Interview: Morgan

Today we’re joined by Morgan. Morgan is a phenomenal artist who is currently studying to become a fashion designer. When they’re not studying, Morgan cosplays as a hobby and they also draw as well. It’s clear they’re an incredibly talented and dedicated artist with a very bright future ahead of them, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am studying to be a fashion designer and also cosplay and draw casually. I have various designs as well as cosplays and art pieces.

What inspires you?

As a cosplayer and artist, I am influenced by shows and characters I love and feel passionate about. For original art and designs I am inspired by issues I care about as well as interpretations of my environment and my own feelings. My gender identity and sexuality also inspire my art.

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

I was always interested in drawing, especially nature and humans. My passion and creativity extended to my self-expression through clothing and led me to create my own clothing.

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 necessarily. When I start to have more clothing designs that I have made and created I plan to name my brand after my grandmother’s last name, because she has always supported my art and all aspects of my identity.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Explore different ways of expressing your creativity and don’t limit yourself to one media. Even if you aren’t as experienced or skilled in other areas, trying different methods opens new ways to interpret your feelings and your art.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and sex-repulsed.

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

Not yet. Though I feel as though some of my family/friends doesn’t understand why some of my art/designs are more revealing or “sexual” in nature when I myself am not sexual.

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

That being asexual (and/or sex repulsed) means you think sex and people who have sex are dirty/wrong. I believe sex is a very natural thing and if all parties concerned are happy and consenting, then that’s great. Do what makes you happy. Just because there are people who aren’t into it doesn’t mean they are against it.

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

Even if you are worried that you might change your mind in the future or that you should be sexually attracted to others, remember that your feelings and identity NOW are valid, no matter what you have felt in the past or could potentially feel in the future.

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

I have an art Tumblr under the URL mmmdraws and a cosplay Tumblr with the URL maeroncosplays. I also post a lot of my cosplay/cosplay progress on my Instagram irish.i.was.dead. My clothing design Instagram is morrisroe_designs though I haven’t posted a whole lot on there yet.

5. maeron
Maeron

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

Interview: Ell

Today we’re joined by Ell. Ell is a phenomenal fanfiction writer who writes in a few different fandoms. She’s currently focused on Star Trek and Babylon 5, but has also written some Sherlock fics. She is very passionate about fandom and finds a great deal of enjoyment through writing fics. It’s clear she’s a very talented and dedicated writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write fanfiction. I mostly write for my ships from Star Trek and Babylon 5 at the moment, but I sometimes write for other things. My first published fanfictions were Sherlock ones. I love fanfiction and fanfiction writing because the community is (for the most part) amazing! There are so many lovely and interesting people I have met through reading and writing fanfiction.

What inspires you?

All sorts of things inspire me! Personal experiences, other fanfictions I’ve read, songs, anything could inspire me! Mostly it’s personal experience (or wanting a personal experience) and stories I want to give characters that I feel deserve it. My friends and fellow writers also inspire me. Their stories always seem so carefully thought out, and they’re never afraid to do something different.

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

I have adored writing since I was 8 years old. I actually started out writing original stories. Now I look back on my first story and think it’s really cringey, but I also know that that was where I started, and look at me now! I may only have two complete original stories, but I stuck with almost all of the fanfiction I started, and I know that just as much effort has gone into those stories as my original ones, if not more so. I can’t actually remember how I got into fanfiction writing. I guess I just started to read a lot of it and thought that maybe I could do it too!

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 project at least one thing about myself onto the character I relate to most. Whether that is my sexuality or my state of mind. I also tend to focus on writing from the point of view of the character I don’t relate to that much but still love just as much. For example, when I’m writing Spock/McCoy, I usually focus on McCoy. I also usually put an author’s note before the beginning of a chapter.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Dare to be different. Go against stereotypes. If something hasn’t been done that you think should be, do it yourself. That may seem scary, but if you care enough about it, your care will overrun your fear.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual and biromantic. I am also mostly sex-repulsed.

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

I have not, thank god! And I hope I never do, though that’s unlikely. I know that there is a lot of it out there, and what to expect, so I’m prepared.

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

That we’re all the same. That if one of us is sex-repulsed, so are all of us. That if one of us is aromantic, so are the rest of us. We are not all the same, and people need to realize that.

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

Go with your heart. If your heart says you’re asexual, believe it. If it’s confused, maybe look up some other a-spec orientations. Don’t trust people who aren’t asexual to tell you whether you are or aren’t asexual.

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

I post things occasionally on my Tumblr, which is fangirl-star.

My active fanfiction account is on Archive of Our Own is FangirlStar. I post my Star Trek and Babylon 5 fanfiction on there, along with a few other bits and pieces. The ships I currently write for are Spock/Leonard McCoy (Star Trek) and Vir Cotto/Lennier (Babylon 5), but I’m going to start writing Thor/Bruce Banner (Marvel) soon. Everything I post on there is slash and rated T at most. I only ever imply at sexual content.

My very first fanfiction account, which I don’t post on anymore, is Ellis Jenkins on FanFiction.net. About two thirds of my stuff on there is Sherlock Holmes. I wrote OC/Mycroft Holmes. My very early Star Trek slash is on there as well.

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

Interview: Embo

Today we’re joined by Embo. Embo is a phenomenal artist who specializes in cross stitch. She has recently cross stitched a number of Pride badges, which are absolutely beautiful. Embo also does some embroidery and she has recently started dabbling in drawing as well. It’s clear she’s a driven and passionate artist who loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Ace
Ace

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I mostly cross stitch, sometimes embroider, and occasionally draw. Cross stitching is my main art though. I favour working on smaller pieces, and recently I’ve spent most of my time making small Pride pieces.

As for drawing, I’ve taken up doodling fan art of Mass Effect with the intention of writing fan fic in the future.

What inspires you?

I follow many talented people on Tumblr, and seeing their work inspires me greatly! If I see someone has created a wonderful piece of art, I find it spurs me into action and I will immediately start trying to create something of my own. Drawing is more accessible for me, but I can’t resist taking on new cross stitch projects, to the detriment of older forgotten WIPs!

Bookmark
Bookmark

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

Admittedly my reasons for getting interested into cross stitch aren’t very inspiring. I kept seeing subversive cross stitch popping up online and thought it was really funny and wanted to get into that. As soon as I started though, I realised that cross stitch is an amazing craft, really fun, and especially good for stress relief! And to this day, I’ve only produced one piece of subversive cross stitch haha.

I started as a fan artist when I was younger, but found that no matter how hard I tried, I was never satisfied with my drawings. Cross stitch, however, has always been really satisfying.

Butterfly
Butterfly

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?

To be honest, not really. I still haven’t gotten into the habit of signing my cross stitch pieces, which is something I really ought to get into doing. I used to sign my drawings, but I dropped the habit some years ago when I stopped being happy with what I was making.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t get bogged down in getting lots of Likes on social media. Be proud of what you’re making, and don’t stress about what other people think.

Hoop
Hoop

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Somewhere between ace and demisexual. Possibly panromantic and demiromantic too, but I’m still figuring that part out.

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

The worst I’ve encountered was coming out to a family member and being told that I just hadn’t met the right person yet. This was frustrating, as talking about my asexuality has always been hard in the first place, and I felt like I was being shut down. In response, I just never brought it up with them again. Nowadays I rarely come out, unless it’s necessary for the situation. This… is not a great way to be. I shouldn’t have to feel the need to hide this aspect of myself, but the fear of prejudice tends to take me over a lot. I’ve also had to quit visiting some “LGBT-friendly” websites outright, because the audience was completely acephobic. I realised that I just wasn’t welcome there, which was a shame because I otherwise enjoyed the site. I… was angry and sad for days afterwards. It’s not an easy thing to process.

Pride Badges
Pride Badges

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

That we’re all a bunch of prudes. Or that we’re just trying to make ourselves out to be special for something that isn’t even a thing. I also worry that, because I’m in a relationship, people think I’m not ace anymore which… is not how that works at all.

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

Don’t be afraid to embrace yourself! Labels can be greatly helpful, but use them carefully- don’t cling to them completely. You’re 100% valid in who are, and don’t let anyone take that from you. And don’t worry if you find your labels change over time. Mine did, and I had nobody to talk to about it at the time, but don’t worry if that happens to you, it does not make you any less valid!

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

I post cross stitch and embroidery at http://stickyfigs.tumblr.com/ and doodlings at https://potatopotholeakastickyfigs.tumblr.com/.

Steven
Steven

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

Interview: Minerva Cerridwen

Today we’re joined by Minerva Cerridwen. Minerva is a phenomenal SFF author and visual artist. For writing, she has a story published in Unburied Fables and recently released her novella, The Dragon of Ynys (which features an aro-ace main character). Visual art is more of a hobby for her, though she does do commissions. Minerva does handlettering and draws, using traditional mediums such as pencils and ink. It’s clear she’s a very passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

01 Bianca (own character) - pencil - 2017
Bianca (own character)

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’ve always loved writing, and to my great joy I can call myself a published author these days. I mainly write fantasy and science fiction and sometimes dabble in poetry and horror. So far I’ve got a short story in the queer fairy tale anthology Unburied Fables and my debut novella, The Dragon of Ynys, came out in May 2018.

The Dragon of Ynys is a light fantasy tale suitable for all ages, starring aro/ace main character Sir Violet, the knight of Ynys. He helps Holly, a trans woman, to find her missing wife, the baker. They suspect the ever-thieving dragon who lives near the village might have something to do with her disappearance…

02 Cover for 'The Dragon of Ynys' by Kirby Crow
Cover for ‘The Dragon of Ynys’ by Kirby Crow

I also love drawing and handlettering, using traditional materials—mainly because I haven’t had the time yet to learn more about digital art. I like to experiment with different techniques: I’ve been using pencils, watercolour, brushmarkers and ink, both for original works and fanart. I wouldn’t mind taking this to a professional level someday, but so far I’ve mainly been drawing for myself and my friends.

What inspires you?

I grew up with fairy tales, both the ones my mother read to me as a child and all the Disney movies I watched so many times. It’s no wonder that I love writing fairy tales myself. However, the big difference with the tales I consumed at a young age is that there will always be queer characters in my stories. It’s so important to be able to relate to characters when you’re trying to figure out your own identity, and I feel like it took too long before I finally experienced that moment myself. Once you’ve seen your identity validated in popular media, it’s so much easier to accept who you are, rather than to believe those who say you can’t feel the way you feel or be the way you are.

I hope that my writing will make it easier for future generations to find stories that tell them they’re not alone, not broken, and that teach them acceptance towards others as well. In that light, I write the stories that I would love to read myself, with all the dragons and magic and hopefully wittiness that I adore in the works of Pratchett, Rowling, Tolkien and other masters.

For more specific inspiration, my friend Fie and I started a project in 2013, inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s Flax-golden Tales. Every week, she took a picture for which I wrote a ten-sentence story. These days we’ve dialled it down to two photo-story combinations per month, but Paranatellonta is still going strong after five years! Getting random prompts from friends is a great way to stay inspired at all times.

When it comes to visual art, getting an Instagram account has definitely done wonders. There are a lot of awesome artists out there whose samples inspired me to try new techniques. Every month there are challenges going around in different themes, for any kind of art actually, but in my case those mainly influenced my handlettering. Practice really helps! I also finished Inktober last year. It once again proved that an inspiring prompt doesn’t need to be more than one word or one image. You can see my Inktober drawings if you scroll down a little on my Instagram.

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

I’ve been telling stories for as long as I can remember. As I said, my mother read fairy tales to me from a young age, and once I learned to read myself, my greatest joy was to discover more fun stories. There were never enough of them, so it only made sense that I wrote down my own as soon as I could. Surrounded by those fictional adventures, somewhere deep inside I knew what adventure I wanted to have myself, even when I was five years old: I wanted to be an author, like those wonderful people who’d given me all those beautiful tales to enjoy.

My drawing story is completely different. For a very long time I was convinced I couldn’t draw at all. I just didn’t have the talent. Looking back at art class in school, I feel like they never stressed the importance of studying references enough. I was always doodling in my school books for fun, but it never felt like that counted.

Fast-forward to when I’d finished university and my parents were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. I didn’t have much gift inspiration, and they joked about a “grown-up” child making a drawing for their parents—and the fact it was a joke tells you enough about how much the arts are respected unless you’re a Big Name. I often feel like our society expects people either to be a grand artist or talentless, and the fact that there must be a learning process in between is often completely neglected.

Anyway, I went through with it, and as I was drawing my parents from a reference photo, it turned out pretty okay (especially considering it was supposed to remind them of a child’s drawing). Most important of all, I had a lot of fun working on it. I’d been looking at a lot of art online since I’d last taken up a pencil, and combined with using a reference for the first time, I could see I’d massively improved since my last school drawing years earlier.

From that point on I let my more artsy friend Fie convince me to take part in courses on Skillshare to improve my drawing techniques and handlettering. Now, almost five years after that anniversary drawing, I actually feel like I’ve made some pretty things!

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Fiery Mushroom (brush markers)

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?

As I mentioned above, you’ll find many fairy tale elements and queer characters in my writing. More specifically, you’ll encounter a lot of dragons and spiders. The dragons are a more conscious choice than the spiders, who just always happen to show up… Just like in real life, I suppose.

I don’t think I have any recurring elements in my visual art, but I’ve been using a signature since late 2016. It’s made up of the initials of both my pen name and legal name.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I think it’s an important message that you can always learn and improve. That’s something I only truly learned from starting to draw. I’d always been “born” a writer: I started at a very young age and people told me I was talented. But I had to work to become better at visual art, and that made me realise that the reason why I’d loved writing all my life was that I’d been exposed to so many stories to learn from. Having played with words from a very young age, stories had never been the big “mystery” that a beautiful piece of art was. So what I mean to say is: people aren’t born a Grand Artist. They become them. And going down into history means you’ve worked hard, but also that you were lucky (or, in some cases, unlucky) enough to have your name picked up and talked about. But that luck, too, is something you can influence by promoting your work. Like doing interviews on awesome websites. 😉

04 Space Ace 2 for Tanouska - watercolour - 2018
Space Ace 2 (watercolour)

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and somewhere on the aromantic spectrum, but I usually go with “aro-spec” rather than a more specific label, because it’s difficult for me to figure that one out.

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

There’s certainly a lot of ignorance. Even in some queer organisations, it seems the A’s are often forgotten. I can only hope that my stories will spread more knowledge, while still being entertaining rather than feeling like a lecture.

05 Violet - ink - 2018
Violet (ink)

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

That asexuality would mean you never have sex. It can mean that, and I guess it does for me. There’s certainly nothing wrong with a life without sex. But for sex-positive aces it makes things all the more confusing to figure out their orientation when people keep asking: “But you’ve enjoyed having sex, how can you be ace?”

Aside from that, I think that asexuality and aromanticism are too often considered the same thing. This also makes it hard to find a label that fits you when you do experience romantic attraction but no sexual attraction, or the other way round. When different sources tell you that you need to feel things a certain, very specific way in order to identify as ace or aro, it can be a long search to find a label that fits. And of course not everyone needs to label their orientation, but in my own experience finding the names and other people who used them certainly helped to stop thinking I might be broken or wrong.

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

You’re not alone and you’re not broken. For me it was a massive help to enter queer spaces (in my case on Tumblr) and read experiences from other queer people. It made me discover terms (like asexual and aromantic) which I’d never heard of before I made a Tumblr account almost 10 years ago. It showed me that they weren’t some kind of theoretical concept, but a whole spectrum of people who experienced things in different ways—and some of their experiences were just like mine! Suddenly I was no longer “the weird one”. Which actually took me some time to adapt to, because I’d become quite used to being “just odd” and labelling myself that way 😛

However, in the long run, learning about all flavours of queer (be it through books, blogs, or directly talking to others) taught me to be more open-minded in general and made me more comfortable with myself.

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

My website is http://minervacerridwen.wordpress.com/. There you find everything about both my writing and drawings, with links to my social media. Feel free to follow me!

Paranatellonta, a flash fiction project inspired by my friend’s photography, can be found at http://paranatellonta.tumblr.com/. It updates twice a month and you can read all the stories and see all the pictures for free.

My visual art can be found here: https://www.instagram.com/minerva_cerridwen/. I’m posting pretty much everything I draw on Instagram, showing my learning process with both the pieces that worked out and the ones that didn’t. Mainly because I find it interesting to track my own evolution and learn from that in turn!

Other places you can find me:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/minerva_cerr
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/minervacerridwen/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15904760.Minerva_Cerridwen

And places to buy my stories:

– The Dragon of Ynys (Publisher | List of other retailers)
– Unburied Fables (Amazon)

06 Cats Rule the World for Ether - watercolour - 2017
Cats Rule the World (watercolour)

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

Interview: Lucy Cyclone

Today we’re joined by Lucy Cyclone. Lucy is a wonderful visual artist and fanartist. She mostly uses digital mediums although she also dabbles in traditional ones as well. Lucy enjoys drawing comics and animations, which allows her to convey more emotions in her work. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist with a lot of 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 draw mostly digitally nowadays, rarely finishing sketches I do on paper. I like to tell stories with my drawings, and am very attracted to comics and animation, as those can convey a lot of feelings more efficiently than a single picture.

Externally I live to learn and can appear sturdy, while art is my vent of things I don’t trust to show in company as well as sources of enjoyment I can’t possibly show any other way.

I also suffer from the very common Can’t Draw Properly With A Tablet 2 At Pm But Definitely Will Make A Realistic Portrait At Midnight With A Ball Point On Lined Notebook Paper syndrome.

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What inspires you?

Music, random ideas, other fanwork and personal thoughts. My biggest muse would be sitting up late while staring at the ceiling, and Sleeping at Last’s music. Currently really into Transformers comics and Boku no Hero Academia as well.

Once I get a good idea it tends to completely overwhelm me. I don’t finish a lot of them because I always find myself caught up in something else before I do. It takes a while for me to set foot on solid ground and decide that I want and I will do something.

4. 1c

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

Currently – art is a hobby. I drew while young but only took it seriously around two years ago, when I started practicing more often. When I was 12 I got dragged into cartoons – most notably My Little Pony at the time – and I suddenly wanted to create more and more visions of fictional worlds – and create my own.

My appreciation for animation and expression grew from thereon. I still struggle with some human anatomy aspects (legs-) but overall I’ve come a really long way in the past years.

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 settle on having my signature being legible. With style being the subject, I prefer to pander to natural proportions as much as I am able to. Big fan of Disney and western styles, and while I do refrain from anime and chibi, I do try to replicate the styles of eastern animation work I enjoy.

Even though chibi is always a go-to when I am tired and just want to draw something cute.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t take criticism personally, tracing is superb as long as you credit the original, and studies of photos do miracles

Also don’t be like me and spend 3 years of your life drawing almost exclusively cartoon horses. Ultimately it helps with general quadriped anatomy but… just don’t.

3. pinkd

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Ace and Bi – I prefer not to directly use SAM unless someone insists.

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

Luckily, no so far! Asexuality isn’t widely known (which I personally don’t mind) and I like to be hopeful enough to dare to say a lot of the young generation in the connected world doesn’t really care about which way one swings. We’ve come a long way!

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

Being somewhat young, I can understand people suggesting it is just a phase, and I accept that as a possibility, but I notice that a lot of other aces experience this as well. Whether or not it is a phase, if the shoe fits I’ll wear it.

5. egge

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

It’s okay not to know and never okay to hurry! Take some time to know yourself, it’s a very long way and ultimately has meaning only to you, but can still affect others, so keep your head cool. Reason is the best road.

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

On Tumblr, I post my work at lucy-cyclone, and I try to post at least once per week. I plan to reboot my DeviantArt soon, though this is enough for now.

6. ljhgv

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

Interview: Sark

Today we’re joined by Sark, who is the 800th artist interviewed on Asexual Artists. Sark is a phenomenal fanartist and writer. He mostly draws, focusing on drawing characters in fandoms he enjoys. Occasionally, he draws people’s original characters. When he’s not drawing, Sark enjoys writing. It’s clear he’s an incredibly passionate and dedicated artist who loves creating, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I’ve been drawing for about four years now, and I’ve been writing since, well, actually since I can remember! I usually focus my work on creating fan content as a method to express my enjoyment of things, but sometimes I draw people’s characters because I like seeing people get happy, honestly.

What inspires you?

A lot of things. One of my main inspirations is the works other people have created, especially music. I have playlists for all of my characters to get my writing and art in character for them. And sometimes I just go outside and see something beautiful. Most of the time I see someone do stupid things and it reminds me how great people are, and why I enjoy writing and drawing in the first place.

2

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

Well, I know it’s probably the tale of everyone ever, but really it was people. When I was younger- I think maybe eleven- I used to watch a lot of YouTube. It was a lot of gaming, all these wildly popular channels that were popular a couple years ago. I enjoyed them a lot, but the idea of making fan content didn’t occur to me until I met someone who became my role model. They made a lot of animations and art of these people, and they wrote stories about them. I thought it was really cool, so I imitated them. I was really bad at drawing and writing, but they were always really nice. They also were my introduction to the LGBT community, which obviously is really important to me now. I don’t know where they are nowadays, I lost track of them along the way, but they’re still my inspiration.

3

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?

My art is about as consistent as my memory, which is to say not at all, but my signature is usually a stylized S- I’ll see if I can show an example, I’m really mosh at description. Which is probably bad, considering I’m a writer.

8

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I still consider myself an aspiring artist myself, but if I could look back at some of the worries I used to have about my content not being good enough, or my writing being cliche, I think I’d only say one thing. And that is that it doesn’t matter. If you’re just starting out, you probably think your art, or your music, or your writing sucks. And I won’t lie to you, it probably does. But it doesn’t matter. Anyone who looks down at people who aren’t as practiced as you yet aren’t worth your time. Because we were all beginners. Most of us still are, really. Just keep pushing the boundaries of what you can do until they grow. And then push harder. That’s what I’m doing.

4

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual Panromantic. I’m seriously mulling over my romantic identity right now, so I’m not sure about being pan, which I think is okay, but I’m confident in my sexuality.

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

Really no one in real life that I’ve worked with that are in the LGBT community has treated me any different than they would treat a gay man, or a lesbian, which is to say I’ve been treated really well offline. My works are, for better or worse, not really well known online, which I don’t really mind that much. It means I haven’t had anyone here really target me for my identity, though from other cases I’m well aware how nasty people can be when they can be anonymous. I’m trying to keep my hopes high that I’ll be able to make it in the art and writing world without too much backlash right now. I think as long as I keep thick skin, I should be able to do it.

5

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

Really that we’re all one flavor. People really don’t seem to realize how a diverse of a group we are. Aces come from all walks of life, and we have all kinds of identities. I’m a trans man that lives in the suburban south, but I’m far from the only ace experience. It’s cool. Aces are a cool group of a lot of people, and I really like it. I wish more people thought about that before talking about us the way they do.

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

Really, whether or not you’re Ace is something only you can discover. But if you stay away from people who will try and influence you and just explore your identity, it can help you get into touch with how you feel about people. Don’t let people tell you who you are; only you get a say in that.

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

My writing is over at Sarkshine on Wattpad, and my artwork can be found at sarkiesark and at fantrolbs as well as Sarkshine on DA.

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

Interview: Hampermarketplace

Today we’re joined by Hampermarketplace, who also goes by Sophie. Sophie is a phenomenal visual artist and fanartist. For visual art, they mostly do digital illustration, both original work and fanart, They also do some photography as a hobby. Aside from that, Sophie also cosplays and writes fanfiction. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and passionate artist as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

hampermarketplace homestuck collage
Homestuck Collage

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Sure thing! I’m mostly a digital artist, though I don’t know if “drawing” or “painting” describes best what I do, but in any case, I have a lot of fun doing it. I draw a lot of Homestuck, (I’m unfortunately rather obsessed with it—and it’s easy to share online), but I also do original work, when the inspiration strikes. Since, when it comes to hobbies, I’m very much a jack of all trades, I’ve done writing (I once wrote a 40k fanfic, several one-shots, and began some original stories I’m probably never going to finish, I’ve got a word doc somewhere full of cringy poetry), cosplay (once again Homestuck—so basically, I’m just really good at putting on grey facepaint), and photography (I take my iPhone and try to take pretty pictures I then post on Instagram so it’s not just all filled with selfies).

Basically, I just like to create stuff, no matter the medium.

What inspires you?

You mean, apart from Homestuck? I’d say my life. Ok, I know that’s vague, but I haven’t quite got a more specific muse. There is a lot to show and tell about the subtleties of everyday life, the things I see, hear, or feel. I’m ADHD, so perhaps trying to put my constant zoning out to good use is my main inspiration after all. I think sunsets are good, too. They’ve got lots of pretty colors, there’s nothing like a rainy autumn sunset to get a good photoshoot full of pinks. The city inspires me, too. The sort of aesthetics born of the layered lives of so many people, written in the concrete and the weed peeking through it, the graffiti’s, the decaying factories and the shiny skyscrapers. In painting, I draw people a lot, too. I think it’s because the figure is so evocative. I like the humanity, the feelings, the fleeting joys and pains of life, and so I try to capture them whenever I’m bored enough. It’s cheesy, but it’s true.

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

Oh boy. Well, I’ve always hung around people who drew, and the envy that I felt at their cool talents pushed me to try my hand at it. Around maybe 11 or 12, I got into manga and anime, and the thing with those, is that they make the human figure very appealing, and yet very simple-looking to draw, for someone who is just starting out. I’ve been a casual artist ever since my early teens, and recently, when I graduated high school and all my friends entered art programs, I started to realize just how much I didn’t know about art, and that’s really what helped me get much better really fast. Just a year ago, I didn’t draw half as well as I do now, because now I draw almost every day, pay attention to the world and put a lot more effort in studying the theory of art than I ever did in any of my school classes, ever.

I’m still in college, and I’m not planning on making a career out of my art, but I’ve still got some ambitions to reach a point where I can paint and draw at a professional level, for myself.

Maybe one day I’ll write an actual book or make money from my art—I’ve been offered to be an assistant photographer once, when I showed my Instagram feed to the woman whom we had hired to take our family portraits, but it didn’t work out. In the end, I take opportunities as they go. Art is just one of the things for which I have potential and interest, it’s a refuge, and I don’t want to ruin that by forcing it into a business perspective.

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

Well, I’m known on most platforms (Instagram, deviantart, tumblr—although only for Homestuck in the last one) as hampermarketplace, and I sign my digital paintings (some of them—I often forget) as HMP. By now, it’s how I sign pretty much all of my artwork. Often, I won’t put it in the lower corner, but try to include it within the drawing, if there is writing somewhere, graffiti or posters in the background. It’s my thing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You’re going to feel bad sometimes, like you can’t quite illustrate what you want, or like everyone is better than you. It’s important to learn to use that dissatisfaction as motivation, not as a deterrent. The process of improving is an adventure, to be taken one step at a time, so awaken your inner Moana or whatever, and sing about wanting to know how far you’ll go. When you’re stalling, and nothing works, push through by going back to your basics, and putting less pressure on yourself. Take a chill pill. Go watch some Bob Ross. It’s ok to just doodle for 15 minutes sometimes, you’ve got to make art time a time to meditate, to enjoy yourself. If you do it right, it won’t feel like a chore (too much—I can’t make any promises if you decide to make a living out of it). One day you’ll look back and be amazed by how far you’ve come.

montage instagram
Montage

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual, low libido but not sex repulsed per se, and somewhere in the grey areas of romance, probably demi, although I still think of myself as a lesbian because I’ve always had a strong aesthetic attraction to women, and if I were to fall in love, I feel like it would be with a woman, or someone woman-aligned. I identify *mostly* as a woman, although I won’t deny to some gender fluidity as well.

Usually, the womanlier I feel, the gayer I get, then on some days I’m just what is gender and what is love, I want to blog about cats. My main on Tumblr is like 75% cats, 20% beautiful women and 5% ace positivity. I think that sums it up pretty well.

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

The most kind of ace prejudice or ignorance I’ve personally encountered is from myself. I’m usually quite down-low about it, I’ve come out a couple of times, but not to everyone, and I’m pretty sure most people going through my art aren’t even aware of my sexuality—I come off quite gay in real life. Since I don’t do commercial work, I can easily surround myself with people who are OK with my orientation, and anyway, I live in some of the most progressive places, where no one would openly challenge you on stuff like that, even if they disagreed with it. I’m lucky in that regard. I’m always afraid that people will still hold subconscious prejudice towards me, though, I don’t think I’m paranoid, but I need to get over it if I want to be myself, and work towards deconstructing those prejudices. When I’ve actually come out, I’ve been met mostly with love and acceptance—just once a bit of confusion. Also, once I came out to a sex-loving vegan by saying “I don’t like sex, but I do like ice cream” and she just told me “You go girl! Live your best life!” and anyway, she gets it.

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

I think this one is not an explicit, but an implicit misconception that even well-meaning people will hold, and that is this idea that aces don’t like to talk about sex, or be exposed to sexuality, and that the goal of asexual activism is to make a world where it’s possible to ignore the fact that sex and romance exists. I mean, some aces may be uncomfortable with discussions about sex, or don’t want to be exposed to explicit sexual content, but truly, anyone may have these holdups regardless of sexuality. The basics principles of consent, human decency and content warnings should be plenty to cover that. In my experience, most aces I’ve met are more than eager to talk about sex and the different types of attractions, so long as they are allowed to openly share their experiences without feeling like outcasts or weirdos. Unless they tell you otherwise, it should be perfectly fine to share your latest thirst with your friend who came out to you as ace. You don’t have to stop being yourself, and most asexuals don’t want to be treated like little kids with bleeding hearts that can’t handle the sexiness, neither do they want you to stop being yourself: they just want to be allowed to be themselves as well.

This is pretty abstract, I’m not sure if I’m making sense, but I feel like this needs to be said more. Asexuality doesn’t exist within queerness as a form of “Don’t force sex on me”, because, honestly, sex shouldn’t be forced on anyone, but rather as a force of “It’s OK to live in accordance to how you feel, regardless of social norms or whether or not it aligns with the majority around you,” because that represents much better the aroace community as I’ve known it: diverse, open, with a wide range of worldviews and experiences, just wanting to live their truth.

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

It’s not easy to find out who you are. Being asexual is challenging, because it’s probably even only one part of the identities you’re going to have to cope with—asexuality doesn’t mean you won’t have to deal with the prejudice of being gay, bi or trans—but it’s also challenging in and of itself. You’re going to have to deal with conflicting cultural ideals about chastity, lust, marriage and family, with a world that you’ll never quite understand despite your best efforts to do so, and which probably won’t even try to understand you. You’ll fidget in your psychology or sexuality class, not quite capable of explaining how you know for a fact the textbook is wrong without sounding like you’ve spent way too much time on Tumblr. You’ll smile, glad, at queer representation in the media, not quite daring to ask for some yourself—afraid it’ll take away some gay or trans kid’s chance to see themselves on screen. You’ll feel like you don’t exist, like there are no historical figures or public personalities who can bear your flag in your name, you’ll doubt yourself.

Don’t. There is nothing to doubt about it, there is nothing to be ashamed about. You’re on the frontline of progress, of our growing understanding of love and sexuality, as a society. Asexual people have always been there—the world just didn’t have a box to place them in until recently. Before that, we erred like bohemians among dandies and spinsters, bisexuals, pilgrims and nuns. But today, there are words for it, for asexuality, for aromanticism, for all the maybes and in-betweens. We are many, more than you would think, and we are solidary—to one another, and to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people, and to all other minorities, and it is our strength. Through sharing our experiences, through creating new words to define how we feel, we help people from all walks of life define themselves. So maybe, really, we’re something like great.

You can be proud.

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

My main blog on Tumblr is chaoticintellectual, though, like mentioned previously, it’s mostly  filled with cats and pretty women.

I have a Homestuck blog where I post art frequently, called Hampermarketplace, for all the filthy Homestucks out there

I write on AO3 under the name miki_and_company

Hampermarketplace is also my DeviantArt, though I don’t post much on there, but I do show my original art there more,

And finally, my Instagram, still hampermarketplace, where I post a lot of my photography.

My inboxes are open to talk, I’m quite friendly and impishly verbose, however I’ll be gone and inactive for most of the summer, sadly, but I’ll be back without question next fall.

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