Interview: Ella

Today we’re joined by Ella. Ella is a phenomenally talented artist who specializes in designing creatures and props. She works as a graphic designer and also writes, both original work and fanfiction, and bakes. Ella is most passionate about making creatures from movies. They’re exquisite, as you’ll soon see. Ella is a passionate and dedicated artist, which really shines through in her work. 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 lots of things! I’m a graphic designer, I bake, I write stories … But I think my creatures are the things I’m proudest of, so I’m gonna talk about them.

Have you ever sat in a movie theatre and went: ‘that animal is the most adorable thing I have ever seen and I want to hug it!!’

Me, too. Sadly, most of the animals on films and series are either lethal, imaginary or trained. So you’ll have to live out the rest of your life, knowing you would never get to hug that little critter.

I refuse to live out my life that way. That’s why I make the animals myself.

I have made a Toothless costume from How To Train Your Dragon, a BB-8 from Star Wars, two creatures from Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, and a plaidypus and the pig Waddles, from Gravity Falls.

My greatest joy comes from bringing the creatures to a convention, so other people can hug them, too.

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What inspires you?

The movies the creatures are in, mainly. But never underestimate the reaction other people have to your creations. People keep me going. People going “He’s so CUTE! Where did you buy him?” And then I can say: “Oh, no, I made him!”

Then again, everything can inspire me. A walk through the dollar store is very helpful, for instance.

The thing that inspires me the most is that sometimes, kids believe that my creatures are real. To me, that’s the best compliment I can get.

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

I just sort of… ended up in it. My job is graphic designer, but I only went to that school because it was close to home. I started working on Toothless when I was 18 or so. I always thought I wanted to be a comic artist, or just an illustrator. Or maybe an actress. Or maybe something with languages! Then it turned out that my drawings are not that good, I don’t have patience to practice and I didn’t like languages all that much.

But, man. I started work on Toothless, and it just flowed. And then I started to work on BB-8, and that flowed as well. Writers tell about it, too. As if a book wants to be written.

I guess my creatures just want to be made.

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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?

For some reason, I love the number eight. I usually try to put it somewhere in my writing, art or creatures. Or I incorporate something of myself. The lines on the hands of the big white ape-like Dougal are the same as the lines on mine. And I love special effects. The eyes of Dougal light up, the Niffler has a pouch in which bells are glued so he rings when he is shaken. BB-8 rolls and makes sounds. Toothless’s wings could go up and down.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t force yourself to do anything that you deep down feel you don’t want to. If drawing secretly isn’t your thing, try clay! Try writing!

If you wanna do something like the things I do, buy a glue gun. It’s the best tool ever.

Stay kind to the other artists. They started like you did. And above all, stay weird. Find that one small spot inside yourself that screams “this is me!” and hold on tightly.

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you aren’t good enough. If they do, hot glue their fingers together. Trust me, it hurts.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Straight and Asexual Until Further Notice.

That basically means that I have no sexual interest in people, but I don’t know what happens when I actually do get a relationship at one point.

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

My colleagues don’t often understand it. They ask questions like “But if your partner wants to, and you don’t, what do you do?”

The answer is “We don’t do the do.”

I don’t have much prejudice or ignorance, really. I guess people already see me as a strange person and are like “well, we’ll just add that up to the total picture”

Most people just want explanations on How It Works. Here’s my tip on that:

Ask if they have pets. Most people do. Then ask them if they think that their pet is the most beautiful thing in the world. Most people say yes. Then ask them if they would like to have sex with their pet. The people go “NOOO EEEEW”

Then you go: ‘That’s how I feel about everyone’

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

That you can get rid of it.

“Oh, no matter. Once you meet the right person…”

You can’t get rid of it. It’s like your spine. Sure, you could try to get rid of your spine, but that would take immense force and possibly trauma.

Please don’t get rid of your spine. (unless you medically need to or something)

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

Relax. Sexualities change. At first I thought I was completely and utterly asexual, now I’m thinking I might just be demi. Your atoms and molecules replace completely every seven years or so. Who says you can’t?

If you don’t want sex, don’t have it. And if you are struggling with anything, do some research. Talk to people. Talk to your partner, for goodness sake.

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

My stories: SleepingReader on AO3
My cosplays: EllaFixIt on Facebook or FixitCosplay on Instagram.
My Tumblr – feel free to talk to me about anything- SleepingReader.

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

Interview: Diane Ramic

Today we’re joined by Diane Ramic. Diane is a phenomenal freelance illustrator who specializes in prehistory, science, fantasy, and science fiction. She does a ton of paleoart and dinosaurs are frequently in her work. Diane has also written a couple children’s books, including a coloring book of scientifically accurate dinosaurs. She has a passion for science and it shows, 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 freelance illustrator and graphic designer, and my work tends to focus on prehistory, fantasy, and sci-fi. So, you’ll find plenty of dinosaurs, dragons and aliens in my art. I also illustrate children’s books, and have written a few of my own as well! I love combining art and science into a work, as those two fields have both captured my imagination since I was very young. Educational media is something I try to work on whenever I can.

What inspires you?

Nature for sure. Thinking about life that existed in the past, and life that may exist in the future, it just makes me want to design or re-create them through art. Astronomy is a huge inspiration for when I need to do alien designs, and just thinking of the cosmos gets me in the creating mode of thought.

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

Well, when I was seven, I wanted to be a Velociraptor. I even started walking on my toes, all hunched over and with my arms mimicking their folded up arms. When I found out being a Velociraptor was physically impossible (for now), my next goal was to be a paleontologist, and that turned into wanting to be a science-minded illustrator. Fossils are a fantastic base for knowing as much as we can about these extinct animals, but the only way we can really know what they looked like in life is through artists reconstructing them in their work. For most of the public, their first impressions on prehistoric animals comes from the media, be it in movie, toy, or book form. That’s why it’s important, when you’re working with paleoart, to incorporate the updated science in your work. It brings me great satisfaction to help contribute my work to the paleoart community, and help educate the public about the lives these wonderful animals lived.

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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?

Beyond designing aliens and their environments, I really, really enjoy doing the math for figuring out the planet’s mass and composition, atmospheric pressure, its place in the solar system, the mass and age of its star(s), how many other planets it shares the star(s) with, etc. Even if no one ever sees these things, it’s just very satisfying to have it all work out in your head and on paper.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m a visual artist, so this will be in that category of art. Study from life as often as you can. Once you’ve got a good grasp on the basics of how objects interact with one another and understand color theory, you can experiment with distorting and exaggerating figures, and play with color choice. A lot of online resources are free, and try to share what you’ve learned with others. There’s a lot of gatekeeping in the artist community, even though that doesn’t help anyone. You will most likely have to go through plenty of rejections, and that’s OK, too. Just pick yourself back up and keep going as best as you can. And whatever you do, don’t make fun of younger or less experienced artists’ work.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am definitely both ace and aro, and have felt this way as long as I can remember. I’m actually pretty relieved to not have developed any romantic or sexual feelings; I feel they would get in the way of me doing my work.

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

I think the most common thing is being told again and again that what I am doing is unnatural, and going against nature, the person’s gods, or “how it should be.” The “late bloomer” stuff can get kind of annoying, too. I’m about to be 23 as of this writing, I’m pretty sure if I was going to develop any other orientations, it would have been a thing by now. And if nothing else, I’m pretty sure there are plenty enough humans on this planet, the global population isn’t in danger of going extinct anytime soon, haha.

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

Probably that we are seen as cold, unfeeling robots. I understand a lot of ace people out there definitely have the same range of emotion as anyone else, and being compared to a robot is very dehumanizing. But as someone that also has a lack of emotion/empathy/etc. in general, I actually kind of like the description.

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

You are a valid and real person, and you know yourself better than anyone else can. You might be confused at first, thinking “Is something wrong with me?” or “Am I really like this?” and that’s ok. Sometimes feelings can shift over time and you may find yourself having a different experience than you do now, and this is normal. Part of what makes living things special is their ability to grow and change over time. You’re not alone. Do what makes you comfortable.

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

I have a website at http://dramic.wixsite.com/home, but more frequently post on my Tumblr at  http://dianeramic.tumblr.com. I’m always working on new projects, so I hope you stop by to see what’s new! I’ve also got an Amazon author page; feel free to check out what new books I have available!

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

Interview: Jones

Today we’re joined by Jones. Jones is a phenomenal musician and visual artist. He specializes in a variety of music genres and plays no less than six instruments. When he’s not creating music, Jones does a lot of visual art including graphic design and drawing. His work shows an interesting use of color and beautiful visuals. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

The artist
The Artist

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

The only place I fit in this world is behind my guitar (or PC). I’m the weirdo loner that your parents probably warned you about. (And if they didn’t warn you about weirdo loners then you should get new parents). My name is Jones and I like creating music, filming, writing, editing, producing, photography, drawing, and graphic design. I love mimicking psychedelic art (cause the 60’s were awesome . . . duh lol) but my real passion is music. I taught myself six instruments (thanks YouTube!) and decided to get involved in producing my own work. I especially love beat making and sound designing. Anything that keeps me in my room. I’m an introvert. Outside to me is the hallway lol.

Asli Omar
Asli Omar

What inspires you?

Pot, Anime, and music… well that’s the vague answer… What really inspires me are events in my life whether it’s friendships, manic depression, music, or…. pot. I normally use my experiences in songs. I’m a huge lofi indie rock fan so I like to think of myself as the millennial version of Daniel Johnston (Shout out to the few people who know who Daniel Johnston is lol) but rap and metal are another form of inspiration.

I’m a huge fan of Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler the creator, 2pac, Wu-tang, Future, Migos, Kung-fu Kenny and J Cole. My favorite metal bands that inspire my “Dark art” so to speak are: Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Bathory, Acid Bath, BreakDown of sanity, Killswitch Engage, Alice in Chains, Mercyful Fate, Straight Line Stitch, Heaven Shall Burn and Uncle Acid.

But I’m a huge Indie rock nerd. I love Beat Happening, Beach fossils, Car Seat Headrest, Neutral Milk Hotel, Beulah (basically anything from the Elephant 6 label), A great big pile of leaves, Empire Empire I was a lonely estate, Marietta, The Ton Tons, Modern Baseball, and the War on Drugs.

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Demon Child

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

I wanted to be Goku when I was a kid… but that didn’t seem like a lucrative career choice so I opted out to drawing comics. From there I was hooked into art and drawing. I was always introverted as a kid. I stayed alone and watched cartoons all the time and tried making my own cartoons. I was always the weird kid at my school and I never fit in so I just avoided people and focused on my artwork. I found everyone to be distracting and I only hung out with people that shared my interests in art. It really freaked out my parents because I would stay home and watch cartoons all day then stay up at night acting out what my cartoons would say and do. I was living in my own world of art. It was pretty chill.

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?

Lo and Cho (Lo’s the dude and Cho’s the girl). They were doodles associated with my music because I was inspired by Beat Happening’s first album and the child like appeal of it. I wanted to mimic that for my lofi music. I also made comics with these two that I may or may not release. It’s mostly about tripping acid and contemplating life as a drawing inside of a huge notebook of drawings.

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Kinky Sheets

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you’re a musician, just starting out I’ll be straightforward in saying this: nobody is going to like you. Don’t ever get discouraged by this fact though. When the Doors had their first show, nobody came. Few years later, they had riots at their concerts because people lost their minds hearing Jim Morrison’s voice. Any skill takes time and it will take a while for some to build up a fan base whether you draw or sing. My best advice is to create something that changes YOUR world first. When I first started making music I’d put it on my iPod and pretend like I was a famous person before I started uploading songs online. I used these moments to critique and rewrite my work and improve my sound. Don’t worry about what anyone else says because your talent is something that they cannot take away. If you want your moment you’re gonna have to stay motivated because time and practice goes a long way. Some people blow up overnight while others never do, that’s just how it is. You just gotta stay focused and do it for you and you alone. This is YOUR world of art, use it to create something meaningful for yourself.

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Frostburg Sunset

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m somewhere between Asexual and Demi/grey sexual. I’m still figuring it out but I find it hard to be attracted to people. Sometimes I can get curious (key word: sometimes) but when I notice someone it’s like “Oh He’s handsome” or “she’s pretty” but it doesn’t lead me to sexual feelings. I’ve had mild interests in sex but not to the point where I wanted to experiment because sex and body parts always looked weird to me. I was always interested in voyeurism and fetishes like BDSM, macrophilia, etc. because I got to notice body types without really touching them. My motto in life was always Snack, Fap, and Nap lol.

I never cared about flirting signals from others and I didn’t reciprocate any feelings whether it was from men or women. In late high school/early college I thought I was heterosexual but when I had sex for the first time it was kinda weird (Nothing wrong with my partner, she was wonderful, I just wasn’t really invested during the times we… you know). I tried experimenting with both men and women and neither really interested me. The only time I actually liked someone is through personality.

But just because I’m asexual/demi doesn’t mean sometimes I don’t get curious. I feel like that’s just a part of human nature to notice members of your own species and to identify with them. Sometimes I notice people and although for the most part it’s difficult to sexualize them sometimes I fantasize (again keyword: sometimes). For me it’s mostly from a voyeuristic standpoint where I’m not involved or I’m looking in from a third person viewpoint. My fantasies are not as common as regular people but sometimes it happens. For the most part, they’re just thoughts and I don’t really have any interest in acting on them but I don’t want to be seen as anti-sex because I’m an ace/demi. I’m indifferent when it comes to sex because it’s not that important to me and I can definitely live without it but if I ever fell in love with somebody’s personality I also wouldn’t mind exploring our buttons together.

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Giantess Ayisha

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

Oh yeah. My friends used to think I was only asexual because I couldn’t get laid. When you’re a black male you have to be this hyper-masculine oversexualize creature and here I am avoiding anything with parents LOL. I probably handled ace prejudice poorly when it happened to me.

But when I came out I didn’t fit in with my friends. All they did was have sex with each other and I felt suffocated by this because I was the odd man out who didn’t want to be touched.

I was also very misogynistic back when I first came out because I used to think hypersexual girls were disgusting. I’m not like that anymore and I now believe that women have the right to sexually express themselves any way they want to without anyone’s opinion but back when I first came out I had a different mindset. It started when the girls that wanted to sleep with me were more puzzled that I wasn’t as hypersexual as they were and they just simply marked me off as gay and spread rumors about me. This lead to the dissolution of a lot of female relationships because I felt weirded out that there was this unspoken pressure to form sexual bonds with them. I became the odd man out not only around my female friends but my male friends also and for that I became a slut shaming bitter misogynist and a loner. Many of my female friends were hypersexual and looked at me differently because I was this anti-sexual Queer that didn’t fit in with any group. Again I’m not misogynistic anymore but back then I had a different mindset and a lot of conflicting emotions that really came in the way of a lot of friendships with other people. For some time, I avoided girls because many of the females around me preached about their sex lives. This was also common with my male friends. I just started avoiding everyone. I especially avoided female friends because I was the “diary” to some and I didn’t want to be. (I also learned that a lot of my female friends could be very Queerphobic.)

What was worse was that some of my male friends would avoid me because I wasn’t interested in girls while others would accuse me of making up asexuality to get “closer to sleeping” with their girlfriends. It was insulting because it was like my sexuality didn’t matter to anyone. Even when I told them “I’m asexual, I never slept with any of your girlfriends” they would give me puzzled looks and brush me off. It was even harder explaining my asexuality to friends that I used to have crushes on. Every crush that I ever had I liked them for their personality. Some instances it got sexual but I was much more interested in their persona than the sex. When I came out some of these friends would hang it over my head like “didn’t you used to like me, what happened?” etc. I felt broken because I thought I was heterosexual then the more I experimented with people the more I realized how different my sex drive was compared to theirs. It was like I couldn’t shake my old hetero identity and my old identity wasn’t even the real me. It was an awkward time. I even used to joke about how college “ruined my sexuality” because I thought rejection was the cause of my lack of sex drive but it was the simple fact that I was always different and experimentation with both sexes showed me how different my sexuality was compared to my peers. Now I just avoid making friends and talk to people online. It’s easier to find people who like the same interests as me online instead of the real world.

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Frostburg Watercolor

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

That asexuality is the result of a mental illness. It’s insulting because there are plenty of Aces who ARE NOT mentally ill who live perfectly normal lives and there are Aces who do have mental illnesses that do not relate to their sexual orientation. It makes it difficult for Aces who actually suffer from mental illnesses to seek help because they fear that their entire sexual orientation will be put under the microscope. ASEXUALITY IS NOT A MENTAL ILLNESS IT’S AN ORIENTATION JUST LIKE OTHER SEXUAL ORIENTATIONS. DON’T FEEL ASHAMED IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE MENTALLY ILL AND ASEXUAL BECAUSE THE TWO ARE NOT RELATED IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM.

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Hello

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

Don’t take your sexuality so seriously. Feelings change and shift all the time and in the end Gay, Straight, Trans, and Asexuality are all labels. If you follow your heart and find what you love out of life the right people will come along eventually and you can establish any relationship you want with another person (just don’t be a creep about it). Don’t be worried if you’re struggling to find your sexual orientation. There’s nothing wrong with staying to yourself and there’s nothing wrong with experimenting. Just trust yourself to make the best decisions when the time comes and know that you don’t need all the answers all the time. Sometimes life just happens…

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

https://soundcloud.com/94sheets
https://apppk.bandcamp.com/ <- For Lofi/indie pop fans
https://apppk.bandcamp.com/album/projct-skybomb-cloudy-dreams-forever <- Chillwave beats

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Lianne la Havas Watercolor

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

Interview: Brittany Granville

Today we’re joined by Brittany Granville. Brittany is a phenomenal visual artist and writer from Kentucky. She’s currently working on a webcomic entitled Cirque du Royale, which she both writes and draws. Cirque du Royale is all about a family of circus performers and it looks so amazing. Brittany’s work is incredibly unique and her characters are so expressive they practically pop off the screen. It’s clear that she’s a passionate and amazingly talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Art v. Artist

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw cartoons, comics, do graphic design and write. I’ve been drawing my whole life and have a Bachelors of Arts in visual communication design. I do freelance when it’s offered, but I’m still looking for a full-time job. I spend most of my time writing and drawing my own comic called Cirque Du Royale. It’s a slice-of-life comic about a family of circus performers. I love cartoony styles and silly expressions.

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Callaloo Event

What inspires you?

Hahaha! Depression and money! I need to feed my dog and keep myself in clearance nail polish, so that’s a big motivator when it comes to freelance. When it comes to my own work, I just need to have something to focus on other than sadness and crying. That’s actually why I started Cirque Du Royale. It was a distraction from job hunting and all the rejection. Basically, I could worry about the last interview or I could write about a health-nut strongman and draw funny expressions!

On a less cynical note: I like stories and I like making up my own stories. It’s all an effort to try and communicate. Growing up, I had a hard time making friends and really communicating with people, but I’d make up characters and found that I liked spending time in their world rather than mine.

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Bearded Cupcake Circus Poster

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

I grew up watching a lot of TV and reading a lot of books. Cartoons were big for me. I watched a lot of The Simpsons, The Flintstones, Rugrats, Looney Tunes, Powerpuff Girls, and Dexter’s Lab, and would copy the styles of those shows. I was fascinated by cartoons and the way they worked. When I was really little, I wore out our VHS copy of Bambi because I would pause and start it over and over to look at each frame of a scene.

I also read a lot of comic strips as a kid. At about 8 or 9, I started drawing my own comic strips. I shared them with friends and classmates, and they liked them, so I kept drawing them!

When I was older, I got more interested in illustration and graphic commercial art. I’m still nowhere near where I thought I would be at this point in my life.

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Cast 2017

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?

Both my art and design work tend to be very colorful and rounded, but I can’t see any real style signatures. :/

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“Cirque Du Royale,” episode 3

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Like a lot of artists say, practice a lot, it’s very important to build skills. Draw from life and practice realistic anatomy. I see many young artists get annoyed that their teachers want them to draw still-lifes or models rather than anime or cartoons. But it’s good to know how to draw the real thing, that way it looks more believable when it’s simplified (for example hands). If you’re in school and want to draw anime or cartoons, just get a separate sketchbook for your own personal work and one for studies!

In addition, try different things, when it comes to art and life. It’s good to find a hobby outside of art; it keeps you well rounded and to gives you something to do when you don’t feel like or can’t drawing. For example, I write, cook, read, make jewelry and stuffed animals from time to time, and am in a local civil rights organization.

Furthermore, art is great but your physical and mental health is more important. Try to at least get a walk in everyday, so that your body doesn’t break down on you. And take breaks at least every 2 hours.

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It’s Me

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and aromantic. I know that people can have different romantic and sexual attractions simultaneously, but I can’t split mine. If you want to get more specific, I’m also sex repulsed. Like, I think consenting adults should have sex if they want. Cool. Good for them. But anyone touching or kissing me in a sexual way makes me want to barf!

I found out about asexuality when I was 18 after a dude at college kissed me. I was so disgusted, I googled to see what was wrong with me. Cause everyone likes kissing, right? This was in 2010, a little before Tumblr and more widely available material on asexuality, but I managed to find Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) and videos by Julie Sondra Decker (aka Swankivy) on YouTube. I was so happy to find out that what I was feeling was a real thing with a name. I’m so glad I’m aroace. Because, honesty, romantic/sexual relationships have always seemed really annoying to me…

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Tomato Bisque (Twitter)

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

No, but I’m not really out to people IRL, but I’m also not hiding it. The only problem is when men try to flirt with me or when my older relatives try to talk to me about dating. Bleh!

I have had a comment or 2 on my comic that an ace character couldn’t be ace because he’s 13 and that it’s just a phase. Like, bruh, that was literally a joke in the comic. I just ignore it. I think it’s funny. :p

claudette poser
Claudette Poster

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

Ha! I might be people’s idea of what an asexual is. I’m asexual, aromantic, and sex-repulsed. I’m also autistic, and asexuality is commonly seen as a trait of autism…:/ The perfect storm. But some people, especially people new to asexuality, don’t realize that not all aces are like me. Aces can be hetero, homo, pan, bi, etc. romantic. And guess what, some aces actually have sex and like it! I help moderate the asexual blog, Asexual-Society, and one of the most common questions we get is “Am I still asexual if I have sex or if porn or something sexual turns me on?” Like, yes baby. You’re still a human person with a libido, it’s just not directed at anyone in particular. There’s no wrong way to be ace, kids.

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Fish Fryday (Facebook)

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

You’re not too young to know your sexual orientation. You also don’t have to rush to figure it out. There’s no hurry. Just don’t do anything that you’re not comfortable with. No one knows you better than you do.

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

My art Tumblr: http://bgranville.tumblr.com/
My portfolio website: http://www.brittanygranville.com/

Cirque Du Royale:

Tumblr: http://cirqueduroyale.tumblr.com/
Tapas: https://tapas.io/series/Cirque-Du-Royale
Smackjeeves: http://www.smackjeeves.com/comicprofile.php?id=167570

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Pride ’17

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

Interview: Ema

Today we’re joined by Ema. Ema is a wonderful young artist who is currently studying graphic design. They love to draw and also enjoy working with unusual materials. They’re incredibly passionate, 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.

Right now I’m an art student studying graphic design. I also like to use unordinary materials. For example I collect candy wrappers and stuff like that to make collages. I also make bracelets and will incorporate my beading materials into my art

What inspires you?

Right now my inspiration is mostly nature and the different cartoons I watch. Cartoons inspire me because of the colors and the different art styles and watching the cartoons just gets me in the mood of creating my own artwork

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

I’ve loved drawing since I was a little. Most presents I got as a kid were art sets. As a kid I always saw art as being a hobby that I would have for my whole life. But then as it came to picking out a major for college I couldn’t really think of anything else I would be happy doing for the rest of my life. The reason I chose graphic design is it seemed like the most practical field to go into.

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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?

No but I do usually add a heart at the end of my signature

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I know most people don’t give actual art advice for this but this is always the advice I give.  Take a step back from your work. Put your work up on the wall and look at it from ten feet away. This really helps see any issues with piece that you overlook from close up. Also your darks can almost never be dark enough.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual sex repulsed.

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

No but I also have really done anything in my field considering I’m still in school.

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

That being ace makes me automatically not want sex instead of just not finding people sexually attractive. That and finding the right guy will fix that for me.

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

Your feelings are completely normal. And your orientation can change. You don’t need labels, but it’s normal to label yourself if you want to.

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

The only place I have is my Instagram at Emabaes_art.

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

Interview: Ben

Today we’re joined by Ben. Ben is a phenomenal theater actor who is also a playwright. He has mostly written tragic plays, but is currently working on an absurdist play. Aside from acting and writing, Ben is also a writer of a homebrew D&D campaign. He’s also currently taking voice lessons in order to get into musical theater. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Headshot(Fall 2016)

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Primarily I am a stage actor and a playwright. I am also the writer of a homebrew (made from scratch) D&D campaign and world. As far as acting goes I am more versed in acting in straight plays than in musicals, I am not quite that skilled in singing. But I am in the process of taking voice lessons to solve that issue. With playwriting I have at this point written mainly tragic plays and am currently working on an absurdist play. I also dabble in graphic design for a YouTube channel I am involved in.

What inspires you?

I am primarily inspired by passionate people. Seeing somebody overflowing with joy and enthusiasm about something they are doing or are interested in just gets me hyped up and raring to do something myself. I am also inspired often by the people around me and current events, both of which are commonly reflected in my works. With my writing style I am also greatly inspired by the works of Tennessee Williams and other 20th century playwrights.

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

I have always wanted to do something in the arts. I started with orchestra in middle school playing the violin and when my second high school didn’t offer it I started looking for other things to get involved with. In freshman year I saw my (first) high school’s performance of The Crucible by Arthur Miller. It was my first time seeing a live show of anything and I was utterly enamored by how much more real it felt than seeing films. It wasn’t until junior year of high school when I took my first drama class, and then a second year drama class my senior year. In my senior year I took the full dive into acting and got involved in every theatre related thing that went on at the school. I’ve been hooked ever since and am currently studying for a Theatre degree in college.

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

I have a tendency to include a lot of subtle duality in my works between character personalities and motivations. Other than that I can’t really think of much else.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My advice for aspiring artists is to first find others as passionate as you about the kind of art you are interested in, and second to not let anyone dissuade you with how much more difficult life is going to be. Yes work might be harder to find and you’ll absolutely receive less pay, but the ability to be doing what you love is more than worth it.

Horrible People Productions

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual. As for romantic orientation it took seemingly forever to narrow it down but sapioromantic seems the most accurate for me.

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

Luckily I haven’t encountered any prejudice or ignorance. Theatre is a generally progressive field in the first place, so you don’t really find much prejudice aside from the occasional diva.

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

The most common misconception I’ve come across is people assuming I just haven’t met the “one” yet. Or that I had one bad experience and need to try things with other people. It gets rather tedious hearing diagnoses from people about what happened/what I should do when there is really nothing in need of diagnosing.

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

My advice for those struggling is to take your time figuring out the specifics of your orientation. There’s no need to rush because at the end of the day the main person who needs to know is you. No matter what the specifics may be, your identity is valid and you as a person are appreciated. And I know it’s easier said than done but don’t let the people who will give you crap about being you get into your head, if they need to stoop low enough to attack your identity, you already have the moral high ground in telling them to bug off.

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

If you are in the Midwest area you can see the shows at the college I go to, Missouri Western State University. I don’t always act but I usually am involved in some way.

And if you go to Horrible People Productions at YouTube.com, you can learn about my D&D world. It is a group channel that I have with some friends at my college. There is currently only one episode of the current campaign posted but the rest will be coming out closer to fall.

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

Interview: ImprobableDreams900

Today we’re joined by ImprobableDreams900. ImprobableDreams900 is mostly a dedicated fanartist who does a little traditional fanart, but specializes in fanfiction. She’s currently working on some great fics. ImprobableDreams900 also does quite a bit of graphic design by trade. She also has a very clever way to apply her skills in graphic design to her fanfiction, as you’ll soon read. She’s incredibly passionate and it makes for a great interview. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Aziraphale and Snake Crowley
Aziraphale and Snake Crowley

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

In the world of fandom, I’m primarily an author, with my best work in the Night Vale and Good Omens fandoms. I really wanted to be an author when I was young, but I knew it wasn’t a very economically feasible career path, so I switched my aspirations to something a little more likely to allow me to pay rent: graphic design. I’m also a visual artist, with a few pieces of traditional fan art under my belt, but I find myself doing a lot of fandom-related things using my graphic design skillset — I’ve laid out, designed covers for, printed, and bound my own fanfiction, for example.

What inspires you?

There’s nothing I regularly go back to for inspiration, because I usually have more ideas than I could possibly execute, but I do draw a lot from history. Due to my current interest (read: obsession) with Good Omens, I spend an inordinate amount of time reading very old books on early Biblical mythology at the library — not weird at all, right? But they’re great mines for information I can spin into stories.

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

As I said before, I always wanted to be an author. When I was very young, I used to take pieces of paper and write all over them and pretend I was writing a book. I’d only get about a page done before I started just drawing squiggly lines on the paper, though, lol. When I got around to actually writing, I didn’t start with fanfiction. I cranked out several “books” in middle school — a pursuit my mother encouraged far too much — and when I was in junior high I spent a summer writing a 200k novel. It was pretty terrible, but all of this writing (along with an incredible amount of reading) taught me how to write well, and at a relatively young age. In addition to art, I also seriously considered careers in history or physics (particularly astrophysics, particle physics, or quantum physics), but history doesn’t pay any better than writing does, and the day-to-day work of a particle physicist isn’t half as interesting as reading about the conceptual aspects.

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, though most of my fanfiction is fairly angsty; I exact an unhealthy pleasure from severely injuring and killing off my characters. I nearly always abide by the ‘angst with a happy ending’ tag, though, and I do my very best to leave them in a better place than I found them. I’m an optimist at heart, you see.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Oh dear — I think technically I’m still a young aspiring artist, lol. If you’re interested in writing, though, 100% the best advice I can give is to read and write a lot. Trial and error and learning by doing are really the best ways to improve, in my opinion.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Generally speaking, I’m just very confused, but my current state of mind is gray!ace or demi (and possible biromantic on top of that); I’m leaning towards demi at the moment, because I’ve noticed that it takes an incredibly long amount of time for me to form any sort of emotional attachment to anyone. I really take the friend-to-relationship route, and haven’t had a relationship yet where I wanted to even consider sleeping with the other person. Most of the time I was struggling with whether or not I even wanted to cuddle.

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

I’m glad you asked! I haven’t seen a lot of prejudice personally, but I have seen some ignorance, even within the queer community. I was reading a fanfic the other day, and the author introduced a great many original characters, of which practically every one ticked a different box on the LGBTQ+ checklist. I didn’t have a problem with this, but I did notice that the author hadn’t included an ace character (though ace-exclusion was by no means the author’s intention). So in my latest fic, I decided to form an asexual relationship between the two main characters. Due to some complicated plot shenanigans, one of the characters ends up walking into what is basically a porn shop created by his subconscious — meaning that he walks into a porn shop completely devoid of porn, and instead populated with things he cares about, and finds romantic. I put in a lot of little ace Easter eggs, because I’m beginning to realize that if I want to see more ace representation, it’s not going to write itself.

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

Someone I know very well in real life came out as asexual before I even had a suspicion that I might be, so I haven’t had a lot of firsthand experience with misconceptions of asexuality. I think the most common misconception is either that a) you just have a low libido, b) you’re going to grow old and die alone as an old cat lady (this being a pitiable fate), or c) that you’ll grow out of it (which is admittedly not helped by the fact that a lot of people seem to do just that).

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

Don’t worry about it so much, especially if you’re young. If you’re demi or gray (the only orientations I feel comfortable dispensing advice to), I find it’s rather hard to force romance to happen. I know I don’t have that ‘look, that person is hot’ instinct at all, so I just try to make friends with people I think I might like, and see if anything happens from there. Also, if you’re having trouble finding someone who’s right for you — and again, especially if you’re young (that’s under 30 in my mind) — remember that you are under no obligation to be in a relationship. Mainstream media has misled you and societal norms have shaped your thinking, and I don’t think it’s just asexuals they’ve done a disservice to. Sex isn’t the end-all-be-all, but neither are relationships. Don’t undervalue the advantages of being single — I know I for one really love having enough free time to write all those fanfics!

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

I’m ImprobableDreams900 on AO3 (fics) and Tumblr (occasional bit of art). The fanfiction behemoth I’m currently working on is a series called Eden!verse for the Good Omens fandom, which is GONNA BE AWESOME when I’ve finally finished writing it. If you’re interested in reading the asexual porn shop scene I mentioned, it’s in Chapter 4 of The End of Eternity in that series, starting about halfway through. If anyone’s interested in commissioning a printed book of their fanfiction (or another author’s, with their permission), send me a message on Tumblr, and I’d be happy to give you more information!

Thank you, ImprobableDreams900, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.