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.

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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.

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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.

Interview: Luke

Today we’re joined by Luke. Luke is a phenomenal fanartist who I met at Indy PopCon. A few days later, he sent me an email and I was impressed with wonderfully passionate artist. He’s a cosplayer but he also enjoys writing quite a bit, mostly fanfiction. Luke is an incredibly dedicated, passionate, and excited 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.

I don’t think of myself much as a writer, but I do write fanfiction (mostly Star Wars) and a lot of backstories for original characters of mine. So, I don’t really consider it “original” writing of my own, but it’s still a fun pastime for me to have. My two main works that I have are (not so surprisingly) Star Wars fanfics on both AO3 and Wattpad because seriously, have you seen the Wattpad app? It’s so nicely organized and easy to use. I also am a cosplayer, but I don’t consider myself to be that good of one. I used to cosplay Hetalia mainly, but I slowly drifted away from anime and found more fun in cosplaying Star Wars and emo stuff. (cough, cough MCR cough, cough)

What inspires you?

One of the main things that inspires me to write and cosplay are my friends. I have so many friends who are amazing at writing and cosplaying, I always look up to them and think “dang I wanna be like that someday”. Other things that inspire me are the cool people I find through the internet and social media, like Tumblr and Instagram. I’ve found some awesome writers and cosplayers online and, although I’ll never have the confidence to actually talk to them, I always look at them and get all teary eyed like “I love you, let me be like you,” you know?

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

When I was younger, I loved to read. Like, I had an entire shelf of books in my room and when I was bored, I would just pick out a book that I’ve read 30 something times before and read it again. I wasn’t into any specific genre, but I always steered away from romance and sci-fi. Which is ironic because that’s basically all I write about now. But after entering high school, I found myself hating reading. I’m not entirely sure why, but it probably had something to do with the fact that I was forced to read books I hated/didn’t want to read. But now, as of finally graduating, I’m trying to get back into reading. And not just fanfiction, I mean actual books. When I was younger, I wanted to be an author. As I’m going through old stuff that I wrote when I was younger (and cringing, I might add) I would think back to how much I loved to read and write. And now that I’m getting back into it, it’s making me much happier. It’s like a coping mechanism for me. And as for the cosplaying, I honestly have no idea when or how that started. It just kind of happened.  I have the memory capacity of a two minute old goose, that’s probably why I don’t remember.

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

I don’t think I have a specific feature in my writing, other than the fact that’s it mostly consists of dialogue and really strange references to inside jokes I have with my friends. (It’s a whole fiesta) But I do sometimes write fanfics based on really emo songs that I listen to. As for cosplaying, I usually just carry around something funny with me at conventions so people will get a laugh out of it. Like with my General Hux cosplay, I have a stuffed orange tabby cat that I like to hold for pictures. Her name is Millicent. I love her.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I may not have great advice for cosplaying because I’m still an amateur myself, but for my fellow fanfiction writers, I’d say just keep writing, Cliché, yes I know, but it’s true. Out of all the ways to improve your writing, practice is the one of best answers. Look at other people’s writing styles and see what you like about them, and try to incorporate some of their style into your writing. But don’t copy them completely, trust me I’ve done stuff like that before and it’s a bad idea lemme tell you.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual and biromantic. I don’t like the sexytimes, but I will, in fact, hold a person’s hand if I like them. I like guys more than girls, but that’s probably because I’ve only had a crush on two people in my entire life, one a boy and the other a girl, and I got to kiss the dude and oh goodness, I could go on for hours about this guy.

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

I haven’t really had to deal with any sort of hate from people about my asexuality. At least, not yet. But it’d be nice to keep it that way, ya know?

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

The only misconception I’ve really gotten was that asexual people don’t like sex. Which is true for me, yes, but I do know some asexuals who enjoy sex. I’ve had to explain to my sister a few times that me being ace means that I don’t look at somebody and say “damn, I wanna bang that”, and that I, instead, think “damn, I don’t feel sexually attracted to that”

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

Man, I’d just say keep searching around on the internet (trusted places of course) and ask any friends who are LGBT+ and might know a thing or two about asexuality. Or a person who is actually asexual, if they’re around at all. It’s hard to go through those kinds of things alone, so try to find someone who understands what you’re going through and is willing to help.

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

I have like two whole places that I post my work, which are, like I said before, AO3 and Wattpad. My AO3 is https://archiveofourown.org/users/sirbuttsalot and my Wattpad is https://www.wattpad.com/user/sir-butts-a-lot I also use Deviantart sometimes, which is https://sir-butts-a-lot.deviantart.com/.

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

Interview: Brit

Today we’re joined by Brit. Brit is a wonderful fanartist who is mostly active in a few different fandoms. She enjoys writing fanfiction as well as drawing her characters from her favorite fandoms. Brit is most active in the Undertale, Homestuck, and Hiveswap fandoms. It’s clear that she’s an incredibly dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am mostly a fanartist, be it with drawn fanart or with written works (fanfiction). I’ve been mostly active in the Undertale fandom, but lately I’ve been on a bit of a Homestuck/Hiveswap kick. I also do a lot with original characters (OCs). The biggest project I’ve had going on for a long while now is a fanfiction titled With and Without, a Sans/OC fanfiction that now has 59 chapters.

What inspires you?

It’s difficult to say what inspires me…but I think, more often than not, anything that gives me an idea of an emotion, or makes me experience that emotion, then I get inspired. That’s part of what I always aim for in my written work, too, to make people feel something.

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Grubby Grub

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

I’ve always had an interest in being an artist. I’ve always done well with creative writing in school, and that’s what really got me started with writing fanfiction.

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Mimel Bee Plushie

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

I don’t necessarily have a special signature…but this has made me think about it, and I might start making one from now on!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My advice would be to keep going. I know that sounds cliché, but no matter what, you’ve got to keep going. That doesn’t mean go nonstop, though! Sometimes I’m just not in the right mood to write or draw, so I don’t. I take a break, play a game, or do something else. I feel that it helps me be able to come back to it with a fresh mind and renewed motivation. But you can’t give up on it. I used to draw using bases off of DeviantArt and tracing, and with all the effort I’ve put in, I’ve gotten to the place where I am now. (Which isn’t that far, compared to other people, but that’s the other thing. You can’t compare your journeys to one another because each one is unique.)

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Mituna

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a mostly sex-repulsed pan-romantic asexual. It’s difficult, and I say mostly sex-repulsed, because on some days I’m repulsed and suddenly on others I’m not. It can even change by the hour. It’s very frustrating at times, but I’ve come to accept that that’s just how I am.

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

I don’t know about prejudice, but I have been asked how I can write NSFW content if I’m asexual (especially being mostly sex repulsed). I just explain that the two aren’t really related, and that usually clears it up.

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Sad Mimel

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

The most common misconception I’ve encountered personally is that all asexuals don’t like sex, which just isn’t true! Even though I personally don’t always like it, I’ve met others who have a high libido.

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

I would say to definitely surround yourself with people who are accepting, and have patience with the people who have been in your life if you’ve only just now come out. To those who aren’t asexual, it can be difficult to understand. But yeah, keeping away the people who are negative or unsupportive will definitely help with accepting your orientation. If someone who’s unsupportive is someone you can’t avoid (i.e. family) then you can always try limiting your contact with them if at all possible. But seriously, surround yourself with support and love and kindness. It’ll help more than you’ll ever know.

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

I mostly post on Tumblr these days, so you can find me here (https://life-sans-sin.tumblr.com), but I also post on DeviantArt (https://life-sans-sin.deviantart.com). I have an archive account here on Tumblr as well, where more of my older stuff is posted. You can find that here (https://life-sans-sin-archive.tumblr.com). For Tumblr, my tags are #brit writes and #brit arts.

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Sans

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

Interview: Elin

Today we’re joined by Elin. Elin is a phenomenal writer from Sweden who currently specializes in fanfiction. She hopes to publish original work in the future. Aside from writing, Elin went to drama school and acted for a time, but found that writing is where her heart is at. It’s clear she’s a passionate and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I express my art form through writing. While I mainly focus on fanfiction, I’m also currently writing three longer original works, which I hope will be published one day, if I’m very lucky. In the past I have also had a major interest in theatre and acting, and actually went to various acting schools for some fifteen years, starting when I was five, but I’ve recently moved on from that to pursue a different education.

What inspires you?

With fanfiction it’s not that hard to guess: the works I’m basing my creations on inspires me. I love to explore worlds and characters we, the fans, only get to know a limited amount about, and I love to expand on the already known universe. It’s a way of getting to know the characters I love better, and a way to express this love for them.

For my original writing, a number of things inspire me. When you grow up in Sweden you learn about the Nordic gods in elementary school. The memory of these lessons have stuck with me, and inspired me to write about the legacy of said gods in a modern time (hopefully not ripping of Neil Gaiman too much, but I don’t think that will be a problem, seeing as how I’ve never read or seen American Gods ).

All in all, my inspiration comes from things I see and hear; things that give me ideas. It can be anything at all, really. Just anything that makes a thought pop up in my head, like: Huh, I can build something from this.

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

When I was little I loved to read. I read so much I knew all the people working at the local library by name, and they knew me. The writing didn’t start to become a thing until I discovered fanfiction at the age of fourteen. That’s when I thought that maybe I could write something like that as well, and that’s when my background with reading came in handy. I used the memory of the books I’d read to see how a story was supposed to be, but it did take me awhile to get there myself, and it wasn’t until senior year of High School when I felt comfortable enough to write original pieces, and create my own universes.

As for the acting classes and drama school, my mother signed me up for the classes so I’d have an activity after school. She had a high maintenance three year old at home and wanted the five year old out of the house for a few hours a week. Frankly I don’t blame her, my sister is a lot of work. I would have done the same. Anyway, I thought it was really fun to be on stage with people my own age, so I stuck with it. We were playing around more than actually acting, but it was really fun. It wasn’t until I was about thirteen when I realized that there are people who act for a living, and that I could be one of them. It sounded like a dream. As I said, I stuck to it for fifteen years, starring in several small stage productions, until I went to college. I’m kind of sad that I don’t act anymore, but I know that I can always go back to it should I want to in the future.

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

Not really. I guess there are some things in my writing that you could consider a pattern; certain things that I write in all my works, particular phrases and words and such. I notice when I write that I sometimes use a wording or a phrase one too many times. I probably use these phrases and wordings in most of my works. Someone who reads them all could probably see the pattern.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Take every step in your own time. Don’t rush yourself, or let anyone else rush you. As in, don’t let the influence of anyone else affect your creative process. You know what’s best for you. You know what you need to do to move forward with your work. Just you, no one else. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, or how much life gets in the way. Do things at a pace you’re comfortable with. It’s never too late to start over, or even to start. Take a deep breath. There’s no rush. You’ve got time. There’s no expiration date on art.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m definitely asexual and sex-repulsed- or at least when it comes to my own involvement. I can read about it, or even see it sometimes, but that thought of participating makes me shiver and feel a bit sick. It’s not just sex that I don’t feel comfortable with, but also the acts leading up to it, i.e. kissing and physical intimacy. As for the romantic part, I’m not sure. I’ll call myself aromantic for now, but that might change, who knows.

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

The first thing that comes to mind is one time when I was in a play and I was supposed to kiss a guy on stage. This was before I identified as ace, and was just incredibly uncomfortable with the thought of kissing someone I didn’t like romantically in general. I told the director that I didn’t want to do it. That I couldnt do it. She said “Yes, you can” in an encouraging voice, like it would help if she believed in me. I almost cried right there, the thought scared me so much, but she still didn’t listen to me. Luckily the script changed and I didn’t have to go through with it, but that is the most clear memory I have of my orientation coming into play, and being ignored, in my creative outlet.

Not so much in my field when it comes to writing. At least not yet. I suppose it might in the future. In my original works I hardly ever write romantic plots, and when I do they are very much in the background. Perhaps, if I get published one day, my popularity increases, I might have to take some complaints about not writing romance, but the fact of the matter is I don’t know how to write romance, or sex, or anything like that. I just don’t think it’s important, so I don’t. If you do see me writing romance, it’s because I’m experimenting and hoping for the best.

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

That we don’t exist. I’ve heard this from people who’ve I’ve just met, people I’ve talked to on social media, and a person I was in a relationship with. They doubted that there was such a thing as asexuality or, if they did believe it existed, they didn’t think it applied to me (because I kissed him, and that meant he thought I would want to have sex with him. Don’t worry, he didn’t force me, but I still feel like I dodged a bullet there).

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

You don’t owe anything to anyone. You don’t owe anyone to have sex with them, or to do anything else physically or relationship-wise, if you don’t want to. You don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why that is. You don’t owe it to anyone to come out if you don’t want to. I’m out to all my friends. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a proud Ace. However, I’m not out to my family. I don’t know why, it just never seems like the right time to talk about it, and I don’t feel the need to do so.

My advice is the same as I gave about your art: don’t rush it. Take your time, and think about things. What are you comfortable with? Do you want to tell anyone? It might help if you talk to someone, but it’s up to you. Express yourself in whatever way you’re comfortable with. Your sexuality, like your art, isn’t going anywhere. You’re allowed to take some time and figure things out, whatever those things may be.

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

My acting was only on small stages, so that’s a bust. However, you can find my fanfiction on Archive of Our Own. My name there is KingsNeverDie100. Frankly, I think it’s a pretty unsatisfactory name, but I’ve had it on most of my accounts since I was about fifteen, and I can’t be bothered to change it 😛

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

Interview: Iranka

Today we’re joined by Iranka. Iranka is a phenomenal artist who does a bit of everything. While art is mainly a hobby, Iranka has a variety of talents that she enjoys using for her creative pursuits. She does a lot of visual art, mostly drawing and painting. She depicts a variety of subjects, both fanworks and original ones. When she’s not doing visual art, Iranka enjoys playing music or writing. 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.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do a little of a lot of things. Mainly, I paint and draw fanart, original characters, or real life people or things such as flowers and scenery. I’m also a pianist and flautist, and I also like to write – particularly short stories or just creating characters/worlds.

What inspires you?

It could be anything really, often a film I have seen, other artists, or nature.

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

I can’t remember how I got interested in drawing actually, I just know I’ve been drawing for fun since I can remember. As for music, I got jealous when my sister was learning piano so I wanted to learn too. I haven’t always wanted to be an artist, and I still am not quite sure what I want to do, but I really enjoy doing it. I also really love the idea that something I create could touch someone or make something happy, so that’s what I aspire to do. I think that realisation hit me while watching some Studio Ghibli movies, because they’re so beautiful and explore such amazing and important themes. So yeah, although art has mostly just been a hobby to me, if I could do anything it would be that.

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?

No, I don’t have one.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep trying! The more you do it, the better you will get, so don’t give up! It’s okay if you get a block sometimes and can’t seem to create anything; it will pass. Some of your art will be bad too, and that’s okay too, because no one has to see the bad stuff, you just learn and improve from it. No one is perfect on their first try.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am definitely asexual but I’m still not 100% certain. At the moment I’d say I am pan/demi romantic asexual.

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

Personally I haven’t experienced any prejudice. I’ve had the odd few people not believe me, or tell me I “just haven’t found the right guy yet”. One person said they thought I can’t be asexual because I “dress like a girl.” Yet to understand how that relates to my sexuality but yeah

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

That we are all prudes, all hate sex, that we just haven’t found “the one”, or that asexuality means you just don’t want sex. Oh, and that asexuals are just “special snowflakes on Tumblr” or something.

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

It’s okay. There are lots of people either online or in real life who could help you figure out your orientation or come to terms with it. I found out I was asexual only after researching stuff online and finding other asexual people’s stories that I could relate to a lot. Forums like AVEN can be helpful. Also, know that you don’t HAVE to come out if you think doing so would hurt you, like if you know your parents are against the LGBT+ community for example.

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

I am at iranka on Tumblr, and at iranka.art on Instagram 🙂

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

Interview: Keam

Today we’re joined by Keam. Keam is a wonderful fanartist who is currently most active in the Doctor Who fandom. They write fanfictions, mostly one-shots, and also some long-running projects. When they’re not writing, Keam does a lot of visual art, including recolouring and photo edits. 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.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I write fanfiction and occasionally draw fanart, as well as making a wide variety of picture edits, icons and recolouring black and white photos. I’m mainly in the Doctor Who fandom at the moment, but have been around in several other book and TV series fandoms before. Most of my fanfics are one shots, but I also got a couple of long running projects. My drawings are always hand drawn and coloured in with ink/crayons/coloured markers or regular pencil.

What inspires you?

My never ending mind. Due to having ADHD, I got a mind that never slows down. When I get into it, I can be thinking about a show or book 24/7. It also means that there’s always new ideas appearing, encouraging me to draw something new or write a new story. It never ends, and I don’t want it to.

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

I suppose I partly have it from my family. My mum is a self-published author who’s currently written 5 books, and both my grandmothers are talented at painting and drawing. I’ve never really intended to be an artist in any professional manner, but as I’ve matured as a fanfic author the idea of writing an original book seem more and more appealing.

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

I don’t think I particularly have any special thing that represents my writing like that. I am told I have a bit of a unique pattern in my writing, which I think comes from not being native to the language and there for using a vocabulary and word combinations you wouldn’t see used by a native writer.

Otherwise, I always try to include a tall, blond haired person in my fanfics. That’s me by the way. The author standing there and enjoying her own work. Just a little symbol of my emotional investment in my own writing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t give up. It sounds so cheesy, but is there something I’ve learned it is that it’s absolutely true. I’m not native to English, you see, and when I wrote my first fanfic I still did not know how to string two words together. I was 13 and had five years of theoretically learning behind me.

I had a dream in my head and with some help from my mother I managed to put it on paper. It’s still published out there on the internet on fanfic site somewhere. A horrific, self-indulgent drabble about pastel ponies.  But even if it was bad it taught me the joys of writing.  Because after that, I kept writing, one year after another, and now I’m five years down the line from when I started. Today, I even spend more time writing than sleeping (it’s 10.30 PM as I write this!). And for all that work, I really think I’ve gotten better, too. Today I feel proud of myself. I read my fanfics and enjoy them and I get good reviews.

Just recently a work I’d done in collaboration with another friend actually got a comment from the actress behind one of the characters we were writing about. She loved it. Another of my fanfics  got published in a fan letter/ezine for an American Fanclub in my fandom back in February. I got a free PDF copy of the ezine as a thank you, and on the first page was a content section with the title of my name proudly displayed.

All this is a far cry from the pastel Pony drabble I wrote at age 13. And the reasons I’m here, the reason I’m 18 and growing more and more professional, getting more and more attention from people that you want attention from, is because I kept going. Because I kept going, and I didn’t give up. Giving up is the worst disadvantage you can give yourself, so please don’t!

pixlr_20180425171326950

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a Bi/Quoiromantic Asexual who is partially sex repulsed.

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

Well, as a part of the Doctor Who fandom, Asexuality is always a hot topic. The show has 36 seasons, and during the majority of the 26 first seasons the main character appears as though they are asexual. A lot of people try to bypass this by referring to the character not acting in such a way in the ten newest seasons after they rebooted the show. There are a lot of fights over the fact that newer fans gladly write smut and ship the character as of old with characters from the newer episodes, completely ignoring the implied asexuality of the character back then, which is hurtful. Mostly, I just ignore this and instead look up content creators that treat the character fairly and knows to be aware of the characters implied asexuality.

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

That we’re incapable of having loving relationships, and that if you’re asexual it means aromantic as well. Naturally, aro aces exist – I’m an aspec ace myself – but it feels very ignorant and prejudiced to assume such things.

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

Relax. Take it easy. It is fine to be uncertain. The Ace community is very open and inclusive, and we’re ready to welcome everyone – even if you’re still questioning or not quite comfortable yet. We’ll give you some friendly cuddles and advice and it’ll be alright.

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

I have several social media accounts!

My Tumblr is at Gemvictorfromtheponyverse
My AO3 & Ff.net is Pearlislove
My Instagram is at aesteticfandomdreams.

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

Interview: Marie-Pier

Today we’re joined by Marie-Pier. Marie-Pier is a phenomenal seamstress who uses her incredible skills for fashion design and cosplay. A dedicated cosplayer, Marie-Pier has cosplayed as various characters from different fandoms. Aside from her costumes, she also makes the accessories that go with her cosplays. Marie-Pier has also designed regular everyday outfits as well. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Elsa
Elsa

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hello! I am Marie-Pier and I am an artist in the broad sense of the term. From drawing, to writing and even programming (it’s an art, believe me!), I enjoy many aspects of art, but my favorite outlet at the moment is sewing and cosplaying. For me, the main appeal of this activity is the fact that it’s so versatile and it encompasses most of my other passions. I draw my own concepts, I make my own patterns and I often have to handmake accessories, which allows me to build up so many skills. I haven’t made a ton of outfits and costumes thus far, but that’s because a lot of care is put into everything I make, which ends up being quite time consuming. Among the characters I’ve cosplayed, one can count Queen Elsa, The Evil Queen (Regina Mills from Once Upon a Time, Emma Swan (“Dark Swan”, also from Once Upon a Time) and a few other simpler cosplays like Wednesday Addams.

When I make “regular” outfits, I often go for little black dresses, although my most recent creation is an autumn/spring wool coat.

What inspires you?

I’m mostly inspired by the gothic aesthetic, as well as fabrics. I love things that look graceful and elegant, but I also have a soft spot for more structured/tougher looking outfits.

As far as cosplay characters go, I am mostly drawn to evil or dark characters, because more often than not, they’re the ones with the best outfits! It’s also always fun to portray villains or anti-heroes because they’re usually really confident and completely unashamed to be themselves.

One of my idols in the designing world is Eduardo Castro, the costume designer for Once Upon a Time, hence why most of my cosplays are from that TV show. Let’s just say that I am easily won over by impressive gowns and really captivated by anything that sparkles.

When I make actual clothes, I usually go for things that I am unable to find in stores. I don’t really care about what’s trendy; I simply make what I want to own and what I know would look nice on me.

Emma-Regina
Emma-Regina

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

I’ve always loved arts and crafts, as well as dressing up. Both my grandmothers used to make clothes and costumes for me. I would draw what I wanted to have and give them the drawings so that they could make it.

In high school, I decided it was about time I learned to sew on my own. As a longtime fan of Halloween, I started making my own costumes and I attempted to outdo myself every year. By the time I finished High School, I learned about conventions and cosplaying and began to consider it.

A year later, in 2014, I joined a fashion design club and took that opportunity to make my first wearable garments and my first real cosplay (Queen Elsa from Frozen).
What I grew to love the most about cosplaying is the amount of skills I got to learn from it. Each costume of mine came with different challenges that allowed me to learn things I wouldn’t have otherwise. (E.g. woodworking, making 18th undergarments, sourcing screen-accurate materials…)

However, despite my love of sewing and costume making, I would not want to make a career out of it, because it is my own way of clearing my mind and relaxing. I never really try to force myself to work on a project; I just let out my creative energy whenever I feel like it.

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

There is a little something special I try to include in all my cosplays and it’s a bit of an inside joke. It began when I made sequins out of plastic soda bottles to cover the entire surface of my Queen Elsa bodice. Ever since I discovered how versatile a material plastic bottles could be, I’ve incorporated at least one element made from them in all my costumes. Thus far I’ve used them to make sequins, a hair comb, detailing on a dagger’s handle, and a necklace.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

There are three things I would tell young aspiring artists. Firstly, practice makes perfect. The more you practice your skills, the better you’ll get. Don’t be scared to tackle huge challenging projects, they are the ones that provide the most learning experience. Also, don’t be scared to ask for help when you need it.

Secondly, don’t feel bad if you start preferring another art form over what you currently are into. Do what makes you the happiest and build as many new skills as you like.

Lastly, follow your own quality standards no matter what others say. If someone tries to tell you that you can’t possibly do something of a certain quality, don’t listen to them. Trust in your abilities and in your will to learn and perfect your craft.

Fashion-Design
Fashion-Design

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual greyromantic/aroflux.

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

Since my favorite character to cosplay (the Evil Queen) is known for being quite sexy and alluring, some people think that I dress like her to attract the male gaze and seek attention. Some even said that if I really was asexual, I wouldn’t choose to dress like that. I had thought about that sort of thing before making my costume and it almost stopped me from making it because I was afraid of conveying the wrong message, but ultimately, I decided to not care. I cosplay the Evil Queen/Regina because I love her as a character and because her outfits are beautiful and intricate works of art. I chose to not let people spoil that for me.

Orientation has nothing to do with the way we dress and asexuals have the right to be confident, comfortable in their own bodies and wear whatever they like.

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

The most common misconception about asexuality that I’ve encountered is that asexuals simply haven’t met “the one” and that they’ll change their minds one day. There are a lot of people who think we need to be “fixed or cured” and that does get very tiresome in the long run. Also, some people think that we can’t be in a relationship if we’re asexual, which is not exactly true.

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

This is not really an advice, per say, but I think that those people need to hear that they are not broken, no matter what society tells them. Today’s world is so overly sexual, but we must not let that discourage us. Even if we’re a minority, we’re out there, we’re valid and we shouldn’t let other people tell us otherwise. If you think that you might be asexual, just follow your gut feeling and let that guide you. Set your own boundaries and limits and respect yourself; do what makes you happy.

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

I am on multiple social media under the name Silyah246.

For sewing and cosplay progress (and the occasional daily life post), find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/silyah246/
For more professional high quality photos, you can head over to my DeviantArt page: https://silyah246.deviantart.com/
For more fandom orientated things and the occasional makeup tests, my Tumblr is the place to go: http://www.silyah246.tumblr.com/

I am also on Twitter (https://twitter.com/silyah246) and YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/Silyah246), but I use those less frequently than the others.

Regina-V1
Regina-V1

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