Interview: Fran

Today we’re joined by Fran. Fran is a phenomenal musician who plays a variety of instruments and also participates in her school’s marching band. When she’s not playing music, Fran enjoys doodling and is currently writing a novel, which sounds like a fun adventure (a superhero rom-com, how can you not love that). She has also written some poetry and short stories. It’s very clear that Fran is a dedicated and versatile artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Ace Flute

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I just graduated high school and plan to attend university as a double major in music education and music performance. My primary instrument is flute, but I also play saxophone and a little bit of piano, ukulele, and clarinet. I really enjoy playing classical music, but a lot of my passion lies in jazz, and I am a member of my high school marching band and a future member of my college marching band. I also doodle a little bit, and I am writing a rom com superhero novel about a meteorite that wishes that she can become human and the stars grant her wish. It is a wlw romance, but mostly it consists of humor and superhero action. I also write poetry and short stories.

What inspires you?

My hero is Michael Giacchino and other movie soundtrack writers like him. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved getting inspiration for my music from soundtracks. Because of this wonderful music guiding my life, I plan on inspiring others to pursue music by teaching, and maybe even continue my talents into the professional field. For my visual art, I mostly get inspiration from my friends. We all draw together as a hobby so we get inspired by each other often. For my writing I am inspired by my favorite authors, J.K. Rowling, Brandon Sanderson, David Leviathan, and Rick Riordan. I love writing books with positive outlooks and messages about love and peace.

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

I have loved music and art ever since I was a child. I started playing flute in 4th grade and I have been obsessed with band ever since. I loved watching movies and playing games almost solely for the excellent musical track. It was only a matter of time until I decided it would be my career. I’ve drawn and written for just as long. I wrote many short stories when I was young, and drew in that stereotypical 6th grade anime style that all artists cringe at later in life. My writing and drawing styles are a little bit better now, though I look back at my childhood doodles and stories with fondness.

Ace artwork 3

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

Not really. My signature is just my name in cursive.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you want to be a musician, do it! Don’t let anyone tell you it’s a “phony career” and that you won’t be able to make a living with it. With hard work and a little thinking outside of the box, you can make a good career out of any art form. Follow your dream and don’t let the downers destroy your passion!

Ace artwork 2

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as an Asexual Lesbian. I experience no sexual attraction, but I am romantically attracted to girls exclusively.

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

I’ve had people tell me that you can’t have a romantic relationship without sex and that I’ll “change my mind”. It used to bother me, but now I just let the words wash over me. I know that I’ll find someone who will understand and love that part about me. I can’t help it that their concept of relationships is so small-minded. I don’t experience that often, though. Most people in my field are very accepting.

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

That I can’t experience a romantic relationship. Many people lump asexual and aromantic together without realizing that they are both different. You can be both, or just one or the other. There are also people who think I’m just innocent. It’s true that I’m a bit innocent in some areas, I don’t like to cuss, I don’t have a dirty mind, I would rather watch Disney movies than anything with too much sex or violence, but that has nothing to do with my orientation. I know how sex works. I just don’t want to have it.

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

Don’t feel like you have to rush into a label. And your label can be fluid and change over time. I know that I may change my label in the future. Just like your favorite color changes over time, so can your label. Also, I know it’s hard living in a world where sex can be prioritized over a healthy and understanding relationship. Be who you are. Because “those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter won’t mind”. Your identity is a beautiful thing!

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

I don’t really have a website or anything. Most of my work is just in my ensembles or in my community.

Ace art 1

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

Interview: Bxndit

Today we’re joined by Bxndit. Bxndit is a phenomenal artist who is incredibly active online. She contacted me after a number of her followers directed her to this site and I’m grateful they did, because her work is awesome. She is currently working on a webcomic and her work is very character focused. There’s a wonderful lightheartedness to her drawings, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Warning: the last picture with some blood in it.

angel 2
Angel 2

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is mainly based around a set of characters that I’ve created to be featured into a web comic that is currently in the works. Up until recently, I kinda moved between different styles before settling on a very cartoony-style. My art consists mainly of these characters that I’ve been working on, and their developments. I’ll sometimes dip into fanart from time to time, of whatever I’m into at the moment, and I’ll do quite a lot of art for other artists, whether it’s in trades or commissions or even just gift art. I’ve started to create silly little comics that are very rough and sketchy, mainly for humour purposes. I’ll usually use these to convey a zany persona for myself, and they’ll usually feature me with another friend. All in all my art isn’t super serious and it’s meant to be quite light hearted and follow my sense of humour, which is pretty zany and goofy. Some of it will be serious, but man that is pretty rare.

What inspires you?

SO MUCH! Especially the art style from any of the Gorillaz’ music videos, I adore that style and have tried to incorporate it. A lot of shows that I watched as a kid inspired me a lot, I was super into Disney, which lead to my art having a very limited sense of realism to it, I’ve always tried to show the same kind of flow and emotion that Disney character art show in my own work. One of the biggest inspirations to my art and the characters I work with especially was a lot of the anime-ish styles from shows that I was into, especially Fullmetal Alchemist and Teen Titans. These shows in particular are still a driving force in my desire to create very in-depth and relatable characters. As I think about this I keep pulling more things that inspire me, even things with really nice atmospheres and aesthetics like Rapture from the Bioshock series and the Wastelands from the Fallout series. More importantly I take a lot of inspiration from the artists that I speak with and the encouragement I get from the people around me. I have quite a few friends that really push to get me to be the best that I can, which is awesome. Both my parents help quite a bit too. Just seeing that genuine love and interest in what I’m doing really gives me this rush of motivation to keep going and to get better, even if I’m not feeling great about my art.

For any of my dumb-humour comics that I’ve done, they’re usually based on something that has happened, and all I’m doing is recreating it.

angel
Angel

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

I’ve always been encouraged to draw, from the moment I was able to hold a crayon I’ve been encouraged to create. Back home my Mum has every drawing I’ve ever done tucked away in ring binders and boxes, and we used to hang up a lot of my drawings from when I was very young. My grandparents did the same thing. I remember specifically one day I was in a group project at school when I was maybe 6 or 7 years old and we were drawing animals out of picture books to create puppets for the story we were putting on for the class, and my best friend turned to me and said something along the lines of “Wow! That is really good you should draw them all” and at that point I started thinking about whether I was good at drawing. I mean, speaking as someone who is training to go into teaching, kids adore those kind of compliments, and I totally rode on that compliment and it drove me to get better and better, it was even better that I found that I really enjoyed drawing. I was encouraged to doodle on my jotters a lot going through Primary School, since it really helped my focus. So it’s really all been down to encouragement from others and then actually realizing that I liked drawing. Creating my own stories and characters just seemed to fit in naturally with that, especially since I’ve never been good at actually writing stories down, it fit in nicely with my want to draw. I did get made fun of it for a while in school from kids outside of my social circle, but my love for it has been too great to actually let it get to 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?

My art styles have been changing quite rapidly since I started drawing seriously after school, so there isn’t anything consistent other than my watermark, which I’ll fit in somewhere in each drawing. It depends on the characters I’m drawing, some of them have specific symbols relating to them that I’ll fit in. For example, my character Bandit has the alchemical symbol for Earth on him in a few places (He’s similar to an earth-bender from The Last Avatar series)

bandit
Bandit

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice! I’ll always preach that drawing and art is a skill, not a talent. Like any other skill, you’ll have to practice it to get better. No-one is born drawing flawless art, in the same way that no-one is born being able to swim perfectly. Don’t be too harsh on yourself, either. Comparing yourself to a ‘better’ more experienced artist is one of the most disheartening things to do. It’s happened to me a few times where younger, new artists have compared their work to mine and felt like they’ll never get to the level they’ve put me at. I’ve been drawing since I was able to pick up a drawing utensil and I’m 21 now, which is such a long time to be drawing, you’re just starting out. It’s your art, not anyone else’s so don’t compare it (the only comparison you should make is when you look back on your old art, and honestly when you look back and see the difference it’s the best feeling.)

Don’t feel invalidated because you don’t produce the kind of art that gets attention, a lot of artists, including myself, feel like they’ll never be ‘popular’ unless they draw fanart. If you want to draw fanart go for it! But if you wanna draw some of your own characters don’t let that stop you, draw for yourself, the attention from others will come later. Personally it is a much more satisfying way to treat art. Don’t think you’re creative? Quick! Think of two things and mix them together, what do you get?

Finally, speak with other artists! I know that starting out can be really daunting with artists that appear to already have their own groups of friends that they work with, but you’ll be surprised how many of us want to talk with others and work with as many artists as possible. Personally, I’ve set up quite a few groups that artists are welcome to join and just hang out and get to talk to other artists. Just speaking with and getting advice from other artists is great! There are a lot of ‘popular’ artists that love helping out aspiring artists, we all started out in the same place, it’s good to help others.

isa believe
Isa Believe

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aromantic Asexual. For a very long time I wasn’t really sure where I would fit in, and there was a period of time that I was convinced that there was something wrong because I just wasn’t interested in relationships or sex. Even after trying being in relationships it still got nothing out of me. It wasn’t until I was doing research on inclusion for a teaching module at university and I had come across the treatment of LGBT+ kids in secondary schools in Scotland, and after a little further I realized that, hey, other people are like this, I’m not crazy!

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

Personally, no. I have seen it around the internet, but it’s never actually happened to me. Whether that is down to the fact that I am very sparing with sharing my personal life online or if I have surrounded myself with the correct people, I don’t know. Though in the rare times I have spoken about asexuality I’ve been informed that it’s not real, though I find myself ignoring those kind of comments, the only person that actually gets to have a say is me.

murkIPLERGH
murkIPLERGH

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

That it doesn’t exist? I dunno, so far it’s been the only way that I’ve been able to explain to myself about where I sit in the spectrum.

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

There is nothing telling you that you must find what you identify as at this very moment, and don’t stress out that you haven’t found yourself yet. One day everything is going to fall into place and it’ll all work out, you’re just working up until that day at the moment. Regardless of what happens and where you place in the spectrum I believe in you.

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

I consistently post on my Instagram and I’m the most active on there.
I am working on getting all my work over to my Tumblr and eventually set up my own site, but for the moment it is mainly Instagram that I operate on.

oz
Oz

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