Interview: Olivia

Today we’re joined by Olivia, who also writes as Staronet. Olivia is a wonderful fanartist who loves writing fanfiction. She loves writing stories about the anime she enjoys. Her current love is Yuri on Ice. Olivia has also written some poetry, but fanfiction is where her passion lies. She’s a dedicated writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a fan-fiction writer, for the anime that has taken my soul, ‘Yuri on Ice!!!” but I also write my own content as well. I guess I could count this by saying I am a published poet, and I hate writing poetry.

What inspires you?

I think it first started out as something just cause but now I am inspired to keep writing after getting comments asking for me. As well as aspiring to write like one of my favorite fan-fiction authors, Authormagrant.

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

I actually didn’t ever set out to write fan-fiction ever. I use to think it was weird, no offence but that was how younger me felt until my friend admitted she read it. Then my curiosity was peaked and I had to read some and whelp here I am now, I don’t regret it one bit as I have met so many people through 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?

Sadly I am not that cool to have anything special.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just go for it, don’t hesitate and stop yourself from doing something you want to. You want to write a novel, do it. Create art or join a dance group. Do it. I jumped in on mine and have not only had a wonderful time doing it, it’s also helped me with my writing because I can get feedback. Don’t see yourself short, you’ve got the talent to do it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am just ace straight.

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

I thankfully have not as I have not really come out to a lot of people but I have with one of my friends who accepts me for who I am. The only thing I think would count would be my friends making a couple jokes about it a few months back, I sat there in silence and basically prayed they’d stop.

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

I don’t understand or can’t make sexual jokes. I am the queen of sexual jokes here.

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

You don’t have to rush things, it’s okay to not be for sure right now. You have your whole life ahead of you to help you figure it out and if it never happens that is okay as well. Just know that you are loved and will supported in the LBTQA community. I love you all and my Tumblr is always open to anyone who needs to vent.

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

I am so bad at updating my Tumblr but at sassy-potato-of-wonder is where I tend to try and link my new chapters or fics. My AO3 account is ‘Staronet,’ as for the poem well sorry that poem will never see the light of day again.

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

Interview: Mady O.

Today we’re joined by Mady O. Mady is a wonderful aspiring author who specializes in writing short stories, short novels, and plays. Occasionally she dabbles in poetry, but narrative forms are where her heart lies. When she’s not writing, Mady enjoys doing a number of other creative activities. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist with a bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a currently unpublished writer. For the most part I like writing short novels / stories and sometimes fanfiction, but recently I’ve been writing plays (because my literature teacher really liked a play of mine and asked me to write more). Sometimes I write poetry, but I never put as much heart into my poems as I do my novels and plays.

I do dabble in other things like cosplay, doodling, and origami. Dancing is also fun, but I am in no way good at it.

What inspires you?

Oh man, a lot of different things, but usually songs and paintings. I love listening to music, and I think lyrics are an important part of the experience. At times I hear a line or two of a song and immediately start thinking of a scenario. The same goes for those beautiful painted fantasy posters. They’re always so intricate and busy, yet flowing and well balanced. It’s fun to think of what might of happened to create such a pretty scene. I also like to take my different scenarios and mix them together to make a story.

Most other things I get inspiration from are other arts like books, movies, shows, comics, podcasts, etc. But I also like to take a bit from real life. Like a couple of my characters are like a couple of my friends in some ways. Or, in one case, an event happened to a family member, which helped inspire me to write a story for them.

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

I don’t know what got me interested, but for as long as I can remember I loved to write.  I’ve been told (but I’m not sure how true it is) that I’ve been writing since I was two. Although those first stories were scribbles on a paper that I would show to my mom. I would then tell her the story by translating the scribbles. Since then I have been slowly improving, and I still have a lot to learn.

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?

Ha ha yes I do. To honor my literature teacher, who has helped me rapidly improve my writing more than any other teacher, I have been putting an Easter egg in all my more professional works. It’s also a little in-joke with my friends.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Read good books and write! Write anything! Anywhere! Grab a notebook and describe your lawn. Or maybe write a poem about the silence of your home. Or the craziness of your grocery store. That one idea that’s been floating around in your head? Go write it! Then go read a good book and write it again. If the book is written well, then you will be learning from the author without fully knowing it. Some of my best teachers have been authors that lived long before I was born.

And never EVER stop writing.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a heteromatic asexual (with some currant suspicions that I could be demiromatic as well).

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

Thankfully no (but I wouldn’t be surprised if I did in the future). That’s probably because I am still in the slow process of coming out to those I’m close to. Also because I am just beginning to be known more professionally in my field.

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

I haven’t personally encountered much misconception. But a couple times I get the “you may not like it at first, but you’ll get used to it” idea. Which is a pretty dumb idea. It’s like trying to force you to like a color that you don’t like. It’s unnecessary and rude.

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

If you’re unsure, then take the time to think about it. There’s no rush, my fellow human. We’re all learning new things about ourselves every day. If you think you’re broken or too weird, you’re not. As you might have seen from this blog alone you are not the only one who feels this way. And if you feel nervous about coming out to everyone, then you and I are on the same boat. You’re not alone either.

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

Sadly I don’t have any official blog or website for my writing as of yet. But I do have a AO3 account for fanfiction. I’m a new member to the site so there’s not much at the moment, and I am still in the process of moving my older fics from the Fanfiction net account to the AO3 account. https://archiveofourown.org/users/JekkieFan/pseuds/JekkieFan

I also have a personal blog here on Tumblr were I reblog mostly a bunch of fandom things. Feel free to look at it if you’d like:  https://jekkiefan.tumblr.com/.

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

Interview: Mirella

Today we’re joined by Mirella. Mirella is a phenomenal fanartist who started out writing fanfiction in the Doctor Who and Sherlock fandoms. She has recently gotten into drawing and draws a lot of art in the Celtic Thunder (a musical group) fandom. Her work is beautiful, brimming with vivid color and detail, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Lady Alaidhrm Gallaher and Rowan Caleraine in Forest of Fir Lí (1)
Lady Alaidhrm Gallaher and Rowan Caleraine in Forest of Fir Lí

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Historically I have always written fan fiction about Doctor Who/Sherlock, but recently I have taken to drawing on Adobe Sketch. I’m still very much in the process of developing my style and skill, but I’m working on making it much more realistic.

What inspires you?

My art is all fan art inspired by a show called Celtic Thunder: Storm. Celtic Thunder is an Irish singing group who normally perform just their songs in any random sequence with anecdotal bits every few songs – basically just a normal concert, but for this one show did a musical theatre style performance. Each member of the group played a character and each song – either a solo or group number – developed a story, but there was no dialogue. I’ve been working on a fan fiction based on Celtic Thunder: Storm so the fan art is also just productive procrastination for that. I develop potential story lines through the drawings, but the more I draw, the less I write.

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

I became interested in fanfic through Tumblr. I always wrote stories and poems for competitions, so writing stories about already established characters was a really easy step to take. I’ve always wanted to write, and am trying to write something good enough to be published professionally, or even just self-published on iBooks or something like that. I became interested in drawing through a friend of mine who was always drawing at school. I wanted to be able to draw like her so as soon as I got a decent iPad, I started experimenting. She’s been really helpful in giving me general tips and encouraging me even though she’s far beyond my level.

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?

Because I’m basing my drawing off Celtic Thunder: Storm, I try to stay as true as I can to the original characters I’m using (I add a lot of original characters due to expansion of my fanfic) while adding a lot of Irish and generally Celtic motifs. The colour green is a nice colour to draw with so I use a lot of that and add Celtic knots or symbols to my drawings.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just keep doing whatever you enjoy, even if you feel you’re terrible. Don’t feel like you need to master seriously advanced techniques that the professionals are using early on to try and improve the quality of what you’re producing. Even if you do the same thing the same way 1000 times, you will improve noticeably in your confidence and style.

Lady Alaidhrm Gallaher and Rowan Caleraine in Forest of Fir Lí (2)
Lady Alaidhrm Gallaher and Rowan Caleraine in Forest of Fir Lí

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as both asexual and aromantic.

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

I’ve encountered general ignorance about asexuality on Tumblr, but not in the circles where I draw art or write fan fiction. God, sometimes people really have no idea what asexuality is and when in that ignorance, they bash it within an inch of its life, I get quite upset. I’m thankful for all the brave people online who speak calmly and logically about it, so that the truth can be told, rather than spreading misinformation.

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

That we hate sex, and that by refusing sex to a potential partner, it’s a form of abuse. This one gets me really upset. I’m entirely sex-repulsed, so the thought of even holding someone’s hand is not a pleasant one, but I know that it’s entirely within the realms of asexuality to have sex and enjoy sex but still identify as asexual. So people who argue that asexuals are inherently abusive towards any partners because we refuse sex have not only mis-identified what asexuality is, but also seek to do us harm.

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

Find a group of people who can support you, even if they’re strangers online or some looney people on kik, and try and find a way to be confident in what you identify as. I thought for a while I was demisexual, and I might still be, but without ever having had a relationship it was too hard to tell at the age of 14 or whatever I was, so I went with asexual. It’s okay and perfectly normal to have a bit of fluidity in your sexuality. Even if in 20 years you go, “oh wait, I’m actually *insert different sexuality here*”, that is seriously and honestly okay. And if your support group doesn’t like that you’ve changed, screw them and get better friends. You need real people who will support you in all stages of life, not just when you match their narrow view of you.

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

You can read my *horrible, horrible attempts at* fan fiction on Archive of Our Own (AO3) under whovianlord and view my art on Tumblr under celticfangirl.

Princess Alaidhrm Ó_Braonáin and Rowan Caleraine Character Reference
Princess Alaidhrm Ó’Braonáin and Rowan Caleraine Character Reference

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

Interview: Rosa

Today we’re joined by Rosa. Rosa is a fantastic visual artist and fanartist. She mostly does digital art and enjoys drawing her interpretations of characters from fandoms she follows. When she’s not drawing, Rosa enjoys writing fanfiction and has recently gotten into costume making. She also dabbles in cosplay. It’s clear that Rosa is a talented and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Fallen
Fallen

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

The majority of my art is fanwork; I get great enjoyment out of creating content for my favourite series and getting to explore how I depict the characters and events in them! I do mostly digital art, though I also love writing fanfiction. I do cosplay on the side as well! I’m still learning with that, but costume-making is an absolute blast to me and I look forward to seeing how my skills with it will grow.

What inspires you?

This has always been a really hard question for me! My inspirations always seem to either be very nebulous or very, very obvious. “What inspires you?” This videogame/book/movie inspires me because I like it! Because I like it, I want to create things with it. The interest in a particular series creates the inspiration to work with it, for me.

I do have some specific inspirations, mostly from nature. Certain environments – huge mountainscapes, the open ocean – always light up my imagination.

The idea that I can create content that others will enjoy or relate to is always a good one. Whenever I make something, I’m often thinking “I wonder what everyone will make of this. I wonder what their favourite parts will be”.

2. Moonstruck Blossom
Moonstruck Blossom

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

I’ve been drawing since before I could remember! I still have sketchbooks from back when I was four. It’s always been a pursuit I’ve loved dearly, but I’d have to say that one of the very first things that got me into it was my active imagination. As a kid I was coming up with new creatures and mythologies almost on the daily, and drawing was the easiest way for me to manifest them. I’ve always wanted to be an artist, yes – but not necessarily a visual artist! My earliest passion was to be an author, and I still consider that my primary “thing”. (Even if I’m the world’s slowest writer…)

3. Nebula
Nebula

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 have a lot of creator’s thumbprints in my designs – I’m not necessarily aware of them all until someone comes up to me and says “as soon as I saw that, I could totally tell it was yours”! That said, I haven’t actually had a specific symbol or signature for a very long time. Back when I did, it was a stylised eye. I absolutely love the image of piercing, staring eyes still, so it’s definitely stuck with me!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I hate to give the cop-out answer, but listen: you gotta practice! Everyone knows that though, so I’ll tell you some things I wish I’d learnt earlier.

You really are your own worst critic. I’ll look at a feature on my art – a hand, a shading technique, whatever – and look at someone else’s art where it was drawn exactly the same, and I will still think that my version of it looks worse. Sometimes the best thing you can do is pass your work to someone else and say, “hey, this thing here, how does it look?” You’ll be surprised how often the problem is only in your head. Taking breaks from a piece is great for that; if you’re running up against a wall with something, I can guarantee you that trying to bruteforce it will just exhaust you and make you hate that piece. Step back, do something else, let yourself forget about it for a while.

References are your friend and they will help you mightily. Never be afraid to use them – that’s why they exist! And believe me, there’s a reference for everything. It’s wonderful. Go nuts with it.

4a. She Who Holds the Stars [resized]
She Who Holds the Stars

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aroace.

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

In my field specifically? Thankfully, no, not really. It has almost never come up regarding my art, but sadly, I’ve encountered all sorts of prejudice in other areas of my life. Admittedly, I haven’t really intertwined my orientation with my art until very recently, so I don’t have the most experience.

When it does come up, I tend to just block and move on, or if I feel that the person involved might be receptive to a discussion, I try to engage them. Thanks to my personal experiences and the recent environment around asexuality and aromanticism, I’ve become very scared and cautious about even getting into it. If I even suspect that someone might have something bad to say about us, I tend to shut off to them entirely.

5. Teeny Tiny Master
Teeny Tiny Master

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

Offline, people making the absolute conflation that sex = love/romance. Almost every single person I’ve ever tried to explain asexuality to immediately gets stuck on the snag of “but if you don’t have sex does that mean you don’t love anyone?” It’s baffling and incredibly frustrating. Sometimes it goes as far as the person assuming that a lack of sexual attraction makes me some kind of cold emotionless freak. Just because I don’t do the do doesn’t mean I lack the capacity for warmth, genius.

I encounter lots of misconceptions about asexuality in general. Visibility and resources about it are so low that people genuinely don’t know anything. Even my other LGBTQ+ friends sometimes struggle to come to grips with it. Oftentimes people default to thinking it’s a choice and equate it with abstinence or celibacy.

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

Don’t ever feel ashamed to question yourself and explore what everything means to you. Asexuality can be hard to recognise in yourself – especially if you’re surrounded by media and things telling you that sex is the bomb-diggety. Take your time with it.

Being asexual doesn’t mean you’re “frigid”, “evil”, or “just haven’t tried it”. Anyone who says so is ignorant at best and malicious at worst. Ignore them. You know yourself best.

Just as importantly: please don’t feel ashamed if you find out that you’re not asexual. Identity is a journey and making a few missteps on the way doesn’t render your or your current identity wrong!

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

I’m an awfully disorganised person, so my “portfolio” – as it were – is all over the web! One day I’ll collate it all in a single place, I promise.

The best place to start would be my deviantART, where I post the more finished pieces: https://electrosa.deviantart.com/

I also post on Tumblr! I have a few blogs where I post the rest of my art, which includes all the more “casual” and scribbly things that I don’t port over to my dA. Here they are: http://electrosa-rs.tumblr.com/tagged/my+art and http://queensectonia.tumblr.com/tagged/my+art.

6. Butterflies and Roses
Butterflies and Roses

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

Interview: Baku

Today we’re joined by Baku. Baku is a wonderful visual and fanartist. They mostly do fanart, but have done original work on occasion. They’re incredibly passionate about comics and plan to be a comic artist in the future. Baku is a very gifted artist and their work is brimming with color and life, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. de-er
De-er

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a fanartist for the most part with random original pieces thrown in here and there. I’d say my specialty is comic, but I don’t really think that’s true yet, haha … It is something I’m working towards though. Being a comic artist. Right now it’s just a lot of doodles, illustrations, short comics, sometimes fanfictions, sometimes even more out-of-the-blue fan contents, like song translation for example.

What inspires you?

Naming any specific category of thing wouldn’t seem right, because I kinda draw and write for the randomest thing … I’d say love. Or emotions, in general. My strong emotions for something make me pick up my pen. Drawing and writing has become one of my main ways to express emotions now, even more of use than just proclaiming it sometimes.

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

I’ve always been a fan of things, if my memory serves me well. The first time I tried writing was after I read Harry Potter and thought to myself that I wanted to write something like this. The first time I took drawing seriously was after reading a magical girl manga and being introduced to the “standard manga style” so to said by my cousin. I think I’ve always had that fascination with narratives and stories, and the desire to make them came the moment I was exposed to the possibility. These people who are still alive made these things, why don’t you try your hand too, etc., etc.

The fact that I’m very emotion-driven probably adds to my becoming a fanartist, in that I’m most productive when I feel strongly about something, and that’s one thing that being a fan delivers plentily.

2. street god
Street God

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?

Lampposts, bus stops, electric poles, and liminal spaces in general. I also draw/write about dreamscapes a lot. Dripping/splashing effects are my favourite too.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Everyone starts somewhere. Everyone goes somewhere. There’s this special brand of nihilism that I find serves an artist well: all our struggles are ultimately objectively meaningless, so what matters is our own perception. If art fits somewhere into your perception, keep it. Do it for yourself. Give it the meaning you want to. Have your fun.

3. frog2
Frog 2

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aro/ace.

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

I am lucky to have found a very accepting community in the Mob Psycho 100 fandom around the time I started realizing that I’m as aro/ace, but there are stories told, of course. I myself try to distance myself from that; luckily no problems have wandered to my part yet.

In my personal life I haven’t officially come out to my family yet, but I’ve made my decision to not find a life partner quite clear, and my parents have long accepted (or emotionally dealt with) that. My extended family is another story; some of them don’t believe I can make it out there as an artist either. My mom taught me to consider talking to them ‘diplomatic work’. I’ve never been good at that, but I manage. Most of the comments on my choices come hand-in-hand with those on my appearance (and how I don’t care about it as much as I’m supposed to), so it’s a bit easier to dismiss them altogether.

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

That there are no such thing, mainly. My mom denied the existence of asexuality and aromanticism when I brought it up to her. Most people I’ve met in real life say that one can’t live without love, and that everyone will find their chosen one someday.

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

You are who you are. As long as you hold that belief dear and clear in your heart, there will be ways to work around everything else.

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

My Tumblr is bakanohealthy: http://bakanohealthy.tumblr.com/

And I have an AO3 account for my fanfictions: http://archiveofourown.org/users/BakanoHealthy

Some of my works are up for purchase in my Redbubble: https://www.redbubble.com/people/bakanohealthy.

4. moped
Moped

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

Interview: Jordan

Today we’re joined by Jordan. Jordan is a fantastic author who currently has a short story out in the world, in the collection entitled Athena’s Daughters. When she’s not writing, Jordan does various crafts and even enjoys singing in a local LGBTQIA+ affirming chorus. Jordan is obviously an incredibly dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

athenasdaughters2cover

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer who dabbles in art and various and sundry forms of crafting. I mainly write curriculum material these days (I’m a high school English teacher), but I’m a Published Author (all-caps, so official, yes yes) with a short story out in the world. I enjoy making costumes, knitting, doing cross-stitch, writing fan-fiction, and baking. Oh! I sing, too. I’m a member of an LGBT-affirming chorus in my hometown.

What inspires you?

My family and friends, and often, my students. And books! Good lord, books. I read voraciously, and nothing is more inspiring than encountering a book that you can get yourself completely lost in for a few hours. I read a lot of historical fiction, and I’ve been diving into LGBT+ YA quite a bit since I started teaching. Glorious stuff, all.

cupcakespic

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

I’ve always been interested in the arts. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been writing stories. I remember a “series” I wrote when I was in first or second grade all about my favorite teddy bear. It was called “Cinnamon: Bear of the World,” and it chronicled the adventures of my teddy as he saved lives and spread love across the globe. I fell in love with anime in middle school and started drawing then — I’ve never stopped, really, although my anime obsession has fallen to the wayside (probably for the best). I was introduced to Broadway pretty early by my parents who recognized a drama student when they saw one, and after seeing “Beauty & the Beast” when I was 7, I’ve never looked back.

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 include them in my “official” work, but I like to sneak opossums in whenever I can. I always draw opossums when I sign yearbooks, and I’ve gotten very good at drawing one on the spot in less than 10 seconds.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do your craft. If you’re an aspiring writer, WRITE! Love art but not sure if you’re good enough to make it in the real world? Who cares! Draw! Paint! Sew! Bake! Even if you think your stuff is awful, you’ll never get better unless you keep getting your work out there and practicing like it’s your job (and maybe it will be). I look back at things I wrote even five years ago and I shudder. We’re always developing and growing, learning, as artists, and that’s OK!

IMG_0145

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aro-ace.

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

Not necessarily in my field (although there is plenty of ace-phobia out there on the Internet, and Tumblr is no exception), but in my personal life, I struggle to get myself recognized. I’m not “out” to most of my family, but when I express my desire to remain single and my apathy towards romance, the most common response is confusion or even exasperation. My parents are afraid that I’ll end up alone, and it’s difficult to convince them that having a partner and/or getting married are not the end-all-be-all. I try to explain asexuality, usually without using the actual word, as simple and logically as I can. It’s a work in progress.

IMG_0146

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

That you’ll “find the right person,” or that you should get into counseling. I take medicine for my OCD, and my parents have suggested that I talk to my doctor to get my prescription changed, as if that would alter my views on romance and sex.

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

You are valid, you are not a freak, you are are not unlovable or unloved. Just like gender is a spectrum, so too is sexuality. Some people like girls; some people like guys; some people like both; some people like everybody; and yes, some people don’t “like” anyone, and that doesn’t mean you’re broken. Your life can be as full and rewarding as you want it to be: your worth is NOT measured by your libido. Be strong, loves, and surround yourself with people who love and accept you for who you are.

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

My short story “As Far as Death This Way” is in the Athena’s Daughter’s 2 Anthology published by Silence in the Library and can be purchased in hard-copy or eBook form on Amazon at http://a.co/3fx7mPK

I’m on Tumblr at dozmuffinxc, Instagram at extermiteach, and I have a fledgling travel blog at http://www.anopossumabroad.wordpress.com.

IMG_0147

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

Interview: Pesky

Today we’re joined by Pesky. Pesky is a wonderful fanartist and crafter. They write a lot of fanfiction, specializing in queer relationships. When they’re not writing fanfiction, Pesky enjoys doing crafts and specializes in knitting and crochet. They sell their work on Etsy. It’s very clear that Pesky is a dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write fanfiction in whatever fandom I’m in at the moment, usually involving very little romance and when there is romance, it never involves straight characters. Even my m/f relationships tend to involve at least one non-straight or non-cis character.

I knit and crochet a lot, and I usually have at least five different projects at any given time. Since I don’t usually make things my friends and family would enjoy, I’ve recently opened an Etsy shop to give those projects I have no use for a home. The completed project I’m currently most proud of is a triangle shawl I made out of wool scraps from an old elementary school finger knitting project.

Sewing is a recent addiction to my repertoire, mainly for the purpose of practicality and cheap small useful things.

What inspires you?

In fandom, my friends and my conversations with them are often my inspiration for my writing. Besides that, I try to fill absences and correct flaws in the source material. (We exist, after all, and yet, very few of us ever make it into mainstream media.)

In my crafting efforts I’m much more focused on aesthetics. I make things that I enjoy looking at, that I enjoy touching and wearing. Also, novelty. I have a terrible attention span, so I’m always on the lookout for new patterns, new techniques, new interesting projects, new challenges. (This is also why I have so many projects going at once.)

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

Actually, it’s all my mother’s fault.

She’s the one who introduced me to fanfic, because she found Twilight fic on deviantArt and was like, hey, I think my kid would like this! Eventually I started writing my own fic and poetry, and besides extended writer’s blocks caused by depression and anxiety, I haven’t stopped since I was fourteen. Now I’m almost twenty-four.

Mom was also the one who taught me to knit. I used to go to her to get help with casting on because I couldn’t figure it out how to do it for the longest time. These days I have things to teach her.

Crocheting on the other hand, I taught myself via YouTube, because my sister’s been crocheting for years and I wanted to learn this skill too. The differences and similarities with knitting have made it a valuable learning experience and the fact that many crocheted projects can be completed very quickly makes it much easier for me when my attention span is especially short.

Sewing is pretty much the only lasting gift my grandmother gave me. Everything else I learned from her has turned out to be toxic, bigoted cow manure.

All of my creative work comes from skills I discovered as a teenager and adult. I don’t think I would’ve gotten here any other way. And I look forward to continuing to learn new things.

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 Etsy projects all get a tag sewed on with my shop name and username on it, but other than that, I don’t think I’ve got anything besides my Tumblr profile pic, which I drew myself.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times before but the best thing you can do is practice. Find exercises for practicing common techniques in your chosen medium and repeat them over and over again.

Write all the terrible awful things you can. Trust me, you’ll learn from your mistakes.

Knit a hundred ugly uneven scarves or hats or legwarmers or whatever. You’ll learn a lot.

Draw all the unrealistic little sketches, paint all the paintings in badly chosen colors, sew all the weird little unusable bags.

Do research and then try out all the things you learn. Keep doing it until it starts looking like something you’re happy with. And in the meantime, forgive yourself for making mistakes. You’ll never stop making mistakes, you’ll just learn to fix them or make them look like they’re deliberate.

And keep in mind that practice and hard work always wins out over talent. Talent is a head start, not the goal.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and aromantic.

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

I’m lucky to have never directly encountered ace prejudice beyond the general “aces are basically cishets and they’re stealing lgbt+ resources”. But I’ve never encountered that kind of thing directed at me so I’m honestly not sure what I’d do if I did.

In fact, almost all of the close friendships I’ve made in fandom are with other aces. A funny coincidence, since I searched out fellow fans, not fellow aces.

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

“It’s just celibacy.” I’ve actually been told that to my face at a pride parade when I explained to someone that the colors of my clothes are the same as on the ace flag. I was still pretty new to the whole ace thing and ended up totally speechless.

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

Kinda depends on what exactly they’re struggling with.

In general, I’d say, find people who are struggling with similar things or who have struggled with similar things. Talk to them, try following their advice and give yourself time. Stop talking to people who make you feel guilty, ashamed or insecure about your identity.

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

I’m on Tumblr, Archive of Our Own and on Etsy. My username is peskylilcritter on pretty much every platform. My Etsy shop is, creatively, peskylilshop and my Tumblr writing sideblog is peskywritesstuff.

On my main Tumblr, I usually tag my writing with #pesky writes stuff and every other creative endeavor with #pesky makes stuff.

Feel free to come visit! And if you’ve got any more questions, my ask box is always open 😉

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