Interview: Michelle

Today we’re joined by Michelle. Michelle is the phenomenal artist and creator behind the comic Centralia 2050, a “female-led cyberpunk mystery comic with themes of isolation, oppression, and transhumanism.” The comic has a variety of diverse characters and Michelle puts a lot of importance on creating ace-friendly material. Michelle is soon going to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first volume of the comic, which I’ll post a signal boost for in about a week (so keep an eye out for that). Michelle is an incredibly talented and passionate artist, 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 storyboard and comic artist, currently working on my original cyberpunk mystery comic Centralia 2050. Right now, the comic is just starting its 4th chapter, with a volume 1 book in the works. I also work as an artist doing live-action storyboards for commercials and music videos. Now and then, I like doing watercolour painting, too.

What inspires you?

Usually the people around me. Each person I get to know inspires me with their unique life story, their struggles, their aspirations. A lot of that gets subconsciously channeled into the stories I write and the characters I create.

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

I’ve always been drawn toward telling stories, and drawing is the easiest way for me to get my ideas out. I’m not great with words, so it’s often easier for me to just show what’s in my head. It wasn’t until I was in middle school that I thought about pursuing art professionally, though I didn’t know what kind of job I wanted. Eventually comics and storyboarding became the most natural path to satisfy my love for storytelling.

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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?

Nothing I’m aware of! I’m not great at noticing those little trends in my art, honestly. Like, I couldn’t tell you what my style is or any direct visual inspirations. I just draw what looks right to me.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Perfection is the enemy of finished. A lot of young artists hide their work because they feel it’s not good enough to share, but the world can’t know about you if you hide everything you create. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, and have a constructive attitude towards failure. I think that’s a quality that every successful artist must possess.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a heteromantic ace.

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

In my field, no. I don’t typically make my orientation known, largely because it only invites a lot of awkward questions. Of course there’s going to be ignorant people in the artist community, but I’ve been fortunate to not have to deal with any of them personally in my career.

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

That I’m ace because my partner is lousy in bed. It sucks, because I’m inclined to not “out” him as having an ace girlfriend– I don’t want to potentially embarrass him. When you tell people you’re ace and in a relationship, they want to know how that works. It’s different for every couple, and I don’t think it should be anyone else’s business.

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

Find ace-friendly communities online. I didn’t even know what to call myself until I was in my mid-20s, and it caused me a lot of grief. I hear a lot of aces say they thought they were “broken”, and I absolutely felt that way before I realized asexuality was a thing. I felt a lot better when I started reading about other people’s experiences and having the validation that I wasn’t a broken person.

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

You can read Centralia 2050 at centralia2050.com. There is also a Kickstarter for the first volume of the comic, which you can find at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/michelledraws/70043576?ref=355027&token=8e80ddd4. (Kickstarter will be live on October 15th)

I’m Art of Michelle Stanford on Facebook, at michellestanfordart on Instagram, and at Michelledrawz on Twitter.

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

Interview: Renessa Jones

Today we’re joined by Renessa Jones. Renessa is a wonderful crafter and visual artist. She does knitting, perler art, and charm making. When she’s not crafting, Renessa enjoys drawing. She has filled out a number of sketchbooks and has a great deal of passion, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Furry Video Games

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do several mediums of art. I knit, make charms, perler art, and draw. Drawing and knitting are probably my favorites. I started both to assist with my anxiety and both have helped greatly. I have a large stack of sketchbooks climbing half way up my bed room wall.

What inspires you?

Let’s see, TV mostly. Television, movies, and characters I love. I draw cartoons mostly. Now with knitting, I’m inspired by who’s getting the knitting project, their favorite colors and things. I make cute things because cute things are adorable!

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Hipster Tad

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

Like I said I took up knitting to help with crippling anxiety.

However, when I was little we were so poor we couldn’t afford to pay for electricity one month. My mom taught me how to draw cartoons since there was no TV. She taught me how to draw a bear head, a dog head, cat head, and Mickey. I practiced because I wanted to be as good as my mom. Then when I was in high school my mom told me she wanted to draw as good as me and this made me happier than anything.

I loved drawing since I was a kid. I was never paying attention in school because I was drawing. There is nothing better than seeing an empty page then almost like magic there was a drawing.

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Jesse and Matt

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 especially, I do sign my digital art with my initials RJ.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

PRACTICE! I didn’t think I was any good when I was little. I drew pictures ALL the time and over time I got better. I practice drawing faces and hair a lot so I can get better. I need to practice drawing hands cause you practically have to sell your soul if you want to draw nice hands.

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Owlly 2

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a heteroromantic asexual.

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

My mom tries to understand but I know she thinks I have something physically wrong with me. She thinks I will get over it when I’m older. My friend says once I’ve had it I’ll change my mind. I haven’t met any prejudice yet luckily, but then again I haven’t told many people.

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

That you just need to have it to like it. That doesn’t seem right to me. Even if someone has never had sex they should be able to say whether they are interested or not. I’m not interested, in fact the idea of myself doing it makes me physically nauseous some times.

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Stanley and Sakura Kissy

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

It’s OK to not like it. You are not broken or alone. You are not any less of a person. You can still fall in love if you have romantic feelings. You can have a relationship with love and not have sex because sex does NOT equal love. If you’re with someone who just loves you because they will get sex they are NOT worth your time. You are better than that.

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

My Tumblr is sosospoopy, feel free to send a message and say howdy ^ ^ I tag my art renessadraws and renessaknits

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Wirt and Beatrice Wings

Thank you, Renessa, 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: Shay

Today we’re joined by Shay. Shay is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in a cartoon style. She is a self-taught artist and is currently working to get a degree in animation. Her work has a masterful use of color and a sense of whimsy, which just makes you want to smile. She’s clearly a dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Me Windbreaker Teal

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a self-taught digital illustrator and I’m pursuing a degree in 2D animation! I prefer to use a very Western cartoon-like style. Picking out bright or pastel color schemes is my favorite!

What inspires you?

I often draw my favorite YouTubers, my friends, and my two adorable dogs! I also do a lot of self-portraits. Lately I’ve been trying to create my own original characters, but those are all still a work in progress. When I’m not sure what to draw, I sometimes will come up with a color palette that I love and go from there!

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Amy Sick

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

I’ve always been interested in drawing, but I didn’t set my mind on really trying to improve until about 6 years ago. Growing up I would only consider more “practical” careers like graphic design or marketing. That is, until a year ago when it suddenly occurred to me that real people with real lives actually get to illustrate and animate for a living. And it made me think “Why couldn’t that be me?”

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Chica

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 typically, but when drawing myself I often include daisies somewhere in the illustration just because I really love them, and four-leaf clovers because I have a knack for finding them and they just seem to appear everywhere in my life. And it couldn’t hurt to have a little luck on my side!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to try out elements of a style from artists you look up to. As long as you’re not tracing or essentially/literally claiming their work as your own, it will certainly help you discover your own unique style. Everyone’s signature style is just a conglomerate of things they saw and just thought to themselves “Wow! I really like that! I wonder if I could replicate that!” Trying out styles like that really helps you come into your own with time.

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Ethan Peace

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and heteromantic!

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

Not really, mostly just those that have never had the concept of asexuality explained to them. People tend to associate sex with something artistic, and therefore assume that all artists want that in their lives, which is not the case at all!

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Jack and Mark Dudebros

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

That it’s just being picky or that an ace person just “hasn’t found the right person yet.” If you’re asexual you don’t have any interest at all. I have never once in my life looked at someone and fantasized about having sex with them, and I’m in college. That has nothing to do with not finding the right person.

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

Please don’t stress about it too much! You may face some prejudice and ignorance about asexuality in your life, but at the end of the day you know how you feel, and nobody else can change that about you no matter how much they want to. You are not broken!

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

I’m most active on my Tumblr blog, but you can find me on these social medias:
DeviantART: https://sorrelheart.deviantart.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sorrelheart_jpg
Redbubble: https://www.redbubble.com/people/shaytastic

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Baylee Happy

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

Interview: Kate Adams

Today we’re joined by Kate Adams. Kate is a wonderful young songwriter from Northern Ireland who has recently begun writing poetry as well. She posts singing videos to her Facebook page. Kate has such an admirable enthusiasm and is incredibly engaging, 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.

I’ve recently started writing poems and songs. I’ve always loved music so eventually I just started putting piano accompaniments with the words, the first poem I ever tried putting music to wasn’t my one, it was “Solar” by Philip Larkin.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by Philip Larkin, I really admire how honest his work is and how he was always true to his beliefs. I am also very inspired by my friends. They are also creatives who are LGBT+ and they encourage me so much. We always share work with each other and give feedback, they are very important to me and I write a lot about them.

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

I took English at a higher level at school and really fell in love with the poetry section. I went to a few poetry readings in local bookstores and it really inspired me to start writing. I have been singing from a very early age with my granda, my dad is also very musical and it kind of rubbed off on me. My brother and I took piano lessons for a few years and he really succeeded at it, but I stuck more to singing.

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

I don’t, I haven’t really thought about a sign off or signature to be honest. I just tend to write my initials.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

To any young aspiring artist reading this interview I would say: Even if you don’t like what you have created, it’s probably good you made it because it furthered your talent and ability. Everything you do is part of a creative journey you are on. Be proud of what you and always keep true to who you are and what you believe. Be respectful of others and their work and be you 😊

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a HetAce as of right now, but I might be BiAce.

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

I have had a few people who are part of the LGBT+ community tell me that I don’t belong in “their” community. I have dealt with it by saying stuff like “I mean, here is some material you could read that may sway you…” and then linking them to posts and articles on the topic. It’s infuriating to be oppressed by being excluded and demonised by a group of people who aim to fight oppression.

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

I had a conversation very recently with somebody who thought that all asexuals were repulsed and opposed to kissing, masturbation and sex, I explained that that isn’t always the case and that it varies from person to person.

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

I am still figuring out my own orientation, some people don’t figure it for a very long time, orientation and sexuality are very fluid things and labels can change as you grow as a person. Don’t feel that you should fall under one label either! It’s totally okay to just be you and like what you like. As long you are mindful and respectful of others you’ll go far.

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

I’ve recently started posting videos of me singing on my Facebook page, no original songs yet but you never know what the future holds! Most of the people who like it don’t know about my being asexual, I’m still trying to tell a few people aha.

The link to my page is: https://www.facebook.com/KateAdamsMusic

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

Interview: Georgia

Today we’re joined by Georgia. Georgia is a wonderful aspiring author who specializes in YA sci-fi/fantasy fiction. She’s currently in the process of writing a 5-book dystopian series that features an asexual main character. It’s clear she loves what she does, 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 an unpublished author and in the middle of creating my very own mermaid tail.

I write sci-fi/fantasy YA novels that only I have read. I just find such safety and confidence in creating worlds of my own or manipulating this world to fit my own design. I’m writing a five-book dystopian series under the pseudonym of Amber Whittaker, which has a main character (Aphrodite) that is actually asexual.

What inspires you?

Since I was little, my inspiration and best friend has been my mom. She supports me through almost anything and guides me when I’m sailing on stormy seas.

I draw inspiration for my writing from the world around me. I always write in public because I meet/see such interesting people and places. Several times, I’ve integrated random people into my stories simply because they brought something new to my characters!   For my mermaid, Gaia is the name of the goddess of life/Mother Earth. Once it’s finished, I’m going to be primarily using my mermaid persona to spread awareness about ocean conservation.

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

I actually always wanted to be a scientist; marine biologist, to be specific. That’s how I got into mermaiding. I love the ocean and always felt more at home under the water.

As for writing, I actually didn’t have any interest in it until 5th grade. It was a writing assignment that my teacher, Mr. Reisler, gave. “Imagine you were a scientist and you became famous for a discovery. What’s that discovery?” He emailed home and asked my mom not to help me on writing assignments. She hadn’t. The next day, he told me that I had a talent and I should pursue it.

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 always include myself in my books. It will never be obvious, but there’s always a background character that mirrors who I am.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never give up! Every successful artist began as a starving artist, and every accomplishment began as a dream. I have nobody standing behind my mermaid dream because everyone thinks it’s stupid and a waste of money. I have nobody to read my writing or give me advice on how to get published because nobody I know likes the genre. As long as you stick with it and take criticism as advice, you’ll go somewhere with your dreams!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a hetero ace.

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

I have experienced ignorance, but not prejudice. I know many people have experienced the latter, but I am more than thankful that I’ve not had to deal with it.

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

“You just think that because you haven’t met the right person.”

No, I know that because my right person will accept me for who I am! Asexuality isn’t a disease that needs to be cured, nor is it a phase that someone can just snap out of. I’m asexual because I don’t feel a sexual attraction to anybody; man, woman, etc.

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

Be true to you. My mom is my best friend, but I haven’t told her because she doesn’t accept this kind of thing. I know who I am, and I know what’s important to me. Your sexual orientation doesn’t define you, unless you make it.

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

You can follow my progress in my writing life on my Facebook page: at authoramberwhittaker

You can follow my progress in my mermaid life on my Instagram account: mermaid_gaia_ravenshelm.

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

Interview: Brian

Today we’re joined by Brian, who also goes by Adipsia. Brian is a phenomenal musician who plays with multiple bands. He also makes ambient music on his own. He uses synths and field recordings to create slow meditational music. It’s very clear that he has an enormous amount of passion, 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 compose experimental ambient music under the Moniker Adipsia! It’s slow, meditational music made with synths and field recordings, and occasionally percussion and other random instruments. I explore themes a lot with my music, and most of my releases have been concept albums that tell a larger story. But it’s mostly instrumental, so you can glean whatever meaning you want from it.

What inspires you?

Almost everything! I manage to find inspiration just about everywhere; sitting in a restaurant listening to silverware and the din of the other people, taking a walk and hearing the sounds of the city mixing with the birds in the trees, or just watching an interesting movie or reading a book. Since the art I make is very nebulous and open, ideas can spring forth out of just about anywhere. Listening to other really talented musicians also gets my mind working, it’s fun to dismantle the elements of their music and guess their creative process.

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

It was probably my parents; neither of them are very musical, but they got me involved in music since I was 6 years old. I’ve always been very creative, and my parents, even though I grew up poor, really tried to provide good outlets for my creativity. I don’t think as a child I ever really thought about what I wanted to be when I grew up, other than an X-Wing pilot, haha. But music has been a large part of my life for so long, it just feels natural to be doing it.

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 guess there is a very echo-y delayed electric piano patch that I throw in quite a few songs. It’s usually in the background, and it fills up a lot of space in a delicate fun way, so I end up utilizing it a lot. Other than that, I don’t really think there’s any kind of signature to my music, other than it all being pretty chill music.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My recommendation is to ingest as much art as you can. Find artists you enjoy, and just take in their work and really listen/look closely. Find out what you enjoy about their work, what you don’t like, and what you’d do differently. Then go do it!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Heteroromantic Asexual. I’m married, and there was some rocky patches to get over during our relationship, but she’s very accepting of my sexuality.

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

Not too much, I don’t really talk that much about sex outside of close relationships, so it doesn’t come up that often. If I ever do mention it, I either get approval and understanding, or I have to explain what it is.

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

That it’s just low libido, and that it can be fixed with testosterone treatment. I do have a low libido, but I can recognize it as something separate from sexual attraction.

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

I would say ‘own it!’ There’s no reason to be ashamed of who you are. Your sexuality is a small part of your whole being, and it’s part of what makes you a unique individual.

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

If you want to check out my work, you can find it on Bandcamp, (adipsia.bandcamp.com) where I release my full albums, and on my Soundcloud (soundcloud.com/adipsiasa) where I usually post little demos, meditations, and things I’ve been working on recently. Of course there’s Facebook too, but I am really bad at social media, so I end up not posting for weeks at a time.

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