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.

hampermarketplace homestuck collage
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: 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.

Interview: Nambroth

Today we’re joined by Nambroth. Nambroth is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in painting fantasy and wildlife, with the occasional overlap between the two. While she worked a lot with digital painting, Nambroth recently moved back into traditional mediums. She currently favors oil painting and creates the most extraordinary visuals. Her work shows both a vivid imagination and incredible eye, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

A Shard Of Sun Web
A Shard of Sun

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a fantasy and wildlife visual artist, with some crossover between the two genres. I started out with traditional materials when I was a kid/teen, and when Wacom tablets and painting programs became available to the public, I became primarily a digital painter. Recently, in the last ten years, I’ve started working more in traditional mediums again, and in 2017 I started oil painting in earnest for the first time and I’m really in love with that medium right now.

What inspires you?

The list of what inspires me has blossomed over the years; I think oil painting has re-wired me a bit and I find myself getting excited to paint over nearly anything. That said, I am especially fond of nature (which is pretty general, I know) and birds in particular. I am often inspired by music and other’s art, and love seeing other artist’s paintings in person.

heronphoenix web
Heron Phoenix

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

I have wanted to be an artist from the age when I realized that such things were possible. I used to sit for hours with “Wildlife Artist” magazines in the 80s and early 90s, daydreaming about the career. Dragonheart came out when I was a young teen and starting to decide what I might want to do with my life; I was very inspired by the thought of making dragons (etc). When I neared graduation from high school, I was advised art wasn’t a good career choice, and did consider my other passions (ornithology / avian medicine) very seriously, but in the end I was stubborn and chased art as a career. I worked several minimum wage jobs for years after graduating high school before I could take the scary plunge and go full time with my art.

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Hope Bald Eagle

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’ve had a few friends tell me that my paintings of clouds/skies stand out to them, but beyond that I don’t think I have anything specific! I tend to be drawn to warm, and sometimes dramatic light, so I do often paint that sort of look.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I am nervous about offering advice, because it makes it seem as if I am a purveyor of wisdom; in truth, I have been doing this for about 15 years now and I still have next to no idea what I’m doing. Many people really don’t know exactly what they’re doing, especially in this field. We’re all experimenting and making it up as we go, to some extent. I suppose that can be advice in of itself; don’t be afraid if you don’t know what you’re doing or how to get there, because we’re all sort of in the same boat, even if we have a few miles behind us! There is often no destination, even after a lifetime of art, I’m told.

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Ish

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify strongly as asexual, and possibly panromantic.

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

I have not been very open about being ace, especially professionally. I am married, and so carry a lot of privilege that way, as I’m seen as “typical” I think. To this end I have not faced much prejudice in regards to my asexuality, specifically.

liquidsilverswanweb
Liquid Silver Swan

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

Mostly that it’s not real, or that it’s a “cop-out” or avoidance tactic.

shortestdaysgoldfinch
Shortest Days Gold Finch

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

I think it can be useful to see the labels for sexuality as something to help empower yourself, and not to try to force yourself into it, especially if you are still questioning. It was a relief to find a term for how I felt for so long when I discovered the term “asexual” as an orientation in the early 2000s. That said, it’s okay if you don’t feel that way; a perfect description doesn’t exist for every person out there and I think that’s just fine! We are living creatures and one term might feel right for now, and can change over time, or it might remain static. It’s all good. Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.

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

Personal website
Twitter
Tumblr
Deviantart
Patreon
Instagram
Ko-Fi.

thunderous tides updated web
Thunderous Tides

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

Interview: Kayla Rose

Today we’re joined by Kayla Rose. Kayla is a phenomenal young visual artist who specializes in a variety of mediums. They mostly use graphite and colored pencils, but have recently gotten into charcoal drawing and they also paint. While they mostly do visual art, Kayla also writes and sometimes dances. 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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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw, mostly using graphite and colored pencils, but I’ve recently started using charcoal as well. I paint as a therapy activity. I have dabbled in clay sculptures, found-object sculptures, foam carving, and ceramic tiles. And I write whenever I have brain power left over. My style is still in flux and I have varying subject matter.

What inspires you?

I tend to take inspiration from a lot of things: life, death, depression, my own experiences, and things I find beautiful or haunting.

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

For as long as I can remember I have been drawing in notebooks and copying pages from coloring books, but about four years ago I started working in theatre and it has helped fuel my desire for skill in as many forms of art as I can manage.

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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?

Right now I don’t have any trademark or signature, though I am trying to come up with one centered around a rosebud.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Since I fit in that category myself, I don’t feel super qualified to say anything, but I would want to remind artists to chase what they are passionate about and fight through all the blocks because you will come out better than before.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a Pan-romantic Asexual, and I fluctuate between sex-neutral and sex-repulsed.

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

I’m in the arts and most people around me are very open-minded and welcoming of any and all, so I can’t say that I’ve run into much prejudice, but there is a lot of ignorance about it. There are people that I’ve had a hard time convincing that Asexuality is real, and it’s vastly unrepresented so I often feel lonely. But I try to keep my chin up and live my own life regardless of other’s point of view.

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

That none of us have any interest in sex whatsoever, or that discussion of sex will make us very uncomfortable.

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

You are valid, you are not broken. No matter what the masses or media try to force on you, believe in yourself and don’t let the haters get you down.

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

I post pictures of my work on Instagram as moonstruckmernerd and my blog at http://thewordsmithysshop.blogspot.com/.

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

Interview: McKenzie

Today we’re joined by McKenzie. McKenzie is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in sculpture.. She got her start doing 2D art, mainly drawing and painting. She gradually shifted to working with metals, particularly steel and bronze. McKenzie is particularly fond of sculpting bugs. It’s clear she’s a very passionate artist. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Most of my work right now is sculpture work, with mostly metal and slowly moving into mix media projects. I used to do only 2D work, with drawing and painting. My sculpture work right now is bugs, in steel and bronze interacting with a mix media environment.

What inspires you?

My own imagination inspires my work, as well as what I have experienced in life. Talking to other artists I find myself thinking of more ways that I could create something that is visually interesting and can tell an interesting story. It’s a little bit of everything from the mundane to even something so complicated at emotions to difficult events in life.

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

I have always wanted to be an artist, there was never a time in my life were I serious considered another path to walk. I find that I can express myself easier in a visual manner. I always felt the need to challenge myself and am willing to take the chance of failure to find my way.

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 think the only thing that I could think of is my signature which is my initials. I write out MJ with a crazy flourish in the “J.”

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just make art. If your stuck take a break and get your hands into something you don’t have to think about. I find that if I’m stuck on a piece a nap helps, or a walk too. Its okay to want to try a wide range of things but finding the media that works the best with you is a great place to start, because learning the inside outs of that area will make your work get just that much better. I still have a lot to learn, I’m not even broken into the business side of the art world yet.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as an asexual. I used to think that I was a Demi but after thinking critically about myself I found that the title didn’t fit with me.

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

I find that it can be subtle sometimes when talking with artists about their work when it’s solely focused on sex and I don’t always understand their reasoning. Most people I know and work around don’t bring up their own personal sexualities so I haven’t either.

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

That we asexually reproduce. Though I wish I could clone myself, because that would be more hands working on a project. Then more work could be done… but then I’d have to feed more of my selves and that would get far to complicated.

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

I’ve never been one to overthink what I am, for a long time when people asked what I was I would say a question mark. It wasn’t something that mattered to me until I was a bit order and around people that already understood themselves to such a point of having a label. When I was in high school it rather overwhelmed me when I started to do reach, and that was the same time I first found the title of Ace. I quickly forgot about it, finding that I wasn’t ready to think to much about who I was. In college, I am in a period of self-reflection so it fit. I found the title and am slowly getting used to wearing it. I love having a label now, I enjoy having a flag and a community of close friends that I can be around. I would suggest having a support net work if you can, or even one online if that’s the safest option for you.

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

My Instagram is the best place to follow my work! I do a lot of things and would love to share it with more people: Jerofkm.

Thank you, McKenzie, for participating in this interview and this project. It is very much appreciated.

Interview: Sweety Aurore Mutant

Today we’re joined by Sweety ‘Aurore’ Mutant. Aurore is a visual artist who does a bit of everything. They draw and paint, both digital and traditional. When they’re not drawing or painting, Aurore is writing and while they haven’t had anything published yet, they’re working on a number of stories. Aside from that, Aurore is also into crafting and writing 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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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is quite diverse. I would say that my “main” medium, as in the one I spend the most time on, is writing. I am working on two novels and a short stories series right now (none are ready to be published yet because I am a perfectionist) and in the meantime I work on a lot of fanfictions (I have been writing a fanfiction about a 60s movie since July 2016, it’s about 75k words long now and not yet finished. Not yet published either, because it needs to be perfect, by that I mean good enough). I am also writing on a few Larp and video game projects right now. Yes, I multi-task. When I write, I am mostly obsessed with the concepts of subjectivity and points of view. How reality can change depending on who you are. (This must be why I love Larping so much)

I also draw/paint, both digitally and traditionally. Fanart and original art alike -plants, people, original characters, commissions…-  I like pencil drawings and watercolour the most, even though I try my best to draw with ink, because it looks so gorgeous! Also Photoshop is my best friend, I spend several hours in a row often to paint on photoshop the details of something.

I also like to take pictures -mainly of plants and people, but sadly my old camera is dead and I haven’t yet found the money to buy a good one again. I have a few filming ideas too (mainly co-ops) but again, lack of material.

I also knit, crochet and sew, mainly costumes but also a few clothing items for myself or friends. I did cosplay long ago, but decided to leave the community,

Lastly, I also do happenings, of which there are rarely any picture. My next one with involve old domestic objects and plants, I will try to record its process.

What inspires you?

So many things! The people I see in the street, the world around me, my friends and their awesome ideas (I remember painting Henry David Thoreau as a hispter because of a university friend…), the Larps I play, the video games I play, the books I read, the shows and movies I watch… I have no shame about doing fanart and fanfiction, it is as worthy and honourable for me than any other form of “original” art. (Yes, I am a proud believer in the monomyth and the fact that there is no real “original” idea, and that the re-telling and the ways of representing is the only thing that matters, hence the important place of fan-work in my conception of art). Another source of inspiration for me is also the social and environmental context (I am working right now on an environmentalist happening).

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

What got me interested? Oh what a difficult question! I began drawing and painting as soon as I could hold a pen, and writing once I knew how to. I was a very curious child/teen, so I learnt to knit, crochet, sew, embroider, and I soon made my own costumes and cosplays. Taking pictures and filming came later, when I was in High School because I studied cinema and arts then, and had access to good quality material. Writing for larps came also later, when I was more inside the community but I remember writing roleplaying games in middle school already.

I have always wanted to be an artist, yes. I tried to convince myself that I wanted to do other things as jobs to earn money, but yes, even studying for a Linguistics Masters like I do now, I know that in the end, I am meant for art.

K family
K Family

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 signature I have been using since I was 13 or so, and writing this I realise how long ago that was, oh my! It’s a “R” in the right corner of the drawing/painting/picture, and at first I decided to use it for three reasons: it is the only consonant of my first name, it is a homophone of “air” which is my element, and it is the first letter of the pseudo I was using back then. As time went on, I also realised it was the initial of the first name of my idol and the rébus of the fictional character I relate to the most (Grantaire in Les Misérables)… two things I had not thought about at all when I chose that signature, and because of that I like it even more!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Work, work, work. Fail, hate your work. Work again, be proud for a day or two, hate it a week after. It’s normal to be proud of something and then to hate it, it’s normal to be envious of other people’s work, it’s normal to be discouraged, and it does not mean that you are not good. There will always be people who are better than you, and people who will be worse and jealous of you. Just keep working, and work for yourself. Do it for the fun, for the art. No one will be mad at you if you can’t finish something, if you abandon a drawing or a draft. If they are, they did not deserve you in the first place. Your art should be made for your own enjoyment first. Be selfish.

Marika p
Marika

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as panromantic grey-asexual, or as I like to say it, I love everybody too bad I don’t like them. I really need to be in a very “special” relationship with the person to consider having sex with them, and I noticed that is had a lot to do with how much I find them interesting on the intellectual side of things.

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

I have, mainly ignorance, incomprehension and the same old clichés than everywhere else. When I face an ignorant person in my field that is open-minded, I handle it by helping hem understand what asexuality is. If the person is, forgive my vocabulary, an imbecile that just want to cling to clichés and not learn, I handle it with a raised middle finger,

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Silver

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

The old “you haven’t found the right person yet/it’s a phase” bullshit. What hurts the most for me is that I see such misconceptions about aces in communities like feminists or LGBT+ that, I hoped, should have been more open-minded than your usual human. I most of the time get this feeling that people just don’t try to understand aces.

teach
Teach

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

I would say… labels don’t matter, as long as you feel good. You don’t have to fit into a category, what you feel and how you live it -alone or with how many partners you wish- is the only thing that matters in the end. Sexuality is fluid, don’t be afraid to change, as long as you feel right about yourself. Also, you’re the only one who know yourself, don’t let toxic people influence you towards anything you don’t feel comfortable with.

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

Mainly my Tumblr for my drawings/paintings: The Artful DodgeR’s Tea Rooms (http://sweetymutant.tumblr.com/) because my DeviantArt has been dead for too long. I will probably create a YouTube and Twitch channel soon, but have not yet found the time to! To read me, there is my AO3, Sweety_Mutant: (https://archiveofourown.org/users/Sweety_Mutant/pseuds/Sweety_Mutant)

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

Interview: Mika Babineau

Today we’re joined by Mika Babineau. Mika is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in painting, both traditional with acrylic paints and digital. She is currently finishing up a series of portraits about the ace experience (having completed 6 out of 8 large paintings). Mika has also painted landscapes and her digital paintings mostly consist of demon girls and fanart. Her work is inspired by impressionism with her own flair. She’s obviously a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. draculaura
Draculaura

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Yo yo my name is Mika and I’m a Sheridan college graduate living in Toronto, Canada. I do all sorts of things but my main focus is acrylic painting and digital art! I do portraits and landscapes with my paintings and fanart and demon girls with my digital art so you’ll get quite the mix of everything coming from me haha but that’s the way I like it. My paintings focus on colour energy and an impressionistic style while my digital art is more simple with pastel colours. The art I really want to talk to about today though is my “Ace and in your Face” series of self-portraits. Upon realizing that I was asexual during my college years I felt the need to educate and shed some light on the topic, a topic seldom, if ever, discussed. My “Ace and in Your Face” series does just that. By painting portraits of myself I explore various topic and themes pertaining to asexuality and answer commonly asked questions. Both my frustration at the lack of understanding as well as the pride I feel towards my asexuality are displayed in this series covering a wide range of emotions

2. sakura
Sakura

What inspires you?

My inspiration comes from music, media and the people around me. Music brings out great creative energy in me that keeps me motivated or sets the tone of how I want the piece of art to go. Consuming all sorts of media helps inform me of new ideas and ways to create art. I fully believe that one of the most important parts of creating is being exposed to other people’s creations. Finally I would not be able to do what I do without my amazing and inspiring friends who are always working so hard and creating wonderful things. They are truly an incredible group of people.

3. hiragana yo
Hiragana Yo

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

I did always want to be an artist but for a long time I thought animation was going to be the direction I went in. I really disliked painting in high school believe it or not. Then in college I was exposed to so many different kinds of art and teachers who saw potential in my paintings. I switched gears and now I’ve had art in all sorts of galleries and art fairs. It goes to show you never know where life will take you.

4. Aces can still love
Aces Can Still Love

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?

Hmmm not really a symbol per say but I would say my most defining feature is my colours. It is the first thing people notice and I take great care is making that jumble of colour turn into something recognizable haha.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

A lot of people aren’t going to believe in you and a lot of people are going to look down on the path you’ve chosen for yourself as if art is some lessen purpose in life. You can’t let them discourage you. Art is filled with no’s and rejections and hard times but if you want to make it you need to be the one who keeps going. Believe in yourself, believe in your art and never give up. You’ll find your audience.

5. Don't assume I'm straight
Don’t Assume I’m Straight

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I prefer to just call myself asexual plain and simple.

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

Not so much in the art field really. Paintings are always about so many things so asexuality isn’t really a wild out there concept for them I think. A new concept for them yes but not one they would have the audacity to be prejudice about. I provide long explanations with each painting so people are willing to learn. The ignorance I see is more from people on the internet, I know, shocking. All you can do is remember that they are only a small minority of voices and keep doin’ your thing.

6. Hooray! Representation!
Hooray! Representation!

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

I have a boyfriend and people can’t seem to wrap their heads around how that works. It is like the most foreign concept to them. Love??? Without sexual attraction??? What?? It takes a while to explain to them how this is possible but even then I think some people still don’t fully understand.

7. Invisible
Invisible

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

It took me a long time to come to terms with who I am. Self-discovery is a process and you have to be willing to accept who you are. There are tons of people out there who will accept you for who you are and I know it feels like you are alone sometimes but you are never alone. Just know this: you are not broken, there is nothing wrong with you, you are you and that is beautiful. Just get out there, be proud and live your best life.

8. Not gay enoughnot straight enough
Not Gay Enough, Not Straight Enough

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

I have a website: http://www.mikababineauart.com/

As well as a variety of social media:

https://twitter.com/MikachuNinjamon
https://www.instagram.com/mikachu_ninjamon/
https://mikachu-ninjamon.tumblr.com/

9. haha so you're like a plant small
Haha So You’re like a Plant

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

Interview: Ally Mueller

Today we’re joined by Ally Mueller. Ally is a phenomenal painter who specializes in portraits. She paints humans, fairies, and occasionally animals. Her work is so beautiful, brimming with color and detail, creating exquisite images that draw the viewer in. It’s clear she’s a talented 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 do watercolor and acrylic of people, fairies, and the rare animal.

What inspires you?

It’s a different thing every time I pick up a brush. Sometimes its just a need to create something with no idea what! I’ll just re-do something I’ve done already. Or I can see someone somewhere and want to paint. Or good afternoon sun. or just a great color somewhere can get me started. looking at other people’s art helps too.

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

I always wanted to be an artist! I drew all the time when I was little and started painting when I was 10 but got really into it when I was in middle school and had an amazing watercolor teacher.

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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?

Not really

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Even if its crap, don’t stop!!! If you keep going you’ll get better at it.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Grey-demi aegosexual (cause that’s not super confusing and weirdly specific)

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

I haven’t really told many people, the few people I have told literally already knew.

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

That I/we don’t like orgasms. I’m personally not a fan of sex, but (to get really TMI) solo orgasms are fun as hell. Also, tons of aces out there like sex!!! The other big one is that I/we don’t think people are cute! I may not wanna do the do with them, but I like looking at them!!

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

I, personally, struggled with my orientation for years! I was 27 before I had any inkling of that I wasn’t straight. It’s a really weird orientation because its defined by not experiencing something I don’t really experience. So I guess I would say that’s its OK to change the words you use to define yourself, its OK if how you feel changes, there’s no “right” way to be or feel ace, its OK. The most important thing is that you are comfortable with who you are.

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

I’m on Fine Arts America as Ally Mueller in Parker, CO and plan on doing some local art fairs this summer.

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

Interview: Mallen Krueger

Today we’re joined by Mallen Krueger. Mallen is a wonderful visual artist and crafter. He does a lot of painting, both canvases and more frequently, wooden eggs. When he’s not painting, Mallen does a lot of beadwork. While not religious, he mostly makes rosaries and prayer beads. It’s clear he’s a talented and 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.

I do paint on canvases, but most of my art is on wooden eggs. They are mostly simple designs, and splatter. I love the shape and versatility of eggs, so they are my favorite thing to paint.

I also do bead work. Most of my bead work is rosaries and prayer beads. I’m not Catholic or religious myself, but I like the symbolism. It started as a therapy hobby, but I turned it into a small jobby.

What inspires you?

Almost everything! I see so much beauty in the world, and if I can, I try to add that inspiration to what I love.

When it comes to beading, I am mostly inspired by Catholicism. Big cathedrals, beautiful statues, and so much art! But when it comes to non-Christian prayer beads, like pagan prayer beads, I get inspired by nature. I still need to branch out more with those though.

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

I have been an artist since I was a child. My mom is also and artist and she encouraged me right from the start. Art has always been therapeutic for me. It has helped me through some rough times, and painting always makes me happy. I’m sure I’ll always be an artist!

2. also use this

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?

Besides eggs, I have a bind rune of my initials I put on my art. It’s a signature, but also keeps me connected to my pagan roots.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep at it! No matter how tough trying a new styles of art is, or anything in life really, just keep going and eventually you and your art will get better.

3. and these too

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am panromantic (lithromantic) asexual.

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

I’m not quite sure if anyone knows or cares. I don’t really talk about being ace, to other artists, unless the discussion is brought up. So far nothing bad has been said.

When it comes to rosary making, I think being a lifelong virgin would be a plus. LOL

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

That we don’t have emotions or that we can’t love. I’m not a great example, but I will argue for my ace people when acephobia comes up.

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

Keep searching! There are so many types and terms of asexuality that if you’re struggling with “is this really who I am” then maybe you need to look around for a more fitting term. Being asexual isn’t a bad thing! You can do as much as the next person, and maybe even more!

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

I have two Facebook pages for my paintings and my rosaries.

https://www.facebook.com/MallensManageables/
https://www.facebook.com/PrairiePasqueRosaries/

To be honest, I would love to ship my items out, but at the moment it’s been difficult for me. Someday I’ll figure it out.

4. Use these eggs

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