Interview: Isis E. Prosser

Today we’re joined by Isis E. Prosser. Isis is a phenomenal writer and jewelry maker who I met at Indy PopCon. I was blown away by the gorgeous jewelry she made and then she told me about the web novel she was working on entitled Lamenting City (chapters are posted on her main blog: https://lairofthestormdragon.com/). Not only does it sound positively fascinating, but it’s an ownvoices work. The main character of the series is an ace lesbian named Axel and there are also two minor asexual characters. I highly recommend checking it out. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate author, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer and a jewelry maker. When it comes to my writing, I tend to focus on humour and emotions, lots of humour and emotions. Sometimes I write purely humourous stories and sometimes I write purely emotional (whether angsty or uplifting) stories. Longer stories tend to swing between both extremes and I like to think the more I write, the better I become at blending the two together. I write a mix of fanfiction and original stuff, and I’m also not the greatest at updating either in a timely fashion (sorry!), but I am trying and getting better at that.

My jewelry is something I also do with my mom (she’s my teacher!) and currently I’m focusing on Pride jewelry and fandom jewelry (currently, Harry Potter-inspired pieces with some My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic-inspired pieces coming…. eventually). I’m very new to this craft.

In the future I’d like to make video games, too. I’ve written scenarios/concepts and dabbled a little in RPG Maker over the years, but haven’t yet finished a thing. Maybe one day soon I’ll have something to show. In the meantime it’s likely the characters of those ideas will be introduced in short stories or novels.

I’m very passionate about storytelling in general.

What inspires you?

Many, many things! From real life experiences to other fiction, and to the beauty of the natural world and that of architecture, as well as mythology (Egyptian mythology is my fave). I’ve also been inspired by vivid dreams I’ve had. And my inspirations tend to shine through in my work, whether original or fanfiction. For example, my current web novel project, Lamenting City, was initially inspired by a dream I had that came about when I was marathoning every Zoids anime with a friend. The dream introduced me to Axel and offered a tantalizing glimpse of her world, and afterwards I knew I had to write it. And often times I’ll have scenes or entire stories inspired by music I listen to.

When it comes to jewelry, I tend to find inspiration looking at gemstones or browsing jewelry supply shops. Sometimes I also get inspiration from media, hence the Harry Potter bracelets.

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

I’ve wanted to be writer for as long as I can remember. I’m not entirely sure where it started, but I know it did start in some form with kid me’s obsession with Beatrix Potter’s stories and later stuff like OT Star Wars and Disney’s Gargoyles. I would also read a lot and then read some more, and the more I read, the more I wanted to write.

As time went on, I also noticed more and more that there weren’t a lot of characters like me in fiction. There weren’t a lot of diverse characters and author voices in general. So, a lot of my writing is me creating the stories and characters I wanted to see, and to give myself a voice.

With jewelry, I played around with plastic beads as a child but then the hobby faded for many years. Earlier this year I got interested in it again after looking at pride jewelry and deciding I could make the types of bracelets I wanted… and then a lightbulb turned on and I realized that, hey, if I wanted jewelry like this, other LGBTQIANP+ folks might want it, too. And then my love for fandom made me start slowly getting into making fandom jewelry 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?

Well, looking at my writing as of 2015, dream and nightmare sequences seem to be a pretty big thing. They appeared in my (currently unposted) Metroid fic that I wrote for my first NaNoWriMo (2015), appeared again in my Camp NaNoWriMo project, a Legend of Spyro fanfic (I haven’t yet posted the chapter with the first dream sequence however), and then they’ve appeared in every NaNo project since…

I find dream and nightmare sequences really fun to write. They’re a good way to explore the character’s mind without having to worry about realism or even my own canon.

In general, I like to use dreams/nightmares to introduce concepts and foreshadowing in ways that (hopefully) aren’t immediately obvious.

With my jewelry, it’s a bit hard to say since it’s all so new to me. But I like to add a touch of whimsy to everything I create!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

To not be discouraged, and to get your art out there. It can be very daunting, yeah, I’ve been there (and in many ways still am), but your voice is needed. Perhaps some people won’t get your story, but for the people who do, it could mean the world.

Understand that you have room to grow, but to also be you. Improve and become the best you.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Homoromantic/demiromantic asexual. Also sex-repulsed.

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

More times than I’d like to count, especially offline. I try to clarify things for people who simply don’t know, but find it’s easier on my mental health to avoid actually prejudiced people who are unlikely to change their mind. Sometimes both of those things are easier said than done.

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

The most common seem to be “Asexuals are incapable of love in any form” and “Asexuals can’t have sex/be sex positive”. Trying to correct either misconception isn’t usually a fun time for me, especially the latter (where being a sex-repulsed ace with no intention of having sex gets thrown back in my face as if it’s some kind of gotcha).

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

That you’re not broken, and that you’re ace enough.  You’re loveable and amazing as you are, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

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

My main home of operation is on my website/blog: https://lairofthestormdragon.com/

There I post short stories, chapters of Lamenting City, and blog posts where I yell about video games and music.

And while there’s not as much content as I’d like (I’m working on it!), you can find my newer fanfiction on AO3: https://archiveofourown.org/users/MetroidReploid/profile

I will be updating my Legend of Spyro fic (well, the first one) soon and will be adding a Metroid fic and a Star Wars fic at some point this year. I like many fandoms!

And you can check out my jewelry here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/StormDragonsWares

More designs coming soon!

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

Interview: Vide Frank

Today we’re joined by Vide Frank. Vide is a phenomenal illustrator from Sweden. They’re part of a group made up of asexual and aromantic individuals. Vide was also on a panel about asexual and aro issues at Stockholm pride. Their work is gorgeous and vivid, evoking an incredible amount of emotion, 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’m a visual artist, which is a very broad term. I paint and draw both digitally and traditionally but have also dabbled around in sewing, sculpting, writing and jewelry making. I mostly stick to painting and drawing though. I use a lot of different mediums, like watercolor, markers, graphite, oil paint, acrylic paint, colored pencils, photoshop and paint tool sai.

What inspires you?

So many things, like music, movies, books, fanfiction, poetry, photos, drawings, paintings and real life. I’m very driven by my emotions though, so it all depends on how I’m feeling in that moment.

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

I guess I always had this fascination with art, I used to beg my mom to draw things for me and I loved to use my hands to create things. Art has always been a part of my life, although I didn’t really try to improve until I was around twelve, and it wasn’t until I was fifteen that I actually thought of making it into a carrier. I don’t believe enough in myself to actually take that leap though, so I’m studying to become an assistant nurse at a gymnasium in Sweden.

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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 symbol or feature, since I think I would grow tired of it and start to hate it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It’s okay if your art look like crap, your dance can be off or you could have fucked up that seam, and that’s okay. Perfection isn’t necessary, it’s just tiring. Keep practicing, keep making mistakes, keep working and someday someone will say that you did well, and maybe that won’t be enough, but maybe it will. Learn to love the journey, not the result (as cheesy as that sounds).

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demi gray asexual, which means (according to me) that I need to have an emotional connection to a person to feel sexual attraction to them, but it’s still very rare for me to experience sexual attraction.

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

In my field? No, but that’s mostly because I’m not very open about my “queer-ness” around my art. In other places? Yeah, defiantly. I mostly try to keep a calm and open mind when I meet these people, and try to calmly explain my point of view with examples and such. Most of the time they understand or we agree to disagree.

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

That we don’t have sex or that we just need to find “the one”. Both are complete bullshit, I can have sex with a person and still be ace, asexuality isn’t about our actions, but about our attractions.

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

You don’t have a find a label or figure everything out, it’s okay to just be. If the people around you don’t support you there’s always other people in the world, someone out of the seven billion are going to understand.

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

You can find my art on my Instagram at plantrot:
https://www.instagram.com/plantrot/

Or my portfolio http://vide.teknisten.com/

You can also buy some of my works at my Redbubble: http://www.redbubble.com/people/videfrank
(or contact me at vide.frankh@gmail.com)

tattoo

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

Interview: Lex

Today we’re joined by Lex, who also goes by Ceinos. Lex is a wonderfully versatile artist. They’re an aspiring writer who specializes in short stories and flash fiction, both of which they’re quite passionate about. Aside from writing, Lex also dabbles in crafts and does some jewelry making. They’re also starting to do some cosplaying and costuming. Lex is incredibly enthusiastic about art, as you’ll soon read, and is obviously incredibly dedicated. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Chrys earrings
Chrys Earrings

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am mainly a writer, especially of short stories and some flash fiction.  I haven’t been published yet (aside from self publishing online!) but I’m working on getting together a collection of ‘expanded’ fairy tales that I can try to get published.  I’d love to write novels someday but right now I don’t have the endurance to do that.

I also do some crafting on the side, mostly jewelry making and a little bit of costuming/cosplaying (I’m working on getting more into it!).

What inspires you?

Almost anything can inspire me to write a story, from a dream to a piece of visual art to a story prompt. Most of my stories start out as an image in my head based on my inspiration, and putting that image into words is what kicks off the writing process.

Jewelry that I make is usually based on a specific person that I intend to give it to.

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

I’ve been telling myself stories since I was very young, and my love of reading was probably a big help in wanting to write.  As I get older, looking back on the way reading and books have influenced my life, I want more and more to have a positive influence like that on other people.

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?

None that I can think of, although maybe incredibly detailed descriptions of scenery count? Since I’m usually writing from an image in my head, I want to try and give my readers that same picture, if I can.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice, practice, practice! I know you’ll hear it a lot, but it’s the only way you’ll get better. If you feel really stuck, put it down and look at it again the next morning.   Don’t throw out your work, even if you don’t like it—you can look back on it and see things you did well and things you want to change. And most of all, don’t let anyone (even your internal critic!) stop you from doing something you love to do.

tj bracelet
TJ Bracelet

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’d call myself very asexual.  I’m also sex-repulsed.

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

Definitely a lot of ignorance.  There seem to be so many people who think that Relationship = Must Have Sex, or that it’s something that everyone wants, and it’s very tiring to be reading and enjoying something and then suddenly the love interests are sleeping together, or sex is being described as the be all end all of love and relationships, or the existence of ace people is being ignored.

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

Mostly that it’s the same as aromanticism. I get a lot of surprised, “You’ve dated people? But I thought you were ace!”.

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

You’re not broken, there’s nothing wrong with you.  If you need someone to talk to, there are lots of us here who can help.  Don’t let yourself get pressured into anything you’re not 100% comfortable doing.  And don’t worry about if your labels or identity change: the possibility that they might doesn’t invalidate the fact of how you feel about yourself now.

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

I maintain two Tumblr blogs: draconiclore.tumblr.com and pallis-cat.tumblr.com.  I also go by Ceinos on Archive Of Our Own: http://archiveofourown.org/users/Ceinos/pseuds/Ceinos

Feel free to come talk to me!

martin necklace
Martin Necklace

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

Interview: Denois

Today we’re joined by Denois. Denois is an amazing craft artist who mostly crochets. Aside from crocheting, she also sews, knits, and dabbles in jewelry making. She is also a writer who specializes in flash fiction and other short forms. The images she sent to go along with the interview demonstrate an extraordinarily creative mind. And the cats are too freaking adorable 🙂 My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

bearhatfront
Bear Hat (Front)

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Mostly I crochet. Occasionally I will knit, sew, make jewelry and I dabble in fashion design. I have a degree in floral design, but I haven’t done much of that lately because the materials are expensive and the result doesn’t last as long as the others. I also write fiction. I’m currently in the middle of three novels and I’ll write drabbles and flash fics and other short fiction pieces to help build my characters or my universes.

cathatfront (1)
Cat Hat (Front)

What inspires you?

Making people happy. I like to design clothes for people I know to try to fit their style and needs in a way that would make them look their best. I crochet things for family and friends based on their interests.

cats
Cats

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

When I was in pre-K I wanted to be a professional basketball player. But by the time I was in first grade I wanted to be an artist. From about age 10-18 I thought that because I don’t have a lot of skill at drawing that being an artist would never work out for me, but I’d still do some art as a hobby. When I was in my early teens my mother taught me to knit and crochet, but I didn’t do it for very long. Then when I was in college a couple of things changed for me. I did horribly in Molecular Cell Biology (I don’t recommend taking that as a Freshman) so I changed my major to floral design and my sister got pregnant and I decided I’d crochet her a baby afghan. From there I expanded to all of the other things that I do. College is also where the first characters for my first novel showed up in my imagination and wouldn’t leave me alone until I started working on writing stuff down. Sometimes I hope that these things will one day pay the bills, but I haven’t had much luck with that so far.

giftset1
Gift Set 1

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 include anything specific intentionally in my work. Maybe because I do so many different things.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep trying. Try different media. You might find you are better with one medium than with another and it will let you express yourself. But also, don’t be afraid to keep trying with one you enjoy even if you think that you aren’t “good enough” because practice definitely improves your work. I never practiced drawing enough, but I’ve seen a lot of improvement in my crochet and my ability to make patterns for sewing and crochet.

giftset2
Gift Set 2

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual. I haven’t always, it took me about 30 years to realize that what I thought was sexual attraction is actually sensual attraction. (That is, I have attraction where I want to cuddle and have non-sexual touching).

giftset3
Gift Set 3

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

I don’t really interact with others in my field other than some groups for sharing patterns and ideas for crochet. However, almost everyone I have ever mentioned asexuality to in person has responded with blank stares or incredulity because they think it doesn’t exist or couldn’t exist because how they feel their sexuality. I would say that out of the fields that I hang around the edges of that fashion design would probably be the most prejudiced or ignorant of asexuality because it has a big push for “make it sexy” and how clients want to feel sexy. I ignore it because, yes some people do, but most people really want to feel comfortable and good first. For some people, feeling sexy makes them feel good. For others feeling good makes them feel sexy. And for yet others, sexy never enters the equation. I tell people that ask that I design to work with people’s favorite features and make them feel confident for the situation the item is for.

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Strap

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

That we don’t exist. That everyone knows from a young age who they are attracted to and it’s never a null set. In conjunction with that, that people’s romantic and sensual attractions match their sexual attractions. (I guess that’s not specific to asexuality).

thor
Thor

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

Remember you are valid. You are loved (platonically). Platonic affection is as important as romantic or sexual affection. It is okay to identify under the asexual umbrella while you figure out exactly where you belong, or even if you never figure out exactly where you belong. The A is not for Ally.

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

I post some writing on my writing blog, writer-denois and I might post pictures of some of my other work there too.

squirrel
Squirrel

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

Interview: Alison

Today we’re joined by Alison. Alison is another amazingly versatile artist who does a little bit of everything: sculpting, painting, animation, cake decorating. Her work is spectacular and she has such a wonderful enthusiasm for her work. She’s currently working on a game for her senior project. It’s obvious that this artist has a very bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Doodle 02

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do a stupid variety of stuff – painting, sculpture, 3D modeling and animation, drawing, jewelry making, decorating fancy cakes, etc.

I usually just make whatever I’m in the mood for, but I’m looking to get more into sewing so I can fill my dorm with little stuffed foods. I also make cosplay stuff for people sometimes, but I’m really too cheap to make it for myself with any frequency – that stuff is expensive!

Recently, my time’s been taken up by making Mirrors of Grimaldi, a game for my senior project (semi-shameful plug: we’re actually looking for play testers now, if you have at least 2 Xbox controllers, you can download our alpha build here: http://51standfire.com/play-now/)

CG 01

CG 02

What inspires you?

I draw inspiration from the things other people have done as well as nature and the random stuff around me. In my most recent batch of paintings, I’ve taken an interest in the screenshots I perpetually take of my boyfriend and his cats while we Skype – they’re quite funny.

(see below paintings 1-2 for examples of screenshots turned into paintings; fun fact: they’re the same guy in both paintings…)

Painting 01

Painting 02

I also do a bit of writing, which often involves ace characters. In the coming weeks I’m actually going to be writing a series of short pieces about asexual experiences in relationships (both commonly encountered and personal) and the miscommunications and misconceptions that often arise. I’ll be posting about that later on my blog if anyone is interested…

Mostly though, I just kind of do whatever I’m in the mood for whenever I start doing something, though I often times have kind of a morbid flair to my stuff

(see below cakes 1-2 for example of morbid cakes)

Cake 01

Cake 02

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

I’ve been into crafting ever since I was little – my mom and granny are both pretty crafty and my dad was pretty into woodwork for a while. Presently I’m studying 3D Animation (until I graduate and am released into the real world in a few months – a truly terrifying thought) but have realized I want to take my “career-art” into a more game-based direction. For my hobby art I prefer the more traditional mediums like paint or charcoal… usually just whatever I’m in the mood for when I reach for my art supplies.

CG 04

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 that I can think of. Sometimes I’ll put little spades in my stuff, but that’s usually in my personal stuff or blatantly ace-related artwork. The stuff I make to sell I usually put any signature marks into except my actual signatures.

Though, like I said before, I do have a tendency to make my stuff kind of morbid or unsettling sometimes. I don’t really know why, but it’s satisfying to hear people go “eww” or “wow that’s weird” when they look at my stuff.

Doodle 01

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Find the type of art you enjoy doing and a style that works for you. If you’re just arting for the sake of arting, just have fun with it! If you want to make a living off you art, learn to promote yourself – set up internet shops, go to local events, brand yourself. And, while it’s always good to go for what you really want, make sure you have backup plans because making a living as an artist is bloody hard.

Painting 04

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as plain ‘ol asexual. Also aromantic-ish (I’ve stopped trying to work out a label for the romantic side of things 😛 )

Suffice it to say I don’t mind being in romantic relationships or having sex with my significant other if I super-trust them and it’s a thing they want/enjoy.

CG 03

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

In my field? Not really… It doesn’t really come up that often though. That being said, I actually know other 2 other ace peeps in my major/year (which is a pool of 12 people :P). I was in a 4 person group once and 3 of us were ace so we were joking that the other guy was the token sexual person on the team. It was quite funny.

I have encountered a fair bit of not-great reactions from guys I’ve dated in the past or random people I’ve explained it to, but in general most of the people I surround myself with are super cool about it.

Photo 01

If I’m faced with prejudice or ignorance I usually just try to stay calm and explain what asexuality is. Normally that works pretty well if people are open to what you have to say… Though if they’re not, then I usually just agree to disagree as long as we can behave respectably towards each other. However, if people insist on being obnoxious about asexuality (or most other things) I tend to respond with intelligent snark (I hope it’s intelligent).

One thing I will say though, if you’re dating someone and they refuse to accept your asexuality or give you a hard time about it, it’s a good sign the relationship is probably not going to work out… At least that’s been my experience…

Doodle 03

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

Apart from confusion about what it is, I guess just curiosity about sexual interest/practices or that ace can’t do relationships with non-aces. I’ve gotten a lot of random questions about how much I masturbate (from my roomie’s boss!) to questions about whether or not my boyfriend cares that I’m ace…

I think the biggest thing I encounter is people having a hard time believing asexuality exists or that people can survive without being interested in the sex, which, frankly, isn’t terribly surprising given how sexualized the media is these days.

FX Makeup 01

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

You gotta make peace with who you are. If you want to identify as ace (or anything really) go for it – how you choose to identify/describe yourself is your choice and nobody else’s. It’s not always easy, but then nothing in life really is…

Just know that how you choose to identify or how you feel doesn’t mean your broken, so don’t let anyone tell you that you are. They’re not worth your time.

Painting 03

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

This’ll be a list… aight…

Here’s all the places where you can find pics of my stuff…

Portfolio Website: http://alison.friedlander.me/
A giant amalgamation of my best works in almost every medium I work in

Tumble Blog (Too-Asexy): http://too-asexy.tumblr.com/.
‘Dis is just ma tumblr blog XD

Mirrors of Grimaldi (game I’m working on): http://51standfire.com/
OK, one more semi-shameful plug for my team’s game! Hope you guys don’t mind!

Here are the places where I actually sell things:

Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackBunnyCrafts
Paintings, wire wrapped jewelry, polymer clay jewelry

Shapeways Shop: https://www.shapeways.com/shops/grumpyalison
Ace rings (sizes available upon request), a triforce ring, keychains. More coming soon!

Red Bubble: http://www.redbubble.com/people/grumpyalison/shop
Ace shirts, other misc shirts. More coming soon here too!

Cake 03

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

Interview: Olivia M.

Today we’re joined by Olivia M. Olivia is mostly a hobbyist and an incredibly productive one at that. She does a bit of everything including traditional and digital visual art, game art and programming, and jewelry and accessory crafting. Her main focus is zines and she has made quite a few. This is an artist who is incredibly passionate about her art and it definitely shows in her art and in her interview. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

ailenncoloredweb
Ailenn Colored Web
acenecklace
Ace Necklace

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a student and a hobbyist when it comes to art. I work in a wide variety of mediums, including traditional drawing and painting, digital art, graphic design, zines, game art and programming, and making jewelry and accessories. Right now my main focus is on making zines, which are self-published, small run booklets that can be about just about anything. Most of my zines are personal writing, but also include some art and fiction. I do the layouts in a cut-and-paste style by hand or create them on a computer. Then I print them and sell them online or trade them with people around the world. Making zines allows me not only to write creatively, but also to do graphic design work.

neurometaphysicalrecursionflat
Neuro Metaphysical Recursion Flat

So far I’ve made 12 different zines. Most are in three different series. One is called (meta)paradox, and is a perzine (personal zine) series. Another is called Anecdata, a mini perzine series. And another is Psychometry, a found object zine/perzine hybrid. I’ve also made a minicomic, a science fiction zine, and two micro zines. I also help run a website called the Ace Zine Archive that documents zines that talk about asexuality, and I talk about asexuality in my zines, so my art intersects with my asexual identity.

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When it comes to my drawings, paintings, and digital art, I mostly draw people, preferably using a reference for realistic work or working in a cartoon style. I’ve taken several art classes, including a figure drawing class and an experimental drawing class. I also like drawing comics. One of my zines is a minicomic, and other zines include some of my short comics. A lot of my drawings are of characters that I write about. I write some fiction, but mostly just plan out characters and stories without ever getting any writing done.

I’m a computer science student, so it makes sense that my art intersects with my interest in programming. That’s why making games is so appealing to me. Making games allows me to combine programming, art, and storytelling. I’ve never finished one of my game projects, but I’ve dabbled in RPG-style games and visual novels. My current visual novel project is set at a school for people with supernatural powers and features queer romances and an asexual character. I make an effort to include diverse characters in my game and writing projects, as well as in my other art.

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Visual Novel 1
visualnovel2
Visual Novel 2
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Visual Novel 3

Lastly, I also make jewelry and accessories and sell them online. I haven’t been doing this as much lately, as I’ve built up enough of a stock for my online shop, but every now and then I make something new. One thing I enjoy making is LGBT+ pride jewelry. All of my ace pride jewelry has sold out! One of my favorite types of jewelry to make is cast resin pendants. Resin casting involves mixing two liquids and adding in glitter, beads and other bits and pieces before it hardens.

alondra jacket print
Alondra Jacket Print
cutenecklace
Cute Necklace

What inspires you?

I find myself highly inspired by science fiction, fantasy, and other speculative fiction, whether it is in TV, books, movies, or video games, as well as YA fiction. My characters and stories tend to come from these genres, and even my zines and jewelry are somewhat inspired by them. When it comes to zines, I get a lot of inspiration from other zines that I collect and read. Some of my favorite zines that inspire me include: Taking the Cake (an asexual zine), No Missing Pieces, No Better Than Apples, My Aim is True, Pieces, Deafula, Collide, All in Your Head, Everything. Is. Fine., The Real Ramona, Julia Eff’s zines, Dig Deep, Seawitch, You’ve Got a Friend in Pennsylvania, Last Night at the Casino, The Emeryville Ethereal, asexual zines, queer zines, POC zines, disability zines, and mental health zines. My asexuality and other aspects of my identity, such as my Latina ethnicity, my atheism, being autistic, being chronically ill, being a skeptic, and more all provide inspiration for my zines. People also inspire me. A lot of times I find myself sketching people around me to practice drawing. I love working from references. I also have a wall of my room where I post up art and ideas that inspire me. I like to keep up with new books, indie video games, zines, and handmade jewelry styles for further inspiration.

angeldemon
Angel Demon

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

I grew up in a family of artists, so it was never strange that I was interested in art. I’ve loved art ever since I was a child since I grew up surrounded by it. I also always enjoyed creating things, like drawing my own picture books, making booklets and family newsletters, which led up to my interest in zines as an adult. When I was 12 I discovered programming through website design and digital art. I was instantly hooked and into the idea of creating games. I knew that I wanted to have a career combining programming, art, and writing. I don’t necessarily want to be strictly an artist as a job, but to combine of all my interests. However, I always want art to be a part of my work.

ceris
Ceris
acenecklace2
Ace Necklace 2

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?

Actually, yes! I have a personal symbol that I include in my zines and some of my art. It’s my logo for the work I do under the name Paradox Creations. The symbol is called the radialemniscate. “Radia” from “radiant” and “lemniscate”, which is the infinity symbol. The radialemniscate is an infinity symbol with a starburst at the center. It originated in a high school project to create an imaginary religion. Mine was called Infinitism, and the radialemniscate was its symbol.

logo
Logo
gummybears
Gummy Bears

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would tell young aspiring artists that as long as they create, they are artists. Even if their work isn’t at a professional level, they should never stop creating art as long as they enjoy it. Never let anyone tell you that your art isn’t “real” art. Art is about creation, not about staying inside of any list of rules.

girl
Girl
finalpose
Final Pose

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as panromantic (gray) asexual, though my primary identity is asexual. This means that I experience romantic attraction to all genders. Also, while there are many reasons to identify as gray asexual, I identify that way because I’ve never definitively experienced sexual attraction, though I’ve experienced some ambiguous attraction.

spanishdoodle017
Spanish Doodle 017

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

I don’t have a job in the arts, at least not one with a workplace. I sell my zines and jewelry online, so I haven’t interacted as much with customers as I would IRL and I don’t have coworkers, so there are less chances to encounter reactions to asexuality in my field. Of the interactions I’ve had with other people who make zines and on my blogs that involve talking about asexuality, most to all have been positive.

testpanel
Test Panel

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

From people that I’ve come out to, I’ve mostly had good experiences from people willing to learn, but occasionally I come across misconceptions. One of these is the idea that asexuals can’t have “real” relationships or that asexual relationships aren’t a thing. That is absolutely false! Asexuals can have all sorts of relationships, many of which don’t involve sex, and these relationships can succeed. Lots of asexuals are in relationships!

weirdportrait
Weird Portrait

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

Don’t despair! Society may make being asexual sound isolating and lonely, but community exists both online and in real life. I used to feel like no one could accept me as an asexual, but since then I’ve had many positive coming out experiences and have met dozens of asexuals in real life. So can you! No asexual has to be alone. There are possibilities for relationships and friendships. And there is nothing wrong with being asexual. It’s a natural variety of sexuality and perfectly healthy. Even if someone doesn’t accept your sexuality, there are hundreds more people out there who will.

womansideportrait
Woman Side Portrait
zine
Zine

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

I have a Tumblr blog where I sometimes blog about my work here: http://paradoxnow.tumblr.com/

My zine blog is here: http://oliviaszines.tumblr.com/
It has links to sites I have for individual zines.

My Etsy, where I sell zines, jewelry and accessories is here: http://etsy.com/shop/ParadoxNowCreations

The Ace Zine Archive can be found here: http://acezinearchive.wordpress.com/

Some of my older work can be found here: https://paradox11.wordpress.com/

returntoatlantis
Return to Atlantis

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