Interview: Kiowa

Today we’re joined by Kiowa. Kiowa is a phenomenal visual artist and jewelry maker. She also makes a few odds and ends with yarn, mostly ropes. For visual art, Kiowa uses traditional mediums, favoring chalk pastels and chalk pencils. Aside from jewelry, Kiowa has also made some cool things for her horses. It’s clear she’s a passionate and creative individual who loves making things, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Firefly
Firefly

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I dabble in a few different artistic pursuits – drawing, writing, and making jewelry, primarily. I also make all sorts of things with yarn, mostly by braiding it into ropes. I draw the old school way, on paper and board with usually chalk pastel or chalk pencil; I have no idea about all this new-fangled electronic stuff. I mostly work with beads for jewelry, though I’m branching out into working with horsehair a bit; I’ll try whatever I can get my hands on. My yarn crafts began out of boredom; I would braid long chains of yarn to keep my hands busy and keep awake during boring classes in college, and then I had all this yarn, so I used some of it to reinforce a rope halter and then realized I could make all sorts of cool shit for the horses. I’ve made fancy Arabian necklaces, a tie down, some little bits and bobs to adjust tack to fit my weird horses…

2. Rio
Rio

What inspires you?

Horses, mostly. Horses are definitely the focus of my drawing, and a lot of my miscellaneous crafts tend to be making things for the horses. My jewelry making tends to be more “on a whim,” just making whatever strikes me when I look at the beads. Sometimes my ideas are really vague and other times they’re super specific. You just never know!

As for my writing, I have always had some sort of story or another that’s playing out in my imagination. I tend towards fantasy, and just about anything might inspire me. I’ve dabbled in fanfiction more than a bit over the years but always like to come back to my characters and my stories to see what I might put to paper. I am also quite good at non-fiction and persuasive writing, particularly short form. I can write a mean email.

When I’m creating anything, I have to have some kind of auditory input. It’s usually music, though I will watch/listen to movies or TV when I’m making jewelry. And it has to be the right input – if I’m going to be drawing Kalarime, I have to play the songs of his people (Bastille). If I’m writing particular characters, I want to listen to their favorite music.

3. KIMG0782 (2)

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

When I was four, I was asked what I’d like to do when I grew up. I said “artist, writer, horse trainer, and one of the people at the airport that directs planes to the gates with glow sticks.” I have since aimed for slightly different employment but I’ve never lost my interest in creation. I have no earthly idea how I arrived at that but here I am, twenty-three years later, still doing my first three goals. I got to wave glow sticks somewhere else so I can check that off the bucket list.

4. 15b

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, most of my drawings are horses. This is not surprising to anyone who has ever met me. For both drawing and jewelry, I naturally gravitate towards cool colors because I like them and I think yellow and orange are ugly colors and I can do whatever I want so there. My stories are often very dark and bloody and someone dies. But we’ll all die one day so there’s that. I really just do whatever I like.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Whatever it is you like to do, do it. No one will do it the way you can do it. You will get better over time – but first, you have to be bad at it. It’s okay to hate what you’ve made, because the act of making something bad is part of learning how to be good. You don’t have to share every single thing you make with the world – art can be just for you. Listen to your teachers, but they don’t know everything either. Work from left to right (if you’re right handed) with chalk pastels and charcoal, and don’t touch anything until you’ve washed your hands; you will have pastel all over you. Don’t drop your bead containers, because cleaning beads up off the floor sucks.

5. Fishtail1
Fishtail

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aroflux asexual and genderqueer to boot

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

I have not yet and I am grateful. I hope that if I ever do, it comes not to my face but in written form so I can dismantle that ignorance with my words. I am much more eloquent and composed in text than in speech.

6. 9a

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

I’ve been extremely fortunate not to encounter out-and-out acephobia. Most people that I’ve spoken to IRL about asexuality have assumed that asexuality and aromanticism go hand in hand (and they don’t usually have a word for aromanticism). Since I’m just a hair shy of being fully aromantic myself, that hasn’t caused me many issues but it’s also a lack of education that can be confusing to people.

I have had people (including my mom) wonder what made me this way. I’ve always been this way. There was no event or trauma. I’m just… me. I think it’s really disheartening for all queer folk, regardless of identity, to have a piece of our selves be questioned and assumed to be a result of some action or event. No one is ever asked what made them cis or het, yet we all have to explain that our identity is just… part of us. It’s also so hard to say how much of an identity is innate and how much comes to the environment we grew up in and the things we internalized – the gender stereotypes that one person internalizes and performs can cause another person to develop dysphoria and be a part of their trans identity. So who is to say why we have the identities we have or what made us a certain way? That’s not the point. The point is that this is who we are.

7. 30a

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

I’ve never struggled with it, even before I had a word, I just always assumed that since this is how I am, that’s okay. So, to anyone lost or confused or unhappy – you are how you are, and that’s okay. Even if it doesn’t feel okay now, it will be okay. Your sexuality is a part of you, as much as your eyes and your fingernails and every other bit of you. Don’t fight with yourself – learn about yourself. Seek acceptance and understanding both internally and externally. You cannot and should not force yourself to be anything you are not. Authenticity is the best trait, so be authentically asexual and authentically you.

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

I have a Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/littlehorsedesigns, where I post all the stuff I’m making and offer jewelry for sale. I also take art commissions (particularly if you have horses). Little Horse Designs pretty much just goes straight into paying for my three horses, Kalarime, Geronimo, and Gabe. You can also find me at nolivingunderstarlight.tumblr.com and message me either place.

8. Edit 2

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

Interview: Atraxura

Today we’re joined by Atraxura. Atraxura is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in drawing. She also paints, takes pictures, and makes jewelry, but she’s focused mostly on her drawing. Atraxura enjoys using limited color and it results in very striking imagery. It’s clear she loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participating in this interview.

Guardians of Irkalla Kur
Guardians of Irkalla Kur

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I experiment with many different styles and media. I draw, paint, take photographs, make jewelry and write personal essays. In the past year, I have been focusing on drawing, and I have begun to evolve a style in my recent work with limited use of color, usually a vibrant, highly saturated red. I prefer the warm end of the color spectrum, from yellow to red-violet, and color psychology is integral to my work. I pay attention to geometry, ratios and perspective. You don’t necessarily notice it in my work, but I am fascinated with how important numbers are in aesthetics.

While I strive for realism, none of my subjects are merely representational. Everything illustrates a concept: animals are symbolic, as they were in ancient cultures. Skulls are the exoskeleton of the mind. A red eye in a pale background represents the will rising above apathy.

What inspires you?

Horror inspires me on the aesthetic level. I am drawn to the intense feelings it can evoke. I love high-energy excitement and intensity, not calm or complacent “happiness”, which feel toxic and antithetical to me. I want everything I do to reflect powerful, high-octave intensity.

I am a type-A person of a purely choleric temperament; ENTJ on the MBTI. I have a very angry and hostile nature, and I like to explore and defend this in my art. I also like to attack concepts I despise, e.g., conformity, complacency and all agents of passivity and inertia. I don’t do this to “calm down” — I detest calm — or to get rid of anger. I do it to communicate in a more powerful, profound way which reaches more people.

Collaboration with my soulmate, who is a musician and of very similar views and vision, also inspires both of us. I hate working alone.

Ignition of the Artless
Ignition of the Artless

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

Art has always been instinctive for me. Inert matter, such as a blank paper, exists to be acted upon. I want to change it to reflect my ideas and vision. I want to communicate with others on the most profound level possible. Art is naturally an ideal means for this, and for generating dialogue with like minds. That said, I have never wanted to “be” any one thing, but I always had a clear and exact vision of the lifestyle I wanted. It has always been imperative that I live on my own terms in every aspect; autonomous, being my own boss, keeping my own council.

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 initial every drawing and painting. The “A”, along with being the initial of both my artist name and my legal name, represents my highest values: ambition, high standards, and to be forever striving upward. I strive to be the “alpha” in everything I do. If I were perfect, I would want to push the boundaries of perfection. I am changing the look of my initial now, to be more angular and volcanic.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Erase words like “can’t” and “hard” from your vocabulary. I’ve destroyed innumerable paintings and drawings in rage when things don’t go exactly the way I want, but I start over with a better strategy. If something is difficult, it obsesses me. I persist until I get what I want. I refuse to be defeated by my own art.

Also, learn the basics of your craft, and dedicate regular time to work on improving your skills and becoming proficient with your tools/media. Develop an honest perspective on your abilities, so you can see your strengths and your areas which need improvement.

Finally, take yourself, your time, effort and ideas, very seriously. Others won’t until you do.

Love Between Cholerics
Love Between Cholerics

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a sex repulsed libidoist. Perhaps I am demi-hetero-sapio-romantic. I met my soulmate on DeviantArt at the age of 23 and very quickly formed a deep and intense obsession, but I had never had an interest in anyone else. It was important to me that we have similar values and could interact on a profound level. I emigrated to France from the United States at 25 so we could live together. I don’t know if I would describe my feelings as merely romantic. I feel like the word doesn’t convey enough intensity, and this intensity has only increased with time.

Power in its multiple forms, especially knowledge, ignites my libido, but even the thought of sexual activity disgusts me and extinguishes the feeling. I find it revolting on the physical level (even with someone hygienic and physically attractive) and deeply disturbing and traumatizing on the emotional level (even with someone I love). For me, it threatens bonds rather than building them. I also have an extremely low tolerance for boredom, and despite the hype it gets, sex is the most tedious, banal activity which ever existed – not to mention an enormous liability with no inherent benefits.

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

I have read a lot about other aces experiencing prejudice, but I have not experienced any myself – not in the arts, anyway. If I did experience prejudice or ignorance, depending on the situation, I would try to clarify my experience and perspective. It is important for us to speak out about our own experiences and to be obstinate about this, so as not to let “reality” be defined by others, especially if they are hostile to us. After all, truth and wisdom are not usually found in numbers, even if strength and volume are.

I am fortunate enough to have read an article about asexuality in the (now extinct) magazine ElleGirl when I was 12 or 13 years old, so I knew that asexuality existed and that it seemed to fit with how I felt. If I hadn’t known about asexuality then, I would have probably experienced a lot of distressing confusion about myself throughout my life.

Later, I read about “sublimating” the libido into art or other activities, in The Satanic Bible, by Anton LaVey. (Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich also speaks of sublimating the libido.) This in particular resonated with me deeply, as it described something which I had always been doing. “Sublimation” of the libido has always been natural for me, long before I knew what “sex” or “masturbation” meant – whereas having sex, or even thinking about it, still seems bizarre and unnatural to me. As I see it, sexual activity is only one outlet for the libido and definitely not the driving force behind it. I also realize that non-libidoist asexuals experience things differently from me, so this may be a prejudice which they encounter.

The Pallor Out of Time
The Pallor Out of Time

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

Almost every time I have told anyone I was asexual, they ask if I had been molested as a child. I have not experienced any kind of sexual trauma at any point in my life – though I know that some asexuals have – and I’m quite certain that I wouldn’t want to tell them if I had. This assumption can annoy me, as I feel like they are implying that the notion of someone not liking something “natural” is inconceivable unless the person had experienced something terrible which turned them against it. I realize they may not intend to imply anything.

I have had two different people try to use the fact that I didn’t date as “evidence” that I was insane, though I had not explicitly told these people I was asexual. I’m glad I didn’t waste my time and efforts dating people I had zero interest in.

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

Above all, don’t settle for a life or a lifestyle you don’t want, because someone –or society — pushes the idea that you “have to” live a certain way. There is no “have to” in life, beyond breathing. Seeking out positive and supportive people and choosing to spend your time with them can help to not feel alienated and marginalized; it can alleviate the pressure to behave a certain way to fit in.

I have always had a very exact vision of the life I wanted from as long as I could remember, with no compromises. I’ve always felt the need to live alone with a life partner or soulmate, with absolutely no children or family, but possibly a pet. Someone accepting of my asexuality. Someone I could be myself with and collaborate with. Someone who doesn’t smoke. Someone with a unique fashion sense, as shallow as that may seem. For so long, it seemed like no such person existed for me, yet “compromising” or settling for anyone else would have been intolerable. Now, I am so grateful to myself that I never did.

I know that there are people now, even among sexuals, who are in the same place I was, fearing that they will be alone forever, and being asexual can statistically narrow your options. I am skeptical about everything, so I was very aware that the odds were against me. All I can say now is that my dreams came true in this regard, so there’s hope for everyone. I feel a little awkward saying it, as it seems cliché, but it happened for me.

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

I have a website, and I am on most social media platforms; Instagram, Twitter, and DeviantArt. I also have a blog on WordPress – and I usually follow back (with sincere interest). Most of my work is available as prints and merchandise on RedBubble.

Vermillion Snow
Vermillion Snow

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

Interview: Anila

Today we’re joined by Anila. Anila is a wonderful fanartist and jewelry maker. They write in a variety of fandoms and enjoys writing fanfiction. They aspire to publish some original work some day. When they’re not writing, they enjoy making jewelry. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and enthusiastic artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

face

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m primarily a creative writer – mostly fanfiction but I’m working hard to finish my original works. It’s a dream to be published someday.

Other than that I make wire jewelry.

What inspires you?

To be honest, it can be anything from a long-forgotten scribble in the margins of old lecture notes to something a passer-by might be wearing. On one hand that means I’m lucky because I can draw from most things but on the other hand all these WIPs can get me down.

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

I’ve always been good at writing – and when I started showing it to other people they were interested and, more importantly, they were affected. That made me want to write more.

As for jewelry, my mum bought a jewelry making book when I was a teenager and it seemed to stick.

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

My writing tends to have an overabundance of commas, an abuse of semicolons, and a tendency for things to come in threes. Just like that previous sentence ;D

It’s hard to have a signature when it comes to wire jewelry, since it’s so freeform.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Try not to put yourself down too much, though I understand it’s easy to do so.

Having friends act as cheerleaders is a blessing and can be one of the few things to keep you out of a slump.

Also, specifically for writers, if you understand the importance of receiving feedback in your work please be the change you wish to see the world – when you read online works, leave comments you yourself want to receive.

jewellery

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a biromantic grey-ace. Basically I can have feelings for just about anyone regardless of gender, but wanting to be intimate is not necessarily included in that.

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

While writing there is a big lack of ace representation. And of course there are the people who insist that so-and-so character simply cannot be ace because there’s no evidence that that is so – to which the reply is that this is fanfic, everything is possible, and ace-spectrum people do exist. There was also one person who tried to tell me that I couldn’t be grey-ace because of my smutty works, which… still makes me sigh.

On the outernet, where I’m closeted anyhow, there is very casual prejudice – the expectation that of course everyone has sex and you’re some sort of deviant otherwise. I do my best to educate when I can, though admittedly I tend to get defensive and annoyed very quickly.

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

That people need to have sex to live. Nope, bzzt, wrong, try again.

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

Take your time. There’s no rush to find out who you are. Do your research because knowledge is power. And, if you ever decide down the line that your orientation on the spectrum isn’t exactly what you thought it was, then that’s okay too.

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

My writing’s on AO3 (http://archiveofourown.org/users/diemarysues), and I do yell about writing on my personal blog (http://diemarysues.tumblr.com).

Jewelry stuff is on my side blog (http://rustypliers.tumblr.com) though I am currently taking a break while I take better photos and edit them.

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

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.

final1-details

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.

untitled

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).

yvfinal-resized2

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.

strap
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.