Interview: Murkrowzy

Today we’re joined by Murkrowzy. Murkrowzy is a wonderful visual artist with a unique style. She does both cartoon-style with realistic proportions. Her work is fascinating, with a remarkable amount of detail. It’s clear she’s a talented and dedicated artist. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

20170630_155500

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Uhm, well, I wouldn’t know how to describe my art well! Alright, let’s see … I’d say it’s a mix of a few different styles of cartoons. I took inspiration from shows like Ed, Edd’n Eddy, Danny Phantom & some comics like Scott Pilgrim. It’s mostly “I’m gonna draw this & not care about how it looks” & then seeing where it goes. It’s mainly cartoony with some realistic proportions I guess.

I also make costumes & other little accessories sometimes! I work mainly in traditional art, sometimes digital.

What inspires you?

Other people’s art! Animation! Seeing other artists do the thing! Seeing creativity! Movies! Music! Really, just experiencing stuff other artists put out is what inspires me. Whimsy, never before imagined stuff!

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

I was drawing since I could remember. I don’t remember any specific movie or franchise or whatever that made me think “Shit, I wanna draw like that someday”. Maybe it was Disney or anime? I’ll say yes. I’m also autistic; I guess this was one of the many ways I would fidget creatively with. I just always had a pencil & paper in my hand during school. I never stopped drawing & that meant my grades suffered for it! No regrets. (Don’t be like me, alright?)

Have I always wanted to be an artist? Friend, all of us are artists. We take lines & force them into recognizable shapes. We are gods! Rulers of the pencil! Ancient deities of craft & world making! Without our god powers, our world would not be as bright as it is! Bow down to our unbelievable powe-… okay, I’ll stop.

chester cup sleep 4 copy
Chester Cup Sleep

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 used to have a symbol, but it fell away into some deep space void. Now I don’t have a special symbol. I just use text & put in ways to find me.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

(Can we curse here? I’m gonna do it.)

There will *ALWAYS* people out there who are going to think your art is absolute fucking garbage, that it’s the worst thing they ever saw. Those people will compare it to artists who had more time & experience, & then turn to you & tell you to stop drawing because “it looks like shit”. If you want to get better & for those comments to stop, you *have* to keep going. You will hit blocks, you will run into haters & you will run into people who will reject your art because “it’s not good enough”. That’s reality. You know what is also reality? Not giving up. You got 13 hateful comments? People are saying your art is shit? Here’s how to handle those comments; take them & use them to your advantage by not listening to those people & KEEP MAKING ART. I don’t care if it’s macaroni & cheese latte hearts at Starbucks. Your art will always improve & get better if you keep at it.

The reality is this: you will not understand anatomy, perspective & color theory in 5 minutes. Talent & skill isn’t something that is served onto a plate where you just eat it up & suddenly you get better. It’s years, YEARS, of hard work, trial & error to understand the art of art.

Here’s one more thing: try not comparing yourself to other artists. I find that’s very draining on one’s self-esteem, & that bottle is quite difficult to fill back up. You should: admire their art, use the “I WANNA BE THAT GOOD holy fuCK” feeling to propel yourself forward to get better in art.

So just fucking make ART! Don’t stop! Only stop for food along the way! & sleep. & maybe a shower.

cupstress mugstress copy
Cupstress Mugstress

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Gray ace! Gray aromantic as well. I pretty sure it’s fluid because it changes a lot. Somedays I’m like “hey, that person is really cute!” & other days it’s “you’re so goddamn aesthetically pleasing to my eye holy shit”. Many days it’s “CAN WE HANG OUT. PLZ”. It’s never been “omg hotness I wanna bang you”. I just don’t see how people are like that! How the hell are people attracted to genitalia anyways…

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

Many times. Sometimes, it’s best to ignore it. Although I believe it’s best to talk things out & educate people. I have a friend who thinks sex is the ultimate expression of love. Being ace, I disagreed & we discussed it. He didn’t understand how it was possible to be asexual & still date someone. I told him what I knew: sometimes people just want to cuddle & not have sex. Some people enjoy the act of sex while not being attracted to the person.

I love to explain it to people like this: Do you see a flower? Do you think it’s pretty? Do you want to fuck the flower?

To many people, they would answer: yes, yes, no. I then draw parallels to asexuality: we see a person, we think they’re pretty (aesthetically) & we don’t want to sex the person.

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

“ACE PEOPLE CAN’T/DON’T WANT SEX. ACE PEOPLE CAN’T/DON’T WANT LOVE.” That’s pure fucking bullshit & me & my ace friends will gladly give a fuck about that. I don’t blame a closed mindset; some people literally cannot fathom asexuality & what it’s like! It’s at that point in time we throw some education in their direction & try to get them to understand.

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

Ace people don’t give any fucks, that’s what I say! You aren’t broken, you don’t need fixing. Accepting yourself is hard as bricks … you can break through that wall. You will hear people who will say “Maybe you’ll find somebody. Maybe you’ll change your mind”. I once found those words troubling; I stopped once I gave them my own meaning. I realized that even though I am ace, I can still love someone! I can still have sex, have feelings & do the things. I just don’t experience them as often, nor do I want to.

Maybe I will find somebody who will love me for who I am. Maybe my mind will change; after all, sexuality is fluid. Like fluid, it changes. I’m going to be hitting my 30s soon & I haven’t had my first kiss or first sex. I don’t care if it never happens.

Don’t worry about “not being normal”. Your sexuality is your normal. Hug it, take it out to dinner. Don’t give any fucks. That’s one thing ace people are really good at.

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

Please send all the lovelies to:

Twitter: Murkrowzy
Tumblr: GlassesCatMurk/MetroCatStudios (for art!)
YouTube: SurvivorMurk

*PTERODACTYL SCREECH*

murk retail
Murk Retail

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

Interview: Jordan

Today we’re joined by Jordan. Jordan is a fantastic author who currently has a short story out in the world, in the collection entitled Athena’s Daughters. When she’s not writing, Jordan does various crafts and even enjoys singing in a local LGBTQIA+ affirming chorus. Jordan is obviously an incredibly dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

athenasdaughters2cover

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer who dabbles in art and various and sundry forms of crafting. I mainly write curriculum material these days (I’m a high school English teacher), but I’m a Published Author (all-caps, so official, yes yes) with a short story out in the world. I enjoy making costumes, knitting, doing cross-stitch, writing fan-fiction, and baking. Oh! I sing, too. I’m a member of an LGBT-affirming chorus in my hometown.

What inspires you?

My family and friends, and often, my students. And books! Good lord, books. I read voraciously, and nothing is more inspiring than encountering a book that you can get yourself completely lost in for a few hours. I read a lot of historical fiction, and I’ve been diving into LGBT+ YA quite a bit since I started teaching. Glorious stuff, all.

cupcakespic

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

I’ve always been interested in the arts. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been writing stories. I remember a “series” I wrote when I was in first or second grade all about my favorite teddy bear. It was called “Cinnamon: Bear of the World,” and it chronicled the adventures of my teddy as he saved lives and spread love across the globe. I fell in love with anime in middle school and started drawing then — I’ve never stopped, really, although my anime obsession has fallen to the wayside (probably for the best). I was introduced to Broadway pretty early by my parents who recognized a drama student when they saw one, and after seeing “Beauty & the Beast” when I was 7, I’ve never looked back.

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 necessarily include them in my “official” work, but I like to sneak opossums in whenever I can. I always draw opossums when I sign yearbooks, and I’ve gotten very good at drawing one on the spot in less than 10 seconds.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do your craft. If you’re an aspiring writer, WRITE! Love art but not sure if you’re good enough to make it in the real world? Who cares! Draw! Paint! Sew! Bake! Even if you think your stuff is awful, you’ll never get better unless you keep getting your work out there and practicing like it’s your job (and maybe it will be). I look back at things I wrote even five years ago and I shudder. We’re always developing and growing, learning, as artists, and that’s OK!

IMG_0145

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aro-ace.

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

Not necessarily in my field (although there is plenty of ace-phobia out there on the Internet, and Tumblr is no exception), but in my personal life, I struggle to get myself recognized. I’m not “out” to most of my family, but when I express my desire to remain single and my apathy towards romance, the most common response is confusion or even exasperation. My parents are afraid that I’ll end up alone, and it’s difficult to convince them that having a partner and/or getting married are not the end-all-be-all. I try to explain asexuality, usually without using the actual word, as simple and logically as I can. It’s a work in progress.

IMG_0146

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

That you’ll “find the right person,” or that you should get into counseling. I take medicine for my OCD, and my parents have suggested that I talk to my doctor to get my prescription changed, as if that would alter my views on romance and sex.

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

You are valid, you are not a freak, you are are not unlovable or unloved. Just like gender is a spectrum, so too is sexuality. Some people like girls; some people like guys; some people like both; some people like everybody; and yes, some people don’t “like” anyone, and that doesn’t mean you’re broken. Your life can be as full and rewarding as you want it to be: your worth is NOT measured by your libido. Be strong, loves, and surround yourself with people who love and accept you for who you are.

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

My short story “As Far as Death This Way” is in the Athena’s Daughter’s 2 Anthology published by Silence in the Library and can be purchased in hard-copy or eBook form on Amazon at http://a.co/3fx7mPK

I’m on Tumblr at dozmuffinxc, Instagram at extermiteach, and I have a fledgling travel blog at http://www.anopossumabroad.wordpress.com.

IMG_0147

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

Interview: Pesky

Today we’re joined by Pesky. Pesky is a wonderful fanartist and crafter. They write a lot of fanfiction, specializing in queer relationships. When they’re not writing fanfiction, Pesky enjoys doing crafts and specializes in knitting and crochet. They sell their work on Etsy. It’s very clear that Pesky is a dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write fanfiction in whatever fandom I’m in at the moment, usually involving very little romance and when there is romance, it never involves straight characters. Even my m/f relationships tend to involve at least one non-straight or non-cis character.

I knit and crochet a lot, and I usually have at least five different projects at any given time. Since I don’t usually make things my friends and family would enjoy, I’ve recently opened an Etsy shop to give those projects I have no use for a home. The completed project I’m currently most proud of is a triangle shawl I made out of wool scraps from an old elementary school finger knitting project.

Sewing is a recent addiction to my repertoire, mainly for the purpose of practicality and cheap small useful things.

What inspires you?

In fandom, my friends and my conversations with them are often my inspiration for my writing. Besides that, I try to fill absences and correct flaws in the source material. (We exist, after all, and yet, very few of us ever make it into mainstream media.)

In my crafting efforts I’m much more focused on aesthetics. I make things that I enjoy looking at, that I enjoy touching and wearing. Also, novelty. I have a terrible attention span, so I’m always on the lookout for new patterns, new techniques, new interesting projects, new challenges. (This is also why I have so many projects going at once.)

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

Actually, it’s all my mother’s fault.

She’s the one who introduced me to fanfic, because she found Twilight fic on deviantArt and was like, hey, I think my kid would like this! Eventually I started writing my own fic and poetry, and besides extended writer’s blocks caused by depression and anxiety, I haven’t stopped since I was fourteen. Now I’m almost twenty-four.

Mom was also the one who taught me to knit. I used to go to her to get help with casting on because I couldn’t figure it out how to do it for the longest time. These days I have things to teach her.

Crocheting on the other hand, I taught myself via YouTube, because my sister’s been crocheting for years and I wanted to learn this skill too. The differences and similarities with knitting have made it a valuable learning experience and the fact that many crocheted projects can be completed very quickly makes it much easier for me when my attention span is especially short.

Sewing is pretty much the only lasting gift my grandmother gave me. Everything else I learned from her has turned out to be toxic, bigoted cow manure.

All of my creative work comes from skills I discovered as a teenager and adult. I don’t think I would’ve gotten here any other way. And I look forward to continuing to learn new things.

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

My Etsy projects all get a tag sewed on with my shop name and username on it, but other than that, I don’t think I’ve got anything besides my Tumblr profile pic, which I drew myself.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times before but the best thing you can do is practice. Find exercises for practicing common techniques in your chosen medium and repeat them over and over again.

Write all the terrible awful things you can. Trust me, you’ll learn from your mistakes.

Knit a hundred ugly uneven scarves or hats or legwarmers or whatever. You’ll learn a lot.

Draw all the unrealistic little sketches, paint all the paintings in badly chosen colors, sew all the weird little unusable bags.

Do research and then try out all the things you learn. Keep doing it until it starts looking like something you’re happy with. And in the meantime, forgive yourself for making mistakes. You’ll never stop making mistakes, you’ll just learn to fix them or make them look like they’re deliberate.

And keep in mind that practice and hard work always wins out over talent. Talent is a head start, not the goal.

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’m lucky to have never directly encountered ace prejudice beyond the general “aces are basically cishets and they’re stealing lgbt+ resources”. But I’ve never encountered that kind of thing directed at me so I’m honestly not sure what I’d do if I did.

In fact, almost all of the close friendships I’ve made in fandom are with other aces. A funny coincidence, since I searched out fellow fans, not fellow aces.

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

“It’s just celibacy.” I’ve actually been told that to my face at a pride parade when I explained to someone that the colors of my clothes are the same as on the ace flag. I was still pretty new to the whole ace thing and ended up totally speechless.

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

Kinda depends on what exactly they’re struggling with.

In general, I’d say, find people who are struggling with similar things or who have struggled with similar things. Talk to them, try following their advice and give yourself time. Stop talking to people who make you feel guilty, ashamed or insecure about your identity.

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

I’m on Tumblr, Archive of Our Own and on Etsy. My username is peskylilcritter on pretty much every platform. My Etsy shop is, creatively, peskylilshop and my Tumblr writing sideblog is peskywritesstuff.

On my main Tumblr, I usually tag my writing with #pesky writes stuff and every other creative endeavor with #pesky makes stuff.

Feel free to come visit! And if you’ve got any more questions, my ask box is always open 😉

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

Interview: Teloka Berry

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

aceinterview_01

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

aceinterview_02

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

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

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

aceinterview_03

What inspires you?

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

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

aceinterview_04

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

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

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

aceinterview_05

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

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

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

aceinterview_06a

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

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

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

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

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

aceinterview_07

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

aceinterview_08

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

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

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

Ace people can be sex positive and interested in intimacy.

Allosexual people can be sex repulsed or simply disinterested.

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

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

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

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

aceinterview_09

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: KC

Today we’re joined by KC. KC is a phenomenal author who specializes in children’s books. She wants to write for older children who don’t like to read, since there aren’t many books aimed at that demographic. When she’s not writing, she also enjoys doing crafts, knitting in particular. KC is clearly a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I knit as a hobby and tinker with water coloring and brush lettering on the side, but my real love is writing. I’ve always been enthralled by stories. I wrote a handful of books in middle school and high school, but they were short, dry, and lacking in substance. Now that I’m in college, I’ve become more serious about the quality of my work.

I like writing for children, upper-elementary kids in particular. Fifth grade is typically the age when kids decide if they love reading or could do without it, and I want to do what I can to hook the kids that might miss out on what could be a great passion. In my experience, there aren’t many older children’s books out there for kids who don’t like reading. I want to change that.

What inspires you?

In life, I’m inspired by the feisty women of history. Anne Sullivan Macy and Eglantyne Jebb, to name a few.

In my writing, I’m inspired by the people around me. The kids at my work who have big personalities and even bigger souls, but no one to take them seriously, are my muse.

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

I’ve loved stories from a very young age. My fondest childhood memories were spent playing elaborate games of pretend with my siblings, and weaving epic tales with my toys.

It was The Tale of Desperaux that made me want to be a writer. Kate diCamillo lit a spark in my eight-year-old heart and showed me the true beauty and power of stories. I wanted to be just like her and spread that spark to other eager hearts.

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?

For the longest time, I always had “green mush” slipped into each one of my stories one way or another. I’m still deciding whether or not I want to keep up the trend.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Find a community of artists to surround yourself with. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without the constructive feedback and unwavering support I found in my high school writing club.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aromantic asexual.

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

I’m not out yet, so I can’t really say for sure. Interestingly enough, my roommate is also a writer, and one of her protagonists is asexual, so I’d say it’s actually going very well on that front.

At the moment, the most difficult part about being an aspec writer is that I can’t write romance. It’s actually really pathetic. Nonetheless, I know that many haven’t had it as easy as I have, and I don’t want to play down the difficulties experienced by the ace community as a whole.

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

That we’re cringy loners who made up an orientation to feel good about ourselves. I’m sorry to say it, but before I knew I was ace, I bought into this.

The main reason I haven’t come out is because I’m afraid people won’t take it seriously. I’m afraid they’ll think I found some label in the deep crevices of Tumblr and now I’m convinced that I’m not straight anymore. I very much wanted to believe I was straight, but that didn’t help the horrifying nausea I felt when I was asked out to prom, or the petrifying fear when the guy I thought I was crushing on texted back.

My orientation is not for anyone to deny, because trust me, I’ve thought about it a lot longer than the person who asks if I’ve ever had my hormones checked or the people who say I’ll change my mind when I’m older.

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

Give yourself time to come into your asexuality. Don’t rush it, just let it happen. I’ve spent way too many sleepless nights with racing thoughts. Take your time. Maybe you’ll find that you don’t identify with what you originally thought. Maybe you were right all along. Whatever happens, your identity is your own. Don’t let anyone define it for you.

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

I have an official author website, but as I’m not out yet, I won’t disclose it publicly. My inbox is always open at helpful-hardware-folk on Tumblr, and I’m more than happy to chat about anything, writing and asexuality and everything in between 🙂

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

Interview: Renessa Jones

Today we’re joined by Renessa Jones. Renessa is a wonderful crafter and visual artist. She does knitting, perler art, and charm making. When she’s not crafting, Renessa enjoys drawing. She has filled out a number of sketchbooks and has a great deal of passion, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

furry video games
Furry Video Games

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do several mediums of art. I knit, make charms, perler art, and draw. Drawing and knitting are probably my favorites. I started both to assist with my anxiety and both have helped greatly. I have a large stack of sketchbooks climbing half way up my bed room wall.

What inspires you?

Let’s see, TV mostly. Television, movies, and characters I love. I draw cartoons mostly. Now with knitting, I’m inspired by who’s getting the knitting project, their favorite colors and things. I make cute things because cute things are adorable!

hipster tad
Hipster Tad

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

Like I said I took up knitting to help with crippling anxiety.

However, when I was little we were so poor we couldn’t afford to pay for electricity one month. My mom taught me how to draw cartoons since there was no TV. She taught me how to draw a bear head, a dog head, cat head, and Mickey. I practiced because I wanted to be as good as my mom. Then when I was in high school my mom told me she wanted to draw as good as me and this made me happier than anything.

I loved drawing since I was a kid. I was never paying attention in school because I was drawing. There is nothing better than seeing an empty page then almost like magic there was a drawing.

jesse and matt
Jesse and Matt

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 especially, I do sign my digital art with my initials RJ.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

PRACTICE! I didn’t think I was any good when I was little. I drew pictures ALL the time and over time I got better. I practice drawing faces and hair a lot so I can get better. I need to practice drawing hands cause you practically have to sell your soul if you want to draw nice hands.

owlly 2
Owlly 2

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a heteroromantic asexual.

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

My mom tries to understand but I know she thinks I have something physically wrong with me. She thinks I will get over it when I’m older. My friend says once I’ve had it I’ll change my mind. I haven’t met any prejudice yet luckily, but then again I haven’t told many people.

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

That you just need to have it to like it. That doesn’t seem right to me. Even if someone has never had sex they should be able to say whether they are interested or not. I’m not interested, in fact the idea of myself doing it makes me physically nauseous some times.

stanley and sakura kissy
Stanley and Sakura Kissy

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

It’s OK to not like it. You are not broken or alone. You are not any less of a person. You can still fall in love if you have romantic feelings. You can have a relationship with love and not have sex because sex does NOT equal love. If you’re with someone who just loves you because they will get sex they are NOT worth your time. You are better than that.

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

My Tumblr is sosospoopy, feel free to send a message and say howdy ^ ^ I tag my art renessadraws and renessaknits

wirt and beatrice wings
Wirt and Beatrice Wings

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

Interview: Lettie Harris

Today we’re joined by Lettie Harris. Lettie is a phenomenal artist who does machine embroidery. They have made a trans pride themed line of accessories and are hoping to start an ace one as well. Their work is positively beautiful with bright, vivid colors and a great eye for detail. Lettie is an amazingly dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

20170920_143740

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

(Artist owns a crafting business in its startup phases. They do machine embroidery and want to make an ace pride themed line of accessories. They already started on a trans pride themed line)

What inspires you?

I would say my activism is the main thing. Not only am I Asexual but I’m also Non-Binary. I feel both things have a lot of misconceptions and misinformation about them. I’m hoping with my art to maybe open some eyes and start some conversations.

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

I have always been an artist of some kind but with different mediums. I got into my current job of machine embroidery through learning hand embroidery. I got into hand embroidery through a medieval reenactment group I joined.

20170921_175547

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?

That is hard to do with my current medium. I definitely will be passing out business cards though!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t let others tell you not to create. I’ve had many critics but now I’m living my dream of being a full-time artist.

20170921_220027

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Probably Gray Ace. It’s fluid like most things and flows between the Ace spectrum.

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

Not yet in my field, but definitely outside of it. “If I was better at sex I would like it more” or “I just haven’t met the right person” I have heard things like that. Even from a therapist, who I promptly stopped seeing.

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

That it is a choice. I have heard this many times and it always frustrates me. I don’t like feeling weird and outcast by my peers and society I would never choose that. But it is not fair to myself to just conform and follow what’s “normal” and be unhappy my entire life

20170922_170006

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

You are not broken. Nothing is wrong with you. I thought those things most of my life until I found out that there was a thing called Asexual and I wasn’t alone and it was okay to feel this way. It is also 100% okay to be in a romantic relationship where sex is not the main focus. Which is not how life is portrayed in our culture.

IMG_1506208674186

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

This page might not be fully up and running by the time this is seen but it will be soon so if you like it I will post when the shop function is available if you are interested in that. Otherwise I have a folder with my Pride stuff in it you are more than welcome to look at. Which I add more to every day!

20170926_093615

 

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