Interview: Freya Murphy

Today we’re joined by Freya Murphy. Freya is a phenomenal dancer from England who does ballet with a bit of contemporary thrown in. She has been dancing ballet for fifteen years. When she’s not dancing, Freya enjoys doing visual art and has worked in a wide variety of mediums. She mainly does charcoal drawings, oil paints, sewing, and ink painting but has also recently gotten into nail art. It’s clear she’s an extraordinarily passionate and dedicated 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.

My art is mainly twofold: dance and the more traditional art of creating physical pieces.  When it comes to dance, I’m mainly a ballerina with a little bit of contemporary added in here and there.  My physical art is a mixture of all sorts – charcoal drawings from Life Class, clay sculptures, ink paintings, and some sewing.  My main and most favourite medium however is oil paint.  Oh, and I love doing my nails – I’ve done the ace flag on my nails several times whenever I’m attending LGBTQ+ events.

What inspires you?

Mainly my problems or difficulties in life haha.  I find it so much easier to create based upon my own personal experiences, as I find it more interesting and like it’s my own. So far, I’ve done projects on insecurities (more as a concept than any one specific insecurity), my eczema, my less than usual sleeping position (and my lack of sleep), and my bad eyesight. Seeing all of the amazing art that other artists have created and seeing what new and exciting directions that they have managed to push their art, certainly inspires me to try ideas even if I’m not certain of the results.

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

When it comes to ballet, I’ve been doing it for just over 15 years, since I was three years old.  Over time, I’ve come to realise that it helps me with my social anxiety – I can perform in front of anywhere from 3 people to 400, and I only get the normal nerves, rather than the crippling anxiety I would normally get doing anything in front of any number of people.  I also just love the beauty of ballet, and the free feeling I get when dancing.  It has become such an intrinsic part of me.

For my physical art, I have taken it throughout school, all the way to A-level.  It was only at GCSE that I realised I had such a love for it, as that was when we were given so much more freedom to do what we wanted and make it very personal. However, looking back, I’ve always been creative in some way, and I have a very vivid imagination – often too vivid! I’ve also loved museums for as long as I can remember, always needing to visit at least one museum whenever I went to a new place.  In the past four years or so this has expanded to include art museums and galleries as well.

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

Not so far, as I’ve just started to explore all the many possibilities of art that are out there, when you’re not restricted by trying to get the most marks in the exam!  I’m excited to find out where it goes next.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Experiment! Try things out! Art is one of those special places where you can try whatever you want, just to see what happens! Also, write down any ideas you have, or anything you find interesting.  In school we were given ‘visual diaries’ to write down anything relating to our art.  I have found it massively helpful, sometimes to just visualise your ideas, or sometimes to come back to when you’re struggling for an idea, or just to be nostalgic. I write everything in it, from the numbers of photos I want to print out, to artists I want to research or just like, to sketches of final pieces or about what materials or techniques did or didn’t work.  When your brain is always going 1000mph like mine and many others’ are, it helps to have something written down that you can physically flip back to, so that you don’t have to stress about forgetting it.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a biromantic asexual.  I’ve identified as asexual for the past three or four years, but only just discovered about myself that I was biromantic in the past two or three months, so that part of me still feels very new to say and acknowledge.

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

I’ve never experienced any when it comes to my art, thankfully, but then again, my work has never involved my asexuality – maybe that could be what my next project is about…

In my personal life I’ve experienced more ignorance than prejudice.  Most people tend to be accepting once they understand it, but it takes some people a while to wrap their heads around the idea for some strange reason.  Luckily close friends who don’t understand it have been accepting straight away, even when confused!  And I encourage them to not be afraid to ask me questions about it, as I always love to help people in any way – and I’d rather they asked me, than sat there confused and accidentally said something rude or ignorant to someone else.

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

That we don’t want romance, or that a romantic relationship with me would be ‘boring’ (direct quote from a close friend).  Not all asexual people are aromantic, just as not all aromantic people are asexual.  Actually, a lot of people don’t realise that your romantic and sexual orientation can be different, and not just amongst aro/aces.  I should hope that a relationship with me isn’t boring (my boyfriend seems perfectly happy!), or if it is, then it’s due to my personality or something, and not my asexuality.

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

I’m still relatively new to discovering my asexuality, so I don’t have any major advice, but probably never let anybody tell you who you are, or that who you are is wrong.  Only you truly know who you are, better than anybody else, even if you’re still figuring it out.  They can help you on your journey by providing advice and support, but at the end of the day it’s yourself that you’re figuring out.  Oh, and don’t be afraid to try out different labels to work out which one fits you best – AND you don’t have to end up with any labels at all, if that’s what feels right to you! I went through a period of about half a year where I tried out different labels internally to figure what felt right, from homosexual to bisexual to demi sexual, to homoromantic to heteroromantic before I finally settled on biromantic asexual, and that might even change in 10 years’ time once I get to know myself even better than I do now!  It’s also fine if it takes you time to figure out who you are, as it can be a complex thing – we are all complicated simply by being human!

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

Well I’ve just set up a new Tumblr blog for my art and ace things (along with newbie witch things and the occasional jacksepticeye reblog) where I’m going to start posting my art in the next week or so. It’s called freya-the-ace-artist.

My art account on Instagram is also very very new, but it’s called freyas_ace_art.

You’re welcome to have a look, it would be greatly appreciated

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

Interview: Sabrina

Today we’re joined by Sabrina, who also goes by how-to-sit-gay. Sabrina is a phenomenal writer and dancer from Germany. She has recently picked up fanfiction again after a five year hiatus. She started writing fanfiction over ten years ago and wrote in a variety of fandoms. When she isn’t writing fic, Sabrina writes a lot of original work, mostly short fiction and poetry. Aside from writing, Sabrina also danced quite a lot. She danced in a Gardetanzgruppe, which is part of carnival culture in Western and Southern Germany (for an example, here’s a video). My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

It feels like I’ve been writing stories since I was able to spell my name, even though this might be far from true. I wrote my first proper fanfiction back in 2005, but I started writing poems and original stories before that, way back to when I was in elementary school. Since then I have written more short stories and poems than I can count, apart from fanfiction.

Gardetanz is a very special dancing style that is deeply rooted in the carnival culture of Western and Southern Germany. I started dancing when I was a wee little 7 year old and only stopped 17 years later when I moved away to a federal state that has no carnival traditions whatsoever and hence no dance group for me to join. I still miss it so much. Luckily, any kind of dancing or working with my body still comes naturally to me.

What inspires you?

Usually it is my latest obsession, which I think is not uncommon for fanfiction writers. I’m quite often inspired by songs – some lyrics fragment that just makes me immediately develop a scene in my head.

When it comes to original stories or poems I draw a lot from personal experience, especially when it’s about struggle or going into the dark places of one’s mind. I’ve only ever written two “happy” poems in my whole life, and that just to prove myself that I can.

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

Looking back, it seems like I was born with a pencil in my hand. Always either drawing or writing. And when I was not holding a pencil, I was running and dancing around. Little Me didn’t care for her 39.5 °C fever, she just needed to relentlessly jump and flail.

How and why I started dancing I is a simple story. Our across the street neighbour told my mother about starting a children’s dancing group in our local carnival club, and she thought this would be a nice way to have me use my pent up energy. It was one of her best decisions.

I never wanted to be any kind of artist, or at least I hadn’t planned to. In the end I just became Me with a raving passion to create stories, and to move my body.

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, except you count the main characters having a snarky and sarcastic kind of banter going on. This just happens naturally. But I’m actually thinking about implementing something like this now, like in Bones where there’s always a clock showing 4:47 in key scenes.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Go for it. And of course practice makes (almost) perfect. It’s actually a good sign when you look at your old work and cringe a little (or a lot in my case), because it shows that you’ve grown and improved yourself. This counts for works both of the mind and the body.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

It’s really hard to tell, the safest bet would be grey-asexual, but there are times when I go “full ace” for different lengths of time. As I have figured out thanks to my last relationship, if there is any sexual attraction to happen it definitely isn’t towards male identifying persons. Romantically I’m pan, though.

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

Not personally, so far. I think when it comes to writing fanfiction where people try to live out their own fantasies (not necessarily sex-wise), there are a lot of misconceptions about ace writers. Yes, I am ace. Yes, I can enjoy reading smutty scenes. Yes, I am also capable of writing them myself and have already done so. No, I’m not an innocent child who squeals ‘ewwww’ as soon as the characters kiss.

I don’t know how it is with dancing. Luckily for me, Gardetanz isn’t a dancing style loaded with sexual undertones, even though the skirts are so short and your panties are visible most of the time. In my group there was never any other sexuality discussed than heterosexuality, so I don’t even know if my fellow dancers realised I was and still am utterly queer. In the end, probably the same common misconceptions apply there as in most other cases.

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

First and foremost of course, that it doesn’t exist and I just haven’t had good sex yet. That it’s not natural. That I must have lived through some trauma but maybe can be ‘repaired’.

When I was looking for a therapist for my depression and anxiety, one said to me that I probably don’t want to have sex because I’m such a closed off person. That woman never saw me again.

And being on Tumblr for quite some time now, I noticed the astounding misconception that ace people don’t belong to the LGBTQIA+ community, that we’re basically just prude/virgin hets-to-happen. The first ones I can shrug off, the latter one really riles me up.

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

Don’t doubt yourself and your feelings (or lack thereof), everything you experience and feel is valid. You don’t need to put a tag on yourself if you can’t or don’t want to. There are times it feels like the world just wants to spit in your face, but there will be a time all that sh*t will go away to make room for all the good things.

I basically try to live by some wise words by Charlie Chaplin: “Nothing is permanent in this wicked world – not even our troubles.”

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

After a very long writing hiatus, I finally published a fanfiction again. It can be found on AO3 under my username how_to_sit_gay. I’m thinking about uploading my old (English) RP fanfiction after re-reading and editing it as well, but this might take some time.

Said old tennis RPF can be found at poetry-of-dance.livejournal.com/tag/fic but I probably really have to revise them as they are more than 8 years old. Last but not least, a lot of my German short stories and (revised) fanfics (2006-2009) are on fanfiktion.de/u/AngelOfFreedom

Unfortunately there are no videos from our Garde performances online. You have to search YouTube for “Gardetanz” to get an impression of it.

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

Interview: Jo Troll

Today we’re joined by Jo Troll. Jo is a phenomenal dancer who has recently branched out into what they term artistic intervention. They do a lot of Irish dancing and they have danced contemporary styles in the past. They’re currently focused on tackling cisnormativity in dance. It’s clear they’re a passionate and dedicated artist with an important message, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a dancer/choreographer that’s branched out into installation art and other methods of “artistic intervention”. I’m originally an Irish step dancer who strayed from the path and got really interested in contemporary dance. After a year at a conservatoire, I got really fed up with the value system in a lot of contemporary dance worlds and have been moving back towards Irish dance. I say Irish dance because that includes contemporary (but not competition) Irish step, older styles of step dancing, and sean-nos, an improvisational percussive dance form. Recently, a lot of my work has centered around my trans identity and trans visibility, and I’m currently at a point of transition where I’m trying to figure out how to tackle other concepts while continuing to challenge cisnormativity in dance.

What inspires you?

Anger. Anything that makes me even the slightest bit angry. I even made a whole piece about anger inspired by the respectability politics I was managing at my school at the time (I’m also super petty and may have built an installation based on how to most inconvenience someone that was being transphobic). It’s hard to exist in the world without being angry and it’s even harder as someone with multiple invisible identities (nonbinary, trans, asexual, aromantic…) who is usually read as female because anger is so much more likely to be invalidated by people in power. Performing is my chance to express my anger and make people listen. If you pay to go see someone, you’re a lot more likely to listen to them than if they try to challenge you in the middle of a conversation. Even if you should probably listen in both circumstances (this is a very general you).

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Jane 3 [photo taken by an audience member]
What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

So, when I was ten, my mom was really sick of driving me to soccer games and bribed me out of soccer with Irish dance lessons. That’s the main story. I’ve had a lot of beginnings in dance, but I’ve probably known since I was eight or so that I was going to be a dancer. Since ten is actually a late start for dance, I’ve had a lot of insecurities which kept me from voicing that for a long time and gotten in my own way a lot of the time, but it’s always been knowledge that this was what I was going to do, not a wish or a desire.

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?

Well, everyone that knows my work (i.e. the wonderful friends that help me workshop things) claim that it’s distinct. I’d say that’s more because there’s not a lot of non-competitive dancers doing work around queer identity than because there’s anything particular to me. The most signature thing that stays true between pieces is costume – I always wear a hat and I almost always wear a skirt. The hat is just because I like hats and feel vaguely naked without one. The skirt is a very specific form of protest – people struggle to see feminine FAAB nonbinary people as nonbinary because we don’t fit the standard “androgynous” look deemed acceptable for FAAB folks. So, when I do have all the power to make people listen, I want to look as feminine as possible while I do it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If a system isn’t working for you, that’s not your fault. It’s always fine to leave, say “no”, or even make your own system. This is very true for dance – it took me a long time to learn that if a ballet teacher made me feel icky, I didn’t have to go to their class – but I feel like it is probably true for other forms of art too. There are infinite ways to make things. If something doesn’t work for you, there’s always another way.

Also, surround yourself with people that care about your work. I have a great list of people I trust to give me both encouragement and constructive feedback. It is impossible to make work in a complete vacuum (there are artists who have tried, I know), so be picky about who you work with, and find the people who truly want to make your art as strong as it can possibly be, because that is how you will find support and growth.

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Photo by Olivia Blaisdell Photography / halfasianlens, courtesy of Dancing Queerly, 2018

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aroace. Probably.

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

Hehe. Quite recently, I was speaking on a panel on queer dance and I was responding to a question about asexual dance when I was interrupted mid-thought by another panelist who went on to talk about how they would never apologize for putting sex into their work. There’s a habit in dance, especially in queer dance, to focus on the sexual and see the nonsexual and the asexual as restrictive, backwards, and uninteresting. I can make work about transness and be brave. If I make work about asexuality, I’m regressive and “hurting the cause”.

I haven’t found my answer yet, but I’m working to really figure out what it means to dance asexually. I can make statements and comments as much as I’d like, but the most important thing is to keep owning the work that I make and who I am. If someone feels the need to go on the defensive about it, that’s their problem.

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

Heh. I think the biggest thing I see in dance, especially in queer art circles, is that somehow or other, asexuality threatens or denies the ability to claim and own other sexualities. Or, in other terms, that asexuality desexualizes other sexualities. I understand the threat for queer artists queer sexuality of all forms has been under attack for a long time, but it becomes a problem when this is used as an excuse to silence asexual voices. The possibility of asexuality does not negate the possibility of other queer sexualities, it is simply an expansion of what queer sexuality can be, which I find super exciting. I don’t have as much patience or understanding when allo, cis, straight dancers get up in arms about this too, but it does tell me that sexuality brings up lots of feelings for everyone. We just have to slowly untangle them. I would prefer it if all allo dancers would bother to look up the definition of asexuality before getting defensive though.

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

It’s OK to struggle. These things aren’t always easy. All you can do is own where you are right now.

Surround yourself with things that make you feel good. Books with characters you relate to. Music that speaks to your heart. People that make you smile and feel like you are worth something. There are loads of recommendations out there for the young acespec and that can be helpful if you don’t know where to start, but don’t feel guilty if the thing that’s right for you isn’t in the ace community hivemind, or even explicitly ace-related. Take what’s right for you.

And make art. Art is a powerful tool for self-care and self-expression. Find the way it works for you and use it.

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

I’ve got a website: jotroll.wordpress.com
And I blog a lot: jotdancing.wordpress.com
You can also find me on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/jotrolldance/
And on Tumblr at: https://jotrolldance.tumblr.com/

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Photo by Ray Bernoff

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

Interview: Phoebe

Today we’re joined by Phoebe. Phoebe is a phenomenal dancer who both dances and choreographs. She has danced regularly throughout school and with companies, but lately has mostly been dancing for herself. Phoebe has also recently taken up cooking and baking. She cooks both for baking and presentation. It’s clear she’s an incredibly passionate artist who loves what she does, 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 am a dancer and choreographer, mostly just for myself these days, but in the past I have choreographed and performed with college dance clubs and teams, and companies affiliated with my dance studios before that. I’m not amazing, but I don’t think I’m terrible, either. When I’m not dancing, I love cooking and baking, both in terms of flavorful and presentational aspects.

What inspires you?

Is it cliché to say that music inspires me most of the time? I have what I affectionately call a “bad habit” of dancing to just about anything, especially if it’s something I hear often, including but not limited to TV show and podcast theme songs. If you pull up next to me at a stoplight, there is a 90% chance I’ll be choreographing to the radio. I love getting hooked in by a beat or a lyric and seeing what my body comes up with, or how I can express a feeling evoked by a song.

I am also constantly inspired by other dancers, both my friends and on YouTube, though I avoid watching any one video repeatedly when choreographing in an effort to avoid plagiarism. I am also inspired by figure skaters, especially since I took skating lessons myself for several years.

Alternatively, sometimes it helps me to start with an overarching theme and go from there. To give an example, my senior year of college my dance composition class put on a concert where the theme was The Four Seasons, and I was in charge of Autumn, so I was inspired by images of falling leaves, harvest, the idea of transition and change, folksy-sounding instrumentals, and a general Halloween-y spookiness.

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

My parents put me in dance classes when I was three, because I would dance all over the house. To the best of my knowledge, I started choreographing when I was around eight, and since then I’ve always loved putting a dance together and seeing it come to life onstage. For a long time I wanted to be a professional dancer, until it became clear for multiple reasons why that wasn’t going to work out.

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

If it’s a solo, there’s a 90% chance I will either: a) forget my own choreography and have to make something up on the spot, or b) realize about 2/3 of the way through that I made this too hard on myself and I have reached the limit of my endurance, but must power through anyway.

On a more serious note, I think that I tend towards big, more dramatic movements in my choreography. I also like incorporating visually interesting formations in my choreography whenever possible.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep practicing – even if you think you suck! Chances are you don’t suck nearly as much as you think you do, and you can’t improve unless you keep practicing. It also helps you stay in shape, so that when you finish a dance and want to record it, you can look your best doing it.

Also, do it for yourself, even if you’re not doing it for anybody else. Find studios and companies and communities where you feel supported and welcome, and that you genuinely love both the dances you choreograph and the ones you’re just a dancer in. Don’t try to imitate anyone else too closely, but make sure your dancing and your choreography feels true and authentic to you.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual. I haven’t totally figured out my romantic orientation, but demiromantic is feeling like a good place for right now.

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

I haven’t encountered any because I haven’t been out to many people yet, and even fewer among people I’ve danced with. I have felt personally uncomfortable performing more overtly sexual choreography, so I’ve handled this by being selective about the choreographers I work with, and if an explanation is necessary, I’ll just respectfully say that while I like their style, I just don’t think it’s for me. So far, no one I’ve danced with has been offended.

I do worry that sometimes I use movements that I might see as sensual, but others might see as more sexual. The best advice I can give here is to be comfortable with yourself and your body, do what feels right for you, and remember that whatever behavior you decide to engage in in your personal life doesn’t have to be reflected in what you decide to do onstage.

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

That just because I’m not sexually attracted to someone, doesn’t mean I can’t love them deeply, or that I hate sex/would treat it as a commodity or something to be “earned” in a relationship. This mostly stems from past relationships.

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

I don’t know that I’m the best person to be giving advice on this, but I will say this: you know you best, and you’re the only one who can decide what labels work best for you, or if you want to have labels at all. And anyone who doesn’t respect your orientation and what you are and aren’t comfortable with isn’t worth it.

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

I have a small YouTube channel where I occasionally post videos of my work. It’s very sporadic because I’m no longer part of a studio or a company, but I upload when I can. This is my favorite solo project I’ve done so far, this is my most popular dance that I’ve ever choreographed, although I don’t dance in it, and this is my personal favorite group dance that I am also dancing in (kind of my baby from that year).

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

Interview: Sierra

Today we’re joined by Sierra. Sierra is a phenomenal poet and dancer. She uses art as an outlet. When she’s not choreographing dances, Sierra enjoys writing poetry. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist with a great amount of enthusiasm, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a dancer and poet. I write or choreograph what I am feeling and use my art as an outlet for my emotions. I try to address issues and subjects many people deal with such as mental health, grief, etc. I think it is important for everyone to express themselves, and if my art can be used to help someone express themselves, I feel I have reached my goal.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by everything, but my main inspiration is people. When I see someone being purely themselves, I can see the art in them and want to be able to express that to others. I also get a lot of my inspiration from music of all kinds.

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

I have always loved the arts, specifically dancing. I grew up dancing and felt like it was the only thing I could relate to others through. As I got into high school I discovered a love for poetry and began to write. I have not published any of my work, but it is a goal I have for the future. Art has always been something very close to me.

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 isn’t anything special about my work. I just try to capture raw humanity and convey it to others.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do what you love and don’t worry about what others think. You will grow into a uniquely beautiful artist no matter what you do. Not everyone will love your work, but if you reach just one person and help them feel something, you have done the best you can as an artist. Push yourself to your artistic limits and allow your creativity to flow freely.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aromantic-asexual. I consider myself sex-repulsed and between romance-neutral and romance repulsed.

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

Not specifically in my field have I encountered prejudice or ignorance, but in life in general I find a lot of ignorance. So many people can’t understand how something so engrained in their minds can be non-existent in ours, and therefore ridicule us for it. I think as long as you can stand tall and ignore that hate that comes towards you, you can be whoever you want to be. Anyone and everyone is valid.

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

I’ve found the most common misconception of asexuality is what it actually means and that it is different for everyone. Many people don’t understand asexuality and try to decide for themselves what it is. They then have an incorrect idea and/or opinion of asexual people which can be hard to change.

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

If you embrace who you are, you will feel amazing. Its okay if you don’t know what that is yet, you will figure it all out in due time. If you don’t feel like coming out yet, then don’t. Just know that the ace community is such a loving family that is always looking for new members.

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

You can find out more about my work on my Tumblr, at poeticaceinspace. P.S. I’m pretty bad about keeping up with my blog but I’m trying to get better.

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

Interview: Riley

Today we’re joined by Riley. Riley is a phenomenal performance artist who does a bit of everything. She dances, acts, sings, and even does public speaking. Riley is a fascinating artist with an incredible presence, as you’ll soon read. She’s an artist to watch and definitely has a very bright future. 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 dance, act, and sing, and do public speaking! I’ve also dabbled in expanding those specific interests of mine by choreographing, playwriting, songwriting, and I’ve started a YouTube channel where I can focus my speechwriting.

What inspires you?

I always find myself so inspired by other people who can break the mold of their art forms and selves. I’m also inspired by the idea that I could fill that same role for another person.

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

My mother was a dancer, but how I found a love for acting, singing, and otherwise performing, I haven’t got a clue where the passion originated. I do think that I’ve always wanted to be an artist- performing was, is, and will always be a part of my life.

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

I like to bring my knowledge of acting into each of the art forms I am involved in. I think that understanding character, role, and the ability to outwardly perform that in any artistic production is an integral piece that I hope to bring to all of my work.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Know why you’re doing what you’re doing, and never ever stop. I know how cliché it sounds, but it’s so true! If you love it, keep at it, and keep reminding yourself that you love it, even if it gets tough (and it will get tough).

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aro-ace, but really my sexuality is just one big shrug emoji ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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

Grade 11 was my first onstage kiss… Or it was supposed to be, anyways. It ended up more as some weird mashing of lip corners, cheeks, and chins. My inability to properly articulate my odium and quasi-fear of romantic interactions led to an angry director and a hurt castmate, and my attempts at explanations only led to anger and confusion.

Every child has heard the “advice”: if you break a plate while washing dishes, you’ll never be asked to do the dishes again. That’s seemed to work for me- I haven’t had a PDA role in the three years since performing that scene.

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

“Asexuality is biologically impossible, humans were made to copulate and procreate”, to which I eye roll so hard I strain a muscle. I just don’t like the idea of sex- and romanticism is a man-made and societally enforced idea. Nothing in the animal kingdom are holding hands and bringing each other flowers. If you like it, you do it. It’s just not really my style.

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

If you want to adopt a label, do it! If you don’t, that’s cool too! Orientation is about comfortability for yourself. Don’t be afraid to chuck a label you’ve found for yourself and pick up a new one if it’s a better fit. Life is too short for constrictions you’ve set for yourself.

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

You can find my dance videos and some of my rants on YouTube, and I have some more videos and updates on my Instagram and Tumblr! Come and chat!

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

Interview: Barbara

Today we’re joined by Barbara. Barbara is a phenomenal artist who does a few different things. She’s a visual artist who does drawing, painting, and carving. Aside from visual art, Barbara is also an enthusiastic dancer. If that weren’t impressive enough, Barbara is also an acrobat! She has just started training in aerial silks, which is super cool. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Okay. Starting with the visual arts I have been learning how to make visual art such as drawing painting and carving since I was just a few years old so I can say I have been learning for over 10 years. I am going to start an official art school next year. I started dancing 4 years ago and 2 years ago I went to my first aerial silk training (it’s an air acrobatic technique mostly performed in circus). I’ve improved my skills especially in the last 2 years and I am going to perform my first solo choreographies (acrobatic and dancing) in April and June of 2017

What inspires you?

Well, mostly it’s other people. I love the way we are all different and my definition of beauty is the opposite of perfect. Every mark, every scar, wrinkles or freckles- that’s what makes people so amazing and extraordinary. And I love stories. They inspire me a lot, and by stories I mean books and movies of course, but also biographies and little facts from everybody’s past. For example every time when I discover a new artist or author or a band or anything like that – I try to find information about their past because it’s the past that makes us the way we are, and we think, and we create.

I am also very inspired by other people’s art. That includes music, drawings, literature and stuff like that.

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

As I said I was really young when I started drawing. Into dance and acrobatics I got mostly because of my mom who’s a dancer and owner of the dance school where my adventure started. I think that a lot of motivation to become an acrobat came from that one time when I saw Circue di Solei live, it’s an experience that I will hopefully never forget.

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

My signature is always visible on my visual art, I also always wanted my symbol to be a simple drawing of moth but I am still working on the project, do that’s something more for future.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I am only a beginner and don’t know much about life yet but my best advice is – practice a lot. Nothing makes you improve your skills more than practicing. Also don’t give up easily. Even if you lose a big opportunity or miss some chance. There will be another one – I promise.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as heteroromantic and asexual (or at least on the asexual spectrum because I am really young and I know some things can change but I don’t think they will to be honest)

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

Well, I haven’t come out to my parents because they don’t even seem to believe in such thing as asexuality. I am sure I will come out to them someday but by now I prefer the save option. Honestly most people in my country probably doesn’t know much about whole LGBTQIA community which is sad and it’s caused by an incredibly small amount of representation in media. I wouldn’t call it homophobia, it’s more like overwhelming ignorance. It isn’t that bad after all, I don’t think most people hate LGBTQIA community – especially younger ones.

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

The fact that we don’t actually exist is surprisingly common. I also saw people calling it a disease once or twice.

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

I don’t think I’m ready to give any advice. I discovered my own sexuality quite recently. I started identifying as asexual only about 6 months ago. From my experience I know that it really helps when you come out to someone. Just make sure it’s a person that you really trust.

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

My Tumblr: https://verysassywitch.tumblr.com/

My Pinterest (a lot of inspirations and some of my art as well): https://pl.pinterest.com/verysassywitch/

My DeviantArt: http://verrysassywitch.deviantart.com/

Thank you, Barbara, for participating in this interview and this project. It is very much appreciated.