Interview: Erik Soriano

Today we’re joined by Erik Soriano. Erik is a wonderful visual artist from Miami, Florida with a very unique style. An emerging artist, he takes his inspiration from the Pop Art movement of the 60s and artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Having recently discovered his own asexuality, Erik has used his art to explore human bodies and sexuality through a visual medium. He started out doing mostly digital art but has recently branched out into acrylic paints. It’s clear he’s a dedicated artist with a bright future ahead of him. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WARNING: Some images in this interview contain nudity.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Ever since I re-discovered myself as an artist last year, I have been fascinated with the Pop Art movement of the 1960s, which in a way, is still prominent in our contemporary time. So far I have explored everyday objects, as well as sexuality and the human body as subject matters. I also have a fascination with typography as I am a graphic designer, and I love seeing typography on the human body. I’ve mostly worked with digital software, but I recently took on painting with acrylics, but I’m open to experimenting with other idea as I keep discovering myself.

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What inspires you?

As I mentioned earlier, Pop Art, the work of the masters, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, and Everyday objects, such as food, videogame characters, ya know things that aren’t seen as “fine” art. But given that I am asexual (like everyone else here I suppose lol) I am not afraid to explore sexuality visually through art. I love the idea of sex, fetishes, or deep desires, I think we shouldn’t be afraid to address those topics in general.

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

I’ve always been a creative, and I’ve always been good at sketching and drawing since I was little. I remember always drawing my favorite cartoons while watching tv or playing with my Nintendo games, but I also remember very vividly creating a huge art supplies case out of an empty pizza cardboard box! I used to watch this art show on Disney channel called “Art Attack” and I got crafty and creative with that pizza box, good memories indeed. Too bad my mom threw it in the garbage a month later. Eventually I didn’t do art until last year when I came back to it and started doing graphic design and sketching, and here I am now. Still growing and learning but eager and committed.

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

I experiment a lot, so I wouldn’t say I have a signature style yet, but I have found myself using the colors hot pink, green, red and back and white a lot. I do have a logo that I used to brand myself as a graphic designer but I don’t really include it in my art, nor do I tend to sign anything. I let the art speak for itself haha.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to follow your dream of being an artist of whatever media or field you choose. Time passes by way too fast and you don’t want to end up older and saying “what if I had tried it” the hardest but most important part is actually starting instead of just saying “I will”. Also it may sound overrated and cliché but always practice, experiment, until you discover who you are and where you want to be. But most importantly, have fun while doing art, or better yet, don’t do art- but be Your art.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m sorry for repeating myself but, Like I said. I re-discovered myself in 2017, both as an artist and as a person. And after careful research and finding AVEN, I now identify as a Homoromantic Asexual.

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

So far I haven’t really experienced anything bad since I rarely speak or get asked about my sexual preference. But I would handle it normally and instead of getting mad if I am mistreated, I would educate those people on what sexuality is and what it isn’t.

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

The few people I’ve spoken to about my asexuality, just think that this is a passing phase and that I just haven’t “met the right person” if you know what I mean. They believe that it is impossible for a human being to not be attracted sexually to anyone.

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Blue Portrait

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

First, get to know and love yourself, if you ever feel weird or that there something wrong with you for not experiencing sexual desire like “normal” people do. Just remember that in your life, what you are and want matter first, and also research online about what asexuality is, the aven website is in my opinion the best source of information wherein you can actually join forums and ask questions and there are answers, you can also chat with fellow asexual people and such. But don’t feel bad for who you are, always love yourself first and take things with patience.

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

I am emerging so it’s not like my work has yet showcased at any gallery (I’m hoping it will happen soon) but you can find me on Instagram at erikgsoriano, or my main website: www.eriksoriano.com.

Thank you for having me! It has been a pleasure, and I’m looking forward to reading other artists interviews on here.

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Hylian Hero
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Snake Kiss

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

Interview: Gadriel

Today we’re joined by Gadriel. Gadriel is a phenomenal and versatile author who writes a bit of everything. While he mostly writes fanfiction, Gadriel also writes a fair amount of micro-stories and poetry. He’s clearly a dedicated and talented writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I write. More often than not I write fanfics, but I write original micro-stories and poetry too. In the future I’d love to publish a book with all my micro-stories and poems.

What inspires you?

What inspires me the most is Death and the mystery that surrounds it. Besides that, almost anything can inspire me: from a person or conversation to a landscape. Inspiration can come from the most unexpected thing.

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

I’ve been writing since I learnt to. Family, friends, and teachers used to tell me that they liked my stories, so I kept writing.

Yes, I’ve always wanted to be an artist as it’s a creative way to express myself and my emotions (which I have a hard time expressing) without feeling judged.

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 like to play with the unexpected. Plot twists everywhere!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice, practice, practice! No one starts being the best at what they do. Us artists are in constant evolution and are always improving our art. However, that can only be achieved through constant practice.

If at first you don’t receive many feedback, don’t be disappointed, it’s all part of the process. The more art you create, the further it will get and the more people can enjoy it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a homoromantic asexual. My position towards sex can vary, but most of the time I’m sex-repulsed.

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

Not many people know that it is possible for us asexuals to write smut/erotica because they see us as these prudish, innocent beings. I don’t write that kind of stuff because I like to concentrate on the emotional part but I know a bunch of asexuals that do write smut/erotica and enjoy it as much as any other person.

I handle this misinformation by educating myself and others on asexuality.

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

That we can’t fall in love. I understand where this comes from, as for many people sex and love go hand in hand. However here is where the split attraction model comes in. If an asexual is also aromantic then they won’t feel romantic love, but if that’s not the case, we fall in love like everyone else.

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

Don’t rush it. Let yourself explore and experiment without prejudices. Don’t be afraid to try on different labels. Maybe some will fit and others will not, but just like gender, sexuality can be fluid. As long as you’re careful while experimenting, nothing’s wrong.

Don’t let people’s comments and opinions prevent you from being yourself.

You are loved and valid.

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

I have some fanfics uploaded in AO3 under the pseudonym ‘Cubi’ and also I fill prompts and write imagines, headcanons and reader inserts here in Tumblr as at acouplewords.

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

Interview: Brie

Today we’re joined by Brie. Brie is a phenomenal young aspiring artist who specializes in visual art. She enjoys drawing people, including some original characters, and dabbles in fanart as well. Her work shows an incredible attention to detail and a sense of whimsy as well. Brie is a very enthusiastic and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Horned Beauty
Horned Beauty

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is mainly people because, well that’s really what I know I can do. I like to draw specific people as well as making up and drawing my own characters!

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by the pits of hell I called my brain as well anything I see around my school and in my everyday life

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

To be completely honest when I was little I really wanted to be a fashion designer but I have always loved drawing and up until last year I hadn’t really done any drawing but then I got really bored in my math class and I started up again! I have honestly never been more thankful for a really boring teacher!

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?

The only thing that really comes to mind is that I always put my signature somewhere in my drawing, but other than that I can’t really find anything else.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Some advice that I could give any young artists would be, and although it sounds very cliché, but honestly don’t give up on what your working on, if you feel as if you have no good ideas just draw or write about it anyway, even if it turns out bad, DO IT ANYWAY!

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Ophelia

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a homoromantic asexual

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

Sadly, I live in a very Christian family and my grandmother is quite homophobic, so I haven’t really told anyone save some of my close friends. Whenever I bring up any form of conversation about asexual stuff, I get told “no you’ll find someone” and stuff like that and honestly I have never had so many quick change conversations about food in my life.

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

The biggest misconception I find about asexuality is that most people think that people who are ace have no emotions, and anytime anyone askes me so you don’t have emotions right I just have to stare at them so a minute, then morph into a purple dragon and fly away form the stupidity.

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

Some advice I could give would probably be just go with what feels right, go with the one that makes you genuinely happy and see where it goes from there!

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

My art handle is mainly my Instagram at weirdonamedbrie. I’m planning on also posting some work on my Tumblr at weirdonamedbrie-art!

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

Interview: Eliott

Today we’re joined by Eliott. Eliott is a phenomenally talented Japanese voice actor who mostly works in the Homestuck community. When he’s not voice acting, Eliott also does some singing, mostly Vocaloid. He’s got a great amount of enthusiasm for his art, 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 do some voice acting and singing. I mostly voice act in the Homestuck community, but I’ve done other fandoms such as Steven Universe and My Little Pony, and I’m in a few original productions where I’m not imitating a voice. For my singing, I just cover songs that I feel like, whether it be popular songs by mainstream artists like Fallout Boy or Imagine Dragons or more niche songs like Vocaloid or anime openings. I also combine my VA work with my singing by singing as a character. Of course, this is mostly Homestuck because that’s how I got into voice acting, but that’s for later.

What inspires you?

For my VA work, it’s mostly anime voice actors in Japan, like Ikue Otani (Chopper from One Piece, Pikachu), Noriaki Sugiyama (Sasuke from Naruto, England from Hetalia), and Daisuke Namikawa (Italy from Hetalia, Eustass Kid from One Piece). I can’t really list off English voice actors because I just don’t watch dubs all that often, and in most cases, I prefer the original Japanese voices. For my singing, I’d say my number one inspiration is Case (hi I’m Case). Not a lot of people know of them, but they’re a musician in Wisconsin that some people might know if they were in the Homestuck fandom. Their music is super relatable to me, and I honestly aspire to be like them one day and actually write my music too, not just do covers. Other than Case, I enjoy works of Fallout Boy, Imagine Dragons and Taylor Swift. I also enjoy Idina Menzel (voice of Elsa in Disney’s Frozen, Elphaba in Wicked) and wish I was as talent as her, haha.

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

As I briefly mentioned earlier, Homestuck got me into voice acting. I saw works of Zanney (Broadway Karkat) and wanted to be like them, and singing just came as part of the package since I tried to go straight into the voice acting/singing field.

I’d always wanted to be an artist, yes, and originally it was somewhere in music. Considering not many artists live off of doing only covers of songs, though, I was a bit discouraged. I mean, I couldn’t compose well just because of my lack of musical creativity, and I still can’t, and I’ve honestly come to terms with that. I know all the musical theory that goes into composing, but I just couldn’t compose. That combined with the fact that the entertainment industry is really a hit or miss, I thought that I’d keep this on the sidelines as my super dedicated hobby.

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 really have that “trademark me” type stuff, just because I work for other people and their projects. I guess the most unique thing is having people ask how I do my “Nepeta voice” which is pretty high and cutesy (imagine the range of Honey senpai from Host Club or Chopper from One Piece) when my regular speaking tone is much lower, and I try to use that vocal versatility for a variety of projects. Then again, I’m starting HRT soon so I won’t be able to do it anymore, haha.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t give up. I know it’s been said countless times, but just don’t give up. Unless you’re a prodigy, you won’t get cast in the first production you auditioned for, and you won’t get a million notes on your first song that you post. Show it to friends and boost it, but you’ll only really get two or three notes. That’s not your fault, and it doesn’t mean that you’re bad at it. It just means that people don’t know you yet. Keep working, keep improving, and keep faith. With time, there will come a time when people will recognize you at conventions or just online through your voice.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an asexual. I say I’m homoromantic but I’m also leaning towards demiromantic, but I’m not sure about that part yet.

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

I guess I have, in a way. It’s not a “aces are actually cishet and don’t belong in LGBT spaces” type deal, but a lot of the people who are trying to be inclusive of all genders and sexualities just … forget about asexual people, y’know? Mostly in the original podcasts, which are trying to be inclusive with leads being trans and/or POC and whatnot, forget about us aces. If they do remember, the label of ace is slapped on that one kid that appears in episode 4 for two minutes. Don’t get me wrong, not all podcasts do this, but it’s still really frustrating to see other marginalized orientations be represented more than others. We’re like the one percent of the one percent. No one sees us. Those that I’ve brought this up to, though, have been pretty cool about it, saying that they’ll either write in an asexual character or straight up start another podcast with an ace as a lead, and I think that’s pretty awesome! More to come on that later, hopefully.

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

“Aces don’t have sex” probably. I’m 21. I’ve had sex. I don’t really like it, and probably somewhere between neutral and sex-repulsed. I mean, part of my asexuality might have come from past trauma and maybe that’s why I don’t enjoy it? I don’t know, and I honestly don’t care why I’m ace. I just know that I am. Date at Cheesecake Factory? Perfect. Taking me to Outback so you can get laid? Back off.

Another is that because I’m ace, I can’t find people attractive and/or make lewd jokes. Like, yeah, I’m ace, that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the way people look and fall in love with them. For the jokes, especially, I’m pretty sure that I make these jokes because I’m ace. It’s just… I guess how I cope and a way for people to stay off my ass about being ace. “OMG are you a plant” is so old, and jokes are funnier and easier to deal with than that aphobic bullcrap.

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

Don’t listen to all the negative stuff that the media spews at you. They’re just uninformed and ignorant, and that’s their loss, not yours. You are 100% valid. Whether your asexuality comes from trauma or not, whether you love sex or not, none of that really matters in the end. If you’re asexual, embrace it. Find other aces who want to actually Netflix and Chill, binge ice cream, and talk about puppies. You are not broken, and you are valid.

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

All of my voice related work (reblogged or original posts) can be found on my voice blog at http://skylerva.tumblr.com. I made the blog before I changed my name to Eliott and that’s why it’s Skyler, but don’t worry, that’s still me.

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

Interview: Jessica Suphan

Today we’re joined by Jessica Suphan. Jessica is a phenomenal author who has recently published her debut novel, a psychological thriller entitled Perfect World. Jessica hasn’t met a genre she doesn’t like and writes in a variety of them. She’s an incredibly passionate and dedicated writer, 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.

Gladly! I’m an author, I write psychologically based stories, romance, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, any genre that pops into my mind. I write novellas and novels and short stories; just like I write whatever genre is needed for the story, I write whatever length is needed for the story I’m telling. Though most of them tend to be really long. It was very recent that I became a published author instead of an unpublished writer; my psychological thriller Perfect World came out in June. In a sentence, it’s about a young government agent who shoulders the burden of his utopia’s secret origins and has to struggle against psychosis because of those secrets. Just like all my other work, it’s extremely diverse. Perfect World features LGBT+ and ethnic as well as racial diversity. But I give all forms of diversity to my stories; it’s something that’s very important to me, and something I’ll never stop.

What inspires you?

It’s a dumb answer, but I’d have to say everything. I adore worldbuilding so cool tidbits from various cultures get tucked away into my mind along with science facts (mostly space) and psychological phenomenons. I’m a counseling psychology student so I learn a lot in the latter most’s area. Tumblr’s a great place too. I’ve gotten ideas of things to add to stories, ideas for characters, phrases that leap out. Perfect World actually has a scene inspired by a Tumblr post that asked why we never learn about other cultures in dystopian stories, and a character inspired by another post about how we never see a man sleep his way to the top. My friends do too, along with nature. Have you ever walked outside when it’s raining? Not a downpour, just raining. If you look at flowers and leaves then, it feels like the world is a fuzzier and gentler place. That’s a feeling that really sticks with me. And injustice.

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

I’ve been a writer as far back as I can remember. My first finished story happened when I was in fourth grade. It’s the first story I recall writing, but my parents assure me that it went on beforehand, and I’m not surprised. Like many writers I was a voracious reader; how could I not want to add to the number of worlds in the universe, even as a young child?

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?

Hm. I’m not sure if it falls under it, but I do love putting exact onomatopoeia in. Exact though. It’s such a delightful yet challenging thing to write if you want to get the true sound of what just happened. A metal fan’s blades don’t go rrrrrr, they go brrirrrr, a rock doesn’t grind sssssss against another rock, it grinds ssszzzzzt!, but you have to stop and listen and focus only on the sound in order to get it. I’ll spend easily an hour trying to figure out the spelling of something that isn’t even a word.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just write. A lot of advice will tell you to copy how great authors write, and you totally can if you want. But I’ve never seen the point of it. Write like you. That’s how you find your voice, something else writing advice frets about, because your voice is how you naturally tell a story. Not only that, but write what you know doesn’t mean you’re stuck writing high school stories until you graduate. Good heavens, can you imagine how awful that’d be? You can write anything you want because, for me at least, that phrase is about emotion. I will hopefully never experience what it’s like to have my child go missing. But I’ve experienced the emotions of panic and dread and frustration at my own helplessness. I haven’t gone to another planet (yet). Still, I know the thrill of exploring, that tight stomach and fizzy head that comes from embarking out into something I couldn’t possibly know. And don’t write for word counts. I’ve found that sitting down to write a scene gives you a lot more success than sitting down to write ______ words. In the latter you’re pausing to count words, focused on those instead of the story. When you sit down with the intent to write a scene you’re honed in on the story and moving it forward, and we all know scenes can be very long. So if you write one you can look back on pages instead of a paragraph that leaves you wanting more.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m homoromantic asexual! A girl who has romantic interest in other girls but no sexual attraction or urges whatsoever.

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

Everything I’ve experienced has been ignorance. Since I hang out with other writers who also know the importance of diversity that’s slightly less common than it otherwise might be, but it’s still very much present. I personally really enjoy teaching people things. So if something comes up, I take pleasure in patiently but (if needed) firm explanations. The vast majority of the time, people just need to be treated with respect and not attacked for their ignorance, and they’re happy to learn and respect. Of course you have to be more aggressive with some people though, it can’t be helped. I do experience compassion fatigue though with all the activism I do (where your brain is so overloaded and so tired from caring so much about everything you could read the most heinous article title and be unable to feel anything about it), so sometimes I let a comment pass. With those though, they have to be both ignorant and not harmful in a large way.

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

That asexuality = aromantic pops up, but the most common one is absolutely that asexuals don’t have sex ever. Some don’t. But some, myself included, have. Asexuals might like it on an intellectual level, because they crave physical contact that much, because they enjoy the emotional intimacy that comes from it, or any number of other reasons. It’s very common for me to get nothing but crickets when someone says that I just need to try sex and I tell them I’ve had it several times and am still asexual. That’s my truth, it’s the truth of many people, and there’s nothing wrong or “lying” about it.

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

You exist. You’re okay. I promise you are, you’re not broken and you’re not wrong. There hasn’t been a term for us until now because there wasn’t a safe space for us to be heard, talking about sex was taboo, and the expectation was that it was a necessity not a pleasure. That’s why it’s “new”, not because it’s made up. We’re real.

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

Right here on Tumblr! My blog is scripturient-manipulator, and you can find Perfect World as a print book, as an ebook, or for your kindle. Feel free to message me to talk as well!

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

Interview: Cassandra Wolfe

Today we’re joined by Cassandra Wolfe. Cassandra is a phenomenal artist jack of all trades. She’s predominantly a fantasy writer who is working on a novel that sounds absolutely fascinating. When she’s not writing, Cassandra enjoys photography, particularly wildlife. She’s incredibly passionate, as  you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a bit of a jack of all trades really but my main focus at the moment is my writing (funny considering I’m trained as an art teacher). I work mainly in the fields of urban fantasy. I am currently working on the final drafts of what I hope to be my first novel featuring a bunch of werewolves living in modern day Australia along with a few short stories that I’m working on getting published in some online anthologies.

Outside of writing I’m trained in painting but I find that these days most of my work tends to utilize photography as a medium, with wildlife being one of my favourite subjects. I’ve also dabbled in both ceramics and sketching.

What inspires you?

I get most of my inspiration from the natural world and folklore. I grew up in a family that loved nature so I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time in the African wilderness which made me fall in love with the wonder that is wildlife. There’s a certain thrill that comes with getting up close to wild animals and it hasn’t faded now that I’m dealing with kangaroos instead of springbok. I’m rather proud of the fact that I can and have gotten within meters of hartebeest, bat-eared foxes, snakes and lizards. Reptiles are my absolute favourite subjects to shoot simply because they’re so chill that it makes approaching them a piece of cake.

The folklore that inspires me comes through mainly in my writing where it combines with my love of the natural world in the form of critters that are closer to that world than most people are. I tend to include a lot of shape shifter lore in my work and the fae are never far behind! I also enjoy including aspects of my religion into what I write in terms of how I shape the magic and witchcraft that is 99% guaranteed to be a part of my fictional work.

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

I was the kid who always wanted to sit down and write stories when asked what I wanted to do; it used to drive my sister up the wall. I actually entered a writing competition when I was pretty young and got to meet a whole bunch of authors at the close of it which helped drive my passion even if my story for it wasn’t what you’d call great. I still own the signed copies of one of Fiona McIntosh’s series and every time I feel disheartened by my writing I find reading that ‘keep writing’ on the front page keeps me going. Reading that little handwritten quote inspired me to be published one day when I was all of ten years old and that dream has yet to die on me.

My passion for Visual Arts came later in life even if, like most kids, I liked to draw when I was young. I actually originally planned on going into the equestrian industry with hopes of training race horses one day and even got a job as a groom at a show yard but unfortunately I had a bit of a tough time of it there. I ended up being rather over worked and on top of a couple of injuries I received I was slowly wearing my body out. I found that at that time the one thing that got me through it all was my art. I was doing some writing at the time but what really distracted me from my sore legs, ankle and back was painting. I bought a couple of canvas boards and some acrylic paint and Bob’s your uncle, I was falling in love with art all over again.

When I finally accepted that working in the equestrian industry wasn’t going to be possible going into art was the obvious choice. And since I had no desire to try and live purely off of my art I felt that being an art teacher was a perfect fit for me.

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 so much in my drawings and photographs per say but I do have a few in my writing. One of the big things is ‘circles’, I love having little tidbits here and there that circle back and link to another part of the story. Half the time they’re completely irrelevant to the plot and very subtle in their implementation but I just love including them. Eyes would another one, I fully believe that eyes are the window to the soul and as such the eyes of my various critters tend to tell a tale in themselves. It’s one of the reasons why all of my shifter characters retain their human eye colour when in animal form.

On a larger scale you can expect to see a bunch of diversity in what I write, half of my characters end up being some version of queer (often less well known sexualities) and I try to limit the amount of cis, straight, white males in my writing since they’re over-represented in fiction.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to experiment; try different mediums and genres, play around, try something that might not work for the hell of it. It’s the only way to grow no matter what your field is. And above all, persevere. It doesn’t matter if what you made didn’t come out the way you wanted it to, you still made it and the next time it will be even better. Even your worst mistake is better than not having tried in the first place.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demisexual and homoromantic.

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

Most people haven’t heard of it to be honest, I’ve only heard it mentioned once. That time there was a bit of confusion about it but I didn’t exactly feel comfortable explaining more since I was just a prac student at the time. As a whole the Australian education system is generally anti-LGBTQIA+ with a recent program designed to teach high school students about the various genders and sexualities and why it’s wrong to discriminate being muzzled and defunded by the government over fears that it was sexualizing children. I find that being an art teacher makes it easy enough to get around that prejudice however as half of the artists I teach experienced some form of discrimination.

I haven’t really encountered anything in terms of my writing but if I get published it’ll only be a matter of time considering Wolf Moon and its sequel currently feature at least two lesbians, an ace-aro, and two non-binary folk.

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

That it’s the same as being straight. That’s the big one online at the moment and it drives me demented considering that most of the people spouting it refuse to be swayed from their position by the experiences of actual ace and aro people. It’s especially frustrating because of the impact it has on the ace (and aro) communities as both are made to feel unwelcome in both straight and LGBTQIA+ spaces.

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

Ignore the current online discourse; it’s not reflective of real life LGBTQIA+ spaces at all. Most of the people in those spaces have no issues with aces or aros and those who do aren’t worth giving a damn about if you ask me. Whatever your orientation you are valid, it doesn’t matter if things change down the line or if you don’t have the exact word to describe your orientation, you and your experiences remain valid. Just hold your head up high and be proud of who you are.

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

Those interested in my writing can find it at http://cassandrawolfe.tumblr.com/ I tend to post drabbles, and writing advice there as well as keeping people updated on the progress of my bigger works there. My art can be found at http://thepaintedwolfe.tumblr.com/ with the vast majority of it being wildlife photography.

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

Interview: Cherry

Today we’re joined by Cherry. Cherry is a fantastic writer who loves to write original stories and aims to publish a series some day. On the rare occasions she’s not writing, Cherry also loves to cosplay. 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 writer and I’m constantly writing, sometimes multiple stories at a time! Currently I’m settled on one story that I hope to publish and make into a series with several main characters who are on the ace spectrum! I also cosplay on the side!

What inspires you?

Honestly? Spite.

I’ve read plenty of stories where there are only few gay characters and even then they’re written by people who are so obviously straight and they write them wrong or push them to the side. I get angry because they put steeotyoes on their characters and often they don’t even talk about asexual people.  I write to make characters like me and reassure myself that what I feel is valid and okay to feel and, honestly, it’s really helped. I used to feel so ashamed about who I was but writing was the greatest outlet I had and now I’m so proud of who I am.

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

I got into writing when I was eleven, I wanted to express myself and I loved reading so I thought I would give it a try! I started with fan fiction and I ended up loving it so I started moving on to my own stories and I’ve been at it since then! I can’t think of a day I haven’t written!

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 writing style is very lax. I’ve always found books to be so formal and stiff so I make my writing have my sense of humor so the readers can laugh and enjoy my story :)!

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

There’s always going to seem there’s someone in your field that is better than you.

And that’s okay.

Just focus on yourself and work hard to improve on what you love to do. Writing or drawing isn’t a born trait, you need to work at it everyday. Also you don’t need to fit a mold of how it should be done. It’s wonderful when it’s done your way.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Homoromantic and possibly demisexual or gray ace. I haven’t really been able to figure out yet, but I have all the time in the world!

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

Yes I have. From my own parents, friends, and coworkers. I’ll tell people who I am and they think something’s wrong with me. I tend to explain it but if they don’t get it then it’s whatever, they’re not worth my time. They’re not in a relationship with me so their opinion of me not wanting sex doesn’t matter to me.

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

“You just haven’t met The One™”

“Once you have it, you’ll like it.”

“You’re not part of the LGBT community if you’re ace.”

“If you haven’t tried it, how do you know you don’t like it?”

“Not being able to get turned on? That’s a disease!!” (Actually heard that one today while talking to a coworker who was referring to another ace)

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

You are so valid and there is nothing wrong with not feeling sexual attraction and not wanting to have sex. Sex does not equal love and you should not force yourself to do anything you don’t want to do. You don’t need to have sex to know you don’t want it. If your partner was really The One™ then they wouldn’t make you have sex if you don’t want it or guilt trip you into doing so. They would love you how you are and wouldn’t change anything about you.

You are not broken. You don’t have a disease. You are so perfect the way you are don’t let anyone tell you other wise. You have a long life ahead of you, you don’t need to label yourself right away as Demi, gray ace, sex repulsed ace, sex indifferent ace, whatever. Just figure yourself out, safely, and just live life. You are a valid ace, with a sex life, or not.

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

I haven’t exactly posted my work online since it’s still very much so in the works but you can contact me on Tumblr (at) Chulacereza I’d love to talk about my story!

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