Interview: Mika Babineau

Today we’re joined by Mika Babineau. Mika is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in painting, both traditional with acrylic paints and digital. She is currently finishing up a series of portraits about the ace experience (having completed 6 out of 8 large paintings). Mika has also painted landscapes and her digital paintings mostly consist of demon girls and fanart. Her work is inspired by impressionism with her own flair. She’s obviously a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. draculaura
Draculaura

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Yo yo my name is Mika and I’m a Sheridan college graduate living in Toronto, Canada. I do all sorts of things but my main focus is acrylic painting and digital art! I do portraits and landscapes with my paintings and fanart and demon girls with my digital art so you’ll get quite the mix of everything coming from me haha but that’s the way I like it. My paintings focus on colour energy and an impressionistic style while my digital art is more simple with pastel colours. The art I really want to talk to about today though is my “Ace and in your Face” series of self-portraits. Upon realizing that I was asexual during my college years I felt the need to educate and shed some light on the topic, a topic seldom, if ever, discussed. My “Ace and in Your Face” series does just that. By painting portraits of myself I explore various topic and themes pertaining to asexuality and answer commonly asked questions. Both my frustration at the lack of understanding as well as the pride I feel towards my asexuality are displayed in this series covering a wide range of emotions

2. sakura
Sakura

What inspires you?

My inspiration comes from music, media and the people around me. Music brings out great creative energy in me that keeps me motivated or sets the tone of how I want the piece of art to go. Consuming all sorts of media helps inform me of new ideas and ways to create art. I fully believe that one of the most important parts of creating is being exposed to other people’s creations. Finally I would not be able to do what I do without my amazing and inspiring friends who are always working so hard and creating wonderful things. They are truly an incredible group of people.

3. hiragana yo
Hiragana Yo

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

I did always want to be an artist but for a long time I thought animation was going to be the direction I went in. I really disliked painting in high school believe it or not. Then in college I was exposed to so many different kinds of art and teachers who saw potential in my paintings. I switched gears and now I’ve had art in all sorts of galleries and art fairs. It goes to show you never know where life will take you.

4. Aces can still love
Aces Can Still Love

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?

Hmmm not really a symbol per say but I would say my most defining feature is my colours. It is the first thing people notice and I take great care is making that jumble of colour turn into something recognizable haha.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

A lot of people aren’t going to believe in you and a lot of people are going to look down on the path you’ve chosen for yourself as if art is some lessen purpose in life. You can’t let them discourage you. Art is filled with no’s and rejections and hard times but if you want to make it you need to be the one who keeps going. Believe in yourself, believe in your art and never give up. You’ll find your audience.

5. Don't assume I'm straight
Don’t Assume I’m Straight

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I prefer to just call myself asexual plain and simple.

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

Not so much in the art field really. Paintings are always about so many things so asexuality isn’t really a wild out there concept for them I think. A new concept for them yes but not one they would have the audacity to be prejudice about. I provide long explanations with each painting so people are willing to learn. The ignorance I see is more from people on the internet, I know, shocking. All you can do is remember that they are only a small minority of voices and keep doin’ your thing.

6. Hooray! Representation!
Hooray! Representation!

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

I have a boyfriend and people can’t seem to wrap their heads around how that works. It is like the most foreign concept to them. Love??? Without sexual attraction??? What?? It takes a while to explain to them how this is possible but even then I think some people still don’t fully understand.

7. Invisible
Invisible

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

It took me a long time to come to terms with who I am. Self-discovery is a process and you have to be willing to accept who you are. There are tons of people out there who will accept you for who you are and I know it feels like you are alone sometimes but you are never alone. Just know this: you are not broken, there is nothing wrong with you, you are you and that is beautiful. Just get out there, be proud and live your best life.

8. Not gay enoughnot straight enough
Not Gay Enough, Not Straight Enough

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

I have a website: http://www.mikababineauart.com/

As well as a variety of social media:

https://twitter.com/MikachuNinjamon
https://www.instagram.com/mikachu_ninjamon/
https://mikachu-ninjamon.tumblr.com/

9. haha so you're like a plant small
Haha So You’re like a Plant

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

Interview: Skye

Today we’re joined by Skye. Sky is a fantastic visual artist who specializes in drawing heads with colored pencils. She’s starting to work on drawing landscapes and nature. Skye is also planning to branch out into digital art as well. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

image2

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I use Prismacolor Colored pencils currently, but I just got a Huion tablet so I’m hoping to begin digital art soon. I’m best at drawing people (mainly headshots) but I’m trying to do more landscapes and animals.

What inspires you?

I get inspired by aesthetics and moodboards, as well as random people I see on the street and other artists’ work.

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

I honestly don’t remember. I just remember always loving to draw and it’s always been a big part of my life.

I’ve always wanted to draw, but I’ve only just began to have the confidence to begin sharing about a year ago.

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’m still developing my style, so I definitely do not have and special features yet, but I have a few ideas in mind.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Accept that you probably won’t like everything you make, but that doesn’t mean it’s not amazing, because it is.

image1

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I don’t know the exact label, but I am definitely on the sex-repulsed side of the asexual spectrum and somewhere on the aromantic spectrum. I’m currently doing research to find my exact place.

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

Not specifically in my field, but I have with family and other people. I usually just say that they can’t change who I am and that if they have that big of a problem with it then they have a problem with me and should just leave me alone then.

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

That people on the asexual/aromantic spectrum are that way due to a mental illness or traumatic past experience and that we should see a therapist to be “fixed” like we’re broken.

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

You are not broken. All throughout life until I learned about asexuality I would hear people talk about who they had a crush on and who they wanted to date or have sex with and I never felt that. I never had a crush or a desire for a relationship and I felt so broken and different until I learned there were more people like me and I was normal.

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

I post WIPs on my Snapchat (skyberson4) and completed works on my Instagram (skyberson). But I do post other stuff on both, not just my art.

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

Interview: Liv

Today we’re joined by Liv. Liv is a fantastic visual artist who specializes in illustration and character design. She draws in a variety of styles and illustrates various subjects. Her work is amazing in its attention to detail and color. She’s a remarkably talented artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

dragon scene
Dragon Scene

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My work is mainly illustrations. I do a lot of character designs, backgrounds … story boards ‘n such. I like working in pastel shades and bright colors, but I also like making more low-key stuff. Dark blues … greens … Color and design are usually the main focus in my work, even if I’m drawing portraits I try to pay very close attention to color. I don’t know though; my stuff is pretty varied. I make a lot of different types of art. I make semi-realistic work, characters, portraits, landscapes, buildings … I do whatever I can to improve myself as an artist.

What inspires you?

Music. For sure music. I need to right song before I start. The usual music consists of James Blake, Joji, Tyler the Creator … A lot of low key music. Oh! I also love Tame Impala. I’m also inspired by studio Ghibli movies and other artists. Other artists online really push my work to be better.

pointilism portrait
Pointilism Portrait

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

My mom gave me this fairytale book when I was six. It had her doodles in it when she was my age, and I was really taken by them. (They weren’t great, they were made by six-year-old mom) but at the time it was crazy to me that anyone could just … make stuff. I passively drew for a few more years, then got really serious about it when I was 12.

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?

Umm haha I have one thing. I don’t sign my work very often, (which I should do) but when I do, I make it look like a rose. I noticed my initials naturally made this curve that looked like a flower, so I added a little flare for the stem.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I have a few things actually. I’ll bullet them so they’re easier to read.

  • Don’t immediately shut down advice. It can feel like people are attacking your work, your baby, but they aren’t trying to. It helps to hear them out. (if they are trying to put it down though just remember it isn’t about you, it’s about that person trying to be entertaining or whatever) You will get critiques, some harsher than others, always remember that it isn’t meant to be personal.
  • Don’t immediately accept it either. Trust your gut. If someone suggests something, and your first instinct is “that’s a terrible idea” then maybe listen to
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself. I know it’s difficult, but sometimes it’s best to try to ignore that small voice in your head that constantly puts you down. Analyze your work, learn from it. But do not put it down too much.
  • Let yourself make bad art. It’s still practice!! Even if you don’t like it, you’re using those low moments to improve! And that’s always good. Even if you hate making it the whole time because you hate the piece so much, just finish it and learn from it. It helps, I swear.
  • Take time to do things you enjoy. Sometimes you need a break from art. DO NOT feel guilty for needing a break. Drink some water, play a videogame. You’ve earned it.
  • Don’t let anyone say you can’t make a job out of it. Not even your family. I mean there’s a huge industry for the arts, if you care enough and are dedicated to it, you can make a job out of it. Even if your friends or family say you can’t.
portrait
Portrait

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I don’t feel any sexual attraction to any gender. So, I guess just asexual.

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

I’ve only come out to my friends, who are all “SJWs” haha. They’ve been super accepting. I did, however, come out to someone I was interested in. They replied with “then how do you know you like me? Like more than friends?” the question was annoying in my opinion, but I knew it was just his insecurities speaking and not really him. Well… I would mean that if he hadn’t led me on then dated one of my best friends behind my back. I haven’t experienced anything other than that. Almost everyone in my school is pretty cool with that stuff. I just haven’t come out yet because I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. If people wanna know I’ll tell ‘em, but I don’t think advertising it is very… me.

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

Biggest one I’ve encountered is media portraying asexuals as cold, psychopaths. People seem to go along with that portrayal.  That’s why it’s nice seeing characters like Todd from Bojack Horseman. It’s great to see a funny, generous, insightful person in a TV show be asexual.

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

Lay low. It’s OK. I swear you’ll get through it. Take some time to figure your crap out… Just slow down a little. Remember you aren’t alone, and take some time to yourself to relax and think over things. Thinking does wonders sometimes.

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

I have an art Instagram account called “living.in.yellow” I post a lot of my work there, though the posting gets pretty infrequent every now and then.

priness mononoke
Princess Mononoke

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

Interview: Jen

Today we’re joined by Jen. Jen is a phenomenal painter who uses oil paints on canvas. She creates a wide variety of different images in various genres: science fiction, fantasy, and even some fanart. Her work demonstrates a keen imagination and a beautiful use of color and line. It’s very obvious that she loves painting and it shows in her work. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

portrait
Portrait

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a traditional painter — oils on canvas. The bigger the better, but I’m running out of room to store them all. I paint a lot of landscapes, mostly science fiction or fantasy, sometimes abstract or modern stuff, some fan art (Elder Scrolls, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and Witcher fandoms), and I dabble in bit of fanfiction as well.

What inspires you?

So many other artists! The natural world, video games, books, colors or textures I’ve seen. Smells. Dramatic scenes. Music. Lighting. Inspiration can come from the most mundane and sometimes the funniest most unlooked for places. Never take it for granted.

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

I was never the kid with the sketchbook when I was young. I started collecting Star Wars comics and art books when I was in high school. I remember looking through one of the art books and seeing Ralph McQuarrie’s matte paintings for the original trilogy and realizing that people did this for a living. So I started drawing on my own. I went to two semesters of state college and then pleaded (I was splitting the cost w/ family) to transfer to art school. I had to take a painting course as part of my major. It was challenging but I ended up loving it and although I dropped out before completing the degree, I have now been painting for over fifteen years and am starting to work towards making a career out of it.

112-winter-medley
Winter Medley

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?

Along with my signature, I add a thumbprint. I don’t know if that’s all that special.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Besides the obvious one of: practice, practice, practice? I’d add that it’s important to have as much variety in your education as possible: Sculpture, digital, drafting, even dance. It all helps your brain learn to translate light, movement, color, and form and perspective from two dimensions into three and back again. Diversity is key. Lots of different media, lots of different subject matter. That and learn some solid financial and organizational habits. Boring, but it will help keep you in food and work.

113-urdnot-wrex
Urdnot Wrex

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am demi/ace/autochorisexual.

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

Mostly, I don’t tell people. But even so I’ve encountered a bit when it’s come up as to why I’m single and not dating. Ignorance more than anything else. Many people have not heard of it. Those of an ‘old-fashioned’ mindset insist I’d be happier with a husband and children. As if I don’t know what I’m talking about. Some tend to think it’s a trend or an affect to gain some kind of reputation or attention like I’m putting on some kind of special snowflake act.

Then there is the preconception that artists are somehow more passionate than other people…so it follows that they should be more promiscuous, too, right?

I’ve also been told, mostly by men although I did hear it from at least one woman, that if I’m ‘not getting any’ that I’m somehow stifling my own artistic ability and creative process? Which is as ridiculous as it is manipulative crap and very annoying.

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

As I’ve sought to learn more, I’ve noticed a lot of folks struggling to understand what asexual is and getting it confused with being bisexual or pansexual. They just take all these terms that they don’t understand and lump them together.  The gender preference (or lack thereof) regarding any potential partner is an entirely different aspect of human sexuality. A person can be asexual and bi, asexual and pan, asexual and gay, asexual and straight, etc. Asexuality deals with the lack of sex drive and/or sexual attraction and/or interest in having sex.

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

Take your time with it. You don’t have to meet anyone else’s expectations. Figuring yourself out is a lifelong process. You are allowed to learn and grow and change your mind as often as you need to about who/what you are. Society still places a lot of pressure on people to be in relationships. If a relationship makes you happier and healthier, then fine. If not, that’s fine too.

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

I post on Tumblr. http://caffeinatedmusing.tumblr.com/
My portfolio is http://jenniferward.foliohd.com/  and I have some prints and such available on Society6 https://society6.com/jwardart_2016

186-the-ritual
The Ritual

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

Interview: Ireland

Today we’re joined by Ireland. Ireland is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in digital mediums. She’s quite a versatile artist who does both original work and fanart. I absolutely loved scrolling through her artwork and admiring the skill demonstrated in it. This is an artist with an incredibly bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

image

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a huge fan in drawing things from paint tool SAI, or watercolour. I usually draw people in either semi-realistic or anime style. The people I draw are mostly OCs (Original Characters) or fan art. When I’m drawing people or characters, I like to draw or photograph scenic landscapes.

What inspires you?

Seeing art of realistic people or anime on Tumblr inspires me to keep improving. I really want to get noticed out there, and I’m hoping to get a scholarship for fine arts or a job from Bethesda or Marvel Comics. My lifelong dream is to be a character designer.

image

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

Ever since I’ve been watching anime in the sixth grade, I wanted to be an artist. The many variations and design that anime has always gets me interested because the art itself tells the story so perfectly.

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?

Most of the time, I have one eye completely covered by hair. It’s always been a signature of mine, and you can see it a lot on my OCs. It’s always hard for me to draw people with short hair or no bangs because it kind of forces me to draw the other eye.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

We’re only human and we will make many, many, MANY mistakes in our lifetime. However, don’t let these mistakes stop you from pursuing your dreams. One day, your art may be beside one of Van Gogh’s or Picasso’s. You will be known if you keep striving to be the best you can be.

image_1

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a cupiopanaromantic asexual

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

Not really. I’m out to nearly everyone I know, and no one in my art class or online has shown any prejudice towards me. They all just agree when I say, “I’d rather be single and eat pizza, than have anyone touch me with their genitals.”

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

A lot of people tell me I’m too young to understand love and that asexuals are just lonely.

image_2

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

This is your mind and body that we’re talking about, not theirs. No body. And I mean NOBODY, can tell you what you feel or what you don’t feel because they don’t understand or feel the way your mind and body does. You do. You understand and feel the way your mind and body does. So, don’t let anyone tell you that what you’re feeling is invalid. You are ALWAYS valid.

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

My Tumblr blog is asexualnerd.tumblr.com and my Deviantart is torturousdreams.deviantart.com

image_3

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