Interview: Fish-Heads

Today we’re joined by Fish-Heads. Fish-Heads is a wonderful visual artist who does a little bit of everything. He does drawing, painting, large scale installations, and has recently been dabbling in digital art. He enjoys drawing monsters in particular and his drawings are vivid and unique. It’s clear he loves what he does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Illustration104Color

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I try not to limit myself to one particular medium over another, so I consider myself a ‘jack of all trade’ kind of artist. Painting, sculpture, large-scale installation, drawing; whatever feels natural to that particular piece at the time is what I roll with. Recently, however, I have started dabbling in digital art for the first time, and have quickly fallen in love with it.

What inspires you?

I enjoy working within the realm of monsters. Inner demons, monsters living under your bed, tricksters and lonely souls; depicting monsters has become a quick and cathartic method for me to cope with my own struggles throughout life.

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

I have been interested in art since I was a little kid. As I got older though, art making became a way for me to escape reality and the tribulations of mental illness. Depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder have been a part of my existence for most of my life, so art making gave me those few moments of solace in the day to get away from it. Even after receiving my BFA and MFA, art continues to pull me away from life and steer my mind toward calmer places.

Illustration117Color

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?

Mouths and teeth have been a consistent staple throughout most of my work. I like to think there is a strange and disgusting beauty to mouths; they showcase so much of our internal and external emotions. A smile can depict happiness and willingness, but it can also express fear and uncertainty. Likewise, frowns can express sadness, illness, and pain. I use mouths as my primary focal point because they are so malleable and squishy, and have been an effective outlet for depicting my own emotions to the viewer.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Try not to get caught up in finding your niche style or medium; always allow for experimenting and exploration in oneself. Do not fall prey to comparing your art with other artist. If you are not having fun making your art, then what is the point?

IllustrationFamily7

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a Demibisexual.

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

I would say the number one type of ignorance that I experience, not only within my field, but in general, is the assumption that aces, of any kind, do not exist. Since I do live within a fairly touchy ‘red’ area, confronting such ignorance is a relatively fruitless endeavor, so I tend to ignore it. However, despite being afloat in a red sea, I am comforted knowing that I am far from the only one out there; and have made a number of friendships with others just like me.

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

Sexual relationships = happiness, therefore aces are not happy. This misconception has plagued me for so long, and only continues to be more prevalent the older I get. The notion that one must be in a sexually-active relationship in order to achieve happiness has always rubbed me the wrong way. I have been walking through my life knowing many fantastic and brilliant people, people that have brought me significant amounts of joy, and never once did I ever want to sleep with them.

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

You are not alone, there are others out there just like you. Even when things get tough, remember to turn toward that which brings you happiness, and run with it.

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

Website – www.fish-heads-monsters.com
Twitter – at LoneFishMonger
Teespring – https://teespring.com/stores/fish-heads-inc

IllustrationFamily8

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

Interview: Brittany L.

Today we’re joined by Brittany L. Brittany is a wonderful visual artist I met at Indy PopCon. She does a lot of traditional visual art, specializing in acrylics and watercolors. Brittany also does a little digital art too. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

_Father Sky
Father Sky

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I think my favorite medium is paint. I’ve used acrylics and watercolors, but I’d like to learn how to use other types of paint like oils. In high school I started learning how to do digital art using the Adobe Cloud and it is a blast, so I want to get better at that too. Basically, I’m interested in a whole lot of things and would like to just keep trying new things and getting better at what I love to do.

What inspires you?

I seem to be inspired by random things. I’ll just be going about my day and then think of something. It can be a bit stressful because I can randomly forget things just as easily, so I have to make sure that I write things down as I think of them.

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

Art has always been incredibly important to me for as long as I can remember. I always wanted to make things and what others might’ve called junk I would find some sort of craft to give it a purpose. Over the years I have gotten involved in different kinds of art; as a kid it was visual art, but in middle school I got involved with theatre and writing then in high school I joined show choir and developed an interest in graphic design. That’s how I ended up where I am now.

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 sign my work as “Blu” because it takes the first letter of my first name and the first two letters of my last name. And blue is one of my favorite colors!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It’s cliché, but my advice is to keep practicing if art is something you really love. But practicing does not just mean doing. Of course, you will have to actually make some art. However, if you are becoming too frustrated with yourself and over criticizing your work then you can take a break from doing and absorb art. Watch videos of art tutorials. Read books about art. Find artists with styles you like to gain insight for what you want to do with your own. And just remember while you are growing that it is okay for your work to not turn out exactly as you expected. That’s completely normal.

_Oceans of Neptune
Oceans of Neptune

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Finding how I wanted to identify myself was really difficult for a long time until a really close friend of mine just casually told me that if I wanted to, I could use asexual and heterosexual to identify myself simultaneously. I had thought of it before that conversation, but I felt like I couldn’t do that because I figured most aces would just call themselves heteroromantic asexual or a gray ace. For some reason those terms just didn’t work for me personally.

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

I started wondering whether I was asexual during my freshman year in high school. This was also when I developed my first crush. Both of us grew up in religious families, but his environment had different ideals than my own. When I brought up my questions to him he said he would have to break up with me if that was the case because it went against what he believed in. I was so head over heels for him at this point that I forced myself to say that I wasn’t asexual at all so that he would stay with me. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only change I made for him. It was all really damaging to me as a person. We ended up breaking up a couple months later anyway and I was devastated for a long time. But thankfully we have both grown so much from this experience. He apologized for the way things were and how things ended, and we are actually friends now. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without that experience. Even though it was hard for a while, I’m grateful for what came out of it.

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

That aces just haven’t met the right person. I feel like that idea comes from a very basic idea of asexuality. Not all aces are the same; it’s different for everyone! Some like to have sex and others don’t. Some experience romantic attraction and others don’t. So, while some aces may meet someone that they’ll date, have sex with, marry, etc., others won’t because that just isn’t for them.

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

Be brave! Even though we make up a small percentage of the population, out of 7 billion people that’s a lot of individuals. None of us are actually alone. I went to my first pride festival recently and I meet other asexuals, which was something that had never happened to me before. Since then I have continued to find resources and spaces online for asexual individuals (such as this blog!) or to spread awareness about asexuality. I’m even in a subreddit called r/asexuality, and people post questions in there all the time to get help trying to become comfortable with their orientation. Find ways to talk to other people in your situation. If you are religious and are struggling with that aspect of it, try to find someone you trust who is safe to talk to about your journey. I talked to so many other friends who are also religious after my first boyfriend told me it was wrong, and they helped to reassure me that it is okay. You do not have to suffer in silence. I am open to having a conversation too if it will help a fellow ace in need; my Instagram is at brii.the.blu.bird. And please, please remember to be kind to yourself while you are on this journey.

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

The public Instagram account that I mentioned before (at brii.the.blu.bird) is a separate account I made in hopes of starting to share my work more. There isn’t much there right now, but hopefully I will be able to start uploading more work soon. I also have some writing on Wattpad under the username at brii_the_blu_bird.

_Rings of Saturn
Rings of Saturn

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

Interview: Abi Stevens

Today we’re joined by Abi Stevens. Abi is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in digital art and illustration. She makes colorful illustrations featuring monsters, myths, and folklore. Abi also does additional work about chronic illness and has recently run a successfully funded Kickstarter for enamel pins. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Black Shuck
Black Shuck

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a digital illustrator and I make colourful and detailed illustrations inspired by mythology, folklore, history and all things fantastical. My work is often influenced by elements of ‘visual history’, by which I mean historical art forms, architecture and objects. In particular I love stained glass windows and illuminated manuscripts. You can see references to these sources in the stylized borders and iconography in my work. I also enjoy including hidden details in my work and incorporating symbolism such as the language of flowers.

More recently my subject matter has expanded into more personal areas; exploring my experience with chronic migraine, and I plan to expand into other chronic illnesses and mental health issues as well. Most recently I have been creating enamel pin and sticker designs incorporating the words ‘chronic warrior’ and ‘migraine warrior’.

What inspires you?

Growing up I was obsessed with fantasy and science-fiction books and I devoured every story I could get my hands on. It was my own personal escape from reality and so this early love of the fantastical has carried heavily over into my own creative practice. I think we all enjoy stories of lives grander and more bizarre than our own. In some ways my artwork is still a means of escape, but one that I can share with everyone else.

My love of fantasy and science-fiction naturally expanded over time into a fascination with mythology. As an atheist I find the incredible range of deities and monsters we have conjured up across the world fascinating. There are mythical creatures so ingrained in our modern collective consciousness that everybody can recognise them. These imaginary beings are powerful historical heirlooms and vehicles for education and social narratives.

This sense of wonder carries over into my historical inspirations. I enjoy dramatic historical narratives and learning about different cultures through their past. However it is historical art forms that really spark in me a sense of wonder: details of architecture, stained glass, and illuminated manuscripts jump out at me and inspire me to create my own art.

Glass Books of the Dream Eaters
Glass Books of the Dream Eaters

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

Growing up I enjoyed creating but I was curious about a lot of things and my ideas for the future were pretty vague.  I was interested in pretty much anything that didn’t involve maths and for a long time I couldn’t make my mind up about what I wanted to be: a writer? A fine artist? A psychologist? A historian? A teacher? It took all my teenage years, 4 A levels and a Foundation Degree before I really knew what an illustrator even was! By happy accident it turns out I chose to study the one subject that can encompass all of my varied interests at once. As an illustrator you get to explore all sorts of subjects and there are so many possibilities for what you can do with your work that I never get bored. It’s an ongoing process; learning, improving skills, observing and researching, and overcoming challenges and deadlines, and I don’t think I could ever be ‘done’. Once you’ve chosen to be an artist, I think it changes the way you observe that world, and it really becomes a way of life as much as a vocation.

Kickstarter

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?

It’s not so much a signature per say, but I like to hide narrative or historical details in my illustrations: things that people who look hard enough will appreciate but that might go un-noticed on a first pass. This can mean anything from references to the language of flowers, to stained glass window references and various symbolism. I love the idea of people discovering something new in my work each time they look at it. For example ‘Volant’ (my flying mythological creature illustration) includes interactions between the larger mythological characters and smaller real-life animals that you may not notice on a first look: such as the moths being drawn to the flame the Phoenix carries, the blue tits trying to protect their friend from the Griffin, and the Siren’s child trying to catch a bat.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

First of all, to always be true to yourself and try not to be swayed too much by the trends on social media. It’s helpful to be aware of current trends but the best way to improve your work and stand out from the crowd is to stay true to your own interests. Passion for your subject is what will pull your best work out of you.

And second, don’t compare yourself negatively to other artists. Everyone is at a different point in their journey and has different resources available, so the only point of reference that is truly relevant is the measure of your own personal progress.

mental health online
Mental Health Online

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I dither a bit to be honest as I’m still figuring myself out, but I usually go with Grey-Ace.

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

Not yet. To be honest my sexuality doesn’t come up much in conversation and while I’m pretty open about it online, it hasn’t been discussed in a professional context yet, or really in many personal ones. I’m hoping I’m lucky enough to avoid that kind of behaviour in the future as well. I know others haven’t been so lucky.

mental health
Mental Health

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

Probably the idea that all asexuals are sex-repulsed and A-romantic. There’s actually a wide spectrum of asexuality and this clumsy assumption left me feeling completely out of place for a while. I didn’t feel like I fit clearly under straight or LGBT+ labels and that was a lonely feeling.

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

I think to pay close attention to their instincts and how their body is feeling. I’ve got some uncomfortable memories from times where I squashed down my instinct that something didn’t feel right with the idea that I should want certain things, I must feel a certain way, or put another persons wants before my own comfort. Our cultural preconceptions of what ‘normal’ is can have such a huge negative impact on our ability to cultivate a healthy self-image, and if your on the ace spectrum it can require a lot of effort to re-program yourself to listen to how you really feel and not how you think you should. This is possibly the biggest hurdle to being comfortable with your orientation.

migraine
Migraine

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

I have a website at www.abistevens.com which displays my portfolio and also a blog with an introductory blog post explaining more about my work.

You can also find me on Twitter (AbiStevens_Art) and Instagram (abistevens_illustration).

At the moment I am running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the Chronic Warrior and Migraine Warrior enamel pin designs I mentioned earlier. The first pin has already been funded and we’re on our way to the second. You can find that here.

poster
Poster

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

Interview: Civvi

Today we’re joined by Civvi. Civvi is a phenomenal visual artist who mostly does digital art. She does a lot of fanart, but has also done some original work as well. Her work is bright and colorful, making use of vibrant shades to make the drawings pop. 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.

1. hell yea fam
Hell yea fam

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do mostly digital art these days, I highly favor drawing cute girls because, well girls are cute! I draw mostly fanart, as it was what first inspired me to draw.

What inspires you?

The media I consume! Most of my urges to draw come from seeing a character in a show and being filled with the desire to create my own rendition of them. Fanart makes me really happy and I love sharing it with other people who like the same things that I do.

2. colorlull
Colorlull

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

I started drawing casually in middle school, 7th grade, because I was so enamored with the Warrior Cats book series. I remember the very first drawing I actually put effort into. I spent the whole school day carefully sketching out a drawing of a cat, laying on her side with several kittens around her, I used my thumb to rub the pencil and smooth the texture, I started scratching through the notebook paper going over the lines too many times. It’s probably been about 10 years since then, but I can still remember the almost foreign feeling of pride I felt looking at what I had done. Until then I had been praised for my intelligence and nothing else. Now I made something, and creating felt good. I did art very casually without trying to improve up through high school, and only got semi-serious about improving my skills about a year or two ago. Since then I’ve made such great progress I’m really proud of how far I’ve come!

3. New Lulu
New Lulu

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?

Ah I don’t really think so. Some friends have said that the noses I draw make it easy to recognize my art? But my style is always changing and shifting so I don’t settle on one thing for very long at all.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do what makes you happy! For a long time, it made me happy to draw without thinking critically about what I made and how I could improve, and that’s totally fine! Then when that stopped making me happy, and I wanted to improve, I started doing that. If you just want to draw the same self-indulgent stuff over and over, don’t let anybody tell you that that’s wrong or that you aren’t “allowed” to just draw for yourself. Whatever makes you happy is the right thing to do.

4. LuluIcon Done
Lululcon Done

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual and biromatic.

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

Ah not really, not in real life at least. It’s always very disheartening to learn that artists I admire and aspire to be like are aphobic, but that’s just another one for the block list.

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

That I’m not allowed to make dirty jokes! My sibling called me “a weird asexual” for liking a song with a sexual meaning, and almost everyone I’m out to has made comments about how weird it is that I make dirty jokes “despite” being ace. My sexual orientation does not determine the music, comedy, and media I enjoy! I have the humor of a high school aged boy and I won’t let anyone take that from me.

5. Elf Druid
Elf Druid

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

It’s okay, whatever you’re feeling, it’s okay. You’re not broken, and you’re not alone. I wish I had heard about asexuality in high school, it would have saved me so much self hatred. I thought I was so wrong for not being like everyone else. But I’m not wrong for being me! At first I thought I wasn’t “allowed” to be asexual because I had a partner, and we would have sex, and sometimes I would enjoy it. But that doesn’t make me any less ace! As soon as I learned that, and accepted who I was, I know it sounds cheesy but it really did feel like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. It feels so good to be me! I hope every questioning aspec person out there reaches the point where is just feels good to be themselves.

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

I’m on Tumblr civvi-the-civilian, and civvi-draws-lapidot, and on Instagram civvithecivilian. Those are the best places to reach me.

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/civvithecivilian

6. space elf white lines
Space Elf White Lines

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

Interview: Eva I.

Today we’re joined by Eva I. Eva is a phenomenal South Asian visual artist and author. She draws portraits and character concepts, using a variety of mediums. As far as writing, Eva is currently working on two fantasy novels, both of which feature asexual protagonists. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist with an incredibly bright future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Character Concept
Character Concept

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m one of those artists who likes to dabble in, well, everything. Over the years, I’ve tried out typography and hand lettering, crafts, music (I still play the ukulele occasionally), writing, and drawing. Out of all those things, I suppose the ones that have stuck with me would be the latter two.

Even with drawing, I can’t make up my mind. My style fluctuates with my mood, the weather, every time I sneeze… This is evident if you scroll through my Instagram feed; it’s like one of those repost accounts featuring different artists. However, I am consistent in the sense that I mainly draw portraits and character concepts, and my preferred medium is digital art – although I do work traditionally, using ink and sometimes watercolours, whenever the fancy strikes me. I’m hoping to branch out and try illustrating more environments in the future.

As for my writing… I’m currently working on two fantasy novels, both of them featuring ace protagonists, because I want to see more ace characters (particularly those of colour) in SFF. I’m a slow writer, especially as my mental and physical health are never that great, but I think I’ve made good progress with both novels. I’m almost done with a passable draft for one of them, which I hope to send out to trusted readers soon. I’m not sure if I want to publish these stories or not – at least, not at this point in my life.

What inspires you?

I draw inspiration (haha) by consuming all kinds of art by all kinds of artists. In fact, I’ve found it pretty inspiring to go through some of the interviews on this blog! Whenever I need to recharge my creative battery, I just read a book, study the works of my favourite artists, watch a movie/show, read/watch interviews, and listen to some music. In addition to that, I also like sleeping? I’m a permanently exhausted pigeon (aka I have a chronic illness) so I tend to sleep a lot; I end up having a ton of cool dreams, which I sometimes weave into my writing.

fish
Fish

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

Creativity runs in the family, so I picked up art as a matter of course when I was very young. I have vague memories of throwing tantrums at the age of five when I couldn’t draw things the way I wanted; thankfully, I’ve since managed to improve my skills (and my temper). I opened my first art account on Facebook when I was fifteen-ish. I deleted that one a few years ago, and started my current accounts on Twitter and Instagram under a pseudonym so I can be more out about myself.

More recently, I started accepting freelance commissions via social media, which has helped expand my reach (and my wallet). I wouldn’t consider this as a career, yet, though. I don’t receive enough commissions to depend upon it as a main source of income, so I have a day job of sorts, and I’m trying to figure out how to get myself yeeted into college.

Writing has also been a huge interest for me since I was a toddler; my earliest memories are of my father telling me stories. I was quick to develop my reading skills, and you would rarely find me without a book to read. From there, it felt natural to me that I would eventually write my own stories. I’m a big fan of fantasy, so I read and write those for the most part. I used to post my writing on Wattpad, but I’m a little more private about my writing at the moment.

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 almost always sign my art, either with ‘EVA’ or ‘evadrawssometimes’. I don’t really hide anything special in my artwork, but there is one thing about them that I can confess to: I sometimes forget to draw eyelashes. I’m not very good at drawing them either. I’m working on it.

In contrast, I think my writing contains many elements that I feel are personal to me; I include puns (multilingual ones, too) and references to real-life events that I’ve experienced personally, or have taken place in my hometown. Those who know, will know.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Your art is a luxury, so if you’re offering commissions, price them as such! You deserve to be compensated for your time and efforts. (Still working on this one myself).

Breaks are good! Don’t burn yourself out just for the sake of updating your social media. Your most dedicated fans will still stick around even if you miss a post or ten. Maintaining a social media presence is not worth the risk of burnout, injury, or even losing passion for your art.

If you’re offering commissions, try to include your contact information on your profiles. Make it easier, not harder, for potential clients to reach you.

Don’t feel obligated to post all your art on social media.

Don’t forget to make art just for yourself sometimes! Even if capitalism says otherwise, you don’t have to monetise all your work/hobbies, particularly when it comes to art.

It is acceptable – and good, even – to use references. It’ll save time, and ultimately it will help you improve.

ilyas
Ilyas

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m ace, I guess. I’m still figuring it out, though I’ve gotten more comfortable with my identity over time. I experience little to no sexual attraction, aesthetic attraction to people of all genders, and romantic attraction mainly towards people who are not of the same gender as myself (I think??).

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

In my field? Not directly, I would say. I choose my audience very carefully, and so far people have been largely accepting. I have come across some misconceptions from others, but thankfully, most people have been receptive to being corrected. I block those who are not interested in changing their minds, and honestly? Best decision I ever made.

I’m not out in other circles except for a select few family members, friends, and my current partner. I only come out to and explain my identity to those who I think will be understanding. I don’t really mind explaining, but it can get exhausting, especially when you’re dealing with people who don’t listen in good faith.

Lake of Voices
Lake of Voices

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

One of the major ones I’ve come across is the conflation of asexuality with aromanticisim, and asexuality with lack of desire for sex; the Venn diagram of those experiences is often seen as a circle, when in reality there are an intersection of various experiences, some of which may or may not overlap depending on the individual.

In addition to that, there are people who believe that the ‘A’ in LGBTQIAP+ stands for ally and not asexual, aromantic, and agender. I’ve also had someone suggest that asexuality was a phase I would outgrow, or that I was simply nervous or afraid. There have been other extremely harmful hot takes I’ve come across on Twitter by trolls, but they’re too numerous and unpleasant to recount.

All of these misconceptions seem to multiply during Pride month, which is disappointing but not surprising.

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

I would say… be open to the possibilities, and don’t be too worried about taking your time figuring yourself out. It’s also okay to decide on another label in the future; it does not negate the label itself nor your experience while using it. Ultimately, it’s your identity and you are in control of deciding who you are. Even if you’re not comfortable with/able to come out to certain people, I hope you get to feel confident about your own sense of self.

I’ve also managed to connect with a lot of aces during my time on Twitter, which has been a big help in affirming and discovering more about my identity – and, incidentally, picking up on quality ace puns (and pins. Gotta love well-designed merch by ace/LGBTQIAP+ artists).

Finally, I highly recommend checking out The Asexual (http://theasexual.com), an online journal about asexuality run by Michael Paramo. The site includes content like essays, artwork, and personal pieces, contributed by ace people of various backgrounds. The Asexual has helped me pick apart many of my own misconceptions and find joy in being who I am. You can find The Asexual on Twitter as asexualjournal (https://twitter.com/asexualjournal).

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

You can find me on Twitter as isthispigeon (https://twitter.com/isthispigeon), where I sometimes post my art and accept art commissions, but mostly tweet about art-related shenanigans. If you want to get to know me, or commission me in a more informal setting, that’s the place to go!

I’m also on Instagram as evadrawssometimes (http://instagram.com/evadrawssometimes), if you want to see all my art in one place without getting distracted by random thoughts and terrible puns (though they sometimes work their way into the captions). I accept commissions there as well.

I have a few phone wallpapers available on my Buy Me A Coffee account (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/isthispigeon), if that’s something you might be interested in.

Finally, if social media is not for you or if you wish to contact/commission me in a more professional setting, you can reach me via email: eva (dot) isq4 (at) gmail (dot) com. Currently, my writing is not available anywhere.

Shampoo ad Alucard
Shampoo ad Alucard

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

Interview: Ria

Today we’re joined by Ria, who also goes by rainbowbarfeverywhere. Ria is a phenomenal character animator and digital illustrator. She has worked on a TV show and does animation for a living. On her free time, Ria loves to draw. She does a lot of fanart and enjoys focusing on friendships between characters. It’s clear she loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Ace Week 2018
Ace Week 2018

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I part time as a character animator in an outsourcing studio, Toon City Animation. I’ve only been working there for a year and I’ve worked on the television series Big Hero 6. Though I’ve been animating for a while now, I haven’t really made any personal animations though I hope to do some someday.

I mostly draw fanart in my free time. I’m a digital artist and I mostly use Clip Studio Paint and Adobe Photoshop. I love drawing for anime and other animated series or films. I’m not as active as the average fanartist but I love drawing for fan events like fandom weeks or big bangs. Although I used to be a big shipper and drew my pairings all the time, now I like to focus on individual characters and friendships.

What inspires you?

When I fall in love with a work, a character, or a relationship, I want to convey my love for it through art. When I appreciate something, I want others to appreciate it too and I can do that either by exchanging ideas or thoughts, or by making fanart of that something. It’s my little way of giving more love to the series.

I also get inspired by other fanartists. Their skills become a goal I want to work towards. When I see an artwork that stops me at my feet, I become driven to also touch someone like that.

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

I’ve been drawing forever. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t draw. Even as far back as preschool, I already remember when I drew my favorite cartoons. Art is a part of me and I can’t imagine myself without it. When I thought about what I wanted to do in life, it seemed like a no-brainer to be an artist of some kind.

Becoming an animator came later in my life. I, at one point in my childhood, wanted to be an animator since that was the only field I thought I could work in as an artist. But I let go of that dream pretty early on. I had to be practical and while I liked my drawings, I didn’t think they were exceptional.

The opportunity to learn animation and become an animator only came late into my university life. I had taken a leave of absence and my cousin told me about an animation workshop that happened near me. I fell in love with animation instantly.

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

I used to have a special cat symbol that I always included in my drawings when I was young. I used it as a sort of artist signature. I did realize later on that it would be hard to identify whose signature it was unless you were already familiar with me. In the end, I just use my artist handle when I want to sign my work. It makes things easier for my audience.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Love both yourself and your work. It will be hard to get far and stay far in life if you don’t.

You will never be satisfied if you don’t love your work and people can feel the emotion you put into your work. Without love, it will be hard to touch other people’s hearts. You also need to take care of yourself. So many artists have fallen sick or died because they didn’t care for themselves. There can be no art if there are no artists. Be kind to yourself.

2. Yamakage (march 13, 2016)
Yamakage

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aromantic asexual.

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

I don’t share my sexuality to a lot of people. Only a handful of people in real life know that I’m ace and none of them are people I know from work.

On the other hand, I’m open about my sexuality online. I have it in my description and I occasionally talk about it in my posts or tweets. Still, I only interact with an intimate amount of people online. While I don’t hide my asexuality, only the people I interact with would know. And I make sure that the people in my internet circle are accepting.

I’ve never been outright attacked or singled out, but I’ve seen hate for my sexuality in different parts of the internet. I simply choose not to engage in them because I feel they won’t listen to me either way.

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

The two most common misconceptions about asexuality is that it’s only temporary (that it’s a phase or asexual people just haven’t found the right person yet) and that there’s something wrong with us for us to feel this way. People think that we’re just misguided and need to be taken to the right path.

But asexuality is just a part of us. Just because we’re not attracted to other people that way doesn’t mean that we’re broken. It just means that we care more about our friendships and families. There’s nothing missing in our lives just because we don’t have a significant other.

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

No matter what anyone says, you and what you’re feeling are valid. There’s nothing wrong with you and you’re not broken just because you don’t feel that kind of attraction for other people. There’s more to life than romantic love or sex. It can be just as fulfilling with the people you have in your life.

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

My primary account is at Twitter and you can find me here: https://twitter.com/rainbowbarf_/

I’m also at Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rainbowbarfeverywhere/

You can support me through Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/rainbowbarfeverywhere

3. Galaxy (april 16, 2016)
Galaxy

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

Interview: Hannah

Today we’re joined by Hannah. Hannah is a phenomenal visual artist whose current focus is on digital art, though they have worked in traditional mediums as well. Hannah does a fair amount of fanart, but they also have a lot of original work as well. It’s clear they’re a passionate artist who loves what they do. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Asexual Ace
Asexual Ace

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Currently I’m putting most of my focus into digital art and graphic design. I tend to sketch everyday nonetheless. I love acrylic painting, but watercolor definitely happens to be my favorite traditional medium. Most of my art nowadays is done in Photoshop with a Wacom Intuos tablet. My art is mostly about people, bodies, and the mind. I’m hoping to branch out and do more landscapes or animal based drawings, but I haven’t found the inspiration for it. Aside from fanart of video games, musicals, or shows, I like to draw a lot about personal struggles. I have a lot of pride themed art on my account as of this moment. 🙂

What inspires you?

Impressionist and expressionist style paintings have always been a key focal point in my art growing up. I’ve definitely branched out and taken aspects from comic books and even animated movies, though. On top of that, I especially love music. Whenever I’m in a funk, or have art block, music is generally the best way for me to slip out of it.

2. Pan Prince
Pan Prince

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

As a young kid I’ve always just been drawn to painting and art. I’ve always dreamed of being an artist, but that mentality has kinda slipped away over the years. I still love art, but I don’t think I could ever follow it as a full time career. Nonetheless, I am currently studying graphic design to keep my creative juices flowing.

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?

When I did more traditional art I always tried to hide my name in paintings. However, this has gotten harder for me with digital art. I’ll probably start doing it again soon, but as of this moment my main signature is just my first name in Korean.

3. Red & Blue
Red & Blue

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

PRACTICE. I feel like everyone says that, but practice is the best way to improve your art and get better. It can be discouraging seeing amazing artists around, but you have to work hard to improve yourself. I like to take aspects of other artists’ work and see how I can mold it into my own. That’s not to say copy other people, but inspiration from already existing works can really help you take steps to finding your stride. Secondly, for anybody who likes drawing books and how to guides, do yourself a favor and actually read the words. The pictures are pretty and nice to look at, but reading the meat of the books is really helpful.

4. Depression in Blue
Depression in Blue

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I currently identify as demiromantic asexual. For me I personally use the split attraction model. I don’t experience sexual attraction to anybody, but I’d be open to dating someone of any gender assuming I have a decent relationship with them.

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

I’ve met many people who find asexuality stupid or invalid. Some people have changed their minds upon further research, but others aren’t as informed or kind. There are certain situations where I do try to lay down some facts as one would with any other kind of LGBTQ+ style problem, but I have had to learn when to back off. Some people just won’t bother trying to respect aces. It sucks, but sometimes not interacting with toxic people is the best way to go.

5. Anxiety in Red
Anxiety in Red

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

People tend to be inherently confused about asexuality as a whole. Often times people think I’m too young to decide, or I just haven’t met the right person yet. Other people don’t see how you can be asexual and like someone romantically; they assume the two attractions are tightly connected for everyone.

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

Sexuality can be fluid for many; at a younger age you might not have everything quite figured out. BUT DO NOT WORRY! What you’re feeling is valid and OK no matter what others tell you. If you identify as ace now, but don’t feel the same later, you’re still valid, and that’s ok! If you discover your ace and have sex or you feel like something has invalidated you, don’t worry. If you identify as asexual, you are 100% normal and valid even if you don’t feel like it. 🙂

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

As of this moment my social media presence is tiny; I don’t have a huge following. Though if anyone is interested in finding my art I am _conspiracy_of_ravens_ on Instagram.

6. SpiderGwen
SpiderGwen

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

Interview: Kaylee Schuler

Today we’re joined by Kaylee Schuler. Kaylee is a phenomenal author and visual artist. She writes a number of different things, including short stories and poetry. She’s currently working on a novel with an aro-ace protagonist. When she’s not writing, Kaylee enjoys drawing. She frequently draws characters from her stories. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist who loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. E2-E

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an author and an artist. I usually write short stories, but I’ve dabbled in poetry, spoken word, and am currently working on a novel that happens to feature an aro-ace protagonist. I’ve self-published a children’s book and plan to self-publish its companion once my edits are done. One of my short stories just won 10th place in a Reader’s Digest competition, so I’m very excited about that!

What I value most in writing is emotion, so I try to write things that make people feel. I try to tell stories that I think are important, that I know no one else can tell. I strive to write pieces that are powerful, influential, and cathartic. Even though it’s a lofty goal, I want to write something that will change the world.

As for art, I started out with sketches and drawings, but I currently work with a variety of mediums, some of my favorites being watercolor and digital. Good old graphite never fails me, though.

I create art about pretty much anything — I draw a lot of people, often characters within the stories that I write. Drawing for me is somewhere between a hobby and a potential career. I’m currently studying it in college, but I still draw mainly for myself and create things that I want to create.

What inspires you?

I get inspiration for my work in everything I experience. The villain in my novel is based on a character who showed up in just one episode of a TV show from the ‘90s that I used to watch reruns of. Another character is named after a friend who was super supportive of my writing. I write the books I want to read, so I often take inspiration from a lack of content. I don’t see enough diversity in the media I consume, so I want to add that to my work. My visual artwork is often inspired by my writing or other people’s work that I enjoy. The main thing that inspires me is the hope that someone out there will encounter my work and be inspired to create something of their own. Art is such an incredible force for change, and my desire to be a part of that drives me to create.

2. art1

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

I’ve been writing for my entire life. It’s something that comes naturally to me, but even beyond that, I feel like a part of me is missing if I’m not writing something. It’s a huge part of who I am. I started writing my self-published book when I was 8 years old and haven’t stopped since.

I’ve also been creating visual art as far back as I can remember. Just like my writing, my artwork feels like an extension of my very being. Because art, be it written, visual, or otherwise, can be a catalyst for social change, and because I’ve always wanted to use my talents to better the world, I figure that the best way for me to make an impact is to combine those two things. My desire to improve this world and my desire to create go hand in hand.

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 one of those artists who’s never been able to pin down a style. I suppose that’s a blessing because it gives me greater freedom and versatility in the content I create, but it’s also a curse because most of my pieces aren’t recognizable as belonging to the same artist. One thing I aim to do is include as much diversity in my work as I can. I think everyone deserves to see someone in media who they can relate to. I’m still learning how to improve my art and my representation, but I feel like making an effort to be inclusive and diverse is crucial to being a good artist and a good person.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Art is something so incredibly personal to each individual. My advice is, first, to not be afraid to pour your soul into your work, and only share it when it’s ready. Share it first with people you trust. This especially applies to writing, though also to visual art you’ve worked particularly hard on. Find people who will build you up, not tear you down. And a note on criticism—at the end of the day, this is your work. Create for you. When people tell you what to do with your craft, that’s what they want. I’m not saying to never listen to criticism. Feedback can be very useful and it will help you grow as an artist. But make sure you put what you want first and remember that, at the end of the day, what you do with your work is up to you. And try to remember that critiques are about the work itself, not the part of you that you put into it. On a different note, something I want to stress is that artists have to support each other! We all face challenges in art and in life and I believe that we can never spread too much compassion and positivity. And finally, never give up on your dreams. One of my creative writing professors once shared something with us that his friend told him—the reason successful artists become successful is that they’re the ones who don’t give up. If you want to create, create. Keep at it, you’ve got this!

3. Mental Illness 2017 12 18
Mental Illness

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic and asexual. I always knew there was something different about me, and finding labels for my feelings was an incredible relief. I’ve never felt romantic or sexual attraction, and I’m also sex-and romance-repulsed. This definitely affects my work, especially my written work, because you create what you know. It’s hard for me to imagine being anyone other than myself, holding any identity other than aroace. As a result, much of my work features characters who are asexual and/or aromantic.

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

Specifically related to my art, I haven’t come across much negativity. I think this is largely because most of my work concerning asexuality hasn’t made it very far out into the world yet. I worry that readers won’t understand the way my characters feel and interact with the world, and I worry that artwork about my asexuality will result in negativity directed at me. I think it’s likely that I will encounter prejudice or ignorance when my work spreads around a little more, and when faced with it, I think I’ll have to remember that all of us are ignorant to something and that the only way to educate is through understanding. I’ve been uninformed and misinformed about countless topics, and I was able to learn more about them when people treated me with respect and open-mindedness. I will strive to do the same. If that fails, though, if I run into someone who can’t see my point of view and won’t make an effort to do so (as I have frequently encountered outside the art world), I’ll need to remember a mantra my therapist once gave me: “They’re doing the best they can.” Sometimes, other people’s “best” isn’t enough for us. But we have to remember that we all have our limits and that, sometimes, our knowledge is beyond the limits of someone else. At that point, I’ll have to take a step back from my stubbornness and abandon the argument. It’s not always worth it.

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

I commonly see this both outside and within the LGBTQ community, and the latter can be particularly frustrating. Many people think that asexuality is synonymous or similar to abstinence, which isn’t true. They believe that asexuality is simply a lack of desire for sex, and that’s not quite true. Asexuality is a lack of attraction (and even beyond that, it comes on a spectrum). Not all asexuals are sex-repulsed or sex-averse, and some asexuals engage in sexual acts for a variety of reasons. Furthermore, many people seem to think that being asexual is the same as being aromantic. I often find it difficult to explain that there’s a difference between romantic and sexual attraction and that some asexuals do, in fact, feel romantic attraction.

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

The main thing that’s often said but can never be said enough is never be said enough is you are NOT broken. I spent years of my life thinking I was and became resigned to the idea that one day I would have to have a relationship, even though I didn’t want one. Here’s what I have to say about that: you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You don’t have to try to force yourself to feel something you don’t. Wherever you lie on the spectrum, you are valid, you are seen, you are whole, and you are not alone. You may feel guilty sometimes for not reciprocating someone’s feelings. You may feel empty sometimes, or alone, or angry. And all of that is valid—your feelings are always valid—but you don’t have to feel any of that. Teach yourself that you don’t need to be ashamed of your orientation. It’s a part of you, you can’t get rid of it, so you might as well learn to love it. And you can. I have.

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

I don’t yet have a proper website, but you can find me on social media. My art Tumblr is https://www.deepspaceart.tumblr.com and my main Tumblr is https://www.deepspaceace.tumblr.com. I’m also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/deep.space.ace. You can find my art on Redbubble at https://www.redbubble.com/people/deepspaceace. You can read some of my written work at https://www.wattpad.com/user/CelestialFalcon. You can buy my children’s book at https://app.thebookpatch.com/BookStore/midnight-a-wolfs-tale/ce878c14-8bd6-44ad-bb38-93b585c582e9?isbn=9780984719808 .

Have a great day! 🙂

4. enamorarse
Enamorarse

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

Interview: Senta

Today we’re joined by Senta. Senta is a phenomenal illustrator who works mostly in digital mediums. He does enjoy using ballpoint pen on occasion. He has his own style, but can also adapt to a variety of other styles. It’s clear he’s an incredibly passionate artist who loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. CU2

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw, mostly digitally but sometimes I like drawing with ballpoint pen. My personal style is kind of muted colors and darker settings, but I do lots of other stuff depending on the vibe I’m trying to show. I take a bit of pride on the fact that I can cater to people’s interests, that’s especially useful in my line of work, I’m an illustrator 😉

What inspires you?

People inspire me, mostly fictional characters to be honest, but I love to draw people, I love to create characters and create stories for them. I do a lot of fan art of whatever I’m interested in the moment, or whatever catches my eye. Sometimes it’s just a photo or something that gives me a vibe for a character and then I have to draw them.

2. 1

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

I honestly don’t know how I started drawing, but I’ve been doing in since I can remember. I used to draw with chalk on paper when I was a kid cause my kindergarten didn’t have pencils for all of us. I’ve always wanted to work in the field, yes, but I wasn’t sure what would I do exactly, I wanted to be a graphic designer for a long time until I realized what that was and that I couldn’t really draw much, then I went and studied to be an Illustrator 🙂

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 sign all my work as Senta, but someday I will come up with a tiny character or something to hide in all my work, I really want to do that, but I’m not sure what. I follow at least 3 artists that do that and I loooove it, I love to search for the little Easter egg in all their art.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m not great with advice, but I would say PRACTICE! Practice a lot, and surround yourself with people and things that inspire you to create. Nice supporting friends that share your passion for art are truly special, whether is online or IRL. Also, really practice! Nobody is born knowing how to so stuff, all those awesome artists that you love? Those people busted their butts off to get there.

3. John
John

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as ace and quasiromantic bi (that label is pretty recent 😉 ) but I usually go with queer, it’s shorter.

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

Not necessarily on my field. I’ve encountered it online, where I post my art, or in fandoms I make art of, but it’s never about the art itself (thankfully). Either way I try to let it go and not let it affect me too much. People are ignorant, a lot of people are, and if I offer some education and they deny it by being close minded then there’s nothing I can do about it… That said, it does affect me sometimes, and then I just go and talk to supportive people, I vent a little and then I usually forget why I was upset in the first place.

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

I’ve had a lot of “being asexual is basically being straight”, some “you have to be attracted to someone”, and a few people invalidating queerplatonic relationships and saying they’re “basically just friendships”… As I said, ignorant people ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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

Look, I’m the kind of person who loves labels, I looove having a word to explain how I feel, to know that there’s someone out there who feels the same, so I hate it when people say “you don’t have to label yourself, just be you”. But as much as I hate it, they do have a point… cause even if you don’t find a label, it doesn’t mean you’re alone, there’s so many people in the world I’m 100% sure there’s at least 50 more people who feel the same.

Specially in the asexual community, we talk more openly about it being a spectrum, so it’s hard to find your place in it, and it might even move around, but it’s ok, take your time. I’d say don’t rush anything, don’t pressure yourself to know everything, it’s ok not to know. And don’t be afraid to change your mind, that doesn’t mean you’re fake, you’re just figuring things out, and to be honest, we all are… Be patient with yourself, be kind, and don’t let anyone define you, only you can decide your labels (if you decide they’re for you 😉 )

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

I’m on Tumblr: sentaart (and the-doctor-is-ace is my personal blog) and Instagram: senta_art

4. Miranda
Miranda

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

Interview: Jaime Hawkins

Today we’re joined by Jaime Hawkins. Jaime is a phenomenal visual artist who has a company called Queen Cheetah Designs, which sells enamel pins that she designs. Aside from making enamel pins, Jaime also does quite a lot of fine art. She’s heavily inspired by nature, which shows in her work. It’s clear she’s a driven and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I graduated with a degree in Graphic Design and Printmaking. I’ve always loved learning any type of art I could get my hands on – drawing, painting, digital art – you name it! When I have the time, I enjoy drawing on my tablet and taking on small freelance design jobs. My biggest endeavor, however, is my merchandise company Queen Cheetah Designs. Last year the trend of “Enamel Pins” came back around full force, and I decided to try my hand at designing some! I started out with moths, and have since branched out to beetles, spiders, and other nature inspired pins. It makes me really happy to see my designs come to life as physical merchandise that people like to wear, and it makes me feel like an accomplished artist! My designs did so well that I kept making them, and now I have a pretty successful side job running Queen Cheetah Designs. I hope to branch out in the future to apparel and other merch!

2. beetle_collage
Beetle Collage

What inspires you?

I think animals and nature have served to be my most important source of inspiration for my drawing and my merchandise design. It’s a subject I have always loved, and there is endless beauty and creativity that can be found in creatures, plants, and our other surroundings. From striking color palettes to unique patterns, as an artist I feel like I can learn so much from what already exists in nature, and apply it to my fine art and design work.

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

From a very young age, I was interested in art. I would doodle on my homework and draw mash ups of animals to play as during recess. I took art lessons with another girl at a local framing shop for a few years, where I learned most of the basics of fine art.

I can’t quite remember how, but “design” specifically caught my eye around middle school. Packaging design, logo design – I found it all really fascinating how much thought went into a design and the finished result. It’s been my driving passion ever since.

4. atlas group photo
Atlas Group Photo

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 wish I could say I had a signature style, but that is something I still struggle with as an artist. I do tend to enjoy drawing somewhere in between realistic with a fantasy flair thrown in. I’d like to refine this over the next few years, but developing anything in art takes time and practice!

6. Swift edited
Swift

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Drawing – Most of what you create will not be for profit, or even for other people. There is a lot of pressure nowadays to instantly start creating and making money, but it’s important to take the time to draw for yourself. Learn what you like to draw and how you want to draw it. It should be fun, not something you feel pressured to do. And no matter what level you are now – just keep going. Practice as often as you can. (DRAW THOSE BACKGROUNDS). Think of how proud younger you would be of your talent now, and strive to make them proud.

Making Merchandise/ Pins – It takes more than an idea to be successful at selling merchandise. It is a tough and tiring job. You have to be your own manager, designer, PR person, and salesman. Kickstarters are a great way to fund a potential design, but be careful that you are prepared to handle the responsibility of ordering your merchandise and fulfilling orders. Don’t jump into it – take time to plan. But if you feel prepared, it can be a very rewarding endeavor!

3. Moth_collage
Moth collage

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual, Panromantic.

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

Relating to the art/ design field specifically? I would say not really, but then again my art usually doesn’t relate to my sexuality. But there are plenty of individuals you interact with online who are outspoken with the fact that they think it’s “not real” or that “we’ve just had bad experiences”. I try to educate where I can, and when it seems like the people might be receptive. A lot of ideas about asexuality spring from ignorance. Some folks just don’t want to understand though, and sometimes you just have to brush it off and move on. Find solace with others who share your experiences.

7. Divided edited
Divided

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

That all asexual people are sex repulsed, and hate all types of physical contact. I’m what you would call a sex apathetic asexual. I have no interest in it, and have no desire to seek it out, but it doesn’t bother me. It’s a light switch that stays off.

It does become a problem when I desire other attention from partners that traditionally leads to sex. Like making out, or cuddling – it’s either all or nothing. This leads to a very frustrated ace that doesn’t feel cherished but feels hypocritical asking for more physical contact “as an ace person”.

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

Asexuality is a spectrum, and everyone experiences it in their own way. Being Ace is really hard at times, especially when it comes to finding a partner. It is important to find someone who respects your comfort levels and communicates with you to find out how to approach that part of your relationship. It’s tempting to push your own comfort levels aside to make them happy, because it may make you feel desired – but it will breed resentment in time if there is no respect for your likes and dislikes as well. For people like us it is especially important to make friends and not rely entirely on having a partner to feel fulfilled.

If you find someone, make sure they love you AS someone who is asexual, not DESPITE the fact you are asexual.

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

You can find all my enamel pins and current merchandise on my Etsy shop -> https://www.etsy.com/shop/QueenCheetahDesigns. You can also follow me on Twitter at Jaime_Hawkins or on Instagram under Jaime_Hawkins_Design to stay up to date on my art and any upcoming designs.

Thank you so much!

8. Rainbow TVhead
Rainbow TVhead

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