Interview: Jasmine Aguirre

Today we’re joined by Jasmine Aguirre. Jasmine is a wonderful fanartist, who also does a little original work. Her art has a very dreamy and surreal look to it with quite a lot of bright and vibrant colors. Jasmine is a very dedicated and driven artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Space Ace Pride

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art mainly consists of like 95% fanart and the other 5% is some original art, which I don’t make a lot of. I usually get much more enjoyment working with already existing characters and worlds, whatever holds my obsessive interest at the time.

The art I create has a lot of hours and passion put into it. I dabble often with pairings, I love the inspiration they give me after a small artist’s block. I draw a lot of romantic pieces as well, it’s what adore doing. I love drawing details of the clothing and hair and expressions and actions in my own art style. I go for very semi-realistic vibes and bright, fun colors. Colors are my favorite part of any piece, pink and purples are my go to!

What inspires you?

Music, day dreaming and other artists, so much really, but what towers over those is self-improvement. I struggle with still needing practice on different aspects of drawing. But, with every frustration that emerges from me when I can’t get something right, I tend to reverse that and use it as optimism that I’m still learning. It might not look right now, but in the future I will get way more better and get less stressed. Looking at a piece from 2012 until now causes a huge boost of confidence and satisfaction, knowing you heavily improved on drawing eyes the way you wanted to or getting better at legs, etc.

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

I have always wanted to be an artist (more specific an Illustrator), since I was super young. I remember how obsessed I was with Disney’s The Little Mermaid and loved Ariel so much, I tore out a piece of notebook paper and opened my Little Mermaid illustration book and drew Ariel on the paper on one side of the book while her image was on the opposite end.

Since then, I was enthusiastic about drawing at school and even my art teachers supported it and wanted me to thrive, knowing I had this creative ability. I did especially well in high school where my final year there I won an art contest and got a medal. My biggest art related accomplishment goes to having my illustration design as one of my local libraries new library card designs while I worked there, it was the most popular and it was flattering seeing everyone adore my card.

There isn’t anything I see myself being but an artist for the rest of my life! There isn’t a day I go without drawing something, anything.

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Jessica Rabbit

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 suppose my art style is quite unique, it’s a mix semi-realism, yet it’s still got cartoon vibes to it. At the moment, I don’t have anything special to reveal.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never compare yourself to anyone, you’re never a step behind. Never say to anyone that you can’t draw and what’s the point in trying. Drawing does take loads of time and patience, but it’s honestly extremely rewarding. Go above and beyond with drawing, with the whole media of art. The best things about the art field is that its big, so you can try your might with animation, painting, cartooning, watercolors, markers, even sculpting. It’s all about creativity and we all have a great deal of creativity to find within us and use and show.

Always be proud of what you make. Make mistakes. Learn from them. Let yourself thrive.

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Heart Attack sketch

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

It’s slightly complicated, but let me break it down.

My sexuality was fluid for years. It wasn’t easy, I was actually scared to find out I was a-spec and worried about what I should label myself, but once I did research and found out it was normal and I wasn’t alone, I felt more comfortable.

Since I was 20, I generally identified myself as being Asexual to anyone that’s curious to know. In a nutshell I would say, “Im Ace, I’m not interested in sex or anything sexual.” I have asexual merch, like the ace flag, pin, shirt and popsocket. However, if you want a more detailed look into who I am, I’m on the a-spectrum, I am autochorissexual.

Autochorissexual is “Predominantly or entirely fantasize about fictional characters or celebrities, rather than people in real life they know. Identify as asexual and feel no sexual attraction to people, but enjoy masturbating, are aroused by sexually explicit content, and/or have sexual fantasies” (Quote from Asexual’s Wikia).

Now this isn’t 100% believed to be a real sexuality. But, personally as someone who knows themselves and has experienced such strong and similar feelings, I know I am.

As for romantic, I still have yet to fully figure out what I’m comfortable with, or if I want to ever put a label on it. All I know is that it’s on the aro-spectrum at the moment while I do.

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

Luckily, I have not at this time. Everyone I have encountered and that know I am on the a-spectrum are quite positive and supportive.

For pride month last year, while I worked at the library at the front desk with my co-worker (who I also found out was queer and was ace as well, very happy revelation,) we put the flags on the window. The one people asked about respectively was the asexual flag. I would nervously but proudly tell them about it and they would nod and understand. It was nice to know that others were genuinely willing to know.

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

That it’s a phase, we’re doing it for attention, we wanna be unique and quirky, or we have yet to find the right person; also, that every asexual person is sex-repulsed. Or the worst one, we don’t really exist, so to say. But, none of those are true.

We’re entering a new generation of people who identify more as asexual than ever before and we’ve always been here. It’s even more incredible to see older folk learn about what asexuality is and finally come to a conclusion that they’ve felt that way all their life and never knew why, or that it had a name, and that they were not alone.

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

It’s okay to keep questioning what you like and don’t like, your sexuality is fluid, there’s an entire spectrum for you to discover. It took me my entire life until I was 20 and a few relationships to figure it out completely.

You’re not broken at all and you’re not alone. It does get so much better, I promise. Don’t give into pressure either. If you feel like you have to be in a relationship of any kind like your peers, don’t push yourself to that degree. Trust yourself and your feelings.

All in all, it’s your label if you want one or not. No one knows you better than you! You know who you are, you are valid and you are real.

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

I’m almost all over the place, but here’s where you can easily find me!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/supernovajazzy
Art Blog: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/supernovajazzy-art
Twitter: https://twitter.com/supernova_jazzy

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Peter and Wendy

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

Interview: Connor

Today we’re joined by Connor. Connor is a wonderful artist I met at ACE Comic Con Chicago. He’s a visual artist who specializes in character design, both original characters and fanart. He works in mostly traditional mediums. It’s clear he’s a passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art consists of characters both original and already existent ones. I enjoy creating things from video game or fandom characters, to more animated self-portraits and original characters with unique traits. I’m fairly skilled in creating sad pieces, though I also like making happier ones with two or three characters, too. I’ve stuck almost strictly to traditional art, but I have done a few digital on a preloaded desktop application. Traditional is more preferable, though.

What inspires you?

Things that inspire me may vary, but sometimes my inspiration comes from boredom, emotions I’m feeling at the moment, or even from random thoughts. I can sketch blankly, but the higher quality art comes from the things I think more thoroughly of. If I’m extremely dedicated to one of the pieces, I will take hours to add detail and make sure it looks decent at the very least. Sometimes others inspire me as well! Something they say that’s funny or neat could give me a click to create something.

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

I believe I’ve always wanted to be in some sort of art field, though I guess it’d be more of a hobby than a job. I’m not sure about selling commissions just yet. I’ve done art since quite a young age, so that may tie into the progress I’ve had with tuning and bettering myself with what I draw.

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

I used to create my signature with large first letters for my first and last name, but lately it’s either been a mixture of all capitals or simply small cursive. I’ve been told that my cursive is small enough to resemble chicken scratch, which I do find pretty funny! But, even that’s honed to look better over the years. Once in a while I’ll add tiny hearts or a smile next to my signature, but it varies.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

For advice, I’d like to tell young artists that guidelines are important! No matter what you draw, try to make it mandatory that you plan your piece! It may take some time to try and get used to it, but it will help with proportions and spacing. It’ll look pretty neat in the end, I’m sure of it! Be sure to make guidelines softly on pages (or in a light colour if using digital) so as not to see them as much whenever you go over it with a better outline.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

As of now, I’m currently a questioning, panromantic, transgender male!

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

Sadly enough, I have. I try to tune it out unless directed towards me. Then, sometimes I’ll ask them about why they’ve said what they did to try and understand them. If they become ignorant, I try to leave it at that.

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

The most common things I’ve heard would tie into the biology topic with the whole “you cannot multiply with yourself” or “you have to like one or the other, that’s how it is.”

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

I would try to get them comfortable with themselves and mention that I’m willing to support them. I’d try to also remember to let them know that their orientation is okay to be and that they’re fine the way they are.

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

In regards to art, I post mainly on Instagram on my art/cosplay account (timaeusterror0), though I haven’t managed to keep a regular posting schedule. I have some older works on my Tumblr (frickonfanta), too!

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

Interview: Anila

Today we’re joined by Anila. Anila is a wonderful fanartist and jewelry maker. They write in a variety of fandoms and enjoys writing fanfiction. They aspire to publish some original work some day. When they’re not writing, they enjoy making jewelry. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and enthusiastic artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

face

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m primarily a creative writer – mostly fanfiction but I’m working hard to finish my original works. It’s a dream to be published someday.

Other than that I make wire jewelry.

What inspires you?

To be honest, it can be anything from a long-forgotten scribble in the margins of old lecture notes to something a passer-by might be wearing. On one hand that means I’m lucky because I can draw from most things but on the other hand all these WIPs can get me down.

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

I’ve always been good at writing – and when I started showing it to other people they were interested and, more importantly, they were affected. That made me want to write more.

As for jewelry, my mum bought a jewelry making book when I was a teenager and it seemed to stick.

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 writing tends to have an overabundance of commas, an abuse of semicolons, and a tendency for things to come in threes. Just like that previous sentence ;D

It’s hard to have a signature when it comes to wire jewelry, since it’s so freeform.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Try not to put yourself down too much, though I understand it’s easy to do so.

Having friends act as cheerleaders is a blessing and can be one of the few things to keep you out of a slump.

Also, specifically for writers, if you understand the importance of receiving feedback in your work please be the change you wish to see the world – when you read online works, leave comments you yourself want to receive.

jewellery

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a biromantic grey-ace. Basically I can have feelings for just about anyone regardless of gender, but wanting to be intimate is not necessarily included in that.

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

While writing there is a big lack of ace representation. And of course there are the people who insist that so-and-so character simply cannot be ace because there’s no evidence that that is so – to which the reply is that this is fanfic, everything is possible, and ace-spectrum people do exist. There was also one person who tried to tell me that I couldn’t be grey-ace because of my smutty works, which… still makes me sigh.

On the outernet, where I’m closeted anyhow, there is very casual prejudice – the expectation that of course everyone has sex and you’re some sort of deviant otherwise. I do my best to educate when I can, though admittedly I tend to get defensive and annoyed very quickly.

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

That people need to have sex to live. Nope, bzzt, wrong, try again.

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

Take your time. There’s no rush to find out who you are. Do your research because knowledge is power. And, if you ever decide down the line that your orientation on the spectrum isn’t exactly what you thought it was, then that’s okay too.

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

My writing’s on AO3 (http://archiveofourown.org/users/diemarysues), and I do yell about writing on my personal blog (http://diemarysues.tumblr.com).

Jewelry stuff is on my side blog (http://rustypliers.tumblr.com) though I am currently taking a break while I take better photos and edit them.

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

Interview: Skyler

Today we’re joined by Skyler. Skyler is a wonderful fanartist who has written a massive amount of fics in the Doctor Who fandom. She writes fics about the 10th Doctor and Rose Tyler. Aside from fics, Skyler has also created moodboards and 8 tracks. She’s clearly a passionate artist who enjoys what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Jess bday edit

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I have written about 145 fanfics for the Billie Piper and David Tennant fandom. Most of those are Doctor Who, for the Tenth Doctor x Rose Tyler ship (sort of. It’s sci-fi complicated.). I’ve also made some playlists on 8tracks with manips for cover art and moodboards and such for this ship.

What inspires you?

I think since I’m aro ace, I find relationships fascinating, and I love exploring the drama and what-ifs.

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

I started reading fanfic when I was a preteen on a message board and by the time Harry Potter peaked in popularity around my high school and college years, I was reading tons of fic. I deeply wished I could create a Fanfic.net account and start posting. But I was too scared and never did it. I came back to fic after college when I watched Doctor Who and needed to know what happened after the happily-ever-after. I started reading fic and had all these ideas about what I would do with that story. That’s another thing that motivates me: wanting more than we were given about how a plot point or relationship tied up.

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?

Having the voices of the characters in my head, thinking about how the actors would say it, how the character would perceive each other’s actions… if I don’t have that, I can’t write. It wouldn’t be any good. But when I do, people say I have captured them well, so it’s worth the battle to push through.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

There are not as many rules as you think there are. We all have insecurity. It is tempting to think of fandom as this cool kid table where you have to get permission to join, but you don’t. Just write. Create what YOU like. Read as much as you want, and yes there will be fanon that people consider sacred or whatever, but some of the best fic is from writers who are new to the scene because they don’t get trapped in the same tropes done the same way. When you’re in a fandom a long time, it’s tempting to write the same thing over and over 100 times that everyone else is writing. But new writers don’t have that sense of conformity. If you can preserve that curiosity and wonder while also gaining experience and growing as a writer, that’s when true art is born.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aegoromantic/aegosexual (aro ace for short)

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

There’s always aphobes on Tumblr, who aren’t worth my time, but my actual community has been hugely supportive. I would say all the prejudice and ignorance from people who matter has been internal. I limited myself because I didn’t think I could be ace if I like writing and reading smut (then I found the aegosexual label!). Then I made a post about it and it still shows up in my notifications years later. I was so afraid to publish my fic for Pride last year about Rose being bisexual and the Doctor being demisexual. It was really personal for me. But people are still leaving comments a about how much that story meant to them. So I think we limit ourselves a lot more than we should.

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

There are so many out there, but one personally is that people don’t understand the split attraction model. Usually it doesn’t both me because I’m both aro and ace, but I do have aesthetic attraction, and people don’t really get that. I like the visual of a “hot” person and can call people “sexy,” but that doesn’t mean I personally want to have sex with them. lol It’s just an expression to explain what type of aesthetic appeal they have. Which probably doesn’t make sense to people who do experience sexual attraction, but when you don’t, it is like a huge lightbulb.

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

First, it’s OK to change labels later if you decide you were wrong. Second, it’s a spectrum so you probably weren’t wrong, just somewhere else on the spectrum than you thought. And third, you can also be sure! Even if you’re a teen, you don’t have to “wait until you get older” to identify as ace. You can be ace at any age. It’s also not a Tumblr thing. People have been ace a lot longer than Tumblr has been around.

Also, just ignore the discourse. It is minimally helpful just to be familiar with the arguments people are using these days, but it’s not worth getting upset about and definitely isn’t worth engaging. Just gather real fellow aces and allies you can count on and support each other.

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

The best place to read my writing is AO3: Skyler10. My Tumblr is Skyler10fic. And here is my edit tag and 8tracks.

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

Interview: Matthew Maione

Today we’re joined by Matthew Maione. Matthew is a phenomenal visual artist who also writes and creates fanart. He enjoys drawing faces and also does quite a lot of fanart. When he’s not creating visual art, Matthew enjoys writing and writes both fanfiction and original work. He’s particularly fond of historical fiction and crime suspense. It’s clear he’s an incredibly dedicated artist who loves to create as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a virtual artist and creative writer. I enjoy drawing faces and fanart.  I like playing with colour and texture a lot. I write almost entirely fanfiction and fiction. Historical fiction and Crime Suspense novels are some of my favourite to write.

What inspires you?

Music is a huge inspiration in my life, it can get me in certain moods that are perfect for writing. My fiancé often inspires me with the little things she does, dances around the house that make me want to write romance. Nature gives me a breath of life, revitalizes me and makes me want to draw.

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

It was actually my older sister, she is a cosplay and traditional artist. She is 5 years older than me and I, being a younger sibling, was jealous and decided I needed to be better than her. Now I do it because I love it, of course.

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

I used to but since I lost most of my sight I’ve just been trying to re-explore what my art is. Playing with styles and shading to recreate it so I can still actually create, I used to sign my older works.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t give up! Make your weaknesses your strengths! There is no reason why you can’t pursue art if it’s what you love. Always do what makes you happiest, not what others want you to do.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Grey-ace. I don’t really experience sexual attraction, but if I have a strong romantic connection with someone I am able to connect with them in that way as well. But it’s more of a, I do it because I love them and want to make them happy. Not to say that is the only way to do so, there are many ways to connect with your partners and sex is never a mandatory part of a relationship, but it can enhance your romantic connection. Simply put, while I don’t experience sexual attraction, for me, being intimate occasionally makes me feel emotionally closer.

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

I haven’t really in my field. It’s not something that just casually comes up in conversation but those I have told have all been very understanding. A few people I told were even comfortable enough with me after the fact that they were able to come out to me as well. In my daily life a few people have said that it’s because I hadn’t met the right person, or claimed they could fix me, very common things to run into. I mostly just ignore this and do my best to stay safe.

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

That I’ll never be able to have a permanent partner or that it’s a phase. I have a fiancé who has no problems with it, we have been together for two years. She is always very understanding if I’m having a repulsed day, because there are good and bad days. Some days I’m totally okay with the idea of sex and others I can’t stand to watch movies with implied scenes in them. But if you’re worried about finding someone who will love you, of course you will. There’s somebody for everyone.

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

Being asexual, while it is a way to identify, does not define you. If the thought of it is new or uncomfortable, it’s just another part of wat makes you, you. It’s not something to be ashamed of or hide, there are so many people out there who will accept you for exactly who you are.

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

My Tumblr is Naoki-arts, I have AO3, Ammarettu. I’m currently working on getting my first novel published so any news on that will be found there as well!

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

Interview: NW

Today we’re joined by NW. NW is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in fanart. She does mostly digital art, though she does occasionally dabbles in traditional media. NW does a lot of costume and character design. She enjoys doing mostly fanart, but will occasionally do original art. It’s clear she’s a passionate and dedicated artist who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

meeeeee

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

So, a lot of my work right now is done digitally — that is to say I don’t have an aversion to traditional media, it’s just more accessible to me at the moment — and usually it’s of people. Ranging from character or costume design, fan art, and a lot of my original artwork I don’t get to post. I love drawing portraits and faces, so right now, I guess the majority (that I post, anyway) is of that. I’m mostly self-taught; I’ve learned through practicing, studying classical paintings, and even watching Bob Ross as a little girl. I’ve had the traditional drawing courses (you know, still lives of apples or shapes) in addition to a lot of experimentation software like Paint Tool SAI, Adobe Photoshop, and Procreate.

I don’t particularly stick to one “style”; I don’t really like doing line art, I find it too time-consuming and I have issues with tremor, no thanks to my medication I take. So my style is very “paintery”, if you like. What I’ve learned in painting courses (and, again, Bob Ross) and I paint over my mistakes. When I do traditional media, I usually go back to the pencil or watercolors. I’m a visual person and I love coloring and colors. My favorite thing about creating art is eventually coloring it.

What inspires you?

A lot of things inspire me.

Art has been a therapeutic thing for me and I’ve gone back and added my own feelings in them. I’m very guilty of day-dreaming and since I was a kid, those day dreams inspire art. I think of stories and they become my pieces. Things I see in real life, whether it be color combinations, fashion, or images I pass, I try to hold onto that visual memory and bring it back.  Nowadays, I carry my iPad and stop to at least get it out before it goes. Movies definitely do—I hadn’t realized how much movies affected my stories and images until I got older.

Other artists most definitely do, which is why I’m Tumblr a lot. Most of the blogs I follow are other artists. There are also a few blogs that post traditional and classical artwork that I love. And, really, the music I listen to also is a huge influence on me and I always listen to certain bands and artists to try and captivate a mood in my pieces. My usernames “ofborrowedlight” and “rainbowillness” actually come from one band that I listen to a lot when I do artwork, Wolves in the Throne Room. They’re titles to two songs, “Rainbow Illness” and “Queen of the Borrowed Light”. For my personal “project”, I listen to them quite a bit.

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

Well, I’ve been holding a pencil since I had an Etch-a-Sketch and I cannot recall the rest. And I keep bringing up Bob Ross for a reason—I watched him religiously as a little girl. I’d say that he was actually the first influence that wanted me to get into the field. By the age of five, my mind was made up: I wanted to be an artist. I struggled with dyslexia and bullying and art was my constant companion for me. Having that man on television taught me so much about color and composition at an early age and his attitude of “there are no accidents, only happy mistakes” is such a positive thing to have and he’s really still pushing me, to this day, with that attitude. If you ask me now, yeah, I still want to draw and create for a living. It hasn’t been easy working full-time and trying to earn money, though, but I have not given up. I still try to draw every day; unfortunately, I get really shy posting stuff online or I’m spending more time on it than I wanted to.

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 in particularly? At least I don’t think so; maybe my coloring?

Maybe the closest to it if anyone notices that I incorporate a wave or a flow around my figures, sometimes. That comes from how Gustav Kilmt, Alphonse Mucha, and some traditional Japanese paintings that seem to have a special way to draw smoke and water. I can’t really write it, but anyone can find it in my sketches. But flat out, there’s no real unique symbolism, usually. If there is, it’s with my original stuff with little hints, but no one is going to know context, it’s just me, because I haven’t really presented the world with that story yet. It’s an inside joke with me, I guess.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep drawing, draw as much as you can, and don’t be afraid to expand your style. I was like a lot of artists out here on Tumblr; I’d print Sailor Moon illustrations and copied them. It’s good to do that to get up on your feet, but don’t allow that to be a dependency. Don’t be afraid to get books for the sake of illustrations—I still do. And don’t feel bad about your level of technique doesn’t match your friends or other artists out there. Art is all about your interpretation. While I can go on hours how stupid still lives and contour drawing is, they are essential to getting better. Take classic courses; if they’re not accessible to you, check out Udemy or Coursea.

With digital art, it’s a lot of practice. You just need to play around with features in software and you’ll find some really cool effects to enhance your coloring. Transitioning from a sketchbook to a drawing tablet is weird and don’t feel bad about not getting it; it took me years to get it and I’m still trying to play around with it. You’ll find a favorite program that you love! And even then, I would encourage you to have more than one digital art program. I hop around Paint Tool SAI, Photoshop, and Procreate all the time.

And really, I can’t stress it enough: don’t give up. You’re in an age where more of these things are accessible to you and it wasn’t when I was a kid. Keep drawing, draw more, and draw whatever you want.

versussmall
Versus

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Heteromantic asexual but more often gray-sexual. I think men are handsome, that’s about it. I’m not bothered by it and I really don’t care about relationships. Finding a man attractive is the furthest I’ll go; I don’t want much interaction after that.

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

The closest I’ve experienced any sort of misconception have been at concerts, anime, or comic conventions (surprise, I draw there too) and having to really push back men that have approached me for a date or my number. If they really can’t take the hint or accept “no” for an answer, I’ll get up and leave. A few times I’ve had men at just concerts or gatherings telling me they can “fix” me or change my mind. Then I’ll just tell them to fuck right the hell off, literally.

However, the most prejudice and ignorance I experience is outside of art and I experience it more with my family. It’s an odd mix of Irish and Mexican Catholicism where most of the women in my family married young (we’re talking 17-19) and they think there’s something wrong with me because I have no kids and I’m not married. No matter how many times I tell them “I don’t care, I don’t find anyone attractive” or “sex doesn’t interest me”, it doesn’t seem to sink in. Even when I told them there’s a community of other asexuals, one said “well, they must all be very depressed”. I make jokes about things like “this is why I don’t date” and use it to reiterate I don’t care about relationships.

So I’d say the run of the mill crap—“you haven’t found the right man”, “you’ll change your mind someday”, or “you must be very lonely”. I just shrug it off because I’ve had this conversation so many times with my family.

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

I’m not sure if this is common, but my father believed it was the same as bisexuality—I’m just glad he recognizes that even if I’m not!

One thing I’ve seen is people assume its celibacy and then I have to explain there is a huge difference between the two. It does get tiring having to explain it’s a lack of physical attraction and a desire for it and no, I am not going to change, I’m not worried about not being married, and I’m well over 20 years old and it’s not likely I’m having second thoughts. I am, myself, sex-repulsed, but other asexual people are not and that’s usually one assumption that people go with. Having other people chime in and say they aren’t hleps.

Unfortunately, I will say that because I struggle with PTSD from abuse, therapists assume that the asexuality may be a cause of it. I’m sure it’s a contribution, but more along the lines I just find general touch revolting, though I’m confident that it’s not the ultimate reason why I’m asexual. I feel like psychology needs to learn more about it because I am tired of that assumption is because its due to trauma. I don’t think it’s asking too much that therapists and psychiatrists learn about asexuality. We’re not all like this, not every asexual person is like that due to trauma. And this thinking let me believe that I was really, really destroyed for years when I was not.

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

If you also had a past of trauma like me, I’d say check out Aven and other communities geared towards asexuality so that you will know you’re not broken. I feel like this isn’t really talked about that much and it’s a shame. This isn’t part of PTSD or other forms of mental illness; you are not mentally ill if you’re asexual. When I first heard asexual at 18, I didn’t know about these things and I’m so happy other people have this access. Even now, at Pridefest here in Denver, there are asexuals and I haven’t seen them not even five years ago. My present employer, Ikea, even had “asexuality” listed on their diversity and inclusion talks—that’s really awesome.

There’s a lot of research and groups, there’s a whole world out there. But if you get the same spiel as I do, I think at this point, all we can do is just poke fun at it. Nothing makes me feel better than mocking these conceptions with other aces, it’s a nice reassurance. And if you’re in the same boat with me and family, yeah, post a link on Facebook or just print it off and be like “read this”. I don’t feel like we have the same level of resistance to people that are gay, lesbian, bi, and trans, so we need to also understand that. Watching a family member bullied out of the closet was horrific; I still couldn’t draw comparisons to their situation. Ours seems like a lot of people just can’t comprehend a life without physical attraction, I think. I just hope people remember that, especially.

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

Most of my stuff is posted on Rainbowillness.com, which is hooked up to Tumblr. If you’re in the American McGee’s Alice fandom, you know me, I’m sure you’ve seen my stuff. I’m also on Instagram under “ofborrowedlight”; sometimes I will post WIPs (works in progress) on my personal Tumblr, “ofborrowedlight”, but I urge everyone just go on my site and follow me there.

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

Interview: Raven Jay

Today we’re joined by Raven Jay. Raven Jay is a phenomenal visual artist who is currently studying at uni. They mostly draw fanart and original characters. They currently have a fascinating webcomic entitled Anthrel, which is summarized as follows: “A comic series following the lives of the Anthreligions; immortal personifications of the world’s religions, sects, and other spiritualities.” (It updates on Fridays). It’s clear Raven is a very creative and dedicated artist, 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’m a visual artist and illustrator, and most of my work is cartoonish. I draw a lot of both fanart and my own original characters and ideas. I have a few webcomic ideas in the works, and my current one is named Anthrel!

What inspires you?

My current favourite shows to draw from are Voltron: Legendary Defender and Boueibu, but most of my inspiration comes from religion, magic, and art history!

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

I’ve wanted to be an artist since primary school! I remember spending most of my time ignoring chances to socialize so I could sit and draw. My drive to draw – especially comics and illustration – became a lot bigger in high school because of friends I made and my supportive art teacher.

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?

A lot of my original work centres around religion and mythology and the beauty I see in it, and my webcomic is about personified religions, so I guess that’s a recurring theme I have?

My physical artist signature comes from a messy stylisation of my deadname; I just kept it because I’ve been using it for so long and it doesn’t really look like a word anymore. That being said, I forget to sign half of my art anyway.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It might sound cliché but don’t give up on art because some people think it won’t amount to anything; instead, keep making art because they think that. My father used to tell me I’d never make a living out of art, and his girlfriend’s friend once laughed at me for wanting to be an artist as a job. But now I’m at uni studying a creative industries degree and building art into a career, so the joke’s on them!

Also, don’t forget how important art theory is. Not only does art history tell you where you came from, it can inspire you too.

roman standoff
Roman Standoff

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m just asexual. I’m also sex-repulsed but don’t mind talking about/drawing sexual themes within certain boundaries.

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

Though I’ve experienced ignorance from peers, I haven’t experienced much prejudice, as most of my network is my university cohort and close friends. Normally I deal with ignorance by just politely explaining what asexuality is! Most people understand after that.

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

The most common misconception that I’ve encountered, I think, is that all asexuals are by default sex-repulsed. Though I am, I know not every ace is, and we all have different comfort boundaries for any sort of physical affection.

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

Always remember you’re valid in your asexuality. Maybe you’re questioning where you sit on that spectrum, and that’s okay, and maybe you’ll wake up tomorrow and realise you don’t identify as ace at all! We learn more about ourselves and about sexuality all the time; what matters is knowing that identifying as ace or aspec right now is a valid thing to do, and you don’t need to prove yourself to everyone.

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

You can find my art at draweththeraven on both Tumblr and Instagram! I also have a website, draweththeraven.com, which I try to update regularly (aka, I never update it). My webcomic Anthrel is at https://tapas.io/series/Anthreligion.

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