Today we’re joined by Sarah. Sarah is an amazingly talented visual artist who hails from upstate New York. She specializes in animals and fantasy. Her attention to detail is absolutely extraordinary. I was truly awestruck at some of the animal portraits on her site (the tiger in particular is incredible) and the pictures she sent to go with this interview are also quite amazing. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I focus mostly on animal and fantasy subjects, as well as fanart. I’ve done works in several different mediums, but my favorites at the moment are acrylic paints, oil pastels, and digital painting. For digital work, I use Photoshop and Art Rage for most things, while inkscape is my go-to for stock imagery and most of the designs I put on Zazzle.
What inspires you?
Color, nature, the work of other artists, and music. I find sometimes a good song is what it takes to break me out of an art block.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
When I was really little, my oldest brother brought home a “How To Draw Cats” book from the elementary school library. We spent a lot of time drawing together and comparing our progress. Eventually we both moved on to other things, until Toonami (an anime based programming after school on Cartoon Network) came around. He liked DBZ, and I was really fond of Sailor Moon. I drew pictures of her constantly–and they were terrible looking back, but it’s what really got me started. From there, I became a fan of the Legend of Zelda series and began drawing quite a bit of that. Shortly after, I started to spend a lot of time on Neopets, and began to enter art based contests on there. That time period was when I made the most improvement.
I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to do art full time, but I do commissions on the side to help flush out my budget a bit.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?
I sign my work, but that’s pretty much it right now. I’ve always wanted a brand of some sort, but I’ve yet to come up with a design I like. As far as features, I tend to use very bold colors. My art teachers would get frustrated with me because more often than not I would paint “from the tube” rather than bother mixing paints on a pallet. I prefer mixing right on the canvas, and using layers and opacities to bring out different tints of color.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Keep practicing! It really is like any other muscle or skill–if you put it down for a while, you regress and it take s a little while to get back into the swing of things. Everyone gets frustrated, everyone struggles with it now and then–even the artists you look up to.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Asexual. Possibly aromantic, though I’m not opposed to the idea of a romantic relationship if I find the right person. I gave dating a couple of tries and felt incredibly claustrophobic and forced in both cases; neither relationship lasted more than a month.
I’ve always been ace, but I didn’t know what it was or that it was even something you could be until I was halfway through college. I took some sexuality quiz online and that was the result I got, and I remember feeling quietly stunned that I finally had some kind of answer to that nagging feeling that I wasn’t experiencing the same thing that my peers were.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Not so much in the art field, but I have faced quite a bit of ignorance otherwise. I rarely bring it up in real life, but the one occasion that comes to mind was during an annual training tour with my national guard unit. Somehow the discussion of sexuality came up and I mentioned I was ace and I immediately got bombarded with every ignorant reply in the book (it doesn’t exist, you just haven’t found the right guy, that’s a plant thing, I could fix that, etc.). I kind of just let the subject drop because they weren’t letting me get a word in, anyways, and I’m not fond of conflict. I’ve also had people in real life pressuring me about why I don’t prioritize finding a relationship. My mom likes to drop the “I want more grandbabies” line–she has no idea that I’m Ace, either–neither did the manager at work that decided she had any business asking me what I did outside of work and “how are you ever going to meet guys?”
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
There seems to be this idea that you have to be sex-repulsed to qualify as being asexual, when that isn’t always the case. I personally am not opposed to the thought of trying it (I mean, who wouldn’t be curious about something society shoves in your face on a near constant basis?), but because I don’t experience sexual attraction and I’m not terribly motivated to be in any romantic relationship, that kind of means sex isn’t really on my to-do list by default.
It’s my understanding that sexuality in general has little to do with the act of sex itself, and instead is used to describe what you’re attracted to naturally. An asexual can have sex and still be asexual, just as a gay man could have sex with a woman and still be gay.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
You’re not alone.
If you’re like me, you wondered at some point if love was even real, or if it was just something in story books and fictional tales, and that people in real life were just playing along and didn’t actually feel anything magical. That view got me into a few hard spots while I was growing up, but I had nothing to go on but my own experience.
Obviously now I know why I feel that way, but I still feel like I’m missing out on something now and then. Just remember that you are capable of love; it may not be the same star-struck sort of love people describe–especially if you’re Aro like I suspect that I am–but you love people in a way that’s unique and special to you. Those closest to you will understand and accept that ❤
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I have quite a few different platforms I use~
And my website: http://www.sasust.com/
Thank you, Sarah, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.