Interview: Georgia

Today we’re joined by Georgia. Georgia is a wonderful aspiring author who specializes in YA sci-fi/fantasy fiction. She’s currently in the process of writing a 5-book dystopian series that features an asexual main character. It’s clear she loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an unpublished author and in the middle of creating my very own mermaid tail.

I write sci-fi/fantasy YA novels that only I have read. I just find such safety and confidence in creating worlds of my own or manipulating this world to fit my own design. I’m writing a five-book dystopian series under the pseudonym of Amber Whittaker, which has a main character (Aphrodite) that is actually asexual.

What inspires you?

Since I was little, my inspiration and best friend has been my mom. She supports me through almost anything and guides me when I’m sailing on stormy seas.

I draw inspiration for my writing from the world around me. I always write in public because I meet/see such interesting people and places. Several times, I’ve integrated random people into my stories simply because they brought something new to my characters!   For my mermaid, Gaia is the name of the goddess of life/Mother Earth. Once it’s finished, I’m going to be primarily using my mermaid persona to spread awareness about ocean conservation.

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

I actually always wanted to be a scientist; marine biologist, to be specific. That’s how I got into mermaiding. I love the ocean and always felt more at home under the water.

As for writing, I actually didn’t have any interest in it until 5th grade. It was a writing assignment that my teacher, Mr. Reisler, gave. “Imagine you were a scientist and you became famous for a discovery. What’s that discovery?” He emailed home and asked my mom not to help me on writing assignments. She hadn’t. The next day, he told me that I had a talent and I should pursue it.

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 always include myself in my books. It will never be obvious, but there’s always a background character that mirrors who I am.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never give up! Every successful artist began as a starving artist, and every accomplishment began as a dream. I have nobody standing behind my mermaid dream because everyone thinks it’s stupid and a waste of money. I have nobody to read my writing or give me advice on how to get published because nobody I know likes the genre. As long as you stick with it and take criticism as advice, you’ll go somewhere with your dreams!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a hetero ace.

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

I have experienced ignorance, but not prejudice. I know many people have experienced the latter, but I am more than thankful that I’ve not had to deal with it.

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

“You just think that because you haven’t met the right person.”

No, I know that because my right person will accept me for who I am! Asexuality isn’t a disease that needs to be cured, nor is it a phase that someone can just snap out of. I’m asexual because I don’t feel a sexual attraction to anybody; man, woman, etc.

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

Be true to you. My mom is my best friend, but I haven’t told her because she doesn’t accept this kind of thing. I know who I am, and I know what’s important to me. Your sexual orientation doesn’t define you, unless you make it.

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

You can follow my progress in my writing life on my Facebook page: at authoramberwhittaker

You can follow my progress in my mermaid life on my Instagram account: mermaid_gaia_ravenshelm.

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

Interview: Lana

Today we’re joined by Lana, who also goes by Deact. Lana is a wonderful visual artist and writer. She does a lot of portraits of women and girls, as well as mermaids. She uses both digital and traditional mediums. When not drawing, Lana also dabbles in writing and tends to write a lot of short stories. It’s very obvious she’s a dedicated artist who enjoys what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I predominantly deal in drawn visual art and short story writing. My art is mostly self-taught and usually involves portraits of women/girls and a lot of mermaids. I use both traditional and digital methods (although not together) and I have recently picked up watercolour painting, but I tend to stick with line art and block colour. My writing is very vague and laconic and feedback usually deems it unsettling. I prefer short stories because the reader never really finds out what’s going on (also I can’t seem to stick with a long term story for more than a fortnight).

What inspires you?

With art, I’m inspired by colours, light, and biologically plausible mythology (e.g. mermaids coming in different fish species and the way the human part of the body would adapt to the sea). With my writing, I write mostly about the places I’ve been or have knowledge of, or situations and places that everyone has experienced (e.g. train stations, restaurants etc.). The familiarity of these places and the subversion of safety is a common theme in my work. Writers like Angela Carter, Daphne du Maurier, and Stephen King all contributed to the short story element of my writing style. The mangaka Junji Ito and the manga Fuan no Tane also inspired me due to their simple-yet-scary art.

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Restaurant Gothic

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

I think I probably got myself into art, and I think my first dream job was ‘novelist’. Not a lot of people around me growing up considered art a big part of their lives. I have always enjoyed creating things and learning new techniques. Handing impressionable thirteen year old me a stack of manga pushed me to copy the style and then develop my own further down the line. I tried to pursue art seriously, but disliked the way my education system taught Fine Art and dropped it in favour of Classics. The story’s pretty similar with writing too, only I have always excelled in literature classes regardless of my interest level, whereas art classes felt a little too restricted. A tiny part of me is always going to want to be a successful artist, though.

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?

Winged eyeliner, and I try to draw different noses!! Noses are pretty cool but it’s easy to fall back into the acute angle shape. In writing I tend to use short sentences and the second person ‘you’.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Draw what you feel and don’t worry if it doesn’t have a deeper meaning. Also use references and take specialised classes for your art form if you can.

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Reddd

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual. I’m not going to pretend to understand what my romantic orientation is doing, but I’m not worried about it either.

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

I study Translation. The first person I came out to was in my language class, who told me on three separate occasions that I would find someone later in life I’d want to have sex with, that I should wait until I’m twenty to decide, and that they thought I was “just afraid of men”. I wasn’t sure how to handle it as I’m a fairly reserved person, so I just never brought it up again. Another person who previously identified as grayace realised they weren’t (and y’know, there’s zero problem with that), and tried to convince me relaxing in a club would make me want sex. I don’t think I’ve talked to them since, as their insistence kinda pressured me to say I would sleep with someone if I loved them enough (which I felt very uncomfortable saying).

Luckily the majority of people I’ve told have been super accepting (shoutout to my cheer team for accepting me in a pub, of all places), and when they haven’t understood they’ve asked for clarification.

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

That I’ll meet someone and my feelings will change. I think it hurt the most coming from my mother.

Also ‘lol is that like a plant’

A friend once asked me if chickens were asexual as if a) I was an expert on chickens and b) I knew every asexual being that existed. Bless her.

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

Take your time. Try things out if you want, or don’t if you don’t want to. Never let someone else try to dictate your feelings to you. Don’t think there’s some sort of hierarchy amongst ace communities either – whatever you feel is what it is.

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

My Tumblr.
https://imdeactivating.tumblr.com/

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

Interview: Miranda Mundt

Today we’re joined by Miranda Mundt. Miranda is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in fantasy. She enjoys drawing mostly humanoid creatures and really loves experimenting with bright colors. Looking through the images she sent and her Tumblr, there is a remarkable beauty and bright liveliness to her art. Miranda captures an amazing amount of expression and emotion in her work, as you’ll see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

With my art I draw primarily fantasy art — focusing primarily on humanoid creatures (elves, angels, mermaids etc.). I enjoy drawing different expressions and pretty flowy things. I suppose the thing that I do most is try to do different fun/bright colors and color schemes. Still learning about that bit though, hah.

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What inspires you?

I have been inspired greatly by Disney as well as so many artists that I’ve seen on tumblr. Many artists who are also animators that have really beautiful expressions/poses. I am inspired to try and make my art capture a moment. Where you can see the movement. I also really adore seeing people’s unique characters or their creative take on already existing works.

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

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember but only really started to think about it seriously in 6th-7th grade. Where I started developing original characters and trying to draw comics. Over time I switched from wanting to do comics to wanting to be an animator. So I attended VFS for classical animation and had the time of my life. Turns out that life had other plans for me however, I became a freelance illustrator and worked mostly in fan art posters and children’s books. I do adore it though, both experiences have allowed me to improve my work tremendously.

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

I guess my signature would be sort of the sketchy/quick line art, bright colors and usually some sort of splattery effect lol! I have a weakness for splattery effects.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would say my advice would be to not pin yourself to one particular thing. I mean obviously have goals- but be open to finding new things that you love as you learn. For example- how I ended up doing kids books instead of animating. I didn’t fail in my goal to get an animation job- I just found a different thing that I was better at and more confident in. Also- on that note. Keep trying. Keep pushing. It takes a long time to build up the work needed to be ‘successful’ in freelance. And you’ll probably have to do some things that aren’t very fun, but you’ll get through it!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual Aromantic! (ace aro) for a while I just identified as asexual and was demiromantic. Before I realized it wasn’t that I was romantically open to everyone it was that I was romantically available to no one. I’ve felt way better about myself now that I don’t have to stress about that part of my identity.

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

In my field it hasn’t really come up. Because I work from home over a computer so it never really comes up. I have mentioned it a couple of times to a couple of coworkers. One of them was understanding and seemed to get it right away, the other one I think… just sort of brushed over it. I think the most frustrating part is realizing that they all just assume that I’m straight.

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

That I will get over it. Or that it is a choice. When I explained it to my mother she seemed to understand before mentioning in a later conversation that I was “still young” and that things would change.

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

My biggest bit of advice is to say… There is nothing that is permanent. While I don’t see myself being anything other than Aro-Ace for the rest of my life… The idea that once you subscribe to a label that it’s all that you can be forever is harmful. If you find peace in calling yourself Asexual, if even just for a while, then that is most important. There is a strong windfall of relief in calling yourself something you identify with.

Do not force yourself into ANY situations that are uncomfortable for you (I.E relationships/sex/etc) just for the sake of “proving” that you are Ace. If you believe you are, then you are. That’s that.

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

http://miranda-mundt-art.tumblr.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Mirandamillustrations/
http://mirandamundt.blogspot.com/  (older stuff, I don’t update it as much anymore)

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