Interview: Sophie A Katz

Today we’re joined by Sophie A. Katz. Sophie is a phenomenal and versatile writer. She writes in a number of different forms and styles. She’s a fellow writer who enjoys writing hopeful stories (we need more of them! 🙂 ). 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.

Sophie Katz headshot

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

It’s all about stories for me – I LOVE stories, and storytelling. So far, my best skill to bring stories to life has been writing. I’ll write in pretty much any form; different stories need different mediums, after all. Some stories are short, some are novels. Some are screenplays or stage plays. I dabble in poetry. I have a few stories that sit in my head and insist upon being graphic novels – I’ll have to find someone who’s better with visual art to collaborate with for those.

What inspires you?

Life inspires me. That’s a vague answer. I have a “story ideas” tag on my Tumblr with hundreds of pictures and prompts in it, and I didn’t think that that was out of the ordinary until someone said to me, “Wow, you get story ideas from EVERYTHING!” But everything DOES have a story to it. You know that word “sonder”? About realizing that every other person in the world is living a life just as complex and interesting as your own? I can’t help but see that in everyone and everything around me. I don’t see things as just the way they are – I want to know why, and what might happen next. And that’s what a story is, at its base: why are things the way they are, and what could happen next?

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

There was this dollhouse in my parents’ house – I think it’s still in the basement – and incidentally we didn’t call it a “dollhouse” because Mom did NOT want her daughters playing with dolls; we called it a “people house,” like that Dr. Seuss book. I’d sit at the People House with all of our toys, all the animals and action figures and Disney characters, and narrate their adventures, for hours and hours. It was just what I did. Before I could write or read, I told the stories of my toys. And then one day, Dad took notes on the story I was telling, and typed it up for me. That’s where it really started. After that, I learned to read and write, and started writing little books, and Mom became my editor. But it took me until junior high to really start identifying as a writer. Before that, I honestly thought I was going to be an actress, even though I wasn’t very good at it, and didn’t really enjoy it. I think because the storytelling thing was just something I’d always done, I didn’t recognize it as special, or even as “art” at all – but it was always there, and eventually I recognized it as such, and now it’s what I want to do with the rest of my life.

Things REALLY took off once I realized that Disney World had a writing internship…but if I start talking about THAT, then we’ll be here all day.

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’s a really interesting question. When my big sister was looking at colleges, I started picking up literary journals from the schools we visited, and I started noticing a troubling pattern in the works published there: they were overwhelmingly sad. I concluded then that sadness must be the easiest emotion to evoke in a story, and the true challenge was to create something that made people happy.

Bad things do happen in the stories I write, but they very rarely end that way. Books and movies that end in hopelessness bother me. By all means, kill your darlings and send me to bed crying, but give me a reason to get up in the morning! This is a very roundabout way of answering that a feature I include in my work is hope. My stories are most often about people looking at the world and seeing not only the bad that is, but the good that could be, and working to make that good come to be. I think a lot of people perceive hope and optimism as naïve, and sadness and despair as true art. It’s fine to have that opinion, but I don’t subscribe to it. I see art in joy, and in the challenge of creating joy, and in taking on that challenge. I see art in hope.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You are not completely unique, and that is a good thing. It’s a good thing because it means that you have something to offer that will resonate with other people. You are not so different from the rest of the world that nobody will ever understand; rather, you have something to create that other people need. Create what is true to you, what is so true to you that it feels like no one else in the world may have ever felt the way that you feel about it. Create it and share it with the world. And someday, someone will walk up to you, and nervously shake your hand, and say, “That’s exactly how I feel. Thank you for turning it into art.”

Also, I highly recommend learning the skill of biting your tongue and saying “thank you, I’ll consider it” to critique. It’s not an easy skill to develop. Feedback is key to growth, and while you don’t have to TAKE all the feedback anyone ever gives you (you won’t take most of it, and that’s the way it should be!), it’s good to hear feedback. Feedback is how you learn what people are getting out of your art, whether your art is doing what you want it to do to the people you want it to do stuff to. I hope that sentence makes sense. I’d appreciate feedback on that sentence.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demisexual, usually. Recently I’ve been feeling a bit more solidly ace; my body on occasion will send me a surprise bout of “nonononono” even when I’m with someone I am very much emotionally connected to.

I don’t even know what’s up with my romantic orientation. It’s like it plays “duck duck goose,” where it’ll go “duck duck duck…” over everyone around me for ages and then suddenly “GOOSE! YOU HAVE A CRUSH!!!”

I like things to make sense, so it’s all a bit frustrating for me, but I’m training myself to make peace with the uncertainty. Having words like “demisexual” and “asexual” and “sex-positive” and “sex-repulsed” to throw around helps some. I like having words for things.

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

Nothing’s been explicitly directed towards me, but romance is such a prevalent part of the stories we tell that I can’t help but be nervous. I’m nervous that I won’t be able to write a love story that someone will want to read, because I can’t know what it’s like to be the allosexual people that mainstream romances are about. I’m nervous that putting ace people in my stories, or being frank about demisexuality, will bring more trouble down on me than good. But this is my life, this is my truth, and these are the stories that I wish, oh god do I wish, that I had had when I thought that I was broken. How could I not write that? But I’m nervous, so how CAN I write that?

Fortunately, I found an incredibly supportive feminist arts community at my university, and I felt safe enough there to read a piece about figuring out my sexuality at an open mic. After the show, an audience member came up to me and thanked me, because what I had read was exactly how it was for them figuring out their sexuality. That’s when it hit me that however nervous I was, I couldn’t let that get in the way of creating my art. People need to know that they’re not alone. And coming up against ninety-nine readers who think I’m some faker special snowflake is worth it if I can get to the hundredth reader who needs to hear that they’re not alone.

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

That it doesn’t exist.

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

…Honestly, I wish someone had advice to give ME, because I struggle with it plenty. What I do know to remind myself of as much as I can is this: your sexuality does NOT make you a burden, and anyone who makes you feel like it is can walk the plank.

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

I have an electronic portfolio at https://sophieakatz.wordpress.com/, and I’ve just begun a writing Tumblr in an attempt to self-promote – you can find that at https://sophieakatz.tumblr.com/. Go ahead and send me a message there if you want to chat about anything! Or you could contact me at http://ohthewhomanity.tumblr.com/; that’s the blog where I use the “story ideas” tag. You can also find my Odyssey articles every week at https://www.theodysseyonline.com/user/@sophiekatz.

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

Interview: Sachin Babu

Today we’re joined by Sachin Babu. Sachin is a phenomenal author from Southern India. He writes a variety of things including poems, short stories, anecdotes, and quotes. Sachin is also a fellow fan of Edgar Allan Poe (YAY!) as well as a number of other authors. He has a site where he posts a lot of his poetry. It’s clear that Sachin is a dedicated and talented writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a writer. I write poems, short stories, quotes, anecdotes and many more. Writing has always been my passion; it inspires me to be a better human being than I was yesterday. I usually write stuff I feel at that particular point of time, for example, if I am feeling happy, I write a happy poem, if I am feeling sad, I write a sad one. I also love to read stuff that others have written; it helps me gain a new perspective on that particular aspect. To be honest I feel my day is incomplete if I don’t write anything at the end of the day. For me writing is like a drug ecstasy and I am addicted to it.

What inspires you?

Basically, my feelings inspire me the most. I am an introvert and writing is just a way to express what I actually am. In fact, the randomness of life is what inspires me the most. We all have highs and lows in the life, happy moments and sad moments, we have days where we are full of energy and positive aura and few days we just feel tired, what I believe is we should embrace all of that because that is what makes life adventurous. Finally I have only one thing to say, embrace your feelings, they will inspire you to achieve miracles.

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

Before writing poetry I used to read a lot of books. Sylvia Plath, Maya Angelou, Edgar Allan Poe were one of my favorites, they got me interested in writing poetry. J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen King etc got me interested in writing stories. As a kid I had a very good imagination, and once I was into my teens I decided to write and since then I never looked back. I also feel my family and my teachers had a great influence on me. My family appreciated art since the beginning and my teachers guided me in the right path.

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 usually follow a strict rhyme pattern in my poems unlike the modern poetry where people love free-styling. I also add my name ‘Sachin B’ at the end of poems and stories I write.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My advice is very simple, ‘go with your gut.’ Nothing and no one should stop you to do the things you’ve always wanted to do, just believe yourself, work hard, love what you do and most importantly do not think of the outcome, everything will fall in its place eventually. Try to live an adventurous life.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify myself as a demisexual.

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

I don’t consider it as a prejudice but people are definitely ignorant about aces in every field. They just don’t seem to accept what we are for some reason. In my field whenever I have written something about asexuality, people just take offence, as if it’s some sort of sin but that didn’t stop me from doing so, I have written a poem on asexuality recently and I’ll keep writing, no matter what people have to say, I just don’t care, I ignore them.

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

Asexuality is no stranger to misconceptions; I’ve encountered many misconceptions about it. The most common ones are that asexuality is just a phase or is a sin. People even think that person who identify as asexual can’t be in relationships. Asexual are prudes and are afraid of sex is one misconception. The funniest one by far is asexual can reproduce themselves.

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

I only say our orientation is valid. Asexuality is not a phase, not a sin, and you are definitely not confused. Stay true to what you are, they are many people like you, there’s nothing wrong with it. And most importantly do not afraid to fall in love, have a relationship, if sex without love is valid then love without sex is too. Be proud to be an asexual.

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

You can find out more about my work on Tumblr, I have a blog where is post almost everything I write. The blog is called at iam-pentastic.

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

Interview: DarkChibiShadow

Today we’re joined by DarkChibiShadow, who also goes by DCS. DCS is a fantastic visual artist, writer, and game developer who specializes in erotica comics. They are very interested in erotica and sexuality, which informs much of their work. DCS strives to make things that everyone can enjoy, but are particularly dedicated to making things ace people can enjoy. Their stories include a wide variety of ace and aro spectrum characters. DCS also makes a copious amount of SFW comics and games as well. They have recently started SofDelux with their friend Nami, who was interviewed yesterday. The pair of them are a powerhouse, collaborating to make some truly awesome visual novels and games. It’s clear DCS is a passionate 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.

Hey! I’m DCS, otherwise known as DarkChibiShadow!

When it comes to my art — it’s my life! It has been for so long, ever since I was little.

I would say I mainly make comics with a heaping side of visual novels right now — as well as a ton of different kinds of commissions! I’m basically always working on something!

Right now my biggest focuses are my webcomic, Space School, and my various erotica comics! I update both once a week; with my erotica comics rotating between a cast of characters and stories.

Good ‘ol Space School has been going on for a long while now — and it’s had it’s ups and downs cuz of that. It started out as a really silly RP idea that I then grew super attached to and wanted to make a comic of. (Little did I know at the time just how attached I’d get, haha!)

The main character, Zeggy, is a reflection of me as a teenager struggling to find acceptance among people my age — I was rowdy and way outspoken about my interest in sexuality and I think it drove some people around me batty. (Sorry everyone I hung out with!) Needless to say I uh, understand boundaries a lot better now and am always glad seeing when readers of mine relate to Zeggy in the same way. Plus, it’s got a great ‘lil ace bird boy named Joe, who is very outspoken and a lot of fun. Oh! Alkaline (the love interest) is demisexual as well — with a few other background characters also being on the ace spectrum but they don’t get into it as much during the main plotline.

The comic is very old now — with the beginning being…made by me in my late high school years; but I still love it, and want to finish it one day even if it takes me another five years, haha.

1. DCS Space School [2017]
DCS Space School [2017]
My other passion is my Erotica Comics! They focus on a few different stories and set of characters; and right now it’s featured me and my girlfriend’s characters, Dennis and Booker.

I’ve made a ton of erotica comics thanks to my Patrons (Love ya! You know who you are!) and I’m always super excited to explore new worlds and characters and see how they fall in love and get down ‘n dirty.

Porn and sexuality have always been a huge thing for me; and something that I always wanted to create. There was just…not a lot of porn out there that made me feel good — despite my interest in it. I’ve just always wanted to create my own little corner of the internet where I could enjoy fun porn and invite people in to enjoy with me.

I’m always really excited and happy when there’s ace people who reach out to me and say they like my porn. Knowing my stuff can help other ace people feels great, honestly! It’s all I ever wanted! I just want to make stuff that’s fun and focuses on characters and romance and having a good time, having a laugh!

Agh — if I go on I’ll definitely write a whole essay about it. Needless to say; I really enjoy erotica and I’m passionate about making more comfortable and fun stuff for me and my fans.

2. Solanaceae, Ch.2 (2016)
Solanaceae, Ch.2 (2016)

And lastly — but certainly not least — I make visual novels now too!

I believe I started making visual novels in 2016 (around this time of year, actually) with some short fan-games and then went from there.

I had dabbled in making games a bit when I was a teenager but never thought I would be fit for finishing any? I guess I just never thought I’d have an idea that would fit — but once I started thinking of ideas specifically JUST for games; it became a lot easier.

Going from comics to visual novels was actually pretty easy since both involve lots of pictures, and lots of words — but there were definitely things in either that were easier or harder to do depending on the medium.

It’s only been 2 years but I’ve already released or help release a bunch of VN’s! It’s been awesome!

The ones I’m most proud of are Tomai, Disaster Log C, and Mermaid Splash: Passion Festival!

3. Sofdelux Studio, Disaster Log C (2017)
Sofdelux Studio, Disaster Log C (2017)

They were all collabs and all super fun and I’m so proud of the final product — check ‘em out if you like stuff that’s goofy, romantic, and not-too-long, haha.

In 2018 I’m expecting to release the first of four games in my “One-Eyed Lee” series of games, titled, “One-Eyed Lee and the Dinner Party” as well as helping release, A Werewolf Oppunirty, Obviously; which has a massive 30k word count demo out right now. As you can tell by the name, it’s a queer werewolf dating sim and it’s awesome. Check ‘em out!

And as a side note — I always try to include PG-13 options in any game I make so that people who are not comfortable with sexual stuff can avoid it entirely!

I’m really excited to be making visual novels and I’m pumped to make more in the future.

Shout-out to Nami who has taught me basically all there is to know about making games in Ren’py and is probably the sole reason I can keep making them. Love you!!!

What inspires you?

There’s so much that inspires me! My friends, nature, animals, mythology, games, comics, movies, shows — so much!

I’ve always been big into the look of PS2 games and am always kind of searching to emulate that in my style — I think. Games like Shadow of the Colossus, Okage: Shadow King, the Katamari line of games, Dark Cloud, Space Channel 5, Kingdom Hearts — all of those things really inspired me when I was young and still continue to do so!

Right now a BUNCH of indie-games inspire me! Just seeing other game devs go for it and make stuff is…so awesome! Whenever Nami shows me her WIPs I always get excited to work on my own games — and vice versa! Any game that really feels like it was made by a team or person who is really passionate about it shine through to me so much…it’s such a good feeling!

Not to mention all of the good comics out there!

I’ve always been a huge fan of Full Metal Alchemist and for a long time Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure was a huge influence too. (I got into it back in…2008? I think? I was a Junior in High School and BUDDY, was it hard to get back then. Anime fans have it good right now!)

And then as I got into my twenties I finally got into One Piece and it’s soooo good! Plus it’s great that Luffy is basically confirmed as ace-aro, hell yeah!

Other comics like Mushi-shi, Franken Fran, Nana to Kaoru, and a hand full of smaller or one-shot comics have also been a huge influence.

Not to mention all of the doujins and porn and movies and TV shows I like…there’s so much!

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Overwatch, a BUNCH of documentaries — AGH! It’s just all so interesting and exciting!

Every new thing I see and learn about just gives me another fun idea for something to work on! Again, if I keep writing I’ll never stop — there’s too much fun stuff! It’s all so good! I’m so glad people create things!

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

I’ve always been an artist — and I don’t remember a time I wasn’t drawing?

I’ve been making comics more “seriously” since the 5th grade and I started posting my comics online when I was a freshmen in High School. Back then, I had a comic I used to update every day! I don’t know how I did it. I was wild.

For a while I wasn’t convinced I could do art full-time just because (at the time) the internet wasn’t where it was right now for freelancers and because so many people around me told me that being an artist wasn’t viable.

So I originally went to community college thinking I would maybe go abroad — but once I saw my girlfriend, Niku, going to art school and doing her best I thought, “If I don’t at least TRY to do what I love for a living won’t I end up regretting it later on?”

So I said fuck it and started on my way to full-time art!

I was really lucky though. My parents are together still and I’ve got a great support system of family and friends — and not to mention I already had a following from posting my comics back in High School — so I think the stars were just aligned for me. I’ve still got a long way to go!

I think anyone can do what I do! All it takes is working a lot, honestly! As long as you’re finishing work and communicating with people; I think it’s possible!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep at it! If you’re feeling like your art will never find it’s audience — just keep at it!

These things take time — so much time!

I’ve struggled for so long to find people who connect with my art, but I know even more are out there and I just gotta work even harder to find them.

If you draw it…they will come…

You can too! You can make your thing, you can find your people!

Also; try not to be a perfectionist, mmkay?

Finishing your thing is more important than it being “perfect” and often times people will not notice the flaws you do — so just look at that finish line and get to it.

Getting your thing out there and in front of people will make it that much easier to get working on your next project and get better and better.

You got this!

To inspire you, here’s some of my first Webcomic art from 2007:

4. Wires
Wires

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am demisexual~! I also identify as queer, since it’s a nice blanket term for “not straight” and because I’m interested in so many types of people and bodies.

(I’m also genderfluid; but my gender has always been much harder for me than my sexuality, ugh.)

For me– knowing a character, knowing a person is…it’s everything.

I find myself totally not caring about a character until I get to know them, see them, fall in love with them in a way? Then suddenly I’m SO invested in all of the little things they might like to do in bed. Stuff I wasn’t even remotely interested in before I can become interested in because it’s what that character is into — and for me, that’s everything…

When I found out what being demisexual was — it was such a relief; because it perfectly described me and how I felt towards other people and characters. I wish I had known about it when I was a teen!

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

Hmm, in the past I’ve gotten some hate from random people but I think every artist has that to some point. Some people just don’t like your work and…well, that’s really that!

It sucks, and I hate it, but knowing it happens to just about everyone makes it easier!

Otherwise — I have had people question whether “being ace is a thing” in terms of some of my characters; which is annoying but hey!

I’ve also seen some rather un-kind things said in articles about ace-focused media — it sucks!

Typically I tend to keep to my own lane and just focus on my work; that tends to be the easiest way to go about it all.

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

That every ace person ever hates sex and anything to do with it!

Being ace, like being anything, is a spectrum! There’s a ton of ace people who like porn and there’s a ton who don’t and I think being able to make spaces for either is a good thing!

I’ve personally had some friends who weren’t interested in porn at all (and were actually kind of repulsed by it) turn a new leaf because they found out porn ISN’T ALL just the typical hentai stuff — it’s a whole range of things! Seeing someone find their kind of porn is so sweet!

It sucks for me knowing that there are people struggling balancing being ace with liking porn or liking sexuality — because I think those two things can totally live in harmony!

Nothing breaks my heart like seeing someone who is ace get asked questions like, “You still like porn? Aren’t you ace?” and “Are you really ace if you like porn?”

Because of COURSE SOMEONE IS STILL ACE IF THEY LIKE PORN! AAAAH!

I’m super interested in porn, in the sexuality of a character — but I am just not that interested in having sex. When I’m super in love with someone — there’s interest — but even then, not that much?! And I think a lot of people feel this way and think maybe it’s not right?! But it’s totally fine!

Also; it’s tough when people expect everyone who is ace to also be aro. It’s seperate!

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

Don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t real and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be loud and proud!

And don’t let anyone tell you it’s a “PHASE” either — even if you eventually find the label isn’t for you — someone saying this to you is bullshit!

Yell you are ace as loud as you want! Put it all over your profile if you want — dye your hair like the ace flag — do it all! BE LOUD, BE PROUD, BE ACE! YEAH!

I’m so proud of you for being you!

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

I’ve got a lot of different sites — some include R18 work and some STRICTLY DON’T so I will organize them as such down below:

PG-13/SFW:
SFW Art Blog
Deviantart
Space School Comic
Sofdelux Studio

R-18/NSFW:
R18 Art Blog
Weasyl
Furaffinity
Comics Masterpost

A mix of PG-13/R-18:
My Itch.io
(My Itch.io includes stuff that is R18 but nothing explicit is shown and everything has a content warning before downloading.)
My Twitter
(I don’t post anything NSFW, but sometimes I like suggestive things and with the way Twitter currently works– that can sometimes be a problem!)

Or, if you want to support me monetarily, here’s some ways!

My Erotica Patreon My Space School Patreon My Ko-fi

Commission me!Hire me for your game!

Any follows, reblogs, retweets, anything like that– always help a ton and keep me making new free stuff for everyone!

Thanks a ton for reading my interview! I hope you found something new you liked!

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

Interview: Vic

Today we’re joined by Vic. Vic is a phenomenally talented filmmaker who specializes in narrative shorts and micro-documentaries. She’s currently raising funds for an awesome new webseries called I Don’t Give a F*ck, which promises to be absolutely hilarious (seriously, please donate if you can: fundraising page). Vic is an exciting filmmaker with an incredibly bright future ahead of her. She’s very passionate about film, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. IDGAFcakeposter
IDGAF Cake Poster
2. main
IDGAF Main Cast

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make narrative shorts and micro-documentaries that often have themes surrounding family, blackness, and the mundanities of everyday life.

3. CAST N CREW
Cast and Crew of “IDGAF”

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by so many things. Nature, family, friends, directors like Ava Duvernay and Hirokazu Koreeda. I love their work. I get inspired by LOTS of TV… But I can draw inspiration from almost anything really, and usually I tend to focus on overlooked details.

4. davinci skit
Da Vinci Skit

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

I think I’ve somewhat always wanted to be a storyteller. I used to write quite a lot when I was younger. Just short stories and poems, so I feel like I’ve always had that artistic blood in me, however, I didn’t start entertaining the idea of being an artist or filmmaking specifically until around high school. I saw a movie called Raise the Red Lantern by director Zhang Yimou and fell in love cinema all over again, but for a different reason, I think.

5. davinci skit 2
Da Vinci Skit 2

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 have signature symbol in my work that says like “hey I made this”, but I supposed I do have a bit of a specific style in the way I edit videos or create title designs.

6. got milk commercial
Got Milk Commercial
7. got milk commerical
Got Milk Commercial

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Be vulnerable. I don’t think I can stress that enough. I think many of us think that’s a given when you’re making artwork, but you’d be surprised how hard it is for many artists to get personal in their work when they know they have to show it in front of an audience or hang it in a gallery to be critiqued. But being vulnerable in your work can often produce the best pieces. So don’t be afraid to tell people who you are, what you’ve experience, and how you see the world through your work. You can’t let fear of criticism control you.

8. power hunger animal MV
Power Hunger Animal MV
12. skinisblack_documentary
“Skin is Black” documentary

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I just recently realized I was demisexual about 5 months ago and as of now I’m even possibly considering that I might just be asexual all together. In the process of trying to figure that out.

9. zamir fantasy narative
“Zamir Fantasy” Narrative

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

Oh gosh, yes, it’s been a very bizarre and interesting ride ever since I started telling people in my life that I’m someone on the asexual spectrum. I remember having to pitch the idea for an upcoming web series featuring an asexual character 17 times to different colleagues! And when I pitched the idea I basically had to give a 101 crash-course on asexuality each and every single time. Some people learned something others even considered the possibility that they actually might be someone on the asexual spectrum as well. Like me, months ago, it never occurred to them that that was even an option. And seeing that sense of validation flash over in their eyes made me feel like I was doing something good and important.

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“Zamir Fantasy” Narrative

It hasn’t all been peaches and cream, however. Some of the people I know who are LGBTQ filmmakers or artists seemed to be unsure of whether asexuality is even a real thing, let alone demisexuality – which I abandoned even trying to explain at one point because I could sense the immediate invalidation when they looked at me sort of like “…Really? OK believe whatever you want.” You know, that look that kind of makes you feel like you’re a child again when people look at you so condescendingly.

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“Valid” docuseries about asexuality

For demisexuality I get a lot of “isn’t that just what everyone goes through though? Everyone takes time to connect before they actually have sex in a relationship.” But I’m like no it’s different, and it’s a bit more complicated than that, haha.

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“3C4A” docuseries

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

That asexuals don’t have sex or that they don’t want to be in relationships at all (including romantic ones). Huge misconception.

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“3C4A” docuseries screencap 1

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

You are valid. Everything that you feel is valid.

You are not obligated to take on the emotional labor of trying to explain to every hard headed person why what you feel is real. So, if they ask and you’re exhausted from explaining, you don’t have to tell them. Google is their best friend OR just show them by living boldly and unapologetically asexually.

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“3C4A” docuseries screencap 2

If you’re struggling to accept that you are asexual, it’s OK. Take the time you need to grow into yourself and parts of your identity. Talk to people you trust whom you can confide in.

It’s OK.

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“3C4A” docuseries screencap 3

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

As of right now I don’t have a portfolio up, and I currently have a website that’s WIP. For now if people want to they could follow me on my Instagram at soeulcinema sometimes I post previews of my work there.

Or if they’re really curious and can’t wait they can simply ask me and I can send them a private link.

And I’m also currently in the process of creating a web series called “I Don’t Give A F*ck” that focuses on the lives of two WOC, one who is a asexual Filipina, and the other who’s a black pansexual and sexually liberated woman. As of right now we’re raising funds to get the project off the ground but if anyone is interested in following the journey of our production they can follow us on Facebook or Twitter and if they want you can support us on our Indiegogo page by donating or sharing!

All links are below:

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/soeulcinema/
TUMBLR:  http://kodacchromes.tumblr.com/
FB: https://www.facebook.com/idgafwebseries/
TW: https://twitter.com/idgafwebseries
INDIEGOGO: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/i-don-t-give-a-f-ck/x/15958859#/.

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“Skin is Black” docuseries
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“Skin is Black” docuseries

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

Interview: Katherine

Today we’re joined by Katherine. Katherine is a phenomenal visual artist who demonstrates an incredible amount of versatility in her subject matter. Her pictures range from extremely detailed to abstract. Basically, she loves to draw and draws whatever strikes her fancy. She’s a passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

image1 (3)

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw things based off my experiences I’ve had or how I’m feeling in that current moment. It has a weird range of being super complex and detailed, or super simple and abstract. Loads of my work deals with mainly words but I of course love the drawing more.

What inspires you?

Anything and everything really. News stories, current events, other artists, movies, plants – essentially anything!

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

Actually no! I hated drawing at one point because I had a set idea of what drawing was. I always thought ‘if it isn’t realism, it’s not art’ and as I grew up I began to realise that that’s really not true! Art is whatever you’d like it to be! My best friend, he is an amazing artist and asked me one day to just draw. He told me to just grab some paper and scribble or draw an eye – something simple. Ever since then I started building my style and what things I draw.

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 loads of my work that has backgrounds that are one solid colour – for instance an ink painting where certain areas are totally black, I like to write positive words there. Little things like ‘I hope to be happy’ ‘My life will get better’ because I feel like when I do that  I’m releasing all that good energy into the universe for it to come back to me. I do it sometimes with certain watercolour paintings too – but those are quite easy to see so I mainly prefer doing it with my solid ink paintings.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever compare yourself to anyone. That was my first biggest mistake when it came to my art. I started comparing and getting discouraged and it made me really not want to create anymore. Once I stopped doing that, the confidence in my art skyrocketed. Loads of young artists are into I guess we could call it ‘taboo’ art that’s not traditional at all and to me, that’s so amazing! We need more unique artists like that! Do what makes your heart happy.

IMG_9529

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demisexual definitely. I can’t feel a sexual attraction towards someone just randomly or because they are very good looking – I have to truly feel something with that person for me to have any sexual attraction even if it’s a small thought.

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

The most common one I get is ‘that’s normal though, don’t need a fancy label’ and that has just been so annoying lately. I wouldn’t say it’s prejudice but mainly ignorance of what it is. I usually tell them ‘thank you for your opinion!’ then it’s over and done with. I tend to just ignore as well as it kind of annoys me and can get me down sometimes.

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

The most common one – I swear I get told this daily from the followers that know, ‘So one day you want to have sex with someone but the next no’ which is so annoying how that was even a question but I understand where they are coming from considering when I didn’t know what this truly meant – I thought similar things. I’m not as open with it anymore because of the constant questions so this was my way of talking about it again.

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

You’ll figure it out! Give yourself some time. You can’t just figure it out instantly sometimes and that’s okay. Always remember your feelings are 100% valid and you deserve love and happiness.

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

My website is here. All my social medias are: Keepitgrape (Twitter, Instagram). My store to buy my artwork is here.

spacecave
Space Cave

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

Interview: Doodlebuggy

Today we’re joined by Doodlebuggy. Doodlebuggy is a wonderful storyboard artist and character designer. In the past, she has worked at Hasbro and will soon have a series on Netflix, which sounds fascinating. It’s clear she has an admirable dedication to her art, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

abigail
Abigail

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a storyboard artist and a character designer.

I will also be creating my own cartoon series about a disabled girl who lives in a junkyard and build battle armor.

I also like to write poems and songs.

What inspires you?

The concept that I could do something to help someone else live a better life.

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

When I was in health class in middle school we had to give a presentation on different STD’s. As a religious girl talking about genitals at all was embarrassing, so I made a cartoon by putting a bunch of frames into PowerPoint and scrolling down really fast. I got an A and a cookie.

Also in the Behind the Scenes of Monster’s Inc. I saw a grown man wearing a Viking helmet getting pushed down the stairs in a cardboard box like a rollercoaster. The day I was told adults could get away with it was the day I realized this was meant for me.

bat
Bat

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 really.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Fail, fail often and fail spectacularly. Make a plan and screw it up. I used to want to punch anyone who ever said that you learn more with failure but now as a 28 year old I see why. You may know that something won’t work but you won’t know WHY until you try it. See why you can’t use watercolor and oils, see WHY you can’t use medium heat when making Hollandaise sauce. See WHY. Always find out why. (Unless it is something that could lead to death don’t try to see why you can’t drink bleach or something.) Sometimes you find out there is no reason why and rules have been holding you back. Sometimes you realize “OK THIS is why you can’t have candy for breakfast.”

And the most important thing. LEARN from your failure. It doesn’t work if you keep making the same mistakes.  Embrace your mistakes. Make it your armor.

Gods
Gods

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am Demi. But even then my interest in sex is EXTREMELY limited.

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

Not in my field but I have been told that I haven’t “met the right guy” by others. To which I reply. Why don’t you date llamas? Oh you not into llamas? How do you know if you never been with one? Maybe you haven’t found the RIGHT llama. But people in animation tend to be fine with it. As long as you are not an asshole and get your work done it’s fine. We got lesbians, gays, and I actually found my first ace friend at Hasbro. We both laughed/cried and finding out we are not alone. More and more of my friends have started opening up to me about their own sexuality. It is apparently more common than I thought. Thought I still feel I don’t have the right to be at a pride parade since I feel like everyone else is fighting to be with someone they love and I am fighting for…what? Wanting to not have sex? Many feel asexuals shouldn’t be in the LGBT community if someone tells me I don’t belong then maybe I don’t. To be honest, it makes me sad.

hog
Hog

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

The difference between libidos and attraction. Someone can be asexual but still have a libido. It is like being hungry but not in the mood for anything in the fridge. Sure you might eat one thing or another to satisfy your appetite but you don’t hunger for it.

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

You are not broken. You are not incomplete. I know it sometimes feel like you are living in world with a color you will never see or a flavor you can never taste but you are you who are. There is a reason you are made this way.

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

http://doodlebuggy.tumblr.com/.

QueenOfEgglandLineup
Queen of Eggland

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

Interview: Jones

Today we’re joined by Jones. Jones is a phenomenal musician and visual artist. He specializes in a variety of music genres and plays no less than six instruments. When he’s not creating music, Jones does a lot of visual art including graphic design and drawing. His work shows an interesting use of color and beautiful visuals. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

The artist
The Artist

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

The only place I fit in this world is behind my guitar (or PC). I’m the weirdo loner that your parents probably warned you about. (And if they didn’t warn you about weirdo loners then you should get new parents). My name is Jones and I like creating music, filming, writing, editing, producing, photography, drawing, and graphic design. I love mimicking psychedelic art (cause the 60’s were awesome . . . duh lol) but my real passion is music. I taught myself six instruments (thanks YouTube!) and decided to get involved in producing my own work. I especially love beat making and sound designing. Anything that keeps me in my room. I’m an introvert. Outside to me is the hallway lol.

Asli Omar
Asli Omar

What inspires you?

Pot, Anime, and music… well that’s the vague answer… What really inspires me are events in my life whether it’s friendships, manic depression, music, or…. pot. I normally use my experiences in songs. I’m a huge lofi indie rock fan so I like to think of myself as the millennial version of Daniel Johnston (Shout out to the few people who know who Daniel Johnston is lol) but rap and metal are another form of inspiration.

I’m a huge fan of Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler the creator, 2pac, Wu-tang, Future, Migos, Kung-fu Kenny and J Cole. My favorite metal bands that inspire my “Dark art” so to speak are: Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Bathory, Acid Bath, BreakDown of sanity, Killswitch Engage, Alice in Chains, Mercyful Fate, Straight Line Stitch, Heaven Shall Burn and Uncle Acid.

But I’m a huge Indie rock nerd. I love Beat Happening, Beach fossils, Car Seat Headrest, Neutral Milk Hotel, Beulah (basically anything from the Elephant 6 label), A great big pile of leaves, Empire Empire I was a lonely estate, Marietta, The Ton Tons, Modern Baseball, and the War on Drugs.

Demon child
Demon Child

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

I wanted to be Goku when I was a kid… but that didn’t seem like a lucrative career choice so I opted out to drawing comics. From there I was hooked into art and drawing. I was always introverted as a kid. I stayed alone and watched cartoons all the time and tried making my own cartoons. I was always the weird kid at my school and I never fit in so I just avoided people and focused on my artwork. I found everyone to be distracting and I only hung out with people that shared my interests in art. It really freaked out my parents because I would stay home and watch cartoons all day then stay up at night acting out what my cartoons would say and do. I was living in my own world of art. It was pretty chill.

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?

Lo and Cho (Lo’s the dude and Cho’s the girl). They were doodles associated with my music because I was inspired by Beat Happening’s first album and the child like appeal of it. I wanted to mimic that for my lofi music. I also made comics with these two that I may or may not release. It’s mostly about tripping acid and contemplating life as a drawing inside of a huge notebook of drawings.

kinky sheets
Kinky Sheets

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you’re a musician, just starting out I’ll be straightforward in saying this: nobody is going to like you. Don’t ever get discouraged by this fact though. When the Doors had their first show, nobody came. Few years later, they had riots at their concerts because people lost their minds hearing Jim Morrison’s voice. Any skill takes time and it will take a while for some to build up a fan base whether you draw or sing. My best advice is to create something that changes YOUR world first. When I first started making music I’d put it on my iPod and pretend like I was a famous person before I started uploading songs online. I used these moments to critique and rewrite my work and improve my sound. Don’t worry about what anyone else says because your talent is something that they cannot take away. If you want your moment you’re gonna have to stay motivated because time and practice goes a long way. Some people blow up overnight while others never do, that’s just how it is. You just gotta stay focused and do it for you and you alone. This is YOUR world of art, use it to create something meaningful for yourself.

Frostburg Sunset
Frostburg Sunset

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m somewhere between Asexual and Demi/grey sexual. I’m still figuring it out but I find it hard to be attracted to people. Sometimes I can get curious (key word: sometimes) but when I notice someone it’s like “Oh He’s handsome” or “she’s pretty” but it doesn’t lead me to sexual feelings. I’ve had mild interests in sex but not to the point where I wanted to experiment because sex and body parts always looked weird to me. I was always interested in voyeurism and fetishes like BDSM, macrophilia, etc. because I got to notice body types without really touching them. My motto in life was always Snack, Fap, and Nap lol.

I never cared about flirting signals from others and I didn’t reciprocate any feelings whether it was from men or women. In late high school/early college I thought I was heterosexual but when I had sex for the first time it was kinda weird (Nothing wrong with my partner, she was wonderful, I just wasn’t really invested during the times we… you know). I tried experimenting with both men and women and neither really interested me. The only time I actually liked someone is through personality.

But just because I’m asexual/demi doesn’t mean sometimes I don’t get curious. I feel like that’s just a part of human nature to notice members of your own species and to identify with them. Sometimes I notice people and although for the most part it’s difficult to sexualize them sometimes I fantasize (again keyword: sometimes). For me it’s mostly from a voyeuristic standpoint where I’m not involved or I’m looking in from a third person viewpoint. My fantasies are not as common as regular people but sometimes it happens. For the most part, they’re just thoughts and I don’t really have any interest in acting on them but I don’t want to be seen as anti-sex because I’m an ace/demi. I’m indifferent when it comes to sex because it’s not that important to me and I can definitely live without it but if I ever fell in love with somebody’s personality I also wouldn’t mind exploring our buttons together.

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Giantess Ayisha

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

Oh yeah. My friends used to think I was only asexual because I couldn’t get laid. When you’re a black male you have to be this hyper-masculine oversexualize creature and here I am avoiding anything with parents LOL. I probably handled ace prejudice poorly when it happened to me.

But when I came out I didn’t fit in with my friends. All they did was have sex with each other and I felt suffocated by this because I was the odd man out who didn’t want to be touched.

I was also very misogynistic back when I first came out because I used to think hypersexual girls were disgusting. I’m not like that anymore and I now believe that women have the right to sexually express themselves any way they want to without anyone’s opinion but back when I first came out I had a different mindset. It started when the girls that wanted to sleep with me were more puzzled that I wasn’t as hypersexual as they were and they just simply marked me off as gay and spread rumors about me. This lead to the dissolution of a lot of female relationships because I felt weirded out that there was this unspoken pressure to form sexual bonds with them. I became the odd man out not only around my female friends but my male friends also and for that I became a slut shaming bitter misogynist and a loner. Many of my female friends were hypersexual and looked at me differently because I was this anti-sexual Queer that didn’t fit in with any group. Again I’m not misogynistic anymore but back then I had a different mindset and a lot of conflicting emotions that really came in the way of a lot of friendships with other people. For some time, I avoided girls because many of the females around me preached about their sex lives. This was also common with my male friends. I just started avoiding everyone. I especially avoided female friends because I was the “diary” to some and I didn’t want to be. (I also learned that a lot of my female friends could be very Queerphobic.)

What was worse was that some of my male friends would avoid me because I wasn’t interested in girls while others would accuse me of making up asexuality to get “closer to sleeping” with their girlfriends. It was insulting because it was like my sexuality didn’t matter to anyone. Even when I told them “I’m asexual, I never slept with any of your girlfriends” they would give me puzzled looks and brush me off. It was even harder explaining my asexuality to friends that I used to have crushes on. Every crush that I ever had I liked them for their personality. Some instances it got sexual but I was much more interested in their persona than the sex. When I came out some of these friends would hang it over my head like “didn’t you used to like me, what happened?” etc. I felt broken because I thought I was heterosexual then the more I experimented with people the more I realized how different my sex drive was compared to theirs. It was like I couldn’t shake my old hetero identity and my old identity wasn’t even the real me. It was an awkward time. I even used to joke about how college “ruined my sexuality” because I thought rejection was the cause of my lack of sex drive but it was the simple fact that I was always different and experimentation with both sexes showed me how different my sexuality was compared to my peers. Now I just avoid making friends and talk to people online. It’s easier to find people who like the same interests as me online instead of the real world.

frostburg watercolor
Frostburg Watercolor

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

That asexuality is the result of a mental illness. It’s insulting because there are plenty of Aces who ARE NOT mentally ill who live perfectly normal lives and there are Aces who do have mental illnesses that do not relate to their sexual orientation. It makes it difficult for Aces who actually suffer from mental illnesses to seek help because they fear that their entire sexual orientation will be put under the microscope. ASEXUALITY IS NOT A MENTAL ILLNESS IT’S AN ORIENTATION JUST LIKE OTHER SEXUAL ORIENTATIONS. DON’T FEEL ASHAMED IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE MENTALLY ILL AND ASEXUAL BECAUSE THE TWO ARE NOT RELATED IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM.

Hello (1)
Hello

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

Don’t take your sexuality so seriously. Feelings change and shift all the time and in the end Gay, Straight, Trans, and Asexuality are all labels. If you follow your heart and find what you love out of life the right people will come along eventually and you can establish any relationship you want with another person (just don’t be a creep about it). Don’t be worried if you’re struggling to find your sexual orientation. There’s nothing wrong with staying to yourself and there’s nothing wrong with experimenting. Just trust yourself to make the best decisions when the time comes and know that you don’t need all the answers all the time. Sometimes life just happens…

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

https://soundcloud.com/94sheets
https://apppk.bandcamp.com/ <- For Lofi/indie pop fans
https://apppk.bandcamp.com/album/projct-skybomb-cloudy-dreams-forever <- Chillwave beats

lianne la havas watercolor
Lianne la Havas Watercolor

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