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.

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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: 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.

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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: 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.

Interview: Aaron

Today we’re joined by Aaron. Aaron is an incredibly interesting artist who works in ceramics. He runs Aberrant Ceramics and produces work that is inspired by a number of different artistic movements. His unique ceramics bring to mind Dali and it’s really fascinating to look at, as you’ll see. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Chamsa

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I use “Aberrant Ceramics” to describe my work.

I work with stoneware clay.  I make hand-built ceramic pottery, sculpture, ornaments, and menorahs.  My style is primitive, grotesque, humorous, literal.  I’ve been working with clay for almost 12 years.  I have very minimal training in hand-building, but I’m mostly self-taught.

What inspires you?

Fossil organisms, especially from the Burgess Shale, Cthulhu Mythos entities, Parallel Botany, insects and arachnids, Star Wars, Dungeons & Dragons, cephalopods, tardigrades, Lewis Carroll, Dada, Outsider Art, Discordianism, Cannabis, eyes, teeth, spikes, tentacles.

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Eye Cup

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

I took a pottery class in 2004 as a social outlet.  It didn’t turn out to be a social outlet, but I fell in love with the medium.

I had secretly wished I could be an artist for a long time, but I never had a medium as versatile as clay before.

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Eye Pot

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?

My initials and the year.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I don’t think I’m in a position to advise anyone.  You’re on your own, young, aspiring artists.

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Menorah

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a heteroromantic asexual.

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

I don’t talk about asexuality with many people, so I haven’t directly encountered prejudice or ignorance.  If I did encounter it, I would probably handle it with the magic of avoidance.

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Psychoeris

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

I don’t know if it’s the most common, but my favorite misconception is the one in which the other party insists that asexual can only refer to organisms that reproduce by fission or budding.

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Rhino

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

Label yourself however you wish.  Or don’t.

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

Blog:  http://www.aberrantceramics.com
http://aberrantceramics.tumblr.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/aberrantceramics
http://aberrantceramics.deviantart.com/gallery
http://www.facebook.com/aberrantceramics

I’m on various other social media sites under the name Aberrant Ceramics.

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Tardigrade

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

Interview: Michelle

Today we’re joined by Michelle.  Michelle is a wonderfully talented visual artist who works in a couple mediums.  She used to be into comic books but it sounds like she’s more focused on videogame design.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

(Warning:  there is some nudity in one image in this interview)

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I originally majored in doing comic books because when I was younger I thought I was too dull minded and unable to work in the video game industry (Also I am a woman). However, I’ve never been able to fall in love in the process of making comic books. Recently, I decided to go back into trying to make video games- because I know I am dull minded and being a woman shouldn’t stop me from doing what I want.

What inspires you?

Change. Currently, I find the world a dire place to live in but people actively fighting for their rights and the rights of others inspires me to draw and live.

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

I enjoy creating inspiring characters purely from my imagination. I love sharing the character I care deeply about to other people. Creating something from nothing is such a beautiful thing.

It’s amazing that in video games you can walk around in the world you created in your mind.

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Agony

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?

Sometimes I sign my work as “MAN.” Because those are my initials and I think it’s kind of clever.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do what you love. Don’t ever live your life for someone else but yourself.

I’ve lived 26 years of my life doing comics thinking that was the only option available to me then I refused to quit because I had dedicated so many years to the art. You always have opportunities. It’s never too late.

Also if you don’t find a career in your field and end up having to work somewhere else to make ends meet, your not a failure. You’re just walking a different path then others around you.

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Kpop

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

No idea. I rarely find other people attractive in a romantic or sexual way- if ever. Yet, there are times I day dream about having sex with very specific people. Slowly I am starting to realize I am attracted to a very specific type of person- yet, I am not sure I am in the place to specify what that means.

I am sort of flowing through the spectrum at the moment and have no desire to define it.

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

Yes. All of the time. Constantly. I’ve been asked “What’s the point in being in a relationship if you don’t have sex,” “How do you know unless you try? (sex)” “Maybe you haven’t found the right person.” Most people don’t even believe asexuality is an orientation and shouldn’t be represented in the LGBT+ community. I am not even open about my sexuality to most people I talk to- including my therapist.

How do I handle it? Not very well. I constantly feel alone, alienated from others- that I’ll never be spirited close to anyone because I struggle feeling that intimate with others in THAT kind of way. I want a family but struggle with understanding how I’ll be able to do that because I can’t imagine raising a kid alone on my income. Who will understand my situation?

I am also only attracted to very specific people and I assume I’ll probably never find that person- I am paranoid I am just too picky. It’s not like I can CHOOSE who I am attracted to.

Sex and romance is so heavily implemented in our media that there are very few songs, shows, or movies that I relate to.

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

That it can be “fixed” by meeting the right person. That asexuals don’t enjoy sex. Asexual can enjoy sex they may just not desire it.  Some asexual also masturbate, yet, it’s ok if you don’t.

I related heavily to the Doctor from Doctor Who, Sherlock from Sherlock, Abed from community but…you know how that went down.

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

I don’t have much advice. The advice I have to give I don’t even believe in. I suppose just fight for yourself, fight for life, and hold onto the people in your life who believe you when you say your asexual.

Yet, be aware that sexuality is not set in stone. It can be a river, flowing, traveling and ending up in rivers, ponds, or oceans you never anticipated it would be. Just continue on your path finding out who you are and hold onto that.

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

My tumblr: http://o-dream.tumblr.com yet don’t be too disappointed when I don’t upload artwork. I keep move of my drawings to myself and don’t care to post it online.

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Weeaboo

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