Interview: Ash Kleczka

Today we’re joined by Ash Kleczka, who also goes by Umber online. Ash is a phenomenal visual artist, an all-around fantasy enthusiast. They love using visual art to tell a story and highlight beauty. Their images show a unique style and a very vivid imagination. It’s clear Ash loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a fantasy illustrator, a painter, concept artist, and all around enthusiast… I was going to add more to that statement, but honestly I think ‘enthusiast’ about covers it. I get really excited about concepts that are self-reflective in some way, or that highlight an unexpected beauty.

I really try to create art that tells a story.

What inspires you?

Nature, mythology, the occult. Things that are taboo or archaic. I’m also deeply inspired by role-playing games like D&D and the character building process.

2. HogwashnNewtonFIN
Hogwashn Newton

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

The simple, inelegant answer is that I got into visual arts because I was dissatisfied with the attractiveness of some characters from a video game I was into at the time – and I wanted to make characters that would appeal to me.

It’s an ongoing struggle haha.

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?

My super-secret naming convention for pretty much any character I’ve ever created ever is to try to match their personality/appearance/some interesting feature to a bird or other natural flora or fauna and then I build their name around the scientific binomial of that thing.

So for example, one character named Cyril Alcyon is based around the belted kingfisher megaceryle alcyon. Another is named Melia Edarach which is taken from the chinaberry tree, or Melia azedarach.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My advice is to just keep going. It’s OK for things to not look exactly as they do in your head, or to be dissatisfied with where you are with your art. It means that you have room to grow! Stay open to new ideas and roll with the punches. Art, like life, is full of happy accidents.

3. Greed
Greed

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Grey-Ace/Pansexual

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

I’m not particularly open about my sexuality in the workplace, but the few times it’s come up typically end with the person I’m talking to feeling sorry for me. It’s not hateful – just a lack of understanding. So I try my best to explain that it’s not a negative part of my life experience. It’s just an orientation in the same way that being gay, or bisexual is.

I have encountered prejudice in my personal life however. One instance was in my last D&D campaign. I played an ace/aro character, and was met with some questionably in-character commentary from another player. That was really the first time I’d encountered something like that in the wild before, and honestly…I’m open to advice myself.

4. FortSaveWeb
Fort Save Web

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

That it’s something to be fixed.

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

Find people you trust that you can talk to, and be patient with yourself. Sometimes it’s not as simple as just being one piece of the big sex/gender pie. Sometimes you’re a triple decker slice of pie with whipped cream and cherries.

I’ve found it really helpful to talk to my husband (who’s allo) to see where we differ. Sometimes the answers you’re looking for are in the empty spaces between two truths.

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

I have a website umbertheprussianblue.com!

You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter at ThePrussianBlue

5. Solas
Solas

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

Interview: NomnomNami

Today we’re joined by NomnomNami. NomnomNami is a phenomenal game-maker and author. With her friend DarkChibiShadow, a fellow ace, she has a game studio SofDelux. NomnomNami makes a number of games with numerous ace characters in them. She specializes in wlw characters and is very passionate about greater visibility for aces. NomnomNami is an incredibly talented and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Clever Fox Moxie

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make stories about girls who like girls! I mostly like designing femme and androgynous characters who are all excessively adorable. I’m currently doing a variety of visual novels and RPG maker games, but I’ve also done comics and some animation every now and then.

What inspires you?

Gotta say the Disgaea series! I’ve been a huge fan since childhood, and a lot of my storytelling is really just me trying to emulate the feeling I get from those games. Looking back, the series is actually really ace-friendly so it’s no wonder I fell in love with it so easily, haha.

First Kiss at a Spooky Soiree

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

Pretty much! I’ve always loved games, cartoons, and comics, so I just ended up drawing a lot to express that. I remember in middle school I told my class I wanted to be a mangaka — and although it turned out comics weren’t really my passion, I still get to do storytelling through drawings! So I feel like I pretty much had the right idea, even back then.

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?

Hmm… just cute girls loving cute girls. Nothing secret about that 🙂

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t let anyone tell you drawing anime will get you nowhere, and don’t let them stop you from drawing fan art either — HAVE FUN DRAWING WHAT YOU WANT THE WAY YOU WANT TO!

Friendly Bunny Mochi

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I consider myself gray ace!

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

Definitely ignorance, but I’ve never had any kind of negative interaction over it. Anyone I can think of that I’ve had to explain things to has been very open to listen and ask questions in very non-intrusive ways.

Lonely Wolf Treat

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

Hmm, it’s hard to think of any I’ve run into a lot personally. This is gonna be a NSFW answer, but a big one is definitely the idea that ace spectrum folks can’t be interested in porn. Some of us absolutely are!! Sex is a really interesting facet of relationships between fictional characters — there are a lot of people who love exploring those sorts of ideas without any desire to be involved in it themselves. Like, for me, it’s about the strong emotional connection between the characters. There’s a lot of great, really emotional porn out there if you know where to look! Heck, I’VE released a comic like that!! I even got comments from ace spectrum friends telling me it was one of the few NSFW things they’ve enjoyed/felt safe reading. I want to provide more stuff like that. Just, comfortable Yuri!! I’m very passionate about this.

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

IN THE END, it’s up to you what you are. Don’t hold yourself to others’ standards. You’re not weird or wrong for being whatever way you are. Love yourself!! ❤

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

All my games are available free on Itchio: https://nomnomnami.itch.io/
And I have an art blog for doodles and finished works: http://nomnomnamiart.tumblr.com/
And a personal Twitter! For updates and yelling about my favorite things: https://twitter.com/nomnomnami.

Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet

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

Interview: Murkrowzy

Today we’re joined by Murkrowzy. Murkrowzy is a wonderful visual artist with a unique style. She does both cartoon-style with realistic proportions. Her work is fascinating, with a remarkable amount of detail. It’s clear she’s a talented and dedicated artist. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Uhm, well, I wouldn’t know how to describe my art well! Alright, let’s see … I’d say it’s a mix of a few different styles of cartoons. I took inspiration from shows like Ed, Edd’n Eddy, Danny Phantom & some comics like Scott Pilgrim. It’s mostly “I’m gonna draw this & not care about how it looks” & then seeing where it goes. It’s mainly cartoony with some realistic proportions I guess.

I also make costumes & other little accessories sometimes! I work mainly in traditional art, sometimes digital.

What inspires you?

Other people’s art! Animation! Seeing other artists do the thing! Seeing creativity! Movies! Music! Really, just experiencing stuff other artists put out is what inspires me. Whimsy, never before imagined stuff!

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

I was drawing since I could remember. I don’t remember any specific movie or franchise or whatever that made me think “Shit, I wanna draw like that someday”. Maybe it was Disney or anime? I’ll say yes. I’m also autistic; I guess this was one of the many ways I would fidget creatively with. I just always had a pencil & paper in my hand during school. I never stopped drawing & that meant my grades suffered for it! No regrets. (Don’t be like me, alright?)

Have I always wanted to be an artist? Friend, all of us are artists. We take lines & force them into recognizable shapes. We are gods! Rulers of the pencil! Ancient deities of craft & world making! Without our god powers, our world would not be as bright as it is! Bow down to our unbelievable powe-… okay, I’ll stop.

chester cup sleep 4 copy
Chester Cup Sleep

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 used to have a symbol, but it fell away into some deep space void. Now I don’t have a special symbol. I just use text & put in ways to find me.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

(Can we curse here? I’m gonna do it.)

There will *ALWAYS* people out there who are going to think your art is absolute fucking garbage, that it’s the worst thing they ever saw. Those people will compare it to artists who had more time & experience, & then turn to you & tell you to stop drawing because “it looks like shit”. If you want to get better & for those comments to stop, you *have* to keep going. You will hit blocks, you will run into haters & you will run into people who will reject your art because “it’s not good enough”. That’s reality. You know what is also reality? Not giving up. You got 13 hateful comments? People are saying your art is shit? Here’s how to handle those comments; take them & use them to your advantage by not listening to those people & KEEP MAKING ART. I don’t care if it’s macaroni & cheese latte hearts at Starbucks. Your art will always improve & get better if you keep at it.

The reality is this: you will not understand anatomy, perspective & color theory in 5 minutes. Talent & skill isn’t something that is served onto a plate where you just eat it up & suddenly you get better. It’s years, YEARS, of hard work, trial & error to understand the art of art.

Here’s one more thing: try not comparing yourself to other artists. I find that’s very draining on one’s self-esteem, & that bottle is quite difficult to fill back up. You should: admire their art, use the “I WANNA BE THAT GOOD holy fuCK” feeling to propel yourself forward to get better in art.

So just fucking make ART! Don’t stop! Only stop for food along the way! & sleep. & maybe a shower.

cupstress mugstress copy
Cupstress Mugstress

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Gray ace! Gray aromantic as well. I pretty sure it’s fluid because it changes a lot. Somedays I’m like “hey, that person is really cute!” & other days it’s “you’re so goddamn aesthetically pleasing to my eye holy shit”. Many days it’s “CAN WE HANG OUT. PLZ”. It’s never been “omg hotness I wanna bang you”. I just don’t see how people are like that! How the hell are people attracted to genitalia anyways…

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

Many times. Sometimes, it’s best to ignore it. Although I believe it’s best to talk things out & educate people. I have a friend who thinks sex is the ultimate expression of love. Being ace, I disagreed & we discussed it. He didn’t understand how it was possible to be asexual & still date someone. I told him what I knew: sometimes people just want to cuddle & not have sex. Some people enjoy the act of sex while not being attracted to the person.

I love to explain it to people like this: Do you see a flower? Do you think it’s pretty? Do you want to fuck the flower?

To many people, they would answer: yes, yes, no. I then draw parallels to asexuality: we see a person, we think they’re pretty (aesthetically) & we don’t want to sex the person.

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

“ACE PEOPLE CAN’T/DON’T WANT SEX. ACE PEOPLE CAN’T/DON’T WANT LOVE.” That’s pure fucking bullshit & me & my ace friends will gladly give a fuck about that. I don’t blame a closed mindset; some people literally cannot fathom asexuality & what it’s like! It’s at that point in time we throw some education in their direction & try to get them to understand.

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

Ace people don’t give any fucks, that’s what I say! You aren’t broken, you don’t need fixing. Accepting yourself is hard as bricks … you can break through that wall. You will hear people who will say “Maybe you’ll find somebody. Maybe you’ll change your mind”. I once found those words troubling; I stopped once I gave them my own meaning. I realized that even though I am ace, I can still love someone! I can still have sex, have feelings & do the things. I just don’t experience them as often, nor do I want to.

Maybe I will find somebody who will love me for who I am. Maybe my mind will change; after all, sexuality is fluid. Like fluid, it changes. I’m going to be hitting my 30s soon & I haven’t had my first kiss or first sex. I don’t care if it never happens.

Don’t worry about “not being normal”. Your sexuality is your normal. Hug it, take it out to dinner. Don’t give any fucks. That’s one thing ace people are really good at.

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

Please send all the lovelies to:

Twitter: Murkrowzy
Tumblr: GlassesCatMurk/MetroCatStudios (for art!)
YouTube: SurvivorMurk

*PTERODACTYL SCREECH*

murk retail
Murk Retail

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

Interview: Montiese McKenzie

Today we’re joined by Montiese McKenzie. Montiese is a phenomenal author who recently published her first novel entitled Blood of my Blood (congratulations!). It’s a supernatural thriller with a fascinating plot involving a mysterious disappearance and a hidden world deep in the nation’s capital. Montiese’s 2nd novel will be released in January.  It’s clear she’s an incredibly talented author with a great voice and I can’t wait to read what she has in store next. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

me at comic con

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer. I write fiction and just self-published my first book, Blood of my Blood. I’ve been writing since I was eight years old, spent my teen years writing stories instead of paying attention in school. In 2005, in my late twenties, I discovered fanfiction and began to write for a few different fandoms over the years. I still dabble in fanfic, it’s always been a great way to hone your skills. My goal has always been get your stories out to as many readers as you can, it didn’t matter if it was original stories or fanfiction.

What inspires you?

People. One of my biggest goals in writing is to get to the center of people. Human beings are so complicated, with more dimensions and facets than you can count. My inspiration from them is limitless really. Especially when you add in people interacting with other people, which is what storytelling is all about. Also, I grew up on soap operas so multilayered stories with large ensemble casts are my weakness.

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

I started writing at 8, which is pretty young. It was an assignment in my 4th grade class to write a story. We actually made our own books, stories, covers, bindings, everything. The only thing I ever truly wanted to be before that was a nature photojournalist for National Geographic, which is a pretty creative job. Both of my parents are artists, my mother wrote stories and my dad is a graphic artist and musician so I guess I came by it honest.

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?

Even though I was born at the end of the 70s, I grew up on things from the 70s and before so there are lots of references to those things in my stories. Television, books, and movies. Most of the characters I write are older than me so it fits in with who they are as people. But there are times when I get emails or messages from younger readers who may not understand a reference. I love teaching people about the stuff I love so it’s cool. Golden age of Hollywood and 70s television pop culture references are really my favorite thing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Hone your skills with lots of practice and school if that’s possible for you. Don’t let the bad voices shout you down, they will always be there, but also get used to constructive criticism early. That took me forever and I still struggle with it because I spent so long not sharing my work, when I finally did some reactions to it were difficult for me. If you’re a writer, read as much as you can. There is no lesson more fulfilling than a good book. Find a creative tribe and help each other grow, learn, and take the knocks life as a creative can dole out. Never, ever give up on your art if you love it.

me blackout 10

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Grey ace. I’m somewhere in the middle, which is kind of the story of my life. I identify as a biromantic gray asexual. I love and appreciate romance but rarely, if ever, feel sexual attraction. For a long time I didn’t know what that meant, I think sexual attraction is a hard thing to measure when you start talking about romantic attraction, physical attraction, aesthetic attraction; it took me a long time to divide and define those things and I actually still work on it.

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

Some people have asked me how I can write sex and romance if I’m asexual. I get that more than I ever expected and it boggles my mind. I’m a writer, I just make it up though I do try to keep the core of my characters steeped in the reality of how most humans are. Also being creative allows me to tap into what a fictional person is feeling or experiencing completely separate from myself. I’m not writing my life, I’m writing someone else’s.

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

That something is wrong with us. For so long we’ve been taught that sexual intercourse is a basic need, like food, water, and sleep. So when people encounter someone who doesn’t feel or experience sexual attraction, they wonder (sometimes aloud) if it is a mental or medical condition. They wonder “who hurt you?” They should be more concerned with why the patriarchy insists sex is a basic need.

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

Get to know yourself and don’t let anyone label you. I didn’t come out as bisexual until 2009 and asexual in about 2015. It took a long time to put words to what I experienced and felt (or didn’t feel). I would tell them to live, experiment, have many different kinds of friends, and do what makes your body and spirit happy. Don’t be in a rush to declare that you are anything, for so many sexuality is fluid over a lifetime.

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

I have a blog, montiesethewriter.com, which I promise I’ll be doing more blog entries on in 2018. My first novel, Blood of my Blood, was self-published through Amazon in September 2017. It’s currently available in both eBook and paperback. My second novel, The Providence of Human Affairs will be released in January 2018. This is the link to my first book: http://a.co/6uhzMn9.

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

Interview: KSAMF

Today we’re joined by KSAMF. KSAMF is a phenomenal illustrator and sculptor from Barcelona. She uses a number of materials to create incredibly unique sculptures. KSAMF draws information from a variety of sources and it makes for intriguing images. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. wo ai ni
Wo Ai Ni

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw and I make sculptures. I like to combine 2D and 3D materials (like clay or paper mâché with cardboard or wood). I use art as a way to express my thoughts and my frustrations.

What inspires you?

Daydreams and nightmares, society and its norms and personal experiences. In terms of art, Primitive arts (prehistoric, African, Aboriginal and American) and medievals arts (Romanic and Illuminated manuscripts) are pretty present in my works.

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Stars and Goals

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

When I was 2 years old I was diagnosed with dyslexia and I wasn’t able to speak for a time. So, instead of writing, I used drawings as a form of communication. After my recovery, my family let me keep on drawing and they still encourage me to do it. I used to wanted to be an artist, but it’s an ideal that has been “falling apart” since I finished Fine Arts. Although I still want to see my artworks in a gallery.

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’ve never thought about that.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Focus on your work, accept critiques, some of them are advice. But don’t let others influence you. Show them you’re sure and proud of what you do.

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Dry and Alone

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify myself as gray-asexual.

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

Yes, especially during Fine Arts. I had to cope with some situations like one time when a classmate told me that asexuals are diseased or when another, after knowing about my identity, nicknamed me as “little starfish”. Nowadays I act naturally, I laugh at spicy jokes (although I don’t find them funny). I’ve never told about my asexuality, but I crossdress and identify myself as female even though some people refers me with male and female pronouns!

4. ningen
Ningen

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

That asexuality is actually celibacy.

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

It’s okay to not feel sexual attraction! There’s nothing wrong with that,

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

You can find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ksamf/
And Behance: https://www.behance.net/saramarf24e6

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Wired Deity

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

Interview: Battle Korbi

Today we’re joined by Battle Korbi. Battle Korbi is a wonderful young writer and visual artist from Croatia. He does a lot of writing in both English and Croatian, though not as much is posted just yet. When he’s not writing, Battle Korbi enjoys drawing and takes a lot of inspiration from anime. His work is brimming with color and an impressive use of lines, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to him for taking time to participate in this interview.

art1capture

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

First of all, hiya. My art… I am a hobby writer, and a really “sketchy” sketcher, so to say. When I want to talk about my literal skills, I like to point out that I am having a bit of a tough time writing on both English and my native language. I love to write stuff on English, purely because there is a chance of posting it online in the far grimdark future, and I could let total strangers see it and rate me according to my skills, and not who I am. Yet I also like to doodle with Croatian (my mother tongue), because, my works then actually get seen by who-I-know are real people, but as always, some people don’t like to criticize their good friends, so I might not get to see if I am really that great in the first place.

About my drawing skills? Yeah, I guess that is interesting. I like to take inspiration from anime, cartoons, more serious stuff, you name it. Few of my drawings here are random and don’t have a thematic that joins them. I don’t focus on a specific thing when drawing in general, but I guess my speciality is “caricatures” and making animesque characters out of… everything. I often go overboard with detailing, as I simply cannot stop adding those itsy little bits that make my scratchings look more complete than ever. Sometimes the amount of details would end up excessive, and to anybody who is not me what started as several lines ended up as mashed potatoes. I like to experiment with every type of visual media, and can safely say that I have made at least one of every type. Are they good though? Unsure. Are they mine and by default awesome? Totally. (Am I over-confident? I guess…)

Point is, I am a absolute noobface who is kinda good at everything, but not really a meister of anything. What is good that almost everybody I know draw for shit so by default I have amazing skills and flattery fuels me 😀

5. astera

What inspires you?

Depends on what has been happening, what had my eyes touched when wandering, what thoughts had been cycling through my dreams or inside my very lucid mind. I don’t have a stationary muse I could always refer to, I most likely harvest a single “sensation” and make stuff out of it, and then plant another seed and go on to another “sensation”. I remember that something flared up in my this summer when I decided to start doing a bunch of yaoi/yuri art. Stories and drawings keep pumping out of me, even though I had no “usage” of them. I had to remove all the art though, because… well, how would you feel if you find out your sibling has been drawing gay/lesbian softcore porn for quite some time? I reckon, not good. That is just a example though, one of many.

Currently I am leeching of WH40k, drawing Dreadnoughts and Space Marines whenever I get to it. I am also trying to imitate Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure, and I have a good knack of it, I may say. With regards to writing, currently I am trying out comedy, lashing out hurricanes of puns and silly jokes. My favorite “Airplane!”-esque joke to use is: “It sprawled all over the floor. Carpet, of course.” Or “He was soaked from tip to toe. From rain of course.”. Basically, rev up the situation like something dramatic was going on, then dispel it by playing Captain Obvious. This works with some context though.

 

IMG_20171113_213127

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

Lemme see… When I got a connection to the internet somewhere in my first year of high school, and a bit before, I started writing. I had been reading a lot of books before I “went online”, and was writing a bit too on paper. This single, quite slow and unrealiable thread of kilobites (yes, kilobites) where my only connection to the world out there. I found some creepypasta groups on Facebook, and I hit it off from there, writing incredibly bad stories filled with Mary Sues, miracles, and explosions. They sucked. Be it grammar (from bad English), the way story unfolded, or the way I told the stories. They never got much attention, but I kept on writing and posting every day, till I got better and better. I still dream of being a successful writer, but not really a full-time novelist, because such dreams are a bit unrealistic with my caliber.

About drawing? Yeah, I guess I picked up a pencil as a kid and just… did stuff? I guess I got complimented for my amount of details and whatevs. Out of boredom I gave my pencil, later my ink pen, a revisit during my later years of middle school, and just drew stuff every day til I learned to be a bit better than before. I might not have a soul of a artist, but damn whoever tells me I haven’t worked hard enough. I guess I want to be a proud author of a good comic someday… or a cartoon, or manga, or anime. I have not decided yet, but that doesn’t mean I should not warm up and exercise every day.

6. dip software1

 

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?

Eh, not really. Depends on the mood and the piece though. I might feel mystic sometimes and put “out-of-sight” details that don’t mean anything but a pat on the back for those who find them. I do like to pull references a lot. Like, it is easy to pull references to some anime/manga/games/shows/movies when you are living in a environment filled with people who cannot tell. Whenever I am writing on Croatian, and whenever I know that whatever I am writing will be read by someone. I make sure to pop as many references as possible, and try and pick up any reaction that implies that someone understood a reference. There had been a few people who got them. We became friends soon enough (my other friends became friends for other reasons, no worries).

Anything beside my basic signature (The weird number 8 with a K, two guesses to who it refers to) is quite rare to find in my works. Even I cannot find them. I reckon because I don’t do them too much. Sometimes when sharing my work I might get over-excited and spill the secret stuff almost immediately.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

First of all, create. Like, don’t take a break unless you have a important exam coming up, or if you have a big project to complete, or if you are crushed underneath work, or if you are getting ready to repel a siege attempt on your fortress, or if you are worrying about looting that store without being seen by zombies… Point is, create. Not every artpiece can be shown at a gallery or in a bookstore, they might be stored somewhere moldy and dusty, or incinerated, but the point is, if you won’t bother creating big stuff, take some time to practice your technique.

Also, if you are having issues with your creativity, try and tapping into your inner kid who considered Transformers to be super duper cool. If not Transformers, some other cartoon. Either way, you don’t have to make mind-boggling, ground-breaking or any other way “deep” art all the time. Take some time to relax, draw a super cool robot with flamethrowers and chainguns, or write a cheesy action scene with a hammy protagonist, or play a piece that could be used as a background music for a intense wizard duel. Make a sculpture of a space marine goring a alien. Alternatively, if you don’t like exciting and explosive stuff, then draw/write/play about/whatever something calm and simple, like flowers, animals, friends hanging out, sunrise, sunsets… Not every piece you make has to have a deep meaning behind it, nor does it have to trigger philosophical thoughts, breakthroughs or inspiration.

Last bit, learn to find, capture, tame and calibrate your intrusive thoughts and emotions. How many times a day you cross the road imagining yourself getting hit by a airplane (okay, maybe you don’t)? Just about how many times did you see a funny-looking person walking down the same road as you? And just about how many times did you imagine “Gee, what would I do if a terrorist came here and started shooting?”. Simply put, everyone daydreams. Once you learn to find these thoughts, you capture them, down on the paper or keyboard, or under a pencil. Then, you have to tame those nasty buggers, make them feel natural. This in itself is a process different for everyone. You might find it super easy, or tougher than a nail. Then calibrate those thoughts, make them a centerpiece of your new artwork, or implement them in your existing projects. It takes a while for all of this to happen, but remember, you are the one doing your art. No one is telling you that you should not bother doing anything else related to art. If they do, screw them. Caterpillars become butterflies, so do new artists become good artists, once you get enough time, sunshine, water, protein and whatever else.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual… Bit gray I guess? I like shipping people and I find some people hella cute, but it never advances from there. I would like to throw in the “romantic” word here, but dunno where…

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

 

As in environment itself or the art community? Since I dunno anything about the second, I might give a rundown of things going on here around here. I had grown up in a religious environment, if not religious, then surely quite conservative. I myself am a Christian man, a Catholic to be more specific, and I cannot see any blame within my brothers and sisters when they become confused about my orientation. Specifically, I only told my classmates in high school that I am asexual. Reactions were different. Technically, I was the same as everyone else, as long as I did not like other guys, I was fine. There were some confusing moments, but high school kids can be accepting of that. And I still chuckle a bit from the time one of my friends said “Stop being asexual! That isn’t good!” in a tone of voice similar to the one given to people that text-and-drive.

I still have not told my family about it, though. Seeing how my (a)sexuality might impose a great deal on the dynasty (honestly, just a few huffs and puffs), I decided to keep that bit of info for myself. I would still like to have a wife and have a family, but I guess it would be tough when sex is virtually non-exist to me and physical attraction is a thing worth swapping for cake.

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

None other than a confused look and a “So… you like dudes?” or “So… your wiener is wrong?”. Seeing that I made a wise choice of hiding my orientation from people who don’t need to know, I have not got many troubles. I can still pour out some gold nuggets:

“So you don’t want kids?”: No, I would actually love to have kids. That are mine as well! No one is going to be a genetic father to my kids but me! I just don’t like the sex thing :3

“You sure you are not straight and pretending?” I guess I am sure. I mean, why waste time getting excited over people just because of their genders? Also, since when became all about sex? There is life beyond bed, people, and it is beautiful!

“I am sure you won’t be when you…” Nah. Thanks for considering though, but still, I have to refuse your kind gesture.

“You should stop watching anime, see what is happening to you! Next day you might decide to be a dragon or something.” Nah, if given a choice of what I would become, I would rather become a Aztec god of fitness thank you.

But these lines above are just what my closest friends asked. Everyone else just shrug their heads.

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

There will be people who will try and “convert” you, especially if you are a good friend to them and if you live in a conservative setting like me. Don’t let them confuse you though. Unless they are actively using drugs on you, remember that only you are in control of your willpower. Brace through, and be ready to hug the sunshine first thing in the morning!

I also like this line: “There is life beyond bed”. I like it a lot. Why? Because it implies a lot of things. Like, if you decide to head out and explore, you would see all those little things that matter in life, details that make a bigger picture more beautiful. The social media and the internet tries to make it all about sex. If you get laid enough, you are cool. Remain a virgin, and you are useless mess of tears. But that is just depresso propaganda limiting people from their inner lights, just to bring them down and break them. Depressos are trying to get through everyone, me, you, your friends and family. They want to blame you for things out of your reach, and use this guilt to claim superiority. They want to take your passion, and break it, so you can become like them.

The world needs passionate people to keep moving around the sun without trouble. The happiest people are the ones who keep with the world’s currents, the way the water moves, the way the rocks remain still in face of trouble, and the way fire heats. That doesn’t mean you should watch news 24/7. No. Just be passionate about you do. Be happy about what you do. Take criticism where its due, and discard the bad things. My father says; “It isn’t about doing what makes you happy, but being happy with what you are doing”, and my “There is life beyond bed” applies perfectly.

Anywho, check yourself for your asexuality. If all the conditions apply for you to fit on a spectrum, then you are fine! Asexual people are still people, people who can love others all right. It is just that we had been blessed with a opportunity to see daily life without sex, and to see where the true beauty lies. If you are a artist, a total noobface or a pro, you should be able to see what makes beauty beauty, and what makes sex sex, and how to capture each.

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

Uhh, I surely like to write a lot, hope I didn’t bore ya, fellow aces! Either way, you guys can check my lousy FB page here: https://www.facebook.com/battlekorbiart/ (Be warned, I don’t upload everything I make here, only when I remember it)

I guess, I would appreciate it if you people checked out my absolutely empty Tumblr blog: https://thy-battle-korbi.tumblr.com/

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