Today we’re joined by Jacen. Jacen is an incredibly versatile artist who works in a few different mediums. She’s a very passionate visual artist who does both original work and fanart (her Eevee is truly delightful). She hasn’t met a medium she doesn’t like and uses both traditional and digital mediums. Aside from visual art, she’s an incredibly dedicated oboist who was an admirable love of music. It’s very clear that she loves creating art and that’s always awesome to see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I am a digital artist, primarily, but I love to experiment in all different mediums. I’ve worked with pencils and pens, Copic markers, watercolors, oil paints, India ink and more, and I like to combine different mediums as well. Be it fanart or original works, I enjoy taking an interpretive approach to my pieces.
In addition, I am a passionate musician. I’m one of the few oboists in the city and even though I haven’t been playing for all that long, I have an extensive background in music and theory.
What inspires you?
With my art, a big part of my inspiration is geometrical shapes. I like arranging irregular shapes and making them work together to form an image. As someone who heads out to the Rocky Mountains on a regular basis, I also enjoy taking inspiration from nature, both living and inanimate. And, of course, my favorite TV shows and movies. I just really love seeing my pieces come together and make sense.
My music is a lot of the same idea. I absolutely love just the sound of my oboe, and I actively enjoy practicing on my own, but my real passion is for sitting down with the entire band and hearing all the parts together. My favorite pieces are always the ones that send chills down my spine to hear and to play. I’d say that’s really why I play, to hear mine and everyone else’s parts combine to make something incredible.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Ever since I was very young I’ve drawn and played instruments. Growing up as a longtime student in the Gifted program, creativity was always massively encouraged. I would definitely say that being in such a program was what got me continuing to draw and make art into middle and high school. I wouldn’t say I’ve always wanted to be an artist, it’s more something that slowly and unconsciously evolved into a hobby; I’ve never really been interested in a career in art, but it’s still a big part of me.
As for music, I actually hated piano lessons when I was young, and I stopped playing anything for a long time. In eighth grade my best friend convinced me to join band and I started out on the clarinet, which I can still play, and the next year I took up oboe. That, I can see myself continuing for a long time, for sure.
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 mentioned earlier incorporating geometric shapes into my work, that’s really my thing. I like the challenge of taking an image and turning it into shapes, and making it still make sense. That’s something I do with a lot of my work, even sometimes when I do semi-realism.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
You really have to stop worrying about getting it right. Especially if you’re a perfectionist like me, you have to stop trying to get it right every time. You gotta experiment with styles and techniques and mediums and don’t feel that you have to know anything about that medium to just try it. If you like it, that’s when you do your research, take some classes, whatever you want. Just practice your art without worrying about how it might turn out.
For any oboists who may or may not be reading this: FIND A GOOD TEACHER. Band is great but oboes are so weird and specialized that you need an expert to help you. Oboe reeds need a lot of tweaking and I’m gonna guess you don’t know how to make reeds yet. Not to mention that damn Db key. Trust me, a teacher you get along with and who knows their stuff will be invaluable to you.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m aromantic asexual.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Ignorance, definitely, more than prejudice. But I’ve found that artists and creative-types in general are quite accepting and open-minded. When the odd person arises who has a real issue with it (mostly only existing on social media) I try to not let it get to me. It’s not the minority’s job to educate anyone on their community, but when someone genuinely doesn’t know what they’re talking about, I try to clear it up for them.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That we just don’t like sex, or we’re scared of it, or that we’ve had some kind of sexual trauma. Of course there are aces who are scared of sex or have been traumatized, but it’s inaccurate and rude to place that assumption on all of us, because it often leads to us being dismissed or harassed for it.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
When I was figuring out I was asexual, I was scared to identify as such in case I really was just a late bloomer. There’s so much emphasis put on the fact that aces are definitely never going to change or start feeling sexual attraction that it’s easy to forget that it’s alright if it is a phase. It doesn’t make it any less valid. If you identify as ace now and you don’t later in your life, who cares? Sexuality can be fluid, so if it feels right at the moment then just go for it.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I have my Tumblr (http://the-cat-in-the-fez.tumblr.com/) that you can always message me on.
I post art to my Instagram (stcrmpilxt)
I have a couple works-in-progress on my AO3 (http://archiveofourown.org/users/satancat)
Thank you, Jacen, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.