Interview: Abby Grace

Today we’re joined by Abby Grace. Abby is a wonderful writer and musician. They have been playing the cello for over ten years and are even studying for a degree in it. They’re also going for a degree in English Literature and have written both fanfiction and original poetry. As if that’s not impressive enough, Abby has also recently taken up crochet. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and enthusiastic artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer and musician – specifically, I write various fanfictions, and some original poetry, and have been playing music from the age of four. My main instrument is the cello, which I’ve played for almost 12 years now. I’m lucky enough to have been able to pursue both of these passions, and am currently at university studying English Literature and picking up a minor in cello. I also recently picked up crocheting.

I’ve had two original poems published in the past, in Skipping Stones (an international children’s magazine). Personally, though, I feel most accomplished about my work whenever I receive a heartfelt review on my fanfics. I’ve actually cried over a couple of emotional reviews on a specific story, “Firsts,” which is about a trans character trying on his first binder. I also recently started sharing some of the funnier stories from my life and my family, and am considering collecting them into a book of short stories.

What inspires you?

I find inspiration everywhere – from silly things overheard in public to major life events to watching a storm roll in. Inspiration for art, no matter what medium, is everywhere.

There are a few specific people who inspire me every day, though. My grandmother, who was known locally for her amazing quilts, didn’t learn how to sew until her late twenties. I crochet to feel closer to her. Janelle Monáe, who is so unapologetically herself at every turn. Yo-Yo Ma, the best-known cellist in the world, who is still so kind and friendly as to grin widely and give a fist bump to a shy fourteen year old who plays the cello, too.

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

I’ve always loved reading and writing, it’s been an important part of me for as long as I can remember. More than half of my family is musically-inclined in some way or another, too, so it was really less of an ‘if’ I would be a musician, and more of a ‘when.’ There’s definitely a few pictures in a family album somewhere of me sitting on my grandfather’s lap at the piano, looking absolutely delighted as he shows me that pressing the keys makes sound.

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?

Hm, I don’t believe I have anything that I work into every piece I do. A lot of my poetry involves stars in some way, but that’s just because I really like space.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be discouraged by only getting a couple of notes or kudos, or even nothing at all. You still have something valuable to share with the world – the world just takes a little while sometimes to notice it. I have one fanfic that has the most kudos of that specific ship on AO3… and I have 10 fanfics with less than 30. I have even more with less than 3 comments. Don’t worry about the numbers. Focus on doing your best.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demisexual

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

Luckily, I have yet to see anything specific in the general writing and music communities. Within fandom itself, however, I have most certainly seen people attack others for being ace and/or aro and trying to identify with a character by suggesting that they are also ace and/or aro.

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

That we are frigid, unfeeling, or that asexuality isn’t ‘a thing’ and is just ‘attention-seeking.’ I hear this most often in regards to demisexuality.

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

Be confident in yourself. And if you’re not, ask questions! Talk to the community – most people are happy to chat and help where they can. It’s something that I wish I had done more when I was younger. It could have helped me avoid a seriously bad time.

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

I’m on AO3 (DarthAbby), and Tumblr (main – butim-justharry) (side – official-cello). Please feel free to send an ask or private message to either blog if you want to talk!

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

Interview: Kathryn Henzler

Today we’re joined by Kathryn Henzler. Kathryn is a phenomenal musician who plays a number of instruments. Aside from playing music, Kathryn also sings and composes for visual media. When she’s not creating music, Kathryn also dabbles in other arts such as acting and fashion design. She’s clearly a dedicated and passionate artist, 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 dabble in a lot of artistic things, including acting and fashion design, but I’m mainly a musician (vocals, koto, viola, piano, taiko and other percussion, harp) and composer for visual media. I tend to write music that is full of feelings and may be a bit cheesy, but that’s the style that I like to reach people with.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by nature, emotions, other artists of all types, history, fashion, and intriguing stories.

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

I always knew I wanted to be involved in music somehow, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do specifically. Eventually when I was in high school I got really into anime, and some of those shows have absolutely beautiful scores. Around the same time I was heavily involved in orchestra and choir, and something just clicked when I was playing a piece with my orchestra from the score to Spiderman by Danny Elfman. At that point I realized I wanted to write music in addition to playing it. I think in particular I was captivated by the idea of music’s ability to completely influence what a person feels in a particular moment or scene.

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 usually incorporate at least one of the instruments I play or my own vocals in each composition, because I like to be both the composer of the score and a performer in it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would say that you should go for what you want to do, even if lots of people tell you “no” or say you aren’t good enough. I know from experience that it’s hard to ignore them, but you just have to keep doing your best to prove them wrong.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a heteroromantic asexual.

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

I haven’t encountered ace prejudice per say, but the music and film industry is constantly churning out media that is obsessed with sex, and I’ve had multiple occasions where material that I am supposed to be working on has made me so uncomfortable that I can’t continue. Most people when they hear about that issue tell me I need to grow thicker skin, but I think we just need to make more ace-friendly art and media. It’s hard when there is literally no ace representation in the films and shows you are trying to write music for. I guess I don’t really “handle,” it, I just kind of try to avoid having to write for media which I can’t feel comfortable putting my musical stamp on. I’m hoping in the future I’ll be able to help produce films that I write music for so that I can bring an ace perspective to them.

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

A lot of people think that asexual people are “prudes,” or that they just “haven’t met the right person yet.” It’s not about that, and it’s hard to explain it in a way that they’ll understand. I’ve also had some ace friends deal with some nasty blowback at Pride Parades from people who say they have no right to be there because asexuality isn’t “a sexual minority,” which is of course absolutely not true.

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

It might be hard for me to give advice since it’s only been a year since I fully realized my own asexual identity, but I would say that the best thing you can do is to embrace who you are and try to find a support network of fellow aces. It is always super-helpful to have people who you can ask questions of.

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

You can check out my music for visual media and some of my performance information at https://kvhenzler.wixsite.com/music. I also have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KathrynHenzlerArtist/.

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

Interview: Tori

Today we’re joined by Tori. Tori is a phenomenal artist who does a little bit of everything. She acts, writes, plays music, and is even a photographer. For music, she plays a number of instruments (clarinet, piano, bass clarinet, and contra-alto clarinet). Tori has even dabbled in cosplay and animation. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, 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 am an artist, a photographer, a writer, an actress, and I play piano, clarinet, bass clarinet, and contra-alto clarinet. I’ve also done a few cosplays and animations/edits.

What inspires you?

It could really be anything. I’ll take pictures of anything I think is pretty. I’ll draw whatever comes to my head. I’ll write about anything I think has a story to tell. I think that almost everything has beauty in it, and I love trying to capture it. I also deal with anxiety and depression, so I like to personify different feelings using drawings, because I feel like it makes them easier to deal with.

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

Ever since I was a kid, I loved drawing, singing, telling stories, and performing. I don’t think I ever thought I would be as into it as I am now, but the passion was always there.

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 make everything I do look different. Everything should have its own style.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I mean, I am an aspiring young artist. I’m only 14. But I’d say, just do what you love to do. It doesn’t matter what field it’s in, if you take pride in what you’re doing, you will improve.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I currently identify as asexual biromantic.

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

Not really. I try to surround myself with supportive people, and if people don’t support me, they shouldn’t be around me at all. I do understand ignorance, though. There’s a difference between being ignorant and not knowing everything about a particular topic, and being prejudiced and unaccepting.

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

A lot of people seem to think that because I’m ace, I don’t want to have a relationship with anyone. That’s not true at all. Currently though, I just don’t know anyone that would be worth taking time out of my schedule to go on a date with them.

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

Just know that labels can change. Sexuality, especially asexuality, can be difficult to define. Don’t worry about the specifics of a label. Just be you.

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

If I think that my art is good enough, which I usually don’t, I’ll post it on my Tumblr blog (torieltears-art.tumblr.com), but other than that, I’m usually pretty secretive with my work.

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

Interview: Sarah

Today we’re joined by Sarah. Sarah is a phenomenal young cellist who has been playing the cello for a few years now. They’re very dedicated to music as you’ll soon read. It’s clear they have an incredibly bright future ahead of them. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

This is my fourth year playing cello. I began when I was in the sixth grade in a school music class, and have continued my music through school and private studies.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by the works of classical composers like Gustav Mahler, but my favorite pieces to perform are done by Danny Elfman and Nikolai Korsakov.

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

When I first heard somebody playing the cello, I was in fifth grade and playing the violin. I heard and loved the way the music sounded with the cello, and immediately decided that I would play the cello.

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. Most of the stuff that I play is already composed, and so I follow the dictation.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I know most young artists get tired of hearing this, but the trick really is just to practice. You have to keep at it, and you will get better. After four years of music, I sound immeasurably better than I did when I began. You just have to keep at it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am an asexual aromantic. I am also very much sex-repulsed.

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

I usually try to educate my fellow musicians about my orientation, or ignore them. Most of the time they just accept that they won’t change my mind, and leave me alone.

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

That asexuality is a medical condition that can be cured. When I tell people, I usually get responses like “That’s too bad”, “But you’re so pretty”, and “Have you seen a doctor about that?” And any combination of the three. People think that it is a bad thing, like a disease.

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

You are completely and 100% valid. No matter what other people say about your sexuality or try to convince you about your asexuality, it is real. And that’s awesome. It is NOT a disease or illness, it is a valid sexual orientation, and you definitely belong in the LGBTQIA community!

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

I will often post stuff about it on my blog (at mindel14)

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

Interview: Anna Perkins

Today we’re joined by Anna Perkins. Anna is a wonderful young musician who sings in their school choir. They plan to study music in college. It’s very clear that they’re a passionate and dedicated musician, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a vocal musician, in choir at school; and in a couple years will be going to college and major in vocal music.

What inspires you?

I’m not really sure. When I see a piece of music I just a this warm feeling inside me, then when I start reading it and singing

it the feeling spreads throughout my body and it’s just amazing.

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

When I was younger I saw some people in their school choir and they looked so happy and the music I heard made me really happy and that got me to pursue music. One of the first memories I have it listening to a choir so yes I have always wanted to.

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 not have one.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t let anything get in your way. If you want to get to a certain level then work for it. And if you audition for something, or you submit a piece to a contest, or anything where your art would be judged, try your best. If you don’t win then learn from that. Not every piece will be a winner.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a sex repulsed asexual pan romantic Agender human 🙂

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

Not in my field, but in other places I have. Idk if that counts still but any kind or ace prejudice or ignorance, just try not to let it get to you. They do not define you. You do.

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

Well, most people think that I’m asexual because I was sexually harassed and that that means that one day I will want to have sex with my significant other. This is not true at all.

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

Just go with what you feel. If you think that you are asexual then go for it. If you want to change your mind or you think that you’re something else, that’s fine. You define you. Not anyone else.

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

People can message my Tumblr or my Instagram (basementdelusion is the username for both) and ask any question they would like to. I don’t post videos of me singing because I don’t want to post something and then have people try to judge me or tell me what to do with my music so I just keep it for myself until someone asks to hear me then I send a video to them if they like.

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

Interview: Emma Tyler Kantt

Today we’re joined by Emma Tyler Kantt. Emma Tyler is a wonderful artist who does both music and is also a cartoonist. They’re a very versatile musician who dabbles in a number of different genres. They play the guitar, sing, and write songs. As a cartoonist, they write and draw little comic strips with pen and pencils. They’re incredibly dedicated, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do two kinds of art! I’m a singer-songwriter and a cartoonist. Music-wise I play guitar and sing and write songs. My songs are kinda all over the place; I have ones about obsession, and conspiracy theorists, and anime, and a podcast called The Adventure Zone, and just…a lot of stuff.

My comic strips are little pencil/pen things. There’s no overarching plot or anything; it’s mostly little anecdotes or a look inside my mind. A lot of self-depreciative and dealing-with-anxiety stuff.

What inspires you?

I’m kind of the mind that everything I consume (media-wise) inspires and influences me in some way. Music is a big overarching one because it’s a big part of how I process my emotions. Comics, graphic novels, podcasts, and TV shows too. I’ve also gotten some comics ideas from stuff I see scrolling through Twitter.

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Talking Head

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

I’ve always had an inclination towards music; I remember singing a lot and coming up with little bits of songs when I was a kid. I realized I wanted to be a musician in high school, maybe? Not long after I started learning guitar. The cartoonist thing is more recent. I’ve always loved comics and I used to draw some in middle school but I’ve only recently started doing it again. It’s just a really effective medium for me to express my thoughts, I think.

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?

Uh…I don’t know if this counts but a lot of my comics take place on couches or in beds? There’s not really a special meaning to it though; I just spend a lot of time lying on the couch or lying in bed.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m gonna kinda bastardize an eloquent quote from Ira Glass: Make a lot of stuff. Not everything you make has to be good! A lot of what you make will not be good, actually. But the more stuff you make, the more good stuff you’ll end up making. So just keep making stuff. And to back it up with personal experience, I’ve written probably about 90 full songs? And probably less than a third of them are truly good. (Wow I apologize for the overuse of the words “make” and “stuff”)

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Todd

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual! Alloromantic…I’ve attempted to say “heteroromantic” but since I’m technically non-binary that’s hard to define… So let’s say asexual and romantically attracted to guys.

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

So far no, thank god. I imagine it’ll happen eventually, though.

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

Probably the two big ones I’ve had to deal with are A) lack of awareness that asexuality is even “a thing” and B) conflation of asexuality with aromanticism.

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Pit

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

That’s tough, cuz I struggle a lot with it too. What I can confidently say is, whatever struggle you’re having, you’re not the only one. There are dozens of other people who have been/are going through what you’re going through, so you’re not alone. You’re never alone.

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

Oh boy. My comics Tumblr is https://crappylilcomix.tumblr.com/. My comics Twitter is https://twitter.com/crappylilcomix. My YouTube, which has my music and some other stuff is emmacan or https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGWqmYQEXrT7VpCQG-WTCPw . Some of it is also on https://www.soundcloud.com/emma-kantt. I also have a music Instagram? Which is https://instagram.com/emma.has.a.knife, and a music Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/emmakanttmusic.

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Just Draw

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

Interview: Amanda Akins

Today we’re joined by Amanda Akins. Amanda is a phenomenal and versatile artist who does a bit of everything. She does quite a bit of visual art and crafts, including drawing and scrapbooking. She’s also in a band with her sister called Phine Wine (you can buy their EP on Amazon and iTunes). It’s very apparent that art and creativity are a huge part of Amanda’s life, as you’ll soon 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.

I do a lot of different types of art and creative things. I have for as long as I can remember. I paint, draw, scrapbook, other crafts, sing, write, edit graphics and make YouTube videos

What inspires you?

Music is probably the biggest thing that inspires me. It puts me in a certain mood where I just get motivated. Also past experiences and other people’s experiences, especially when it comes to writing. I get a lot of inspiration from movies and other people’s art as well. I love seeing other artists thrive. I’m one of those people that will see an amazing work of art and then want to go out and do the same thing.

amywinehouse canvas painting
Amy Winehouse Canvas Painting

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

It’s always just been a part of who I am, I think. I’m still figuring out what I want to do with my life but being creative and creating something for others to see and appreciate is definitely up there.

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 but I think it’s a really cool concept to have that. Especially if people recognize it throughout your work.

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Bow

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop. Never give up. It sounds really cheesy but it’s incredibly true. I had an art teacher in high school that told me to sketch every day and you will get better and I wish I took that advice. Your motivation needs to be pure. If you’re just looking to make art to get recognized then it’s not genuine. I think you really have to love it because it’s obvious when you don’t.

walking dead painting
Walking Dead painting

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I still am figuring it out but right now I identify as grey ace specifically. But I usually just tell people I’m asexual as a general term.

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

I haven’t thankfully. I don’t usually tell people that I’m ace unless it comes up because it just doesn’t seem important for people to know.

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

That we are all the same and we’re not. Asexuality and sexuality in general is a huge spectrum and trying to fit people in boxes is counterproductive. I also think when talking to people about asexuality you really have to explain and make sure that your perspectives aren’t the rule. That not everyone that identifies as asexual has the same experiences or beliefs I guess you could say. I would say a lot of people don’t actually understand the general definition of asexuality and that’s what I find myself explaining most of the time.

paradise pier
Paradise Pier

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

That it’s okay not to know right now. That it’s okay to identify one way and then change that. We all change and we all grow so why wouldn’t our sexual orientations grow with us. You are valid and your feelings are valid and you matter. Do research and do what is comfortable for you. For me it was figuring out a word for exactly how I was feeling and even know I still am figuring that out with my sexual and romantic orientation and that’s okay. Maybe you don’t want to identify at all but it doesn’t make you less of a human being. Keep doing you and doing what you love.

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

I have a website where I sell a lot of my arts and crafts at: https://www.mandasscrapcrafts.com/

I also make music with my sister in a band called Phine Wine. We have Instagram, Twitter (linked below), Facebook, and YouTube. And you can buy our EP on iTunes and Amazon mp3.

Twitter: at phinewineband & at mandamargaret7

Instagram: at phinewineband & at mandasscrapcrafts.

lily ipad drawing
Lily iPad Drawing

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