Interview: Reimena Yee

Today we’re joined by Reimena Yee. Reimena is a phenomenal visual artist and writer whose graphic novel, The Carpet Merchant of Konstantiniyya, was recently nominated for an Eisner Award. Reimena has done a bit of everything, but webcomics are where her focus is at the moment. Much of her work is rooted in an ace POV and many of the characters she writes are asexual, including the main character of The Carpet Merchant. How cool is that!? Reimena is a talented and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Dullahan
Dullahan

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Heylo! I’m an artist, writer and designer. I’ve worked on all kinds of projects, from game design, clothing collaborations and editorial illustration, but I spend most of my time developing comics. I’m the creator of two webcomics, The World in Deeper Inspection, and The Carpet Merchant of Konstantiniyya, which recently was nominated for the Eisner Awards.

I’d consider myself a visual problem solver — I provide artwork that my clients want, whether it’s something personal like a wedding card or a commercial thing like a game. If I’m not occupied working on solutions, I’m telling stories.

What inspires you?

I’ve a deep passion for the world’s history, art and cultures. Learning is what inspires me. It’s fascinating to think about the lives and stories of people back then, and how they expressed themselves through artwork and literature.

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

I’ve always been doing some form of art and storytelling throughout my life; if not a dominant pursuit, it was something that occurred at the periphery. It was only recently that I decided to commit to it as a career, after half a life of pursuing science and academia.

3. BabushkaCatWitch
Babushka Cat Witch

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 work is all over the place, in the sense that you can see what is my latest obsession at the time. Lately, it’s tapestry and florals, but I want to progress to something with a more Malaysian flavour.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’d recommend finding a passion, interest or even side gig that isn’t art-related, or as removed from your art specialisation as possible. For example, sports, knitting, cooking, reading, etc. Having something separate, especially if you don’t monetise it, helps in establishing balance and perspective in your life, as doing only one thing for the rest of your time can affect you mentally and emotionally.

4. TCMTapestry
The Carpet Merchant Tapestry

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Probably closer to demi, but if asexuality was a black-white spectrum, I’m a dark grey.

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

Personally I haven’t had any issue. I rarely ever talk about asexuality or sexuality. I only speak about myself as ‘queer’, which is true due to being non-binary, and my biromantic interests (disclaimer: more complex than this).

BUT there has been some feeling in the field that asexuality, along with bi/pansexuality, and other so-called smaller identities, have been looked down upon as identities that don’t experience the same kind of trauma or oppression as the more prominent identities. This logic (which needs to be unpacked for its problematic implications) skews the community’s ability to be a safe space.

How I handle that is to just to do good work. Hopefully, by being myself and making work I believe in that also happens to include aces, it normalises asexuality as an identity that can just exist.

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

There’s just a general misunderstanding of what asexuality is, and how it is a nuanced and complicated experience that differs even between aces. It doesn’t help that there are parts of the ace community that adopt puritan, conservative language to control other people’s expression of queerness. Having such a voice be the dominant one narrows other’s view of what asexuality can be.

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

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but it helps to think of your asexuality (however it expresses itself) as part of the large, varied, diverse, individualised experiences of being human. The bigger your conception of what being a person is, the easier it is to accept your unique brand of asexuality, alongside others’, as a normal, human thing. And you don’t have to be asexual, or strictly a particular kind of asexual, forever either – things can change, morph, shift, be more complicated – but you’re still a valued human with talents to contribute to society.

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

My website is reimenayee.com
I post a lot of my art, and talk aplenty on Twitter (at reimenayee)
A more curated experience is blog.reimenayee.com

You can read my webcomics at alcottgrimsley.com

At the moment, The Carpet Merchant has a crowdfunder to publish a hardcover copy of Vol I. If you want to buy a book, head on here: https://unbound.com/books/the-carpet-merchant-voli

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Enchanted

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

Interview: Team Spicy

Today we’re joined by Team Spicy. Team Spicy is a wonderfully talented game designer who specializes in absurdist visual novels that toy with genre conventions. He’s an incredibly imaginative individual: his biggest project at the moment involves anthropomorphic chicken wings. Seriously, absurdist humor is the best humor. It’s clear Team Spicy is a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Shep
Shep

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make silly absurd visual novels that play with some of the conventions of genres I love. I like to make weird worlds and then take them seriously. Wingman DX is right now the biggest project I put out into the world. It’s a hot wing dating simulator where you can befriend and romance one of fourteen different hot wings, each of which have at least two endings. Check it out if you like absurdist humor, actual or anthropomorphic hot wings, or if you just like food! It’s free, though donations are always appreciated!

What inspires you?

I really love taking small absurd details and blowing them up to their illogical extremes. The world doesn’t seem to make sense but we all just collectively pretend it does- I think shining a light on that by exaggerating the absurdity of a world simultaneously makes me laugh and also expresses a kind of constant anxiety I have.

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

I started making simple games as gag gifts for friends before deciding that I should start putting some energy into projects that are more personally-oriented. I’ve always enjoyed dabbling in programs that I frankly don’t have training in, so just slowly figuring out different image, music, and video editing programs in the pursuit of making more and more elaborate jokes that only I find funny has been the impetus of a lot of my projects since I was a kid.

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?

In work that I’ve released publically? Not yet!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

This isn’t applicable to everyone, depending on what your goals as a creator are, but for me I ground everything in what I find funny or enjoyable. The sooner you stop worrying about whether other people will like what you make and start focusing on whether you like what you make, the less stressful and more rewarding making stuff is. I create for an audience of one, and if anyone else happens to like it that’s a cool bonus! If not, that’s okay too! You still made a fun thing you like and that’s farther than a lot of people get.

Option C

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a gray-sexual or gray ace gay man, though I usually just say I’m ace since it’s easier for people to understand. My go-to analogy is comparing sex to dessert. As someone that doesn’t have a sweet tooth, I don’t eat sweets unless someone I care about wants to go get ice cream and I’ll enjoy it because I enjoy their company.

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

Not yet! I’ve run into more racial prejudice, but when the circles I’m in are so small, even that’s not too prevalent.

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

That ace people don’t have or can’t enjoy sex. That certainly can be true for people, but it’s not a mutually exclusive thing.

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

There’s a misconception that romantic and sexual intimacy/attraction have to coexist and I think it makes many ace people worried that if they’re asexual but not aromantic they won’t be able to find romantically fulfilling relationships and that’s definitely untrue.

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

You can find me on itch.io, Twitter, and Instagram at wingmanthegame where you can play my hot wing dating sim Wingman DX for free and also look at terrible gag gifts for friends that won’t make sense to anyone else. I’m working on a larger project but it’s not far enough along to talk about but updates will come on those pages in the future!

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

Interview: AJ Drake

Today we’re joined by AJ Drake. AJ is a wonderful game design artist who is currently studying Game Art, Design, and Animation. He focuses mainly on particle effects and environment modeling. When he’s not working on that, AJ dabbles in concept design, graphic design, and photography. It’s clear he’s a passionate artist with an incredibly bright future, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

chitty_chitty_bang_bang_by_ajdrake-dbnxoee

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am currently a student of Game Art, Design, and Animation (GADA). I focus mainly on particle effects (I make explosions look ‘splodey and rain look rainy) and have a bit of a side interest in environment modeling. I also dabble in other areas of art, like concept design, illustration, photography, and graphic design. Sometimes I try new things – I experimented with stained glass window stickies a while back, as well as hand-painted shirts!

What inspires you?

A lot of things really. Music is one. Books. The artwork in existing games (other people play video games for fun and follow the story and do missions. I’ll be in the middle of the mission and stop for half an hour to admire the materials used in a rock wall). Nature, sometimes. Sometimes friends say or do something that inspires me. History sometimes. Sometimes it’ll be something as simple as someone saying what their favourite animal is.

chairpatch

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

For art in general, when I was really young, I really didn’t like my sister, and I set out to do one thing, anything better than her. She used to be really good at drawing, so I settled on that. The rest is history, as they say.

As for GADA, there’s a game I play on occasion (called Furcadia), that is very maker-oriented. I started off doing my own art for it, then commissions for other players, and then I got noticed by the game’s owners and asked to do official artwork for the game. A couple of years into that, I realized I really liked working on game art, so now here I am, goin to school for it.

For the other things I dabble in, it’s a variety of “origin stories.” With photography, for example, I really liked doing it, and decided to get a DSLR, then decided to take some classes to learn how to do it better. For more crafty stuff, it’s because I have a drive to make custom things for myself to use.

FarrenBWHeadshotDone

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?

In my art for the game I mentioned before, I sometimes would include a small skull sitting on top of a bone in a corner of an image to mark it as created by me. For other areas in my career, I now use my ‘Evil Skunk’ logo, along with my handwritten signature. In the past I’ve used anything from just my name in a corner, to a more detailed skull and bone watermark.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t compare yourself to other artists, unless it’s to learn from them. Each person has their own style and learning speed.

And to the aspiring artists out there living at or below the poverty line – don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t afford to go to art school, or that it’s a waste of time or money. FAFSA is your friend here, and you can make invaluable friends and connections at school.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m both apothiromantic and apothisexual. That is, I am both romance- and sex-repulsed. However, I’m still good for dirty jokes. I just don’t need, or want, detailed descriptions or imagery.

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

Not in my field, no. I’m too quiet offline to have it really come up often. Online and at my part time job, yes. Mostly I deal with it by walking away and reading a book for a bit, or hanging out with other ace folks and venting. Sometimes I try to help when I see another ace person being attacked online.

FarrenWolfPort

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

Honestly, the most common one I’ve seen is that “we’re all cisgendered heterosexuals trying to push our way into the LGBT so we’re can feel oppressed.”

It was incredibly frustrating to see it keep popping up this past Pride Month.

SugarSkOwl

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

You are not broken, and whatever you’re feeling is valid.

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

My art Twitter, which has everything from school work, to doodles, to furry art: at Evil_Skunk

My main Twitter, which has everything from politics, to pirates, to furry stuff, to general stupidity: at farrendustfur

My website, currently under construction while I turn it into a GADA portfolio: www.evilskunk.com

And my DeviantArt, which has art from way back in the day (2007 or so), so you can see my progression as an artist: http://ajdrake.deviantart.com.

TheBumbooHimself

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

Interview: Kir

Today we;re joined by Kir. Kir is a phenomenal artist who does a little bit of everything. They write, draw, voice act, and design games.They have a voice acting demo reel, a Steven Universe comic dub, and an author-approved full-cast narration of the first chapter of The Order of Odd-Fish. It’s clear they’re a passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

ace_design
Ace Design

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I dabble in a lot of creative areas, like writing, drawing, voice acting, and making games! If it’s an art, I’ll probably try it at least once.

What inspires you?

Lots of things! Podcasts, cartoons, video games, my friends, my pets, weird bugs I see on the sidewalk. I conceptualized a whole cartoon series based on a cluster of garbage cans on the side of the road once.

chris_derp
Chris Derp

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

Honestly, probably Pokémon. I’ve been obsessed with that since I was a kid. It’s what first inspired me to draw, then to write, and it’s definitely been a big inspiration for making video games.

I’ve wanted to be an artist in some form or another since I was at least 12 (before that I actually wanted to be an ornithologist and study birds all day, haha). For the longest time, I wanted to be a novelist, and it’s only been the last few years that I’ve been really exploring other writing styles and other fields of art.

Game Map mock-up
Game Map mock-up

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

I don’t really have anything like that at the moment, no!

lerald_the_bard_1
Lerald the Bard

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Explore! Create! Learn about different areas of art, whatever interests you, and just try your hand at it! If it’s fun, learn more and continue on! If it isn’t, stop for a while and come back if/when you’re ready.

Combine different fields of art! My writing’s gotten a lot better since I started making video games, and my voice acting’s gotten a lot better since I started doing audio editing!

melanieblink
Melanie Blink

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

It’s kinda hard to figure out! I consider myself bi-aroflux and asexual, but honestly everything seems to fluctuate quite a bit. Some days I’m 100% sex-repulsed and aromantic, other days I’m more…graysexual and biromantic? It’s confusing, but I don’t really mind it.

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

Not much, luckily! After the game my zucchini and I made for Ace Jam was released, we definitely had some rude comments about asexuality, and people who say that kinda thing aren’t generally open to discussion of the topic, so there’s nothing you can really do except ignore them.

And block them. I’m very liberal with my block button.

Rooms
Rooms

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

That it doesn’t exist! Too many people think asexuals are just making it up for…attention, I guess?

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

Take your time and explore your feelings! Learn the terminology used for different areas of the spectrum and try and figure out what fits you best. It might take you a while, and you might change labels a few times, and that’s okay! I identified as aegosexual for a while before figuring out that my sexuality fluctuates fairly often. There are labels out there that would probably fit my orientation exactly, but right now I’m comfortable with just using the ace label. Maybe that’ll change in a few months or years, but for now it fits, so that’s what works for me!

Screen1
Screen1 (character busts were drawn by Tumblr user iwouldliketosayhello)

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

I have several blogs dedicated to different creative areas, so you can find me in several places!

For my voice acting, audio plays, etc., you can find me at owlyvoices.tumblr.com or on YouTube as OwlyVoices.

For my games, you can find me at owly-games.tumblr.com or owly-bee.itch.io

For my writing: prucanada on AO3

For my drawing, and for a mix of everything else, you can find me on my personal blog, owly-bee.tumblr.com

You can even buy some of my drawings and audio dramas on my Etsy, AudioAce, if you’re so inclined!

I’d love to hear what you think of my art! 😀

gender shirts
Gender Shirts

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

Interview: Mark

Today we’re joined by Mark. Mark is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in digital art. They’re mostly into drawing, although they are working on some video game design and do craft work on occasion. They also draw the most gorgeous pride dragons. They’re work is remarkably beautiful, brimming with color and detail. It’s very clear Mark’s an incredibly talented and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Rexy Female White and Gold copy
Rexy Female White and Gold

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Umm, I draw things? XD Mostly I like to focus on digital drawing, but I also do some craft work and other things here and there for fun. Right now I’m working on a few different projects, the main ones being pride dragons (and eventually other pride animals), as well as working with a close friend on some game design.

What inspires you?

Anything and everything really. Other artists, movies, books, music, nature, friends… I can’t really pin inspiration down on any one thing.

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

I’ve been drawing pretty much as far back as I can remember, so it’s been an always thing that never went away. XD Honestly I can’t imagine NOT being an artist in some fashion.

earlydragon
Early Dragon

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? Nothing that I’m aware of at least.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

(Sorry this part is going to be a tad long.)

1. If you wanna art, then art. Do it because you want to do it.

2. Some people are gonna be assholes. It’s pretty hard to avoid running into them. It sucks and it can be super disheartening, but *don’t give up*. I’ve had my art featured on “look how shitty this art is” sites and have gotten some nasty comments that made me feel super close to giving up entirely. But in the end, I’d refer you back to point 1. If you want to art, *then KEEP DOING IT* Do it because you enjoy it. Do it for you, do it for the people who DO enjoy it.

3. You’re not going to improve overnight, but that’s ok. You’ll have good days and bad days with art and sometimes you might feel like you’re not getting anywhere, but as long as you don’t give up, you WILL improve over time.

4. Going along with that, try not to compare your art to others’ art. You need to compare you to you. Look at some of your old art compared to new stuff. Can you see improvement? Doesn’t matter if it’s just a little or a lot, improvement is improvement! Everyone goes at their own pace so don’t be discouraged if you’re not getting to where you want to be right away.

5. I love stylization. It’s fantastic. All sorts of cartoony styles and what not. But I will say, regardless of how styled you want to make your art, it’s best to learn from life first. If say, you learn how to draw dogs, study real dogs and realistic dog art, because then stylizing them later on will be WAY easier and produce better results.

6. TOTALLY experiment with different things! Maybe you’ll find something you like, maybe you’ll decide you don’t like certain things. But at least after trying you’ll know. Step outside your comfort zone, don’t worry if you can do something “good” or not. Just have fun and play with it! Wanna draw cars but think you can’t manage mechanical things? Draw some cars anyway! You have to start somewhere.

7. While you shouldn’t compare yourself to other artists, it can be nice to look around at numerous other artists’ styles and methods for inspiration. Many artists will make tutorials about their processes and techniques or general art advice and these can be super valuable learning tools. (Just remember of course to be respectful and never steal someone else’s work.)

I could probably go on and on, but I think that covers the basics. XD

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am hella ace. XD Not demi or grey or anything. As for romantic orientation, I’m still figuring that out.

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

Sort of? In general I usually don’t get any of that stuff with just posting art and what not online, though I have had some not so cool things happen in person because of being ace. I don’t want to go too in detail. One of the people who did and said some nasty things is an artist as well, but reasons for their behavior were more on a personal level than because of anything art related. (Though they did rip off a bunch of art related things from me…) Handling it can be hard sometimes, but I’m lucky to have super supportive friends, and the ace community seems to be pretty awesome and supportive as well. Lots of nice positivity posts and comments going around.

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

That it’s not real and aces are just lying or are late bloomers. Also that ace people are doomed to be forever alone or they’re only able to be in relationships with other aces.

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

It can be tough, I sure as heck have some hard times accepting it sometimes. But anyone out there struggling, remember that you are NOT broken or alone! Asexuality is totally a natural thing, it’s NOT something new (we just are finally starting to learn more about it and bring that information to light), and it’s not something to be ashamed of. Whether you want a romantic relationship, or just good friends, or whatever else, there are definitely people out there who will accept you for who you are and who won’t try to change you. (And don’t put up with people who think they can change you or that you need to be fixed. That’s a load of BS.) All you aces are totally awesome as is!

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

I post most of my work on my Tumblr account: http://markaleb.tumblr.com/

And I’ve started putting up a few things on a RedBubble account: https://www.redbubble.com/people/markaleb?asc=u

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

Interview: Alison

Today we’re joined by Alison. Alison is another amazingly versatile artist who does a little bit of everything: sculpting, painting, animation, cake decorating. Her work is spectacular and she has such a wonderful enthusiasm for her work. She’s currently working on a game for her senior project. It’s obvious that this artist has a very bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Doodle 02

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do a stupid variety of stuff – painting, sculpture, 3D modeling and animation, drawing, jewelry making, decorating fancy cakes, etc.

I usually just make whatever I’m in the mood for, but I’m looking to get more into sewing so I can fill my dorm with little stuffed foods. I also make cosplay stuff for people sometimes, but I’m really too cheap to make it for myself with any frequency – that stuff is expensive!

Recently, my time’s been taken up by making Mirrors of Grimaldi, a game for my senior project (semi-shameful plug: we’re actually looking for play testers now, if you have at least 2 Xbox controllers, you can download our alpha build here: http://51standfire.com/play-now/)

CG 01

CG 02

What inspires you?

I draw inspiration from the things other people have done as well as nature and the random stuff around me. In my most recent batch of paintings, I’ve taken an interest in the screenshots I perpetually take of my boyfriend and his cats while we Skype – they’re quite funny.

(see below paintings 1-2 for examples of screenshots turned into paintings; fun fact: they’re the same guy in both paintings…)

Painting 01

Painting 02

I also do a bit of writing, which often involves ace characters. In the coming weeks I’m actually going to be writing a series of short pieces about asexual experiences in relationships (both commonly encountered and personal) and the miscommunications and misconceptions that often arise. I’ll be posting about that later on my blog if anyone is interested…

Mostly though, I just kind of do whatever I’m in the mood for whenever I start doing something, though I often times have kind of a morbid flair to my stuff

(see below cakes 1-2 for example of morbid cakes)

Cake 01

Cake 02

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

I’ve been into crafting ever since I was little – my mom and granny are both pretty crafty and my dad was pretty into woodwork for a while. Presently I’m studying 3D Animation (until I graduate and am released into the real world in a few months – a truly terrifying thought) but have realized I want to take my “career-art” into a more game-based direction. For my hobby art I prefer the more traditional mediums like paint or charcoal… usually just whatever I’m in the mood for when I reach for my art supplies.

CG 04

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 that I can think of. Sometimes I’ll put little spades in my stuff, but that’s usually in my personal stuff or blatantly ace-related artwork. The stuff I make to sell I usually put any signature marks into except my actual signatures.

Though, like I said before, I do have a tendency to make my stuff kind of morbid or unsettling sometimes. I don’t really know why, but it’s satisfying to hear people go “eww” or “wow that’s weird” when they look at my stuff.

Doodle 01

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Find the type of art you enjoy doing and a style that works for you. If you’re just arting for the sake of arting, just have fun with it! If you want to make a living off you art, learn to promote yourself – set up internet shops, go to local events, brand yourself. And, while it’s always good to go for what you really want, make sure you have backup plans because making a living as an artist is bloody hard.

Painting 04

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as plain ‘ol asexual. Also aromantic-ish (I’ve stopped trying to work out a label for the romantic side of things 😛 )

Suffice it to say I don’t mind being in romantic relationships or having sex with my significant other if I super-trust them and it’s a thing they want/enjoy.

CG 03

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

In my field? Not really… It doesn’t really come up that often though. That being said, I actually know other 2 other ace peeps in my major/year (which is a pool of 12 people :P). I was in a 4 person group once and 3 of us were ace so we were joking that the other guy was the token sexual person on the team. It was quite funny.

I have encountered a fair bit of not-great reactions from guys I’ve dated in the past or random people I’ve explained it to, but in general most of the people I surround myself with are super cool about it.

Photo 01

If I’m faced with prejudice or ignorance I usually just try to stay calm and explain what asexuality is. Normally that works pretty well if people are open to what you have to say… Though if they’re not, then I usually just agree to disagree as long as we can behave respectably towards each other. However, if people insist on being obnoxious about asexuality (or most other things) I tend to respond with intelligent snark (I hope it’s intelligent).

One thing I will say though, if you’re dating someone and they refuse to accept your asexuality or give you a hard time about it, it’s a good sign the relationship is probably not going to work out… At least that’s been my experience…

Doodle 03

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

Apart from confusion about what it is, I guess just curiosity about sexual interest/practices or that ace can’t do relationships with non-aces. I’ve gotten a lot of random questions about how much I masturbate (from my roomie’s boss!) to questions about whether or not my boyfriend cares that I’m ace…

I think the biggest thing I encounter is people having a hard time believing asexuality exists or that people can survive without being interested in the sex, which, frankly, isn’t terribly surprising given how sexualized the media is these days.

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

You gotta make peace with who you are. If you want to identify as ace (or anything really) go for it – how you choose to identify/describe yourself is your choice and nobody else’s. It’s not always easy, but then nothing in life really is…

Just know that how you choose to identify or how you feel doesn’t mean your broken, so don’t let anyone tell you that you are. They’re not worth your time.

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

This’ll be a list… aight…

Here’s all the places where you can find pics of my stuff…

Portfolio Website: http://alison.friedlander.me/
A giant amalgamation of my best works in almost every medium I work in

Tumble Blog (Too-Asexy): http://too-asexy.tumblr.com/.
‘Dis is just ma tumblr blog XD

Mirrors of Grimaldi (game I’m working on): http://51standfire.com/
OK, one more semi-shameful plug for my team’s game! Hope you guys don’t mind!

Here are the places where I actually sell things:

Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackBunnyCrafts
Paintings, wire wrapped jewelry, polymer clay jewelry

Shapeways Shop: https://www.shapeways.com/shops/grumpyalison
Ace rings (sizes available upon request), a triforce ring, keychains. More coming soon!

Red Bubble: http://www.redbubble.com/people/grumpyalison/shop
Ace shirts, other misc shirts. More coming soon here too!

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

Interview: Caroline Kowalchyk

Today we’re joined by Caroline Kowalchyk.  Caroline is an incredibly versatile and talented visual artist.  She does a little bit of everything: painting, sculpting, graphic design, video editing, etc.  I was reading through the list of mediums she works with and was left absolutely awestruck.  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 make all sorts of art. I consider myself a visual artists because I try to go for looks that capture your attention visually. I paint, sculpt, do graphic design, video editing, typography, and most recently web design and game design.

My painting is pretty mood based, I just sort of paint how I feel if that makes sense, it’s a stress reliever not a career path. My sculpting is definitely on the weird side, but hey that makes it fun! I’ve sculpted things like elephant heads (yes, just the heads), a giant ear, a miniature rotisserie chicken (I don’t even know why), and just crazy stuff like that. In graphic design I do anything computer generated typography to logo design/branding and just about everything in between. Video is a true, true passion of mine and I plan on going to school for it. I love creative film especially advertising and creative film. I honestly think anyone can film with enough practice. Web design and game design are still definitely hobbies that I’m still trying to get a hold of so I won’t go into too much detail about them. The only game I’ve made, believe it or not, is a game about becoming Tumblr famous. The objective is to strategically move around the platforms which are hot pick keyboards and collect new followers and fan mail while avoiding crashing computers and hate mail. Your only defense is to block the user to get rid of the hate mail. Oh yeah and I also do a lot of photography.

What inspires you?

Everything inspires me. I see something and go “damn that would make an awesome painting” or hear a song and just plan a music video in my head for it. I’ll see a logo that I can’t stand and I’ll re design it in my sketch book. I’ll think of a difficulty in my life (like becoming Tumblr famous) and make a game out of it. I spend a lot of time outside so I guess a lot of my art is “nature inspired”, but I like to think I’m inspired by living.

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

My cousin Kelsey Lancaster is an absolutely brilliant graphic designer, she got me interested in graphic design and type. My best friend Jordan Hyre is quite the artist and she motivates me to keep up with painting and sculpture. I really got interested in the arts though in about 2006 when my mom bought me my first video camera. That’s when it all began. Honestly, no, I never thought I could be an artist, and I never really wanted to be one until recently. A switch just kind of went off one day and was like “this is what you need to do for the rest of your life, this is your calling, quite ignoring it! Go to school get a degree and set up shop.” So that’s what I’m doing.

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

I like my films to be psychedelic, my pictures are mostly either very out of focus or very focused and that’s on purpose it make you look more, and if you ever see a sculpture of a giant ear in a museum someday that was probably me.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

To all of you young aspiring artists (given that I still consider myself one) : You know when you’re half way through that painting, don’t know what your sculpting, realize that you left the lens cap on while shooting your best scene, didn’t focus the camera correctly, fucked up one line of code, or think that suicide is a better option than finish the game your working on, JUST FINISH IT. Finish the damn piece, keep the black video, sculpt some weird ass shape, keep the  stupid blurry picture, go through the code and find the mistake you’re- too smart and successful and talented to do anything half assedly and if you want to know the truth only 3 things can happen with all these projects, 1) you make it work and you love it 2) it looks like shit, but hey someone out there will pay money for it or 3) you fix it until you love it. Never give upon a single piece literally ever.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I consider myself a bi/pan-romantic asexual.

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

Well, where I live being gay is still very bad so I can’t really come out to anyone. In the art field however I haven’t faced any prejudice as far as I know. I’m a pretty “stand up girl”, I’m very confident and I don’t see how anyone could think less of me because I don’t want to hook up with them, or anyone else for that matter.

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

“It doesn’t exist”.

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

Go to an ace meet up. Join AVEN, get a Tumblr, email me. There is strength in numbers and I think the only way we aces can really be comfortable with who we are is to understand that there are people like us. We’re not damaged, we’re not weird, we’re normal beautiful people just like everyone else. Also, I really recommend doing some research and some soul searching, once you find a label that you identify 150%  with it makes it much easier to not only accept yourself but to come out.

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

Find more about my work by contacting me,  reaching me by email (kowalchykc@gmail.com)  is normally best, keep up with me on Instagram (carol_kowalchyk), visit my etsy shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/BlabbermouthInc  yeah I know it’s really dead right now I’m still working on some stuff),

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