Interview: Kelline

Today we’re joined by Kelline. Kelline is a phenomenal visual artist who does both original work and fanart. She’s a hobbyist who mainly does traditional drawings and watercolors, although she also dabbles in digital art. Her work is gorgeous, making expert use of bright vivid colors and lines, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Michelle

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My drawings tend to be human driven, I just really enjoy drawing people above all else.

I have my own set of characters that wander around my head, but as I can’t commit to writing anything about them, they’re not much more than vague muses that appear in my drawings sometimes. I have a bit of a world and a magic system that’ll also be referenced in some works but again . . . lazy writer.

I also do a fair amount of fanart, mainly video game related (Pokémon and Undertale are the most recent themes). I used to do a LOT of Nintendo fanart. A lot.

My favorite mediums are watercolors, colored pencils, and recently ink/pens/markers. I do tend to very lightly combine digital elements into my work through color edits or added effects, this is based from before I had a scanner and had to rely on Photoshop edits to make my photos of the artwork look at all decent. I also occasionally do digital drawings.

What inspires you?

Music, video games, nature, night skies and outer space, other artists, dreams, and I guess feelings in general.

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

Pretty much always! I’ve loved drawing as far back as I can remember. My first inspirations were my mom, she makes cool colored pencil drawings, and my grandmother (mom’s mom) who was an amazing painter. Plus I was an imaginative kid, and liked illustrating all of my stories and fancies.

My original plan for after high school was to study art and do it professionally, maybe as an illustrator, but my parents (who were kind enough to pay for my college education) wanted me to study something that would get me a quote-unquote “real job.” But the major I settled into “Digital Technology and Culture” (in a nutshell it’s basically digital communication and rhetoric), was a pleasant mix of writing and visual design, so I still have some graphic design work I do in my current office job, and I’m free to pursue art as my hobby outside of work.

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Reset

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 think so? I’ve been told my style is pretty unique, that’s good enough for me; I’ve never thought of adding a unique symbol/trademark.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Sorry I have lots of thoughts here:

Check thrift shops for cheap supplies! – Probably won’t have too much luck with more expensive supplies, like paints and higher quality tools, but I’ve found great grab bags of colored pencils, crayons, pens, pencils, and erasers at my local Value Villages. Part of why I have a giant shoe box filled with colored pencils. >w> I’ve also seen basic watercolors and pastels. You could probably find some sketchpads too!

Keep pushing through! – Almost every drawing I do there is a point, usually early on, where I absolutely hate it and want to scrap it. But over time I’ve learned that if you can push past that point, keep adjusting the sketch, add shading, change the colors, I can get it to a point where I love, like, or am at least “okay with” the drawing.

Don’t be afraid to erase! – This was a mantra of one of my college drawing instructors, and I still think about and use it. Basically if you just know something is off with your work, don’t be afraid to fix it, even if it means completely starting over. Don’t stress so much about messing up what you have now to not fix something that’s bothering you. If nothing else, I think forcing yourself to acknowledge and fix the error could lead to improvement in future drawings. But also keep in mind:

You have to stop at some point – Advice from an editing teacher that I also think about when I draw. If you’re a person who is a perfectionist or an overachiever, know that there’s never going to be a point where the drawing will feel 100%, completely perfect, flawless. Especially since we are our own worst critics (and also have spent the past 8 hours looking at the bloody thing), we’re going to see every little error in a drawing. But there has to be a point where you have to let go and call it done. It probably varies by artist, but for me it’s when it gets too exhausting to keep working on it, and I feel okay calling it done.

Above all, don’t give up! – Art can be frustrating, it can be emotionally draining, and it can be tough to see people who seem more talented or popular than yourself. But if you love it and/or it’s a part of who you are, don’t give up. It’s still so worth it, as an expression of who you are and what you feel, what you love and care about. It’s worth it to see yourself improve, and realize you’re creating things you once couldn’t, or better than you once could.

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Take Care

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual definitely, but I’m very unsure where my romantic orientation lies. I used to think I was hetero, but realizing I’m ace has kind of opened new ideas for me.

I think I’m either heteromantic, panromantic, or aromantic. Pan is my current thought, but I feel generally not wanting a relationship right now, so it’ll be hard to say until my heart’s ready for that again, if it ever is.

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

Ace ignorance is pretty common everywhere; I’ve never personally encountered ace prejudice, either in my drawing/art sharing experiences or in my past or current jobs. I see ace prejudice on Tumblr more than anywhere else. <_<

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

The most common? I don’t know, I don’t really talk to people about asexuality (I mean I ramble online sometimes, but that’s different). Going off of general attitudes, probably that “real” asexual people would never experience any kind of sexual feelings or enjoyment ever. And that they probably wouldn’t experience romantic feelings either.

It’s definitely a giant part of why it took me so long to identify as ace, and I think also a large part of why asexuality either never came up or wasn’t taken seriously in past romantic relationships, even when I was trying to explain to past partners how I could care for them deeply yet still be very disinterested in sexual activities.

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

Listen to yourself. If something feels right or really uncomfortable/wrong, listen to it. Don’t let others dictate what you are or aren’t, listen to yourself; you know your feelings better than those who only have an outside view. Even if you think it is “just a phase” and things will change, your current feelings are still worth listening to. If identifying as ace (or any other orientation) is what makes you feel comfortable and happy, do it!

And do your research; if you think something but aren’t sure, look into it. Find the science, listen to other experiences. Don’t just say nah and ignore your feelings.

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

In a few places!

DeviantArt: http://kelline.deviantart.com/
Tumblr: http://artsyagnostis.tumblr.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SweetAgnostis

While mostly similar, there are some differences between them. My DeviantArt is the oldest, has the most on it, and where I’ll talk the most about my drawings. My Tumblr is where I’ll post the more personal thoughts or less finished work. My Twitter is pretty new and kind simple and breezy, but I also just started a Throwback Thursday where I’ll be posting REALLY old stuff, currently from the my first ever “sketchpad” I had when I was 5 or so, and might eventually move on to some of the sillier/wackier drawings I did when younger.

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Poketale Undyne

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

Interview: Haley

Today we’re joined by Haley. Haley is a phenomenal visual artist and crafter, who is also a seamstress. She absolutely loves to create, 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 am a visual artist, and I draw mainly figures and portraits in ink and marker but also sometimes watercolor. Not only am I a visual artist I am a crafter and seamstress too. I like to create pieces that are trendy at the moment for much cheaper.

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What inspires you?

The diversity in the world around me. Everyone is beautiful and different in their own way. Also the internet is a huge inspiration as well I love seeing everyone else’s creations.

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

I always thought it was amazing how people can just create anything from nothing. My aunt got me interested in sewing she taught me to sew when I was about eight years old.

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

In my signature on my artwork, the H in my name is somewhat shaped like a star.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t give up on yourself. There will be artists who are better at what you do than you. You might look up to them or you might despise them because they’re younger than you and better than them. You need to remember there’s someone out there who feels that way about you.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am panromantic asexual.

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

I have had many people who ask me why don’t you make it sexier? Why don’t you make that dress shorter or the neckline deeper? You’ll get more followers if you design that character with bigger boobs and a bigger butt. I realize sex is all over in the media but that’s just not how I am. I tell them that I don’t want to and that it doesn’t fit my personality or just plain ignore it. Most often when someone is sending you hate or “suggestions” they just want attention.

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

The worst one I’ve encountered is that we are cold emotionless beings who love no one else, and that we have no feelings or passion.

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

I struggled with my sexuality for years… I thought I wasn’t gay enough or maybe I wasn’t actually asexual and I’m just pretending. I actually still struggle with my identity, and I probably will for a long time and that’s okay, take your time to figure it all out and don’t feel like you have to come out to anyone. Also, most importantly, don’t forget it’s okay to talk to someone about it all. I have a really close and amazing best friend who I talked to about my whole mess.

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

My art Tumblr, teaandsketchbooks is probably the best place to find it.

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

Interview: Morgan Lees

Today we’re joined by Morgan Lees. Morgan is a wonderful artist who specializes in fantasy art and illustration. They’re have an ongoing comic entitled Corner the Maze, which is delightful urban fantasy about a racing driver who winds up in a different dimension. Aside from the comic, Morgan also does a lot of freelance illustration and has done some theater (including stage combat) in the past. Their work is beautiful and the detail is extraordinary, as you’ll soon see. 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 draw, paint, write, and do theater – some of those things more than the others. I’ve been focusing primarily on my comic of late, and I’m a freelance illustrator. My comic work is done in pen and ink, and I’ve been working with pencil on toned paper a lot lately for other art. I haven’t done much with theater aside from stage combat lately, but I’m hoping to get into it more again when I have more time (which I’ve been saying for years now, so who knows when that will be). I guess the common thread is that I like telling stories with art in one form or another.

My comic is called Corner the Maze, and it follows the adventures of a racing driver who finds himself inadvertently trapped in another dimension after falling into a strange portal during a race. It ties into the same setting as the books I’m writing, and some of the characters end up appearing in both, but I’m making sure that they both work well as standalone things, too.

What inspires you?

Mostly I have a lot of story and character ideas jostling about in my head, and I want to get those out and in some form where other people can (hopefully) enjoy them. I’m also inspired by music, nature, and rather unpredictable flashes of insight coming from seemingly random sources. So, I guess mostly it’s whatever happens to set my imagination off, which isn’t very predictable.

Roleplaying games have also been a big source of inspiration for me since I was really little. A great percentage of everything I’ve ever drawn has been one of my characters or another, either in pen and paper games or from CRPGs, and that probably had something to do with getting me thinking about characterization and storytelling so much as well.

Stylistically, again with the roleplaying games, I always really liked the black and white illustrations found in the RPG books I grew up with – first edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, and then Middle-earth Roleplaying/Rolemaster – and I’m sure that had some effect on my pen and ink style. Same goes for Choose Your Own Adventure type books.

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

I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil, but I didn’t get serious about it until I was eighteen or so. For some reason, both drawing and writing as career options seemed out of reach to me when I was younger, but then I decided that I was going to give it my best shot and see if I could make it work. I was actually more focused on theater (directing and lighting design especially) when I was younger, but the amount of travel that would end up being necessary for that put me off in the end – that, and what I really want to be doing more than anything is telling my own stories. That’s what led me to the comic, and what inspired me to get my writing in shape.

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! I sign my work with my initials and the date, but that’s about it.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop practicing. Whenever you’ve got time, as much as you can possibly stand it, practice. When I look back and see the difference between where I am with my work and where I want to be, and look at the people who are where I want to be, the single greatest difference is always that they were more dedicated earlier on. I goofed off a lot when I was a kid and a teenager – there were plenty of whole weeks where I didn’t draw at all. There are lots of different ways to learn, and there’s no one piece of advice there that will work for everyone, but practice is universal.

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Nerevarine

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic and asexual. I’ve simply never had the slightest sort of romantic or sexual interest in anyone else. It took me an oddly long time to realize that’s not how most people are, and once I realized that, it “only” took me another few years to realize the rest of it.

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

The worst I’ve encountered is people thinking I’m weird, but then, the place I’ve generally spent the most time with other people in my life is in the theater – and it is true that people tend to get less flak for being seen as different there than in some other places. I was also home-schooled until I went to college, so overall I’ve had a lot less opportunity to encounter prejudice than many people. I did deal with some in college, but again, pretty mild and not directed at me (I hadn’t yet quite realized that I was asexual at the time). It made me uncomfortable, but that’s about it.

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

I did get a lot of people telling me I would grow out of it when I was younger (although that was only when I expressed a lack of interest, since I didn’t identify as asexual yet), but nothing in that vein for the last six or seven years. Again, I’m probably lucky with my circle of acquaintances in this regard; they tend to be rather reasonable and open-minded people.

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Shadow of Murder

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

There’s nothing wrong with you, and if you’re happy with yourself, that’s what matters. There’s no one recipe for happiness, so don’t let anybody tell you that there is. You don’t need to have a romantic relationship or have sex to have a great life (although of course neither of those things will stop you from it either), and being unusual isn’t worse in any way, just different.

I wish I had more useful advice, but I just went about happily assuming that nobody else actually cared about those things either until I was already in my twenties, so… yeah. I’m kind of oblivious about things sometimes, especially where people are concerned.

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

My comic can be found at http://cornerthemaze.net/ and updates every Tuesday and Thursday, my illustration portfolio is at http://morganelees.com/ (which is also where my writing stuff will be, when I get any of that up again), and I generally post all my art to my DeviantArt account at http://remmirath-ml.deviantart.com/. I try to keep those all just about as much up to date, but if anything’s going to fall behind, it’s usually DeviantArt.

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Turn Away

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

Interview: Keelan

Today we’re joined by Keelan. Keelan is a wonderful visual artist who hasn’t met a medium he doesn’t like. Right now, he’s focusing mostly on ace pride/positivity and autistic pride/positivity, both of which are greatly needed in today’s world. His work is so beautiful, brimming with color and life, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is mostly fanart, sketches and positivity/pride drawings. I have also done a bit of costume design and costume making for some local theatre. I’ve experimented with a variety of mediums such as oil paint, acrylics, chalk/charcoal, photography and ink + bleach but I mostly stick to pencil and digital drawings because it is what I am most comfortable working with, and what I have the most access to. In the past year or so my art has been focused mostly on asexual/a-spec and autistic positivity because they are both important parts of my identity and I want to express that and my love for the two communities. I’ve been drawing with pencils for a long time, but digital art is still very new to me because I only started exploring it last year.

What inspires you?

Other artists and their work are a huge inspiration to me. Seeing the beautiful work other artists create inspires me so much and motivates me to keep on practicing and improving. Sometimes they inspire me to try new things as well. I probably wouldn’t have begun to explore digital art if I had not seen and been inspired by the progress of other artists on social media. I am also inspired a lot by the communities I am a part of, such as the online asexual and autistic community. They have given me the confidence and inspiration to express myself more through my art and take pride in my identity through it.

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

I’ve wanted to be an artist ever since I was little, and I began to put effort into learning and improving my art when I was around eight and wanted to be able to draw my original character properly. That goal from when I was a kid has been motivating me for years to keep on trying. Unfortunately, because my main focus was being able to draw a character that meant that for years I didn’t explore anything outside of drawing people in pencil and pen. I only began to pick up exploring other things such as colour and different mediums when I chose to do Art in GCSE when I was fifteen. Even though my career goals are a little different from when I was younger, I still want to continue being an artist as a 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?

Not really. I used to have a habit a few years ago, of signing all my art with my initials. I don’t do it as often anymore; however, I try to keep it up (inconsistently) with any art I post online. In all my autistic art I make an effort to include the neurodiversity symbol; a rainbow infinity symbol.

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Dai Li Agents

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep on trying. It can be difficult and very frustrating but the thing about art is that you are always learning. Even those artists who seem to have mastered it all are still learning and making mistakes and improving. Art takes practice and time so its fine if you struggle with and take a long time to learn something (such as how to draw hands or animals). Looking back on your old art might make you cringe but that’s only proof of your progress. Its proof that you have grown a lot and will probably only continue to grow and become more skilled.

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Proud Ace

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am panromantic asexual, though I also identify with demi-romantic.

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

I have encountered a little. In my life offline I experience it less because not as many people know I am asexual. I have received some ignorant and slightly insulting comments from people who do know, or from people who don’t know I am asexual but have heard of it. It always hurts and frustrates me a bit to hear it. I tend to either speak up about it or let it slide depending on the situation and how well I know the person. I don’t handle confrontation well so I admit I tend to avoid it even when it might be best to speak up.

I have definitely experienced more prejudice and ignorance online. I am fairly open about my sexuality online and I post most of my asexual positivity art on my blogs and it has caused me to receive some unpleasant comments as a result. I find it is best to delete the messages, block the sender and not let it bother me. In fact it usually motivates me to draw even more ace positive art.

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

That asexuality is just a lack of interest in having sex or a form of celibacy. It’s a misconception that frustrates me a lot because I have seen it be used against asexual people to invalidate them or make incorrect claims based on that misinformation. It is also, I suspect, where the comments from my family that I “just need to meet the right person” or that I am a “late bloomer” come from.

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

You aren’t broken and you are not alone. There is nothing wrong with being asexual and there is a wonderful community out there for asexual and aromantic people. It’s okay if it takes you a long time to come to terms with being asexual and it’s okay if you aren’t sure of your orientation.

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

I post a lot of my art on my Tumblr main: keelan-666.tumblr.com under the tag #keelan-art and on my side blog: autistic-space-dragon.tumblr.com under the tag #space-dragon-doodles. However neither blogs are purely art blogs so a lot of other stuff is posted there too. I also have an Instagram: keelantheace.

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Ace Positivity Post

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

Interview: Alena Matuch

Today we’re joined by Alena Matuch. Alena is a phenomenal writer and visual artist who enjoys writing fantasy, often taking inspiration from mythology. Aside from writing fiction, Alena also writes fanfiction and personal essays. She’s also an incredibly talented visual artist and considers illustration to be part of her writing process. She very obviously has a great amount of passion, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Hel

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m both a writer and an artist. I’m hugely interested in Fantasy and Mythology and how those forces are woven into how we see the world. Most of my work is fantastic or has some bizarre element that doesn’t fit in with how the world typically works. You can see some of my stuff on Tumblr and I also love to play around in fanfiction. I’m currently working on a novel about Norse Mythology from the point of view of a canonically genderfluid god.

As for my art, I work primarily in watercolors and ink. Arthur Rackham, Edward Gorey and Chris Riddell are huge influences on my illustrative style. I see my drawings as an extension of my writing. There’s something so special about seeing your characters standing before you with your own eyes, seeing how exactly it is that they move about their respective stories. Painting them helps me to see them more clearly as people and (hopefully) write them into better stories.

What inspires you?

Small things that very few people notice. A misplaced line of text, never explained, but important. I like the stories of people that were written out of history, whom the Arbiters of Good Taste decided were not worth the ink or time. I look for places, feelings, states of being that are largely unexplored and considered terrifying, until you know the lay of the land.

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Lady Lucine Woolsey

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

Most definitely! I was writing stories about my classmates in grade school and had a multi-chapter saga about an alien invasion from Mars by fifth grade. In kindergarten I convinced a friend that I had 100 kittens living in my home. He was extremely disappointed when he came over for my birthday party and could only find one.

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 do a small doodle of the Cauldron of Inspiration next to my signature on works of art. It’s a common motif in Germanic and Celtic mythology representing fertility, birth and raw creative power. Maybe I should bring it back.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Listen to what your body is telling you. For the love of God, get up and take a walk once in a while. Don’t punish yourself for taking breaks. You need time to be a human being as well as an artist, to let your mind drift into things that aren’t related to what you’re working on. It is okay. And you’ll come back to work so much stronger than you were before.

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Laenke

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a demi lesbian. I also identify as Butch.

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

No. Of course, I’m not out about it at all.

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

The biggest misconception I’ve ever run into was for the longest time my own. For almost my entire life I had no idea that there was a spectrum at all, that there was any such thing as demisexuality. I knew that I could and was getting along just fine without a partner. My sex drive was never something that had any bearing on my life. And yet, every once in a long while, I did feel something for someone else. So I couldn’t actually be ace, right? I stumbled over the definition of demisexuality by sheer accident in an offhand comment on the YouTube channel of my favorite sex educator and learned something about myself that day.

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Taniale Prosthetic Leg

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

The single thing that helped me the absolute most in coming to grips with my orientation was this little comic that drifted across my feed one day. I have no idea who drew it or where it came from. I didn’t think to save it at the time, but the idea of it stuck in my mind, giving me peace and hope as I struggled to figure out who exactly I was.

In it, the protagonist is deeply questioning their orientation and visits an “Orientation Shelter” to figure it out. The proprietor kindly shows them around, gently easing their confusion. She unlocks the first door.

“Maybe you like men?” she asks, gesturing inside.

The room is filled with men of all shapes and sizes, kissing, embracing, gazing lovingly into each others’ eyes. The protagonist shakes their head, getting more irked by the minute by a question which they thought should have an easy answer.

The proprietor pats them on the back and says it’s okay. She unlocks the second door.

A room full of beautiful women. Romantic picnics, holding hands, lips locking.

The protagonist turns away in despair. They think there’s something wrong with them, that they’ll never find what they’re looking for. But there is one more door left to try.

The key turns in the lock and they step through the portal into a vast, open field, the sun gleaming on the swaying blades of grass. The land is filled with all kinds of people – artists, dreamers, athletes kicking a ball across the green, an astronomer gazing through a telescope. In that room there is represented every faucet of creativity that can be imagined, every color of sheer joy that has ever been painted.

I keep that image in my head when the thoughts that I am lacking in something come back to haunt me. I hold it in my heart and remember that this is who I am, that these are the things I love.

I am lacking in nothing and the entire world waits for me to bend it to my will.

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

Check me out on Tumblr at Neriad13.Tumblr.com. The “My Art and “My Writing” tags are a very good place to start.

I also post fanfiction on Ao3 (http://archiveofourown.org/users/Neriad13/pseuds/Neriad13) and Fanfiction.net (https://www.fanfiction.net/u/4296233/Neriad13) under the same handle.

I post art on Deviantart (http://neriad13.deviantart.com/), though I am falling a bit behind on that one.

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Angrboða

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

Interview: Lon

Today we’re joined by Lon. Lon is a fantastic visual artist who also does a lot of crocheting and writing. She hasn’t met a medium she doesn’t like. Lon is an incredibly passionate artist who loves creating, 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.

Well I guess I should start out by saying that I draw primarily in traditional style using pencil, ink, and markers. But I do also dabble in digital artwork. I also crochet everything from blankets to hats to fingerless gloves. I write as well and I am currently, working on a novel which I hope to publish.

What inspires you?

My digital artwork is inspired by stained glass windows and my traditional artwork is inspired by old school storybook style artwork.

As for what I draw, I tend to step outside and look at the area around me or look back over old vacation photographs. I live in Iowa near the Loess Hills on the boarder of South Dakota and Nebraska. It’s an absolutely beautiful area; especially in the fall. I tend to pull inspiration for my crocheting from the colors in nature and what kind of patterns I see among the forested area near me.

For my writing I pull inspiration from authors like C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, R.R. Martin, Brian Jacques, Patrick Rothfuss, J.K. Rowling, and Ted Dekker. Each of them unique in their own right and amazing at how they pull all the pieces together. I strive to create as unique and indepth works as they have.

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

I started out drawing traditionally very young. I would see both of my parents drawing and tried to draw along with them. My mother drew mostly with charcoal or oil pastels and though I grew to dislike both mediums simply because I draw more finely I still admire how beautiful her artwork is. My father drew with pencils and ink. His style of more precise and realistic sketches eventually inspired my personally style, although I kept my moms more whimsical and storybook tone in whatever I drew.

As for my crocheting, my mother taught me. I distinctly remember watching her crochet when I was young and trying to copy her for years until my mom decided ihad enough coordination to handle using the crochet hook and string. From there I took off on my own trying to teach myself as I went and learning her more unique tricks and stitches along the way. The style of crochet I use was apparently invented jointly by my mother and my great grandmother and is unique compared to most stitching styles. I didn’t know this until recently when a stranger made thr observation but I am delighted to know that I’ve continued something unique to my family.

The inspiration for wanting to write in general and my writing is more difficult to pinpoint. I would have to say the roots of it started with my dad reading to b before bed. My dad used to read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and later Harry Potter with different voices and brought the stories to life. I would have to say that looking over that period of my life it must have been then that I realized somedayI wanted to create a story that would bring people together and create fond memories as well.

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?

As I touched on with my crochet work I use a unique stitch that I’m quite fond of but for my artwork I tend to combine a storybook style into everything I draw. I rarely use full realism but rather draw in a very stylized way. With my writing I strive to bring in detail without overloading the story. I try to “paint” the world I see in my head fro my readers to see as they read.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice, study anatomy, do your research, and don’t give up. It took me nearly twenty years of constant practice to get where I am on all of my pusuits. Also for crocheting, make sure you’re stretching and holding your fingers/wrists correctly or you’ll hurt yourself.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’ve only recently realized I’m in the asexual spectrum but I’m comfortable in saying that I’m asexual.

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

Mostly I’ve seen ignorance or confusion with the few people I’ve worked up the courage to talk to about it. I’m not “out” quite yet as I’m still learning about it myself.

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

Just from observations on Tumblr and online in general I’ve seen a lot of misconceptions and denial. In person? Again I’m not out yet so I’m admittedly naive of people’s perceptions in my area.

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

Find a community, do your research, and I guess realize ultimately you aren’t broken. You never were.

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

You can find me on DeviantArt at Ecanusiofiel or StarryFeathers. I crocheting stuff will be up on an Etsy shop eventually once I’ve finished a few more pieces to post.

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

Interview: Oliver

Today we’re joined by Oliver. Oliver is a wonderful visual artist who works in both traditional mediums and digital as well. Their style is inspired by cartoons and anime, though they also do realistic drawings as well. Their work is brimming with beautiful vivid colors and wonderful flowing lines, as you’ll soon see. 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 love drawing people. I like to draw realistic portraits, but I find a more cartoony/anime inspired style is very fun as well.

The majority of my work is done traditionally, usually an amalgamation of water colour, coloured pencil, and ink is used. But I dabble in digital art as well.

I’m the kind of person who carries around ideas for pieces for years without actually ever putting them on paper. I find it very hard to translate the bigger concepts and visuals I have in my head into real life. So it’s not often my drawings make it past the sketchy pencil stage before I shove them away in exasperation never to see the light of day. Often times I go through these sketches at a later date, going “this is really good! But it isn’t like how I had conceptualized it all” and back into the abyss it goes.  *laughs*

I use art as a personal casual hobby. I often struggle to express myself effectively in verbal and text communication, so sometimes drawing out what I’m feeling, or how much I love something can be really soothing. So in that regard my art is very self-centric, art to me is about showing who you are in a way others can relate to.

What inspires you?

Other artists always! I love storytelling, especially visually, and don’t think I ever would have found the drive to draw if it was not for other artists around me. I specifically know I’ve been rather influenced by Shigenori Soejima, Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt.

I can’t really pinpoint for my original pieces what inspires me, striking visual thoughts or feelings mainly. It’s very abstract. I have whole reference folders dedicated to abstract imagines that make me feel ___ to help me draw that visually.

For fan art pieces, this is always much easier. I just have to try and channel what I love about that character, and then think of a dynamic visual way I can show that love to people.

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

DeviantArt was definitely a game changer for me. Little grade 5 me was introduced to it by one of my older siblings. I formed a close knit community with other artists around the same age and artistic level as me, and I was always pushed to keep producing things and learning and help them do the same. I thrived there for a long time.

I really wanted to be a professional artist, and had a lot of support in early high school to try and make a portfolio to attend a university art school. But I found once I put my nose to the grind stone and lived , breathed , and sweat art for that portfolio , that art wasn’t something I was interested in pursuing professionally. I hated the restrictions of what I could and couldn’t draw. I hated the class time as I often didn’t want to draw past 20 minute intervals. It was around this time I decided to see art as a hobby, because it was the only way I really enjoyed it.

Now with other obligations and just life in general , I don’t get to draw much , and I don’t see as much rapid progress in skill as I did once , but I really enjoy drawing and that’s something I’m really glad has persisted. It’s so relaxing!

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?

No, not really. I have been told I have a very unique line texture by several people though (I’m not sure that’s a good thing though!)

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep drawing what you like, not what other people like!

And if you’re considering becoming an artistic professional give yourself a time line where you will dedicate yourself to you’re art 100% to see if it really is the right fit for you! Evaluate, after that time line and make your choice from there. There is no wrong choice either.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a Nonbinary Panromantic Asexual.

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

I’m actually incredibly lucky to live in a big city, which has a pride center that specifically organizes asexual pride events and casual hang outs.

At my job, I work with several A-Spec coworkers. And the rest are part of the Queer community themselves or are very supportive Allies.

I tend to get flack for other aspects of my identity, more so because it is easier to see upon introduction that I am trans, versus asexual, which is only brought up when discussing sexual activities (which rarely is a work topic, which makes the NSFW acronym pretty relevant *finger pistols)

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

Probably from my family, they are all incredibly sex positive, and so am I, so I’m very open that sex is not something that appeals to me. I have identified as Asexual since I was 13. I am now 21. My mother was a late bloomer and she keeps insisting I’m just a very very veerrryy late bloomer. :/

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

I never really talked about my lack of sexuality until I connected online with other Aces. Foster a community and raise awareness. It’s very hard to feel isolated when you know others are experiencing the same thing as you are. Plus you will make some amazing friends along the way. 🙂

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

My personal art blog is http://p3hero-art.tumblr.com/
My main blog is http://p3hero.tumblr.com/

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

Interview: Fawndolyn Valentine

Today we’re joined by Fawndolyn Valentine. Fawndolyn is a phenomenal versatile artist who has tried her hand at just about everything. She’s most dedicated to illustration and dabbles in steampunk jewelry. When she’s not doing that, she also does makeup. It’s very apparent that Fawndolyn is an incredibly dedicated 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 kind of a jack-of-all, master-of-none, but I chiefly work on illustrations, and frequently dabble in making steampunk jewelry, and practical/special FX makeup.  In my illustrations, I mostly work in watercolours and Copic markers, but it’s Inktober now, so I’ve been concentrating on my ink work this month.

And when I say jack-of-many, I mean give me something interesting to do, and I’ll damn-well give it a shot!  I’ve made hobbies of cake-designing, woodworking, costuming, violin, making comics, translating French, urban exploration, making comics, writing, bookbinding, prop-making, acting, web design, painting, medical experimentation, and a cornucopia of other things.

What inspires you?

Other artists.  I’ve never been one to say, “I’ll never be that good” when looking at better artists’ work, but I tend to say, “I can draw that!  Let me try to draw that.”  That’s how I practice.  I learn techniques and styles from other artists so I can better understand how to develop my own style (even though I’m still trying to settle).

I’m also inspired by faces. I do a lot of portraits, so an interesting pose with well-defined features are particularly inspiring to me. If we’re friends and I have a picture of you in a striking pose or making a goofy face, you’d better believe I’m going to try to draw it.

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

I’ve been drawing since I was four years old.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t draw – except a few years back, for a few years during a severe depression.

I haven’t always wanted to be an artist.  Sort of. I was kinda forced into it – my mom and grandfather were artists, so their legacy needed to continue.  Most of my time spent in college was skating around other majors, trying to be anything but an artist.  I felt like I was pre-destined to it.  Not to mention, my family always ragged on me about not making money with my talents, which really spoiled it for me.

It wasn’t until I was about to run out of financial aid that I finally decided “FINE!  I’LL DO IT.”  And of course, that turned out to be my saving grace.  Highest marks all around.

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

When I was young, I watched a great documentary on Al Hirschfeld, and I loved how he would hide his daughter Nina’s name in his work.  I tried to sneak something into my drawings, but my type of work didn’t really allow for it.  Not enough detail.  In the age of internet art theft, I’ve reconsidered sneaking my name into my work, but I haven’t really been able to figure out how just yet.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep drawing.  If you suck, pick one of the things you suck at and find out how to get better at it.  Keep going down the list of things you suck at until you don’t suck anymore (or you could go the way I go and just avoid drawing the thing you suck at).  I highly recommend taking a life-drawing class. They’ll start you with the basics (drawing your own hand) in a number of different ways, but you’ll learn how to draw what you see.

Reference photos are amazing.  Many artists use them.  If an artist says they don’t ever use references, they’re lying – every artist has referenced something in their lives, even if they don’t use references anymore.  Not using references is possible, but why torture yourself while you’re starting out.

And for ultra-beginners, here’s how I really got going: When I was in 7th grade, I would draw by holding paper against a paused TV screen and trace the blurry shapes of Ren and Stimpy and Sailor Moon, or whatever show I liked, just to get the feeling of drawing those lines.  Man, that helped.  Tracing to copying to referencing to working from imagination… it’s all about leveling up. I still pause movies if I can’t find a good reference photo.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as graysexual (I know it’s gray asexual, but it just rolls off the tongue better the other way).  Panromantic. But I just say I’m asexual and allow for gentle prodding, if questions occur.

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

The first person I came out to was a friend who I had a fling with in the past.  His follow-up questions were so abrasive that I felt attacked, and it took me two years getting over the fear to come out to my own boyfriend (when I did finally come out to him, his reaction was, “well obviously!”  And he was completely okay and understanding about it).

My asexuality and the aforementioned terrible coming-out experience came up in casual conversation with an acquaintance and he said, “I can understand why someone would get mad about it, if they like-liked you.”  Can you believe that crap?  Like sex is the only thing I’m good for?  Like already having a goddamn boyfriend isn’t your bigger obstacle?!  Piss off!

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

That we can’t have or enjoy sex.  And that we’re a challenge to be fixed.

Trigger warning.  Before I ever even heard of asexuality, before I realized I wasn’t broken, I dated a piece of shit who treated sex like part of the girlfriend package.  Like I owed him.  Having sex was fine, but he poured on the guilt whenever I didn’t want to.  My circumstances of being homeless at the time, plus the guilt trip, made me feel like I did owe him.  He thought I would enjoy it when he got it in.  And I always faced away to hide my tears.  I was young and didn’t know I didn’t deserve that.

(end Trigger Warning)

Despite that, I have, after that relationship, still enjoyed sex.  I don’t have it anymore; haven’t for a few years now, and I don’t intend to. My boyfriend is okay with this.  I also still masturbate.  That’s part of the “can’t enjoy sex” misconception, though I don’t do it for fun (I mean, I sometimes try to have fun with it).  I do it to silence the baby-making hormones that rear their annoying heads every month (my boyfriend was shocked when I told him I only take care of myself once or twice a month.  I guess that’s a low amount).

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

Take as much time and experience as you need to figure out who you are, who you like, and what you want. It took me til I was 32 years old to realize I’m asexual.  In high school, I didn’t understand why everyone (even the nerdiest of nerds) were having sex.  I felt embarrassed and a little attacked for having feelings for someone and then my friends teasing me that I’m “a big ol’ horn-dog” who wants to bone everyone.  I couldn’t understand why having a crush meant wanting to have sex to everyone but me.  When I grew up, I had a lot of enjoyable sex, but it never felt like anything but a hormonal satisfaction (not connected to romance).  Mostly, I had sex because I thought I was supposed to.  When I discovered that asexuality is a thing I could finally identify with, I felt like a huge chip came off my shoulders.

I feel like, nowadays, we live in a world of sexual autonomy, and more people understand that they have the right to say NO or YES whenever they need to.  Don’t let anyone make you feel like you owe them.  I still feel weird for being ace, and I think it’ll make any future dating I do pretty difficult, but I think that comes with the territory in a sex-driven society.  But listen.  We are not weird.  Okay, some of us might be a little weird, but it’s not because of our (a)sexual preference.

And if you’re stuck somewhere in your self-discovery, ask for help.  Find like-minded people online.  Ask questions to google or to forums.  We’re out there.

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

My art: https://www.facebook.com/fawndolyn/

Instagram (this month is mostly inktober and SFX): https://www.instagram.com/fawndolyn/

Steampunk jewelry: https://www.facebook.com/honeyinmygears/

And just in case anyone wants to read the boring details of my life, I still use LiveJournal: https://diello.livejournal.com/

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

Interview: Carly Ann

Today we’re joined by Carly Ann. Carly Ann is a phenomenal artist who does a lot of visual art and SFX makeup. She works in a wide variety of mediums when she’s drawing. Carly Ann is also incredibly passionate about makeup and it’s truly something she loves to do. Her work shows an incredible attention to detail and it’s very apparent Carly Ann’s a gifted artist. Her passion shines through in her interview, 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 in the visual arts as I never hesitate to take on a new challenge or venture into a new medium. My main focuses tend to be in drawing and special effects makeup, though I even work in costume design and prop making. I’ve been drawing ever since I could hold a crayon and have continued with it as a hobby into adulthood. It has only been in the past couple years that I decided to make it my life’s work, that art is what brings me the most joy. My typical drawing mediums include graphite, charcoal, and ink, though I have even dappled in oil pastels and gouache. Even my subject matters tend to bounce from everything to photo-realistic portrait work, abstract expressionism pieces, and even still life.

As for special effects makeup, this interest has been a more recent development. Upon reaching my teenage years and continuing into the present, I have stepped into alternative fashion. Makeup has always been a means of self-expression for me in this unique lifestyle, from simple dramatic looks to bordering on stage makeup. But I never considered it as a form of artistic expression or a potential career path until two years ago. I hit a state of severe depression about halfway through my sophomore year of college. I was not happy with the career path I was originally on, but too scared to take on art as it is stereotypically thought of as not a reliable income source. One of the few daily activities in my life that kept me going during this time was waking up hours before class to do intense, dramatic makeup. I would watch YouTube videos and teach myself all these creative ways to manipulate your features through cosmetics. After I reached my lowest point in my depression, I asked a friend what they thought I should do and they said I always look my happiest when I am doing my makeup. That was all the convincing I needed to realize that my heart truly was in the arts, thus I became an art major and dedicated my life to it. Since then my work has been focused in sculpture and I have done numerous projects in special effects makeup. Needless to say, I have never been happier or more confident in myself than I have at this point in my life.

What inspires you?

The concept of duality is something that I not only embody in my artwork, but in my life. Contrasting ideas, beauty meets horror, life meets death, dark meets light, have always fascinated me. Much of the artwork that I do for myself embraces these conflicting elements. People tend to fear the darker aspects of our world as they hold uncertainty and the unknown, but I want my art to show that there is no need to be afraid. There is beauty in darkness and just as the shadows can conceal, the light can blind. Finding balance between the two, understanding that life and death go hand in hand, is the root of much of my work.

As for artists I find inspiration in, they range from tattoo artists to special effects makeup artists, both of which are career paths I am looking into for the future. One of my favorite tattoo artists is Ryan Ashley Malarkey, an independent artist from Kingston, Pennsylvania. Her fine line black and grey pieces are simply breathtaking in their detail, and tend to feature many of the dual elements I mentioned before. In special effects makeup, Mykie, also known as Glam and Gore on YouTube, has been an incredible source of not only inspiration, but information. Much of her work does not involve expensive products, which when you’re a poor college student, it’s much appreciated. Not to mention her YouTube channel caught my eye with its contrast. Many of her tutorials marry beauty and blood, from gory Disney princesses to neon zombies. I’ve referenced a number of her videos in order to achieve my own unique looks.

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

I suppose you could say I have always been interested in in the arts. My family has been very supportive, always making art supplies available, signing me up for dance classes, as well as encouraging theatre and music-related extracurricular activities throughout my education. The arts, in all its vast forms, are something I could not imagine my life without. Music and theatre helped my cope with my shyness and social anxiety. Drawing became an outlet for my vivid and creative imagination. Makeup has taken on a form of self-expression, a means of showing the unique individual that I am, inside and out. I even currently work within the costume shop on my college campus, it has already become a means of sustaining myself financially. Though, I never really considered the career path of an artist until recently due to the financial risks society likes to associate with it. There was always this fear that my art would never be “good enough”, that I would not be able to apply it in a way to sustain myself and it could never be anything more than a hobby. But thanks to dedication, practice, and the encouragement of those around me, I have gained a lot of confidence that being an artist is the right field for me.

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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 have actually put a bit of thought into my signature. Writing out my full name can be such a hassle, and admittedly I am not a huge fan of my handwriting. Instead my signature consists of a rather stiff and scratchy looking moon with a star hanging off the top. The intention is for it to not only mimic the imagery of the night sky, but also hold my first and middle initials (the moon for “C” and an “A” hidden within the lines of the star). It’s simple, but unique, and once more embodies the idea of lights in the dark.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Honestly, I feel as if I could write an essay of advice alone for aspiring artists, but to be brief I will touch a few main points that helped me pursue my passion. The first being, do not be afraid of risk, whether that is taking on an unfamiliar medium or dedicating your life to art in general. It’s all a learning experience, and you are bound to make mistakes, but do not let those hold you back or make you believe that your art is not worthy. Practice does not make perfect, practice gives you a better understanding of who you are and how your art is an embodiment of that. All art is “perfect” in its own way as it is an extension of yourself, and you are wonderful. Do not feel pressured to meet the expectations or abilities of those around you, or you run the risk of losing the creativity that is the root of all art. That is when it becomes more of a chore than something enjoyable. Also, it is okay to take breaks from time to time. Do not think that you need to dedicate every waking moment to creating something. There is value in stepping away from a piece and allowing yourself time to meditate on your ideas, as well as recharge your creative energy. Finally, never let anyone devalue your art or the life of an artist. There are those out there who will attempt to discourage you, make art seem trivial, almost juvenile. But they just fail to see how we are all constantly surrounded by art. Art enriches our lives, gives us beauty and even an escape from reality from time to time. There will always be a need for art, your work will always hold value. You will always have a purpose in this world as an artist.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as both asexual and aromantic.

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

Over all, within my work as an artist I have never faced any ace prejudice (outside the field is another story). Since I have only recently taken on the ace/aro terms to describe my orientations (about half a year ago), I have only just begun expressing this aspect of myself openly to a select few individuals in my field, all of whom have been incredibly open-minded. My employer in my college’s costume shop (who identifies openly as both heterosexual and heteroromantic) has spent hours discussing sexuality and the LGBT+ community over our work with me in a completely accepting manner. Any questions she has had have been asked both politely and completely out of curiosity with a desire to gain a better understanding of the ace/aro spectrum. In general my college campus is very friendly towards the non-heteronormative and non-cisgendered community. We even have posters currently up around our buildings welcoming those that identify as agender and asexual to the LGBT+ organization on campus. However, as I am a senior with the intent to graduate in the spring, I am a little apprehensive if that will change once I am involved in the professional art world. But with more light and acknowledgement being shed on asexuality and aromanticism as valid identities, and the spectrum they encompass, I am confident that with time we will all be better understood.

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

The most common misconception that I have personally encountered is that ace/aro individuals are cold-hearted or emotionless. While this has not been expressed by anyone within my artistic field, I have been confronted with it by people in other areas of my life. I have been called a “man-hater” and told that I “do not even count as a girl” because I do not experience romantic or sexual attraction and am personally uncomfortable with affectionate physical contact. In reality, ace/aro people, including myself, hold just as much emotion as anyone else. These aspects of our identity pertain only to our lack of sexual and romantic attraction and by no means imply hatred or devalue our sense of humanity. I have found this to be one of the most toxic forms of ace/aro misunderstandings as it enforces the ideas of being “broken” or inhuman, which simply are not true. Regardless of attraction or lack thereof, ace/aro people are just as deserving of respect and love.

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

Just as I could for aspiring artists, I feel as if I could go on for pages of advice for fellow ace/aros, despite having only come to understand my own identity less than a year ago. The best advice I could give is to love in the way that you feel most comfortable with (and is obviously consensual). As I have questioned my sexuality over the years, trying to put a name to it, I have caused myself an incredible amount of unnecessary stress and grief. Even after accepting my own ace/aro identity, I still find myself dwelling on these unnecessary thoughts. What if it really is just a phase as society tries to accuse? What if it’s rooted in a medical issue relating to libido? What if I never find anyone who will be satisfied with being in a platonic relationship and I spend the rest of my life alone (albeit with a lot of cats)? But in the end I just need to take a deep breath and clear my mind. I need to remind myself that I am human, I am not perfect, but I am not broken. Most importantly, what it all comes down to is what makes me comfortable and happy, whether that is being in a strictly platonic relationship or finding in time that I identify somewhere else on the vast spectrum of sexuality. Regardless of labels, regardless of any changes I may experience as I further understand myself, I am still valuable as a person and deserving of love.

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

Most of my work gets posted on my personal social media; this includes Twitter (necromanticdoll), Instagram (necromanticdoll), and Tumblr (necromanticdoll.tumblr.com). As I build my portfolio and career I may make accounts dedicated solely to my art, but I will be sure to keep things updated on any changes via my personal accounts.

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

Interview: Emily

Today we’re joined by Emily. Emily is a fantastic younger artist who enjoys drawing. Using mostly traditional media, Emily draws in ink, colored pencils, and has begun experimenting with watercolors. She also enjoys music and plays the alto saxophone. Her art shows a phenomenal attention to detail and a wonderfully vivid imagination. This artist has a bright future ahead of her. 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 draw a lot. I’ve managed to take 3 art classes so far in school and will be taking another in the upcoming year. Within the past year I’ve been inspired to sketch more than ever and have filled a little over one and a half sketchbooks with drawings of various things. I enjoy drawing dragons and other fantasy-related art. I normally work with ink, whether it be by using ballpoint pen in the margins of my notes, or using nicer pens in my sketchbook. Recently I’ve also started using dip pens and ink which has been an interesting experience. For color I normally prefer colored pencils, although recently I’ve dabbled in watercolor. I normally use colored pencils because they are significantly more portable and cleaner.

I also play alto saxophone in both full and jazz band, and enjoy participating in school plays and musicals as an actress.

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What inspires you?

For visual art, I’m inspired by the books I read and the world around me. I often find myself drawing flowers or things inspired by the curves and colors found in nature, even for fantastical doodles. For music and theatre I’m just inspired by the passion of the people around me. Music and theatre can be filled with so much emotion. I also have been grateful to have such talented musicians/actors as my friends in my school.

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

I’ve always been a doodler and recently decided that if I’m going to keep doodling, I might as well put it to good use and try to improve. I still don’t know if I will pursue art as my only career path, but it will definitely be a constant in my life even if I don’t only make money via art. I’ve always been interested in band and theatre. Both of my parents were involved in both subjects in high school and college and their stories intrigued me. I also have always loved music and singing, so musicals are great fun.

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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 don’t really have a signature object in my art, although I do always sign it with Em.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I know everyone says this, but just keep drawing, or playing, or doing whatever you want to do, even if you’re just doodling a quick BB8 in the margin of your history notes, or learning how to play the Sherlock theme song, or memorizing a dramatic monologue about cheese. Just do what you love and don’t force yourself to fit in with what others think you should do. Even if you don’t want to become a full time artist, actor, or musician you can still do those things casually. They’re meant to be enjoyable.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual and who knows what romantic.

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

I’ve only recently (as in, this summer) started identifying as asexual. I feel like we are generally ignorant of the concept of asexuality as a society, but I haven’t encountered any prejudice.

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

As I’ve only recently identified as ace, I haven’t really encountered many misconceptions other than the general thought that I might someday meet “the one” from my relatives who I have come out too. In all they were pretty accepting of the general idea of asexuality though.

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

Story time- the first time I heard about asexuality was probably around 2 years ago in an online chat with a gay guy who was my age. We had met from an online art app and were generally discussing outlooks on life and religion. Somehow the conversation turned to crushes/sexuality and I mentioned that I’ve never had crushes. He proceeded to try to explain what crushes felt like, and then asked me if I had heard of asexuality. I looked it up and then decided that I was probably demisexual because at that point I thought that announcing that I had no sexual attraction was a bit extreme and weird. Now, a year later, I am very chill with the idea that I don’t experience sexual attraction, and there are others like that, and we’re all pretty cool people. Coming out of that story, my advice is to identify with what you feel fits your feelings. Other people don’t know how you feel or what you experience. Worst thing, you’ll end up changing your label at some point in your life. It’s not the end of the world. Someday I might find that I was right a year ago and I am demi or gray. Or I might be an 80 year old cat lady, or happily married with a great romantic relationship. Who knows? God made you the way you are and loves you like that.

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

All of my reblog stuff can be found (at) ladyknighttime which is where I also post any ace stuff I do beyond art. My art blog is (at) themanyartsofemily.

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