scribbling comics and characters to lugging an old typewriter around the house to keeping a notebook with me wherever I go, that’s me and a lot of people close to me know that. Telling stories is something I enjoy almost as much as hearing good stories. As for the radio, I have a clear memory of dragging one of those “My First Sony” radios around and pretending to broadcast radio dramas of sorts – stories I would make up on the spot or retellings of my favorite Looney Tunes cartoons (Hair-Raising Hare comes to mind). Art has always been a part of that, too, in illustrating what I’d write or want to write, and then moving onward to fandoms and friends’ original characters. The costuming is nothing new, either. If I could have been Babs Bunny every day that one year instead of Halloween, I tell you what. If I could be Lord Dominator every day instead of trying to find work-place appropriate costumes for Halloween this year, well, I’ll tell you what again.

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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 am a huge sucker for callbacks, references, and homages. HUGE. So of course, I use them too. I had someone tell me once that it pulled them out of their immersion in the fictional world of their choosing when they’d catch one, but adversely, I feel even closer to the characters, they are more relatable. They make the same jokes I would and they enjoy the same things I do. I love it. I recognize it’s not for everyone, at least where the pop culture aspect might be concerned, but I feel like utilizing them carefully in one’s own story as a closed loop, that’s a good, solid move. The ideal goal is to become part of that myself, one day. Someone references a quote of mine or a thing I’ve done, in something they’ve done.

I also really enjoy subverting tropes like no one else’s business, twisting them and seeing how far I can break them or how much better I can make them. Tropes can be good and useful. They can also be terrible. But even if they’re terrible they can still be some fun…

Where the radio show is concerned I’ve reached for a staple tool I’ve used in my writing in the same way that I might use TVTropes: Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies. Every week I pull a card from my tattered, DIY deck and craft an hour-long segment around it. It’s a big challenge and I look at selecting songs for it in the same way I might pick pieces for a collage. It’s gotta be comprehensive, but at the same time very lateral in composition, and overall, enjoyable and entertaining. From songs with different time signatures for “Distorting Time” to exploring musical themes of Philosophy in the current show I’m putting together for “Disconnect from Desire”, this segment I call Obliquities is my signature, cornerstone segment.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

A few things. Don’t listen to Stephen Moffat. Don’t be afraid to do things, even if someone already has – you might do it more differently than you think. Remember to take breaks often and play with your pets if you have them, drink some water, have a snack, and then get back to it. Try not to be too hard on yourself if you find you’re in a mental block moment! Your brain needs some serious rest too, sometimes. Be serious and be honest about your collaborations, both towards your partner, your input, and the output. Learn. Listen. Keep at it.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’ve finally settled on Asexual. Just that. I’ve not yet decided where my romantic leanings lie (as I can at least say aromanticism isn’t where I’m at) and I waffle on those so much that I just say forget it, more often than not. It took me a long enough time to find the word “asexual” and what it means in relation to me and my life that I also spent sometime shuffling through the other forms of it and doing some thinking as I went along, for good measure. I’m happy sitting here for the moment.

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

Oh, yes. In earlier fandom fun I wrote some explicit things, did some adult art for friends, but as I realized I wasn’t super comfortable writing them, or writing them well, even, I started to taper off of doing that. And my audience started to taper off, too, very visibly. That is what it is. No matter how much someone who is selling you sex would have you believe, though, sex doesn’t always sell. Great and amazing stories can and do exist without it just as much as they do with. So I persist.

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

That it’s unnatural. I heard this from the Chair of my local Pride organization when I had started to volunteer for it, and I became sort of a token joke at meetings and sponsored canoodling events, as if I couldn’t possibly have an opinion on matters pertaining to sex or sexual relationships. They are not a good person in general and there’s been a lot of education happening from me and others. Including one of my favorite performers that we had worked with, with the organization. Being told “girl, what are you even doing here” by him was a bit jarring, but he has since apologized, and is working to better his personal understanding, and that of his drag scene, of the diversity in the queer community. I’m proud that the open discussion about that has had an effect. It was hard finding the words for it. Even as a writer I was at a loss for so long, and so angry about it until I was able to fix that, even if just for myself at first before others.

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

It’s okay! I’m still struggling. There are days when I want to love everyone and days where I want to love no one. Days when I want to be touched and days where I feel I might implode if I were to be touched, even non-sexually. Days where I know, and days where I don’t know. That’s just the way of it, sometimes, and it’s perfectly fine. It’s all part of getting to know yourself. And if you feel comfortable being as fluid and as wonderfully elusive as a Water Weenie, that’s just great too. There is nothing wrong with that, and nothing wrong with you. Don’t let that weird connotation of being “broken” somehow keep you from seeking yourself. It’s not true.

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

My fanfiction can be found on AO3 here: http://archiveofourown.org/users/3amepiphany.When I say it’s a wall of single fandom pieces, I mean it. I hope to have more things up soon enough, but come Wander Over Yonder with me there for a bit in the meantime, yeah?

The stuff I’m not tossing at the mainstream publication demons, and the ephemera around it and the arduous labor of love that is what I call writing (and not just dragging my face aimlessly across the keyboard) can be found here: http://billetdouxnondistribue.tumblr.com. If furry works aren’t your bag, I apologize. That’s … what … that’s what it is. Also, some of the fic I write that doesn’t end up on AO3 as well as the art I do and have had done for me winds up there.

As for the radio show, I can be heard streaming online worldwide here: http://radiosunnyside.org every Saturday night from 5pm-8pm PST. My show is called Written on the Studio Wall and I am DJ Hot Donna. Thanks for tuning in!

cardcolor1

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

Interview: Hale

Today we’re joined by Hale. Hale is a phenomenal artist who does both visual art and fanart in the form of cosplay. She has degrees in graphic design and fine art. Hale is also a great cosplayer who has an admirable love for bringing characters to life. She’s an incredibly dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

DChuntress
DC Huntress

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Right out of high school I started as a graphic designer. I got my Associate of Science in Graphic Design, so a lot of my art from back then is focused on design principles. During the rest of my undergrad (Art History Bachelor’s with a minor in Fine Art) I took other fine art classes, but I still stuck with shapes and forms that were more simple or geometric – meant to advertise an idea or be a backdrop rather than a focus. Now that I’m going for my Master’s in Business Design and Arts Leadership, I make a lot of presentation graphics. A lot of the projects I work on take lengthy case studies or papers and turn them into design works that are understandable or fit a brand image.

Outside of school, I also cross stitch, take photos, and I cosplay. The cross stitches I make are usually based on old 8-bit graphics from video games. I tend to cosplay as video game characters, as well, though I enjoy anime cosplay, too. I’m currently interning at a photography business, so I’m learning to take portraits of family and weddings. This is informed by cosplay photography, but it’s also something that I just enjoy as a hobby. I took several photography classes at school, but they were more fine art focused rather than portrait focused. I like going down different avenues of thinking or going through different art worlds for my work, so it varies a lot.

What inspires you?

When it comes to the art I make as a student, I get a lot of my ideas from Pinterest. I don’t directly copy from them, of course, but I first get an idea of the brand that currently exists (or if I’m working on rebranding, the brand that I want to exist) and then search for images on Pinterest that fit that idea. For example, I might type “plants” into Pinterest to get an idea for a logo for a farming agency that hasn’t already been done. Or if I’m working on a case study write up about Etsy, I might type “orange” into Pinterest, since one of Etsy’s brand colors is orange. Making mood boards helps me get into the right mindset of the project I’m working on and sends me down different avenues I might not have thought of if I just had a sketchbook in front of me (sort of like the 2-D art version of the Youtube wormhole)

I find that RPG video games inspire me the most in both cross stitching and cosplay. For example: Pokemon, Dragon Age, and Ace Attorney are all games that I’ve used in my work. Usually when I cosplay from an anime, it’s because I’m doing it as a group or because it’s meaningful to a certain point in my life. I don’t usually just pick from an anime because I enjoy a certain character like I do with video games.

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

When I first got into all three of my degrees, I didn’t really know what I was getting in for. I just kind of went for it. I never really considered myself an “artist” because I am not as good at drawing or painting as some of my artist friends. I enjoy art and always wanted to do something related to art, but even now I feel some hesitation to call myself an artist. With all three of my degrees, I sort of took a baby step into the field first and then just jumped in without considering all of the consequences. For example, I started college as a PSEO student, meaning I took college classes as a high schooler for credit. I took Graphic Design as an elective, and then after graduating high school, decided that would be my career path. The same thing happened with Art History where I took an art history class as part of my Associate’s and decided to jump into it as my Bachelor’s. I took a year off in between my Bachelor’s and my Master’s where I tried to decide what I wanted to do. I still didn’t think I was an artist, but I had an art degree (kind of). I didn’t want to work on commission, and I had a vague idea of working in a museum, but didn’t really know how to get there. I went for my BDAL Master’s with the idea that it could get me headed in the direction of a nonprofit organization without needing to pick a certain area (Museum Development or Museum Studies seemed too specific)

I guess I was always destined to be involved in art in some capacity. I’ve always surrounded myself with other artists as friends and peers. I feel like artists get better critiques and feedback from their friends, especially if those friends are also artists. Friends got me interested in video games, in anime, in design; I wouldn’t have become an “artist” (in the loosest sense of the word) without my support. That being said, I don’t think the traditional categories of painter, writer, sketch artist, etc. necessarily make sense anymore in today’s digital world. Art doesn’t have to fit into one category to be art, so although my friends may fit into those categories better than me (and for a long time I didn’t consider myself an artist because of it) that doesn’t mean that what I do isn’t good art. It just means the ways in which my art gets critiqued needs to be different. I have always wanted to do what I do, I just didn’t always consider what I do to be “art.”

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 so much in the art I’m making now, but I focused on stars quite a bit when I was starting out professionally. I said earlier that I use a lot of geometric shapes, and a star is more visually interesting than a simple circle, but I’m come to appreciate simplicity a little more than when I began. Otherwise, my signature is more literal. Especially in designing case studies, you get credited for “visual layout” or for creating charts that better convey the information. So my unique signature in my more recent art is literally my signature. I don’t do anything like that for the art that I consider to be more of a hobby (cosplay, cross stitching, etc.) and I use the basic metadata info for my photos and digital art.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Try lots of different areas of art. Even if you’re a painter, and you’re always going to be a painter, there are lots of unexpected avenues you can find by trying something new. I never considered myself a sculptor, but my school required me to take a 3D class and some of what I consider to be my most unique art (if not my best) was 3D. It was hard, and not something I particularly enjoyed, but it broadened my horizons.

I would also say, study art history (and especially non-western art history). There’s no better way to learn about your own art than to immerse yourself in art. If you can’t immerse yourself physically by making something, learning about the ways that ancient people (or contemporary people) made art is just as informative. A lot of contemporary artists make works to continue conversations that artists of the past were having. We speak of art like it’s a visual narrative of an individual’s life, but it can be a conversation with another artist or political movement. It’s easy to get inspired by other artists around you, so it should be just as easy to get inspired by artists who made works long ago.

Print
Print

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Grey-asexual and Grey-aromantic. I can’t picture myself having sex or dating anyone in particular, but I can imagine myself having sex / dating in general. I don’t find anyone (or I haven’t found anyone) that I’ve met sexually or romantically attractive, but I can still picture myself doing the action in a more general sense.

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

I’ve found that most artists are fairly accepting of asexuality. Ignorance is vastly more common than prejudice, in my experience. I know that there are many female artists that define their work as feminist art and engage in feminist conversation by either pointing out gender roles as necessarily sexual or making art that is intentionally sexual and thus provoking. There are also artists that focus on sexuality and gender as a social construct and assume that the conversations they want to convey apply to all people within their audience. I’ve run into the conversation in critiques where the artist will explain sexuality as a “universal experience” while they, in the same breath, explain that gender roles are not universal. I usually just question their beliefs further and try to understand why they came to that conclusion or how they justify their ignorance. In terms of prejudice, I find it much more common to experience prejudice against asexual individuals from home, or when I was in college, at the dorm, rather than directly at work in my field.

There have been a few experiences in cosplay where I have been hit on or flirted with because I was in costume (despite the ‘cosplay is not consent’ banners everywhere), but I tend to view those as one off experiences that I ignore rather than something that I personally need to address. I handle them the same way that I would handle someone flirting with me were I not in cosplay, which is usually to find a group of friends and avoid contact with the person flirting. I haven’t found any of the flirters to be particularly aggressive once I’ve left, though ignoring the problem is obviously not addressing the deeper issue, it works in those one off situations.

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

I get the misconception that there must be something wrong with me quite often. I was in a pretty dangerously sexual situation as a child that many people who know about the situation think informed my ‘decision’ to be asexual, but honestly I have never experienced attraction, so I don’t think it has anything to do with that– or there being anything wrong with me. I’ve been lucky that most people have been pretty accepting, although there have been a few of those “oh you just haven’t found the right person yet” replies that get under my skin. Still, the biggest misconception tends to be ignorance more than anything else. The fact that people in my area just don’t know what asexuality is or refuse to believe that a person may not experience attraction is the most prevalent conversation that I’ve run across.

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

I would just recommend doing your research. If a label makes you happy, use it. Don’t feel like you have to keep it forever. I’ve gone back and forth between ace and grey-ace forever in my head and just decided that in the end, it makes no difference to anyone but me. If you’re comfortable with labelling your orientation as something now, then label it. If later you decide that it doesn’t really fit, you can change the label. I know that when I first researched asexuality, I was thinking that it might fit me, but I was hesitant to agree because what if it didn’t fit me sometime in the future? What matters is your comfort now and finding supportive people might start with a label, but it might not. You should find people that support you no matter what your orientation is. That might mean seeking out a support group or forum for asexuals, or it might mean just finding a group of people that don’t care what your orientation is. It’s more important to reflect on yourself and to know your boundaries and morals when it comes to sex and romance than it is to find a label that perfectly fits you. It’s just as important to find a group of people that will help you to keep those boundaries rather than pressure you into something you’re uncomfortable with– whether that’s because you’re ace or just uncomfortable with the situation. It feels cheesy just to say “don’t worry about your orientation, the label will come when you’re ready” but the best way to find supportive people and figure yourself out is to do your research.

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

The three social media areas I update on a regular basis are-

My online portfolio: behance.net/halebi
My cosplay Facebook: facebook.com/puppyrock32
and My Society6: society6.com/puppyrock3
My personal Tumblr is: puppyrock3.tumblr.com
It has my art, process images, cosplay, etc. but also just things I enjoy, so it can be a lot to sift through. I only link it here because you can send me an ask on Tumblr as a form of contact, and I can link you to other social media pages that I update less frequently or to process images on certain pieces of interest.

godproject
God Project

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