Interview: Kathryn Henzler

Today we’re joined by Kathryn Henzler. Kathryn is a phenomenal musician who plays a number of instruments. Aside from playing music, Kathryn also sings and composes for visual media. When she’s not creating music, Kathryn also dabbles in other arts such as acting and fashion design. She’s clearly a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Music Headshot

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I dabble in a lot of artistic things, including acting and fashion design, but I’m mainly a musician (vocals, koto, viola, piano, taiko and other percussion, harp) and composer for visual media. I tend to write music that is full of feelings and may be a bit cheesy, but that’s the style that I like to reach people with.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by nature, emotions, other artists of all types, history, fashion, and intriguing stories.

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

I always knew I wanted to be involved in music somehow, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do specifically. Eventually when I was in high school I got really into anime, and some of those shows have absolutely beautiful scores. Around the same time I was heavily involved in orchestra and choir, and something just clicked when I was playing a piece with my orchestra from the score to Spiderman by Danny Elfman. At that point I realized I wanted to write music in addition to playing it. I think in particular I was captivated by the idea of music’s ability to completely influence what a person feels in a particular moment or scene.

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

I usually incorporate at least one of the instruments I play or my own vocals in each composition, because I like to be both the composer of the score and a performer in it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would say that you should go for what you want to do, even if lots of people tell you “no” or say you aren’t good enough. I know from experience that it’s hard to ignore them, but you just have to keep doing your best to prove them wrong.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a heteroromantic asexual.

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

I haven’t encountered ace prejudice per say, but the music and film industry is constantly churning out media that is obsessed with sex, and I’ve had multiple occasions where material that I am supposed to be working on has made me so uncomfortable that I can’t continue. Most people when they hear about that issue tell me I need to grow thicker skin, but I think we just need to make more ace-friendly art and media. It’s hard when there is literally no ace representation in the films and shows you are trying to write music for. I guess I don’t really “handle,” it, I just kind of try to avoid having to write for media which I can’t feel comfortable putting my musical stamp on. I’m hoping in the future I’ll be able to help produce films that I write music for so that I can bring an ace perspective to them.

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

A lot of people think that asexual people are “prudes,” or that they just “haven’t met the right person yet.” It’s not about that, and it’s hard to explain it in a way that they’ll understand. I’ve also had some ace friends deal with some nasty blowback at Pride Parades from people who say they have no right to be there because asexuality isn’t “a sexual minority,” which is of course absolutely not true.

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

It might be hard for me to give advice since it’s only been a year since I fully realized my own asexual identity, but I would say that the best thing you can do is to embrace who you are and try to find a support network of fellow aces. It is always super-helpful to have people who you can ask questions of.

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

You can check out my music for visual media and some of my performance information at https://kvhenzler.wixsite.com/music. I also have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KathrynHenzlerArtist/.

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

Interview: Emily

Today we’re joined by Emily. Emily is a phenomenal visual artist who does a lot of 2D art and fashion design. She’s a fashion designer and illustrator who is currently studying both, Aside from fashion design, Emily draws and paints. The gowns she designs are gorgeous (the green one is one of the prettiest dresses I’ve ever seen). She obviously has an incredibly bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Draping

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I enjoy making both 2D art- mainly drawing and painting- and fashion design. When I do a 2D piece, the subject matter can range anywhere from facial portraits to abstract works. I enjoy the challenge of attempting to render something as realistically as possible, as well as the expressiveness of working freely with color and shape to portray certain ideas or emotions without specific subject matter. As far as fashion design goes, my taste is quite out there and fun, I think. I like to design clothes for someone who wants to look unique, as well as feel confident and elegant. Gowns are my main base of inspiration.

What inspires you?

Anything really- it can be as typical as elements of nature, or as random as the shape of some books on a shelf. Often I find myself inspired by something I had overlooked in the past, but suddenly catches my eye in a different way. I also take a lot of inspiration from elements of fantasy story telling- dragons and other mythical creatures, battle armor, historical garments worn by past royalty.

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

I’m not entirely sure, really. I’ve been drawing since I could hold a crayon, and I remember drawing clothing based on my own ideas as early as five years old. I think I’ve always liked that you could take a blank page and put anything you want on it. I also really enjoyed looking at the different ways characters on TV and in movies were dressed- I liked that you could further emphasize who a character was through their clothing.

I do remember in fifth grade realizing that fashion design was a huge field that someone could go into as a career, and since then the idea has pretty much stuck.

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 – but I should, that sounds awesome!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I became more and more enthusiastic about making art when I could see improvements from my past work. Keep a sketchbook, even if it takes you two years to fill it, you can look back to the older stuff and see how you’ve grown. Try not to be ashamed to make mistakes- anyone who points them out with bad intentions is likely insecure about their work as well. Anything that gives you joy is worth doing- try not to let it be something that gives you stress. The more positive it is to hone your craft, the more you will want to practice, and the more rewarding it will be.

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Titania

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demisexual, possibly demiromantic.

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

In the particular fields of art and fashion design, no. But in life, sure. I try to remember that asexuality isn’t commonly heard of. Unfortunately, it’s often human nature to fear and reject things we don’t yet understand- often, others’ problems are not with me personally, and I try to bear in mind that my sexuality is just one part of me as a whole. Just because someone is unwilling to rearrange their understanding of something doesn’t mean that thing doesn’t exist.

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

That asexuals are just scared or repressed. Particularly for me, that demisexuals simply don’t want to have a physical relationship until they’re connected, rather than literally not feeling attracted until then. I’ve also been told, by a non-ace, that asexual representation doesn’t matter. I cannot communicate enough how much less stressful and anxious I would have felt about life and relationships in the future had I known early on, or even found out in Sex Education, that asexuality was a thing.

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

Honestly, I’m not sure- I felt relieved when I heard about asexuality. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to accept it about myself extremely quickly and easily. I was relieved to find out that I wasn’t an outlier. Maybe that’s some advice right there; you are part of a community that, though it seems small, is much larger than you know. You are not now, nor will you ever be alone in this. There’s no shame in taking time to learn about yourself. Research often helps me feel less anxious about something- stories from other aces, reading about common experiences. Making friends who are asexual online is very comforting to lots of people as well.

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

My Instagram is a good place to start: at Emvilyse. Soon, I’ll have a portfolio website, which I will link in the bio of that account when it’s ready.

Violin
Violin

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

Interview: Kaitlyn Shepley

Today we’re joined by Kaitlyn Shepley. Kaitlyn is a phenomenally talented animator and musician from Canada. They’re an incredibly versatile artist who has dabbled in quite a few mediums. Their work is unbelievably gorgeous and totally adorable, as you’ll soon see. I was totally in awe of the animations they sent along. Kaitlyn is just a delightful artist who has a lot of enthusiasm for their work, as you’ll soon see. 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 full time animator working in children’s television, mostly shows for Disney or Nickelodeon. I like doing personal stuff after work at home. My dream is to be able to get to a point where I can work on my own stuff full time. I do illustration, short films, gifs, comics, music composition, fashion design, cosplay and sewing! I think my friends would describe my style as either cute, funny or, when I’m being serious, whimsical.

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What inspires you?

My friends in animation are all very talented artists and I think we spur each other on. I also get really inspired by indie developers, musicians and animators. Seeing them taking on big projects by themselves and getting it done makes me want to get my own ideas out there.

AroAce Drip Tee
AroAce Drip Tee

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

I’ve been drawing and making comics for as long as I remember. I loved Sailor Moon and Cardcaptors when I was younger and my interest in animation just grew with me. Things like Akira, Mind Game and Perfect Blue make me excited about being an animator.

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Silent Moon

I wrote my first song when I was 14 and made albums for my friends to listen to. I had been puttering away on my piano since I was very young. I would watch my dad play and he’d tell me how great his dad was at playing by ear. I found it became the best emotional outlet for me in high school. Now that I’ve switched to electronic music it’s just a fun creative outlet.

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Stun Fisk

I didn’t get into fashion until I was 17. There was a fashion show every year at my school and I’d been watching other people do it for 3 years until I told myself: I’m going to go for it. I made 3 designs from scratch that year and have continued to sew to this day. My biggest reason for sewing is to have more control over my fashion. Stores don’t usually sell what I want, so I make it myself!

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Bats Leggings

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 think my friends would say that my unique signature is the noodle people I do for my comics as well as my silly sharks. I really like drawing things that make people laugh.

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Devil Jho

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If there’s something you want to do, just do it. Don’t wait until you’re good enough. Don’t wait until you go to school for it. Start now. The sooner you start, the better you will get. Webcomics, as an example, are a great way to up your art skill. It demands you to approach lots of different angles and expressions and challenges you to make sure your characters stay on model. It’ll keep you drawing on a schedule and challenge you to work through artist’s block. It’ll also let you physically see your improvement over time. Don’t redraw old chapters. Just keep going!

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Big Boss Di

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m panromantic asexual! I also identify as agender.

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Earthbound

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

I’m largely invisible in my field. To others I appear heterosexual, especially because I work with my cishet partner. Co-workers have made a lot of uncomfortable assumptions about me. I try to come out and break the assumptions whenever I feel like the situation is appropriate. Co-workers so far seem curious and open minded. They might say offensive things, but not intentionally. Once I talk them through it, they seem to be still perplexed but understanding.

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Darth Kaethe

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

I think due to low visibility it’s really common for people to think that you just haven’t had good sex yet. They might think you were abused, or that you’re a late bloomer. Once people understand that it’s a thing, it’s common for people to ask me personal questions to learn more about asexuals. Aside from being invasive, these questions don’t help them to learn about how versatile asexuality is. By bringing the conversation away from me and telling them all of the different ways an asexual could feel about something, I think they end up learning more while I get to keep my privacy.

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Pastel Goth 1

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

It’s so easy to second guess your orientation. People will give you a million reasons why you can’t know for sure yet. Especially if someone’s pressuring you to have sex, nobody tells heterosexuals that they have to have sex with someone of the same sex before they can know for sure that they don’t want it. Don’t make yourself do anything you don’t want to do. Don’t be afraid of your label changing too. All you know is what you know now. You don’t have to know everything that will change in the future.

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Pastel Goth 2

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

My favourite spot is Tumblr: http://www.kaitlyn-shepley.tumblr.com, where I post art, animation and comics.

I’ve got a Storenvy: http://www.kitkatkatu.storenvy.com/, where I sell clothes and my electronic music is on Soundcloud: http://www.soundcloud.com/kitkatkatu.

I also put art and art updates on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kitkatkatu/, Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/kitkatkatu, DeviantArt: http://www.kit-kat-katu.deviantart.com/, and Blogspot: http://kaitlyn-shepley.blogspot.ca/.

I’ve got my cats and outfits on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/kitkatkatu/.

Don’t be shy about messaging me about commissions or to talk!

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Dark Souls

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

Interview: Denois

Today we’re joined by Denois. Denois is an amazing craft artist who mostly crochets. Aside from crocheting, she also sews, knits, and dabbles in jewelry making. She is also a writer who specializes in flash fiction and other short forms. The images she sent to go along with the interview demonstrate an extraordinarily creative mind. And the cats are too freaking adorable 🙂 My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Bear Hat (Front)

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Mostly I crochet. Occasionally I will knit, sew, make jewelry and I dabble in fashion design. I have a degree in floral design, but I haven’t done much of that lately because the materials are expensive and the result doesn’t last as long as the others. I also write fiction. I’m currently in the middle of three novels and I’ll write drabbles and flash fics and other short fiction pieces to help build my characters or my universes.

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Cat Hat (Front)

What inspires you?

Making people happy. I like to design clothes for people I know to try to fit their style and needs in a way that would make them look their best. I crochet things for family and friends based on their interests.

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Cats

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

When I was in pre-K I wanted to be a professional basketball player. But by the time I was in first grade I wanted to be an artist. From about age 10-18 I thought that because I don’t have a lot of skill at drawing that being an artist would never work out for me, but I’d still do some art as a hobby. When I was in my early teens my mother taught me to knit and crochet, but I didn’t do it for very long. Then when I was in college a couple of things changed for me. I did horribly in Molecular Cell Biology (I don’t recommend taking that as a Freshman) so I changed my major to floral design and my sister got pregnant and I decided I’d crochet her a baby afghan. From there I expanded to all of the other things that I do. College is also where the first characters for my first novel showed up in my imagination and wouldn’t leave me alone until I started working on writing stuff down. Sometimes I hope that these things will one day pay the bills, but I haven’t had much luck with that so far.

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Gift Set 1

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 really include anything specific intentionally in my work. Maybe because I do so many different things.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep trying. Try different media. You might find you are better with one medium than with another and it will let you express yourself. But also, don’t be afraid to keep trying with one you enjoy even if you think that you aren’t “good enough” because practice definitely improves your work. I never practiced drawing enough, but I’ve seen a lot of improvement in my crochet and my ability to make patterns for sewing and crochet.

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Gift Set 2

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual. I haven’t always, it took me about 30 years to realize that what I thought was sexual attraction is actually sensual attraction. (That is, I have attraction where I want to cuddle and have non-sexual touching).

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Gift Set 3

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

I don’t really interact with others in my field other than some groups for sharing patterns and ideas for crochet. However, almost everyone I have ever mentioned asexuality to in person has responded with blank stares or incredulity because they think it doesn’t exist or couldn’t exist because how they feel their sexuality. I would say that out of the fields that I hang around the edges of that fashion design would probably be the most prejudiced or ignorant of asexuality because it has a big push for “make it sexy” and how clients want to feel sexy. I ignore it because, yes some people do, but most people really want to feel comfortable and good first. For some people, feeling sexy makes them feel good. For others feeling good makes them feel sexy. And for yet others, sexy never enters the equation. I tell people that ask that I design to work with people’s favorite features and make them feel confident for the situation the item is for.

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Strap

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

That we don’t exist. That everyone knows from a young age who they are attracted to and it’s never a null set. In conjunction with that, that people’s romantic and sensual attractions match their sexual attractions. (I guess that’s not specific to asexuality).

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Thor

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

Remember you are valid. You are loved (platonically). Platonic affection is as important as romantic or sexual affection. It is okay to identify under the asexual umbrella while you figure out exactly where you belong, or even if you never figure out exactly where you belong. The A is not for Ally.

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

I post some writing on my writing blog, writer-denois and I might post pictures of some of my other work there too.

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Squirrel

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

Interview: Michelle

Today we’re joined by Michelle. Michelle is an amazing artist who specializes in character and fashion design. She’s also a dedicated fanartist and she writes as well. Michelle has just started to study video game design, so she’s quite a versatile artist with a variety of interests. If her work is anything to go by, she has an incredibly bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Ace Collection

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

It’s kind of a mess. My earliest passion was Fashion Design, I try to think up a new mini collection for each Season (I will confess I often let Resort fall by the wayside). I also really enjoy designing characters, since I feel like you can really tell an interesting story through clothes. Pokemon is my one true love (besides Persona of course) so I do a lot of fanart in the form of Gijinkas (really it’s another excuse to make more cool designs). I changed my major from Fashion Design to Video Game Design, right before I started college so I’m starting to learn more about all of the art forms that contribute to making a game.

Outside of visual art, I also do a lot of writing (it’s my job actually), however it’s been a long time since I posted anything. I used to have novels and fanfictions out the wazoo, but most of my projects just end up getting absorbed. I started writing a novel about 7 years ago. It started as a hobby, but ended up being a sort of coping strategy. The past 7 years have been some of the toughest in my life (go figure since I’m 18 now), and throughout all the changes that story and those characters have remained a constant. It’s grown as I have, a lot of my experiences end up influencing the world and stories. It started as the cliché “we’re all high schoolers with super powers and some of us have amnesia” and now it’s “we’re all 6-48 year olds who are in organized crime secretly fighting an extremist groups out to eradicate people with super powers on the side”. I’m actually really proud of the current plot and hope that I can release it someday.

What inspires you?

Lots of things. I tend to have a few ‘muses’ at a time. People (real or fictional) I can just look at or listen to, and suddenly I’ve got an idea. Right now my main muse is Myoui Mina (from the girl group Twice). Other than people, inspiration often comes in random objects (I once was inspired to make a 15 piece collection based off of a cool lightbulb). Most prominently though, is atmosphere. I’ve found that in different periods of your life or experiences/occasions the atmosphere is most memorable. How the air felt, what I smelled, the color of the sky. Remembering how a time in my life felt is often the best way for me to get those creative juices flowing.

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Cirra

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

I’m not really sure what made me take the leap, but I didn’t always want to be an artist. I was ready to be a Doctor until I found out that I have horrible Hemophobia (just the mention of it used to make be dizzy). I doodled absentmindedly a lot, and it wasn’t until someone asked me if I wanted to be an artist that I realized you could be one. Overtime, art just became something I couldn’t live without. The only issue I had, was that I couldn’t fully dedicate myself to one discipline, as a result I’m, a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none. But that’s alright, because the other thing I love about art, is that you never stop improving. Even though I’m not terribly good, I know that I will be eventually.

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, not really I’m afraid. I know that I have a penchant for high collars, but outside of that nothing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep going. Your art will grow with you, even if it doesn’t look how you want it to now, it will someday if you keep trying.

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Perry

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

It’s a bit convoluted I must admit. The short answer I use in most conversations is Bi-romantic asexual. The long answer is Demi(questioning)-Multi-Romantic Autochoriflux-Asexual.

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

YES. Absolutely. Honestly, I just kind of let it happen nowadays. If you’re ignorant enough to tell me that I don’t exist/don’t have a place in a specific community to my face then you’re probably not going to take anything I have to say to heart. I have a bad habit of letting people rile me up when I get into arguments, so I just let them think what they’re going to think and continue my business. This is not the case however if I see someone picking on another Ace Spectrum person. Hell hath no fury such as a pissed off Ace, I swear.

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

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been working on something when someone looks over my shoulder and says something to the effect of “Oh! It’s so risqué/mature. But I thought you were Asexual?” or “You said that you were Asexual right? Then why are you making outfits like this? What a fake.” A lot of people are thrown off by that fact that the clothes I wear/design aren’t just a bunch of glorified potato sacks.  Like why show my thighs or wear a low cut shirt if I’m not trying to get some. A lot of people don’t seem to get that I dress for myself. That if I’m showing a lot of skin it’s probably because I’m trying to be more confident about it (or it’s like 110 degrees outside). I’m not here to have sex, I’m just here to design some cool clothes and look good doing it. I’ll admit that my personal style has often been described as “chapstick-grandma” (I’m not super thrilled with that particular name), and that I hate it when people are pressured into dressing sexy, but being asexual doesn’t necessarily mean you have the fashion sense of someone from the 1700’s.

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

Don’t worry about the haters. You are exactly who you’re meant to be, even if that’s a work in progress. Our world isn’t always the most ace-friendly place, but you aren’t alone in it. You’re just as valid as any other orientation, so don’t let people make you feel that you’re not. And remember, you decide how you live your life.

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

My Deviantart is Childofaeolus3.

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Winter 2016

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

Interview: Kathryne Taylor

Today we’re joined by Kathryne Taylor.  Miss Taylor is an incredibly talented visual artist who works in a number of mediums.  She’s a fashion designer who makes a variety of costumes.  She’s also an illustrator.  When she’s not illustrating fandom jokes, she enjoys working on eerie pen and ink illustrations.  Those are particularly interesting, as you’ll soon see.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

It’s difficult to say at any given point what I primarily do. One week I’ll spend hours a day on a dress. the next week I’ll split my time between writing and drawing. I can safely say that what income I get from my art primarily comes from sewing, but the drawing gets the most attention. Especially fanart. I’m also working on a novel, but these days, who isn’t?

What inspires you?

History, especially for my work in fashion, Music. Whenever I listen to music I imagine a music video in my head, sometimes it’s just images and sometimes it has coherent story I want to write down. A lot of my fashion design is inspired by my friends saying they don’t feel pretty, and I just want to draw something that’s based off of styles they like adjusted slightly to flatter their bodies. Take lolita fashion for example. Not many lolita brands go into plus sizes, but a chubby girl in a well-fitted dress and a full petticoat just looks like a perfect angel. I want to help people realise that. Anyone can look beautiful, but the problem is that not everyone can be quite the kind of beautiful they were aiming at, which makes them think they’re ugly.

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

My mother is a portrait artist, she did several naïf-style portraits while I was growing up. I was sewing simple dresses and starting embroidery in first or second grade, but to be honest I didn’t really get the patience for it until I left high school. Once, someone who didn’t know that we even knew each other noticed the similarity in my art style and my sister’s. Of course, there are clear differences and you can tell them apart, but I think that my mother’s, my sister’s, and my styles look related, even today. Rather like ourselves.

Art has always been a big part of my life, but I didn’t decide I wanted to do it professionally until I was almost out of high school. That was because of my mental health, my anxiety had gotten so bad it was clear that if I ever were to be employed out of the house, it would be after a significant amount of therapy.

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 always try and put in a lot of detail, regardless of the medium. Sometimes I’ll go simpler with a dress design; but much of the time my designs aim for over-the-top. In my stories and illustrations, I put as

I draw a lot of comics, most of which take place in the same town, so when I draw one comic, I’ll put characters and locations from other comics in the background.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just about everyone you meet will have some sort of advice to give you on any given subject. Listen to it, and decide whether or not you can use it, and if you can’t, then you can ignore it. Everyone warns you against the mistakes they made, but you’re going to make different ones. You’re a different person.

You don’t have to go along with anything you think is a bad idea, or even just not a good idea to humour someone.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a sex-repulsed panromantic asexual. Or, as I prefer to explain it, I don’t care what’s in your pants because I’m never going to see it.

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

Nothing big, I mean, my godmother, a bisexual woman once tried training me to “live as an artist”, and part of that included telling me how wonderful lesbian sex was in more detail than I wanted. After I asked her to stop, she contacted my mother and tried to convince her to send me to therapy to cure my sex aversion, apparently very concerned that one day I’d wake up “normal” and regret… I’m not sure what she thought I’d regret. Wasting my youth not sleeping with anyone? Not having children? I like children, and when I feel safe being around them I might adopt or be inseminated, but I have no interest actually conceiving a child in the foreseeable future. Every time I mention that I might have children one day, everyone assumes that I mean I might have an actively sexual heterosexual relationship one day.

I’ve also been told that I’m too pretty to be asexual, and it sounded like they meant that as a compliment, which is a weird thought. And of course the “you’re asexual? I can fix that” coming from both males and females.

Some people get a lot of joy out of my sex aversion, claiming it’s funny to watch me get increasingly distressed right up until the point I have a panic attack. A noticeable one, with screaming and crying, not just hyperventilating and feeling terror. Someone even said that the look on my face made ordering an explicitly sexual commission even more fun. I say, you don’t have to be a sex repulsed asexual to have your jaw drop as someone spends ten minutes describing an anthropomorphic penis.

But really, nothing serious. Handling it usually consists of “I’m asexual. I don’t experience sexual attraction. Yes it’s a thing. No, I didn’t make it up. No, I don’t bud. No, you aren’t the first person to make that joke. It’s a homonym, and I didn’t choose the name.”

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

To be honest, I don’t like the flag. Don’t get me wrong, those are actually my favourite colours and they look beautiful together, but the message that a flag with black, white, two shades of grey and a desaturated purple is that we’re boring or washed out. I’ve never met a boring asexual, our lives are as rich an interesting as anyone else’s, we just don’t waste time pretending that we really are interested in sex if we’re not. Or at least, we shouldn’t have to. Honestly, which sounds more boring to you, a conversation about multiple subjects that the speakers are passionate about, or always going back to that one subject you don’t care about? And I think that the flag really reflects this view on asexuality. That we are somehow boring.

That and I’m almost thirty and I’m still hearing “you’ll change your mind when you’re older”. So what, even if I did that doesn’t mean I should make it part of my life now. In fact, when an allosexual says they don’t want sex yet, they get praised for understanding that they need to be in the appropriate mental and emotional state before they start that kind of relationship.

Other than that, mostly I just hear that it’s not real, or that it’s the result of a mental illness. I know that there are a lot of asexuals with depression and anxiety, but there’s also a lot of homosexuals with depression and anxiety, and those numbers are even worse in time periods or environments that are openly hostile towards homosexuality.

Depression doesn’t cause asexuality, but being told that something you can feel about yourself, something you know for a fact, isn’t real and really screw with your perception of reality and hurt you mentally. I don’t know if there’s been any studies on the link between depression and asexuality.

But I do know that almost all of the asexuals I know are depressed, and I think that growing up in a world that puts so much importance on making one aspect of life the focus of all lives is hurting the people who don’t want that one, ultimately unimportant aspect of life.

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

A lot of people will probably want to weigh and give you’re their opinion on whatever you’re doing, or not doing. Sometimes, you just have to learn to tell someone that you don’t care. Being polite and nice is good and I highly encourage making a habit out of it, but being nice doesn’t mean you can’t tell people what you’re thinking. Never kiss or hug someone or let them kiss or hug you just because you pity them. Neither of you will be happy about it.

One doesn’t prevent you from doing the other. It will only get easier the more you try it.

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

I have a deviantArt, but that isn’t updated as often as my tumblr. And of course, you can order a dress of your own from my Esty store.
http://kittywitchthesecond.deviantart.com/
http://eatingwordswithkittywitch.tumblr.com/tagged/stuff-kittywitch-drew
https://www.etsy.com/shop/Lolikats

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Thank you so much, Miss Taylor, for taking part in this interview and this project.  It’s very much appreciated.