Interview: schattenmitternacht

Today we’re joined by schattenmitternacht. schattenmitternacht is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in ink drawings and watercolors. They have recently started working with gouache as well. schattenmitternacht draws inspiration from many different places and are clearly very passionate about art, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do simple ink drawings and occasionally paint with acrylics and watercolors. Recently, I have started to use gouache as well. Subject to my art can be anything; people, animals, things. I love to illustrate feelings and emotions as metaphors.

What inspires you?

The world around me. I believe that beauty is everywhere and I try to capture it for me and for others in my drawings and paintings. The works of fellow artists are also very inspiring.

I do create things inspired be my personal experiences (my diary is mostly drawings) but those are things I’m not always fond to share with people.

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

I remember spending a lot of time at the drawing desk in kindergarten and going to exhibitions with my best friend’s grandmother. But only in middle school did I start to take art more seriously, when I got into manga thanks to a classmate. That’s when I wanted to get better at it.

To be honest, I never wanted to be a professional artist. It was always other people suggesting it to me and at one point in my life I thought it’s the only option available. I mean, I am an artist and I love being one and creating things but there are some aspects of being a professional artist that leave me uncomfortable with pursuing this career path. I’m afraid I won’t like drawing anymore when it’s what I have to do for a living.

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?

There is a set of symbols that I use in my more personal artworks. Arrows for example. But you don’t really get to see a lot of them. Because personal.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Challenge yourself and set yourself a goal. I for example want to create more “finished” works this year and not just elaborate sketches.

I love to do challenges or make lists of projects I want to realize because when I don’t know what to draw, I already have some to work on and don’t have to spend time thinking of something.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aro ace.

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

Not much actually.

My boyfriend asked me once if I was sure I am ace as he couldn’t understand that even though I like physical intimacy, I am still asexual. I explained to him that even if I don’t feel sexual attraction, I still like how it feels and that I think it’s fun.

I myself have never actually experienced prejudice or ignorance against aromanticism, but my friend has. Their mother keeps pressuring them to find a romantic relationship. So that’s something.

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

That

  1. I don’t have,
  2. don’t want or enjoy and
  3. am not able to have sex.

A lot of people don’t have sex. This doesn’t make them automatically ace though.

Second, I can understand how someone could think that this is what it means being asexual, as it was something that kept me from calling myself ace for some time. I don’t really know how to put this in words but you can still want to or enjoy it to sleep with someone without finding them sexually attractive. Sex is something very intimate and wanting to share this intimacy with someone does not in any way conflict with being ace.

The last one… What has my lack of sexual attraction to do with my body? It’s just another way to say that we are “broken”.

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

You are not broken. Your needs are as valid as those of allosexual people and your boundaries are to be respected, don’t ever think they are not.

If you have a hard time telling different attractions apart, look up their definitions or people describing them.

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

I am the most active on Instagram. Then of course on Tumblr and on Amino. Actually, you can find me everywhere under schattenmitternacht.

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

Interview: Annie O’Quinn

Today we’re joined by Annie O’Quinn. Annie is a phenomenal visual artist who mainly paints for fun. She mostly does digital and fanart at the moment, though Annie is also a painting instructor. When she’s not doing visual art, Annie also writes. She hasn’t published anything just yet, but is currently working on a couple books, which feature asexual characters. It’s clear that she’s a very talented artist with a bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Steampunk Davis

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a fairly new artist, as far as finding my style, but I currently do illustrations for fun and I work as a painting instructor at one of those paint and wine places.

What inspires you?

STORIES. More than anything. I’m a writer as well, actually. Is it weird to say my own stories inspire me to draw? Although books, TV shows, movies — if they have a good story, I’m inspired for sure!

Also, of course…. Aesthetic. If it’s pretty, I want to draw it.

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Viktor

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

From a young age, yes! It’s actually kinda funny because, hah… I had a friend who did art and I wanted to be better than her. But I was a little kid, okay! I continued because I realized I loved it. However, I was barely able to do it because I kept being told it wouldn’t make me money. (Which might be true for now, but at least I’m happier even through the struggle!)

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?

Hah! I should say I’m not willing to reveal it just to cover up the fact I don’t have one.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t let others force you into other fields, but also don’t put so much stress on making money off of your art that you lose your inspiration in it. Never give up on a goal because someone out there is supporting you, no matter the struggle.

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Angel Painting

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m panromantic asexual! I have zero sexual attraction, but I’m not repulsed by the idea. I’m in a great asexual relationship now!

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

Definitely ignorance. At work, I had a girl who actually almost started crying because I said I was actually okay with never being with anyone romantically, if that was how life took me. I had another girl tell me that I’d change my mind when I met the right person. Growing up, I had people tell me I was a prude and stuck up for not being active. I had a guy offer to help me “get to know the city” in school when he found out. The list goes on. I call them papercuts, but they can add up. Learning the term, which was just a few years ago, really helped me in accepting myself and the fact I didn’t have to compromise that part of myself to be with someone. But before I knew? Before I found a good support for it? I didn’t handle it that well. I ignored it and made sexual jokes or let people assume things without corrections. I don’t put up with it at all anymore, though. And I write about it a lot, actually!

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Toilet Cat Aries

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

That is means I can’t have a relationship with someone. I’m on the aromantic spectrum somewhere probably, but even that doesn’t mean I can’t have one. Along with people thinking that I’m judging them for loving sex. I am definitely not! If you have that attraction, great! It’s a pretty common thing to have and excuses aren’t needed. I would say those are the two things.

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

You don’t have to figure it out right now. You don’t have to rush it. It might even be different depending on the person you’re in a relationship with, your current live situation, or the phase of the moon… That’s okay. My mom discovered she was asexual and genderqueer when she was sixty-two. Just listen to yourself above what others tell you.

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

Aoqart.tumblr.com is my art Tumblr! Or you can see my art and my cats on Instagram, which is also aoqart. You might see me in artist allies occasionally! Thanks so much!

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Korrasami

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

Interview: Angelique Nguyen

Today we’re joined by Angélique Nguyễn. Angélique is a wonderful visual artist and writer. She writes a lot of poetry and short stories, mostly in English and she’s soon going to start writing in French as well. When she’s not writing, Angélique does some visual art, mostly drawing and painting. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon see. 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 will draw and paint visuals from time to time, but my current works mostly consist of writing. I like writing poetry and short stories, and I’m currently working one long-term piece of work.

My mother language is English but French is my up-and-coming second language; I have plenty of poetry written in either language.

What inspires you?

There are many things out there and within that inspire me. Often times it is a mix of my current/remembered emotions, my life experiences or other’s life experiences, the aesthetics of my world, and the lessons I’ve learned from life and others. I like taking in what happened in my world and taking it apart, mixing it up, and reconstructing it again to tell stories. The influences can be big or small. Such influences can be as large as my mother’s presence in life or as small as the way the white markings fall on my rabbits coat. Culture is also a very grand influence in my life. I always loved learning something about my own culture’s or another culture’s stories and imagining how they would fit together in the grand scheme of storytelling and human life.

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

Throughout my life, I always knew I wanted to do something to express my artsy heart, even when society seems to demand me to focus more on mathematics and science. I’m pretty good at math and science but I find I will always be more appealed by art and emotion. At the beginning of sophomore year of high school, my English teacher assigned everyone to write a short story. As I was writing my short story, I realized that not every good story needed to be long like a novel. Before, I always had this idea that good writing takes a very long time and needed to fill a lot of pages. But now I know that this is not always true.

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’m relatively new to my creative writing so I still need to explore what makes my writing unique from others. However, I find myself attempting to just the pen or fingers write and type away without thinking too much. Sometimes, it just makes sense to follow your gut feeling and see what comes out of it. This is especially true for my poetry.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you find there are no big themes or events you want to base your writing off of, then look for the small things. Even the small things could have a story behind it. You could make the story behind it. Write what you want to write and write how you want to write it. Inspiration always exists; it is up to you to find it. That will lead to you finding your comfort in writing.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

For the most part, I identify as a demi-sexual and bi. However, the truth is that my actual identity is very complicated. Even I don’t know all the answers to who I am.

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

So far, there is no aphobia I have encountered in my field. If I do encounter it, then I would simply continue living my peaceful a-spec existence.

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

The most common misconception about asexuality that I have encountered is that asexuality is all out being repulsed by sex, which is simply not true. When I first heard of asexuality, even I thought I qualified because I was repulsed by sexual activity. Now I know it is simply about lacking full attraction to any particular person, which is also true of me. Also, my *favorite* misconception of demi-sexuality is that it is “practical”- therefore, not a separate orientation. That is also not true because a demi-sexual actually lacks any attraction to a particular person until they get to know and bond with them as much as it takes. Whereas a typical allosexual may instantly feel attraction to this person but still take their time to get to know them before jumping into any sexual activities. That is the main difference.

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

It is okay to be or not to be asexual. Sometimes, asexuality may be permanent for one individual, but not for others. That is okay and totally valid. Maybe you know your reason to identify as asexual but maybe you don’t. That’s all right! Exploring my orientation has been a struggle for me, and it might be one for you too. However, you are never alone. All I suggest is that you simply move forward and embrace whatever identity you feel is best for you. If you don’t want any labels then that is okay, too.

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

My work is currently all over the place. But here are some common spots for posting my work:

Tumblr: 17angelsprings.tumblr.com (search “my post” or “my poems” and you will certainly find some of my poems and other works posted there)

DeviantArt: 17angelsprings.deviantart.com (you can find some written works as well as some visual art stuff)

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/17angelsprings (my current long-term writing project, Speaking My Language, is posted there, and that is where I’m compiling poems into anthologies)

Instagram: 17angelsprings (mainly reserved for my visual art)

I also hope I can eventually start a YouTube channel about mainly centered around my writing and being a writer.

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

Interview: Alex

Today we’re joined by Alex. Alex is a wonderful young  visual artist who does both digital and traditional art. They mainly do fanart and character design. Alex does a lot of drawing and painting, taking inspiration from the world around them. They are clearly a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Bandit on the Couch

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do a lot of digital and traditional art, mainly fan art or character design, though I’ve been trying to branch out a little more. I’m a big fan of taking things like animals, plants, or even songs, and turning them into characters. I really like picking out little details from whatever I studying and adding them into the design, even if no one but me notices them.

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CD Cover

What inspires you?

There are a lot of different things that inspire me. A lot of times it’s a song, or a bit from a song, a piece of conversation with a friend, a particular color or color palette, or even just a landscape or a small thought. For my fanart, a lot of times I get inspiration from other works, other people, or the other things I mentioned. A lot of time it’s music though. I listen to music a lot, both when I draw, and much of the other time. It really sets the mood for my day, and for what I draw

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Chasm

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

I started drawing when I was really little, and have always been interested in art, though I never really wanted to be an artist seriously until I started drawing more and more seriously (I wanted to be a geneticist when I was little, how funny is that). I started doodling whenever I could, and developed a consistent style, which ended up changing a lot over a short time. They were all doodles, but I really enjoyed it. I’ve begun drawing even more seriously, building up more materials, and expanding my horizons

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Northern Downpour

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 like to do little swirlies on my characters cheeks, shoulders, elbows, and knees, as well as highlights in the hair. I think that adds to part of my aesthetic around my art. this, as well as the highlight in the eyes, which, while usually a star, can also help me express the characters mood. These are some of the more recognizable stylistic things that I use in my drawings that I really enjoy.

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Drawing Prompts Book 1

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep practicing! I know I sound like a broken record, because this what everyone says, but it’s really true! Only through practice will you be able to find your own style, and then be able to develop it! It’s really quite amazing how much improvement your art can go through if you just draw something every day! You can also try expanding your horizons by challenging yourself. There are many different artist challenges that can really help, with either coloring, or just to help develop your style as well! You can study other artists’ art, and through that, improve your own art. You can also identify what you need to work on with your art, and challenge yourself to improve on that. For me, it’s things like posing and backgrounds, and challenging myself to work on them is both really interesting and fun, but also really beneficial for your art

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Flower Cat

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m more towards the sex repulsed side of the ace spectrum. I’m still trying to figure out the romantic stuff, but I’m pretty sure I’m panromantic. I think having a partner would be nice, but I don’t want to do anything more than cuddle and stuff.

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Jellyfish Ocean Contest

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

I don’t really know about prejudice, per say. When I came out to my parents, they told me that I should keep an open mind when it came to everything that I told them. It was kind of a mental shove, and kind of led for me to tumble down a mental set of stairs. For a week or two I laid at the bottom of that flight of stairs. It wasn’t their fault at all, but it really set me back. I haven’t come out to many people, only about 6 or 7 outside my immediate family. my friends have been really supportive though, and that has really been helpful. Because of that, my sexuality has really become cemented, and has become a constant, which I’m immensely grateful for (though I still am open to any changes, I don’t think they’ll happen)

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Light Witch

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

As I said earlier, I really haven’t come out to many people, and so the only misconceptions I’ve really seen are online. I haven’t really seen much hate either, the only misconceptions I’ve seen are In posts from aesexual people about aesexuality, and defending aesexuality against those misconceptions, if that makes any sense. I’ve been really lucky to have people support me, I know this, and I’m so grateful.

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Personified Phonix

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

I’m not really too good with advice, or with advice about identity and that sort of thing, but I guess that they should take a break from thinking about it. This is coming from me, a hypocrite, who can’t go one minute without thinking about it, and who, before they came out to people, was constantly questioning everything. You shouldn’t let thinking and questioning things consume you. Take a walk, draw a picture, read a book, listen to music. Do something. Let your mind take a break. Take a mental deep breath. As I said, I’m not too good with advice, and freak out whenever someone says they look up to me, but I hope that some of this can help!

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Plant People

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

I’m definitely most active on my Instagram, but anyone can find me pretty much anywhere with at screaming_pinepples (Tumblr, DeviantArt, RedBubble)

I hope you enjoy my art! And I hope that you like what I’ve had to say!

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Suzy

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

Interview: Alie Schnabel

Today we’re joined by Alie Schnabel, who goes by Astringent online. Alie is a wonderful up and coming visual artist who does a bit of everything. Her favorite mediums are printmaking and sculpture, though she has also done painting, weaving, sewing, ceramics, and book making. Alie hopes to open a community art center and she is clearly a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Oh geez. My work is kind of all over the place, I’ve done painting, printmaking, ceramics, weaving, sewing, I made a book recently, as well as a myriad of other things. My favourite mediums are sculpture and printmaking, although I still have a lot to learn. I’m still in college so I’ve been pretty busy with assignments I haven’t had the time to just create what I want to. The end goal is to run my own community art center where I’ll have a studio for myself.

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What inspires you?

The deadline? For real though I try to make my art personal. A lot of what I’ve been doing lately has been on a prompt since I am currently in school, but I try to make it relevant to my experiences, and to have a deeper meaning. Some of my favourite recent work has actually been about asexuality, most of it is craftier in nature as it comes from my Activism and Textiles class (although, if you ask me ‘crafty’ art like sewing and weaving doesn’t get enough recognition as an art form). A lot of my paintings take a fairly heavy topic and use a childlike style to make it seem almost fun while retaining that somber theme (like Time is Running out for Jeff, my piece with the balloon dog)

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

I’ve always loved art and I think deep down I always knew that it was what I wanted to do, but of course, people told me that it was impractical. In grade school there were so many things that I wanted to do; forensic scientist, veterinarian, anthropologist, psychologist, and even a pilot for a while, but I kept coming back to what I loved most. I think what really solidified my decision was my art teacher my senior year, he was always there for me and was always so inspiring (even during his amazing feminist rants about how awful and degrading the Carl’s Jr. commercials were). I guess I just realised that I wanted to inspire people the way he inspired me.

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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 have a tag that I leave places, usually with chalk or sharpie, I got to use spray paint once on a boulder on the side of the freeway (chill. the rock is a local landmark because everyone spray paints it) Anyway, the tag is a little bird, sometimes I’ll give him a little crown and he becomes bird king. It doesn’t show up in my actual work though, at least not yet.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I don’t know if I’m the best person to give advice, since, I, myself am an aspiring artist. I guess what I would say is; “don’t listen to those who degrade you or your work, even if that person is yourself”. I know that I am my own worst critic and I usually hate what I create. However, I know that’s not healthy and I’m working to overcome that (yay counseling) seriously though, as long as you are creating for the right reasons, you are making a difference and that’s what matters in the end.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aromantic Asexual. But I do deeply love those who are close to me and I’ll fight anyone who says platonic love can’t be as strong as romantic love.

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

Not yet, I’ve been lucky, especially in such a conservative college town. Although I don’t really put myself out there other than in-class critiques when my pieces directly correlate with asexuality. I usually start out by saying something like “I’m happy to answer any questions, but if you’re just going to be a jerk you can just shove it” I tend to be pretty blunt and without much of a filter, so it usually comes out a bit more ‘colourful’ than that, though my teachers so far have thought my little disclaimer is funny.

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

I haven’t noticed one more than the others at this point, since I only recently came out, a memorable one is my mum asking “So do you like girls then?” that’s about is as far as asexuality goes. I get a lot more crap for my aromanticism though, mostly people assuming I don’t love others, or that I’m cold and distant. I like to think I’m a pretty friendly person, and I genuinely love the people close to me.

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

Stop it. I know the world can suck sometimes, but people are inherently good, and you will find people who accept you for who you are. There is nothing wrong with you, but there is also no shame in reaching out for guidance if that’s what will help. Also, if anyone gives you crap tell them I’ll beat them up.

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

Oof. My Tumblr is a bit of a mess, but I might post some work on there, it should be ada-refractor. I do post some stuff on my Instagram, that one is agentastringent.

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

Interview: Joey

Today we’re joined by Joey. Joey is a wonderful visual artist and singer who does both drawing and painting. He uses art as a kind of catharsis and his pictures are filled with gorgeous colors. When he’s not creating visual art, Joey enjoys singing. He has a particular fondness for showtunes and opera. It’s very clear he’s a passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

This is a complicated question because I’m involved in many forms of art. As far as visual arts are concerned, I enjoy drawing and painting. I use these as ways to express my emotions and interests when others are unwilling to listen. The other artform that I am heavily into is singing. I prefer singing showtunes or opera, but any singing makes me happy. Sometimes I go busking with my friends, and my voice alone can make a lot of money. I’m currently training to become an actor, and I dream of being famous one day for my talent.

What inspires you?

As an aroace people might think that I’m cold or uncaring(not to throw “cold or uncaring” aces under the bus of course!), but my inspiration for much of my art comes from my love of life! Some of my art is from a darker time in my life where I had to use my art to vent, but I’ve always tried to use my art to make sense of the world. This carries over into my singing as well when I pick songs to sing. I naturally feel connected to the music, and songs have always been a great way for me to communicate feelings.

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

I have always been an artist. When I was younger I would create houses out of paper for my stuffed animals until I had a whole village. Eventually I started to take drawing more seriously, and that evolved into a love of painting. Within the last 2 years I gained an interest in musical theatre, particularly singing. Although singing and drawing are my two main creative outlets, I’m a lover of all forms of art. I’ve always been a thoughtful person, and art helps me to feel calm and joyful.

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?

In my visual art I often end up sneaking pride flags into my work! Admittedly I more often put in the trans flag than the aro or ace flag into my work though. This is because being trans, while being a tough journey, is something I often feel more validated in. Recently I’ve been on a kick to feel more confident in my aroace-ness, and I know I’m gonna use my art to accomplish this. Time to make all of my art in purple, white, grey, and black!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

One mistake in my thinking as an artist has been that there’s an age where it’s too late to try. I was so nervous to get into serious singing, because I thought it was only something I could do if I already had experience since childhood. When you’re an artist you will see people who have more skill than you, but the best way to prove yourself is to keep trying anyway. If it takes until you’re old to master your skill then so be it!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identified as aroace for years up until about 1 year ago when I kind of broke and gave up on identifying as such. Being aroace, but receiving no validation or help other than through the internet coupled with my other emotional issues made me internalize it, and for almost a year I identified as straight. I’m not sure why I choose that out of any identities (awfully heteronormative), but I was so tired of constantly questioning my own identity that I wanted an easy lie. This lead to almost dating one of my friends that I really cared about, which lead to me panicking and breaking up before it even started. A few months ago I got myself in a good enough place where I was finally able to realize again that I was aroace! Trying to forget my identity did a lot of damage, so now I’m just trying to get comfy with the label for good.

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

To me, I feel like artist spaces are usually more open to queerness in general, but I often feel disconnected to these communities. It was one of my friends that happened to collaborate on lots of my art that refused to understand why I didn’t want to date my friend I cared so much about. Other than rude/ignorant comments, the rest of the prejudice is more implied. In theatre, almost every single has romance. As a soprano, almost any role I could possibly be assigned is the love interest! Of course this is what acting is for, but I think there’s an idea that romance is put into stories because it’s relatable to all. As an aromantic, singing songs over and over again about the inevitability of love can be heartbreaking.

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

I think a lot of people assume that alterous love has to be accompanied by romance and sexual attraction. The thing is, I think allo people experience alterous attraction too, but they can’t tell because it’s mixed in with those other feelings. We may not experience more alterous attraction, but I think perhaps it’s easier to identify something if it’s not mixed in with other feelings. All my theory aside, people really do misunderstand when I want a platonic life partner. It might be what has made me so anxious to identify as aroace too!

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

I would say that accepting yourself can be hard, but all of us aces are in it together. Sometimes it can feel like you’re going in circles with your identity, but I believe that your value is great no matter whether you find the right identity immediately or not. I would also say to not be afraid to go outside the box. Sexuality is a strange thing, but I can promise that having a strange or unidentifiable identity is a-ok! If you wanna use a rare label, or maybe step outside the SAM model? I say go for what makes you feel at ease.

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

I do not use the internet as much as I should to get myself out there, but I do have an Instagram (smallbirdboy) that is mostly my art!

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

Interview: Jana

Today we’re joined by Jana. Jana is a wonderful young artist who both writes and does visual art. Most of her writing is fantasy and historical fiction. When she’s not writing, Jana does a lot of painting and drawing. Her work shows a creative mind and it’s clear Jana is an incredibly dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. 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 write stories and also I draw and paint. Stories are usually fantasy or historical fiction, with dark motives, while my drawings are more positive. I sometimes draw illustrations for my stories but that is rare for me. I also draw Harry Potter fan arts, as I am big fan of the story (and also I have written some fanfics but they aren’t in English).

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What inspires you?

I don’t really know. The inspiration just appears out of somewhere. And then it leaves. Sometimes it’s a sentence I hear, sometimes an internet joke or when I see the view from my window. It can be anything. I have periods of time when I see inspiration literally everywhere and then it stops and I don’t have any inspiration at all.

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

I think so. I remember I liked to draw and paint since I was very little and I remember that in kindergarten I was usually drawing, instead of playing with other children. And I still draw when I have the time (also if I don’t have) and usually I choose drawing over chatting with friends in class. With writing, it’s similar. I write stories during lessons in school because it’s fun and teachers don’t tend to notice. They usually think that I’m just taking notes while I really am creating a story.

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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 always put my name on my drawings so no one can steal it from me (if it’s drawn on computer, it’s usually very big). That’s what almost everyone does I think. But other than that I don’t have anything like that. In my writings I don’t think I have something like that. My stories are dark and complicated, as are my characters, but that’s not that rare.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I am actually one of them, as I am sixteen, so to my fellow young artist: make art, do what you love and don’t give up. It can be hard but not giving up is worth it. If you love art, make it. Good luck to you (and to every artist here, you don’t have to be young).

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual.

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

Well, ignorance by my mum. I came out to here so I could make terrible jokes and puns but it has gone a bit wrong. Well, she didn’t believe me (she still doesn’t I think) and was quite rude about it, because “I am too young to know” and “I can’t be ace if I have a boyfriend”. A few months later she was trying to understand and was asking questions but I felt really uncomfortable so I just left. But now I think I am starting to be a bit more comfortable around her, like when we are watching some TV series and they mention something sexual or say that someone is hot, I usually make a disgusted face or ask “really??”. Apart from that, I’ve only seen it on social media and it wasn’t directed purely at me but on the whole community.

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

As I said before, it was what my mum said, that I am too young to know or that I can’t be ace if I have a boyfriend. Then of course things said on the internet and not aimed at me directly, like it is a disability or disorder or that we are plants. I like the last one the most.

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

To not try to unconditionally fit into a label. Take time. You don’t have to find it out right now, it’s okay not to know. I know it’s hard, I know it’s easier said than done. But don’t worry, you are not alone. There are many other people who feel the same and there are many people out there who will try to help you. Before I learned I was ace, I thought that I was lesbian (because women are cute), then that I was bi (because the sexual attraction I felt towards the two genders was equal – now I know it was zero).

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

I have an Instagram account but I don’t post much. I also am at Wattpad but I have only one English unfinished work published. I will try to be active on both social media (Wattpad is social media, isn’t it?) but I can’t really promise anything because I don’t know how much time will I have. On Instagram I am as Janethepurpleelf and on Wattpad as Fialová Víla.

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