Interview: medina

Today we’re joined by medina. medina is a fantastic writer who writes both fiction and nonfiction. For fiction, they write young adult and children’s. When it comes to nonfiction, medina writes narrative essays. It’s clear they’re a creative individual who loves what they do. 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 write fiction for children and young adults! I also write nonfiction narrative essays!

What inspires you?

nature, music, laughter

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

I always knew I wanted to write for the rest of my life. I didn’t always know I would write for children and young adults.

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?

Hmm, I don’t think so! but if you find it, let me know!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

have something finished!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

oh, hey, cool so we’re getting right into it! I’m in between demiromantic and demisexual.

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

I haven’t, but that does not mean it doesn’t exist!

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

That I just haven’t found the right one! Or that I’m actually just gay or that I’m emotionally scarred, etc. Ah, what haven’t I heard!

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

Embrace the journey. It’s okay to not know. It’s okay to know! It’s ok if what you think you know changes. no matter what, your identity is valid.

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

www.medinawrites.com

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

Interview: Casey Wolfe

Today we’re joined by Casey Wolfe. Casey is a wonderful author who writes in a number of genres with romance being a main feature in all their work. The author bio from their website: “History nerd, film buff, avid gamer, and full-time geek; all of these things describe Casey Wolfe. They prefer being lost in the world of fiction—wandering through fantasy realms, traveling the outer reaches of space, or delving into historical time periods.  Casey is non-binary and ace, living with depression, anxiety, and PTSD, all of which informs their writing in various ways. Happily married, Casey and their partner live in the middle-of-nowhere, Ohio with their furry, four-legged children.” My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Author Photo

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an author.  I write everything from contemporary to fantasy and everything in between, with romance as a main element.  My favorite genre to write has always been paranormal.

What inspires you?

Really, it can be anything and everything.  I find inspiration in music, photography, artwork…  I can find it while people-watching or in a random piece of conversation.  I’ve even gotten my fair share of inspiration from dreams.  I literally never know when something will strike.

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

I started writing in the sixth grade.  We had to write a short story for an English assignment and from then on, I was hooked. I began writing more short stories. I didn’t start thinking it could be a career until high school.  That was when I started to write my first novels – nothing that has seen the light of day, but it helped me shape my style and grow in my craft.

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

I like to use star imagery in my work.  I’m also a geek and tend to include quotes from movies/shows/video games.  I’m always interested to see if people can spot the lines I’ve used.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Write, write, write. You’ll never get better if you don’t practice.  You don’t even have to show anyone your work – I know how hard that can be.  Just as long as you’re writing, you’re getting better. You’re working on developing your voice and practicing technique.  If you have a writing group in your area, or can find a trusted group online, then getting feedback is also a helpful step, but only when you’re ready for it.

Inquisition Trilogy

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Grey ace and demi

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

I’ve been very lucky to work exclusively with an LGBTQ publisher.  Everyone involved in the publishing house, including other authors, are queer as well, so we don’t have any issues on that front.  We’ve had people ask questions, wanting to know more. It’s a wonderfully open environment and we can all help educate as the need arises.

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

We don’t have sex at all. Some aces certainly don’t.  But we are a large spectrum with a wide array of comfort levels with sex.  Don’t just assume because I’m ace that I’m sex repulsed or that my partner must “suffer from a lack of sex.”  Trust me, he’s fine, and it’s really none of your business anyway.  It’s pretty rude to try to assert yourself into someone else’s bedroom.

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

You don’t have to “get it right” the first time.  You’re allowed to change your mind about how you identify later in life.  Never feel like you are being “fake” or you were “lying” because you identify differently now.  And definitely don’t let anyone else make you feel that way.  Give yourself time and space to explore who you are.

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

Website: https://authorcaseywolfe.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorcaseywolfe
Tumblr: https://authorcaseywolfe.tumblr.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/authorcaseywolfe

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

Interview: Chloe

Today we’re joined by Chloe. Chloe is a wonderful young artist who is just starting out. She’s a writer and visual artist. She does both digital and traditional art. For writing, she writes fanfiction, poetry, and occasionally original fiction. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist with a bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

eleanor

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am both a writer and an artist. I do digital and traditional works as well as writing fanfiction, poems, and the occasional original fiction piece. I’ve always been pretty creative, finding enjoyment in expressing myself through the hobbies I love. My artwork and writing certainly aren’t of any professional quality, but I believe they’re good enough to qualify me as an artist of sorts, even if no art has any real qualifications.

What inspires you?

Often times, I find inspiration in other works. It might be an idea, a color, a theme: if it catches my eye, I try to incorporate it in a creative way. On top of that, I also find inspiration in lyrics and sometimes even in everyday experiences!

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

When I was younger, I drew occasionally, but I never really felt like it was something for me. By the time I was 10 years old, though, I was writing stories often and trying to teach myself to draw! There wasn’t anything that really brought it on – I just thought that art was cool and I loved reading stories made by other people. On top of that, I was (and still am) an anime fan, so the art style inspired me. I just thought it was pretty, and I went off of that to develop my own artistic style. Well, its not complete in any means, but it’s something.

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, I have a literal signature, which you’ll see on nearly all of my drawings. Other than that, though, I don’t believe there’s anything unique in my art or writing that tells it apart from another’s. I wish I could say it’s unique to me. I excessively use adverbs (a habit I’m trying to break) and I draw in an anime-influenced style, but my work is hardly the only type of it’s kind, unfortunately.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do not give up. If it’s your dream, go for it. Power through. Learn. Create. Your art is your art, whatever that may be. The world is cruel – people are cruel! – don’t let that change you. Your life is your life: pursue it.

promise

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m demisexual. Sort of in the middle, I guess.

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

Yeah. I’m a part of a lot of communities, but prejudice is especially present on Tumblr. Asexuals are definitely discriminated against, but it almost seems worse for demisexuals. I’ve seen many people – artists – say that demisexuality is not real, that it’s just a preference. It really gets me upset sometimes because it makes me feel unwelcome and ‘wrong.’ People are so unaccepting of what they don’t understand. I’m afraid that if I express myself completely that I’ll only end up hurt. Often, I’m afraid to even mention that I am demisexual. Most of the time, I just say I’m heterosexual for fear of backlash.

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

I’ve heard people assume that asexual people do not have a sex drive and such, but that isn’t always the case. Though, as for demisexuality, many people assume that we only have intercourse with people we get to know, or as they describe: “are not a hoe.” They assume that our sexuality is the norm for everyone, so it must not really exist. However, that’s a misunderstanding. Demisexuality is the lack of sexual attraction unless a close emotional bond is formed. In other words, I won’t find an attractive celebrity ‘hot’ because I don’t know them well or even at all. People aren’t aware of this.

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

You’re not broken. You’re not wrong. You are who you are and some people may mock you. Some won’t accept you. It’ll be hard sometimes, but we’re here. Your identity is valid. Your feelings are valid. People are cruel, but I promise you that what you’re feeling is so, so okay. What you feel is your business and it is perfectly okay. You’re doing just fine – amazing, even. Nothing you feel is wrong. Don’t let people convince you otherwise. They don’t know how you feel; people can’t understand what they don’t feel. It’s okay. I promise.

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

You can check my Tumblr or DeviantArt page! I’m more active on Tumblr, but I still post all complete artwork on DeviantArt. My DeviantArt username is cofstars, as well as my Tumblr url. They’re my most active platforms. Though, my Tumblr page had a lot more info than the latter!

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

Interview: Meredith Dobbs

Today we’re joined by Meredith Dobbs. Meredith is a phenomenal filmmaker based in London. She specializes in narrative films, particularly improv drama. She currently works on short films and web series. Meredith hopes to get into indie features eventually. It’s very clear that she’s an incredibly passionate and talented 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 a writer, director, and editor of narrative films. I’m working on shorts and web series now, and I want to make indie features long term. As a writer and director, I work primarily in improv drama.

What inspires you?

I’m really interested in relationships, and I’m interested in space between reality and fiction. Films can feel so realistic, so much like life, without ever being truly real because at the end of the day, film is still an artistic medium. And that line between film and reality that you can strive for but never cross is really interesting to me. Not in terms of pushing people to that edge, but pushing the art to it. So I think my stories will always be about relationships, and my techniques will in some way explore that edge.

2

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

I always loved movies. We watched a lot of movies together as a family when I was a kid, and we still quote movies all the time.  When I went to college, I knew I wanted to take some film production classes, but I only saw them as fun electives because I felt I had to do something “serious” like biology.  So I arranged my classes to do a film degree alongside my biology degree.  But after one semester, I completely fell in love with film, and I really found myself in it.  I dropped the bio major and never, ever looked back.

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

I use an improv technique that I didn’t invent exactly, but I really had to work out for myself, so there isn’t anyone else that does it the way I do.  My scripts don’t have any dialogue at all — they just describe the characters’ thoughts and feelings — and the actors have to improvise their own dialogue.  I like how it requires listening and responding (the two key tenets of improv) between actors, but also between director and actor.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I think the best advice, which is also the hardest to follow, is to do whatever you want to do. If you’re interested in something, try it out.  I wanted to do this film production summer camp when I was in high school – I really, really wanted it – but I was afraid to ask my parents to pay for it, so I didn’t go.  It makes me wonder how much time I lost not doing this thing I love so much.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demisexual.  I have a long term partner who has helped me explore my sexual interests, but I also know I would happily be on the asexual side of my spectrum if I were single.

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. Honestly, my work has been the most accepting place for me to talk about my asexuality.  I’m currently working on a short film about a woman trying to tell her boyfriend that she’s bisexual, which was inspired by my experience telling my boyfriend that I’m demisexual.  (I hope to explore asexuality directly in a longer piece in the future.)  Everyone on the project has been nothing but engaged and accepting.

All the resistance and prejudice I’ve experienced has come from family and close friends.  I also struggle a little internally. Understanding the in-between nature of demisexuality has been hard, because I don’t fit in either camp: ace or allo.  I have to remind myself that fluid doesn’t mean unsure, because I’m certain demisexual is absolutely the right term for me.  So I work really hard to understand myself and communicate to my partner.

4. Sam and August Theater

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

That it’s not a sexuality; that it’s just my opinion, or just a phase.

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

Just knowing that a definition existed for me made all the difference in the world.  There’s nothing wrong with who you are, and there’s nothing wrong with defining yourself differently tomorrow, or next year, or 10 years from now.  It’s all fluid.

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

www.meredithdobbsfilms.com

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

Interview: Noel Arthur Heimpel

Today we’re joined by Noel Arthur Heimpel. Noel is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in illustration and comics. They have a couple webcomics out, one of which is completed and the other is currently being posted. Both sound like fascinating stories and have multiple ace and ace-spec characters. When they’re not working on webcomics, Noel also works on Tarot and Oracle decks. The guidebook for their Tarot Deck (the Numinous Tarot) has ace inclusive interpretations. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

artist-portrait
Artist Portrait

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a cartoonist and illustrator—in particular, I do webcomics and illustrate Tarot and Oracle decks, although I also do book covers and such once in a while. All of my work is done traditionally in watercolor and ink; the process is just so absorbing and fun. I absolutely love vibrant colors and so my art ends up being very rainbow-y no matter what I’m making.

I currently have one finished webcomic, Ignition Zero, and a new one that just launched recently called The Thread That Binds. Both are stories about trying to understand yourself, your emotions, your relationships to others, and how to heal the hurts we all carry. And magic, of course! Ignition Zero has faeries and The Thread That Binds has magical bookbinding and a giant magic library. Both stories have ace- and aro-spec main characters who are comfortable with themselves and get to be happy and have happy relationships.

My Tarot deck, the Numinous Tarot, came out earlier this year. It’s a very personal take on the Tarot made to be a tool for healing & for marginalized people to see themselves in—I tried my best to include as many gender expressions, orientations, races, body types, ability levels, etc. as I could. The card titles and guidebook all use gender neutral language to make it as accessible as possible, and the interpretations are ace-inclusive as well, of course!

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“Ignition Zero” page 98

What inspires you?

My own life experiences and those of my friends inspire me the most. I want to tell stories that I haven’t seen before, or don’t see enough of, so that people like me and my friends can find ourselves in them. Stories are such an important way we figure ourselves out, whether we’re the creator or the reader. I’m also very inspired by nature, especially flowers, and all the magical things I do and experience as a witch. I like to think a lot about the nature of the universe/reality and put that curiosity into my work.

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

Pretty much! I come from an artistic family, so I’ve been making art since I was very little, and my interest only grew from there. I wanted ways to put all the stories in my head onto paper. At first that meant writing and drawing separately, but eventually I combined them into making comics. I started reading Tarot when I was 13, and being an artist, of course I knew I wanted to draw my own deck one day. The deep and complex symbolism of Tarot is very much like storytelling to me, so it also falls under that desire to share my stories and imagination with people. Stories have always been important to me, especially growing up in a difficult home I needed escape from (and hope for the future), and I want to give that back to others.

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“Ignition Zero” page 309

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 are certain themes that almost always appear in my work, the biggest one being healing from trauma and loss. I’ve been through a lot of that myself and my art is one way I’ve worked through it—by sharing it, I hope it can help others as well. I also use flowers symbolically in my work on a regular basis, deciding which ones to draw based on the Victorian flower language or common magical associations that go with the story/piece.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just keep going! Follow your passion and make what you want to make. A lot of times we second-guess ourselves and say “I’m not good enough to make this great idea yet, so I’ll wait,” but a) the best way to get better is through experience, and b) you’ll have more amazing ideas later, I promise, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Also, as much as we all want to improve our skills, try to focus on having fun and enjoying it! There will always be times when we’re frustrated or doubting ourselves, but if you don’t like making art most of the time, why are you doing it? The enjoyment of the process is a reward all on its own.

NuminousTarot01
Numinous Tarot 01

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demisexual, although it has taken me a long time to figure that out and find the label I feel suits me best! I’m also grey-aromantic and agender.

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

Not any more than I’ve encountered everywhere else. I feel lucky that when I marketed Ignition Zero specifically on having ace characters and an ace romance that the response was overwhelmingly positive. Otherwise it’s usually just that people don’t know anything about asexuality and need it explained to them, which I typically do as patiently as possible. I know I’m not obligated to be an educator, but currently I feel comfortable doing that in most cases. Or just ignoring it if it’s not worth my time!

NuminousTarot02
Numinous Tarot 02

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

Probably the one where asexuality gets conflated with aromanticism. I myself knew the word asexual since I was 17, but I didn’t use it for myself until I was 20 because I didn’t know about the split attraction model and assumed the romantic attraction I experienced meant I wasn’t ace. I see this misconception around a lot still, years later, although it’s getting better. I also often struggle to get people to understand demisexuality—the response is often “that doesn’t exist because that’s just how everyone feels and it doesn’t need a label.” It can be difficult to explain to people how my experience of attraction is different in a way they understand…or maybe there are way more demi people out there who just don’t realize that the label could fit them!

ThreadThatBinds_pg038-039
“Thread that Binds” pages 38 – 39

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

Find like-minded people who you can talk to. Meeting other ace people was how I began to question and understand myself. When they shared their experiences, I found stories, feelings, and words I could relate to that I didn’t even know I was missing. Being part of a community made me feel less alone and more empowered and certain in my identity. Also, sometimes this exploration can take a long time. I started identifying as ace when I was 20 and over the last eight years I’ve readjusted which label on the spectrum I use several times. And that’s ok! Sometimes it doesn’t feel great to be constantly wondering and changing, but every time I’m glad I went through the process.

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

You can see all of my work on my website, noelheimpel.com! I’m also very active on Twitter and Instagram, where I post my art and the occasional ramble. I have a Patreon with tons of fun content, and the Numinous Tarot is currently on Kickstarter to fund a second print run. Lots going on!

Website: http://noelheimpel.com
Twitter:
http://twitter.com/noelarthurian
Instagram:
http://instagram.com/noelarthurian
Patreon:
http://patreon.com/noelarthurian
Ignition Zero:
http://ignitionzero.com
Numinous Tarot:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/noelarthurian/the-numinous-tarot-2nd-printing

ThreadThatBinds_promo-banner
“Thread that Binds” promo banner

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

Interview: Runesael Johansson

Today we’re joined by Runesael Johansson. Runesael is a wonderful digital artist who specializes in character design. He works mostly in roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons. He has recently gotten into drawing World of Warcraft characters too. It’s clear he’s a dedicated and passionate artist who loves what he does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

aur gyu1

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Most of my work these days centers around Dungeons and Dragons player characters and NPCs, alongside other TTRPGs and roleplaying games. I’ve also done a fair amount of people’s characters from World of Warcraft.

I work almost exclusively in Photoshop CS-6 or Procreate.

What inspires you?

Primarily, stories. One of my absolute favorite things about doing the work that I do has to be hearing other people’s stories about their characters and the adventures they’ve had with others. There’s such a broad variety of individuals and experiences across the TTRPG community, so every character I ever get to draw tends to be unique or unusual in some way. Even if you have two chaotic good fighters from a small village who’ve sworn an oath to protect their friends, say, those two fighters can and often will be radically different people.

The TTRPG and WoW communities are both enormously creative, and getting to see all of the various ideas that people come up with is something I’m really grateful for and honored to be able to help bring to life.

Additionally, music – I can’t paint without it!

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

I began drawing because I wanted people to be able to see the characters and places I described in my stories as a kid. However, it was never really anything more than a serious hobby until about 2016.

As obnoxious as this might sound, I’ve never not been an artist, so I’m not sure what it’s like to want to be one. I’ve been drawing since I could hold a crayon.

My original career was in music performance. An injury exacerbated by overuse and stress pulled me out of a performance career, and I kind of spent my twenties wandering around with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with myself or my life. I was really lost. I’d gotten a full scholarship to a small school, and figured I’d make my way through a four year degree before going on to pursue a masters. That did not happen.

During my late teens and twenties, I was also a volunteer storm chaser with ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Services), and working emergency telecommunications. I loved the work, but it stopped being fun after I realized the extent of the impact that natural and man-made disasters had on the human lives around me. Though the work was fulfilling, I knew I didn’t want to do it for the rest of my life.

There were a few attempts at other careers. Honestly, all they ever taught me was about all of the things I didn’t want to do with my life. The last one being that I wanted to become a French translator and a linguist.

As a sort of last hurrah, I posted a thread on Reddit in 2015 offering to draw people’s World of Warcraft characters. There, I met a handful of really incredible people who brought me into the WoW art community, and from there I got into Critical Role and started becoming increasingly engaged with the TTRPG community. The rest, as they say, is history.

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?

Most of my work these days is done for other people, so you’re not going to find much of my own personal motifs in the majority of my portfolio.

The signature that I put on my artwork is the text symbol for “thunderstorm.” (It looks like this: ☈) It’s a play on my first name and it’s a nod to the work I’ve done in the past. Also a reminder to myself – if it’s not a tornado, it’s probably not worth getting super worked up about.

I use a lot of blue and gold – they’re my favorite colours, mostly because I’m from a coastal town in Florida and have always loved the water.

There’s so much music in my work, to the point where all of my Inktober pieces this year were just based on songs.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

There’s enough tutorials and technical advice these days on the internet that I feel like anything I could say on those subjects has already been said. So, instead, here’s some lessons I learned the hard way.

First of all. Don’t be an asshole. It does not matter if you are the most skilled artist in your particular field, if you treat people like garbage, no one will want to work with you. This includes being vocally critical of other artists. This includes treating the artists around you as competition or as enemies, rather than potential friends or coworkers. This includes being a sarcastic, sardonic shit about everything. Cynicism doesn’t make you cool. It doesn’t make you some enlightened sage of the ages, it makes you a prick. Empathy, kindness, understanding and patience will get you far, far further than raw skill alone. Praise others in public, critique if asked in private. Don’t be an ass to younger artists, they’re doing their best.

Second. Art is extremely hard work. There is nothing cute or fluffy about being a creative of any sort. You don’t get to float around waiting for inspiration, or depending on some “muse” to bring your ideas. If you do you’ll never get anything done, and you’ll never get better.

When you first start making stuff, you will suck at it. You’ll suck at it for a while. It’s normal, don’t stress. Art isn’t something you master overnight or in a year or even in ten years. You will be fighting a continual, uphill fight for most victories and breakthroughs. When you “level up” as an artist, it will be because you worked your ass off. The answers to the problems you face will not be written out for you in books. You will need to find those answers for yourself. If that doesn’t sound like a good idea to you, don’t be an artist.

Third. Talent is a myth and an excuse. There is no bullshit force in the universe that ~magically~ gives you the ability to create anything. There is the only the work, the desire to do it, and the determination to keep doing it when it gets hard. That’s all. You get better by practicing and studying your craft.

Fourth. Art is for everyone. See number three. Art is not for special talented people who have ~the gift~. The arts in general, creative work – they are for everyone and anyone. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If someone says you’re talented, say, “Thank you, I work very hard.” They mean well, take the compliment.

Fifth. There are a bunch of people who will tell you in kind ways and not-so-kind ways that the arts are for fools who can’t manage a “real” career. What they do not and perhaps cannot understand is that not being an artist when you want to be simply leads to a chain of unfulfilling and meaningless careers that you never fully commit to or enjoy. Life is far too short to go through it longing.

Sixth: Don’t be alone. Involve yourself in a community. Isolation is death for artists. Surrounding yourself with artists of all different skill levels will teach you more than any class ever can. A good community will raise you up when you’re struggling, and will keep you grounded. There will always be someone better than you, don’t let that discourage you or inhibit your progress.

Seventh: Rest. If it hurts, stop. If you’re frustrated, take a break. If you need help, ask. Don’t let pain and exhaustion be a point of pride and don’t work yourself to death. Sitting in front of your tablet or easel for sixteen hours a day without eating or drinking is going to fuck you sideways when you get older. It doesn’t say that you’re devoted and hardworking, it says you don’t take care of yourself and don’t manage your time properly. Eat regularly, take your medication, make sure you drink water. Don’t survive on sleep deprivation and energy drinks. Your work suffers when you suffer.

On that note. Great art does not come from great suffering. If you create beautiful things from pain, imagine the things you could make when you’re safe and okay.

Tragedy, trauma, angst, anger and sadness don’t make you interesting. They inhibit your feelings, keep you from growing, they keep you from forming good and healthy relationships with the people around you. They keep you from becoming the person you want to be. Don’t wear your sorrow like a trophy, because it isn’t. The fact you survived it makes you strong. What will make you interesting – and your work interesting – is how you recovered and grew beyond those circumstances.

You are worth more than the things you produce. Don’t tie your self-worth and self-esteem to your craft.

Stay humble. Work hard, be sincere in your passions and in your relationships with others. Be as good to the people around you as you can be, and if you can’t say anything kind, shut the actual fuck up because no one needs your bullshit.  The most important thing in this world that we can be is kind. Life is difficult. Life as a creative is even harder. Do not be the reason someone else decides to quit doing what they love. Everyone has something amazing about them, be receptive to finding it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m demisexual.

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

Personally, no. I don’t talk about it much as I’m a pretty private person about my romantic relationships.

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

That asexual people are sex-repulsed. That we’re frigid or cold. That we don’t actually enjoy any form of physical contact whatsoever. That we’re broken or defective.

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

“Even if it gets hard

don’t lose that light.”

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

http://www.twitter.com/runesael

http://runesael.squarespace.com/

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

Interview: Holmesienne

Today we’re joined by Holmesienne. Holmesienne is a wonderful writer who is currently focused on writing a novel but also writes fanfiction and for Role Playing. She is incredibly passionate about writing and loves talking about the subject. Holmesienne is clearly a dedicated and talented artist, 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.

Well, I like to do all sorts of art (even though I’m not so good at all of them) but the one I feel very connected to is writing. I have always been interested in this art, even though I didn’t considered it as such back then. It was just something I enjoyed doing and nothing more. Since I was a kid I kind of wrote every time I could, littles pieces of stories coming straight out of my mind. It was not exactly the same topics, themes, characters or writing style I used at the time, but this is how it works after all. It has helped me growing up, and improving my writing abilities as well.

Now, I write different kind of stuff. I’m focused on a novel for the time being, and I write a fanfiction on the side too. Plus, I’m part of the Role Play community, so I’m always torn between the three of them. Despite my inability to choose what I want to write on most days, I’m always attached to the same thing: the style. Well, I mean, I try to use the same style to write my RPs and fanfictions the same way I do when I’m typing for the novel. Even though one seems less “important” for some matter, I just can’t write something I haven’t put myself into it with my bare soul. I guess I put a part of me in everything I write and that’s why I’m so slow, cause I have some kind of self-sacrifice to make (I mean, my energy, not some other thing super gore-like).

Anyway, to describe my style it’s really difficult for me to explain cause I don’t think I could find the right words which fit my writing abilities. It’s not pretentious or some shit like that, I really can’t find THE word to summarize it all, but I could try to give a shot at some kind of explanation. I guess the best words I could use to describe the style is: detailed and kind of explicit descriptions of landscapes/situations/feelings, so that an impression can emerge and readers permeate themselves with the combination of the said impression and the atmosphere depicted, to guess the implicit meaning of the sentences and the story in general. Sorry if it doesn’t make sense in English, but it’s the best I can do to grasp the very substance of it all.

I also try to approach some difficult subjects to give some kind of depth to the story. What I mean by that is that I’m not familiar with light subject and little connection. I like it when I can find a deep bond between situations, a strong explanation as to how it connects and how it will affect the future of the story, and so on. The difficult subjects I talk about are somehow linked to the troubles we all experience at some point in life. It’s not always the case, sometimes I don’t address it at all. But I always try to show that nothing’s always black or white, that everything’s kind of grey, no matter the nuances.

I think I can cut it now. It will do.

What inspires you?

Honestly, everything. The situations I see/read about everyday kind of inspire me at some point, some structures too I guess, like buildings or shops and even landscapes. Songs or videos I watch on TV or on the Internet. But the thing that inspires me the most is the weather. The grey or night kind of weather. The rainy and stormy kind too. Every time I go outside, I look at the grey sky, the thick clouds, the bright stars, the pale moon, the ragging storm, the sparkling lightning, the rain pouring down. That’s what inspires me. Because I just stay there, inhale and permeate myself with the atmosphere emanating from this kind of weather. I imagine my characters or some situations linked to this aura, and it just strikes me. Every time I feel like I don’t know how to start a sentence, I just get out and it’s there, hanging in the air. Just for my imagination to reach out for.

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

I can’t remember, really. I guess everything I had to do in my life had put me in this place right now. Had made me fond of the art of the literature, even though I hated these classes back then when I was still at school. I was not super interested in this field at first, I was just happy to wrote things when I had an idea at the time. With nothing to bother me and no strings attached.

Now, I still don’t consider myself like an author or a writer, but I would find it amazing if I could become a professional artist in my field. I’m just an amateur for the time being, but I guess I’ll see what’s next to come for me. Whatever will happen in the future, I would just be glad if I could still write on my spare time. No matter what.

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 think I do yeah. When I write, I like to include some words corresponding to a certain domain. A unique category of words, linked to a specific setting. It’s a cluster of themes I’m more aspiring to write about. The category is: the dark. I always write words linked to the dark, to describe different things, like a situation, a landscape, a feeling. I mostly use those words: obscure, shadow, dusk, opaque, oblivion, naught, and so on. And I also use terms that are contrasting to them, to impose some kind of duality (cluster words about light for example).

It’s my signature and certainly the strongest feature of the things I write.

Sometimes, I like to add some symbols here and there, to cut the story at one point and show that the following sentences belong to another section of work. This is how I write the most, because I always write one situation at a time, and to just mix it up or rush the story is really not my cup of tea.

(It’s probably how you will recognize me if you ever read my stuff.)

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

The more important thing you have to remember when you do your art is that it’s for you FIRST. You do what you want for you. You make things you like for you. When you get to become or consider yourself as an artist, please, remember this. Do what’s best for you. Do what you enjoy. Do what you like.

If there’s something you want so badly to see in art and no one has ever done it before, just do it! Do not hold back for anything in your life, especially for art because it’s directly linked to you. To your very being and your soul, to your beautiful spirit.

And please, another thing you absolutely have to remember and to know: do not wait for others to criticize (or worst, evaluate) your stuff without them knowing what you intend to do. Do not lay your work in other hands (unless it’s collective art) because it will not feel like it’s your work anymore.

Last thing you have to understand it that it’s okay when you have no motivation or don’t have time at all. Don’t feel bad and don’t put yourself down over your work because of this. You will get through it and you will get back to your stuff.

Little trick for you all, if you don’t feel confident enough : I always tell everyone that, if you do something you like, it’s because you know you’re good at it. Otherwise you would have ended it sooner than later or stopped it a long time ago.

Believe in you ♥

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demisexual. But mostly I tell people I’m just asexual so that I don’t have to explain all the time the specificity of my real identity. It’s sometimes exhausting to describe what it means to those who don’t know or understand what it is. But, every chance I get and when I have time, I correct myself and tell them who I am and how I identify. It’s important for everyone to grasp the signification and for us to expand the representation.

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

Personally, I haven’t met ace prejudice in my field, but I do have encountered some ignorance in real life. Some people are not informed or show some misconceptions about what it means to be asexual.

When it happens IRL, I always stand my ground and explain to them the aspects of being ace, what it means, what it really is. Because it’s my identity and I will not let anyone disregard myself for it just because they know shit about this and won’t take the effort to inform themselves over it.

On the other hand, when I see some posts on the internet about our community, I reblog them, I retweet them. I’m not fluent enough in English to explain out of the blue everything about asexuality to people on the internet. However, when it’s in my native language, I can tell almost everything there is to know about the community and the spectrum.

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

I have two misconceptions in mind but they are somehow linked.

The first is that people that are ignorant on the matter think that asexuality means we don’t like or practice sex at all. It’s infuriating because there are asexual that love sex. It’s not about the act itself (in general I mean, but I understand if the repulsion of the act is a part of why someone identify as ace) but more about sexual desire and sexual attraction. They are “lacking” or “low” most of the time for asexual but it doesn’t mean that it’s unnatural. How can someone believe it’s unnatural? It’s just normal.

The second is the fact that everyone always have to give the “It’s because you haven’t met the right person, yet!” card. And for that, I’m kind of biased since I’m demi, because I get why it’s the matter sometimes. Even though it’s more about the connection between one ace person and their partner (romantic or not)  that is important for this aspect. You trust some people with this, and there are people you just don’t. But it’s not the matter altogether. The reason this pretense is also false is that you can met whoever you like, it will not change anything about your asexuality. You are and always will be a part of the community, no matter what.

There are so many more misconceptions I could talk about but I never encountered anything else, so I will stop here.

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

It’s probably not what you would want to read but making your own researches help a lot at first. That way you can focus on what’s important for you, and get to know how to better identify yourself.  (However I understand that if you are completely lost on the beginning it will not be the better point to get across, especially if you don’t know the word asexuality).

You can also talk with ace people on the internet after logging on some forums or read through ace positivity blogs. Asks those who are willing to help you, they will be happy to do it. Search for associations or clubs or documents or even interviews, and so on. On the internet or in real life too.

The most important thing is that once you get to identify yourself, everything else will not be so hard anymore. You are scared to do your ace coming-out? Don’t. You want to do it? Do it. Just remember to not push yourself to fit into society while you’re here with something so special that it makes you unique. But, so long as you are happy and in terms with yourself, it’s all that will matter.

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

You can find my fanfic(s) on AO3: https://archiveofourown.org/users/Holmesienne/works

Also I have short “poems” on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Kt_Chup

I would absolutely adore to share the stories of the characters I write about (not for the novel, but for the RP on forums) and I think I will post them soon on Tumblr (in my native language): http://coloraldreamx.tumblr.com/

Hopefully I will probably finish the novel one day too and post it on the internet, who knows. There’s also a chance I will post facts about the story’s characters on Tumblr, and maybe some one shots if I ever made other ones too.

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