Interview: Alex

Today we’re joined by Alex. Alex is a wonderful artist who is a bit of a jack of all trades. He does a lot of visual art, mostly drawing and painting. He also does crafts and enjoys knitting and crochet, particularly long scarves. When he’s not doing crafts or visual art, Alex also makes music and can play the ukulele. It’s clear he’s a passionate artist who enjoys what he does. 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 use my art to create things I think the world is missing, whether it’s music, or extra-large scarves, or just a painting.  My art is my outlet, it’s diverse and powerful (even when it’s just for me) and it enables me to express myself.

What inspires you?

The ability to create, to bring something into this world that causes emotion.  When I knit or crochet I am, more often than not, creating a gift to give to someone else.  When I play my ukulele I hope that someone listening can feel the emotions of the music.  I am inspired by the ability to make something that was once missing from the world.

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

I had a friend in elementary school who inspired me to create comics.  They were just stick figures, but I had so much fun coming up with jokes and stories, that even when I stopped creating comics I continued to draw.

At the same time, my family has always been very musical and so, when my nana let me play her ukulele I decided I wanted have one too.

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?

Ah, no haha, I’m too inconsistent to do something that clever.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

At times it may seem tough, but art is an outlet, it doesn’t matter if you think it’s good if you enjoy it. What matters is if you feel good while creating whatever it is you are making.  Improvement will come with practice, for now, just enjoy the ride.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual and do not use the split attraction model (SAM).

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

I’m rather isolated, and I do not bring up my asexuality unless it is with people I trust, so as of current, I have not experienced any prejudice from my fellow artists.

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

That asexual means you don’t like sex.  Which is false, different people have different views on sex and just because I experience so sexual attraction does not mean that I have no libido or interest. But like I said, it’s different for everyone.

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

If you decide one that that you are not ace, that’s OK.  If you live your whole life never subscribing to a label, that’s OK.  What matters is your comfort and that others respect you. I thought I was a lesbian when I was younger because if I didn’t like guys I must have to like girls then right? But I allowed myself space to grow and now I know I am trans and asexual. There is always room to grow and explore, so don’t feel stuck with one label.

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

My music is available here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLHiHayKl58aLduLbGJShFw
And my art can be found here: Lukassskywalker.tumblr.com/tagged/my+art
And I have some things posted on RedBubble :D: https://www.redbubble.com/people/slothguard?asc=u.

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

Interview: Renn

Today we’re joined by Renn. Renn is an extraordinary visual artist who also dabbles in embroidery and sings in their state’s LGBTQ+ chorus. They have mainly worked in traditional mediums, though they have recently started branching out into digital art. Their work is fascinating in its use of color and light. It’s clear Renn is an incredibly talented and passionate artist who enjoys what they do, 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’m something of an ace-of-all trades (pardon the pun). Most of my work has been traditional pen and ink drawings- I’ve always been the most comfortable with felt pens as my medium since you can re-do the sketch as many times as it takes to get each line juuuuuuust right before finalizing it in ink. Every now and then I’ll do a watercolor- the colors can be quite vibrant and watercolors can blend together in a way markers and ink can’t. Watercolor is something of an exercise in discipline for me; I’m not the most patient of persons even without taking my ADHD into account- so waiting for the paint to dry before adding another piece of color can be trying sometimes. I’ve ruined plenty of paintings only because I just couldn’t wait! I recently started painting digitally with my beloved Huion tablet- a much better way for me to explore painting as a medium because there are no more wait times for colors to dry! And layers! Oh do I love my layers. Working digitally, I enjoy using a limited but vibrant pallet to challenge myself to really bring out the highlights and shadows of what I’m drawing, making the artwork overall more striking.

Sometimes when I have the time + materials + energy, I craft my own cosplays (and bowties!) In my spare time I also enjoy doing embroidery and singing with the Rainbow Chorale, my state’s local LGBTQ+ chorus!

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What inspires you?

A lot of my main drive to create comes from seeing the work of other artists. You know how your brain will see someone else’s work and go “Gee I wish I could draw like that!” I take that feeling and turn it into “Well why don’t I go and draw something I want to create that will look just as good that I and other people will enjoy!”

I also enjoy doing art as an out and visible queer asexual person, because it gives other people like me the chance to see themselves reflected in my art and see themselves being represented, even if they themselves cannot be out and visible like me.

Butterflies
Butterflies

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

I’ve been drawing since I was really little, like 4 or so. Creating art through drawing was something I would do to relax after school…  or something I did to avoid taking notes or doing homework… ah ha. For young, awkward, socially anxious me, art was the best way for me to express myself and communicate. So, in a way, I’ve always been interested in creative fields because that ability to create from my own ideas has always been with me. With respect to “wanting to be an artist” (I’m interpreting this as become a professional) drawing as a job isn’t something I want to do. I’m happy to take the occasional commission, or make something as a gift, but drawing as my main profession isn’t for me. Art is an escape for me, for when life gets to be too overwhelming. If that escape was invaded by the stress and pressure to constantly create and keep churning out artwork, then creating would no longer be that escape for me.

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 sign my work (well, when I remember) with my screen-name (Renaissance Aeroplane) initials “RA” and a little airplane flying out from the “A”. Typically I’ll put it in the corner of digital paintings, and tuck it in somewhere in sight when I do pen and paper drawings.

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I’ve had that screen-name for a while, except ‘renaissance’ was spelled with two Ns since spelling wasn’t a strong suit of mine. Thus that turned into the nickname “Renn” which I’ve gotten rather attached to and started using as an offline nickname as well.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Take a deep breath, and relax. Sit back, stretch your arms, and release that tension you’ve been holding in. It’s okay- if you aren’t as popular as that one artist, if that one line just refuses to come out right, if you fudged up the inking, painting didn’t come out the way you wanted it to- It’s going to be all right! There’s always so much pressure as an artist, to keep making more art and be perfect and get likes/reblogs/retweets/site traffic. That pressure is overwhelming and the last thing that will help you improve is pushing yourself so hard that creating art becomes stressful and overwhelming. So take another deep breath, relax, and continue to do what makes you happy.

paletteportrait
Palette Portrait

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Definitely full-on asexual; the frying-pan of sexual attraction feelings won’t be hitting me in the face anytime soon. It’s not a sensation I’ve ever felt, likely will never feel, and I am cool with that being so. I’m probably?? somewhere on the gray-bi-romantic scale of things; every now and then I’ll become romantically inclined towards someone, but it doesn’t happen all that often. *shrug*

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

Fortunately I haven’t had much experience with prejudice aside from the occasional bigot being rude online. What I have encountered more of is well-meaning but ignorant folks coming into my inbox and expecting me to educate them. Which can sometimes be annoying, and other times be emotionally draining and exhausting. So, what I’ll do is send them a few links with good articles about asexuality (or trans/nonbinary issues because I get questions about that too. Yaaaaaay.) that I’ve read through beforehand to ensure all the info is correct. Then I’ll let them know I’m glad they want to learn more, but I don’t have the time/energy to educate them one on one on the basics, that the links I sent contain more info about the subject, and once they’ve read through what I’ve sent and understand it, I’ll be happy to talk with them later.

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

That eventually I’ll “grow out of it” or “there’s always the possibility you meet the right person!” *barf* I get that for some people, sexuality can change or you can discover something you didn’t know about yourself, but that is not me. I already did all my soul-searching and exploring and I am quite happy labeling myself as ace, thanks very much. That and there’s something so gross about the insistence that I will become sexually attracted to someone. Euggggh.

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

It’s helpful to ask for advice or experiences from other ace folks and to ask other LGBTQ+ folks about their experiences to help you figure out what you’re feeling- BUT what determines your sexuality, above all, is what YOU think and how YOU feel. So, if you think “Well I’ve never/rarely/only sometimes feel sexually/physically attracted to people” then congrats! You’re ace! And that is for you to decide whether or not you want to label yourself that way.

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

Y’all can find me on Tumblr at renn-aeroplane-art.tumblr.com where I post all of my recent works or if you want to trawl my old Deviantart for some of my older stuff I go by Senkokura there. If you like goofy cat pictures interspersed with the occasional drawing or selfie, then check out my Instagram at renaissance_aeroplane!

TheWitch
The Witch

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

Interview: Sara

Today we’re joined by Sara. Sara is a phenomenal visual artist who I met at this year’s Indy PopCon. I was so excited when I realized she was ace and made sure to hand her a business card for the blogs, because good heavens she had such beautiful art. She draws mostly fantasy and original work, favoring a stylized look rather than realism. The result is her work has a wonderful dream-like feel with vibrant colors and soft lines. It’s clear she’s an incredibly talented and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Little witch_new
Little Witch

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw a lot of fantasy pieces, whether it’s sketching or digital paintings. I like painting/sketching in a stylized style instead of realistic one. I mostly paint my own characters but I love to do fanart of characters in my own style just to see what they’ll look like.

What inspires you?

My biggest inspiration is music. I love listening to classical or instrumental music when I draw/paint. Music helps art flow and it opens up new ideas for me. I hear a melody playing and think I can turn that into something. I paint a lot of fantasy pieces and nature also helps add to my inspiration especially flowers.

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

When I was little I wanted to go into animation. Traditionally animated Disney movies were some of my favorite things to watch as a child and I always wanted to know how they made everything move. Now that I’ve gone to school for animation I’ve gravitated more towards concept art and illustrations.

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?

As of right now, no I don’t have a special signature. But maybe some day I will.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I know this has been said and done many times but Practice, practice, practice. Having raw talent is the start of being a good artist but honing that skill and perfecting it will make you an even better one. That there are gonna be days where you second guess your art, style or your skill but always remember there are ups and downs in all aspects of life even art. Many talented artist out there still have those ups and downs. So don’t quit and don’t lose hope in your abilities.

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Veil of Stars

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual/aromantic.

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

Towards me, personally, no I haven’t. But one of the things that does irk me is that there is barely any representation in media. Sure sometimes they have hints that a character is Ace but then they sweep it under the rug as if it wasn’t an important part of a character or that Asexuality is a disease that needs to be cured (I’m talking about the House episode that centered around that).

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

“How do you know if you’re Asexual if you haven’t had sex yet?” or “You haven’t met the right person yet.” These questions drive me up a wall and make me feel uncomfortable since I don’t necessarily wanna be in a romantic/sexual relationship with people. So when these questions are directed at me I feel a bright glaring spotlight put on me and it absolutely embarrasses me.

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

Take your time with your orientation it’s not a race to figure everything out in one night. It took me maybe 3 years to final except what my orientation was. Talk it out with people you trust and do research (it’s what I did). You are not broken because you don’t want to have sex or be in a relationship.

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

I have a two Tumblrs and an Instagram. You can find them both here:

http://the-lady-saron.tumblr.com/
https://sarahartart.tumblr.com/
https://www.instagram.com/sara_hart_art/.

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

Interview: Hampermarketplace

Today we’re joined by Hampermarketplace, who also goes by Sophie. Sophie is a phenomenal visual artist and fanartist. For visual art, they mostly do digital illustration, both original work and fanart, They also do some photography as a hobby. Aside from that, Sophie also cosplays and writes fanfiction. It’s clear they’re 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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Homestuck Collage

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Sure thing! I’m mostly a digital artist, though I don’t know if “drawing” or “painting” describes best what I do, but in any case, I have a lot of fun doing it. I draw a lot of Homestuck, (I’m unfortunately rather obsessed with it—and it’s easy to share online), but I also do original work, when the inspiration strikes. Since, when it comes to hobbies, I’m very much a jack of all trades, I’ve done writing (I once wrote a 40k fanfic, several one-shots, and began some original stories I’m probably never going to finish, I’ve got a word doc somewhere full of cringy poetry), cosplay (once again Homestuck—so basically, I’m just really good at putting on grey facepaint), and photography (I take my iPhone and try to take pretty pictures I then post on Instagram so it’s not just all filled with selfies).

Basically, I just like to create stuff, no matter the medium.

What inspires you?

You mean, apart from Homestuck? I’d say my life. Ok, I know that’s vague, but I haven’t quite got a more specific muse. There is a lot to show and tell about the subtleties of everyday life, the things I see, hear, or feel. I’m ADHD, so perhaps trying to put my constant zoning out to good use is my main inspiration after all. I think sunsets are good, too. They’ve got lots of pretty colors, there’s nothing like a rainy autumn sunset to get a good photoshoot full of pinks. The city inspires me, too. The sort of aesthetics born of the layered lives of so many people, written in the concrete and the weed peeking through it, the graffiti’s, the decaying factories and the shiny skyscrapers. In painting, I draw people a lot, too. I think it’s because the figure is so evocative. I like the humanity, the feelings, the fleeting joys and pains of life, and so I try to capture them whenever I’m bored enough. It’s cheesy, but it’s true.

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

Oh boy. Well, I’ve always hung around people who drew, and the envy that I felt at their cool talents pushed me to try my hand at it. Around maybe 11 or 12, I got into manga and anime, and the thing with those, is that they make the human figure very appealing, and yet very simple-looking to draw, for someone who is just starting out. I’ve been a casual artist ever since my early teens, and recently, when I graduated high school and all my friends entered art programs, I started to realize just how much I didn’t know about art, and that’s really what helped me get much better really fast. Just a year ago, I didn’t draw half as well as I do now, because now I draw almost every day, pay attention to the world and put a lot more effort in studying the theory of art than I ever did in any of my school classes, ever.

I’m still in college, and I’m not planning on making a career out of my art, but I’ve still got some ambitions to reach a point where I can paint and draw at a professional level, for myself.

Maybe one day I’ll write an actual book or make money from my art—I’ve been offered to be an assistant photographer once, when I showed my Instagram feed to the woman whom we had hired to take our family portraits, but it didn’t work out. In the end, I take opportunities as they go. Art is just one of the things for which I have potential and interest, it’s a refuge, and I don’t want to ruin that by forcing it into a business perspective.

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?

Well, I’m known on most platforms (Instagram, deviantart, tumblr—although only for Homestuck in the last one) as hampermarketplace, and I sign my digital paintings (some of them—I often forget) as HMP. By now, it’s how I sign pretty much all of my artwork. Often, I won’t put it in the lower corner, but try to include it within the drawing, if there is writing somewhere, graffiti or posters in the background. It’s my thing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You’re going to feel bad sometimes, like you can’t quite illustrate what you want, or like everyone is better than you. It’s important to learn to use that dissatisfaction as motivation, not as a deterrent. The process of improving is an adventure, to be taken one step at a time, so awaken your inner Moana or whatever, and sing about wanting to know how far you’ll go. When you’re stalling, and nothing works, push through by going back to your basics, and putting less pressure on yourself. Take a chill pill. Go watch some Bob Ross. It’s ok to just doodle for 15 minutes sometimes, you’ve got to make art time a time to meditate, to enjoy yourself. If you do it right, it won’t feel like a chore (too much—I can’t make any promises if you decide to make a living out of it). One day you’ll look back and be amazed by how far you’ve come.

montage instagram
Montage

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual, low libido but not sex repulsed per se, and somewhere in the grey areas of romance, probably demi, although I still think of myself as a lesbian because I’ve always had a strong aesthetic attraction to women, and if I were to fall in love, I feel like it would be with a woman, or someone woman-aligned. I identify *mostly* as a woman, although I won’t deny to some gender fluidity as well.

Usually, the womanlier I feel, the gayer I get, then on some days I’m just what is gender and what is love, I want to blog about cats. My main on Tumblr is like 75% cats, 20% beautiful women and 5% ace positivity. I think that sums it up pretty well.

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

The most kind of ace prejudice or ignorance I’ve personally encountered is from myself. I’m usually quite down-low about it, I’ve come out a couple of times, but not to everyone, and I’m pretty sure most people going through my art aren’t even aware of my sexuality—I come off quite gay in real life. Since I don’t do commercial work, I can easily surround myself with people who are OK with my orientation, and anyway, I live in some of the most progressive places, where no one would openly challenge you on stuff like that, even if they disagreed with it. I’m lucky in that regard. I’m always afraid that people will still hold subconscious prejudice towards me, though, I don’t think I’m paranoid, but I need to get over it if I want to be myself, and work towards deconstructing those prejudices. When I’ve actually come out, I’ve been met mostly with love and acceptance—just once a bit of confusion. Also, once I came out to a sex-loving vegan by saying “I don’t like sex, but I do like ice cream” and she just told me “You go girl! Live your best life!” and anyway, she gets it.

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

I think this one is not an explicit, but an implicit misconception that even well-meaning people will hold, and that is this idea that aces don’t like to talk about sex, or be exposed to sexuality, and that the goal of asexual activism is to make a world where it’s possible to ignore the fact that sex and romance exists. I mean, some aces may be uncomfortable with discussions about sex, or don’t want to be exposed to explicit sexual content, but truly, anyone may have these holdups regardless of sexuality. The basics principles of consent, human decency and content warnings should be plenty to cover that. In my experience, most aces I’ve met are more than eager to talk about sex and the different types of attractions, so long as they are allowed to openly share their experiences without feeling like outcasts or weirdos. Unless they tell you otherwise, it should be perfectly fine to share your latest thirst with your friend who came out to you as ace. You don’t have to stop being yourself, and most asexuals don’t want to be treated like little kids with bleeding hearts that can’t handle the sexiness, neither do they want you to stop being yourself: they just want to be allowed to be themselves as well.

This is pretty abstract, I’m not sure if I’m making sense, but I feel like this needs to be said more. Asexuality doesn’t exist within queerness as a form of “Don’t force sex on me”, because, honestly, sex shouldn’t be forced on anyone, but rather as a force of “It’s OK to live in accordance to how you feel, regardless of social norms or whether or not it aligns with the majority around you,” because that represents much better the aroace community as I’ve known it: diverse, open, with a wide range of worldviews and experiences, just wanting to live their truth.

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

It’s not easy to find out who you are. Being asexual is challenging, because it’s probably even only one part of the identities you’re going to have to cope with—asexuality doesn’t mean you won’t have to deal with the prejudice of being gay, bi or trans—but it’s also challenging in and of itself. You’re going to have to deal with conflicting cultural ideals about chastity, lust, marriage and family, with a world that you’ll never quite understand despite your best efforts to do so, and which probably won’t even try to understand you. You’ll fidget in your psychology or sexuality class, not quite capable of explaining how you know for a fact the textbook is wrong without sounding like you’ve spent way too much time on Tumblr. You’ll smile, glad, at queer representation in the media, not quite daring to ask for some yourself—afraid it’ll take away some gay or trans kid’s chance to see themselves on screen. You’ll feel like you don’t exist, like there are no historical figures or public personalities who can bear your flag in your name, you’ll doubt yourself.

Don’t. There is nothing to doubt about it, there is nothing to be ashamed about. You’re on the frontline of progress, of our growing understanding of love and sexuality, as a society. Asexual people have always been there—the world just didn’t have a box to place them in until recently. Before that, we erred like bohemians among dandies and spinsters, bisexuals, pilgrims and nuns. But today, there are words for it, for asexuality, for aromanticism, for all the maybes and in-betweens. We are many, more than you would think, and we are solidary—to one another, and to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people, and to all other minorities, and it is our strength. Through sharing our experiences, through creating new words to define how we feel, we help people from all walks of life define themselves. So maybe, really, we’re something like great.

You can be proud.

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

My main blog on Tumblr is chaoticintellectual, though, like mentioned previously, it’s mostly  filled with cats and pretty women.

I have a Homestuck blog where I post art frequently, called Hampermarketplace, for all the filthy Homestucks out there

I write on AO3 under the name miki_and_company

Hampermarketplace is also my DeviantArt, though I don’t post much on there, but I do show my original art there more,

And finally, my Instagram, still hampermarketplace, where I post a lot of my photography.

My inboxes are open to talk, I’m quite friendly and impishly verbose, however I’ll be gone and inactive for most of the summer, sadly, but I’ll be back without question next fall.

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

Interview: Allyssa

Today we’re joined by Allyssa. Allyssa is a wonderful author and visual artist. For writing, she specializes in realistic fiction with plenty of LGBT+ characters. In visual art, she does drawing and painting, both in abstract and realistic styles. It’s clear she’s a passionate and 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 usually write, paint, and draw. My writing is typically from the point of view of a girl facing deep personal issues or mental health issues. I would classify my writing as realistic fiction. I write characters that are LGBTQ+ and are not considered the norm by society. My paintings are usually either abstract or realistic people. My drawings tend to stay on the side realistic portraits of women.

What inspires you?

People that inspire are Dodie Clark and Luna Lovegood. I love how they are unabashedly different and true to themselves. Dodie’s music is so full of heart and soul and emotion that I can’t help but feel inspired from it. The state of the world also inspires my writing and themes for my paintings. My art typically has undertones and themes of despair and how messed up the word is. On the other side of things, the beauty and complexity of humanity and nature never ceases to amaze me. My own issues with mental health and my poetic sort of view of the world helps me with using my words, choosing colors and shapes, and writing the darker parts of stories. My personal experiences with mental health gives me the ability to portray mental health in a more realistic way.

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

I first got into writing when I read the book Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. It was written so beautifully and held so much emotion and creativity that I wanted to make something as wonderful. Family members, my older sister and my aunt, also influenced me with their art. I think I have always wanted to be an artist, especially when I look back and see how I was more content making something as a child rather than letting it disappear once playtime was over.

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?

Something that I always include in my writing is a character that is LGBTQ+, neurodivergent, or defies gender roles. My paintings and drawings are also almost always a portrait of a young adult woman that has some kind of physical flaw.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Though I am a young aspiring writer myself, my advice to others like me is to write what you love to write and to write something with feeling. Write what you feel passionate about and that you feel could make an impact on someone, even if it’s just one person, and if that one person is yourself.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as noviromantic asexual. I have never had a crush on anyone and did not want to have sex with anyone now or in the future. My romantic orientation is complicated and a mixture of many different romantic orientations. Some of the basics are hetero and demi romantic. Most parts of my romantic orientation seem contradicting to each other and is hard to describe, so I use novi. Majority of my romantic orientation is part of the aromantic spectrum.

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

I haven’t encountered any prejudice, but that’s mostly because I haven’t told anyone besides my two closest and open-minded friends. I don’t hide the way I feel. When the topic of sexual orientation comes up and anyone asks me, I just say that I’m not attracted to anyone in that way. No one has had an issue with that so far, though I have only used the word asexual to describe myself to the two friends.

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

The most common misconception I’ve seen is that it is cut and clean, that you either don’t feel any sexual or romantic attraction or you do. This is something that my struggles with accepting the labeling I use fed on.

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

I advise anyone who is struggling with their asexuality to not be afraid of the terms and slang used. You can identify however you feel suits you. Once I found a community and people that didn’t criticize my orientation, I felt so much happier and comfortable with myself. Know that you don’t have to use terms you don’t feel comfortable using to please the people around you. Your orientation is for you, not other people. Orientation is fluid, and it’s not your obligation to make other people feel comfortable with who you are.

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

You can find me on Tumblr. I have two separate accounts. I post my writing and artwork on this account. My other account is mostly quotes, art, fandom, and other things I enjoy and inspire me. You can find that account here.

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

Interview: Iranka

Today we’re joined by Iranka. Iranka is a phenomenal artist who does a bit of everything. While art is mainly a hobby, Iranka has a variety of talents that she enjoys using for her creative pursuits. She does a lot of visual art, mostly drawing and painting. She depicts a variety of subjects, both fanworks and original ones. When she’s not doing visual art, Iranka enjoys playing music or writing. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate 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 do a little of a lot of things. Mainly, I paint and draw fanart, original characters, or real life people or things such as flowers and scenery. I’m also a pianist and flautist, and I also like to write – particularly short stories or just creating characters/worlds.

What inspires you?

It could be anything really, often a film I have seen, other artists, or nature.

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

I can’t remember how I got interested in drawing actually, I just know I’ve been drawing for fun since I can remember. As for music, I got jealous when my sister was learning piano so I wanted to learn too. I haven’t always wanted to be an artist, and I still am not quite sure what I want to do, but I really enjoy doing it. I also really love the idea that something I create could touch someone or make something happy, so that’s what I aspire to do. I think that realisation hit me while watching some Studio Ghibli movies, because they’re so beautiful and explore such amazing and important themes. So yeah, although art has mostly just been a hobby to me, if I could do anything it would be that.

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?

No, I don’t have one.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep trying! The more you do it, the better you will get, so don’t give up! It’s okay if you get a block sometimes and can’t seem to create anything; it will pass. Some of your art will be bad too, and that’s okay too, because no one has to see the bad stuff, you just learn and improve from it. No one is perfect on their first try.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am definitely asexual but I’m still not 100% certain. At the moment I’d say I am pan/demi romantic asexual.

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

Personally I haven’t experienced any prejudice. I’ve had the odd few people not believe me, or tell me I “just haven’t found the right guy yet”. One person said they thought I can’t be asexual because I “dress like a girl.” Yet to understand how that relates to my sexuality but yeah

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

That we are all prudes, all hate sex, that we just haven’t found “the one”, or that asexuality means you just don’t want sex. Oh, and that asexuals are just “special snowflakes on Tumblr” or something.

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

It’s okay. There are lots of people either online or in real life who could help you figure out your orientation or come to terms with it. I found out I was asexual only after researching stuff online and finding other asexual people’s stories that I could relate to a lot. Forums like AVEN can be helpful. Also, know that you don’t HAVE to come out if you think doing so would hurt you, like if you know your parents are against the LGBT+ community for example.

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

I am at iranka on Tumblr, and at iranka.art on Instagram 🙂

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

Interview: Emilie Tremblay

Today we’re joined by Emilie Tremblay. Em is a wonderful visual artist who is just starting out and already shows a great amount of talent. They paint and draw mostly. For painting, they draw inspiration from abstract art. Drawing is a little different: Em enjoys drawing all sorts of life, like people and plants. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and passionate artist with a bright future ahead of them. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a visual artist. I practice mainly with the traditional media of painting and drawing. I really love abstract art and you can probably see that style influences my paintings a lot. I also love to play with colour and shapes. When it comes to drawing though I tend to be more interested in life; people, plants, architecture (especially people) I just find it all very fascinating.

What inspires you?

The world I would say. The people around me (my family and friends, even strangers on the bus), the people I see on TV (Bob Ross, Tuppence Middleton, etc.) Anything and everything I set my eyes on has the potential to be… reformed? Perhaps you could say. I just love to create. And the things that I encounter, the things that I participate in or engage with, they all stay in my mind and gather into these weird abstract ideas that can become beautifully interesting things that I just need to set to paper. It’s all very poetic I think; to have so many wonderful things and people around you that can inspire you to create something or do something that can make you so happy.

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

Honestly I can’t remember a time I wasn’t playing in paint! I’ve always liked getting dirty and splashing different colours together. It’s just something that has always been a part of me. Obviously I’ve refined the skill since I was two, but yes I’ve always wanted to be involved in the arts in some way. My mother being an artist probably also had something to do with it!

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?

Nope! Just my personality 😉

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just do it. Practice, practice and practice some more. Do a little bit every day and just keep doing it. Never stop and never give up. I understand it can be a lot and you might not always want to or have the energy to, but if it makes you happy it can be the most wonderful thing in the world. However it is not just raw talent that is going to get you in the business! You need to refine your skills, diversify your portfolio, make connections and share your work (not all of it though because you do still want to make money and you definitely don’t want anyone to steal your work and say it’s theirs! Be careful!) Especially in this technology obsessed world, it is very important to have followers. The more you post and the more consistent you are with posting the better! But please don’t overwork yourselves. You all need to remember that the most important thing, before anything else, is to take care of yourself: mentally and physically! Take a me-day if you have to; it’s okay!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Biromantic asexual

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

I’ve only fully come to terms with my asexuality last year (2017) during my final year of high school and let me tell you that was an intense journey. I’ve also only decided I want to be a professional artist probably about six months ago? (I am the most indecisive person ever!) Saying this, however, I have encountered my fair share of ignorance (not as much prejudice thank the lord) and it has made me wary of sharing my sexuality.*I am open with myself and whoever wants to know me, I am completely comfortable with my sexuality and full of pride let that be known!* But I’m also incredibly socially awkward so I don’t particularly like to flaunt myself (if that is even the right word) Oh gosh what am I even saying anymore (sorry I ramble!) The point is yes I have encountered it in my field and yes it sucks every time but the best way to fight ignorance is with knowledge! I will be the first to say it honestly sucks having to always explain and re-explain what something is, especially when that something is so ingrained in your identity; it can be a very personal blow. Being a non-binary person as well, I am no stranger to ignorance when it comes to identity and it can honestly be so exhausting to have to constantly have a 300 page essay on hand with varied, credible sources stating that “yes, it does exist. I’m not making this up.”

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

The most common misconception is that asexual people don’t feel romantic attraction either. Yes, there are also aromantic people and yes, those are two attractions that often coexist. However, they are two different things; asexual just means that I don’t feel sexual attraction. That’s it, that’s all. Another one would be that I hate sex. Personally I am not a sexual person, nor do I think I ever will be, but I am fine talking about it and watching movies with sex scenes. But not every asexual person is the same. Again; asexual just means that I don’t feel sexual attraction.

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

Don’t rush it. And don’t fight it. Please. Life is so complicated and so difficult already, don’t force yourself to do anything you don’t want or feel comfortable doing just because it’s what everyone is saying you’re supposed to be doing. You have the best knowledge of who you are. Remember that.

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

You can like my Facebook page: artisteft, or follow me on Instagram: at eft.art! And please feel free to DM me, my inbox is always open and I would love to talk to you about art, asexuality or anything else at all!

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