Interview: Renessa Jones

Today we’re joined by Renessa Jones. Renessa is a wonderful crafter and visual artist. She does knitting, perler art, and charm making. When she’s not crafting, Renessa enjoys drawing. She has filled out a number of sketchbooks and has a great deal of passion, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

furry video games
Furry Video Games

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do several mediums of art. I knit, make charms, perler art, and draw. Drawing and knitting are probably my favorites. I started both to assist with my anxiety and both have helped greatly. I have a large stack of sketchbooks climbing half way up my bed room wall.

What inspires you?

Let’s see, TV mostly. Television, movies, and characters I love. I draw cartoons mostly. Now with knitting, I’m inspired by who’s getting the knitting project, their favorite colors and things. I make cute things because cute things are adorable!

hipster tad
Hipster Tad

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

Like I said I took up knitting to help with crippling anxiety.

However, when I was little we were so poor we couldn’t afford to pay for electricity one month. My mom taught me how to draw cartoons since there was no TV. She taught me how to draw a bear head, a dog head, cat head, and Mickey. I practiced because I wanted to be as good as my mom. Then when I was in high school my mom told me she wanted to draw as good as me and this made me happier than anything.

I loved drawing since I was a kid. I was never paying attention in school because I was drawing. There is nothing better than seeing an empty page then almost like magic there was a drawing.

jesse and matt
Jesse and Matt

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 especially, I do sign my digital art with my initials RJ.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

PRACTICE! I didn’t think I was any good when I was little. I drew pictures ALL the time and over time I got better. I practice drawing faces and hair a lot so I can get better. I need to practice drawing hands cause you practically have to sell your soul if you want to draw nice hands.

owlly 2
Owlly 2

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a heteroromantic asexual.

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

My mom tries to understand but I know she thinks I have something physically wrong with me. She thinks I will get over it when I’m older. My friend says once I’ve had it I’ll change my mind. I haven’t met any prejudice yet luckily, but then again I haven’t told many people.

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

That you just need to have it to like it. That doesn’t seem right to me. Even if someone has never had sex they should be able to say whether they are interested or not. I’m not interested, in fact the idea of myself doing it makes me physically nauseous some times.

stanley and sakura kissy
Stanley and Sakura Kissy

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

It’s OK to not like it. You are not broken or alone. You are not any less of a person. You can still fall in love if you have romantic feelings. You can have a relationship with love and not have sex because sex does NOT equal love. If you’re with someone who just loves you because they will get sex they are NOT worth your time. You are better than that.

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

My Tumblr is sosospoopy, feel free to send a message and say howdy ^ ^ I tag my art renessadraws and renessaknits

wirt and beatrice wings
Wirt and Beatrice Wings

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

Interview: Leon

Today we’re joined by Leon. Leon is a wonderful writer and dabbles in crafts. They are an eclectic artist who has done a bit of everything. They have worked in theater (acting, tech, stage management, directing) and do quite a bit of writing. When they’re not writing, they also do a lot of knitting as well as coloring. It’s very clear they’re a passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Untitled 3

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’d consider myself something of a ‘jack of many (creative) trades’. I have a short attention span, the constant need to be busy, a long-standing habit of having whimsical trains of thoughts I can hardly keep track of myself and I grew up with the internet where any number of basic skill sets are a quick Google search away. I collect funny little ideas and random hobbies and nifty bits of information that eventually I figure I will find use for (like book binding … haven’t gotten around to using that info quite yet but some day)

I’ve been a storyteller practically my whole life and a writer for most of that. My dad was a writer, so I picked that up from him. I got involved with theater during middle and high school. First acting, then various back stage and tech theater works. I lived in a small town a few years ago where I was the designated ’emergency backup’ person for the local theater company, always available for lighting, sound, props, painting, costumes, whatever they needed. I picked up knitting in my early teens, played around with that, taught myself how to knit plush animals and dolls and such. I’ve made several based on some of my favorite video game characters. I also like just experimenting and messing around with various creative projects.

I got really taken in by the adult coloring book trend, which has been exciting for me. I don’t really have much of a talent for drawing and that kind of visual art, and not enough patience to really develop it. But I love coloring. I love messing around with my colored pencils and my gel pens and figuring out how to make nifty little effects with glitter. I can work on multiple different pages from multiple different books as the mood suits me. Plus, I am so absolutely a crafter. So I get to think of fun ways to use the pretty colored in pages when I’m done. (I am in a ‘modge podge the heck out of everything’ phase right now) and then I get to figure out how to do those things and pick up a bunch of little crafting skills. It’s been tons of fun.

bat box3
Bat Box

What inspires you?

So many things. I have a real habit of latching on to little ideas or tropes and just trying to figure all the possible ways I could express them and in what medium and why. And then latching onto random ideas that come up when I think about this stuff.

Example: I got stuck on this nifty idea of inverting the ‘The Dead Have Names’ trope and giving a related speech to the villain. Because it’s such a ‘hero’ thing, giving it to the villain gets really chilling and strange. So then I think about the general idea of inverting tropes along those lines. Since I’ve been coloring a lot lately I start thinking about color inversions. And now I have two dragon pictures, one of which is a ‘water dragon’ which I’m going to coloring in various shades of red and orange and the other is a ‘fire dragon’ I’m going to be coloring in shades of blue.

With all the coloring I’ve been doing lately I tend to get inspired by the pages themselves. I know I want to color this or that page in with only metallic gel pens. And I’ve been working so much in color lately I’ll get color schemes stuck in my head even if I don’t know where I want to utilize them yet.

And in a more abstract sense… my dad taught me to look at creative ‘problems’ (in the loosest sense of the word) like riddles, to apply whatever creative skills/knowledge I did have to fill the rest in. So I tend to have a ‘make it up as I go’ approach to all my art/creative stuff. And that inspires me too, just trying to work out a ‘problem’, the constant thinking and wondering and ruminating.

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

I guess I always sort of wanted to be an artist, but I never really had a specific idea of what that meant. I liked writing so I figured I’d just … write stuff. Which I did. I liked theater so I did that too. I liked knitting and coloring and wood shop and cooking and so on.

I got the writing and storytelling thing from my dad. And everything else just sort of blossomed from that in a weird organic kind of way that I can’t really pin down, even looking back on it. A lot of the stuff I’ve learned to do was to facilitate a vague idea of storytelling. I got into tech theater, into lighting and sound design, so I could figure out how to make the best use of that to facilitate a stage show. I started knitting plush dolls of video game characters to be able to bring those characters and ideas into another aspect of my life, off the screen (also the reasoning for why I write fanfic). I love looking at the different ways people color the same coloring page because of how drastically different the end results of coloring the same image can be. I over analyze the crap out narrative heavy video games because I like seeing how different narrative tools can slot together and all of the ways video games making story telling weird or strange or unique.

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?

When I do visual type art (in the broadest sense) I very often end up using various pride flag colors (which makes me chuckle to myself) just because I can

I also have a serious love of inverting various tropes, just turning basic common assumptions on their head. Not so much a signature as a ‘reoccurring theme’.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.

Not just for the experience or for the opportunity to get better either. But because it’s fun, it makes you happy, it’s something to stave off the boredom, it keeps you busy, it just something you want to do. It’s worth doing because it’s worth doing.

flower lantern 6
Flower Lantern

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a bi/pan ace.

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

Yeah, typically of the general, non-malicious ignorance variety, which usually results in me just offering some basic 101-type information.

tumblr_nofcq01Bla1qggleso3_1280

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

The ‘attraction = behavior’ thing. Like the assumption that celibacy and asexually are the same thing

And because the fact that I’m trans often comes up around the same time as the fact that I’m ace comes up, I also get the ‘hey do you think maybe you’re ace because you’re trans’ thing a lot personally, usually with the implication that if this is the case it means one of those IDs is therefore less valid. Which usually results in me just going flat ‘no’ because I often don’t have the time (or emotional energy) for a long nuanced discussion.

metalic bookmarks4
Metallic Bookmarks

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

It’s okay to not totally have your orientation strictly defined. It’s okay to take time to figure it out. It’s okay if you never figure it out completely and if whatever labels you use are basically ‘as accurate as I can be right now’. It’s okay to be as specific or as nonspecific as you want, you have no obligation to define your orientation to any arbitrary degree of specification. It’s fine if your ace-ness is/was influenced by some external factor. It’s okay if you weren’t ace before but are now. It’s okay if you stop IDing as ace later. It’s okay if you only ID as ace with no other labels.

You don’t have to justify your orientation to anyone. You don’t even have to explain any more than you want. It’s fine if you can’t explain. It’s fine if you just don’t want to.

Just… you do you.

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

Some older tags on my blog have some of my knitting stuff.
http://i-sauntered-vaguely-downwards.tumblr.com/tagged/leon-the-ace-knitter
http://i-sauntered-vaguely-downwards.tumblr.com/tagged/leon-knits-things

I have an Etsy shop up that has the results of my ‘what can I do with these pretty colored in coloring book pages’ adventures.
https://www.etsy.com/shop/ColorToTheMoon

metalic cat purple2
Metallic Cat Purple

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

Interview: Alyssa

Today we’re joined by Alyssa. Alyssa is a wonderful writer who writes both fanfiction and original poetry. She’s currently working on a fic based on the US version of The Office. When she’s not writing, Alyssa enjoys knitting and knits plenty of things for friends and family. Alyssa is an enthusiastic and dedicated artist, 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 am a fan fiction writer, poet, and knitter. I am currently writing fan fiction for The Office (US). My poetry has been published in a few books by the American Library of Poetry. Knitting is more of a Hobby, I make almost anything mostly for friends and family.

What inspires you?

I honestly don’t know what inspired me to start writing fan fiction, maybe out of boredom, but I am really enjoying it. In poetry it is nature and my life experience.

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

These 3 things are not my ultimate goal, which is to be a costume designer, which I have wanted since I was 12, and I consider that a type of artist so in short, yes.

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.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t think that working in some other field will not help you reach your ultimate goal, other experience may come in handy.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual Panromantic

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

I haven’t really, and I hope not to in the future.

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

That Asexuals can’t have a dirty mind/make sexual jokes. (This may not be the most common one I hear, but I don’t see it mentioned a lot.)

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

Find someone to help you talk through it, find an ace chat etc.

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

You can read my fan fiction on AO3: http://archiveofourown.org/users/Pan_Cake_Cats/works

My poetry is here: https://poetryonpancakes.blogspot.com/

My knitting isn’t really anywhere, but if you would like to order a custom handknit hat or handwarmers visit my Etsy shop here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/KnitknacksByAlyssa?ref=seller-platform-mcnav

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

Interview: Angela

Today we’re joined by Angela. Angela is a phenomenal artist who hasn’t met a medium she didn’t like. She does a fair amount of visual art, specializing in graphite and colored pencils. When she’s not drawing, Angela enjoys doing a variety of crafts: knitting, papercraft, making candles, etc. If all that weren’t enough, she also plays some musical instruments and works in theater tech. It’s very clear that Angela is a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

tumblr_n6bf9rPBOA1td7wl4o1_1280

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m not sure where to begin. I create all sorts of art from drawing, to knitting, to music and more. In terms of drawing, my favorite mediums are graphite and colored pencil; those are about the only things I work in. I also love crafting; I knit, I bind books, I make candles, I do papercraft… you name it and I’ve probably given it a shot, or at least would like to.

When it comes to music, I mainly focus on clarinet and saxophone. I’m in my college’s pep band but in high school I played a lot of jazz and more traditional wind ensemble music. I’m not sure if theater tech counts as art, but if it does, I love building, painting, and running set pieces. I also love doing sound and lights for theater and other events, which isn’t typically seen as art, but I think there’s a certain degree of artistry to it.

tumblr_n6gjfzxpQz1td7wl4o2_1280

What inspires you?

I’ve never really thought of myself as someone who really has a lot of inspiration, but I guess my pure love of the arts inspires me. I love creating things for myself and others to enjoy.

tumblr_n6mcl4cE6S1td7wl4o1_1280

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

I’m not sure what got me interested in each of my respective fields. Art is just a hobby of mine; I’m actually studying chemical engineering right now. I guess I’ve just always loved music, and everyone always told me I was good at drawing so I kept up with that too. I started building sets my freshman year of high school because I’ve always wanted to build things and the school play was my first opportunity to do so. When I turned seven, my grandma taught me how to knit so that got me started on fiber arts.

tumblr_n7155e93go1td7wl4o1_1280

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 actually have any sort of signature or symbol that I include in my work, but I absolutely love when people do.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I guess the advice that I would give young aspiring artists would be to never give up. If you find an art form that makes you happy, keep doing it. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not good enough or that it’s a waste of time. The more you work at it, the better you’ll get. And even if your work never reaches professional quality, the important part is that you enjoy it and it makes you feel good.

tumblr_nhf0vpvlBU1td7wl4o1_1280

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual.

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

I haven’t really encountered any kind of ace prejudice in general. I tend to surround myself with good people, and I’ve been very lucky in that respect. The most I’ll get is people not knowing what asexuality is, but when people ask I just explain it and it’s all good.

tumblr_nluqphOqZB1td7wl4o1_1280

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

I think the most common misconception about asexuality is that it’s the same as sex repulsion. I think a large part of the community is sex repulsed or sex averse, but that doesn’t mean that they’re inherently linked. Plenty of aces enjoy sex without experiencing the attraction.

tumblr_nmgu0eROgu1td7wl4o1_1280

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

It sounds pretty clichéd, but I would say to know that you’re not alone. It’s okay to question, and it’s okay to be unsure. There’s a great asexual community ready to welcome you home and help you through anything you need.

tumblr_nvod8f2fDv1td7wl4o1_1280

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

I’ve posted a bunch of my arts and crafts at angelas-arts-and-crafts.tumblr.com if anyone wants to check that out. If you want to speak to me about all the stuff that I do, feel free to message me there or I suppose you can e-mail me at emailjunkedyjunkjunk@gmail.com (yes that is my junk e-mail, I’m not kidding, Gmail didn’t accept the first five or six options I put in so I decided on something ridiculous) if you’re really that interested. I’d be happy to talk to you!

tumblr_o74kvijRiC1td7wl4o6_1280

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

Interview: Lehenne

Today we’re joined by Lehenne. Lehenne is an amazingly versatile artist who dabbles in a bit of everything. They currently have a book out, which they’re trying to get some buzz for, so please check out their links (their work features prominent LGBT+ characters as well as angels, demons, and maybe even an apocalypse). Aside from writing, Lehenne dabbles in a number of visual arts and even enjoys singing. They’re clearly a passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

2012-02-28 23.23.25

Tom Baker0001

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I love every kind of art. I sculpt, I paint, I sing (I’m probably driving my colleagues crazy over this one), I do origamis and engraving, I knit and sew, I also dabble in the art of Bonsaïs…

Ano, dragged out of heaven

But most of all, I draw and I write. Like, an unhealthy amount. It’s my thing, when I do something, I don’t do anything else until I bore myself out of it. And I love the art of words (the puns, spoonerisms and malaphors, oh my colleagues, my poor colleagues!)

avatar

demon-

What inspires you?

My dreams! I dream all the time always. To the point where I eagerly wait for any alone time to do so without distractions. And when I’m not dreaming, I’m doing art… Or looking at it. And my dreams are inspired by everything that surrounds me; To the films I watch at the cinema and the TV series I follow, the museums I visit and the images I come across on Internet, the ancient mythologies and the comic books, nature’s work of art and pareidolia I catch on my tile floor, to the medieval choruses and chiptune I listen to.

IMG_20130101_063630

IMG_20151010_194304

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

I’ve always been drawing, since I can remember; my oldest memory is of me drawing in kindergarten. And I’ve started to read and write in sixth grade after my French professor (I’m French so the equivalent would be your English professor) gave us this short stories book, and I flashed on it; I mean, a light went on in my head, and I thought to myself “that’s it, I want to write. Create my own stories and share with everyone.” Watching movies and reading books, that’s good and all, but I thought to myself, my dreams deserve to be written down, if only for my own consumption. I have so many plot bunnies in my short stories’ file.

IMG_20160410_184341

As to wanting to be an artist, I don’t think I ever had a choice, it’s my life, and I don’t think I could bear going through it without doing art. It’s not what pays the bills right now, but I hope the current book I’m working on will launch me into the fabulous world of paid authors. For now, I share it for free on the site “Booksie”.

IMG_20160605_234601

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 do enjoy writing about supernatural characters, going inside their head and change the way I think to show an original point of view. I love drawing winged characters, probably because it’s my dream to fly (Yeah, I know, how original). I’ve also been told my original portraits’ style is somewhat always androgynous. My current book (see link below), regroups all that, I realised just now!

IMG_20160613_115530

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

DON’T study art. Study whatever else you’re interested in. But always keep art on the sidelines, never give it up. And when you’re set in your life, with what society calls a “real job”, you’ll have every occasion to art and live from it. With your hard-earned money, you’ll buy as much art supply as you wish, and you’ll art whenever wherever.

IMG_20160920_142001

IMG_20160714_125839

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m relatively new to this part, I’ve found all those amazing descriptions and denominations earlier this year. But I can affirm that I’m asexual and aromantic. I’m also pretty sure I’m agender, but I can’t be certain (I don’t really know what a gender is supposed to feel like, but I suspect, from my fascination with agender characters and my agender dream alter ego I’ve thought up when I was six and still imagine stories for, that that’s what I am).

IMG_20161026_214051

IMG_20161010_195744

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

I’ve never come out, so that’s going to be difficult to answer. I don’t feel like saying, “I don’t do that” to somebody, that would just be… odd? Also, I don’t hang out with many people, but! One conversation I’ve had with a lively colleague did stir in that direction. When I bluntly said that I was aromantic and told her what it was, she simply said, “That’s not possible, ‘cos you aren’t a snail!” I’m still unsure what that means, but it did discourage me to ever talk about it again (I’m the epitome of shyness and introversion, so…) It still hasn’t come up again.

IMG_20161014_170321

IMG_20161014_170149

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

Mmh. When I was little, I would ask how I was supposed to know and feel like when I’d fall in love. I’ve always been told, “You’ll know”. But I never did. And I went through my teenage years thinking I would know when I’d want to have sex with someone. But I never did. I don’t think I answered that question correctly, but I don’t really know what to say, we don’t talk about sexuality much, here in France; People just kind of just openly lust over random people, and we don’t go beyond that. So if like me, you don’t lust over people, you just don’t say anything. I do have been called a prude for not enjoying sexualizing strangers, though.

Photo844

IMG_20161026_180200

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

Don’t struggle? I have never given it any thought, really, it just seemed like a natural thing to me. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering if I should be (sexually/romantically) attracted to people I found attractive, but the answer has always been “nope”. I’ve just found out it was aesthetic attraction (because I love art so much!) So really, I don’t know what to say to people that don’t feel comfortable with who they are.

Just know that you aren’t alone, there are plenty of good people around to support and love you. With some introspection, you might even come to terms with and enjoy who you are!

IMG_20161113_194817

IMG_20161106_155603

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

Here’s the link for my current book (It’s a work in progress): https://www.booksie.com/502306-dragged-out-of-heaven

If there’s any French speakers around, I also have another book here (still free): https://www.404-factory.fr/story/feroces-heros

As for my drawing, I haven’t spent much time on my Tumblr blog yet (I’m still new and haven’t yet completely understood how it worked), but I will make some efforts to post stuff on it in the near future: https://lehenne.tumblr.com/)

IMG_20160829_161501

IMG_20160827_224554

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

Interview: Fereby

Today we’re joined by Fereby. Fereby is a phenomenal artist who does a bit of everything. She’s mostly a singer who has a wide vocal range. When she’s not singing, Fereby does a bunch of different kinds of crafts like knitting and sewing. If that weren’t impressive enough, Fereby also does a bit of visual art as well. It’s clear she’s a very dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

IMG_0362

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

First and foremost, I am a vocalist. I have been singing in my high school choirs for four years, three of which I’ve been in the advanced choir. I recently participated in the ACDA honor choir at the regional and state levels. I love choir because I love to harmonize; singing without harmony gets boring quickly. In choir I usually sing soprano, but I’ve gotten so tired of singing the melody that I take any chance I get to sing lower parts. I have a satisfyingly wide vocal range that allows me to sing most tenor (higher male) parts up through the highest soprano (high female) notes, which is nothing but fun for me since I like variety.

IMG_1430

I also love to make things with my hands. I cook, sew, knit, crochet, draw, paint, craft. I make tiny animals out of chewy candies and kneaded erasers. I daydream about building things, and would build them had I the time and means to do so. I just love to make stuff, but on a day-to-day basis when I have to go to school, I tend to stick to drawing and singing, with an occasional poem or short story if I feel like it. I may or may not be mildly obsessed with being able to do everything.

IMG_1060

Visually, I mostly focus on pencil and paper and other readily accessible traditional media. I do use a free mobile application, Adobe Ideas, which lets me do some simple digital drawings in a very nice vector format. I generally don’t have the time or patience to work with the digital medium for most of my ideas, but it’s great fun for playing with color.

IMG_1108

What inspires you?

The way I see it, there are two kinds of inspiration. The “idea” kind and the “inspirational speech/quote” kind. I get ideas from everywhere, anything, from random thoughts that pop into my head at all times of day and night. Sometimes I take them and run with them, sometimes they don’t get very far before I give up or move on to a better one, but ideas are abundant and everywhere and totally random. The other kind, the motivational kind, tends to come from people I admire. Professional choral conductors are highly skilled at being inspiring. (I suspect it’s a trained skill, because without it they would not be able to so easily win the enthusiastic cooperation of a hundred plus people in a short enough amount of time to begin making good music.) However, I also find inspiration and motivation watching some of my favorite YouTubers like Josh Sundquist and the Green brothers, John and Hank.

IMG_1112

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

Both of my parents sing, so from almost the day I was born my life has been influenced by music. My parents wanted to get me piano lessons when I was little, but they were told my hands were too small and so they focused on teaching me to sing instead. I have never had private formal vocal training, but years in choir have taught me a lot about technique and improved my technical skills tremendously.

IMG_1470

My interest in drawing came from I-don’t-know-where. Little kids are encouraged to draw and color and otherwise be creative, and I guess I just never really lost interest in that. There have been periods of time where I didn’t bother to do any drawing, but I keep coming back to it.

IMG_1278

I have always considered myself somewhat artistic, and there were times in my childhood when I aspired to become a singer professionally, but because of my skills in math and language I am continually overwhelmed by all the things I could be and have trouble thinking of myself as any one thing. I currently consider myself an artist, but in a very general sense of the word. I participate in too many forms of creativity to call myself anything more specific.

IMG_1382

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 an established one, no. I keep changing my signature on my visual art as I mature and get new ideas, but it’s usually some version of my first and last name in swoopy artistic lettering. Music-wise, I don’t do enough original work to warrant a signature, but my usual vocal style tends to include smooth, clear tones that blend well in harmonies or with soft guitar accompaniment. The songs I write tend to sound like lullabies, as I usually prefer to sing in a relaxed style and focus on melody. I have no experience writing high-energy songs.

IMG_1519

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You do you. Skill and experience are important to do anything well, but at the end of the day, art is about making things, and it’s up to you what you add to this world. Do what you enjoy. Make something you can be proud of. Especially with performing arts, your audience will enjoy your art much more if you enjoy making it. If you’re bored and tired of what you’re making, your audience may notice and be bored along with you. So do things you like to do.

IMG_1620

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aromantic asexual. I still haven’t figured out what gender is.

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

I’m not really out among musicians, and I don’t really have a community when it comes to visual art, but there are always people in my life who don’t understand. I tend to just put up with whatever comes my way, though not without doing my best to correct misconceptions first. People don’t tend to give up their preconceived notions so easily though.

IMG_1646

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

For some reason, I keep encountering people who think they know what I’m feeling better than I do. When I honestly disclose my experiences, they express disbelief that it’s possible for me to feel that way, and then tell me what they think I must be feeling based on what I’ve told them. They can’t imagine how anyone could possibly not have a sex drive or sexual attraction, and they are incapable of understanding that wanting to experience kissing or other romantically-coded activities does not equate to romantic attraction.

IMG_2108

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

Listen to yourself. No one can decide how you feel about something but you. Learning about the experiences of other people who came to identify on the ace spectrum can be a tremendous help in giving you a frame of reference as to what your orientation might be, and there are plenty of blogs on Tumblr dedicated to patiently answering the questions of people just like you. Just remember that the words you attach to yourself should be there because you feel they are right and not because someone told you that’s what you probably are.

IMG_1983

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

I don’t currently have an internet presence as an artist, but that may change at some nebulous point in the future. Any information about my art will most likely be posted to my Tumblr at ferebypie.

IMG_1661

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

Interview: Inu

Today we’re joined by Inu, who also goes by InuShiek. Inu is mainly a fanfiction writer who writes stories based on a variety of fandoms. Aside from fanfiction, Inu is also a dedicated crafter, doing a fair amount of knitting and crochet. She also recently did a rather unique sewing project. It’s very apparent she loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Blanket
Blanket

 

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a fanfiction writer mainly, but I also crochet and knit in my free time. I enjoy writing for several fandoms, but mainly Transformers. I began writing little drabbles on paper back in middle school, and I began writing much more frequently online since graduating high school. I picked up crocheting almost 2 years ago, and knitting a year and a half ago. I’ve made a large blanket, but mainly small items as gifts for friends and family. (I think my favorite project so far is a crocheted Optimus Prime hat. It’s magnificent!)

I also occasionally sew. Let me lead by saying that I am an Animal Sciences graduate student, so much of my time is spent studying and teaching nutrition. Because of this, my most notable sewing project has been a life-size replica of a horse’s digestive tract made entirely out of fleece. It is nearly 100 feet long! So….much…..sewing…!! But it’s been used for several educational events and it’s always fun to see peoples’ eyes widen when they realize just how big a horse’s digestive tract can be!

What inspires you?

As far as writing goes, I rely heavily on my online friends for ideas and requests. Most of my fanfics are actually of the smut variety, so people will sometimes make requests with their favorite characters, specific scenario, or kinks in mind. I enjoy writing for them, and seeing them enjoy something that they didn’t have to write themselves is nice

For yarn crafts, I enjoy spending time on Pinterest and Ravelry looking for project ideas and patterns. I’ve saved so many patterns that I’ll probably never be able to make them all! I’m constantly on the lookout for new yarn of all different colors and materials, and they often inspire the article I’ll make. For example, I saw some lovely yarn with my university’s colors, and I immediately knew I wanted a scarf made of it for cold football game days.

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

I’ve always had an imagination that had me making up stories in my head. Back in the days when folks posted fanfiction on Quizilla, I read my first fanfiction and realized I could make stories up using established characters from shows, books, and movies that I love. I introduced my best friend to it, and we set out on writing a joint fanfiction that turned into a massive 400+ page fic. I was hooked and I’ve been writing in various fandoms ever since.

As for the yarn crafting, my grandmother used to crochet often, and I’d sit and watch her for hours when I was little. She showed me how to crochet chains, and I would make these things sometimes 10-15 feet long for no real reason other than I could. I was too young to really understand how to go back within the chain to add multiple rows to projects to make them wider, so I’d just make chains. I enjoyed the action, but I couldn’t do anything with the chains I made. I wound up quitting for several years, and decided to pick it back up when I learned that my best friend also wanted to learn. We made blankets as our first projects (yikes!), and haven’t stopped crocheting and learning together since. I learned to knit a few months after picking crochet back up because the types of projects that can be knitted are so distinctly different. I enjoy the repetitive motions of both crafts, and being able to pretty pretty and/or useful things for myself and my friends is a treat

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 fanfics tend to be very short (more drabbles, really), and I like to think I’m at least a little recognizable for my style and how I incorporate various kinks.

I haven’t developed my crochet or knit skills to the point of being able to create or customize my own patterns, so I don’t really feel like I’ve got any recognizable features yet

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Find what you enjoy, and do it because you enjoy it. I remember when I first started writing and posting online that I didn’t get many views at all. I started to get discouraged, but I eventually realized that I was trying to write to please everyone. After that, I started writing things that I enjoy or that others specifically asked for. I still don’t get as many views as some of my own favorite authors, but I’m ok with that because I enjoy the writing

I still make mistakes. I find typos, continuity errors, dropped stitches, miscount rows, and all that stuff. I just keep working because I learn from those mistakes and still enjoy the final product. Don’t get discouraged because you made a mistake or you aren’t famous. Make art that makes you happy, no matter what form that art takes

Digestive Tract
Digestive Tract

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual. I usually don’t even experience aesthetic attraction to people

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

Occasionally I’ll get asked how I can write fanfiction like I do and be asexual, but the questions aren’t phrased rudely. Plus, I know most people think asexuality invariably means “I want nothing to do with sex, thanks,” and they’re usually pretty understanding when I explain that it’s a spectrum and we’re all different in our experiences and preferences.

I sometimes attend a weekly knitting group in my town. There are two regular attendees who are homosexual and bisexual, and they sometimes bring another friend who is pansexual. They’re very open about their own orientations, and I feel like they’d likely be open to mine if I made it known, so that’s been great to know that I’m not on an island

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

Personally, I most often encounter the misconception that we are all sex repulsed and/or have no libido. We can consider ourselves to be in those categories, of course, but it’s not a requirement by any means. We’re all different and have our own individual reasons. Because nearly all of my fanfictions involve sex, that seems to throw some people for a loop when they learn I’m actually asexual.

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

Don’t let anyone try to force you to be someone you’re not.

You’re on the ace spectrum and you’re wonderful, okay?

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

http://www.ravelry.com/people/InuShiek is the site that I use to track my progress on a few of my ongoing knit and crochet projects. It isn’t a comprehensive list (because I’m bad to start a small project and finish it before I ever add it to Ravelry), but there are some WIP photos of a few of my projects.

https://inu-knits-and-crochets.tumblr.com/ is my crafting blog where I post about the crafts I love and share patterns that others have created

All of my fanfiction is on AO3, but, again, most of it is smut of some form or another. Please don’t click if you aren’t comfortable with that http://archiveofourown.org/users/InuShiek/works

I’ll also post prompts, drabbles, and links on my main blog (which has further NSFW content. Please don’t click if that isn’t what you want to see): http://inushiek.tumblr.com/tagged/inu+fic

OP hat 2
OP Hat

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