Interview: Shay

Today we’re joined by Shay. Shay is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in a cartoon style. She is a self-taught artist and is currently working to get a degree in animation. Her work has a masterful use of color and a sense of whimsy, which just makes you want to smile. She’s clearly a dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Me Windbreaker Teal

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a self-taught digital illustrator and I’m pursuing a degree in 2D animation! I prefer to use a very Western cartoon-like style. Picking out bright or pastel color schemes is my favorite!

What inspires you?

I often draw my favorite YouTubers, my friends, and my two adorable dogs! I also do a lot of self-portraits. Lately I’ve been trying to create my own original characters, but those are all still a work in progress. When I’m not sure what to draw, I sometimes will come up with a color palette that I love and go from there!

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Amy Sick

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

I’ve always been interested in drawing, but I didn’t set my mind on really trying to improve until about 6 years ago. Growing up I would only consider more “practical” careers like graphic design or marketing. That is, until a year ago when it suddenly occurred to me that real people with real lives actually get to illustrate and animate for a living. And it made me think “Why couldn’t that be me?”

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Chica

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 typically, but when drawing myself I often include daisies somewhere in the illustration just because I really love them, and four-leaf clovers because I have a knack for finding them and they just seem to appear everywhere in my life. And it couldn’t hurt to have a little luck on my side!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to try out elements of a style from artists you look up to. As long as you’re not tracing or essentially/literally claiming their work as your own, it will certainly help you discover your own unique style. Everyone’s signature style is just a conglomerate of things they saw and just thought to themselves “Wow! I really like that! I wonder if I could replicate that!” Trying out styles like that really helps you come into your own with time.

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Ethan Peace

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and heteromantic!

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

Not really, mostly just those that have never had the concept of asexuality explained to them. People tend to associate sex with something artistic, and therefore assume that all artists want that in their lives, which is not the case at all!

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Jack and Mark Dudebros

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

That it’s just being picky or that an ace person just “hasn’t found the right person yet.” If you’re asexual you don’t have any interest at all. I have never once in my life looked at someone and fantasized about having sex with them, and I’m in college. That has nothing to do with not finding the right person.

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

Please don’t stress about it too much! You may face some prejudice and ignorance about asexuality in your life, but at the end of the day you know how you feel, and nobody else can change that about you no matter how much they want to. You are not broken!

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

I’m most active on my Tumblr blog, but you can find me on these social medias:
DeviantART: https://sorrelheart.deviantart.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sorrelheart_jpg
Redbubble: https://www.redbubble.com/people/shaytastic

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Baylee Happy

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

Interview: Allyzah Allene

Today we’re joined by Allyzah Allene, who also goes by Ani or Ani Fangor. Allyzah is a phenomenal visual artist who works with in digital and traditional mediums. They haven’t met a material they didn’t like and work with just about everything. Their work is brimming with detail and a masterful use of lines and colors. They’re incredibly dedicated, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Self 2017

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an artist that likes to dabble in just about everything I can afford. I have worked with traditional mediums like pencils (graphites, colored pencils), charcoals, markers, paints (acrylic, watercolor, oil) and digital mediums (limited photoediting, mostly digital art). My goal is to be able to learn as many mediums as I can because I want to teach art. I also occasionally write, and recently began posting my comic on Tapas.

While many other artists have a “deeper meaning” behind their artworks, or a consistent theme, I find art to be most enjoyable when it is “whatever I feel like.” I don’t like stressing over incorporating hidden meanings and “how it may be interpreted,” but rather getting the idea out of my head. My art blog and my art tag ends up being full of random half done pieces and concepts because it’s not always about finishing, but expressing my ideas. (Perhaps not the best rule to live by, but as a student, it’s enough for me.)

What inspires you?

Most of the time, the deadline. Otherwise it’s usually whatever I find aesthetically appealing enough to draw!

For my writing and my comic, though, that was inspired by the lack of diversity in the media I consumed. I got tired of the same old “boy meets girl” plot/subplot found in most things I read, and especially, the lack of characters who even vaguely looked like me. Growing up, the books I read often degraded characters that shared my race or ethnicity, and I struggled with my identity until I was 16 (a mere four years ago). I hated who I was because I wasn’t white, and I thought that I would only be successful if I were like the white characters in my books—even then, that could be a stretch, as there were very few books with girls as the lead. I didn’t find out that I wasn’t cishet until I was about 15, and by then I barely read outside of the class readings, so I wasn’t as bothered by the lack of LGBT+ positive books just yet. In my junior year, I had my “if no one else is going to do it, I will” moment and decided I would make a comic featuring a diverse cast in both ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual/romantic orientation. It took a while, but I finally decided I had put it off long enough and started publishing pages early July 2017 as my 20th birthday gift to myself.

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

When I was in the second grade, my school’s art teacher brought a guest artist to speak to everyone. I don’t remember the name of the artist, but I remember being so intrigued—it was one thing to learn about Van Gogh and Picasso in class, and a completely different thing to see someone live at work that wasn’t my teacher. The way he worked was by covering a canvas with black charcoal, and slowly erasing it away to create an image. My art teacher later caught me trying to do the same thing while waiting for my dad to pick me up, and asked me if I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. It wasn’t something I had thought of before, but I remember being so happy that she thought I could, and I said yes. Since then, I have been on a quest to learn as much as I can about art so that I can help as many people as possible when I become a teacher.

As for writing, we have a rocky relationship. During elementary school, I had a pattern: I would love writing one year, and hate it the next. I didn’t really take it seriously for a while, even when I started writing and posting fanfiction. I found out about NaNoWriMo in middle school, and became serious about writing original work, although the passion and motivation is not nearly as consistent as with art.

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Death Lingers

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 know if I’ve been consistent enough with anything to have one of those! The closest thing is the stamp I use to sign my artwork (when I have it). I visited China two years ago as part of an exchange program, and the Chinese students gave me an approximate phonetic translation of my name so that I could have a “Chinese name.” I bought a stamp with that name on it to remember them and the trip, and I use it as half of my artist signature.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Besides the ever present “keep practicing,” I’d say “if you can’t figure out what’s wrong with it, put it on pause and work on something different; it’ll come to you sooner than if you keep focusing on it.” If it’s art, that one part will still be waiting for you to come back, and if it’s writing, you can always just type in something like “akdguhos” or “[COME BACK TO THIS]” and continue. (Just make sure that you go back to it before you publish it or turn it in!) You don’t have to finish everything in one go. Take a break, let your creative juices recharge.

Something specifically for visual art: we tend to hyperfixate on the small area that we’re currently working on. Every now and then, remember to step back (or, if digitally, zoom out) and look at the piece as a whole. Something might look okay while zoomed in… and then you look at the whole picture and realize that it’s completely misaligned or maybe the color palette doesn’t match the rest. I’ve worked on several semi-realistic pieces and realized that the “perfect nose” was too far right, or that it looked like the neck didn’t come from the same body as the head, because I didn’t look at the whole picture as much as I should have.

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Lumos

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual sex-repulsed, and demi-panromantic. (As well as agender/non-binary.)

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

I’ve been lucky enough not to encounter any prejudice in my major related classes yet, but that’s partially because I don’t know anyone well enough to actually care what they say, partly because I have headphones in during class almost all the time. I have had people try to get “creative” with their flirting though, automatically assuming that because I’m an artist, I draw nude people, and that I’d want to draw them … How I respond to them depends on how rude they’re being.

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

Ohh boy, there’s so many that I spent three years researching asexuality in order to academically debunk misconceptions and presented speeches about asexuality to just about any academic platform I could reach. (I’m no longer doing competitive speech as I switch to the coaching side of things, but I’m still ready to spread asexual awareness.)

The one that I hate the most is when people think asexuals are being childish if they state that they have no sexual attraction, especially if they say that they’re a sex-repulsed ace. I’ve had people say that I’ll eventually “grow up and want sex,” and when I literally had an anxiety attack due to a class assigned movie (marked UnRated and with no CW/TW in the film description, nor from the professor) that featured multiple explicit sex scenes and nudity, I was told to grow up and realize that “sex is an art form. You’re an artist, why can’t you appreciate that?” It’s frustrating that sex is seen as a major turning point in your life, the time you’ve “finally reached adulthood,” when there’s plenty of us who can live without it.

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Southern Belle

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

Most importantly: you are not broken. Your orientation doesn’t make you any less valid than anyone else! Remember, for every person that takes you down, there’ll be many ready to help lift you back up again.

Also, it doesn’t matter if you fit some of the stereotypes or misconceptions of asexuality or not, you can still identify as ace. Things like “you can’t know if you’re ace if you’re a virgin,” “it’s just a hormonal imbalance,” “it’s because of PTSD/similar,” it doesn’t matter if these are true or not for you. If you feel like asexuality is the best label for your orientation, then you’re ace.

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

I post my work on Tumblr with the tag “#ani amount of art” on both aniamountofart.tumblr.com and aniamountofsketches.tumblr.com; on Instagram/Twitter tagged #aniamountofart on artisticAllyzah; and my comic can be found at tapas.io/series/OMNI!

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Marco the Mallard

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

Interview: Lawton Braun

Today we’re joined by Lawton Braun. Lawton is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in a unique form of self-portraiture: he works with fiber and makes fabrics. He has a degree in fabric design and uses bold colors to create self-portraits. Lawton also does quite a lot of digital illustration, which range from digital fabric repeats to text based designs and artwork. His artwork is gorgeous and he’s incredibly passionate, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I work mainly in fiber and digital art, have graduated from the Lamar Dodd School of Art, and am currently working a full time teaching job. My art is inspired by different interpretations of what it means to experience self-portraits. I remember being in the first years of art school when we were told to draw self-portraits and I would feel so bummed because I’m not a very photorealistic type of artist, but as I started to figure out what I enjoyed and what I was interested in I came to understand that a self-portrait can be anything that you want it to be. Capturing a person’s image can be a literal picture of the person, or a stylistic work that describes them through different aesthetics.

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What inspires you?

I take a lot of time to look at the intersectionality of my race, gender, sexuality, and my privileges in many ways and how they interact with the world. I am also really into skate culture and looking at the way that I feel and experience love. I navigate towards bold colours and high contrasting situations because I’m colour blind, and bold and neons are the colours I see the best.

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

I always enjoyed art when I was growing up and I love building things. I was originally concentrating in ceramics with a focus on sculpture when I sort of got invested in cartoons and drawing funny things. I decided to branch out and see where I could put my cartoons in places other than just on pots or cups or slabs of clay. Because of this I ended up falling in love with fiber arts and how it can be both industry focused and fine art driven; it was basically the best of all the things I wanted. When I got into weaving I fell in love with the skills and having to take the time to work at mastering the process to make fabric. Then it became all about, “how do I work to make fabric unique and tell the story of who I am using materials that I find interesting.”

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

Not really a signature, but most people that know me and are familiar with my art recognize the colors that I use. They are bold and vibrant and not combinations that many would pick. I love neons and mixing them with neutrals along with blacks and dark tones.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just make a lot, honestly art is just a skill like anything else, it does not come down to talent, it’s just about how much time and practice and effort you put into it. If you don’t think you’re good at it, fucking welcome it and live in the fact that you’re not good at it and just find the small things that make you laugh or smile about what you are making. You can make it for a certain audience or just for yourself, just make a lot and think about what you make a lot.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual and demiromantic. I am sexually active, but I only have or enjoy sex under very specific conditions. BDSM allows me to have sex within strictly defined parameters outlining what will and will not happen. This allows me to have sex in a way that lets me set the limits and feel relaxed while being able to enjoy the pleasure and fun of the session without having to get into a debate about me not feeling sexual attraction.

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

I’ve had plenty of partners and people tell me that I can’t be ace because I have had sex and do enjoy sex in the right environment. Most recently this came from a past partner breaking up with me because I refused to say that I wasn’t ace.

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

I’ve honestly heard people compare asexual people to sponges. Asexuality is a spectrum and it’s fluid for some people just like any identity.

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

Believe in yourself and just do you. Try your best to find other people to talk to, learn more, and take the time to experiment with the label that fits you best.

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

You can find my Tumblr at middleboi.tumblr.com and find me on Facebook here and my Redbubble shop for some stickers if you want HERE

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

Interview: Taylor Jay

Today we’re joined by Taylor Jay. Taylor is a wonderful visual artist who is currently majoring in art. She shows an incredible amount of talent and her work is brimming with color and amazing details, as well as a fascinating use of lines and perspective. She’s obviously got a very bright future ahead of her. 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 still pretty new to the art world, and still have TONS of learning to do! At the moment, I’ve been experimenting with anything and everything, but I really enjoy nature and landscape photography. I also enjoy ink, though I hope to learn how to create digital art soon as that’s what I’m majoring in. I just need to get a better-functioning laptop!

The picture below are some of my favorite pieces thus far! The upper left is Gazing, which is a cat sitting on a fence staring at the moon (watercolor pencil). The one next to it is a rough sketch of a future tattoo design done in Sharpie. Upper right corner is a simple gardenia flower done in colored pencil. Below it is a moon drawing done in ink and colored pencil. Bottom right is photography of mine and my boyfriend’s hands, edited in multiple photo apps. Finally the biggest square is my favorite at the moment. It’s named Uncle Death, done in charcoal.

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What inspires you?

My other art friends really inspire me. Especially my roommate / best friend. She’s super artistic, and I hope I can be as good as her someday. I am also very moved by David G. Ferrero, who is an illustrator residing in Gijón, Spain. He specializes in the art deco / art nouveau style, and I absolutely adore that style. He does a lot of Disney, too, that is amazing. I also aspire to be as good as him, of course with my own personal style thrown in!

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

I actually didn’t decide to be an artist until my senior year of high school. Before then I always admired art, but I thought I was a crappy drawer. I honestly sucked at crafts and still do, and have never been the best at drawing. However, around my sophomore year of high school, I fell in love with the drama department. I was never on stage, but behind the scenes making the show come to life. I loved the behind the scenes aspect, because the audience has no idea how much us crew kids actually do (for the most part). It got me thinking about how I would love to create this “magic” off the stage and on actual movie screens. Thus me becoming a visual effects artist and / or animator popped into my mind. Around my senior year, I decided that that’s what I really wanted to do.

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 think so? Not yet, at least. I mean, I do scribble my little signature at the bottom right of my pieces. I’ll sometimes also purposely make the piece look scratchy. I really like the rough-looking sketch of things, so I guess that counts!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It’s okay to not be as good as others. Whether they have more or less experience than you. Everyone has a personal and unique style, and everyone progresses at their own pace. Have confidence in yourself, and whatever you do, do NOT compare your work to others! That will be the death of you, and I myself am still learning not to do that.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

As far as I know, I’m simply asexual. Not sex-repulsed, just a low to zero libido. I’m not sure if there’s a proper term for it, actually!

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

I have experienced it quite a bit with both friends and potential partners. With my friends, they would always make comments about these “hot” guys, or what they would do to the hot guy they saw at the mall. I would always tell them that I thought he was attractive, but not hot. I would also tell them that I have no desire to do anything with him, or I couldn’t picture myself getting intimate with a crush. They would always tell me that I “needed to get a boyfriend, then I would get those sexual urges”. Well, I got a boyfriend in high school, and those “urges” still did not come.

With potential partners — I’m into guys — I would tell them that I was asexual. I would tell them I’m not a sexual person and such. They would either say they understood but still pressured me, or they would tell me it was my excuse so we wouldn’t get sexual. I even had one guy say he would “change me” after we went on a date… didn’t happen.

I’ve always just kind of brushed it off, though. Let people think what they want to think. I know what I am and that’s all that matters. But I finally did find someone. When I told him I was asexual, instead of making a comment or saying he could change me, we stopped what we were doing and he asked questions. He asked legitimate questions so he could get a better understanding and not pass my boundaries. Now we’ve been together for nearly a year, and I’m so happy.

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

Almost every time I have told someone I was asexual, they immediately asked “So you’re never gonna have sex? What about children of your own?” or “That means you don’t have sex at all, right?” Then I explain to them how not every asexual person is sex-repulsed, and that there’s a spectrum, etc. etc.

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

It’s okay to be asexual, and to be “different” from your friends. It’s okay if even the thought of sex makes you feel gross. It’s okay to have a low sex drive, and it’s okay to fall anywhere on the asexual spectrum. It is okay to be asexual. It doesn’t mean you’re broken, even if you have a history of being sexually abused. It’s okay even if you believe you’re asexual, then discover that you’re not. No matter what, you’ll be perfectly okay.

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

I actually don’t post too much of my work, or discuss it. I’m still a little hesitant to post it. Though I do post a few things on my Tumblr from time to time (you-look-beautiful-as-always). I also have a photography Instagram: at bts.photography, but other than that, I don’t post anything.

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

Interview: Logan

Today we’re joined by Logan. Logan is a phenomenal visual artist who does both traditional and digital art. He uses a variety of materials, but loves to draw. His work is brimming with astonishing detail, imagination, and vivid colors. It’s clear he has a wonderful love of art, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is very odd topic, for it ranges in many different forms. Digital, Traditional, painting, paper craft, clay, sometimes even photography. But of course I draw more than anything. Everything I draw is so full of life, as my friends and family put it, and while I’m still learning poses and proportions, I think I’ve found a good art style that’s easy enough to doodle with, but also exaggerated enough to make complex pieces.

What inspires you?

Cartoons and anime really inspire me, as I would like to animate as a full-blown job someday. Some of my biggest influences have to be Welcome to Hell and Gorillaz. The expressions and moods of both inspire me to make more drawings like that, ones that have a mood and can tell a story. Some of my other friends who are also artists inspire me as well. I can think of three people that helped me get better at things I’m not all that good at, such as color scheme and line art. One more thing that inspires me is one of my favorite book series Amulet. The art is so charming and the storytelling is amazing. I hope one day I could make something as great as it.

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

When I was younger, I actually wanted to be an architect. I thought the pay was good and I over designing things. I soon grew out of that when I learned how much things you would need to be one. In fourth grade I got really into Sonic games, as I’ve never had a new game before then and I loved to play the Sonic mega collection. Naturally, I started to doodle Sonic characters in class, I still have some of those drawings too. And like most Sonic fans, I made a lot of OCS as well. This actually got me into making stories and worlds of my own. I remember I had about 27 sonic characters that were all connected somehow, I ditched a lot along the way and now I number it down to about 10. It actually wasn’t until sixth grade that I got really into drawing, and by then, I was also into creepypasta, which got me even more into storytelling. Since then, I’ve wanted to be a cartoonist or an animator and I don’t ink that’ll change anytime soon.

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

While I wouldn’t call it special, I do have this small trick that helps me draw different sizes of body’s. (I haven’t perfected it yet though) what I do is nothing but circles for the limbs and give the torso a rectangle shape. This way I can edit how big I want the character to be. It’s a bit hard to explain so I tried my best, but it does help me quite a bit.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop drawing something just because someone doesn’t like it. I became the artist I am today because I drew things that would be considered cringy, emo, or childish. But I didn’t let that stop me from drawing something I enjoy, I kept on drawing, heck, I catch myself drawing my Sonic OCs from time to time still. Don’t let people make you feel ashamed for something you like is what I’m basically saying, keep on drawing what you want to draw, not what other people want you to draw.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a Biromantic Asexual

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

I have a few times, but they weren’t as bad as other ace people might have it. Some teasing and someone asking if I actually loved my girlfriend because I was ace.

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

Something I hear a lot is that asexuals can’t have partners. That’s kinda bullcrap. While I don’t speak for everyone when I say that, aces could and would totally date someone if their partner was accepting. I’m lucky that my girlfriend is also asexual so we don’t have to deal with that.

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

I totally get it first of all. I remember that I was very confused with myself when people would talk about doing things I had no interest in and people finding it weird, I remember thinking I had some sort of mental disorder that was preventing me from feeling those things. While I don’t think I’m the best at giving this kind of advice, I just want to say to y’all that everything will turn out fine. It’s OK to be confused and it’s OK to think you were this and end up not being that (heck I thought I was a straight cis girl for 14 years) and if you never really figure out what you are, that’s OK as well, nothing is black and white.

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

Well, I have a Tumblr, a Wattpad, and an Instagram all under the same name, Sonicrocks152.

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

Interview: Red

Today we’re joined by Red. Red is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in digital mediums. She is also an aspiring author. Red also happens to be a first for Asexual Artists: she’s a pet stylist who specializes in creative grooming. It’s clear that she’s an artist with an admirable amount of passion and enthusiasm, 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 digital artist (Hobbyist) and an aspiring author. I draw monsters and Pokémon, and I write short horror stories mostly. Also not sure if this is considered an art, but I’m a pet stylist who focuses on creative and Asian Fusion grooming (Non-contest grooming). That’s what pays the bills)

What inspires you?

All sorts of things inspire me. I find inspiration in things that happen in my life, colors I see in the world, or even just random thoughts. Music is the biggest inspiration, though. When it comes to my digital art, I can’t draw unless there’s music that goes with whatever piece I have in mind playing!

As far as the dogs go, I’m completely inspired by cuteness. I groom to make the dog look as adorable as possible!

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

As far as writing, I always used to want to be an author. I was an avid reader since I could read, and I had such a vivid imagination that writing just came naturally. It’s something I’ve always loved.

Drawing, on the other hand, I got into later on in life, honestly I started drawing because I used to play on Neopets as a kid, and I wanted to draw my pets. I also did a lot of roleplaying back in the day, and I didn’t feel comfortable using images from google to represent my characters, so I wanted to start drawing my own art to represent my characters. I can’t say I’ve ever wanted to be an artist on a professional level, especially since my confidence in my art is pretty low, but I’m always improving, and someday I might even open up my work for commissions online!

I’ve also always wanted to work with dogs, but grooming wasn’t my first choice. I exhausted other options, like being a veterinarian and dog trainer, and found art and inspiration when I tried grooming dogs. It’s a great way to work with dogs and be creative as well, and I’m excited to actually work at a school now and teach creative grooming!

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’m not really sure if I do… As far as writing goes, I tend to stick to horror and scary stories, and a lot of my stories come from daydreams, or actual dreams or nightmares…

Other than that, I couldn’t think of anything that is special or unique about either of my mediums of art. I just do this because I enjoy it.

(Jokingly, my coworkers say they can always tell when I groom a dog because the hair that hangs over the eyes is left long and the muzzle is always very round, while everyone else takes both of those short)

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t compare yourself to other people’s art, unless you’re actively trying to develop your style and you’re looking at different examples of that style. Even then, your style will never match up 100% to anyone else’s, because everyone has their own way of doing something. Even if you don’t think your art is that great, in whatever form it may be, just remember that not only do you have to start somewhere, but there’s honestly probably people out there worse than you at whatever you’re trying to create. Just do art because it’s fun, not to compare yourself, because you’ll only make yourself feel bad if you’re constantly trying to measure up to someone else instead of working on your own style.

And really, there’s art to be found in a ton of places, so if you’re a creative type but don’t feel that professional writing or drawing is for you, there are tons of jobs that can tap into that creative potential in sucha fun and unique way!

jackal50_scartoon_by_creativered-damk4nv

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual, and I’m not really sure what my romantic orientation is.

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

Not in the art community, and really I haven’t delved too far into the professional writing area of the world yet to have that come into play.   As far as being a pet stylist goes, I’ve had only one person who has been truly ignorant, but she is super sweet and tried to understand. She just doesn’t get orientations that aren’t gay, straight, or bi. The rest of the grooming industry is pretty diverse, and really accepting!

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

That asexuals don’t love their partner. (I guess to some allos, sex is the same thing as love)

Honestly I feel like my love for my partner is stronger because not only does he understand my asexuality, but I get to focus on other things in our relationship that build a sense of love, trust, and comfort than just sex.

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

You. Are. Not. Broken! And you are not alone! There’s a surprising amount of people in the world who are either somewhere on the spectrum, or really understanding/know about asexuality! When you’re struggling to define yourself and your orientation, it’ll probably be tough, and you’ll think something’s wrong with you, and people might even say there’s something wrong with you, but I promise you there isn’t! Don’t buy into the negativity, and just focus on what you feel in your heart.

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

I have a DA (CreativeRed), and if you’re interested in some of my writing, you can find a few creepypastas on the wiki, like “For Fear Addicts Like Me” (TW: might cause feelings of dissociation) and “The Lab” (TW: violence, gore. Experimental piece with an emphasis on body horror and gross-out factor).  And keep an eye out for my eventual anthology of short horror stories under the same title “For Fear Addicts Like Me”.

lycanroc_by_creativered-darrxvk

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

Interview: Brennan Stidham

Today we’re joined by Brennan Stidham. Brennan is a phenomenal author who has published two books so far. She writes YA fiction, mostly fantasy and scifi. Her second book features an asexual main character. Brennan is a wonderfully dedicated writer with a passion that suggests we’ll be seeing plenty more work from her in the future, which is always great. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Ace trainer
Ace Trainer

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am primarily an author. Thus far, I’ve published two books with my writing/platonic partner under the pseudonym Eden R Souther. So far, we’ve focused mainly on the Young Adult fantasy/fiction genres.

The first one we published is Angel Syndrome, an urban fantasy with sci-fi overtones. It’s part of a much larger universe that the two of us have been building for the past decade.

The other is Cruentus, which is my passion project, and was published at the beginning of the month. I wrote this one on my own, but he’s helping me with later entries.

I also do some digital art, but I have been woefully behind on that, though.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by other authors that I read when I was younger, and honestly also by my partner. He’s a very creative person and I push myself to do better with every project so that we can make a name for ourselves.

I just want one person to connect with the characters or the story and get inspired by it. The idea that I could inspire someone with my words, just like I was, is amazing motivation.

AS Brighter
Angel Syndrome

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

I’ve always wanted to be an artist, but not necessarily an author. My sophomore year of high school I was pursuing my passion for Marine Biology and taking AP Biology and realized … I’m not smart enough for this. I was towards the bottom of the class and hating every single moment. So I took the time to reevaluate what I was really good at.

It was then that I realized that I’ve been writing since 3rd grade, with varying levels of success. The year before I had written my “magnum opus” a 99 page hand written “novel” over the course of 3 months. And I had never been happier than when I was working on it. So I decided that I would focus more on my writing than on the high level academics.

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 actually a couple.

In our work there are very few non-LGBTQ+ characters. In fact, Cassandra, the lead of Cruentus is also Asexual. I really have to push myself to find characters in Cruentus who aren’t LGBTQ+.

Another is that I absolutely love trying to mess with typical or expected tropes in Young Adult literature, and literature in general. One of my absolute least favorite is the “love triangle, how can the girl pick between her two hot boys?” We have fun with that in the sequels to Angel Syndrome, which aren’t out yet, but are currently being edited.

CassieHead
Cassie

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

The advice I’d give to aspiring writers… honestly, just write. It doesn’t matter if it’s good, or if it’s bad. Because writing is both the most fun, and easiest part. Editing is a super long, and time consuming process.

The second piece of advice, don’t edit until you’ve finished the whole thing. You will spend DAYS fixing and adjusting a single paragraph, and it’ll kill the flow. Just let that book flow out, or push that book out if you have to. Just don’t edit til it’s done. I had to make that promise to my mentor years ago, and it’s honestly made the writing process so much more enjoyable.

Cruentus Cover Internet
Cruentus

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am an asexual/aromantic. It took a lot of years to get there, but once I found the asexual identity… I felt whole. It was like a missing piece of the puzzle and I just broke down crying. I’m not broken, I’m not wrong, I’m asexual.

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

Honestly, I haven’t in my field because I am independently published. I’m a founding member of the publishing group, and when it boils down it’s me, my mentor, and my QPP.

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

“You just haven’t met the right person yet,” or, “don’t close yourself off for the chance at love.” Those two are seriously annoying. I came out to my boss because she was pestering me about not having a boyfriend and then spent half an hour trying to debate asexuality with me, and how I was wrong about my identity… even though given what she’s said about her marriage and her opinions on sex… she’s on the asexual spectrum.

Kazun Hockey
Kazun Hockey

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

There are always people who aren’t going to get it. And at some point, you have to realize that you can’t let their ignorance get to you. Every single person is unique, and has a different experience. Your experience is beautiful, enjoy every moment that you have, and love yourself. You are amazing.

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

You can find my work on our author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EdenRSouther/
Our author website: https://www.edenrsouther.com/
Our author Tumblr: http://eden-r-souther.tumblr.com/
My digital art is on DeviantArt: http://black0eternity.deviantart.com/

NyssaHead
Nyssa

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