Interview: Jude Moss

Today we’re joined by Jude. Jude is a phenomenal visual artist who works with a variety of materials to create gorgeous works of art. Their work is stunning and incredibly unique, obviously made with a great deal of care. When they’re not creating visual art, Jude enjoys dancing and has done a variety of ballroom styles as well as performed in drag shows. It’s clear they’re a passionate artist who loves what they do, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’ve worked with many, many materials and prefer mixed-material pieces. I’ve also spent the better part of my life dancing, but didn’t incorporate my own choreography until I had moved away for college.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by what I see most often. That used to be nature – animals, pastel colors in the plants, fluid movement – but after moving into a huge metropolitan area for medical school I’m struggling to draw inspiration from the urban disaster that I live in. The architecture is all sharp lines and dark colors, neither of which appealed to me and yet both of which have influenced my work.

That said, when I previously lived in smaller towns I created some of my favorite pieces. This first one is a dress made wholly from dried maples leaves and tulle. The leaves were collected slowly from my school’s campus, dried over the course of a month, and pinned into place with needle-thin sewing pins. Because the leaves are attached by one pin each, their edges rustle and they move around a bit when the piece is being transported. It sounds like fall.

The second and third pieces were forays into materials that I did not have previous experience with. I was encouraged to try plaster casting, and found that it is a pain in the rear to dry the plaster (I lived in a very humid state) enough to paint and seal the form. I did enjoy the beadwork aspect. The fish was my shot at metalwork – every scale is hand-cut from copper sheeting and attached individually to the aluminum body. I had fish of one type or another for nearly 18 years, and their constant motion was hard to capture in a still object.

I started dancing when I was very young, but I found a home with ballroom. I danced the waltz, foxtrot, tango, rumba, swing, west coast swing, bolero, paso doble, cha-cha, and some others that I’ve forgotten. I keep up with waltz, foxtrot, tango, and paso doble as best I can – in college I joined a graduate student tango association – but after moving I have not found a new partner. Ballroom was so special to me because I danced for five years with one partner and the bond we created over those years has lasted even after I stopped competing and moved away.

After moving for college I ended up getting involved with my school’s drag show. At that time I was encouraged to try performing solo and choreographed a burlesque routine. At my college I felt overwhelmed at the sexual undertones of everything and being able to perform on a stage where I could step into a sexualized persona and step out of it after was gratifying. The confidence from performing gave me a way to block sexual advances off stage too. I performed in that drag show every year.

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Dress

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

I’ve always wanted to create. I didn’t know until I started elementary school that creating things was generally called artwork and could be executed to a more satisfying degree with the help of new materials, new inspirations, and enough space to test my ideas. My favorite media is actually white clay. It’s cheap, it’s hard to ruin (and if you do, just recycle it into slip), and you can produce art with it in so many ways: wheel throwing, hand sculpting, slip casting, the list goes on. Ironically I never thought to take photos of my clay work because I imagined that I would always have the pieces in my living space.

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 sign my work with a fang stamp when I was in high school, but that was only because scribbling your name onto a clay pot makes the glaze run funny. I don’t usually sign my work. I like to use as much color as I possibly can on every piece to create dramatic contrast and draw the eye through my work. I got better at this while making my costumes for dancing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would advise you to make art that makes you happy. If you try a new material and every time you revisit it you want to throw it away in frustration, stop using it! When making art becomes a chore you will struggle to impart meaning into your work and you will burn out.

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RaSekhmet

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m one of the people that ‘just knew’ they weren’t straight. I was raised in a small town with very conservative views about sexuality, so I grew up thinking you had basically two options: straight or gay. I figured that since I was absolutely not straight, I must just be gay. I kept thinking that until a good friend made a comment about my absolute lack of desire and said “I think you’re some flavor of asexual”. I had never heard that word in my life and didn’t give the label much thought until several years (and failed relationships) later, when I did some very basic research and realized that my friend was right. But I didn’t search much after that. The town I grew up in was unsafe for gays and I seriously doubted that ‘changing’ to asexual would make the hostility better; in college I just let the LGBT community assume I wasn’t interested in a relationship. Even in medical school I let people make whatever assumption they need to, and if they ask I still answer just gay. It’s hard for me to conceptualize myself as asexual and harder still for other people to understand it without a five minute Q&A that I am not prepared to give.

Having taken to google just now, I see that there are many identities inside of asexual. I am wildly unprepared to choose one of them and will continue to define myself as an asexual person who is interested in having an intimate relationship where the emotional connection between my partner and myself is the priority.

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

I’ve encountered a great deal of ignorance, usually in the context of a joke. Lots of variations on “You are in a bad mood because you just need to get laid”. Lots of backhanded comments about how anyone who doesn’t want sex must be broken, or that asexuals just need to see this one great porn movie to realize they aren’t actually asexual. It makes me very uncomfortable. I try to respond with the assertion that jokes of this type aren’t welcome and if they are going to continue with them I will excuse myself.

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

Easy – it doesn’t exist. I read it when I google asexuality and I heard it frequently in college from my LGBT community. It sucks. It’s like saying a certain flower doesn’t exist just because it’s not in your garden. It is very weird to hear people deny asexuality out loud.

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

I would advise you to not give into peer pressure and do things because someone else says you will like it. Specifically, if you have to get black out drunk to consider having sex with your partner, you should probably re-evaluate your situation.

I would also like to point out that doing research and reading about the difference between aseuxal identities and other LGBT identities will help you become more secure in your identity. At the end of the day it’s just a label. If it’s really important to you, great! And if it’s not, that’s fine too.

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

I don’t know! I don’t have an online gallery or shop since I don’t sell my work. If people want to get in contact with me they can use my email – phagequeen@gmail.com

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Fish

Thank you, Jude, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s 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: Shelly

Today we’re joined by Shelly. Shelly is a wonderful performance artist and writer. She is studying to be an arts educator, focusing on drama and filmmaking. When she has spare time, Shelly writes. She aspires to be published one day and writes LGBTQ YA fiction. It’s very obvious that she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m finishing my studies as an arts educator, in the areas of Drama and Film making. In my spare time I also write YA fiction with LGBT voices as a primary focus. Hopefully I’ll get something published in the future. This is a space that’s getting more attention but our young LGBT people deserve stories that have romances, not just characters struggling with their sexuality and that’s what I hope to bring to the table. I’ve also started dancing recently and I really hope to incorporate this into my arts education practice in the future.

What inspires you?

The world around us. Truth is stranger than fiction.

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

I’ve always loved telling stories, whether it be through writing or the stage. As a child I wanted to be an actor, then I studied producing at uni but I realized I could bring art to more young people through education.

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?

In my writing definitely. My characters are artists even if they don’t realize it. Creativity is so important to me and that’s why my characters are always involved in dance or cheerleading as a sport. I know there’s been a recent push towards STEM subjects of late, but I think that’s made the arts even more undervalued than they already were. That’s why I’m trying to push back. I want young people to see the value in their art.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Play and explore your art, mix styles. See other artists. Network with artists (this one is so important) you might meet a future collaborator. Learn entrepreneurial skills. In this industry you need to be able to create a job for yourself.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a Demisexual, Bisexual.

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

Not in my field no.

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

People think you’re not just there maturity wise or you just haven’t met the ‘one’ who’ll change how you feel about sex, which I really don’t like because it suggests that we need rescuing and that reinforces the patriarchy’s status.

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

Find a support group. You are not alone. We’re not expected to go through life isolated, so don’t isolate yourself while you figure things out.

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

https://dancetheatrestories.tumblr.com/

I’m planning on growing this platform further once I’ve completed my arts education studies.

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

Interview: Eliza

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

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

Sometimes I put DS in my art

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as an asexual aromantic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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