Interview: Laura Welch

Today we’re joined by Laura Welch. Laura is a phenomenal musician who makes a living as a pianist. She mostly performs for musical theater and she also plays at the local dance studio for the ballet classes. Laura plays a wide variety of musical styles and has even performed as part of a symphony orchestra on occasion. It’s a clear she’s an incredibly passionate and dedicated artist who 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 am a musician – a pianist, specifically. I am classically trained, though nowadays I am highly experienced in playing a multitude of genres, from your typical “classical” fare to jazz to modern-day pop. I make a living primarily through playing piano – something I try not to take for granted as not everyone can say they live off doing something they love and don’t really consider “work.” I play for a church service (sometimes two) every Sunday morning, and I currently accompany ballet classes at a dance studio. In the past I have accompanied voice classes held at various schools in the area, and at one point I was part of a thirteen-piece jazz orchestra as well as a ragtime band. Occasionally I am given the opportunity to play in the local symphony orchestra, but it does not happen too often.

Currently one of the biggest presences in my life where my talent is concerned is the theatre community where I live. I played my first musical back in 2007 – I was freshly nineteen, I recall – and after that I was quickly absorbed into the world of musical theatre. Since then I’ve played for a plethora of shows (I stopped counting about three years ago), and I’ve even gotten to music direct a small handful of them! I can’t see myself stopping any time soon, so long as I am available and can be put to use.

What inspires you?

I find much of my inspiration comes from the people I get to work with in whatever environment I happen to be playing in. In theatre, it’s the actors, crew, and musicians I get to perform alongside. In the dance studio, it’s the teachers and students whose movements are supported by my playing. In both of those cases there’s a feeling of collaboration for me; we are creating something together by combining our respective talents, whether it’s for an audience or for ourselves in that moment. The challenges that come with playing alongside other people – be it other musicians, dancers, vocalists, or whoever – push me to do better, to be worthy of working with these other performers who have dedicated themselves to their own crafts and are working just as hard to do well by them.

I also get inspired by particularly moving pieces of music, especially ones that are adept at conveying an emotional story. I am a huge instrumental score/soundtrack junkie, whether it’s from films or video games or what have you, and it’s not uncommon for me to shut myself away in my bedroom with my phone and a pair of earbuds and just sit and listen for an hour or three. Doing so when I have the time is relaxing for me, but it also reminds me why I do what I do and why I love it so much. Having a story told to me through music alone reminds me that I’m capable of doing the same, and what a pleasure and privilege it is to be able to reach someone else’s mind and heart through something that I can create.

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

I’ve always held a fascination with music, even when I was a very young age. At this point I really don’t remember always wanting to be a musician, but when I was seven my parents asked me if I wanted to take piano lessons and I recall taking to them immediately. My parents got me this tiny little keyboard to practice on, and once it was apparent that I was getting better and better – and fast, at that – my teacher urged them to buy me an actual piano. (Spoiler alert: they chose to make the investment, and I bet they’re glad it paid off!) As time went on I got more and more invested in being able to play the piano, so much so that I left other hobbies and commitments behind (including playing softball and learning to play the trumpet). It got to the point where it followed me to school, so to speak: I got my first real shot at accompanying in sixth grade, when I learned to play a song we were singing in choir and was then allowed to accompany the group at a concert. More opportunities arose in middle school when I joined the orchestra and jazz band, and by high school I was both singing and playing piano in the choirs I had joined. By the time I was nearly a legal adult I had clearly decided that yes, this was definitely the path I wanted to continue taking.

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 sure if calling it a unique feature is correct or not, but I’ve developed this one tendency that pops up when I’m involved in musical theatre that people have come to associate with me: I have to see to it that the production’s band/orchestra gets a name. I just do. Every musical has a band, and every band needs a name. It’s silly, but I’ve found it can be a bit of a bonding experience among the musicians (and even the cast and crew) when it comes to deciding upon one.

Often times the names will be inspired by something from the musical in question; sometimes it’s a line of dialogue, sometimes a lyric, and sometimes even a tempo marking in our music. Two years ago when I music directed a production of The Rocky Horror Show, we named our band The Satanic Mechanics (inspired by a lyric taken from “Sweet Transvestite”). Last year in a production of Little Shop of Horrors, inspired by the brief gore featured at the end of the first act, we called ourselves Gut Buckets (but you can’t just say it; you have to sing it to the tune of the Hot Pockets jingle). And recently for a production of Chicago, we had two drummers splitting the five-week run between them, which essentially meant we had two different bands, so we needed names for both of them! We ended up alternating between The Spread Eagles and The Dirty Bums (both names having been pulled from one of the show’s most famous numbers, “The Cell Block Tango”).

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It’s easier said than done, but try not to let your mistakes and insecurities discourage you from practicing your craft. Growing up, I was very much a perfectionist concerning just about everything I did, and I practically crippled myself with doubt whenever I hit too many walls when it came to practicing piano. I could be very impatient with myself, and it took me years to allow myself the courtesy of making mistakes without beating myself up afterwards. It doesn’t mean that I don’t still occasionally have bad days where I get frustrated with myself. If it does happen, though, I do allow myself some distance from whatever hurdle it is I’m trying to overcome before I attempt it again. Practicing in anger does me no good at all, and brief time away can help refresh my mood.

One other thing I try and make sure I do when practicing is give my weaknesses twice the time that I give my strengths. Sure, it’s fun playing the passages I’m good at over and over again, but that intimidating section I’m still struggling with will continue to be difficult if I never actually practice it. Yes, it will be tedious and slow-going and I may not enjoy it at first, but before I know it a week will have gone by and suddenly it’s that much less intimidating! Why was I ever afraid of that section in the first place? It’s so easy now! Because I gave it time. Slowly and in small increments, yes, but time nonetheless.

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Photo by the Humboldt Light Opera Company (https://www.hloc.org/)

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am gray-romantic asexual.

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

I’ve never encountered prejudice in my field. I was never really worried about judgment from within the theatre community, considering the vast diversity of orientations and identities I’ve seen among the people in it. Though I publically came out as asexual about four years ago, I’m sure there are still plenty of people I work with at places like the dance studio and the church I play for who have no idea I’m ace. The topic of my orientation is not one I feel comfortable just diving into without good reason, though if it happened to come up I think I’d be fine with divulging the information. The majority of people I work with outside the theatre community are pretty broad-minded, so I’d like to think I wouldn’t encounter any prejudice from them either.

I’ve only personally experienced a couple of moments of ignorance, and outside my field at that, but it was never anything hurtful. One instance was a person not knowing of the existence of the asexual spectrum (who listened intently when I offered to explain it to them), and the other was a person making a (mostly) harmless generalizing assumption about asexuality in an offhanded comment while in conversation with me.

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

The idea that because a person is asexual, it means that they don’t desire – or even understand – relationships at all is one that I’ve encountered enough that it’s starting to give me a headache. I’ve seen it perpetuated in various forms of media, from fanfiction to comics and then some. It feels like too many people zero in on the misconception that asexuality = NO SEX, and then too many of those people continue on and assume that without sex there can be no relationship, which is utter bullshit.

People can be asexual and enjoy and desire sex, just as they can be asexual and not enjoy or desire sex. People can be asexual and feel and desire romantic love, just as they can be asexual and not feel or desire romantic love.

The lack of sexual attraction towards others does NOT automatically disqualify the possible desire for romance and/or intimacy.

The sooner the general populace starts to understand this, the less headachy future me will be.

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

You do not have to figure yourself out right now. You have time. Some days it will feel like you needed to figure shit out weeks ago but the answer is nowhere in sight. Some days it won’t bother you at all. Just know that solving the puzzle that is you often takes more than a day. Sometimes it takes months, or even years. It’s possible you may never figure it out completely. But know that in the end, regardless of everything, your feelings are still valid. It sounds cheesy, but listen to your heart and your body. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If you think it feels right and you feel safe, maybe give that something a shot.

And if in the end using a label makes you feel that much more comfortable, use it. If the idea of using labels is uncomfortable, then don’t. You are no less valid regardless of what you do or don’t do. You are you. And you matter.

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

I don’t really have an online space dedicated to my craft. (I keep telling myself to make an artist page on Facebook or post recordings on Soundcloud, but so far no dice.) I do, however, occasionally post things on Instagram (at flamingo.hate.marshmallows) related to my adventures in musical theatre. I’ve got two shows in the works as we speak, so there should be some fresh musical-related content added soon!

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

Interview: Nya Holmes

Today we’re joined by Nya Holmes. Nya is a phenomenal musician who plays the bass. She plays in jazz bands and orchestras. When she’s not playing the bass, she plays the guitar just for fun. It’s clear that she’s a passionate and talented artist who loves music, 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 a classical and Jazz bass player, but above all that I am a musician. I can play all kinds of music, pretty much anything you put in front of me I’ll be able to figure out eventually, so long as it’s on my instrument. Music is my entire life. I dedicate all days of my week to go to a performing arts academy at my high school where I am in the top jazz and orchestral ensembles. I’m in outside ensembles as well, dedicating my Sundays to music from 10:30 am to 8:00 pm. I love it, and hope to do it for the rest of my life.

What inspires you?

Honestly, the thing that inspires me the most is my friends. They are all incredibly talented musicians, and we all motivate each other to be the best version of ourselves. Besides that, it’s listening to recordings of accomplished musicians and orchestras that truly inspiring. Listening to the Berlin Philharmonic, or people like Bozo Padzick inspires me to be the amazing bass player I know I can be. My ultimate goal would be to play in pit orchestras of Broadway musicals, so going to musicals really inspires me and gives me an extra boost of inspiration to continue my craft.

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

I became interested in my field through school. I began guitar in second grade, then started bass when I was in sixth grade. Before this however, music has been around me my entire life. I looked around and I wondered why I didn’t play and instrument and wanted to so badly. I felt like I didn’t have a talent, and I’m so grateful to have found one. I guess I always wanted something, and I hoped it would be creative because I am greatly influenced by my father, who is an artist and an animator. He went to art school, so that concept has never been foreign to me and with my mother signing me up for music classes at a young age I have definitely always wanted to be creative.

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?

Being a musician, it’s hard to include your unique touch to work that was written up to hundreds of years ago, but I guess whenever I perform I make these really dumb faces that make people think I’m upset or in pain, but I’m really just concentrating.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It sounds cheesy but just keep going. If your art is making you unhappy, take a break. Take a walk. Then come back to it. Always come back to it, remember why you love your art, then keep going.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a bi-romantic asexual.

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

I have been fortunate enough to not encounter any ace prejudice in my field but that’s most likely due to the fact that I live in Los Angeles, a very liberal place.

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

That I asexually reproduce. They don’t actually think that, but it’s the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when I come out to them as asexual. Other than that they usually don’t know what I’m talking about, and when I add into this that I also identify as bi, they become even more confused. It seems like they cannot distinguish between romantic and sexual attraction.

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

Find people who understand and support asexuality. It’s impossible to go through something alone, so find people who understand to talk to. If that’s not feasible, then read about asexual people who have gone through what you are going through.

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

I don’t post too much about music but the best way to contact me would be on my Instagram, which is at nyaholmie, I plan to post more about music in the very near future.

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

Interview: Michelle Shelf

Today we’re joined by Michelle Shelf. Michelle is a wonderful musician and an aspiring writer. For music, she plays in a variety of genres and mashes them up quite a bit. She obviously has quite a talent for it as well. For writing, Michelle has a number of ideas that she intends to put to the page eventually, including an LGBTQ+ fantasy and a book about four ace friends. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist who 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 “acespiring” musician and author that clearly loves puns (badum tss). Primarily, I am a singer/songwriter and I love to dabble in novel-writing. Music wise, I try to write indie-pop-acoustic rock type music, and I love to tell my stories through my music. Writing wise, I’m a giant procrastinator who comes up with novel ideas but can never finish them (think of me like Professor Finbarr Calamitous from Jimmy Neutron). My main novel idea that I hope to finish and have published someday, is a fantasy-type LGBT novel. My other idea is another LGBT novel focused on four a-spec friends.

What inspires you?

A few other artists inspire me, but I honestly think most of my inspiration comes from my friends who are incredibly talented, and from wanting to better myself. I’ve always envisioned myself on a stage performing music, and pretending to give my Grammy Award winning speech in front of the mirror may just be what inspires me that day.

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

As mentioned above, I have always seen myself performing. I’ve never wanted to do anything else, I’ve never dreamed of anything else. Music has just always been a passion of mine, ever since my mom signed me up for a music camp and my dad got me my first guitar.

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 sure if this is a unique feature, but I try to tell my stories through my music so when you listen to it, it sounds like an audio novel.

With my novels, I am that annoying writer your high school English teacher warned you about. Everything I write has a reason. I want to make sure that there is something new you realize every time you reread it. Foreshadowing is wonderful. I also make sure everything I write is LGBT, since there is so little of it out there.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep at it. It will get tough at times, that’s a given, but if it’s truly what you love and what makes you happy, don’t let any hate or discouragement get you down. Whether you make it to the big stage (like the Grammys or whatever it is in your artistic field) or not, if it makes you happy, and you enjoy creating, then you’ve made it. You’ve won.

Also, don’t tell yourself “I’ll remember this idea in the morning”. You won’t. Keep a pencil and pad next to your bed. Or notes in your phone. Don’t be lazy like me. Don’t convince yourself at 3 am that you’ll remember that incredible idea when you wake up in the morning. Because you won’t.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Ha. That’s a fun question. I am all over the place. For the sake of a quick answer, I just say I’m asexual. An umbrella term. But I may be grey or demi. I haven’t quite figured that out for myself. As for my sexuality and my romantic orientation, I’m a big question mark, with the only certainty being that I am “a-spec”.

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

I, personally, haven’t encountered prejudice or ignorance, but in the music field, having so many hit songs be about love and sex, I won’t be surprised if I ever do. Same with novels, so many books are based on romance, and what’s romance without sex, right? (I wish I could eye roll in text).  Books especially have this high desire to always have a romance, and always have a het-cis romance, and if they’re for older Y/A audiences and up, they always have some type of sexual desire or scene or something. It gets annoying that everything has to be centered around sex and romance. It doesn’t.  One of my novel ideas actually focuses on four a-spec friends, but again, I have yet to write it, because I am Professor Finbarr Calamitous and can never finish anything.

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

That you need sex in a relationship. All of my past relationships, as soon as I kept saying no, we magically started drifting apart. You don’t need sex to have love. I love fried ravioli, but I would never have sex with it.

Also, the annoying “You don’t know if you’ve never had it” comment. (insert that text eye roll again).

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

I’m there with you, but know that it is your decision. You  know what you like and what you don’t. You know what you want to do and what you don’t. And it may change overtime, and that’s okay, it does not invalidate what you were or who you are. You may even just umbrella term like I do, or not use a label at all. That is okay, you don’t need one. You are lovely and you are real and you are valid. Always believe that.

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

Music wise, I am on YouTube and Soundcloud. Please ignore my 13 year old self thinking that was a cool YouTube handle. I’ve tried every which way to change it.

Writing wise, follow me on Twitter at eyeliveonmusic and come watch me stress about my novel ideas and never write them. (Hopefully NaNoWriMo changes that this year).

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

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.