Interview: Brenna Pryor

Today we’re joined by Brenna Pryor.  Brenna is a phenomenal cosplayer and an extremely talented digital artist.  She does a lot of fanart and judging from the quality of her work, she’s an incredibly passionate artist.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is inspired by things I love and what goes on around me. I draw things that come to mind and I draw fanart from fandoms I’m very active in. Cosplaying is also another big part of my life. I’m always finding new characters to cosplay as and the process of making the costume and wearing it proudly at conventions knowing I crafted it myself is probably one of the best feelings in the world.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by many things. I’m inspired by my friends, my boyfriend, fellow artists, my emotions, my fandoms, etc. These things keep me going with art and motivating me to never stop. My fandoms inspire my cosplaying. Every time I enter a new fandom and find a favorite character I immediately want to cosplay them and I get to work. I have many cosplays and fanart of many characters that I love.

Bipper
Bipper

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

I have been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I don’t really know what got me started on drawing but I could just never stop. I would draw and draw and fill up many sketchbooks. I began cosplaying when I discovered it at age 12, around the same time I discovered anime. I cosplayed L from Death Note and I really enjoyed it! My family wasn’t too keen on it though, especially since the character I was cosplaying wasn’t my gender. I was pretty torn up about it, considering my family made me quit cosplaying. I made a revival when I was about 16 and started getting serious about it at age 19. I have been an avid cosplayer ever since and have made costumes!

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

I have my artist’s signature which is a PR, the initials of my tumblr URL “punkrockula”

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never give up. Even when you feel like you should. There will be times where you may feel inadequate. You may want to quit art because you aren’t at the skill level you want to be. I’ve been there. But always keep trying. References are your friend, and practice. I know it seems like it doesn’t help, but trust me. You WILL see the difference!

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Juliet

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am Grey-Asexual. I had a hard time figuring it out, first speculating if I was Demi-Sexual, or just fully Asexual, but discovering the existence of Grey-Ace really helped my final decision of knowing where on the Ace spectrum I belong.

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

I have encountered prejudice from my family and coworkers. My father told me that asexuality wasn’t real, that I was making it up or that I just wanted attention. Coworkers would just roll their eyes at me and laugh at me, saying I was only claiming to be Ace because I am still a virgin and no one would sleep with me. I’ve encountered a lot of backlash for who I am, but as far as I can tell, what they say doesn’t matter. They may think my sexuality is fake but, hey, I’m happy. And their opinion doesn’t mean anything.

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

“You just haven’t met the right man yet” “Isn’t that just abstinence?” “Once you experience sex you’ll think otherwise” Basically anything that can be said about asexuality, I have heard. Including that I’m a terrible and selfish person and my boyfriend should break up with me because I won’t have sex with him.

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

You’re not broken. If you feel like you could be ace, whether it’s Demi-Sexual, Grey-Asexual, or purely Asexual or Aromantic, you aren’t broken. You’re not wrong for your sexuality, and no one can tell you otherwise. Be proud of it, and don’t listen to anyone who wants to ridicule you.

Stardust
Stardust

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

You can find my artwork here on Tumblr at punkrockula.tumblr.com/tagged/my-art

And you can find my cosplays at www.facebook.com/itsalivecosplay
Or at my Cosplay Amino: It’s Alive Cosplay
Or my Instagram: itsalivecosplay

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

Interview: Alu

Today we’re joined by Alu.  Alu is a wonderfully talented and enthusiastic visual artist.  He makes fursuits, which are absolutely fantastic and beautiful.  He’s also part of the body modification community and uses his body as a canvas.  He’s very passionate about his art, which is always awesome.  My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well I’m making Fursuits.You don’t know what Fursuits are? Well that’s easy. Fursuits are animal costumes. They could be own characters or characters from others for Cosplay Purpose, like Digimon, Pokemon, Video Game Monsters and so on.

I love working on them, to figure new things and techniques out. To help others with their dreams and seeing a 2D Picture coming to life as a 3D Costume.

And the other art is my Body modifications.  To alter my body is a big part of my life. I see my body as a piece of art that is not done yet and even if a lot of people hate what I’m doing to myself I don’t care. I own my body and none has the right to tell me what to do with it.

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What inspires you?

A lot of things. The work of other Fursuit makers. A great game/ movie/ Comic/ Manga or just conversations with friends or their artwork. Or sometimes inspiration just hit me.

And it maybe sound strange but depression. Depression has been and will always be a big part of my life and when I’m in a depressive phase sometimes just a little idea for a costume comes to my mind and I want to start on that as soon as possible. This helps me to get up, to gather material and keep my mind busy with all the stuff that have to be done instead of being sad in bed and thinking about my life. Even if I may stop this project later, I love to think about the outcome and I love this feeling to be productive

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

I was a Cosplayer and although I could not sew fabric to save my life (fake fur is the only thing I actually dare to sew because I know it will look good XD) and I want to Cosplay a certain character back in 2010. It was Alucard as Hellhound from Hellsing. And I didn’t know anyone who was able to make this Costume for me and so my first own Fursuit project was born.

The first version looked bad, really, really bad but I was so proud of what I’ve created. After the first Convention I decide to redo this fursuit completely for different reasons and so it all began.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Follow your dreams. Even if people don’t believe in you. But you have to work hard. No matter what your passion is you need to work constantly and hard on it, take critique. Not everyone who critiques you wants to be mean. They want to be helpful the most. Don’t be rude to them. You don’t get better without critique.

And just because you want to make a living out of your passion you don’t have to. Be sure it’s affordable for you to life on your income as artist before you quit your day job for example.

And try something new if you want to. You are a drawing artist but you think photography would suit you more? Well go ahead and try it. It’s great to learn new things. If you love it great if it turn out boring also great at least you’ve tried it. It’s nothing wrong about failure.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m Asexual and absent in any sexual activity and also aromantic or a mix between panromantic and aromantic (I don’t fall in love with people but I wish for a relationship to be with them, aah it’s complicated)

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

Yes, from my family. They told me that I just didn’t find the right one yet or that I will fall in love/ enjoy sex as soon as I will try it.

They told me there isn’t something like asexuality it’s just imagination or I’m to choosy.

And my workmates too. They simply just don’t understand it because everyone have to be interested in sex and have to be interested to start a family, having kid and so on. For them this is everything adult life is about. You don’t want it then you are still childish.

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

It’s something you choose to be like the celibacy or for some it’s the same. And that ace people don’t fall in love or masturbate, have relationships and so on. If you have any interest in love and sex you are not ace, well you choose to be ace anyway if you ask them.

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

Take your time and don’t press a label on yourself. It may take years to know who you are and what is comforting for you. And if nothing fits it’s alright too. There is so much more than we could put in words and there will always be people that feel the same.

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

I always try to keep everything up to date so visit me here:

http://chibi-alu.deviantart.com/
http://www.furaffinity.net/user/-narrow-/

And if you want to say hi you can do it also here

http://adragonstale.tumblr.com/
https://www.facebook.com/alu.chibi

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

Interview: Dead Dogma

Today we’re joined by Dead Dogma.  Dead Dogma is a traditional artist who works in several different mediums.  He draws, does costume work, and cruelty free taxidermy.  His work is quite interesting as you’ll see.  My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I bring things to life. I work in several different mediums, ranging from traditional drawings, to costume work, to taxidermy work. Being able to create creatures that have never existed and give them life through work like my mask making and costume work is an incredible feeling to me, especially being able to see someone wear the finished product and bring a character to our reality. I also work with the remains of animals that I scavenge myself from roadkill or animals that have died of natural causes (animals are never harmed or killed for my art, and I never support or source from individuals without a cruelty-free policy). I repurpose bones in ways such as painted skulls, bone jewelry and multimedia pieces.

What inspires you?

I really love the beauty in things that have seen or held life. I love exploring abandoned places, the forest, walking along railroad tracks and seeing old buildings. I get so much inspiration to repurpose things from this; whether it’s the remains of what formerly held literal life, or worn skeleton keys that are turned into jewelry pieces. A lot of people are weirded out when I tell them about my artwork but walk away from it with a new outlook on taxidermy or a revived appreciation of nature and it’s a really wonderful feeling when that happens. I also draw inspiration from my own path in Paganism, where I’ve met other amazing artists with the same appreciation for what’s left behind that I have.

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

I’ve been an artist as long as I can remember. I was always drawing, and around age sixteen I started learning how to make costumes and masks. At age nineteen I met someone who showed me where to find animal bones and from then I learned how to clean and sanitize bones myself so I could use them to make jewelry and other works of art. There have been times when I was younger that I strayed away from art but nowadays it’s my full-time job.

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

I use the alchemy symbol for mercury as my signature, and crescent moons are a huge part of symbolism I throw into a lot of my work. I reference many symbols that come from alchemy, witchcraft, and various religions in my art.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Focus. I was always told I needed to exchange my career in art for a more stable career, but I am now 21 running my own successful business that I will live off of one day when my situation improves. I’ve taught myself everything I know; I actually failed all of my high school art classes because I wanted to do things so unconventionally. There is an audience for all kinds of art out there, so never amount yourself to just doing what sells. The more unique you make yourself, the less competition you have to worry about. But this can only happen when you put 200% of your time and energy into your work. Being a self-employed artist is just as challenging as it is rewarding.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as grey-asexual. It took me so many years to finally find a word that fits for my sexuality and when I found out there were other asexual people and that it wasn’t something to feel inadequate about, things made so much more sense. I felt so much better about myself and was finally about to stand up for myself against being coerced into uncomfortable situations because I had a word and an explanation that was completely valid. I have PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) which has a lot to do with my asexuality, and I am incredibly lucky to have an amazing partner who understands and works with me on this.

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

I’ve received everything from inappropriate questions to harassment regarding my sexuality and gender identity (transmale), from other artists, fans of my work and total strangers. I remain as professional as possible when this happens but there are times you have to stand up for yourself and blatantly draw a line. Unfortunately, my partner also has to deal with this second hand. People will go to him for answers I denied and he has to reiterate the same things I tell people. It’s incredibly frustrating but I try to educate people wherever possible and answer questions where and when it’s appropriate. My policy on questions from people is to teach and not tear down; making people feel stupid or invalid will never help further your cause, be it on raising awareness of asexuality or marketing your artwork.

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

The idea that living without sexual attraction is completely impossible and/or the worst possible thing a person can go through. The ridiculous amount of people who try to invalidate my sexuality by asking extremely invasive questions about my personal life or telling me they feel sorry for me is something a lot of asexual identifying people have probably also experienced. It’s extremely frustrating but a lot of times I just completely decline questions about my sexuality entirely since it’s something I feel only my partner and I should be concerned over.

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

You’re not as weird as people want you to feel that you are. Being asexual is nothing to be ashamed of. I feel it’s important to remind people to never sacrifice their comfort and boundaries to fit into whatever is deemed normal. There were countless people who invalidated or completely ignored my asexuality and issues with intimacy caused by PTSD and I found that none of those people were ever worth my time. I now have an amazing boyfriend who works with me on my PTSD issues and learned where my boundaries were with certain things. He’s the literal exception to how I’ve felt towards the idea of relationships and I hope those of you who are struggling to find someone ideal for you find the perfect partner as well. There are people out there who will understand and have no problem with what is your comfort zone in a relationship. Never sacrifice your well-being to anyone who refuses to understand you.

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

You can find my work at the following sites:

www.dead-dogma.tumblr.com/
www.facebook.com/dogmacanum
www.instagram.com/deaddogma
www.furaffinity.net/user/dead-dogma
www.etsy.com/shop/rabbitsareroadkill

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