Interview: Leah

Today we’re joined by Leah. Leah is a wonderful and talented artist who does a bit of everything. She does visual art and works with a variety of mediums. When she’s not doing visual art, she also plays a number of musical instruments. The main instrument she plays is the clarinet and she’s started learning the mandolin. As if that weren’t impressive enough, she also writes poetry. It’s clear Leah is a dedicated and enthusiastic 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 a visual artist, as well as a musician and a poet. For my visual art I tend to work with whatever medium seems to fit my topic the best, and I enjoy creating things intuitively. Music wise, my main instrument is the clarinet, but I also know how to play the piano, flute, tenor saxophone, and ukulele, and I am learning the mandolin. My poetry is more random and for myself. I like writing whatever comes to mind and using poetry as a way to funnel my emotions.

What inspires you?

What inspires me is nature and other works of art. A lot of times I’ll see something in nature and my first thought is “I’d love to paint that” so I like doing a lot of nature based pieces. The work of other artists is also inspiring to me because it gives me the inspiration to work more on honing my own craft so I can someday reach the level of skill and expertise I see in the works of others. Musically I am inspired by my friends who are also musicians. Watching them and their love of music, and passion for their instruments inspires me to spend more time with my own instrument.

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

What got me interested in my field was probably my grandmother. She was an elementary school art teacher, so when I was little she always did lots of crafts and art projects with me. She would also take me to art museums and show me famous works of art which really helped me fall in love with art. When I was little I really wanted to be an artist, but then I got older and realized I was not good enough to be able to make a living off of my artwork, and I’m always too attached to my pieces to give them away to someone else. Now I want to be an art teacher, so hopefully that’s where my life will take me. My mom was the one who helped encourage my interest in music. She played the clarinet in middle school and high school, which is what inspired me to play the clarinet. And she has always supported me and my musical talents.

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 really have a specific thing included in all my works. Because I love exploring different mediums, I don’t really have something specific that’s included in all my works.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep practicing your art. The more you do it, the better at it you’ll become. It’s okay if art is just something you do for fun, you need things to enjoy in life so don’t worry about trying to make a career out of your art if you don’t want to. If you do want to make a career out of your art, I know you might hit some low points, but don’t give up and keep creating things, inspiration will come and you will be successful.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a panromantic asexual.

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

I haven’t really encountered much prejudice or ignorance in my field just because that’s not really anything that’s come up yet, but I’ve experienced plenty of it in general everyday life. Mostly I handle it by either ignoring it, or trying to explain my sexuality, it depends on the situation.

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

The most common misconception I’ve heard is that we’re emotionless, or that we just don’t feel anything.

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

Don’t worry about feeling out of place or broken. I thought for the longest time that I was perfectly normal and that there was no way the rest of the world just thought about sex all the time, and that’s still a really strange concept to me. If you’re struggling to figure out your sexuality, don’t discredit that you might be ace, because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being ace and there are people who will have no problem accepting you for who you are.

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

I don’t really have a specific place where I post all my work, but I will sometimes sporadically post on my Instagram at hpandthegobletofsass or on my Tumblr at wxtchmxbxrn.tumblr.com or if you want to find any of my Harry Potter fanart whenever I feel like getting around to it you can find it at hpandthegobletofsass.tumblr.com.

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Thank you, Leah, 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: Mady

Today we’re joined by Mady. Mady is a phenomenally versatile young artist who hasn’t yet met a medium she didn’t like. She specializes in music, playing both the flute and the piccolo, though she does play other instruments as well. When she’s not making music, Mady enjoys drawing, photography, and baking. She clearly has an enormous amount of passion and enthusiasm, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

So I do participate in a few different artist outlets. Music is what I am most skilled in as I’ve been practicing and performing for about 10 years now. Flute and Piccolo are my main instruments, though I do occasionally mess around with others! My favorite pieces to perform are usually from a movie score or a stage musical. I love how easily the emotional flows from them since they are designed to illicit a specific emotional response from an audience while a composed piece on its own is more open to interpretation.

As for other things I do a lot whenever I have free time! I like to write, cosplay, bake, take photos, doodle, etc. Honestly most artistic outlets have become a hobby of mine even if I’m not that good at it!

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What inspires you?

Gosh I feel like there are so many things. Honestly, I tend to find most inspiration in the people around me. I’ve met so many people over the years that are so dedicated and passionate about their craft that I can’t help but also want to be the best I can. That sounds so cheesy to say, but it is how I feel!

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

Well for music I would almost be tempted to say it was in my blood. Kind of like a destiny thing! Everyone in my family is musically inclined. I mean literally everyone. To be honest at first I very strongly strayed away from anything musical. My dad is musician and plays in a band on his off days from work so for some reason when I was a younger that caused me to shy from it.

In fifth grade I joined Orff Orchestra to get out of sitting in the gym in the morning and that was kind of the end of that line of thinking. The middle school band teachers came and did a presentation on beginning band and the rest if kind of history!

Everything else was something I picked up along the way. There was no specific moment like with music. They were hobbies that I just came to enjoy.

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

I can’t think of anything that really that stands out to me. I think everything I do just kind of has a look or sound to it that relates back to me in a way? Which I do think is true of most artists. There isn’t something tangible for my art; it’s more of a feeling if that makes sense?

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Try not to compare yourself to those around you and never give up! This is something I personally have a problem with and always need to remind myself. It’s okay not to be at the same level as someone else, no matter where they are in life. You’re allowed to go at your own pace and that isn’t a bad thing!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Panromantic Asexual! (Though I’ve found I tend to lean more towards ladies than fellas)

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

Mhm personally I haven’t dealt with too much as I’m not very vocal about my sexuality. It’s kind of on a need to know basis so I’d be willing to bet most people I know, excluding my friends, have no idea I’m ace. I did have a friend once brush me off and patronize me, but after talking with them they came to understand a bit better. I, of course, have also had the general stupid comments about being a plant or partaking in mitosis.

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

Probably that it doesn’t exist in the real world and that it’s only a “Tumblr Thing” It’s frustrating to hear because for me personally without Tumblr and the internet as a whole making information about sexuality so accessible, I wouldn’t have realized I was ace. I spent a long time confused and unsure of what was wrong with me. I never really had physical crushes and was never able to relate when my friends would point out someone and gush about how ‘hot’ they were. Tumblr helped me start looking further into terms and information and has led me to where I am today. It’s not a perfect site and definitely has its faults, but I really do think it has the potential to be a wonderful place for spreading information.

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

It’s okay to be unsure and afraid. You don’t have to have all the answers. Even just recently I had to make some adjustments to how I see and refer to myself. Life is constantly a learning experience and that’s okay! Have fun being yourself!! No one else can do it better!

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

I post anything I create that I’m proud of on Tumblr at venasven. Any and all of my cosplays and photography can be found on Instagram at the same name! Venasven!

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

Interview: Fran

Today we’re joined by Fran. Fran is a phenomenal musician who plays a variety of instruments and also participates in her school’s marching band. When she’s not playing music, Fran enjoys doodling and is currently writing a novel, which sounds like a fun adventure (a superhero rom-com, how can you not love that). She has also written some poetry and short stories. It’s very clear that Fran is a dedicated and versatile 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 just graduated high school and plan to attend university as a double major in music education and music performance. My primary instrument is flute, but I also play saxophone and a little bit of piano, ukulele, and clarinet. I really enjoy playing classical music, but a lot of my passion lies in jazz, and I am a member of my high school marching band and a future member of my college marching band. I also doodle a little bit, and I am writing a rom com superhero novel about a meteorite that wishes that she can become human and the stars grant her wish. It is a wlw romance, but mostly it consists of humor and superhero action. I also write poetry and short stories.

What inspires you?

My hero is Michael Giacchino and other movie soundtrack writers like him. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved getting inspiration for my music from soundtracks. Because of this wonderful music guiding my life, I plan on inspiring others to pursue music by teaching, and maybe even continue my talents into the professional field. For my visual art, I mostly get inspiration from my friends. We all draw together as a hobby so we get inspired by each other often. For my writing I am inspired by my favorite authors, J.K. Rowling, Brandon Sanderson, David Leviathan, and Rick Riordan. I love writing books with positive outlooks and messages about love and peace.

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

I have loved music and art ever since I was a child. I started playing flute in 4th grade and I have been obsessed with band ever since. I loved watching movies and playing games almost solely for the excellent musical track. It was only a matter of time until I decided it would be my career. I’ve drawn and written for just as long. I wrote many short stories when I was young, and drew in that stereotypical 6th grade anime style that all artists cringe at later in life. My writing and drawing styles are a little bit better now, though I look back at my childhood doodles and stories with fondness.

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

Not really. My signature is just my name in cursive.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you want to be a musician, do it! Don’t let anyone tell you it’s a “phony career” and that you won’t be able to make a living with it. With hard work and a little thinking outside of the box, you can make a good career out of any art form. Follow your dream and don’t let the downers destroy your passion!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as an Asexual Lesbian. I experience no sexual attraction, but I am romantically attracted to girls exclusively.

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

I’ve had people tell me that you can’t have a romantic relationship without sex and that I’ll “change my mind”. It used to bother me, but now I just let the words wash over me. I know that I’ll find someone who will understand and love that part about me. I can’t help it that their concept of relationships is so small-minded. I don’t experience that often, though. Most people in my field are very accepting.

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

That I can’t experience a romantic relationship. Many people lump asexual and aromantic together without realizing that they are both different. You can be both, or just one or the other. There are also people who think I’m just innocent. It’s true that I’m a bit innocent in some areas, I don’t like to cuss, I don’t have a dirty mind, I would rather watch Disney movies than anything with too much sex or violence, but that has nothing to do with my orientation. I know how sex works. I just don’t want to have it.

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

Don’t feel like you have to rush into a label. And your label can be fluid and change over time. I know that I may change my label in the future. Just like your favorite color changes over time, so can your label. Also, I know it’s hard living in a world where sex can be prioritized over a healthy and understanding relationship. Be who you are. Because “those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter won’t mind”. Your identity is a beautiful thing!

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

I don’t really have a website or anything. Most of my work is just in my ensembles or in my community.

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

Interview: Earl

Today we’re joined by Earl. Earl is an incredibly versatile artist who does a little bit of everything. He does a lot of visual art, pencil drawings and photography in particular. They also dabble in writing, both poems and songs, and they play the flute. It’s very apparent that he’s got a very creative spirit and a truly wonderful eyes, 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 like to do a number of things in the arts like drawing (mostly pencil drawings, sometimes I color with mixed media or draw with a pen), amateur photography, playing flute, poetry, and singing. My art isn’t the main focus of my life right now but I really love the creativity I get from it. I’m kind of sporadic with how often I do any of them but I try to have fun when I do!

What inspires you?

When I was very young inspiration for visual art was almost anything from TV shows to my stuffed animals, now it’s very much fandom-oriented (Steven Universe, Harry Potter, etc.) when I draw. I love to take photos of nature (mostly trees and flowers) and edit pictures with filters and such. Creating music just really relaxes me (I am always constantly inspired by other musical artists) and my poetry has been mostly inspired by my feelings/emotions.

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

I never really stopped drawing as I got older, I have always loved to memorize my favorite songs, the crappy editing options on my iPhone got me into photography, flute is my escape from reality, and poetry helps me vent (I’m also a romantic sap when it comes to poetry on the rare occasion I have a crush).

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?

On the majority of my drawings I try to put a little fancy G that with little carrot markings around it that kind of looks like a star.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Try to always practice your art form — if it’s visual art, doodle or something similar, hum under your breath or sing really cheesy songs that you know by heart if you sing — all the little things in your everyday life not only help you improve your art, it’s also a great way to relieve stress.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demi/panromantic and demisexual (maybe gray-asexual?) and I’m sex-indifferent

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

Nothing has affected me personally concerning the arts, although the fact that so many romantic songs are inherently sexual sometimes makes it hard for me to relate to a song (I guess that’s ignorance/lack of representation?)

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

I’ve heard people ask if asexuality pertains to plants (in fairness, I don’t think those people were aware of asexuality in a attraction sense) and one person tried to say demisexuality is what “most people experience”

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

It is always okay to question and explore your (a)sexuality. Even if it seems like no one else close to you knows how you feel, there will be fantastic people that you will meet (whether online or in person) who know. Never think for one second that it’s wrong to not feel sexual attraction — you are all amazing people and I believe in you all!

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

I have a drawing sideblog on Tumblr at gsdoodlesanddrawingd and a photography sideblog (also Tumblr) at earlgayteaphotography; my main blog is at pandemic-porl12 — feel free to message me anytime!

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

Interview: Philomena

Today we’re joined by Philomena. Philomena is a wonderfully talented and versatile artist, who does both music and writing. For music, she performs solo on piano, flute, and vocal. She’s currently studying at the Royal Conservatory of Music. For writing, she is working on a queer-centric romance involving mer-people, which sounds fascinating. Philomena is definitely an enthusiastic and dedicated artist. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do quite a bit artistically, but I generally fluctuate between music and writing. I’ve even bound my own books before, actually! What I currently do can be sort of condensed into those two main things, though. The big thing that I’m currently working on with my music is getting all of my Royal Conservatory of Music certificates for Grade 8 Piano and Voice, Grade 5 Flute, and my Advanced Theory. I’m doing my exams for everything except Piano in June. Instruments that I just play for fun are sort of just variations on the theme. Other strings I play include pixie harp and ukulele, and I also play piccolo and alto saxophone in woodwinds. I’ve got my sights set on learning violin and guitar in the future.

With regards to my writing, I’m working on a novel called A Tale of Tails, that I’ve entered in NaNoWriMo, which is a month-long writing challenge that involves setting a word-count goal, and hitting a certain amount of written words each day to achieve it. The novel is going to be a queer-centric romance involving a girl n amed Calliope, who gets dragged into a crisis amongst nations of merpeople. It’s actually been in the works for a little under three years at this point. Oops.

What inspires you?

I’ve been really inspired by mainstream writers, Neil Gaiman being a major player, but I also owe a lot of my inspiration to a friend of mine named Kathleen. She’s a marvel of talent and skill, and I definitely wouldn’t be writing without the constant barrage of well-meaning texts. I can say without a doubt that she is amazing, and deserves a world of success and good fortune.

In music, I was really inspired by my choir director, Dr. Heather Eyerly. She’s also amazing, and she was the first music teacher I had that actually made me love it. I just realized, while writing this, that 40% of my music teachers have been WLW. The universe works in mysterious ways, I guess! Anyway, back on track. Dr. Eyerly was a huge influence in the way my vocal music flourished, and I don’t think I would have kept up with Vocal if not for her.

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

As a child, I was very interested in learning useful skills. I took a pottery course, I learned how to knit and crochet, and I learned how to play piano. My brother was also learning how to play, but he quit after two lessons. I kept with it because of the sense of pride it gave me in my abilities as an artist, and because of how fun it was for me.

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?

The Nordic rune for M is something that I used as a signature back when I was really into Flipnote Studio, standing for the first letter of my nickname “Mena”, but I’ve yet to integrate it properly into any of my current artistic ventures. Nowadays I’ve taken up witchcraft, so it would be even more poignant, I guess–what with the Elder Futhark rune alphabet being used as a divination tool.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice! It doesn’t matter what you do, you just have to practice. You need to practice to get better, and you need to practice so you can commit your skills to memory. I still remember how to play songs I memorized years ago, because I practiced them! If you do traditional or digital art, look up references and practice drawing the poses or elements in them. If you sculpt, practice!!! Buy cheap clay and sculpt things with it. Knit? Thrift some wool and learn how to make socks! Dance? Learn the choreography to Single Ladies! Play an instrument? Learn all the songs from Ocarina of Time on your instrument! Have fun with your practice, but always practice your craft!!!! You won’t improve otherwise, and then you’ll be sad when you lose a skill you enjoyed. Like me when I forgot how to center pottery on a wheel. It’s devastating! PRACTICE AND YOU WILL NOT REPEAT MY FAILINGS.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a Panromantic Asexual. I’m currently in this sort of nebulous ‘gender-conscious’ place, where if someone asks, I’ll say I’m a cis girl, but I know that could change.

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

I’m from a fairly liberal part of eastern Ontario, so there’s not much more than the occasional ‘Oh, yeah, I heard about that. Can you explain further?’ There are the few times every once in a while where I have to explain that ace people exist, or I have to ask my mom not to constantly out me to people who don’t know me, but other than that I’ve had a pretty safe run of things.

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

A lot of people seem to assume that aces don’t understand attraction, or that we’re all prudish wallflowers who don’t want anything to do with any sort of relationship. Not to say that it’s a bad thing if that’s how one feels, I just don’t really enjoy when people around me say things along the lines of, “Not like you’d know” when they talk about pretty people.

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

Make an account on a social media platform that works for you. You can meet other people who identify in the same way you do, and who experience the same types of attraction as you, and this can really help you to make decisions about yourself. It can take a while to completely find where you fit in the mould, and you may decide that you don’t want to identify as anything. That’s perfectly fine too!

When I originally came out, I thought very much that I was heteromantic because I loved the boy I was dating. I still think very highly of him, even though we eventually stopped talking. What I needed to figure out, though, was that my romantic attraction to one person didn’t need to dictate my attraction to everyone else on this giant planet.

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

I’m on Wattpad and AO3 for my writing as TheMenasaur, and I’m on YouTube and Soundcloud for my music at the same username.

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