Interview: Hannah

Today we’re joined by Hannah. Hannah is a phenomenal visual artist whose current focus is on digital art, though they have worked in traditional mediums as well. Hannah does a fair amount of fanart, but they also have a lot of original work as well. It’s clear they’re a passionate artist who loves what they do. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Asexual Ace
Asexual Ace

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Currently I’m putting most of my focus into digital art and graphic design. I tend to sketch everyday nonetheless. I love acrylic painting, but watercolor definitely happens to be my favorite traditional medium. Most of my art nowadays is done in Photoshop with a Wacom Intuos tablet. My art is mostly about people, bodies, and the mind. I’m hoping to branch out and do more landscapes or animal based drawings, but I haven’t found the inspiration for it. Aside from fanart of video games, musicals, or shows, I like to draw a lot about personal struggles. I have a lot of pride themed art on my account as of this moment. 🙂

What inspires you?

Impressionist and expressionist style paintings have always been a key focal point in my art growing up. I’ve definitely branched out and taken aspects from comic books and even animated movies, though. On top of that, I especially love music. Whenever I’m in a funk, or have art block, music is generally the best way for me to slip out of it.

2. Pan Prince
Pan Prince

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

As a young kid I’ve always just been drawn to painting and art. I’ve always dreamed of being an artist, but that mentality has kinda slipped away over the years. I still love art, but I don’t think I could ever follow it as a full time career. Nonetheless, I am currently studying graphic design to keep my creative juices flowing.

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?

When I did more traditional art I always tried to hide my name in paintings. However, this has gotten harder for me with digital art. I’ll probably start doing it again soon, but as of this moment my main signature is just my first name in Korean.

3. Red & Blue
Red & Blue

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

PRACTICE. I feel like everyone says that, but practice is the best way to improve your art and get better. It can be discouraging seeing amazing artists around, but you have to work hard to improve yourself. I like to take aspects of other artists’ work and see how I can mold it into my own. That’s not to say copy other people, but inspiration from already existing works can really help you take steps to finding your stride. Secondly, for anybody who likes drawing books and how to guides, do yourself a favor and actually read the words. The pictures are pretty and nice to look at, but reading the meat of the books is really helpful.

4. Depression in Blue
Depression in Blue

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I currently identify as demiromantic asexual. For me I personally use the split attraction model. I don’t experience sexual attraction to anybody, but I’d be open to dating someone of any gender assuming I have a decent relationship with them.

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

I’ve met many people who find asexuality stupid or invalid. Some people have changed their minds upon further research, but others aren’t as informed or kind. There are certain situations where I do try to lay down some facts as one would with any other kind of LGBTQ+ style problem, but I have had to learn when to back off. Some people just won’t bother trying to respect aces. It sucks, but sometimes not interacting with toxic people is the best way to go.

5. Anxiety in Red
Anxiety in Red

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

People tend to be inherently confused about asexuality as a whole. Often times people think I’m too young to decide, or I just haven’t met the right person yet. Other people don’t see how you can be asexual and like someone romantically; they assume the two attractions are tightly connected for everyone.

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

Sexuality can be fluid for many; at a younger age you might not have everything quite figured out. BUT DO NOT WORRY! What you’re feeling is valid and OK no matter what others tell you. If you identify as ace now, but don’t feel the same later, you’re still valid, and that’s ok! If you discover your ace and have sex or you feel like something has invalidated you, don’t worry. If you identify as asexual, you are 100% normal and valid even if you don’t feel like it. 🙂

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

As of this moment my social media presence is tiny; I don’t have a huge following. Though if anyone is interested in finding my art I am _conspiracy_of_ravens_ on Instagram.

6. SpiderGwen
SpiderGwen

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

Interview: Jaime Hawkins

Today we’re joined by Jaime Hawkins. Jaime is a phenomenal visual artist who has a company called Queen Cheetah Designs, which sells enamel pins that she designs. Aside from making enamel pins, Jaime also does quite a lot of fine art. She’s heavily inspired by nature, which shows in her work. It’s clear she’s a driven and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I graduated with a degree in Graphic Design and Printmaking. I’ve always loved learning any type of art I could get my hands on – drawing, painting, digital art – you name it! When I have the time, I enjoy drawing on my tablet and taking on small freelance design jobs. My biggest endeavor, however, is my merchandise company Queen Cheetah Designs. Last year the trend of “Enamel Pins” came back around full force, and I decided to try my hand at designing some! I started out with moths, and have since branched out to beetles, spiders, and other nature inspired pins. It makes me really happy to see my designs come to life as physical merchandise that people like to wear, and it makes me feel like an accomplished artist! My designs did so well that I kept making them, and now I have a pretty successful side job running Queen Cheetah Designs. I hope to branch out in the future to apparel and other merch!

2. beetle_collage
Beetle Collage

What inspires you?

I think animals and nature have served to be my most important source of inspiration for my drawing and my merchandise design. It’s a subject I have always loved, and there is endless beauty and creativity that can be found in creatures, plants, and our other surroundings. From striking color palettes to unique patterns, as an artist I feel like I can learn so much from what already exists in nature, and apply it to my fine art and design work.

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

From a very young age, I was interested in art. I would doodle on my homework and draw mash ups of animals to play as during recess. I took art lessons with another girl at a local framing shop for a few years, where I learned most of the basics of fine art.

I can’t quite remember how, but “design” specifically caught my eye around middle school. Packaging design, logo design – I found it all really fascinating how much thought went into a design and the finished result. It’s been my driving passion ever since.

4. atlas group photo
Atlas Group Photo

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 wish I could say I had a signature style, but that is something I still struggle with as an artist. I do tend to enjoy drawing somewhere in between realistic with a fantasy flair thrown in. I’d like to refine this over the next few years, but developing anything in art takes time and practice!

6. Swift edited
Swift

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Drawing – Most of what you create will not be for profit, or even for other people. There is a lot of pressure nowadays to instantly start creating and making money, but it’s important to take the time to draw for yourself. Learn what you like to draw and how you want to draw it. It should be fun, not something you feel pressured to do. And no matter what level you are now – just keep going. Practice as often as you can. (DRAW THOSE BACKGROUNDS). Think of how proud younger you would be of your talent now, and strive to make them proud.

Making Merchandise/ Pins – It takes more than an idea to be successful at selling merchandise. It is a tough and tiring job. You have to be your own manager, designer, PR person, and salesman. Kickstarters are a great way to fund a potential design, but be careful that you are prepared to handle the responsibility of ordering your merchandise and fulfilling orders. Don’t jump into it – take time to plan. But if you feel prepared, it can be a very rewarding endeavor!

3. Moth_collage
Moth collage

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual, Panromantic.

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

Relating to the art/ design field specifically? I would say not really, but then again my art usually doesn’t relate to my sexuality. But there are plenty of individuals you interact with online who are outspoken with the fact that they think it’s “not real” or that “we’ve just had bad experiences”. I try to educate where I can, and when it seems like the people might be receptive. A lot of ideas about asexuality spring from ignorance. Some folks just don’t want to understand though, and sometimes you just have to brush it off and move on. Find solace with others who share your experiences.

7. Divided edited
Divided

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

That all asexual people are sex repulsed, and hate all types of physical contact. I’m what you would call a sex apathetic asexual. I have no interest in it, and have no desire to seek it out, but it doesn’t bother me. It’s a light switch that stays off.

It does become a problem when I desire other attention from partners that traditionally leads to sex. Like making out, or cuddling – it’s either all or nothing. This leads to a very frustrated ace that doesn’t feel cherished but feels hypocritical asking for more physical contact “as an ace person”.

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

Asexuality is a spectrum, and everyone experiences it in their own way. Being Ace is really hard at times, especially when it comes to finding a partner. It is important to find someone who respects your comfort levels and communicates with you to find out how to approach that part of your relationship. It’s tempting to push your own comfort levels aside to make them happy, because it may make you feel desired – but it will breed resentment in time if there is no respect for your likes and dislikes as well. For people like us it is especially important to make friends and not rely entirely on having a partner to feel fulfilled.

If you find someone, make sure they love you AS someone who is asexual, not DESPITE the fact you are asexual.

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

You can find all my enamel pins and current merchandise on my Etsy shop -> https://www.etsy.com/shop/QueenCheetahDesigns. You can also follow me on Twitter at Jaime_Hawkins or on Instagram under Jaime_Hawkins_Design to stay up to date on my art and any upcoming designs.

Thank you so much!

8. Rainbow TVhead
Rainbow TVhead

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

Interview: Chloe Charlton

Today we’re joined by Chloe Charlton. Chloe is a phenomenal visual artist. She’s a student who is currently studying graphic design and illustration. She enjoys playing with various styles and themes. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist who loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art:

My art is a mixture of different things really. There’s no theme or particular subject to it. Sometimes it even changes styles, but that’s one of the things I love about my work and art in general. How free it is.

My art is the passion I put into projects, the thoughts and feelings I can’t put into words, the having an idea and making it into something special. Something I can proudly call my own, that I can show others and hopefully inspire others.

What inspires you?

What doesn’t inspire me. It’s anything and everything. Art movements, comics, other artist, (old and new) portraits and landscapes. It could be a holiday, what someone said, something I’ve read, a song I’ve heard, a movie I’ve watched. It could even be about a dream/daydream I’ve had. It’s whatever makes me feel, which I find very important when creating. To take that feeling and the make it through art. As one of my favourite quotes goes, “The principles of true art is not to portray, but to evoke.” By Jerzy Kosiński.

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

Family is what got me into drawing when I was young. My Dad and my Nan are great at art. I loved watching them draw when I was younger, especially my Dad, who I would always want to draw with. Obviously, I was not as good as them at the time, but they were encouraging. All my family were, which I am still grateful for.

However, I was not always into art. For many years, I fell out of it. I didn’t have much interest in art, especially in school. I think this was because I couldn’t see me going anywhere with it at the time. I was about 14 years old when I got back into drawing. I had friends who liked to draw, and it was mostly them who got me back into it.

I’m glad they did. I’m now 20 and very happy that I am continuing to do art.

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 anything specific? Right now, my art has been described as a mix of realism and cartoonish? However, it could change. I’m still learning, still developing, still discovering.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Go crazy! You want to try drawing? Do it! Painting? Sculpture? Collage? Poetry? Performance? Do it! Want to try all of them at least once? DO IT! It’s a great way to develop yourself as an artist and as a person and finding out what you enjoy best.

Notebooks! Have an idea? Write it down! Want to doodle something first to see how it would look? Jot it down! Scribble, mind-map, capitalise, highlight and underline. Whatever you may do with your notebook, keep it close. Make it your own personalised journal. It can hold ideas that you don’t want to forget, come back to later or reflect on in years to come.

Don’t throw away/hide failures. Own them! Be proud of them! Accept and learn from them.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Pan-Asexual? I’m pretty sure that’s the name. I can confidently say as my sexual orientation I’m Asexual. As for my romantic orientation, I’m sure it’s Panromantic. I’ve always thought that I wouldn’t really mind who I am with, as long as they’re happy and I’m happy.

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

Nothing too bad. (Thankfully) I think the worst experienced is mostly people not knowing what asexuality is/never heard of it before, so they either have misunderstandings of the meaning or are unsure of whether it’s a real thing.

I’ve been rather lucky so far. Usually any problems I’ve had are quickly resolved through explanation. As for other things like posts that say Asexuality isn’t a real thing, blah blah blah, I ignore them and carry on. These people are not me. They do not know who I am and how I feel. They do not get to decide that either. I know who I am and that’s all that matters to me.

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

Mostly being mistaken for not feeling anything at all.

Most people who I have told about my asexuality thought it meant I wasn’t interest in anything to do with a relationship. Which isn’t true. Luckily though, this is usually resolved by an explanation of what asexuality is.

Though it’s not always easy to do. For example, I had to explain to my Mum twice what asexuality meant before she finally understood what it was. At first, my Mum mis-heard the word ‘asexual’ and heard it as ‘a sexual’, which she assumed it meant someone who’s really into sex (the forbidden word). However, after trying to explain to her what it meant, she calmed down. Though, she still didn’t quite get it, not until many years later where she asked me about it again. After my first explanation years ago, she thought it meant I didn’t feel any romantic feelings at all and would never want a relationship ever. Now I’ve explained it better that yes, I can be interested in a relationship, it’s just sex I’m not interested in, she finally understands it better now.

To be honest though, that probably was the worst of it. I’ve had friends also think it meant I felt nothing at all, but it mostly took a quick explanation of what Asexuality meant and it would be resolved.

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

Don’t let people doubt yourself or bring you down. Don’t let them second guess who you are with their views. Don’t conform to what people want you to be instead. This is your life, not theirs. Your world doesn’t revolve around them and you do not exist to appease them. Be proud of who you are!

If you are still unsure whether you are an asexual, that’s alright. You can research, read and communicate. It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers, even later on in life. You can take your time discovering yourself. It’s your life! You grow, change and learn! Ultimately, you’re going to okay. You’ve got this!

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

You can find me on Instagram and Tumblr. Though, most of my art can be found on Instagram.

Instagram: www.instagram.com/thecharlton99
Tumblr: www.thecharltonarts.tumblr.com

Thank you for reading!

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

Interview: AJ Drake

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

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

What inspires you?

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

chairpatch

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

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

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

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

FarrenBWHeadshotDone

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

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

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

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

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

FarrenWolfPort

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

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

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

SugarSkOwl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TheBumbooHimself

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

Interview: Angelica Bentley

Today we’re joined by Angelica Bentley. Angelica is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in traditional media. She works with oils, watercolors, and graphite. When she’s not working on visual art, she does graphic and communication design. Angelica is also a stage technician for the theater where she does a lot of lighting design. And on top of all this, she also writes. It’s clear she’s a versatile and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

FullSizeR

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a traditional media artist.  I work primarily with oils, watercolours, and graphite.  Right now, my work tends to follow themes of life and death as well as showcasing what I call ‘organic human spaces’ (unaltered rooms and living spaces that are telling of what the person living there is like).  I also work with graphic and communication design. I’m still working on learning the more ‘artsy’ side of that line of work, but for right now I do more design and layout oriented things.  At my school I work as a theatrical stage technician where I focus mostly on lighting design, i.e. I program and operate lights for shows and events.  Lastly, I’m a writer, though I don’t consider myself as successful with writing as I have been with my other forms of art.  I enjoy writing young adult fantasy novels…when I can get myself to actually write.

What inspires you?

This is hard to answer because it totally depends.  Other people’s art is probably my biggest inspiration.  Seeing or reading something really cool someone else has done gets the gears in my head turning.  It makes me wonder if I could create something like that, or do it even better.  But a lot of other things inspire me too.  Nature, cool architecture, songs, movies, dreams.  Just living is an inspiration to create art.

Image-1

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

I think I have always wanted to be an artist.  I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawing or painting.  And ever since I could pick up a pencil I’ve been writing.  Of course, I went in and out of phases of inspiration throughout my life.  In middle school I was determined to be a writer.  In high school I couldn’t see myself doing anything other than art. Toward the end of high school I felt really down about being able to do either art or writing, and I hadn’t had any exposure to graphic design or lighting design at that point.  So I went into college majoring in–get this–accounting. I changed my major to a double major in art and graphic design within the first semester.  That’s what got me interested in graphic design.  A lot of the requirements for an art major overlapped with a graphic design major and taking design classes really appealed to me. Going into college I got a job as a theatrical stage technician (basically a techie) and I learned how to operate a light board and program lights, which I fell in love with.  Now I can’t see myself not doing all of these things!

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?

Nope.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Try it all!  And don’t be afraid to be bad at it.  I used to avoid painting like the plague because I was afraid of being bad at it, but after I forced myself to learn how to paint it’s become my favourite media.  The same with graphic design and lighting design.  I thought I’d be no good because I’d never opened adobe illustrator before or touched a light board.  But then I did.  And I learned how, and I practiced, and I found out I really enjoy it.  Of course, there will naturally be some things that you try and try and try and never become good at.  And that’s okay!  Now you know! There’s no shame in trying and failing as long as you tried first.

Image-1-2

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I currently identify as asexual, though I’ve definitely been questioning whether or not I’m also aromantic lately.

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

Thankfully, I haven’t. Though I don’t consider myself ‘closeted’, most people who consume my work don’t know that I’m asexual.

IMG950307

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

That they can’t ask questions.  I think a lot of people don’t want to come off as uneducated or intolerant of asexuality, so when I come out they don’t ask any questions.  It’s so frustrating because I know they probably don’t have a complete understanding of what the a-spectrum is, and they definitely don’t know what it means for me to be asexual, but they pretend they do.  I went out with a guy one time (sort of by mistake, but that’s a different story) who, when I told him I was asexual, thought I meant that I was bisexual and refused to ask questions about it.  To avoid this I normally ask people if they have questions about it when/if I come out to them.  Even then people are often still too afraid to ask.

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

It’s totally okay to not know what the hell is going on.  Change is hard, especially when it’s a whole shift in your identity, but change is okay too.  If you need to identify as a-spec now only to realize a different identity later that’s totally cool.  And you can always try labeling yourself as questioning, or simply queer.  I still struggle with my romantic identity, but I find it helpful to identify as a questioning aromantic.  That way I don’t feel guilty about identifying a way I’m not sure I am yet.

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

I just got an Instagram account, so it’s kind of bare right now, and I also use it a bit as a personal account, but my art is still there!  My handle is at a.n.g.e.l.i.c.a_b.e.n.t.l.e.y.  You can also email me at 0angben0@gmail.com for questions, commissions, and interests in my art.

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

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.