Interview: goatbunny

Today we’re joined by goatbunny. goatbunny is a phenomenal visual artist who works in a number of different mediums, both traditional and digital. goatbunny has done shows in the past and has a number of different projects they’re currently working on, including creating her own Tarot Deck. It’s clear she’s a passionate and driven artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Hammer

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I paint and draw using both traditional (pencil, ink, watercolor and illustration marker are my main tools, but I also use gouache, acrylic, spray paint, crayons, and pretty much anything else I find) and digital media (I’ve recently gotten back into digital media so I’ve been exploring more of that). I dabble in almost everything else, I’ll try anything once. I’ve sculpted in the past, and I sew a lot when I don’t really feel like drawing or painting, by hand and with a machine. I am currently creating my own Tarot Deck and collaborating with a fellow artist on a card game, activity/coloring books and I have started to experiment more with non-traditional styles of animation with him using “2-D” type of puppets using cardboard and even felt. I have recently created my second short film.

What inspires you?

I try to gain inspiration from everything around me. I try not to focus too much on other visual artists like myself as I try to avoid the trap of having other drawing styles impacting my own too heavily. I am very inspired by music, films, books, etc. I just try to be as observant as possible. Meeting up with other creatives also helps a lot. I have a lot of musicians and artists, and a couple of writers in my friend circle so I like to think we inspire each other.

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Llamacorn

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

I’ve pretty much been drawing and creating since I was able to hold a pencil in my hand. I have always loved cartoons, comics, animated film and even videogames and had always wanted to be an animator, cartoonist, illustrator or character designer when I was younger. I HAVE always wanted to be in a creative field, even if I was steered in other directions. Even when I was studying the sciences in school or during my short career in the medical field, I never stopped drawing and now I can finally say that art is what I do full time.

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 say that I really have a unique signature, aside from signing “Goat” when I do remember to sign my pieces. Lately I have been watermarking any pieces I have posted publicly online, and have also been incorporating my Goatagram logo in digital work (It’s basically a pentagram with a goatbunny head – a bunny with goat horns).

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Retro Goatagram Nob

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just keep creating. Even if you don’t end up being a full-time artist, always make time for art. It’s not the easiest career choice. I’m 35 and have only been a full-time artist for the past 3 years, so I can feel the difference, financially. I almost want to say my parents were right and that you should find a steady, well-paying job but to be honest, I traded said job for the sake of my mental health and I can say that, for the most part, it was worth it.

If you do choose art as a career, you may feel discouraged. You may feel like you want to quit. You may even become disgruntled about what you see in the art world. It’s important to remember why you create and why it’s important to YOU. It also helps to have a close, supportive network to help you through any of the rough patches you may hit.

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Vidscreen

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I feel like I discovered asexuality waaaaay late in the game (early-30s) so I found it really difficult to figure out where I fall in the spectrum. In retrospect, I feel like I could be a grey-ace but it’s hard to really tell what I really felt and what I thought I SHOULD feel. So I generally just use the more general asexual term because I am at least certain about that.

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

It’s hard to say as I tend to keep my personal life out of my work for the most part. My city has a large LGBTQ+ community, and a large arts community and they both overlap. I have been invited to fairs run by queer artists through a mutual friend but I feel like ace representation wasn’t strong on there at all. The community feels very overtly sex favorable, and most art is very inundated with social commentary, especially about sexuality, gender and orientation. It even felt like there was even a certain “dress code”. Since my art doesn’t have any specific themes about gender or sexuality, didn’t “look” like them, and am cis in relationship with someone of the opposite sex, I didn’t feel very welcome. Not to say that I wasn’t, but I didn’t feel very included by some of the merchants/organizers. I’m not entirely sure if that counts, but it felt like if I didn’t openly express my sexuality or orientation, I don’t really count or am truly accepted. I tend to not let situations like that get to me since I want people to relate to and judge my art, not who I am.

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

Of the few people I came out to and had to explain it, the main misconception was basically that I just don’t like sex. In the case of my husband before we were married, he thought it meant that I didn’t/couldn’t love him or didn’t want to have sex with him. After having explained it a few times, he finally understood that I am capable of love, but sexual attraction is something I don’t experience. I’ve come to realize that for a lot of people, it is very difficult to separate sexual attraction, romantic attraction, love and the act of sex itself.

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

That one’s tough, since I feel like I’m still learning a lot about my own every day. I guess: Keep reading up on it. Do some introspection. Be open to what you learn. Accept the fact that your orientation may change. Just learn to accept who you and what you’re going through at the moment. Finding community among others who accept and support who you are and what you are experiencing will also help, whether it’s in real life or online.

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

My Tumblr is http://www.church-of-goatbunny.tumblr.com/
And Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/churchofgoatbunny/, but it’s mostly just posts shared from my Instagram: at winner.gets.a.rake.
I do have a Patreon which is a huge help for self-employed artists: https://www.patreon.com/goatbunny
Work can be purchased directly through me or my Big Cartel shop: https://churchofgoatbunny.bigcartel.com/

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Tarot 17 Scholar

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

Interview: schattenmitternacht

Today we’re joined by schattenmitternacht. schattenmitternacht is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in ink drawings and watercolors. They have recently started working with gouache as well. schattenmitternacht draws inspiration from many different places and are clearly very passionate about art, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do simple ink drawings and occasionally paint with acrylics and watercolors. Recently, I have started to use gouache as well. Subject to my art can be anything; people, animals, things. I love to illustrate feelings and emotions as metaphors.

What inspires you?

The world around me. I believe that beauty is everywhere and I try to capture it for me and for others in my drawings and paintings. The works of fellow artists are also very inspiring.

I do create things inspired be my personal experiences (my diary is mostly drawings) but those are things I’m not always fond to share with people.

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

I remember spending a lot of time at the drawing desk in kindergarten and going to exhibitions with my best friend’s grandmother. But only in middle school did I start to take art more seriously, when I got into manga thanks to a classmate. That’s when I wanted to get better at it.

To be honest, I never wanted to be a professional artist. It was always other people suggesting it to me and at one point in my life I thought it’s the only option available. I mean, I am an artist and I love being one and creating things but there are some aspects of being a professional artist that leave me uncomfortable with pursuing this career path. I’m afraid I won’t like drawing anymore when it’s what I have to do for a living.

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

There is a set of symbols that I use in my more personal artworks. Arrows for example. But you don’t really get to see a lot of them. Because personal.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Challenge yourself and set yourself a goal. I for example want to create more “finished” works this year and not just elaborate sketches.

I love to do challenges or make lists of projects I want to realize because when I don’t know what to draw, I already have some to work on and don’t have to spend time thinking of something.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aro ace.

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

Not much actually.

My boyfriend asked me once if I was sure I am ace as he couldn’t understand that even though I like physical intimacy, I am still asexual. I explained to him that even if I don’t feel sexual attraction, I still like how it feels and that I think it’s fun.

I myself have never actually experienced prejudice or ignorance against aromanticism, but my friend has. Their mother keeps pressuring them to find a romantic relationship. So that’s something.

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

That

  1. I don’t have,
  2. don’t want or enjoy and
  3. am not able to have sex.

A lot of people don’t have sex. This doesn’t make them automatically ace though.

Second, I can understand how someone could think that this is what it means being asexual, as it was something that kept me from calling myself ace for some time. I don’t really know how to put this in words but you can still want to or enjoy it to sleep with someone without finding them sexually attractive. Sex is something very intimate and wanting to share this intimacy with someone does not in any way conflict with being ace.

The last one… What has my lack of sexual attraction to do with my body? It’s just another way to say that we are “broken”.

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

You are not broken. Your needs are as valid as those of allosexual people and your boundaries are to be respected, don’t ever think they are not.

If you have a hard time telling different attractions apart, look up their definitions or people describing them.

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

I am the most active on Instagram. Then of course on Tumblr and on Amino. Actually, you can find me everywhere under schattenmitternacht.

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

Interview: C. Reyes

Today we’re joined by C. Reyes. Cee is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in a lot of mediums. They do both digital and traditional art. They do some fanart and enjoy using pen and ink. Cee also does some mixed media work. They’re obviously very enthusiastic and dedicated to their art, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Stevonnie

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hello! Well, I think my art is varied in the sense that I do both traditional and digital. Most of the pieces I post online are digital (simply for convenience’s sake), but I like to do mixed media —watercolor, gouache, and acrylic — and pen and ink (mostly Prisma and Copic markers, and Micron pens). Lately, I lot of my digital work has been in the Steven Universe and D. Gray-Man fandoms as they are some of my favorite show.

What inspires you?

I have a lot of things that inspire me, and it’s all dependent on my mood, to be honest. Steven Universe can get me in a very artistic mood due to the unique color choices and art style. In addition, I love Gustav Klimt’s work—his pieces introduced me to gold leaf and made me incorporate it into my art work. I’m also a big fan of Leonardo da Vinci, and he inspired me to look more deeply into human anatomy.

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

Ever since I could remember, I’ve always been drawing. Looking back on it now, as a child, I think what made drawing so appealing to me is that fact that I could create something with my own hands. Superhero twins shooting lasers out of their eyes and fighting crime? Done. Doll that had animal best friends and drove a firetruck? Finished. Even now, I look through the stuff I’ve done over the past few years, and I always remember why I loved drawing it.

Awesome warrior amputee queen that rules justly over her land in a castle of bones? Did that a few months ago, haha.

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Blue Diamond

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?

Now this I really have to think on. For my artistic style, I think one thing that people always tell me that helps them identify a work as mine is detailed lineart; they also say my range of colors, too. One thing that I am very conscious of is my signature — first initial, last name, with the date riding on the end of my signature. I always make sure I sign my stuff.

Recently, now that I’ve started selling some of my prints and such online, I’ve been putting a crown with my signature as a play on my last name and store/account name. (Rey = Spanish for ‘king’; crown = king)

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would definitely say keep drawing no matter what. You think your character’s arm looks wonky? Keep practicing on arms and look up references. Having trouble understanding how watercolor paint works? Ask someone for help and practice. Asking for help or looking up reference pictures is not cheating—it’s learning.

Also, do not throw away your old sketches or drawings. As cringe-worthy as you may think they are (I’ve been there and I understand), keep them. You’ll look back and see how much you’ve improved. In fact, I’ve looked back to some of the stuff I made just last year and I can see an improvement. You may not see it as the year progresses, but after that good chunk of time, you will most certainly see it. No matter how small the progress (you’re better at drawing paws, your tree finally doesn’t look weird, you understand how water reflects, you’re progressing at drawing fur), progress it progress. Keep at it! 🙂

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Mersons

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a nonbinary person that identifies as 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 encountered any prejudice per se, but I’ve come across people who ask, “How can this character look like this? I thought they were asexual.” They often mean, how can a character look pretty, handsome, or sexy if they are asexual.

I usually just try to explain to them that just because a person is asexual does not mean they cannot dress or look a certain way. Clothes and appearance are just that—clothes and appearance.

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

I think I’ve come across two: 1) Asexual people are boring, confused, and/or broken; and 2) Asexual people cannot enjoy romance or sex/sensation.

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Monster Girl

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

You are not broken, no matter what anyone tells you! You are you, and you are just fine.

Asexuality does not exist stagnantly — it’s different for everyone. One ace person may absolutely hate sex and be sex-repulsed (which is totally okay), and another ace person may only like sex once they get to know the person or persons, or have finally established feelings for them, a grey ace (which is also total okay). In another example, one ace person may just like the sensation of sex because it feels good, while another ace person may not like sex with people but is comfortable taking care of their body’s needs on their own. Both are valid and okay. ❤

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

I actually have a few platforms where I can be found!

Art Blog Tumblr: http://el-c-rey.tumblr.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/el_c_rey/
(Misc. Merchandise) Redbubble: https://www.redbubble.com/people/el-c-rey?asc=u
(Prints) Storenvy: http://elcrey.storenvy.com/

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Person Praying

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

Interview: Carly Ann

Today we’re joined by Carly Ann. Carly Ann is a phenomenal artist who does a lot of visual art and SFX makeup. She works in a wide variety of mediums when she’s drawing. Carly Ann is also incredibly passionate about makeup and it’s truly something she loves to do. Her work shows an incredible attention to detail and it’s very apparent Carly Ann’s a gifted artist. Her passion shines through in her interview, 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’m a bit of a jack of all trades in the visual arts as I never hesitate to take on a new challenge or venture into a new medium. My main focuses tend to be in drawing and special effects makeup, though I even work in costume design and prop making. I’ve been drawing ever since I could hold a crayon and have continued with it as a hobby into adulthood. It has only been in the past couple years that I decided to make it my life’s work, that art is what brings me the most joy. My typical drawing mediums include graphite, charcoal, and ink, though I have even dappled in oil pastels and gouache. Even my subject matters tend to bounce from everything to photo-realistic portrait work, abstract expressionism pieces, and even still life.

As for special effects makeup, this interest has been a more recent development. Upon reaching my teenage years and continuing into the present, I have stepped into alternative fashion. Makeup has always been a means of self-expression for me in this unique lifestyle, from simple dramatic looks to bordering on stage makeup. But I never considered it as a form of artistic expression or a potential career path until two years ago. I hit a state of severe depression about halfway through my sophomore year of college. I was not happy with the career path I was originally on, but too scared to take on art as it is stereotypically thought of as not a reliable income source. One of the few daily activities in my life that kept me going during this time was waking up hours before class to do intense, dramatic makeup. I would watch YouTube videos and teach myself all these creative ways to manipulate your features through cosmetics. After I reached my lowest point in my depression, I asked a friend what they thought I should do and they said I always look my happiest when I am doing my makeup. That was all the convincing I needed to realize that my heart truly was in the arts, thus I became an art major and dedicated my life to it. Since then my work has been focused in sculpture and I have done numerous projects in special effects makeup. Needless to say, I have never been happier or more confident in myself than I have at this point in my life.

What inspires you?

The concept of duality is something that I not only embody in my artwork, but in my life. Contrasting ideas, beauty meets horror, life meets death, dark meets light, have always fascinated me. Much of the artwork that I do for myself embraces these conflicting elements. People tend to fear the darker aspects of our world as they hold uncertainty and the unknown, but I want my art to show that there is no need to be afraid. There is beauty in darkness and just as the shadows can conceal, the light can blind. Finding balance between the two, understanding that life and death go hand in hand, is the root of much of my work.

As for artists I find inspiration in, they range from tattoo artists to special effects makeup artists, both of which are career paths I am looking into for the future. One of my favorite tattoo artists is Ryan Ashley Malarkey, an independent artist from Kingston, Pennsylvania. Her fine line black and grey pieces are simply breathtaking in their detail, and tend to feature many of the dual elements I mentioned before. In special effects makeup, Mykie, also known as Glam and Gore on YouTube, has been an incredible source of not only inspiration, but information. Much of her work does not involve expensive products, which when you’re a poor college student, it’s much appreciated. Not to mention her YouTube channel caught my eye with its contrast. Many of her tutorials marry beauty and blood, from gory Disney princesses to neon zombies. I’ve referenced a number of her videos in order to achieve my own unique looks.

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

I suppose you could say I have always been interested in in the arts. My family has been very supportive, always making art supplies available, signing me up for dance classes, as well as encouraging theatre and music-related extracurricular activities throughout my education. The arts, in all its vast forms, are something I could not imagine my life without. Music and theatre helped my cope with my shyness and social anxiety. Drawing became an outlet for my vivid and creative imagination. Makeup has taken on a form of self-expression, a means of showing the unique individual that I am, inside and out. I even currently work within the costume shop on my college campus, it has already become a means of sustaining myself financially. Though, I never really considered the career path of an artist until recently due to the financial risks society likes to associate with it. There was always this fear that my art would never be “good enough”, that I would not be able to apply it in a way to sustain myself and it could never be anything more than a hobby. But thanks to dedication, practice, and the encouragement of those around me, I have gained a lot of confidence that being an artist is the right field for me.

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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 have actually put a bit of thought into my signature. Writing out my full name can be such a hassle, and admittedly I am not a huge fan of my handwriting. Instead my signature consists of a rather stiff and scratchy looking moon with a star hanging off the top. The intention is for it to not only mimic the imagery of the night sky, but also hold my first and middle initials (the moon for “C” and an “A” hidden within the lines of the star). It’s simple, but unique, and once more embodies the idea of lights in the dark.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Honestly, I feel as if I could write an essay of advice alone for aspiring artists, but to be brief I will touch a few main points that helped me pursue my passion. The first being, do not be afraid of risk, whether that is taking on an unfamiliar medium or dedicating your life to art in general. It’s all a learning experience, and you are bound to make mistakes, but do not let those hold you back or make you believe that your art is not worthy. Practice does not make perfect, practice gives you a better understanding of who you are and how your art is an embodiment of that. All art is “perfect” in its own way as it is an extension of yourself, and you are wonderful. Do not feel pressured to meet the expectations or abilities of those around you, or you run the risk of losing the creativity that is the root of all art. That is when it becomes more of a chore than something enjoyable. Also, it is okay to take breaks from time to time. Do not think that you need to dedicate every waking moment to creating something. There is value in stepping away from a piece and allowing yourself time to meditate on your ideas, as well as recharge your creative energy. Finally, never let anyone devalue your art or the life of an artist. There are those out there who will attempt to discourage you, make art seem trivial, almost juvenile. But they just fail to see how we are all constantly surrounded by art. Art enriches our lives, gives us beauty and even an escape from reality from time to time. There will always be a need for art, your work will always hold value. You will always have a purpose in this world as an artist.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as both asexual and aromantic.

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

Over all, within my work as an artist I have never faced any ace prejudice (outside the field is another story). Since I have only recently taken on the ace/aro terms to describe my orientations (about half a year ago), I have only just begun expressing this aspect of myself openly to a select few individuals in my field, all of whom have been incredibly open-minded. My employer in my college’s costume shop (who identifies openly as both heterosexual and heteroromantic) has spent hours discussing sexuality and the LGBT+ community over our work with me in a completely accepting manner. Any questions she has had have been asked both politely and completely out of curiosity with a desire to gain a better understanding of the ace/aro spectrum. In general my college campus is very friendly towards the non-heteronormative and non-cisgendered community. We even have posters currently up around our buildings welcoming those that identify as agender and asexual to the LGBT+ organization on campus. However, as I am a senior with the intent to graduate in the spring, I am a little apprehensive if that will change once I am involved in the professional art world. But with more light and acknowledgement being shed on asexuality and aromanticism as valid identities, and the spectrum they encompass, I am confident that with time we will all be better understood.

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

The most common misconception that I have personally encountered is that ace/aro individuals are cold-hearted or emotionless. While this has not been expressed by anyone within my artistic field, I have been confronted with it by people in other areas of my life. I have been called a “man-hater” and told that I “do not even count as a girl” because I do not experience romantic or sexual attraction and am personally uncomfortable with affectionate physical contact. In reality, ace/aro people, including myself, hold just as much emotion as anyone else. These aspects of our identity pertain only to our lack of sexual and romantic attraction and by no means imply hatred or devalue our sense of humanity. I have found this to be one of the most toxic forms of ace/aro misunderstandings as it enforces the ideas of being “broken” or inhuman, which simply are not true. Regardless of attraction or lack thereof, ace/aro people are just as deserving of respect and love.

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

Just as I could for aspiring artists, I feel as if I could go on for pages of advice for fellow ace/aros, despite having only come to understand my own identity less than a year ago. The best advice I could give is to love in the way that you feel most comfortable with (and is obviously consensual). As I have questioned my sexuality over the years, trying to put a name to it, I have caused myself an incredible amount of unnecessary stress and grief. Even after accepting my own ace/aro identity, I still find myself dwelling on these unnecessary thoughts. What if it really is just a phase as society tries to accuse? What if it’s rooted in a medical issue relating to libido? What if I never find anyone who will be satisfied with being in a platonic relationship and I spend the rest of my life alone (albeit with a lot of cats)? But in the end I just need to take a deep breath and clear my mind. I need to remind myself that I am human, I am not perfect, but I am not broken. Most importantly, what it all comes down to is what makes me comfortable and happy, whether that is being in a strictly platonic relationship or finding in time that I identify somewhere else on the vast spectrum of sexuality. Regardless of labels, regardless of any changes I may experience as I further understand myself, I am still valuable as a person and deserving of love.

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

Most of my work gets posted on my personal social media; this includes Twitter (necromanticdoll), Instagram (necromanticdoll), and Tumblr (necromanticdoll.tumblr.com). As I build my portfolio and career I may make accounts dedicated solely to my art, but I will be sure to keep things updated on any changes via my personal accounts.

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

Interview: Sam

Today we’re joined by Sam. Sam is a phenomenal digital artist who works with a variety of different media. They use both traditional and digital media and a lot of their inspiration comes from their love of webcomics. Sam’s work demonstrates a remarkable skill and vivid imagination. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Most of my art is a combination of traditional and digital. I draw and ink by hand, and then color on my computer. I also sometimes use colored pencils or markers, and lately I’ve been practicing with gouache, which is a type of opaque watercolor paint. I’m not very good with paint yet, but I’m getting better!

I mostly draw my own characters, the majority of which are from a comic I’m currently working on. On occasion, I’ll draw little bits of fan art when it crosses my mind, but not as often. I’ve been branching out a bit lately, trying some more world-building type art, and art with clearer settings/backgrounds.

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What inspires you?

I read a fair assortment of webcomics that I love and that are good inspirations. Three of the biggest inspirations for me, comic-wise, would be Paranatural, The Glass Scientists, and Harpy Gee. Some cartoons/animated movies with nice art styles inspire me, as do some games. I like Legend of Zelda and Pokemon a lot, and draw stuff from them sometimes. Some books make me want to draw too! The main one I think would be the How to Train Your Dragon books.

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

I’ve been drawing for a very long time! I drew a lot when I was very little, and just kept doing it and improving myself. It was a nice way to control stress and boredom, and it just makes me happy.

I got interested in comics because I love the idea of visual story telling, and I saw how happy different webcomics I read made people, and I wanted to make something like that. I hope my art makes people happy.

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 particularly. I’ve tried a couple of times to do something like that, but I’d only do once or twice, and then forget.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you want to draw, or wish you could draw better, you can! Lots of people I talk to say all they can draw is stick figures or something like that; when I first started drawing, that’s all I did. Stick figures!

You can draw, it just takes practice. You’ve gotta do it a lot. Doodle on the bus, or the margins of your notes in class, or on your napkin while waiting for your food.

If you draw something and it doesn’t look very good to you, that’s no reason to stop. It’s why you should try again, and try to make it better the next time. Please don’t compare your art to someone else’s. That won’t help at all. However, you can try looking back at your old art and see how much you’ve improved.

You’ll always be changing and improving.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aro/ace!  I’m also panplatonic

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

Eh, not so much, but that’s mostly because I’m not out nor have I mentioned it ‘in real life’. Although, my family is of the mindset that you have to get married and make a family to be successful, even though none of them know asexuality actually exists.

There’s the ‘you just haven’t found the right person yet’, or ‘you’ll change your mind one day’ floating around also.

stabbing pain

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

That being ace makes you more ‘pure’ or ‘innocent’. That ace people cannot have sex/don’t have sex ever. Stuff like that. Asexual doesn’t necessarily mean sex-repulsed.

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

If you think you’re ace, that’s okay and normal! If you’re not sure you’re ‘ace enough’, remember, it’s a spectrum! If you’re ace, you’re ace; you’re on the spectrum somewhere.

And don’t feel like if you’re ace now, you ‘have’ to be ace forever. It’s okay to grow and change. Maybe twenty years from now you’ll decide you’re bisexual, et cetera, or maybe you’ll still be asexual. Both are good and okay, and whatever happens in the future doesn’t change what you are right now.

two

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

You can find my stuff lots of places!

I have an OC blog which is where most of my art is: http://halfwaytown.tumblr.com

A more ‘normal’ art blog (aka, not just my characters): http://licantaur.tumblr.com

A DeviantArt: http://licantaur.deviantart.com

And a webcomic! : http://forgottenpassages.smackjeeves.com

Although, the comic still being worked on and no pages are up yet. When it updates, there will be an announcement on the above listed locations.

I also have an ask blog for the How to Train Your Dragon Books: http://askhiccupandcompany.tumblr.com

villian kids

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

Interview: Phin

Today we’re joined by Phin.  Phin is an amazingly talented and incredibly passionate artist.  They’re currently working on a series of paintings meant to bring awareness to the prejudices against the LGBTQIA+ community.  The images they sent along with their interview are nothing short of beautiful.  This is an artist to watch because they’ve got a really bright future.  My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Detail of P. Woodward by Phin (Lindsay Anibal)
Detail of P. Woodward by Phin (Lindsay Anibal)

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is hard to describe, as I seem to have various styles that interact with each other interchangeably. My favorite mediums are intaglio printmaking and watercolors or gouache. My prints are generally black and white linear images that are incredibly detail oriented and more realist/surrealist in nature. The natural world influences my prints a lot and I’ve done prints of insects, birds, and a series with flowers growing out of people Flora and fauna are recurring themes. My paintings are a lot more expressionist and in some I’ve broken a few rules by using oils and watercolors together. I’m currently painting a series of art meant to bring awareness to prejudices against the lgbtqia+ community, and I’m also working on a completely different project to illustrate an educational biology based animal story. My personal art is my life, and I love art so much I can’t even say. I don’t like to define myself by anything, because as people we are ever changing, but art will always be an integral part of my being.

Lauren by Phin (Lindsay Anibal)
Lauren by Phin (Lindsay Anibal)

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by anything and everything, and since my art is very personal a lot of it is inspired by my experiences. I have two majors, one in animal behavior and the other in studio art, and my areas of studies sometimes do blend together. Many of my prints feature aspects of nature, and lately flora has become much more of a motif in my works than ever before. After doing a series of three portraits of friends and family with flowers growing out of them, I spent a good half of a semester working on an illustration of ‘Ophelia regarding Gertrude’ based off of the infamous and flowery Hamlet scene, so flowers have popped up in nearly everything I work on since then. I was recently inspired by a personal experience of realizing someone I was very close to was very homophobic. Her homophobia has lead to a series of paintings of beautiful lgbtqia+ couples and individuals. She didn’t seem to believe that her homophobia was bad since she didn’t have the power to ‘stop the gays’ or anything, yet she was telling me, a queer individual, that a part of myself I find so wonderful was a sinful choice in her eyes. I’ve found a lot of people have the mindset of there being ‘no harm’ in ‘casual homophobia’, such as bigoted Facebook posts and prejudice religious beliefs. In response I’ve created a series of images I call the Untitled Project. Each painting depicts the beauty of a queer couple or individual to show the glorious population of the lgbtqia+ society, and each painting is titled with the name of a homophobic, biphobic, acephobic, transphobic, ect. individual to show the fights our community is up against every day with the average people we interact with. The colors used in the paintings have varied from colors I just like to palettes based off of the trans flag, the pan flag, the bi flag, etc. I hope to one day run out of names to use as titles, and will continue the project indefinitely. There are currently 8 paintings in it.

I’m also inspired by random occurrences in nature. I ended up keeping a dead bird I found for a while so I could paint and photograph it. His name was Squock-Tadashi and after 3 paintings, a print, and a photo I finally buried him in my yard. I really hope to get his skeleton one day, it would be amazing reference material.

Detail of Ophelia Regarding Gertrude by Phin (Lindsay Anibal)
Detail of Ophelia Regarding Gertrude by Phin (Lindsay Anibal)

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

My elementary school art teacher is the reason I love art.  As I was bullied back then, I used to hide in the art room during recess to draw, and she never made me leave. She was such a creative individual and allowed us to use art in our own ways and often repeated the phrase “Artists never make mistakes”. I was a perfectionist who would become teary and upset if anything got messed up in my artwork, and those words meant a lot to me but it took me years to understand them. At first I thought that maybe it meant that the bad drawings and the eraser smudges are still somehow art, but now I think it’s more about how we can learn from our mistakes as artists. It’s not a mistake if you learn from it. Many of my paintings are painted over again and again and instead of mourning the art that I paint over I acknowledge that I learned from it, but no matter how good bits of it looked it wasn’t right and I can move on. I think I’ve wanted to be an artist ever since I was Ms. Krog’s student in 1st grade. Maybe even before that, but Ms. Krog allowed me to believe it was possible, and art was and has always remained a safe place for me.

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 always hide the initials LA in my artwork, LA being the initials of my birth name. Even though now I mainly go by Phin, I still sign with an LA because it’s what I like. As a singer I was happy that my first and last name initials spelled out a commonly sung vowel, and I never wanted a signature longer than one or two letters. I don’t like huge signatures because I feel like it takes away from my work, especially my detail oriented prints, so sometimes I even hide the initials. The L and the A in my Ophelia print look like little flower petals falling in the water. There’s another print of mine where I hide my initials in the image of a bee. In my paintings, I don’t always try to hide the signature.

As for flowers, which are a huge motif in my work (especially flowers growing out of people) I started that after having the image of an arm with a plant growing out of it in my head for weeks. I painted it on my dorm wall, where I kept a large canvas sheet, and shortly after that started doing my print series of flowers growing out of whole bodies, not just arms. Though the inspiration behind the flowers is simply the imagery I found stuck in my head, sometimes I think its my own way of laughing at the first time I heard the word Asexual, when someone said “(Phin) is asexual and will only ever reproduce by budding”. It wasn’t until 4 or 5 years later I heard the word asexual again and learned what it actually meant in terms of sexuality. I don’t plan to ever reproduce, but it would be pretty cool to have plants budding, like floral tattoos come to life. It would also be rather threatening if someone said something ignorant and one could just choke out the acephobia with vines, or perhaps some poison oak. In a self-portrait I made that focuses on my sexuality, I’m covered in flowers and also decorated with a unicorn horn in the center of my forehead.

Unicorns and unicorn horns are also sometimes featured in my artwork, which is my attempt at reclaiming the symbol of the unicorn for asexuality. In historical artworks dating back to medieval tapestries, unicorns were symbols of virginity and the misogynistic concept of purity. Historically, pictures of young maidens with unicorns were usually images of their “virtue” or, in other words, virginity. I figure we might as well reclaim that symbol as something less misogynistic and sex shaming and more ace, an icon to show that sex really isn’t necessary for everyone, and sexual attraction isn’t experienced by all. Us aces can accept and love our unicorns. I also always loved unicorns, and when I was little I aspired to be one. I suppose I may have accomplished that.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t forget that there are no mistakes in art.

If you’ve drawn something once, you can draw it again, so don’t be afraid to mess it up or sell it or whatever.

Let your art be personal, it’s for you. Don’t worry about certain people not liking it. And don’t forget that you can only improve, so just don’t stop practicing.

Robert M by Phin (Lindsay Anibal)
Robert M by Phin (Lindsay Anibal)

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a panromantic asexual. I’m also gender queer.

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

I’ve encountered quite a bit of it, especially in the animal behavior field, as scientists sometimes mix up sex, gender, and all that jazz. I’ve had one fellow science friend tell me the scientific definition of asexual (unable to reproduce by meiosis) when I tried to come out to them. I asked them to stop trying to reassure me that I was straight, because not only am I not a hetero, I don’t wish I was a hetero, and it really does annoy me when I’m trying to come out to someone and they think they need to save me by telling me I can still be a straight. I am very happily not straight. As for with my fellow artists, there’s Laura, who’s hatred inspired the Untitled Project. It always surprises me how conservative some artists can be. I handled it by naming a painting of kissing lesbians after her, and its turned into a series with 8 works so far. With cases of ignorance, I try to educate. With cases of peer prejudice, I’m careful to surround myself with open-minded individuals. My friendship with Laura taught me I could never be too careful.

Self Portrait with a Dead Robin by Phin (Lindsay Anibal)
Self Portrait with a Dead Robin by Phin (Lindsay Anibal)

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

That it’s repression or celibacy instead of a sexuality, or that its not ‘queer enough’, both of which are absolutely ridiculous. It’s not straight, and it may not be homosexual, but its still queer. It shouldn’t be such an invisible sexuality, that’s quite a shame. I wish I’d learned the true definition of asexual earlier. (Not the meiosis one, the actual sexuality one).

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

Don’t listen to people who tell you labels like sexuality don’t matter. The labels you identify as do matter, and you’re not alone. Don’t be afraid that its “not lgbtqia+” enough, that’s what the a is there for. You’re the a. Also, try not to worry about being the only one. You’d be surprised at how many of us there are, and its wonderful to be ace. In this society it is hard and frustrating and scary, but my asexuality is an awesome thing, and I love who I am, and you should too. Also, don’t be afraid to identify as ace because you think it might change or you might be one the edge of the spectrum. No one will judge you as you figure yourself out, and a great community will be there for you.

I also recently found out about this thing where aces wear black rings on their middle finger of their right hands. It sounds odd but getting a little token to wear as pride has been great. I got a black ring right after I found out and I’ve had a black ring on ever since, and it makes me super happy about who I am.

Self Portrait with a Unicorn Horn by Phin (Lindsay Anibal)
Self Portrait with a Unicorn Horn by Phin (Lindsay Anibal)

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

My actual art website is laartsite.wix.com/color but I’ve had some trouble with it and it sorely needs to be updated.

I have some tumblr blogs, one of which, http://untitled-art-project.tumblr.com, is dedicated to my paintings against lgbtqia+ hate and also sorely needs to be updated.

My instagram is phinn23 and that’s usually either art or pictures of animals. Or selfies, I do post a lot of selfies.

My twitter is checkmeowt23, which my sister made for me but I’ve never used it. I hope to start up with that.

Steve K. by Phin (Lindsay Anibal)
Steve K. by Phin (Lindsay Anibal)

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