Interview: Erik Soriano

Today we’re joined by Erik Soriano. Erik is a wonderful visual artist from Miami, Florida with a very unique style. An emerging artist, he takes his inspiration from the Pop Art movement of the 60s and artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Having recently discovered his own asexuality, Erik has used his art to explore human bodies and sexuality through a visual medium. He started out doing mostly digital art but has recently branched out into acrylic paints. It’s clear he’s a dedicated artist with a bright future ahead of him. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WARNING: Some images in this interview contain nudity.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Ever since I re-discovered myself as an artist last year, I have been fascinated with the Pop Art movement of the 1960s, which in a way, is still prominent in our contemporary time. So far I have explored everyday objects, as well as sexuality and the human body as subject matters. I also have a fascination with typography as I am a graphic designer, and I love seeing typography on the human body. I’ve mostly worked with digital software, but I recently took on painting with acrylics, but I’m open to experimenting with other idea as I keep discovering myself.

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What inspires you?

As I mentioned earlier, Pop Art, the work of the masters, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, and Everyday objects, such as food, videogame characters, ya know things that aren’t seen as “fine” art. But given that I am asexual (like everyone else here I suppose lol) I am not afraid to explore sexuality visually through art. I love the idea of sex, fetishes, or deep desires, I think we shouldn’t be afraid to address those topics in general.

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

I’ve always been a creative, and I’ve always been good at sketching and drawing since I was little. I remember always drawing my favorite cartoons while watching tv or playing with my Nintendo games, but I also remember very vividly creating a huge art supplies case out of an empty pizza cardboard box! I used to watch this art show on Disney channel called “Art Attack” and I got crafty and creative with that pizza box, good memories indeed. Too bad my mom threw it in the garbage a month later. Eventually I didn’t do art until last year when I came back to it and started doing graphic design and sketching, and here I am now. Still growing and learning but eager and committed.

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

I experiment a lot, so I wouldn’t say I have a signature style yet, but I have found myself using the colors hot pink, green, red and back and white a lot. I do have a logo that I used to brand myself as a graphic designer but I don’t really include it in my art, nor do I tend to sign anything. I let the art speak for itself haha.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to follow your dream of being an artist of whatever media or field you choose. Time passes by way too fast and you don’t want to end up older and saying “what if I had tried it” the hardest but most important part is actually starting instead of just saying “I will”. Also it may sound overrated and cliché but always practice, experiment, until you discover who you are and where you want to be. But most importantly, have fun while doing art, or better yet, don’t do art- but be Your art.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m sorry for repeating myself but, Like I said. I re-discovered myself in 2017, both as an artist and as a person. And after careful research and finding AVEN, I now identify as a Homoromantic Asexual.

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

So far I haven’t really experienced anything bad since I rarely speak or get asked about my sexual preference. But I would handle it normally and instead of getting mad if I am mistreated, I would educate those people on what sexuality is and what it isn’t.

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

The few people I’ve spoken to about my asexuality, just think that this is a passing phase and that I just haven’t “met the right person” if you know what I mean. They believe that it is impossible for a human being to not be attracted sexually to anyone.

blue-portrait
Blue Portrait

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

First, get to know and love yourself, if you ever feel weird or that there something wrong with you for not experiencing sexual desire like “normal” people do. Just remember that in your life, what you are and want matter first, and also research online about what asexuality is, the aven website is in my opinion the best source of information wherein you can actually join forums and ask questions and there are answers, you can also chat with fellow asexual people and such. But don’t feel bad for who you are, always love yourself first and take things with patience.

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

I am emerging so it’s not like my work has yet showcased at any gallery (I’m hoping it will happen soon) but you can find me on Instagram at erikgsoriano, or my main website: www.eriksoriano.com.

Thank you for having me! It has been a pleasure, and I’m looking forward to reading other artists interviews on here.

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Hylian Hero
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Snake Kiss

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

Interview: August

Today we’re joined by August. August is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in drawing people. They focus on body diversity, drawing bodies in a variety of shapes and sizes. They also enjoy drawing transgender and nonbinary characters as well. They have a very refreshing approach to art and believe people can be beautiful without being oversexualized or fetishized. Their work is gorgeous, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking part in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hello! My name is August and I use the pronouns They/Them. I’m currently a university student working on my BA for Multimedia. My art is more often digital and focuses on women of color. I also really enjoy drawing transgender and nonbinary characters as well. It wasn’t always my focus, but the reason I shifted to drawing this particular genre is because I myself am a person of color and it’s hard to find artwork that doesn’t just fetishize our bodies, but empowers us. With that said, my main focus is heavier set bodies that fit “media standards”. Bodies are beautiful and I want to be able to portray a love for every shape and size with honor and dignity. I’ve heard people describe my mission as “political” but I don’t think it’s political to want a female body to appear beautiful without oversexualization.

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What inspires you?

What inspires me on a regular basis is music. Music is such a big part of my life and with all of my anxiety, it does a wonderful job of keeping me grounded. It doesn’t happen with every song I listen to, but every now and again I’ll listen to something and it will paint such a vivid image in my mind that I have to grab a sketchbook and start a new piece. It isn’t always immediately obvious how music inspires each piece, but I think that’s something I can hold for myself and not feel like I have to explain to anyone. It’s a personal experience, after all.

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

I wouldn’t say I always wanted to be a visual artist. But for as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to create something. In middle school I was part of the after school newspaper, and wrote stories for each issue. Sometimes I wrote poetry and most other times I would sit alone and draw in a notebook. What eventually stuck with me the most was my visual artistry and ever since then I’ve been dedicated to improving my craft.

I suppose one of the main reasons I became interested in the arts is the fact that I was born with a physical disability that prevented me from being incredibly active. Art was one of the few things I could do that didn’t involve running around and it really means a lot to me in terms of expressing myself. Everyone deserves an outlet, whatever that may mean to them and for me, that is art.

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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?

Nothing that I’ve intentionally kept secret! I do have one quirk though and that is I only draw four fingers per hand. I don’t have a particular reason why and sometimes people will point it out, thinking I made a mistake. I suppose it dates back to when I started really focusing on drawing people. There were some artists I followed that drew in a cartoonish style and their characters all had four fingers per hand. I adopted that style and since then it’s just always been a thing of mine. I think it’s cute!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

The biggest piece of advice I can give is to never compare yourself to others. Everyone is on their own path and it’s not fair to judge your progress by theirs. You’re not trying to be exactly like them, so why does their own talent matter to you?

If anything, I would say compare yourself to yourself. On days where I feel frustrated with my art for whatever reason, I look back on past pieces I’ve done. It always helps me, because I can see what I’ve improved on and where I used to be before. Something else I’d also like to offer is that if you draw every day, or even every now and again, you have a talent. You have an artistic bone inside you and the only way it can grow is practice and repetition. Anyone can be an artist if they put time and energy into their craft.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual. It’s something I’ve struggled with my whole life and it’s only been recently that I felt the term “asexual” described my feelings. So far, it’s been working just fine!

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

Sometimes when I create characters, people like to know their romantic backstories. I always get a confused look when I tell them a certain character isn’t really interested in the sexual aspect of a relationship. Normally I just shrug off any off hand opinion. It’s my art, my character and my choice.

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

The most common, which I think anyone under the umbrella can relate to, is that people assume I’m just confused about sex and that I shouldn’t judge it if I haven’t tried it. Another one is that I’ve been told it isn’t real love if you don’t have sex. Which I think is a ridiculous assumption to make and only exists to pressure someone into sexual activity against their personal comfort. If anyone tries to pressure you into a sexual situation and you’re not comfortable, leave. You’re not a bad person for taking control of your body.

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

Everything is okay. You’re okay. I’m someone who likes to be labeled, because I’ve lived so long without knowing who I was and why I was feeling the way I was that I felt lost and confused. Sometimes I convinced myself it was a phase and I’d grow out of it eventually. But labels help me understand who I am and what I’m about. Other people hate labels. They don’t want to fit into another box and decide that whatever they feel is good enough without a name. And that’s okay too. If you want a label, keep doing research and talking to various members of the queer community. If you don’t want a label, then simply learn to be comfortable with just existing and focus on what makes you happy. There’s no time limit and if it take another week or 5 years to figure yourself out, that’s okay too. And don’t forget, labels change. You aren’t a liar if you chose one label today and another tomorrow. It’s part of the learning process.

I believe in you my friend.

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

I’m hoping to establish an online presence again soon, but for now, a few of my pieces can be found on my personal Tumblr: blackjackink.tumblr.com

It’s a bit of a mess, but like I said, I’m going to try and create a personal space for my art. Stay tuned!

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

Interview: Jones

Today we’re joined by Jones. Jones is a phenomenal musician and visual artist. He specializes in a variety of music genres and plays no less than six instruments. When he’s not creating music, Jones does a lot of visual art including graphic design and drawing. His work shows an interesting use of color and beautiful visuals. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

The artist
The Artist

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

The only place I fit in this world is behind my guitar (or PC). I’m the weirdo loner that your parents probably warned you about. (And if they didn’t warn you about weirdo loners then you should get new parents). My name is Jones and I like creating music, filming, writing, editing, producing, photography, drawing, and graphic design. I love mimicking psychedelic art (cause the 60’s were awesome . . . duh lol) but my real passion is music. I taught myself six instruments (thanks YouTube!) and decided to get involved in producing my own work. I especially love beat making and sound designing. Anything that keeps me in my room. I’m an introvert. Outside to me is the hallway lol.

Asli Omar
Asli Omar

What inspires you?

Pot, Anime, and music… well that’s the vague answer… What really inspires me are events in my life whether it’s friendships, manic depression, music, or…. pot. I normally use my experiences in songs. I’m a huge lofi indie rock fan so I like to think of myself as the millennial version of Daniel Johnston (Shout out to the few people who know who Daniel Johnston is lol) but rap and metal are another form of inspiration.

I’m a huge fan of Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler the creator, 2pac, Wu-tang, Future, Migos, Kung-fu Kenny and J Cole. My favorite metal bands that inspire my “Dark art” so to speak are: Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Bathory, Acid Bath, BreakDown of sanity, Killswitch Engage, Alice in Chains, Mercyful Fate, Straight Line Stitch, Heaven Shall Burn and Uncle Acid.

But I’m a huge Indie rock nerd. I love Beat Happening, Beach fossils, Car Seat Headrest, Neutral Milk Hotel, Beulah (basically anything from the Elephant 6 label), A great big pile of leaves, Empire Empire I was a lonely estate, Marietta, The Ton Tons, Modern Baseball, and the War on Drugs.

Demon child
Demon Child

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

I wanted to be Goku when I was a kid… but that didn’t seem like a lucrative career choice so I opted out to drawing comics. From there I was hooked into art and drawing. I was always introverted as a kid. I stayed alone and watched cartoons all the time and tried making my own cartoons. I was always the weird kid at my school and I never fit in so I just avoided people and focused on my artwork. I found everyone to be distracting and I only hung out with people that shared my interests in art. It really freaked out my parents because I would stay home and watch cartoons all day then stay up at night acting out what my cartoons would say and do. I was living in my own world of art. It was pretty chill.

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?

Lo and Cho (Lo’s the dude and Cho’s the girl). They were doodles associated with my music because I was inspired by Beat Happening’s first album and the child like appeal of it. I wanted to mimic that for my lofi music. I also made comics with these two that I may or may not release. It’s mostly about tripping acid and contemplating life as a drawing inside of a huge notebook of drawings.

kinky sheets
Kinky Sheets

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you’re a musician, just starting out I’ll be straightforward in saying this: nobody is going to like you. Don’t ever get discouraged by this fact though. When the Doors had their first show, nobody came. Few years later, they had riots at their concerts because people lost their minds hearing Jim Morrison’s voice. Any skill takes time and it will take a while for some to build up a fan base whether you draw or sing. My best advice is to create something that changes YOUR world first. When I first started making music I’d put it on my iPod and pretend like I was a famous person before I started uploading songs online. I used these moments to critique and rewrite my work and improve my sound. Don’t worry about what anyone else says because your talent is something that they cannot take away. If you want your moment you’re gonna have to stay motivated because time and practice goes a long way. Some people blow up overnight while others never do, that’s just how it is. You just gotta stay focused and do it for you and you alone. This is YOUR world of art, use it to create something meaningful for yourself.

Frostburg Sunset
Frostburg Sunset

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m somewhere between Asexual and Demi/grey sexual. I’m still figuring it out but I find it hard to be attracted to people. Sometimes I can get curious (key word: sometimes) but when I notice someone it’s like “Oh He’s handsome” or “she’s pretty” but it doesn’t lead me to sexual feelings. I’ve had mild interests in sex but not to the point where I wanted to experiment because sex and body parts always looked weird to me. I was always interested in voyeurism and fetishes like BDSM, macrophilia, etc. because I got to notice body types without really touching them. My motto in life was always Snack, Fap, and Nap lol.

I never cared about flirting signals from others and I didn’t reciprocate any feelings whether it was from men or women. In late high school/early college I thought I was heterosexual but when I had sex for the first time it was kinda weird (Nothing wrong with my partner, she was wonderful, I just wasn’t really invested during the times we… you know). I tried experimenting with both men and women and neither really interested me. The only time I actually liked someone is through personality.

But just because I’m asexual/demi doesn’t mean sometimes I don’t get curious. I feel like that’s just a part of human nature to notice members of your own species and to identify with them. Sometimes I notice people and although for the most part it’s difficult to sexualize them sometimes I fantasize (again keyword: sometimes). For me it’s mostly from a voyeuristic standpoint where I’m not involved or I’m looking in from a third person viewpoint. My fantasies are not as common as regular people but sometimes it happens. For the most part, they’re just thoughts and I don’t really have any interest in acting on them but I don’t want to be seen as anti-sex because I’m an ace/demi. I’m indifferent when it comes to sex because it’s not that important to me and I can definitely live without it but if I ever fell in love with somebody’s personality I also wouldn’t mind exploring our buttons together.

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Giantess Ayisha

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

Oh yeah. My friends used to think I was only asexual because I couldn’t get laid. When you’re a black male you have to be this hyper-masculine oversexualize creature and here I am avoiding anything with parents LOL. I probably handled ace prejudice poorly when it happened to me.

But when I came out I didn’t fit in with my friends. All they did was have sex with each other and I felt suffocated by this because I was the odd man out who didn’t want to be touched.

I was also very misogynistic back when I first came out because I used to think hypersexual girls were disgusting. I’m not like that anymore and I now believe that women have the right to sexually express themselves any way they want to without anyone’s opinion but back when I first came out I had a different mindset. It started when the girls that wanted to sleep with me were more puzzled that I wasn’t as hypersexual as they were and they just simply marked me off as gay and spread rumors about me. This lead to the dissolution of a lot of female relationships because I felt weirded out that there was this unspoken pressure to form sexual bonds with them. I became the odd man out not only around my female friends but my male friends also and for that I became a slut shaming bitter misogynist and a loner. Many of my female friends were hypersexual and looked at me differently because I was this anti-sexual Queer that didn’t fit in with any group. Again I’m not misogynistic anymore but back then I had a different mindset and a lot of conflicting emotions that really came in the way of a lot of friendships with other people. For some time, I avoided girls because many of the females around me preached about their sex lives. This was also common with my male friends. I just started avoiding everyone. I especially avoided female friends because I was the “diary” to some and I didn’t want to be. (I also learned that a lot of my female friends could be very Queerphobic.)

What was worse was that some of my male friends would avoid me because I wasn’t interested in girls while others would accuse me of making up asexuality to get “closer to sleeping” with their girlfriends. It was insulting because it was like my sexuality didn’t matter to anyone. Even when I told them “I’m asexual, I never slept with any of your girlfriends” they would give me puzzled looks and brush me off. It was even harder explaining my asexuality to friends that I used to have crushes on. Every crush that I ever had I liked them for their personality. Some instances it got sexual but I was much more interested in their persona than the sex. When I came out some of these friends would hang it over my head like “didn’t you used to like me, what happened?” etc. I felt broken because I thought I was heterosexual then the more I experimented with people the more I realized how different my sex drive was compared to theirs. It was like I couldn’t shake my old hetero identity and my old identity wasn’t even the real me. It was an awkward time. I even used to joke about how college “ruined my sexuality” because I thought rejection was the cause of my lack of sex drive but it was the simple fact that I was always different and experimentation with both sexes showed me how different my sexuality was compared to my peers. Now I just avoid making friends and talk to people online. It’s easier to find people who like the same interests as me online instead of the real world.

frostburg watercolor
Frostburg Watercolor

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

That asexuality is the result of a mental illness. It’s insulting because there are plenty of Aces who ARE NOT mentally ill who live perfectly normal lives and there are Aces who do have mental illnesses that do not relate to their sexual orientation. It makes it difficult for Aces who actually suffer from mental illnesses to seek help because they fear that their entire sexual orientation will be put under the microscope. ASEXUALITY IS NOT A MENTAL ILLNESS IT’S AN ORIENTATION JUST LIKE OTHER SEXUAL ORIENTATIONS. DON’T FEEL ASHAMED IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE MENTALLY ILL AND ASEXUAL BECAUSE THE TWO ARE NOT RELATED IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM.

Hello (1)
Hello

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

Don’t take your sexuality so seriously. Feelings change and shift all the time and in the end Gay, Straight, Trans, and Asexuality are all labels. If you follow your heart and find what you love out of life the right people will come along eventually and you can establish any relationship you want with another person (just don’t be a creep about it). Don’t be worried if you’re struggling to find your sexual orientation. There’s nothing wrong with staying to yourself and there’s nothing wrong with experimenting. Just trust yourself to make the best decisions when the time comes and know that you don’t need all the answers all the time. Sometimes life just happens…

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

https://soundcloud.com/94sheets
https://apppk.bandcamp.com/ <- For Lofi/indie pop fans
https://apppk.bandcamp.com/album/projct-skybomb-cloudy-dreams-forever <- Chillwave beats

lianne la havas watercolor
Lianne la Havas Watercolor

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

Interview: Sophia Hodgson

Today we’re joined by Sophia Hodgson. Sophia is an amazing young visual artist who does a mix of original work and fanart. She uses bright colors and lines to bring vivid images to life. She’s a talented and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Abstract
Abstract

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My work takes 3 forms: fan art, assignments, and anxiety. My personal work tends to revolve around feeling like an outsider, feeling empty, or feeling useless. I like using bright colors and big shapes.

What inspires you?

Dynamic lines, pretty colors, simple forms, and because I’m a student, deadlines,

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

Not always. For a while I wanted to be a teacher, then I wanted to be a police officer, then a librarian, etc. I don’t think I settled on artist until Freshman year of high school, and even then I wasn’t totally sure. I got interested because it’s always been a fun thing I enjoyed doing, and I think I’m pretty good at it!

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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?

It’s weird, but I’ve been including fish in my work a lot lately. Especially goldfish, I love painting goldfish. There’s something about their blank stares that lets you project any emotion onto them.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Draw things you hate. Do things you hate, and don’t hesitate to ask for help! I hated painting for years but now oil and watercolor are some of my favorite media. I realized I had never really learned how to use them and sometimes it’s nice to have someone explain how you actually use turpentine.

Nine of Swords
Nine of Swords

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual/Aromantic

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, day to day life is a different story though.

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

That I’m too young to know I’m asexual, despite everyone else my age being perfectly capable of knowing if they are straight or not.

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

Asexual doesn’t mean alone and neither does Aromantic! Romantic love isn’t the only kind out there, and anyone who doesn’t respect you isn’t your friend.

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

My Instagram is xx_g0ldf1sh_xx and my art Tumblr is xxg0ldf1shxx!

rose 6
Rose 6

Thank you, Sophia, 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 visual artist who specializes in digital mediums. She draws mostly characters and famous figures. There’s a remarkable realism in her work and some of her drawings are incredibly expressive. She is clearly very talented and has an amazing eye for detail, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WARNING: One picture in this interview contains nudity.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw art mostly of characters and famous figures. Occasionally I draw a subject of my own creation as a representation of an idea, but almost all of my art features recognizable subjects. Although I can draw realism using traditional mediums of pencil and paper, it’s frankly easier, more fun, and less expensive to draw digitally in a far less realistic style.

What inspires you?

Because my drawings are mostly fan art for things that I like, the love for those things is what drives me to want to produce art for it. I like the feeling of contributing something to the fandom. By no means am I a famous fan artist, but a few of my pieces have amassed some good recognition from blogs from that fandom.

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

Somewhat embarrassingly, although not uncommon, I became interested in art in sixth grade when I saw an anime-style drawing. I’ve always loved to draw, but I think that was the moment where I became a die-hard art fanatic. In high school, I realized that I should try my hand (literally) at styles other than anime, and branched into realism. However, my “style” is by no means realistic.

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. The only kind of recognizable element to my art is that I use very vibrant color pallets, and (usually) do line art in a non-black color.

feminine
Feminine

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice, and don’t get hung up on how “good” you are. Art should be about the fun of creating something, not the end result. Even if you think that something sucks, there will always be someone who thinks it’s really cool.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Well, this is a question I myself am still wondering about. For a long time I identified as asexual biromantic, but now I think I’m demisexual biromantic.

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

In the field of art, there is usually a bit more acceptance about someone’s self-identity. I will say that although I myself have been privileged enough to not experience them, there are some issues with asexual intersectional representation. Asexual POC aren’t represented well enough.

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

That asexuality just means you haven’t found the right person yet, and that demisexuality just means you’re not a slut (although most of us know that there is no such thing as a slut except those who take back and own that label). For me, personally, I did think I was asexual until I dated some (for a long time) and I developed sexual attraction for that person. One friend in particular has used that as “See? You just needed to find the right person!” justification, but the fact is that just because it was the case for me, that doesn’t automatically make it the case for everyone who identifies as asexual.

PicsArt_06-22-12.32.48

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

Some people really feel the need to label themselves so that they have a sense of belonging, and that’s okay. But if you’re stressing yourself out over what label fits best, just remember that asexuality is a spectrum and its okay to use the word “asexual” as your label no matter where specifically on the spectrum you’re trying to find out where you fall.

At the end of the day, the greatest sense of belonging you can have about your sexual orientation is not from a label, it’s not from other community members, it’s not from friends and family. It’s from knowing yourself, being kind to yourself, and accepting yourself.

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

They can follow me at pohlarbearpants and search the “my art” tag.

PicsArt_06-20-10.37.11

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

Interview: Will Hernandez

Today we’re joined by Will Hernandez. Will is a phenomenal and versatile visual artist. He specializes in drawing, both in traditional and digital mediums. Will does both illustrations and comics, as well as regular drawing. When he’s not drawing, Will also dabbles in sculpting, photography, and even animation. It’s clear he has an admirable amount of passion as well as talent, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a visual artist. I enjoy drawing, inking, and watercolor painting both traditionally and digitally. I illustrate as well as make comics from time to time, and I mostly enjoy doing so in a more “cartoony” style. From time to time I’ll sculpt, photograph, and even animate, but just plain ol’ drawing is where my heart’s at.

What inspires you?

Honestly, science is what inspires most of my work. Nature, robotics, physics, astronomy, all these concepts and more are what really interest me. When you look closely at them you can really come to appreciate the universe we live in a little better. You learn that reality really is stranger than fiction. And you also realize that some of the biggest surprises are a lot closer than you think.

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Forest Walk

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

I honestly hadn’t considered pursuing art as a career until I entered high school. Earlier in my life art was nothing more than a personal endeavor, more of a hobby. It wasn’t until I enrolled in a video class, and met my video teacher, which was when I really started to pick up art as a life goal. He was very kind and supportive to all his students, especially when it came to those who showed artistic ability. He suggested I look into doing cartooning or animation as a career, which was the first time I had even though about my artwork as something profitable. But aside from that, I’ve always loved to draw, paint, sculpt, and just create in general. I just hadn’t considered myself an “artist” until later.

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Forest Walk

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?

Aside from my main signature (which is present on most of my artwork) not really.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you ever ask anyone how to get better at art and they tell you to do a lot of it, that really is the answer, the one and only answer. Do a lot of art, and never give up if you really love it. Also, be sure to look for like minds, make friends with other artists because it will really help you stay motivated. It’s a long and often times difficult road to travel, but what you get out of it in the end makes it all worth it. And be sure to keep past artwork, you’ll want to see how much you progress as time goes by 😉

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Mermay

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual, though I’ll develop romantic attractions from time to time depending on the person. Also I’m not really sex repulsed, it’s actually a curiosity of mine, but more in a science way than in a “do it” sort of way. But in general I try to use my labels lightly. We’ve all got our own unique point on the spectrum of things, a place that nobody has or ever will again occupy. For the sake of explaining an experience labels are great, but I don’t think that we should be confined to them because subtly that separates us from each other, which simply isn’t the case. I’m asexual yes, but more importantly I’m me and I’ve got my own unique experiences.

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Mmm

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

Luckily for me most people have been so kind and understanding whenever I choose to bring it up. Though from time to time there may be some misunderstandings which I can typically explain away with ease (yes I know what “the sex thing” is)

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

Like I said, I know what sex is, it’s not like I don’t…

Robot Aestetic (Color)
Robot Aestetic

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

DUUUDE! DO WHAT YOU’RE LITTLE QUESTIONING HEART FEELS IS RIGHT! AND BE THE BEST YOU YOU CAN POSSIBLY BE! I know that’s kinda blunt but it’s really what it all boils down to 🙂

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

You can find my work on my main art blog at willhernandezdraws
Or you can find my slice o’ life comics at willhernandezcomics
And if you like you can support me at https://ko-fi.com/willhernandezdraws

I can’t wait to meet you all!
See you around 😉

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Watch Me

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

Interview: Kodiak Rain

Today we’re joined by Kodiak Rain, who also goes by Kodi. Kodi is a phenomenal visual artist who does a bit of everything. Ze enjoys colored pencils and watercolors mostly, although ze has worked with clay, acrylics, and oil paints as well. Kodi also illustrated a graphic novel written by zer son entitled Trayvalle Tales (it can be found on Amazon, here). Ze are incredibly passionate about art and zer work shows a remarkable amount of depth and complexity as well as a phenomenal use of color, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to zer for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I work with a variety of mediums from oil paint to acrylic to watercolors, sculpting with clay, drawing in pencil, ink or colored pencil or a combination of those, pastels, charcoal, using a Wacom drawing pad to create digital art, woodcuts and printmaking. Of all those things, I think my current favorites are colored pencils and watercolor paints. I like how those methods are easy to use so that I am able to work quickly without a lot of set up or clean up.

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What inspires you?

Nature is my biggest inspiration. I wish to capture its beauty while also offering a perspective on it that reminds others that we are part of nature and that nature is alive all around us. Even more alive than we tend to give it credit for on a daily basis. Emotions also inspire me. I want my images to evoke feelings although I don’t always want to determine ahead of time what those feelings will be. And finally symbolism inspires me. When working with images, there are so many ways to express different ideas, emotions and messages through symbols both ancient and more modern. It is fun to think about what symbols are universal and what may be very individualistic.

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

My mother was a professional artist all my life so I was exposed to art from the beginning. It wasn’t what I dreamed of being, it was just something I loved to do and found myself doing most, in fact with every opportunity I was creating something. I was fortunate that I had access to so many materials and was encouraged by my mom. I eventually discovered that I simply cannot live without making art. It has been many things for me. It has been my saving grace, my therapy, a way to tell my own story and the stories of others, a way to communicate my character and a way to express things I find hard to say in words.

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

I often include spirals because the spiral is found in the double helix of DNA and also in the vastness of a galaxy. It has mathematical qualities and just seems to be the most magical of symbols to me. I also like to draw eyes in my trees (not always but sometimes) to symbolizes that nature is watching us and judging our actions. I guess I am a bit of an agnostic pagan.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Draw every day! Try every medium! Find what you love and don’t stop. Develop tough skin so that if you are criticized or critiqued, you will hear what is beneficial to you and toss out what hurts. Do it for YOU.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I guess I am somewhere between asexual and demisexual and often sex repulsed.

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

I find more prejudice about being agender than asexual because I think people haven’t wrapped their heads around the idea that someone can be genderless. I think though that my sexuality doesn’t come up often enough for me to experience prejudice, although I know that some people think that it means something is wrong with me. I even had someone take it personally as if it were a judgment about their sexual ability when in fact it has nothing to do with other people and is simply all about me.

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

I guess that being asexual means that there is something wrong with me physically or that I just haven’t been with a good lover or found the right person. Also that I am a prude. I am not a prude and can talk about anything regarding sex with an open mind AND my asexuality is not about other people. It is all about me, what I feel and how I identify.

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

Just be true to yourself and know that you are healthy. What matters most is what makes you happy, what makes you feel good about yourself and your life. Nothing else matters as much as that. Remember that most of the time, people are projecting their own experiences and ideas onto each other so know yourself and don’t worry about what other people think.

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

I used to use Tumblr under a different name but I have forgotten the account info for that so now I have my own blog here on WordPress: kodiakrainblog.wordpress.com. It is fairly new but I plan to share my artwork and my life story there. I hope you check it out and subscribe if you like what you see!

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birdseed

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