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.

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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.

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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.

Forestwalkcolor
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.

ForestwalkGif
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 😉

Mermay (COLOR)
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 😉

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

Interview: Jai M. King

Today we’re joined by Jai M. King, who was interviewed quite a while ago. Their company has since evolved into something almost completely new. Jai is a fascinating and unique artist that has a style that’s entirely their own. They’re behind Madjaw Dolls, a brand gearing toward multimedia arts. They do a lot of illustrations but also quite a lot of writing as well. Jai is currently working on a science fiction series, which is part of the Madjaw Dolls universe. Based on their interview, Jai is a fascinating and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

(WARNING: Some images contain nudity and are risque)

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King watercolor

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Madjaw Dolls is brand gearing towards the multimedia arts. There is one main universe in which all products and creations stem from. The stories under MJD combine influences of retro-fantasy, raypunk and Grimm’s fairytales to create a distinct branch of dark tales that are both innovative in terms of character and world design but also blunt in terms of political and social commentary.

My work ranges from traditional illustration to digital most recently with working on the IPad Pro. I am also going into producing for multimedia to expand MJD so I am also a creative director in collaborative projects.

Currently I’ve been in the process of producing a science fiction series called “Sector M.I.” which takes you through a multi-world war. The world design is very distinct to the universe in which a multitude of my stories derive from. Most of what will be seen at Madjaw Dolls exists within that universe.

What inspires you?

My inspirations range from the array of media I grew up on to naturally being attracted to retro-media such as anime/manga from the 1970s-1990s to western influences such as Ralph Bakshi’s “Cool World” to much of the bizarre fantasy works from the 1970s and also the strange futuristic narrative of 1970s funk music. I also grew up loving the Grimm Brothers which has influenced my work and story process quite a bit. I love creating words that feel at least a little uncomfortable. A lot of my work has a warped quality that I’ve developed purposefully for the stories. I’m not so much about supplying reality as I’m about creating something entirely new.

Since my last interview with Asexual Artists I do think I’ve returned to my roots a little more with my influences. Every project I take on entails a good amount of research which I personally love as I often find that people tend to overlook just how much time and research it takes to develop a well-crafted creative process. I think my influences change the more I grow and learn.

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Kingfin

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

I’ve been illustrating since I was little though around 17 was when I landed my first job illustrating a children’s book, though I didn’t know very much about illustrating at the time and taking on the process of illustrating a book was hard, I learned a lot about what to do and what not to do when illustrating books. I went back and forth for a while as I was potentially good at so many things, ultimately illustration is where my roots have always been, I’ve been looking into multimedia producing for the very reason that I can expand in the future through different platforms and ways to tell the stories, starting with graphic novels; which the graphic novels under MJD will be a combination of written and illustrative narrative, a format I’ve been working on to be a little more unique to MJD.

I learned quite a bit in the last year after interning for another comic artist and developing sound connections with illustrators and comic artists who’ve helped me a lot with both communications and not to let the mainstream dictate my vision.

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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?

At the moment, I’m working on the first installation under “Sector M.I.” Which is currently titled “The Hanged Man’s Plan” though changes are always possible in editing. I’ve been quiet about much of the story, in previous experiences I’ve had, I’ve learned to do so, haha. What I will say is that HMP occurs 200 years prior to the main events of “Sector M.I.” It was a story I started last year, nixed, and then decided that it had more potential as it establishes the birth of a lineage with one of the main characters of SMI, King. At least right now, all of the stories will be told in relatively short books, similar to a children’s book, but with a more mature story. HMP is relatively benign compared to what I have lined up for the future editions in the series. All of the stories cover particularly controversial subjects, one of the mains in HMP suffers through a smear campaign within his own workplace, and there’s a huge focus on the destruction and outcome of jealousy as well as laying the groundwork for the world seen in “Sector M.I”

The story has undergone rights and registration along with the entirety of the Sector M.I. series so it’s a matter of completely the first story. I’ve been experiencing the ever-so-lovely world of publishing but I’ll be happy when it’s done.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Take pride in the effort you put into your work, but always be open to learn more. It’s a process first and foremost, there is no golden finish line where you’ve made it as an artist. The moment you close yourself off to growth, you’ve basically cheated yourself from the next level of your journey. It takes time, and at times it really sucks. Also, if you have an idea you believe in, don’t bend to please other people. I’ve learned that the hard way throughout my journey so far, there are literally thousands of ways to be an artist, if one idea doesn’t work, keep pushing and don’t take no for an answer when you know what you have to offer. Also process the rights to your work, haha I also learned that the hard way after experiencing content theft!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m still asexual and aromantic, I don’t really know if that will ever change.

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

Yes and no. It’s not so much in my field as it has been coming out of art school. Oddly enough, most would think art school is particularly accepting of every type of person but I’ve learned the opposite. My art tends to trickle over into my daily outfits, I still work as a creative director for photo shoots from time to time, so I love to express through creating extravagant outfits, but I’ve found that with creating flamboyant outfits people tend to assume you’re an equally flamboyant person. Flamboyance has its own set of stereotypes as people assume I’m someone who goes out and dates a lot or dressing up to impress others. I’m a bit of a contradiction in that sense, how I dress is mostly because I love to create myself every day, it’s an extension of my art to me. I’ve faced the expectation to “stop being ace” because of what someone else expects or wants and it’s very uncomfortable. It’s disturbing that much of society doesn’t accept no as a valid answer when it comes to relationships (this is when “no” should be taken as an answer!).

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

I would say for me that it’s a phase. Or that I’m waiting for some knight in shining armor to save me from asexuality as for me, it was never a choice. I can’t speak for every asexual but I have always been this way, though there were times in high school before I knew who I was, where I tried to date and be “normal” due to social pressures. In many communities, even in black/mixed communities, asexuality isn’t fully accepted due to the heavy stigmas black people still face. Black women tend to automatically be sexualized and stereotyped (and it’s even worse for non-binary folks, as I am as well) that it’s even harder to say I’m asexual without being laughed at or denied.

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

Definitely to speak up when you feel uncomfortable. If you feel like someone is pressuring you, speak up and leave the situation. You shouldn’t have to explain who you are to those who don’t get it.

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

“The Hanged Man’s Plan” is still in production, so whenever all the cards are in place is when it will come out, there’s no telling how long it may take but I’ve recently be finishing the process for the rights and registration for “Sector M.I.” and Madjaw Dolls so it’s all in that awkward phase of planning to put out actual products and not just prints of works.

http://madjawdolls.com/
https://www.instagram.com/madjawdolls/
https://www.facebook.com/Madjawdollsmjd/
https://twitter.com/MadjawDolls

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Thank you, Jai, 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 artist who does a lot of original work and fanart. Her art is mostly a creative hobby, but she’s incredibly dedicated to it. She writes, draws, and does some cosplaying as well. It’s clear that she’s an incredibly enthusiastic artist. 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’ve been drawing for years, and jumping from style to style pretty much randomly. More recently, I picked up writing and making cosplay. I’m not a professional in any capacity, and these are all forms of relaxation and hobbies for me. I love drawing, and it’s something cathartic for me. More often than not I’ll get an idea in my head and draw all through the night (sometimes neglecting my homework or responsibilities). I also draw constantly in school, all of my papers are covered in little doodles and sketches. I’m a disorganized mess, with half full sketchbooks and craft supplies all over my room. I usually just sketch in pencil, and I’ll occasionally ink and color the pieces I like.

As far as writing, I write a lot of fanfiction, but I also have my own ideas all plotted out. I think creating new characters and rich worlds is one of my favorite things to do. Putting together the mythology and culture and history and politics of a fantasy world is so interesting, and it really adds to the story. Needless to say, most of my writing takes place in fantastical settings with a lot of complex background.

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What inspires you?

The work of other artists, mostly. Lost of my art inspiration comes from pictures I see, or from lines from songs and poetry. I take ideas from my stories and apply them to my drawings, and vice versa. I like to draw beautiful or pretty things, and I mostly do portraits of people in various styles. I’ll gather pictures of clothing or hairstyles, and then use those to create new people in pictures.

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

I never really wanted to be an artist, or considered myself one until recently. I always thought that I was more of a hobbyist than anything. My creation is on and off, because I never want to have to create art on other peoples terms, so I’m stuck writing and drawing in between my other responsibilities. I have loved drawing since my childhood, and it’s something I’ve practiced a lot to get good at. My early style was heavily anime-based, but I’ve really tried to grow out of that. Fanfiction is actually what initially got me into writing, and I got started writing short oneshots of fanfiction. Ive grown since then, and I now have multiple different, long stories plotted out, with tons of world building each. I’m excited for when I eventually compile all the scraps of characterization and plot together, though it might not happen for a while.

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

Not really, my art style changes often and I’m prone to experimentation.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Doing a little every day works wonders. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, drawing something you saw, or an outfit you think is cute, or a dog or a pretty flower. It doesn’t matter if you write some haiku’s or just a little characterization or dialogue. You’re always getting better, even on the days when nothing seems to come out right. Make sure that you’re doing it for you, and don’t get discouraged if you’re in a rut, even if you can’t manage for a day or a week, pick back up when you can.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an asexual aromantic.

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

I’ve encountered a lot of ignorance, people who generally don’t believe that asexuality is real or that I’m just trying to seem special. I try to explain myself sometimes, but honestly a lot of time I just refrain from being out because I don’t want to have to teach an impromptu class on sexuality. Calmly explaining has actually worked for me a surprising amount, I’m currently out to most of my school.

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

I’ve seen some people who assume that asexual aromantic is the only way to be ace, which is simply not true, and I’ve seen some invalidation of demisexual and grey-ace people. People are generally just uninformed about what it means to be asexual. I can’t count how many times I’ve said ‘wow they’re attractive,’ and gotten a response of ‘wait aren’t you ace?’

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

For a very long time, I struggled with the feeling that I was ‘broken’ or somehow missing some essential part of the human experience. Sometimes I still feel that way. I find that when I’m upset, I vent to someone (I use websites like blahtherapy a lot) and I read fiction that doesn’t focus on romance. I also try and normalize my sexuality in the eyes of the people around me by bringing it up, making jokes about it, and just generally treating it like a normal part of life. Having people around me who accept my sexuality as something integral to me and natural really helps me to normalize it in my own mind.

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

Most of my work isn’t published online, but my fanfiction can be found at https://archiveofourown.org/users/Umidunnostuff.  I also have a Tumblr, umidunnothings, (creative, I know) and an Instagram at s_rose_k, where some of my art can be found.

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