Interview: Marie-Pier

Today we’re joined by Marie-Pier. Marie-Pier is a phenomenal seamstress who uses her incredible skills for fashion design and cosplay. A dedicated cosplayer, Marie-Pier has cosplayed as various characters from different fandoms. Aside from her costumes, she also makes the accessories that go with her cosplays. Marie-Pier has also designed regular everyday outfits as well. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Elsa
Elsa

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hello! I am Marie-Pier and I am an artist in the broad sense of the term. From drawing, to writing and even programming (it’s an art, believe me!), I enjoy many aspects of art, but my favorite outlet at the moment is sewing and cosplaying. For me, the main appeal of this activity is the fact that it’s so versatile and it encompasses most of my other passions. I draw my own concepts, I make my own patterns and I often have to handmake accessories, which allows me to build up so many skills. I haven’t made a ton of outfits and costumes thus far, but that’s because a lot of care is put into everything I make, which ends up being quite time consuming. Among the characters I’ve cosplayed, one can count Queen Elsa, The Evil Queen (Regina Mills from Once Upon a Time, Emma Swan (“Dark Swan”, also from Once Upon a Time) and a few other simpler cosplays like Wednesday Addams.

When I make “regular” outfits, I often go for little black dresses, although my most recent creation is an autumn/spring wool coat.

What inspires you?

I’m mostly inspired by the gothic aesthetic, as well as fabrics. I love things that look graceful and elegant, but I also have a soft spot for more structured/tougher looking outfits.

As far as cosplay characters go, I am mostly drawn to evil or dark characters, because more often than not, they’re the ones with the best outfits! It’s also always fun to portray villains or anti-heroes because they’re usually really confident and completely unashamed to be themselves.

One of my idols in the designing world is Eduardo Castro, the costume designer for Once Upon a Time, hence why most of my cosplays are from that TV show. Let’s just say that I am easily won over by impressive gowns and really captivated by anything that sparkles.

When I make actual clothes, I usually go for things that I am unable to find in stores. I don’t really care about what’s trendy; I simply make what I want to own and what I know would look nice on me.

Emma-Regina
Emma-Regina

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

I’ve always loved arts and crafts, as well as dressing up. Both my grandmothers used to make clothes and costumes for me. I would draw what I wanted to have and give them the drawings so that they could make it.

In high school, I decided it was about time I learned to sew on my own. As a longtime fan of Halloween, I started making my own costumes and I attempted to outdo myself every year. By the time I finished High School, I learned about conventions and cosplaying and began to consider it.

A year later, in 2014, I joined a fashion design club and took that opportunity to make my first wearable garments and my first real cosplay (Queen Elsa from Frozen).
What I grew to love the most about cosplaying is the amount of skills I got to learn from it. Each costume of mine came with different challenges that allowed me to learn things I wouldn’t have otherwise. (E.g. woodworking, making 18th undergarments, sourcing screen-accurate materials…)

However, despite my love of sewing and costume making, I would not want to make a career out of it, because it is my own way of clearing my mind and relaxing. I never really try to force myself to work on a project; I just let out my creative energy whenever I feel like it.

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

There is a little something special I try to include in all my cosplays and it’s a bit of an inside joke. It began when I made sequins out of plastic soda bottles to cover the entire surface of my Queen Elsa bodice. Ever since I discovered how versatile a material plastic bottles could be, I’ve incorporated at least one element made from them in all my costumes. Thus far I’ve used them to make sequins, a hair comb, detailing on a dagger’s handle, and a necklace.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

There are three things I would tell young aspiring artists. Firstly, practice makes perfect. The more you practice your skills, the better you’ll get. Don’t be scared to tackle huge challenging projects, they are the ones that provide the most learning experience. Also, don’t be scared to ask for help when you need it.

Secondly, don’t feel bad if you start preferring another art form over what you currently are into. Do what makes you the happiest and build as many new skills as you like.

Lastly, follow your own quality standards no matter what others say. If someone tries to tell you that you can’t possibly do something of a certain quality, don’t listen to them. Trust in your abilities and in your will to learn and perfect your craft.

Fashion-Design
Fashion-Design

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual greyromantic/aroflux.

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

Since my favorite character to cosplay (the Evil Queen) is known for being quite sexy and alluring, some people think that I dress like her to attract the male gaze and seek attention. Some even said that if I really was asexual, I wouldn’t choose to dress like that. I had thought about that sort of thing before making my costume and it almost stopped me from making it because I was afraid of conveying the wrong message, but ultimately, I decided to not care. I cosplay the Evil Queen/Regina because I love her as a character and because her outfits are beautiful and intricate works of art. I chose to not let people spoil that for me.

Orientation has nothing to do with the way we dress and asexuals have the right to be confident, comfortable in their own bodies and wear whatever they like.

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

The most common misconception about asexuality that I’ve encountered is that asexuals simply haven’t met “the one” and that they’ll change their minds one day. There are a lot of people who think we need to be “fixed or cured” and that does get very tiresome in the long run. Also, some people think that we can’t be in a relationship if we’re asexual, which is not exactly true.

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

This is not really an advice, per say, but I think that those people need to hear that they are not broken, no matter what society tells them. Today’s world is so overly sexual, but we must not let that discourage us. Even if we’re a minority, we’re out there, we’re valid and we shouldn’t let other people tell us otherwise. If you think that you might be asexual, just follow your gut feeling and let that guide you. Set your own boundaries and limits and respect yourself; do what makes you happy.

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

I am on multiple social media under the name Silyah246.

For sewing and cosplay progress (and the occasional daily life post), find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/silyah246/
For more professional high quality photos, you can head over to my DeviantArt page: https://silyah246.deviantart.com/
For more fandom orientated things and the occasional makeup tests, my Tumblr is the place to go: http://www.silyah246.tumblr.com/

I am also on Twitter (https://twitter.com/silyah246) and YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/Silyah246), but I use those less frequently than the others.

Regina-V1
Regina-V1

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

Interview: S.R. Hunt

Today we’re joined by S.R. Hunt. S.R. is a phenomenal fanartist who creates art for a variety of fandoms. She specializes in hand-drawn sketches and animatics, which I highly recommend visiting her blog to check out because they’re really cool (some examples: Guns and Ships, Farmer Refuted, Coco animatic, Coco animatic 2, It’s Quiet Uptown). Her work is brimming with color and an extraordinary amount of detail. It’s clear she’s a passionate and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a fan artist, mostly. I create hand-drawn sketches, comics, animatics, and occasionally I dabble in photography and cosplay. I strive to improve my craft every time I get inspired by a different piece of medium, often times stepping outside my comfort zone just to get better (I mean, how can you get better if you don’t step outside your safe, artist bubble?).

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What inspires you?

Tons of things! Most recently, I’ve created fan art for Pixar’s Coco, Hamilton, DuckTales, Darkwing Duck, and the occasional Pokemon drawing. But if I had to pinpoint a specific inspiration, I’d have to say the animated works of Disney and Pixar. I grew up with those movies, I was born a hop, skip, and a jump away from Disneyland, and Finding Nemo was the first movie I saw in theaters. When I was 15, I sent a letter to Pixar, telling them that I wanted to work there when I grew up, and they actually replied back! They sent me a letter telling me to become an intern when I reached college, and they included an autographed photo of Finding Nemo signed by the film’s director, Andrew Stanton, and the film’s producer, John Lasseter! I carried that letter with me every day for the rest of my high school career as a reminder of what I want to do with my life; create something that moves people. So, I draw, I create storyboards and comics, and I try to improve so that one day I can walk into that building and create something that’ll inspire and move millions of people.

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

I started drawing in elementary school. Just simple comics drawn on notebook paper starring Pokemon and Neopets. I was never much of a writer (I’m still not), but it gave me something to do when no one wanted to talk to me. My doodling habit continued all throughout  junior high and high school, and even though I wasn’t as good as the other young artists in my class, I just kept chugging along. When I decided I wanted to join the animation field, I didn’t really have a specific job in mind. I wanted to animate, but I lack the nifty wacom tablets and photoshop tools that every other animator on YouTube has. I’m also not very detailed when it comes to my drawings (I’ve described my drawing style as “glorified stick figures”). That’s when it hit me; storyboarding, the blueprint for animation. So, with a pencil and sketchbook in hand, I began making animatics. I began by making animatics set to songs from Hamilton, then silly little gags with the cast of Coco. They aren’t as polished as other animatics, but they get the job done.

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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?

Oh…that’s a toughie…I’ve never really thought about it…I guess it’s that my drawings are very round. There aren’t many sharp edges. Even my signature is very round.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Draw what you want. Don’t let people tell you what to draw. If they request something you don’t feel comfortable with, it’s your right as an artist to say “no”. Don’t worry about the number of likes, comments, notes, reblogs or whatever. If people like what you do and it gets popular, great! Just don’t let that be the driving force for your art. When I create, the thought of “will this be popular?” or “gotta keep the fans happy!” never crosses my mind. I make it for me, and I make what I want to see. And finally, work with what you got. I wanted to create animatics, but instead of sighing and saying “I don’t have the technology to do such a thing…” I worked with what I had. And what I had was a pencil, a sketchbook, an iPhone with a free movie editor app, and an idea in my brain. Don’t let your financial situation hold you back.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m not sure what the technical terms are (my apologies), but I’m interested in having a partner with no sexual interaction. Kissing is fine, but no…ya know. I’ve never had a boyfriend or girlfriend in order to learn my boundaries, so that’s where I stand at the moment.

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

I haven’t, actually, because it never really comes up. I can only think of one moment where I brought up that I was asexual to a classmate in high school, and he was very supportive. He said that he never met someone like me, and that he was interested that such people exist. I’ll show my support for my LGBTQ friends and fellow artists who are open about their sexual orientation, but I don’t bring up my asexuality that often.

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

Probably that I’m not interested in a romantic relationship. Like, I’m not interested in dating or getting married. That’s not really the case. I would like to date, and I’d like to get married, but only with the right guy (or gal, ya never know). I’m just not comfortable with…ahem “getting it on”. There’s sort of a reason behind that, but I’ll spare you the details.

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

Don’t listen to the people who tell you being single sucks or that being a virgin is dumb. It’s your body, and your life, and it’s okay if you aren’t interested in a sexual relationship.

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

I have a Tumblr (judgechaos), a DeviantArt (JudgeChaos), an Instagram (s.r._hunt), and a YouTube channel (S.R. Hunt). Those are the main places I post my art and animatics, so feel free to say “hi!”

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

Interview: Eliza

Today we’re joined by Eliza. Eliza is a phenomenal visual artist who also writes and does some performance art. Most of what she does is writing and fanart, including cosplay. Eliza also does some dancing and acting too. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I work in multiple genres of art. I do visual art, fan art, cosplay, writing, dancing, and acting. Specifically I do fanart and writing.

What inspires you?

What inspires me is seeing other artists my age doing amazing things, which gives me the hope to be like them.

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

I actually got interested in art by accident, but it still happened. I’ve been an artist since I was 7 years old.

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?

Sometimes I put DS in my art

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Criticism is necessary, but don’t take it if it doesn’t help you. No matter what people say, you will get better in art.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as an asexual aromantic

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

I actually haven’t yet. Except for the occasional ‘asexuality isn’t real’ comment. I usually just ignore the comment or delete it.

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

The most common misconception I see is that asexuality is just an excuse for not getting laid.

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

Don’t let other people tell you what you can and cannot be.

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

Other than Tumblr, where my art is at either at Unis-Trash-Stash or at xthe-space-rebels, I am also on IFunny as Uniway.

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

Interview: Jojo

Today we’re joined by Jojo. Jojo is a phenomenal versatile writer and visual artist who describes herself as “a figure skating writer and artist who dabbles in cosplay props.” For writing and visual art, Jojo specializes in scifi and fantasy. She does both traditional and digital art and has a degree in animation. When she’s not writing, drawing, or animating, Jojo enjoys making various props for cosplays and even has a blog dedicated to cosplaying on a budget. She’s clearly a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

ArcReactor
Arc Reactor

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a sci-fi and fantasy enthusiast, and most of my art is themed around that. I do a lot of digital art and pencil drawing in an actual physical sketchbook, but have a degree in animation and like to play in Flash when I have time (RIP Flash). Most of the time though everything I draw stays in sketch form. Drawing helps me work out ideas and logistics, which translates into writing very elaborate Sci-Fi worlds. I have one that I’ve been writing for a literal decade that I’m finally only just starting to amass into something like a novel. So far it has a tone I didn’t expect but I’m actually liking it. Fingers crossed.

I’m also a hobby prop maker, I make small manageable props and things that won’t weigh too much for cosplay using items from the dollar store.  I’ve done a Squall cosplay, an arc reactor, the purgatory blade and Samulet from Supernatural, Mad Max: Fury Road’s Bloodbag equipment, fake skulls, phasers, and Wonder Woman Armor from the new movie!

What inspires you?

I love ice skating, space, human goodness, animals, the sky, large swaths of nature, dungeons & dragons, stars, anime, food, Star Trek, multiverse theories and FOOD.

I adore food, it’s one of those things everyone can agree is amazing, and it’s something that comes in so many forms and says so much about each culture. If I didn’t enjoy eating it more than making it I might be a chef instead of a writer today!

Star Trek and anime started me on a very interesting path when I was very young. Star Trek is about a positive future, and anime is all about a protagonist finding out what makes them tick and then using it to do a thing. In my case I spent more time trying to figure out the ‘whys’ of my life than the ‘hows’ but luckily the two seem to go hand-in-hand so I believe even more in the power of being the protagonist of my own story.

FuryRoadFanzine_Final
Fury Road Fanzine

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

Well, Starship Captain isn’t a viable career path (yet) so I settled for doing what I love. I always knew I’d be an artist, my father is an artist, both grandmas on both sides of the family are artists, and my grandfather is a former NASA engineer. I had a lot of people saying ‘if this is what you want, do it’ my whole childhood, it never occurred to me to try and pursue anything else. If space became a viable option I’d go there, but honestly I’d never stop creating 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?

Goodness, I actually don’t think so. The only thing I can say for sure is I try to make really stylistic varied body types, but I don’t think that’s a symbol, just a preference. Every main character I’ve ever had (once I got out of my ‘every character is from CLAMP’ phase- and shut up, you know we all had that!) has had a different body type that affects how they do things. I do it for fun and also because it adds different lifestyle choices they have to make.

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Inktober Ikali

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My advice is always Go for whatever that thing you want is. Seriously, go for it. The world out there isn’t made for doing the bare minimum to get by and then dying. If you can do something to get yourself ready to do That Thing you want, then do it. Work that retail job, but put all that money (as much as you can) away so you can eventually tell the customer they’re wrong and try what you want to do. If you have something you love to do, there’s probably a way to live off it if you want. And if you don’t want your art to be your job be sure of this: Don’t live to work. Work to live. Your art, your passions are worth pursuing even if you’re the only one passionate about it now. Your art doesn’t have to ‘contribute.’ Support your friends, but if they don’t support you back get new friends. Be loyal to yourself.

But seriously; be who you are, even if society isn’t a fan. Because screw them, society elected Trump, what the hell do they know? You’re you and you’re stuck being you forever, so try to get along with yourself. Artists are often eccentric, and I know that’s hard, but listen up, bb artists, you’ll be alright. Everyone’s actually really weird, some just hide it better than others. There are weirdos just like you who want to be friends, but are too nervous to fly their own personal flag. Put yours up, they’ll come. It’ll be hard, but you’ll find your people because they’re out there, they’re just hiding.

To those of you not hiding: Kick ass, take names and don’t let anyone tell you that eccentric = bad. Do no harm, but take no shit. XOXO

Mugiwara_Puppies
Mugiwara Puppies

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a sex neutral aromantic asexual and it annoys me! “Nothing, nope not even that” is a hard orientation to be and massively inconvenient to explain. Especially when “maybe your first experience with sex was bad?’ doesn’t apply to me. Sex was … fine. I would have rather gone for ice cream, but eh, okay, we had fun together and I loved the guy so okay. So there. Tell your parents THAT. I actually tried it! It’s fine! Not the best but whatever who cares.

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

Strap in folks, you ain’t gonna BELIEVE this one! I’ve been holding onto this story for a special occasion and I guess this is it:

I used to work at a big corporate company, and our department took us out for a Christmas Dinner every year. Nice! This particular year I get sat between two men I know, across from a woman I don’t and she’s MILITANTLY lesbian. I’m talking about the type who won’t go five minutes without being like “So because I’m a lesbian” and we’re all sitting there like “we get that you’re a lesbian, Carol, go on…”

So Carol (she’s Carol now) is drinking because it’s a Christmas Dinner/Party and we’re all happy and buzzed and chilling and ALL OF A SUDDEN out of nowhere she says “I’m a lesbian so you won’t get it-‘ a pause then she turns to me and says ‘you’re not a lesbian right?” FINALLY. Thanks for finally asking, Carol! But no, I’m not a lesbian and I say so. “I’m Ace,’ I say, assuming her militant sense means she’s active in the LGBTQA+ space and she’ll know what I’m talking about. I was young and foolish.

She has no clue what I’m talking about. I now have to explain to her and my two straight male friend/coworkers what being asexual means. I do so, because why the hell not, I’m already in deep. Straight male friends go ‘oh okay, so you’re not attracted to anyone’ and go on with their meal. GOOD JOB STRAIGHT MALE FRIENDS YOU’RE ACTUALLY THE HEROES FOR ONCE!

Carol says “Oh. So… what happened to you? To make you like that?”

A pause. A horrified pause. A horrified pause where my two straight male friends and everyone within hearing radius at the table realizes Carol just asked if I was assaulted or molested or abused to make me asexual. I see straight male friends glance at me in horror.

But I am two drinks in, and I am transcendent. Instead of getting embarrassed and answering honestly straight out, I ask, as loudly as I want because FUCK YOU CAROL “Did you just ask me at the company Christmas dinner if I was sexually assaulted?” A horrified silence falls. I stare at her as she realizes she has come to the WRONG HOUSE. She starts stammering and backpedaling but OH NO, not today, Carol. “Not that it’s your business,’ I say loudly, ‘but I was born this way.”

She correctly decides to excuse herself to powder her nose. Run Carol, run.

This is when straight male friends, and actually the entire department, show some goddamn solidarity, kids. The boss (who I don’t actually think heard the convo) has already paid the bill, and as one, while Carol is in the bathroom, the whole department decides dinner is over. Everyone is talking and acting like it’s normal, but the whole table- myself included- gets up and leaves while Carol is in the bathroom at this restaurant.

It was ignorant, and it could have been very embarrassing, but I was able to realize I wasn’t the one who should be embarrassed, and if you can remember that next time someone tries to shame your asexuality, you can ditch Carol at a restaurant on Christmas too. The End.

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Phaser

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

People seem to think three very incorrect things. They think something had to happen to make you asexual. Like it’s their damn business to know if it did. Two: that their opinion on you being ace matters (pro tip: hell no) and three: that being ace means you don’t care about being cute and flirty. You get to be as damn cute and flirty as you want, cuz it’s fun! They still ain’t gettin’ none of this, so they better step off.

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

I am struggling too. I get you. It’s hard to be ‘nothing’ when you’re conditioned to think everyone gets ‘something’. Some people don’t and that’s okay. Again, society is dumb, so find something that works for you, whether it’s a Poly tribe, a best friend, a cat, two best friends and a cat, or an online community of people who get you better than the physical ones. Whatever works for you is the right orientation for you. If you wake up tomorrow super attracted to someone, fair enough. You’re a changing person and regardless of how you wake up tomorrow, today you’re ace and that’s your choice to identify- or not! Ace is just a better word for ‘nah nothing really works for me’ and gives you a bunch of other people who get it. Aro’s also a hard one, because you have been told your whole life you want something, but then when you have it, it’s… fine. I had a great relationship for a while, but I felt like we were friends who slept in the same bed. I was later informed that’s not how most people feel (?) Doesn’t de-legitimize my relationship, just means what I’m looking for and what others are looking for might be different. Which is fair, and valid. Labels exist for you, not for the world. You do you, as the saying goes. That’s my advice. I won’t tell you it’s not hard, it is, but it’s also worth fighting for yourself and what you want, not what society or parents or friends want for you.

ALSO ADVICE: Find a doctor who’s cool with you not having sex. My doctor doesn’t care, doesn’t ask why I don’t have sex, doesn’t ask why I laugh if he asks if I’m in danger of becoming pregnant. He just nods and says ‘okay’ and moves on. Find one of those. You not having sex is not a problem and if your doctor says it is: time for a new doctor.

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

My main blog is http://starshipcaptainjojo.tumblr.com/
Art is posted to http://hipster-safari.tumblr.com/ (though also to my main blog most of the time)
And my cosplay/craft blog is http://dollarstorecosplay.tumblr.com/.

Siano_Debut
Siano Debut

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

Interview: Maeden

Today we’re joined by Maeden. Maeden is an awesome cosplayer who is perhaps best known for her wonderful Supergirl. She puts a lot of time and effort into her cosplays and it shows. When she’s not working on cosplays, Maeden also enjoys drawing (both digital and on paper) and does some graphic design. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I love to draw both digitally and on paper, but my main artistic medium is cosplay. I started off by doing characters who wore “street clothes” that I could just approximate and wear as-is, but have recently grown my skills to make heavy modifications to base pieces. I strive for accuracy and am always looking for ways to improve.

I also run a YouTube channel that is mostly centered on cosplay, with occasional fandom rants and tip videos.

What inspires you?

Honestly, Supergirl. Specifically, as played by Laura Vandervoort. Seriously though- when I first discovered the character, my life was really awful. But striving to embody her helped to keep me from becoming bitter and angry. I saw someone who had lost everything and was severely displaced, but was still kind, and hopeful, and strong. I decided I wanted to be like that. And I wanted to pay tribute to her, starting by writing her and adopting her bright, bold aesthetic, to eventually bringing a full-fledged portrayal to life.

I don’t agree with all the ways she’s been depicted, as I’ll mention more later, but aiming to be more like my ideal version of her keeps my head held high.

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

I just love creating. With cosplay, I went to my first con without cosplaying and just realized I’d enjoy it more if I were playing a character. A few months later at my second con I cosplayed for the first time, and haven’t stopped since.

As far as my drawing, it just started as something to do when I was bored. Over time I improved and realized I was pretty OK at it, and wanted to share it.

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What’s the best thing you’ve experienced through your art?

Being able to bring my ideas to life. I’m so often disappointed by how the character I love is represented, but by both drawing and cosplaying- especially the latter- I can realize what I would like to see, ranging from queer headcanons, to creative and unique stories that respect my muse.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Pursue what you’re passionate about. People may call it an obsession- and that’s fine! Be driven and proud of your work.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demisexual Panromantic. With most people I just say Bi though, and even that’s wild or complicated to some.

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

In the cosplay community, most are very accepting of everyone. I also don’t introduce myself as Mae the A-spec, so I haven’t had occasion to tell many people. But those I’ve happened to mention it to are perfectly accepting.

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

That it’s a medical/psychological “condition” or that it simply means a complete disdain for sex. To me, it means that sex is never my imperative with anyone when meeting or getting to know them.

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

It’s OK to not be sure. How I identify has changed more than once as I’ve grown and learned about the spectrum. There’s no rush or need to pick a label if you don’t know; just be yourself!

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

I’m everywhere, man. Most of my cosplay photos go on my Instagram and Facebook:
https://www.instagram.com/maedencosplay/
https://www.facebook.com/maedencosplay/

My YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4nKr6HiN6bdNGwIgC0c9-w

I also have a TeePublic shop: https://www.teepublic.com/user/maeden

And I post some stuff on my Tumblr, at Maeden.

I’m also a partner with fandom culture site Cosplay Spotlite – http://cosplayspotlite.com

4. dec6daa3-d743-47d3-87a9-cf106e16f352

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

Interview: Rosa

Today we’re joined by Rosa. Rosa is a fantastic visual artist and fanartist. She mostly does digital art and enjoys drawing her interpretations of characters from fandoms she follows. When she’s not drawing, Rosa enjoys writing fanfiction and has recently gotten into costume making. She also dabbles in cosplay. It’s clear that Rosa is a talented and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Fallen
Fallen

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

The majority of my art is fanwork; I get great enjoyment out of creating content for my favourite series and getting to explore how I depict the characters and events in them! I do mostly digital art, though I also love writing fanfiction. I do cosplay on the side as well! I’m still learning with that, but costume-making is an absolute blast to me and I look forward to seeing how my skills with it will grow.

What inspires you?

This has always been a really hard question for me! My inspirations always seem to either be very nebulous or very, very obvious. “What inspires you?” This videogame/book/movie inspires me because I like it! Because I like it, I want to create things with it. The interest in a particular series creates the inspiration to work with it, for me.

I do have some specific inspirations, mostly from nature. Certain environments – huge mountainscapes, the open ocean – always light up my imagination.

The idea that I can create content that others will enjoy or relate to is always a good one. Whenever I make something, I’m often thinking “I wonder what everyone will make of this. I wonder what their favourite parts will be”.

2. Moonstruck Blossom
Moonstruck Blossom

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

I’ve been drawing since before I could remember! I still have sketchbooks from back when I was four. It’s always been a pursuit I’ve loved dearly, but I’d have to say that one of the very first things that got me into it was my active imagination. As a kid I was coming up with new creatures and mythologies almost on the daily, and drawing was the easiest way for me to manifest them. I’ve always wanted to be an artist, yes – but not necessarily a visual artist! My earliest passion was to be an author, and I still consider that my primary “thing”. (Even if I’m the world’s slowest writer…)

3. Nebula
Nebula

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 lot of creator’s thumbprints in my designs – I’m not necessarily aware of them all until someone comes up to me and says “as soon as I saw that, I could totally tell it was yours”! That said, I haven’t actually had a specific symbol or signature for a very long time. Back when I did, it was a stylised eye. I absolutely love the image of piercing, staring eyes still, so it’s definitely stuck with me!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I hate to give the cop-out answer, but listen: you gotta practice! Everyone knows that though, so I’ll tell you some things I wish I’d learnt earlier.

You really are your own worst critic. I’ll look at a feature on my art – a hand, a shading technique, whatever – and look at someone else’s art where it was drawn exactly the same, and I will still think that my version of it looks worse. Sometimes the best thing you can do is pass your work to someone else and say, “hey, this thing here, how does it look?” You’ll be surprised how often the problem is only in your head. Taking breaks from a piece is great for that; if you’re running up against a wall with something, I can guarantee you that trying to bruteforce it will just exhaust you and make you hate that piece. Step back, do something else, let yourself forget about it for a while.

References are your friend and they will help you mightily. Never be afraid to use them – that’s why they exist! And believe me, there’s a reference for everything. It’s wonderful. Go nuts with it.

4a. She Who Holds the Stars [resized]
She Who Holds the Stars

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aroace.

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

In my field specifically? Thankfully, no, not really. It has almost never come up regarding my art, but sadly, I’ve encountered all sorts of prejudice in other areas of my life. Admittedly, I haven’t really intertwined my orientation with my art until very recently, so I don’t have the most experience.

When it does come up, I tend to just block and move on, or if I feel that the person involved might be receptive to a discussion, I try to engage them. Thanks to my personal experiences and the recent environment around asexuality and aromanticism, I’ve become very scared and cautious about even getting into it. If I even suspect that someone might have something bad to say about us, I tend to shut off to them entirely.

5. Teeny Tiny Master
Teeny Tiny Master

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

Offline, people making the absolute conflation that sex = love/romance. Almost every single person I’ve ever tried to explain asexuality to immediately gets stuck on the snag of “but if you don’t have sex does that mean you don’t love anyone?” It’s baffling and incredibly frustrating. Sometimes it goes as far as the person assuming that a lack of sexual attraction makes me some kind of cold emotionless freak. Just because I don’t do the do doesn’t mean I lack the capacity for warmth, genius.

I encounter lots of misconceptions about asexuality in general. Visibility and resources about it are so low that people genuinely don’t know anything. Even my other LGBTQ+ friends sometimes struggle to come to grips with it. Oftentimes people default to thinking it’s a choice and equate it with abstinence or celibacy.

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

Don’t ever feel ashamed to question yourself and explore what everything means to you. Asexuality can be hard to recognise in yourself – especially if you’re surrounded by media and things telling you that sex is the bomb-diggety. Take your time with it.

Being asexual doesn’t mean you’re “frigid”, “evil”, or “just haven’t tried it”. Anyone who says so is ignorant at best and malicious at worst. Ignore them. You know yourself best.

Just as importantly: please don’t feel ashamed if you find out that you’re not asexual. Identity is a journey and making a few missteps on the way doesn’t render your or your current identity wrong!

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

I’m an awfully disorganised person, so my “portfolio” – as it were – is all over the web! One day I’ll collate it all in a single place, I promise.

The best place to start would be my deviantART, where I post the more finished pieces: https://electrosa.deviantart.com/

I also post on Tumblr! I have a few blogs where I post the rest of my art, which includes all the more “casual” and scribbly things that I don’t port over to my dA. Here they are: http://electrosa-rs.tumblr.com/tagged/my+art and http://queensectonia.tumblr.com/tagged/my+art.

6. Butterflies and Roses
Butterflies and Roses

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

Interview: Maddie

Today we’re joined by Maddie. Maddie is a wonderful fanartist in different K-pop fandoms and anime. They co-run a K-pop fanblog with a friend of theirs. They draw a lot of portraits. Aside from drawing and writing, Maddie also cosplays for anime conventions. It’s clear they’re an incredibly enthusiastic artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Image-2

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I mostly work as a fanartist in the K-pop fandom. I follow a lot of groups and I love to either draw portraits or write short fanfics that are compiled on a blog I run with a friend. I am planning on doing more portraits in the future and will continue to write! Along the fanart lines I also cosplay as a hobby and go to cons whenever I can. I also am going to make a blog dedicated to short comics about my daily life as a nonbinary aroace person, so look out for that!

What inspires you?

I’ve always wanted to write, I’m writing a novel currently but it’s a long process so fanfics are my main ones. My mom actually pushed me to follow my passion for drawing and writing. She has her own poems published so she just inspires me to work hard. Also the groups I listen to inspire me (obviously), but song lyrics and seeing how members act/interact help inspire my stories. Cosplay wise the look of the character is what inspires me to try and portray them, I want to try and capture their personality.

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Suga from BTS

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

I’ve been drawing and writing since I was little. I had an active imagination as a kid so I was constantly coming up with these amazing worlds to write about or drawing them if I could. I’ve always considered myself a “chill artist”, it’s not my main career goal, but it’s a hobby I adore and would love to continue doing- even if it just stays a hobby.

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 that I can think of actually, I don’t know if do anything really “unique” in my works.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep practicing! I know it’s hard and your first pieces might not be good, but you can improve immensely with some practice. I try and doodle something once a day, even if it’s just a doodle beside my lecture notes or something. Try small writing prompts too, just doing short one paragraph writings can improve your writing ability!

Image-3

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a cupioromantic asexual! I’m also nonbinary.

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

A bit, the K-pop fandom in general is very hypersexual and sexualizes members of groups a lot. So being ace making content for the fandom can be a bit tough. Some people think I’m prude for not writing smut or something, but I’ve learned to shrug it off and respond with a simple “I can’t write it.”

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

Probably that it’s just a choice like celibacy, or that I can’t want a relationship. I’ve heard both of these so many times it makes me want to scream. Or there’s always the joke of “are you a plant?” I think it’s hard for people to grasp that there are people who simply don’t see people in a sexual way, crazy right? It doesn’t help that I’m sex-averse and people, especially my mom, will say it’ll happen when I “meet the one.”

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

You are not broken. First and foremost, you are totally normal. I know it’s tough, trust me I felt broken until I found out asexuality was a thing and I wish I would’ve found out about it sooner. Don’t let others put you down for your sexuality, they just don’t understand it- you are valid.

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

I usually post art to my personal blog, which is at timelord-from-ohio, but I don’t post my art often. The fanfic blog I co-run is at 98aroha97bangtan94, I’m Mod Phoenix. Lastly, the blog I’m planning on putting the comics on is at lifeofacupioromanticace!

Image-1
Eunwoo from Astro

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