Interview: Fran

Today we’re joined by Fran. Fran is a phenomenal musician who plays a variety of instruments and also participates in her school’s marching band. When she’s not playing music, Fran enjoys doodling and is currently writing a novel, which sounds like a fun adventure (a superhero rom-com, how can you not love that). She has also written some poetry and short stories. It’s very clear that Fran is a dedicated and versatile artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Ace Flute

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I just graduated high school and plan to attend university as a double major in music education and music performance. My primary instrument is flute, but I also play saxophone and a little bit of piano, ukulele, and clarinet. I really enjoy playing classical music, but a lot of my passion lies in jazz, and I am a member of my high school marching band and a future member of my college marching band. I also doodle a little bit, and I am writing a rom com superhero novel about a meteorite that wishes that she can become human and the stars grant her wish. It is a wlw romance, but mostly it consists of humor and superhero action. I also write poetry and short stories.

What inspires you?

My hero is Michael Giacchino and other movie soundtrack writers like him. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved getting inspiration for my music from soundtracks. Because of this wonderful music guiding my life, I plan on inspiring others to pursue music by teaching, and maybe even continue my talents into the professional field. For my visual art, I mostly get inspiration from my friends. We all draw together as a hobby so we get inspired by each other often. For my writing I am inspired by my favorite authors, J.K. Rowling, Brandon Sanderson, David Leviathan, and Rick Riordan. I love writing books with positive outlooks and messages about love and peace.

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

I have loved music and art ever since I was a child. I started playing flute in 4th grade and I have been obsessed with band ever since. I loved watching movies and playing games almost solely for the excellent musical track. It was only a matter of time until I decided it would be my career. I’ve drawn and written for just as long. I wrote many short stories when I was young, and drew in that stereotypical 6th grade anime style that all artists cringe at later in life. My writing and drawing styles are a little bit better now, though I look back at my childhood doodles and stories with fondness.

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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?

Not really. My signature is just my name in cursive.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you want to be a musician, do it! Don’t let anyone tell you it’s a “phony career” and that you won’t be able to make a living with it. With hard work and a little thinking outside of the box, you can make a good career out of any art form. Follow your dream and don’t let the downers destroy your passion!

Ace artwork 2

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as an Asexual Lesbian. I experience no sexual attraction, but I am romantically attracted to girls exclusively.

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

I’ve had people tell me that you can’t have a romantic relationship without sex and that I’ll “change my mind”. It used to bother me, but now I just let the words wash over me. I know that I’ll find someone who will understand and love that part about me. I can’t help it that their concept of relationships is so small-minded. I don’t experience that often, though. Most people in my field are very accepting.

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

That I can’t experience a romantic relationship. Many people lump asexual and aromantic together without realizing that they are both different. You can be both, or just one or the other. There are also people who think I’m just innocent. It’s true that I’m a bit innocent in some areas, I don’t like to cuss, I don’t have a dirty mind, I would rather watch Disney movies than anything with too much sex or violence, but that has nothing to do with my orientation. I know how sex works. I just don’t want to have it.

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

Don’t feel like you have to rush into a label. And your label can be fluid and change over time. I know that I may change my label in the future. Just like your favorite color changes over time, so can your label. Also, I know it’s hard living in a world where sex can be prioritized over a healthy and understanding relationship. Be who you are. Because “those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter won’t mind”. Your identity is a beautiful thing!

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

I don’t really have a website or anything. Most of my work is just in my ensembles or in my community.

Ace art 1

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

Interview: Ashlyn

Today we’re joined by Ashlyn. Ashlyn is a wonderful and versatile artist who does a bit of everything. She does quite a bit of writing but also digital art and she dabbles in music. It’s very apparent that Ashlyn is incredibly enthusiastic about art, 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 like to create in a variety of ways. For this project, writing and digital art are my main focus. I also make music.

What inspires you?

My struggles inspire me. The fact that I am still alive and breathing after going through them motivates me to defeat my demons throughout my life.

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

Since kindergarten I’ve had ambitions of being an artist for life. It has changed over the years but creativity is what has kept me going when I don’t feel like continuing. I find self expression in multiple forms of creativity very important.

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 not exactly sure what this question is asking but one unique thing about my art is that mental health is another thing I am passionate about and it will show in my art.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Your work is more valuable than the world will tell you. Creative students will be whisked away from their passions and handed textbooks and told that things like your math grade is more important than your creativity, simply because of jobs and money. But without art this world would not be sane.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I have never had a sexual attraction to anyone so I identify loosely as completely asexual and possibly pan romantic.

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

Many people (even ones in the LGBT spectrum) are not aware and educated on asexuality. I have met a number of people who don’t believe that asexuality is an actual and valid orientation.

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

Many people feel bad for me and tell me that “one day you’ll find someone eventually” when I am indifferent and content with not having sexual attractions to people. The few people I have opened up to about my sexuality (or lack of sexuality) have interpreted it as me being lonely or desperate and in denial about finding a partner.

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

Asexuality is a difficult thing to identify as simply because it is defined by the lack of something which is much more difficult to prove than the presence of something. Asexuality is a wide spectrum with many variations on where you can identify. If your identity is not solid or definite that doesn’t mean you can’t take pride and confidence in it.

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

I have not released much of my art on many platforms since producing art consistently has been a difficulty for me.  I do, however, have a Wattpad account that I just started with the handle at swercz.

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

Interview: Baylee Morris

Today we’re joined by Baylee Morris. Baylee is a phenomenal musician who has been playing the clarinet for almost ten years. When she’s not playing, Baylee teaches younger musicians. It’s very obvious that she’s an incredibly talented and dedicated musician, 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’ve been playing the clarinet for about 10 years now and I still love it. I mostly played in school, but after I graduated high school, I still continue to play at church and teach up comers at my alma maters. I also teach children at my church how to read sheet music and piano basics. After I graduated, I didn’t think I would be able to continue music, but luckily, I found small, but meaningful ways to keep going.

What inspires you?

Mostly music. I can’t handle silence, and music feels empty space like no other substance. I’ve always felt this way. Plus, as a sufferer from ADHD, fidgeting was a problem I had in my younger days in school, so being able to use my own body to make music… it’s just fantastic.

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

My older brother was in band two years before I was and all his stories from marching band and the concerts that I witnessed myself pretty much made up my mind. I got my clarinet two years before I joined in 6th grade, and love every bit of 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 was the youngest person in my band’s history to be section leader in marching band and also the first person in years to take on the section leader role, as well as another head role in the band- mine being Uniform Chief. I’m really proud of this and was incredibly happy to help younger students reach their own potentials.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Stick with what you love, and things will fall into place. In a group of 70+ people, you are going to encounter people that don’t appreciate it as much as you, or the work that you put into it. Keep going though. Keep doing what you love.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual/Biromantic

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

Since band kids are sometimes labeled as “sexually active” (LOL mean girls), being not sexually active surprises some people. I’ve heard it all; “Why are you sooooo prude?”, “You just haven’t found the right guy!”, and “Maybe you could find someone if you’d just lighten up.” These were from people in band and out of band.

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

The most common (and most hurtful) thing that I’ve encountered were from past significant others is “You just don’t love me enough.” or “What’s wrong with me?” This can hurt your feels, but remember, you are not obligated to do anything, no matter how much you love the person or how guilty the try to make you feel.

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

Accept yourself the way you are! There are so many people out there that share your same views. Why focus on the negative people when you can befriend the amazing people who are willing to talk to you like an actual human being?

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

If you want to see my specific band, you can YouTube search Jackson County Bands NC. But if you want to see some wicked cool stuff, try look for BOA (Bands of America) bands, Drum Corps (Cadets are a personal favorite of mine), or head to your own school’s concert. Those band kids will appreciate it. Believe me, they will.

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

Interview: Brianna Rose

Today we’re joined by Brianna Rose. Brianna is a wonderful visual artist and musician. For visual art, she specializes in cartoon style and is incredibly passionate about children’s media. For music, she does a couple of different genres, from blues to soft acoustic songs. It’s very obvious she loves to create, as you’ll read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. afirst

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is kind of like a big cartoon-medley. I can draw more realistic-looking stuff but I’ve always had a better way with exaggerated shapes and cutesy features. I’m really passionate about children’s media and making it as fun and imaginative as it was when I was young.

I work with a lot of different styles and I like to experiment a lot with them! I also love the process of designing characters, so a lot of my art leans heavily in that direction.

Aside from that, I’m also a musician! I mostly sing blues and rockabilly-type music (that’s what I usually write, anyhow) but I often record just… soft acoustic songs. They’re easier to play on guitar haha.

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What inspires you?

People, honestly! The best way to design a character is when they’re based around something you’re familiar with in reality. Of course, this doesn’t always hold true– but at least for personalities, it works pretty well.

Music also inspires me a lot. Like most artists, I listen to music nonstop while working– and I’m a musician myself, so it helps visualize things a bit better, and also drives me to make my own tunes too!

Also, other artists. Who isn’t inspired by looking at or listening to other peoples’ art, y’know?

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

Other artists, really. Artists like Jhonen Vasquez or Craig McCracken (my main inspirations while growing up) are what made me REALLY interested in cartoons.

As for always wanting to be an artist… I’d say more or less, yeah! I’ve always wanted to be an artist or a musician. Art just seems like a more… stable route. (Sad, ain’t it? Haha)

Also, for music, Joe Strummer (lead singer of The Clash and many other bands) is what got me interested in becoming a musician. I could always sing, but he’s what made it feel possible to make something of it (if I ever choose to.)

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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?

Mmm… I’m not so certain. I think the most reoccurring “feature” is that I have all of my protagonists be Native American. I, myself, am Plains Cree, and I know us natives don’t really have much representation, so I do my best to help fill that gap.

But, of course, that’s not really a unique symbol or anything. Though, sometimes I have a few characters in different projects that look or act the same– and that’s for a very top secret reason, that isn’t (always) coincidence!

Nothing for my music, though. Other than the fact I don’t know many chord progressions and try to desperately hide it!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just keep going. There are some people out there that will be better than you or be younger and have a similar skill-set as you — etc., etc. Don’t let that hold you back. What you perceive as “better” is just… different. There is no “better,” only different. What you can do is unique to you, whether you know it or not. What you have to offer is worthwhile — just sometimes it takes a lot of work. Often, too, a lot of time. But anything worthwhile is worth working and waiting for.

This goes for any type of artist.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am an Asexual Demiromantic! (as in… not sexually attracted to anyone, but I can be romantically attracted to anyone if you give me a little time to get to know ya on a deeper level!)

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

I think aces encounter ignorance no matter what, truthfully. I’ve faced a lot of ignorance both in and out of my “field” — though the prejudice I’ve faced hasn’t really been relevant in what I do.

I’ve gotten some flack from a past band for wanting to avoid sexually charged lyrics in some covers they wanted to do… being told that I was overreacting, and all that. (Being looked at in a sexual way makes me extremely uncomfortable, but this didn’t matter to them.)

I handle it with aggression, mostly. It’s caused by anxiety. I tend to snap at those who don’t understand, which isn’t really the healthiest way of handling things. If it’s in a situation where I don’t feel threatened, then I’m better at calmly explaining things. Those who purposely try to be contrarian or disrespectful, however…

They don’t get my “nice” way of handling things.

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

That we’re all just robots. That we’re less human. That even if there are aces that are really into sex, that doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t matter. There’s a common misconception that we have to fill a quota to be “normal”. A lot of people use the “well some asexuals are fine with sex and love it!” which detracts from the issue at hand. Many of us don’t, and that’s OKAY. We don’t need to find these little loopholes so we’ll be accepted. A misconception in and of itself is the fact that we’re not “normal”. So what, you know? So what.

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

Don’t let idiots tell you who you are and who you have to be or should be. Whatever. That’s none of their business. You know yourself better than anyone– even if you don’t know yourself very well at all! What you feel is what you feel. Stick to that. Even if it’s ever-changing– that’s fine! Let it change.

If you’re young and identify as ace or anything of the like– don’t let anyone tell you that you’re wrong. Don’t let anyone sexualize your preferences. That’s wrong of THEM, not you. You don’t always get to choose how you feel, but you DO get to choose how you handle it. If you feel comfortable in a label, then label yourself that. Even if it doesn’t necessarily fit you perfectly. For most of us, there is no “glass slipper” label. They’re not always going to fit perfectly. That’s okay.

Just don’t let anyone tell you that you’re something you’re not. Don’t let people dictate that for you.

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

My Tumblr is Gunkers, so is my Instagram! If you wanna catch me on DeviantArt, then my handle is YouEatBugs

You can catch my music in the “gunk sangs” tag on my Tumblr blog as well!
I draw a hodgepodge of stuff, so if you don’t have any really specific interests, feel free to come find me!

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

Interview: Vel

Today we’re joined by Vel. Vel is a wonderful musician who is both a composer and a performer. When she’s not composing, Vel has started getting back into writing as a hobby. Whatever she does, Vel pours herself into it and is very enthusiastic, 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 primarily a musician – composer and performer, but I have also recently been getting back into writing – a hobby I haven’t pursued in about 6 years.

What inspires you?

Other people’s art and ideas. I follow a lot of art blogs on Tumblr, and read posts of people’s headcanons in fandoms, or watch TV related to something I’m writing about. I like being excited by other people’s creations and I find it helps more than just daydreaming.

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

I’ve always been a creative person, my parents are creative, and I was the nerdy kid at school who spent lunchtimes in the library writing a book. I used to want to be an author, but that dream has faded.

As for music, I never really considered myself good enough to be a professional anything, so I never seriously considered it, though I still have music-related goals in life.

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 particularly.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I know it’s a cliché, but just keep at it. Also, don’t assume everyone will think it’s bad or pathetic, especially if you’re at school. I rarely let anyone hear or read anything I wrote or composed, but on the rare occasion I did, people were astounded. Creating stuff is damn impressive, and if you share it, people are much more likely to be impressed than to criticize. And those who criticize without invitation to are dicks, so.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Both grey-ace and grey-aro. They’re both fluid, though, with bi & pan (both sexual and romantic).

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

Not in my field, no. In fact, I’m in a jazz band where 2/3 of the members are coincidentally ace.

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

People thinking that it’s about action rather than desire. It blows peoples mind that I’m ace because of my reputation for being fairly … promiscuous.

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

Honestly, find the right people online. There are toxic people, as there are against every community, but there are good people out there who have been through similar things, and having a support network can make things so much easier. I know this is easier said than done, but there are some popular blogs which are a good place to start.

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

My AO3 is Vel16. I don’t really post much music anywhere, but if anyone’s interested in what I do feel free to contact me through my main Tumblr – somewhatvellum

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

Interview: Sturm

Today we’re joined by Sturm. Sturm is a wonderful musician from Germany. He plays with a band that sounds as though they play quite an eclectic assortment of music (a mix of Rock, Punk, Metal, and Core). He’s an incredibly passionate musician, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Currently my art is the music I put out with my band. I write all lyrics, as well as the music. Our style is hard to grasp, even for us. We describe it usually as “music with distorted guitars” therefore something between Rock, Punk, Metal and Core. Since my band mates are apparently not really interested in the topics of the lyrics, I’m free to write whatever I like to. Therefore many of the songs are LGBTQ-related or in one case explicitly ace-related.

What inspires you?

Basically everything. I believe that not the topic, but the situation makes the inspiration. If something touches me on “that certain level” it might be a piece of inspiration for me. Social, politics, personal, it’s all more or less a part of the life you live, and a part of your art.

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

I started playing guitar after a friend introduced me to the metal scene, as well as the guitar as an instrument. While staying in the metal community, different styles of guitar music influenced me and formed my musical progress. After many years also Jazz and Prog-music got me.

Since I started early to dream the dream of being a musician, the idea behind it is just as old. I mean “Playing music and make money” is  just THE dream. Being an artist is better than sitting in a regular company all day.

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 really. I try to keep the songs groovy and catchy. Even though we do not play a very hard style, we use 7-string guitars to have a heavy sound for the guitars. Maybe that is a signature move.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never give up. There are bands being successful with more or less bullshit. Whatever your style is people will listen to it, and like it. The first step is always to bring your music out.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual, but with the possibilities of being gray- and /or demisexual

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

Unfortunately way too often. It’s usually the old stereotypes. I can laugh them off, mostly because the people, who make those jokes don’t know one thing about asexuality or the LGBTQ community

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

Basically the general stereotypes. “You hate sex” “You have to find the right partner” “You seem like a lost child.” Stuff like that. And of course that I’m “faking it’.’ Why would I do that?

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

First of all. RELAX

And then, take your time to be, to discover, and to realise yourself.

Yes this might take some time, but it’s your time, and therefore, so important.

You and yourself are more important than any ideology, i.g. religion.

So: Be always sure that millions of people stand with you, and know exactly what you feel right now

Or short

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

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

Currently not at all, but soon our FB page will be active

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

Signal Boost for a Musician

Hi everyone!

Apologies for the extended absence (I’ve got a deadline looming and I’m still taking ASL classes). Interview posting will resume Monday 🙂

Anyhow, I should have posted this earlier, but an artist interviewed on this site (Claire: WordPress & Tumblr ) sent me a message and I thought some of you lovely followers would be interested:

Hey there! It’s Claire – you did an interview with me a little bit ago but I just wanted to let you know I created a SoundCloud and released an EP on there if anyone’s interested in checking it out! https://soundcloud.com/claire-kaelin

So go visit the link, send Claire some love.