Interview: Jaime Hawkins

Today we’re joined by Jaime Hawkins. Jaime is a phenomenal visual artist who has a company called Queen Cheetah Designs, which sells enamel pins that she designs. Aside from making enamel pins, Jaime also does quite a lot of fine art. She’s heavily inspired by nature, which shows in her work. It’s clear she’s a driven 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 graduated with a degree in Graphic Design and Printmaking. I’ve always loved learning any type of art I could get my hands on – drawing, painting, digital art – you name it! When I have the time, I enjoy drawing on my tablet and taking on small freelance design jobs. My biggest endeavor, however, is my merchandise company Queen Cheetah Designs. Last year the trend of “Enamel Pins” came back around full force, and I decided to try my hand at designing some! I started out with moths, and have since branched out to beetles, spiders, and other nature inspired pins. It makes me really happy to see my designs come to life as physical merchandise that people like to wear, and it makes me feel like an accomplished artist! My designs did so well that I kept making them, and now I have a pretty successful side job running Queen Cheetah Designs. I hope to branch out in the future to apparel and other merch!

2. beetle_collage
Beetle Collage

What inspires you?

I think animals and nature have served to be my most important source of inspiration for my drawing and my merchandise design. It’s a subject I have always loved, and there is endless beauty and creativity that can be found in creatures, plants, and our other surroundings. From striking color palettes to unique patterns, as an artist I feel like I can learn so much from what already exists in nature, and apply it to my fine art and design work.

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

From a very young age, I was interested in art. I would doodle on my homework and draw mash ups of animals to play as during recess. I took art lessons with another girl at a local framing shop for a few years, where I learned most of the basics of fine art.

I can’t quite remember how, but “design” specifically caught my eye around middle school. Packaging design, logo design – I found it all really fascinating how much thought went into a design and the finished result. It’s been my driving passion ever since.

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Atlas Group Photo

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 wish I could say I had a signature style, but that is something I still struggle with as an artist. I do tend to enjoy drawing somewhere in between realistic with a fantasy flair thrown in. I’d like to refine this over the next few years, but developing anything in art takes time and practice!

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Swift

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Drawing – Most of what you create will not be for profit, or even for other people. There is a lot of pressure nowadays to instantly start creating and making money, but it’s important to take the time to draw for yourself. Learn what you like to draw and how you want to draw it. It should be fun, not something you feel pressured to do. And no matter what level you are now – just keep going. Practice as often as you can. (DRAW THOSE BACKGROUNDS). Think of how proud younger you would be of your talent now, and strive to make them proud.

Making Merchandise/ Pins – It takes more than an idea to be successful at selling merchandise. It is a tough and tiring job. You have to be your own manager, designer, PR person, and salesman. Kickstarters are a great way to fund a potential design, but be careful that you are prepared to handle the responsibility of ordering your merchandise and fulfilling orders. Don’t jump into it – take time to plan. But if you feel prepared, it can be a very rewarding endeavor!

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Moth collage

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual, Panromantic.

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

Relating to the art/ design field specifically? I would say not really, but then again my art usually doesn’t relate to my sexuality. But there are plenty of individuals you interact with online who are outspoken with the fact that they think it’s “not real” or that “we’ve just had bad experiences”. I try to educate where I can, and when it seems like the people might be receptive. A lot of ideas about asexuality spring from ignorance. Some folks just don’t want to understand though, and sometimes you just have to brush it off and move on. Find solace with others who share your experiences.

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Divided

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

That all asexual people are sex repulsed, and hate all types of physical contact. I’m what you would call a sex apathetic asexual. I have no interest in it, and have no desire to seek it out, but it doesn’t bother me. It’s a light switch that stays off.

It does become a problem when I desire other attention from partners that traditionally leads to sex. Like making out, or cuddling – it’s either all or nothing. This leads to a very frustrated ace that doesn’t feel cherished but feels hypocritical asking for more physical contact “as an ace person”.

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

Asexuality is a spectrum, and everyone experiences it in their own way. Being Ace is really hard at times, especially when it comes to finding a partner. It is important to find someone who respects your comfort levels and communicates with you to find out how to approach that part of your relationship. It’s tempting to push your own comfort levels aside to make them happy, because it may make you feel desired – but it will breed resentment in time if there is no respect for your likes and dislikes as well. For people like us it is especially important to make friends and not rely entirely on having a partner to feel fulfilled.

If you find someone, make sure they love you AS someone who is asexual, not DESPITE the fact you are asexual.

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

You can find all my enamel pins and current merchandise on my Etsy shop -> https://www.etsy.com/shop/QueenCheetahDesigns. You can also follow me on Twitter at Jaime_Hawkins or on Instagram under Jaime_Hawkins_Design to stay up to date on my art and any upcoming designs.

Thank you so much!

8. Rainbow TVhead
Rainbow TVhead

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

Interview: Rachel

Today we’re joined by Rachel. Rachel is a phenomenal artist who does a bit of everything. She writes both fanfiction and original work. She does a fair amount of visual art, mostly drawing using a variety of mediums. As if that’s not impressive enough, Rachel has also done quite a lot of work in theater, both on stage and behind the scenes. It’s clear she’s an extraordinarily talented and passionate individual, 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 ton of art! I write original stories and fanfiction for a variety of genres. I draw, mostly in the traditional sense, and I have a background in theater where I performed, directed, stage managed, was a set designer and constructor for anywhere around 12 productions.

What inspires you?

I am inspires by many things. My drawings are often spur of the moment. They could be inspired by fandom and I’ll create fan art, or be very whimsical and I’ll create some sort of abstract painting.

My writing is often angsty or very light and touching (there’s not much in between most of the time, haha). Fanfiction is inspired by the movie Rise of the Guardians, Spider-Man and Deadpool and occasionally Supernatural! I hope to have more content for these fandoms in the future, and maybe other fandoms, but I have been focusing a little bit more on my original content. I write short stories that are fiction or real-life event inspired. I also have some poem(ish) writing and I’m working on developing my voice. I never want to stick to just one genre because I find so much expression in several forms of writing.

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

I’ve been drawing since I’ve learned to hold a crayon. Writing I’ve always loved and have wanted to create more of. I love reading and when I discovered fanfic, it was an instant attraction. In recent years, I’ve decided I’d like to make publishing a novel one of my life goals.

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?

Honestly no, because my style is always changing and taking on new forms. From paint to markers to pencils to charcoal to fiction to poems I’m always shaking it up.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do it! Do it over and over again and take pictures of the work you draw because one day you can look at an old picture and compare it to your growth and see where you’ve come from and where you are now!

And write of course! Write anything. Your thoughts, your dreams, your observations, your ideas, write it all! Drown in your words. And remember you don’t have to write in order. Sometimes, writing the beginning is so hard, so write that middle part! Write down that action scene and big plot twist and get it out of your head to clear the clutter. Fill in the holes later after you get that burning inspiration to write that one scene because the rest might become easier after doing that.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a cis gendered female with she/her pronouns and panromantic asexual.

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

Absolutely, I had a long term relationship end because I began to ID as ace. My parents don’t fully understand my sexuality and I come across it in social media a lot. I just remind myself that I am valid, I’m not alone, I have support from friends, and that I can get through peoples ignorance because I know who I am.

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

I have been called a plant (as in I will only reproduce with myself, which never made sense) and that I’m prude. I’ve also been told that I just “haven’t met the right person” which is to say I’ll feel sexual desire and attraction when the right person comes into my life.

I’m not a late bloomer. I’m ace, and that’s okay.

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

Don’t let other peoples judgement and opinions weigh you down. Seek allies. We’re out here and you are a valid, wonderful and a real person. You are not broken.

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

Oh! Look me up! On…

Tumblr: FrostedDragonHeart (Eternal Believer) and wrayghtings (Endless Words)
Fanfiction.net: FrostedDragonHeart
Fictionpress.com: FrostedDragonHeart
Instagram: rachelart_s

I accept DM/PMs on all of these so please feel free to chat with me!

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

Interview: Chloe Charlton

Today we’re joined by Chloe Charlton. Chloe is a phenomenal visual artist. She’s a student who is currently studying graphic design and illustration. She enjoys playing with various styles and themes. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist who loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art:

My art is a mixture of different things really. There’s no theme or particular subject to it. Sometimes it even changes styles, but that’s one of the things I love about my work and art in general. How free it is.

My art is the passion I put into projects, the thoughts and feelings I can’t put into words, the having an idea and making it into something special. Something I can proudly call my own, that I can show others and hopefully inspire others.

What inspires you?

What doesn’t inspire me. It’s anything and everything. Art movements, comics, other artist, (old and new) portraits and landscapes. It could be a holiday, what someone said, something I’ve read, a song I’ve heard, a movie I’ve watched. It could even be about a dream/daydream I’ve had. It’s whatever makes me feel, which I find very important when creating. To take that feeling and the make it through art. As one of my favourite quotes goes, “The principles of true art is not to portray, but to evoke.” By Jerzy Kosiński.

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

Family is what got me into drawing when I was young. My Dad and my Nan are great at art. I loved watching them draw when I was younger, especially my Dad, who I would always want to draw with. Obviously, I was not as good as them at the time, but they were encouraging. All my family were, which I am still grateful for.

However, I was not always into art. For many years, I fell out of it. I didn’t have much interest in art, especially in school. I think this was because I couldn’t see me going anywhere with it at the time. I was about 14 years old when I got back into drawing. I had friends who liked to draw, and it was mostly them who got me back into it.

I’m glad they did. I’m now 20 and very happy that I am continuing to do art.

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 anything specific? Right now, my art has been described as a mix of realism and cartoonish? However, it could change. I’m still learning, still developing, still discovering.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Go crazy! You want to try drawing? Do it! Painting? Sculpture? Collage? Poetry? Performance? Do it! Want to try all of them at least once? DO IT! It’s a great way to develop yourself as an artist and as a person and finding out what you enjoy best.

Notebooks! Have an idea? Write it down! Want to doodle something first to see how it would look? Jot it down! Scribble, mind-map, capitalise, highlight and underline. Whatever you may do with your notebook, keep it close. Make it your own personalised journal. It can hold ideas that you don’t want to forget, come back to later or reflect on in years to come.

Don’t throw away/hide failures. Own them! Be proud of them! Accept and learn from them.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Pan-Asexual? I’m pretty sure that’s the name. I can confidently say as my sexual orientation I’m Asexual. As for my romantic orientation, I’m sure it’s Panromantic. I’ve always thought that I wouldn’t really mind who I am with, as long as they’re happy and I’m happy.

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

Nothing too bad. (Thankfully) I think the worst experienced is mostly people not knowing what asexuality is/never heard of it before, so they either have misunderstandings of the meaning or are unsure of whether it’s a real thing.

I’ve been rather lucky so far. Usually any problems I’ve had are quickly resolved through explanation. As for other things like posts that say Asexuality isn’t a real thing, blah blah blah, I ignore them and carry on. These people are not me. They do not know who I am and how I feel. They do not get to decide that either. I know who I am and that’s all that matters to me.

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

Mostly being mistaken for not feeling anything at all.

Most people who I have told about my asexuality thought it meant I wasn’t interest in anything to do with a relationship. Which isn’t true. Luckily though, this is usually resolved by an explanation of what asexuality is.

Though it’s not always easy to do. For example, I had to explain to my Mum twice what asexuality meant before she finally understood what it was. At first, my Mum mis-heard the word ‘asexual’ and heard it as ‘a sexual’, which she assumed it meant someone who’s really into sex (the forbidden word). However, after trying to explain to her what it meant, she calmed down. Though, she still didn’t quite get it, not until many years later where she asked me about it again. After my first explanation years ago, she thought it meant I didn’t feel any romantic feelings at all and would never want a relationship ever. Now I’ve explained it better that yes, I can be interested in a relationship, it’s just sex I’m not interested in, she finally understands it better now.

To be honest though, that probably was the worst of it. I’ve had friends also think it meant I felt nothing at all, but it mostly took a quick explanation of what Asexuality meant and it would be resolved.

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

Don’t let people doubt yourself or bring you down. Don’t let them second guess who you are with their views. Don’t conform to what people want you to be instead. This is your life, not theirs. Your world doesn’t revolve around them and you do not exist to appease them. Be proud of who you are!

If you are still unsure whether you are an asexual, that’s alright. You can research, read and communicate. It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers, even later on in life. You can take your time discovering yourself. It’s your life! You grow, change and learn! Ultimately, you’re going to okay. You’ve got this!

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

You can find me on Instagram and Tumblr. Though, most of my art can be found on Instagram.

Instagram: www.instagram.com/thecharlton99
Tumblr: www.thecharltonarts.tumblr.com

Thank you for reading!

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

Interview: Ray Wyse

Today we’re joined by Ray Wyse. Ray is a phenomenal visual artist and writer. They mostly write fanfiction but hope to publish some original work in the future. Aside from writing, they are also a dedicated visual artist who enjoys drawing and painting. They do a lot of portraiture work and their art is extraordinarily detailed. It’s clear they’re a passionate and talented 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 work varies, but I enjoy writing, drawing and painting. My writing is most often fictional pieces with characters I’ve created, and while I try and branch out with my artwork my strongest pieces have always been portraiture. In all my work I try and integrate what I know, in terms of my experiences and imagination. I’ll mainly referencing my artwork in this interview as it’s what most of my time and my education is dedicated to!

What inspires you?

Other people inspire me. I’m driven by seeing creators do what they love and doing it well, it really pushes me to try and be better.

But for choosing what I want to draw or paint I’m inspired by perception. I find drawing exactly what I can see boring, and I want to explore more emotive ways of portraying people and places. Usually this means playing with the features of the subject matter, taking them away or changing them through distortion or obstruction.

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

I’ve always wanted to create art. I’ve taken it at every level available to me through primary and secondary school, but it’s only recently at college I became determined to find some sort of career in it. I think most of our everyday life is the way it is because of artistic people, from film to advertising to product design, and yet it goes by unnoticed. Almost every field has a need for us, and when I realized that it only helped push my interest in the subject.

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 don’t really? There are maybe certain things I always do that I’m not aware of, but as someone who’s still trying to find their own style and techniques I don’t think I have any repetitive patterns, but I suppose I always draw specific attention to the eyes or the obstruction of them. I feel like that makes or breaks a good portrait.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would say that I know, I understand it’s frustrating sometimes. There will always be others that are around your age, who you think has work that surpasses your own. There will be times where you can’t get a picture JUST right. But you have to realize that your art is always changing and improving. It’s hard to notice day to day but try and redo a piece from just a few years or even months ago to see how you’ve changed! Practice, there isn’t a shortcut to progress! Support and learn from each other!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual, but I don’t know where on the spectrum. I’m in a serious relationship, but I haven’t been for long enough to know whether or not I could be demi. Currently I identify as a panromantic ace, meaning I can have romantic attraction to any gender but sexual attraction to none.

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

I generally encounter confusion when talking to someone about my sexuality. It’s difficult, because as someone who didn’t find a label that worked for them until their late teens, I spent a lot of my childhood thinking I was ‘broken’ or otherwise ‘wrong’. And hearing it insinuated from someone else saying ‘how do you know? Maybe you just haven’t found the right person, etc. etc.’ can hurt a lot. Especially if coming from other people in the LGBT+ community.

But I have to remember I’m valid, and that’s what I tell them. I calmly explain that I just don’t feel sexual attraction, I never have, and it really isn’t a big concern. And if they don’t accept that, I stop conversing with them.

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

The most common misconception is that asexuality is comparable to practicing abstinence, as if sexuality is some sort of choice. Another common one is that all ace people ‘become’ asexual after some sort of traumatic experience

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

I would say it’s not your job to educate others, and it’s okay to not have everything figured out! You’ll hear about how it’s a ‘phase’ at some point in your life, and this will suck. But remember that no matter what, whether how you identify changes over the years or if a label you found at 13 still works for you at 33, you’re valid.

I’m not going to tell you it isn’t a phase and you won’t experience doubts. I’m going to tell you that if it is, that’s okay too.

Take time figuring yourself out, research the spectrum of different sexualities, and don’t feel bad if things change. How you identify at this moment is still 100% valid and don’t settle for anyone that doesn’t respect that.

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

You can find more of my work on Instagram! I also do commissions; my username is at Rachel.Wyse

I’m hoping to branch into other social media sites soon, but for now the majority of my work is on Instagram.

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

Interview: Wolfie

Today we’re joined by Wolfie. Wolfie is a phenomenal makeup artist who uses makeup to create extraordinary looks. She has done a number of different things with makeup, from standard beauty to more fantasy and horror related looks. She has also done special FX makeup. Aside from makeup, Wolfie also dabbles in a couple other mediums as well. 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.

One of the things I do is makeup and special FX. Be it beauty, fantasy or horror. I mostly do whatever has caught my fancy that day or week. I have done photoshoots, short films and even a wedding or two with my makeup.

Which plays into my other mediums, such as drawing and painting. I have a ton of sketch books filled with art, some I give away and the same with my paintings.

Along with costuming which has been trial and error. As for my leather working I am still a beginner, which I was learning from my aunt and now my dad. Also have been dabbling into jewelry making.

What inspires you?

When I was a kid, fantasy (books, art etc.) and music played in a big part in my creativity.

Along with a rich family heritage that led to being a Pagan Witch, lets me see the beauty in magic and life that goes into my art.

My Aunt also who is deceased now, was also a big inspiration to me.

Being a writer and creative person herself, part of the LGBTQ+ community and Pagan, she always encouraged me to not give up and to pursue what I love.

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

Ever since I was little girl, I was always drawing and then moving onto other things as I got older. Heck, I even wanted to be a manga artist at some point!

As for my makeup and special FX, I give that one to my family. We have always been big on Halloween and doing creative costumes, which led to me eventually finding conventions in my late teens. It would also be my early 20’s to mid-20’s that I would go to makeup school for it.

Which I am always learning new and creative ways to improve.

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?

Mostly just my name and other account names I would hid in it, or just smack dab where you can see it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just go for it. Self-doubt will happen where you think you art, or you’re not good enough.

But it will be, maybe not in your eyes.

But others will love your art even if you think they don’t.

Never compare yourself to another, each of us is unique and different. We go at our own pace and our artistic journey happen sometimes now or a little bit later.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a proud Asexual Pan romantic 29 year old.

In my early 20’s I thought I was just Pansexual, but that didn’t seem right to me.

It wasn’t until my mid 20’s that talking with a friend, that they said “Uh Wolf, I think you may be Ace.”

So I looked it up and it started making more sense to me. While giving me a feeling of relief that I wasn’t “broken”.

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

Oh boy, in my makeup field I have, since it slipped out one time during class.

And mostly I just educated them, while being calm about it and maybe a ‘wee’ bit of Sass when they asked a personal/ignorant question. But mostly, I just refuse to apologize anymore for being who I am.

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

“Well, how can you be in a relationship if you don’t have sex?” Is probably the most common thing I get.

Again I just calmly answers/educate, or (at times) Sass back with a witty clap back that makes them go “Oh! I see! Sorry about that.”

But it is also just standing my ground and not letting other tell me “oh but you just haven’t met-”

“Or have you seen a doctor?” etc.

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

It may seem you’re alone and others tell you that you are broken, but you are not.

Don’t let anyone tell you differently, this is your journey of discovery and your identity is real.

For your community sees you and you are loved, valid in your right to not be silenced or harmed as you keep learning who you are.

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

My Instagram which I welcome anyone to join me! wolfie_shieldmaidenswitch

Deviantart: Moonlightwolfos

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

Interview: Martha J Allard

Today we’re joined by Martha J Allard. Martha is a phenomenal author who writes various kinds of fantasy. She writes both short stories and novels. Her work is mostly dark and contemporary fantasy. Her novel is entitled Black Light and it sounds fascinating. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write fiction, mostly dark and contemporary fantasy. I write both short stories and novels. My first one of those came out a two years ago called Black Light. It’s about rock and roll and finding yourself in what you want.

What inspires you?

I always try to look for the magic hidden in normal life. I believe it’s always there, but we can’t always see it. I try to put that in my writing.

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

Yes, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I grew up with a book in my hand. I traded Laura Ingles Wilder for Anne of Green Gables, for the Nine Princes in Amber and on. I loved all those stories and more, but there were no characters that I could identify with.

I grew up in a small town in Michigan, in the late 70’s. It was miles and miles away from any queer culture. I didn’t know it existed, much less that I could be a part of it.

One night I waited until my parents were asleep and snuck back downstairs to the TV to watch videos. This was pre-MTV. They played a video by David Bowie called I Am A DJ. I was riveted, never having seen him before. In the video, a man comes up to Bowie on the street to kiss him. This opened my small-town brain up to the possibilities that lay beyond my tiny borders. Somehow those possibilities got my pen moving.

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, yes. Or I think of them as Easter eggs, really. Because of my connection to Bowie, I always put something of him in my work. Sometimes it’s small, something nobody but me will notice, and sometimes it’s bigger, for example the entire plot of Black Light started out with one of his songs.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t write what you know. Write what you want to discover. Write the things that scare you and let your words be wild.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I came to asexuality late in life. In the past I’ve also identified as Bi and Lesbian. I feel that I can only speak for right now, and right now I feel Panromantic.

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

I write queer fiction, and so I rub shoulders with other queer writers. When I first came out as Ace, some of them advised against it. I was surprised, because I had already identified as queer, and had for years. I’ve found that some people think of Asexual as “damaged,” and I didn’t want to be thought of like that, did I?

No. I didn’t. So when I came out to people, I armed myself with explanations, reasons for my sexuality. But finally, I stopped myself. Now I deal with push back by not apologizing, but it took a while.

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

As I mentioned above, it’s that somehow, I became asexual because of damaged I’ve suffered.  Also that I’m wasting myself? That one always makes me laugh. It feels just the opposite to me.

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

I would say, it’s a journey, not a destination. For me, each day is different, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, and as David Bowie famously said once, “All I can tell you is what I feel right now.”

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

My website: https://www.marthajallard.com/
My Facebook page: marthajallard
Amazon link to Black Light: http://a.co/d/bT1PCsp

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

Interview: Emily Jane

Today we’re joined by Emily Jane. Emily is a phenomenal artist who does a bit of everything. She enjoys singing, writing, and drawing, but her main passion is photography. Emily has a great passion for creating and is incredibly enthusiastic, 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’m a sort of jack of all trades artist to be honest. I love to sing, write, draw, photograph…I love many things, and try not to limit myself to just one. When I sing, I often sing about my personal experiences, but when I’m writing, I try to immerse myself in my characters. To me, art should express something about the artist or the subject that he or she has not or cannot share with the world. I try to capture that in my photography as well- to find a secret and exploit it on camera- though the person seeing the photo won’t see the secret, they might catch a hint of emotion tagging along the end of it.

What inspires you?

Oh, gosh, the list is endless. A current inspiration is just the existence of people. People, as a whole, are so miraculous. They live, they breath, they exist and one of my favorite things is catching them doing that. I also try to find myself in my work. I try to ask myself, who am I? What person do I show to others, and is that person really me?

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

Unfortunately enough, I think the person that got me into my field was my mother, though I really don’t want to credit her with anything that I love. She was a graphic designer in college, and just frankly an extremely creative person… Without her influence, I doubt I would have found myself as deeply entrenched in the artistic world as I do.

Ever since I’ve remembered, I’ve wanted to be an artist, but I often wonder about the differences between nature and nurture. Had my father, who is an engineer, had more to do with my growing into myself, would I be leaning more into the STEM fields? Or had I grown up in a family that didn’t focus me on anything, would I have begun to lean towards a completely different field? The world may never know.

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 don’t know if I have a specific symbol in my work… I often draw young women. I think that might be because of my sexuality, me trying to draw potential girlfriends haha!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would encourage them to never give up! I have received so much backlash from my work- being labeled the weird emo girl (because apparently only emo people draw??), people yelling at me for drawing different body types… it’s not ideal, that’s for sure. But never give up on your art. And remember, while it’s not wrong to want praise for your work, the person you most need to accept your work is yourself.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

As of now, I identify as a panromantic asexual. I’m attracted to people, not what’s in their pants- probably because I never want to touch what’s in their pants haha.

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

Not so much relating to my field as to me as a person. As of now, I am only halfway out of the closet with one person, which means that she knows I’m asexual, but not that I’m panromantic. I have experience aphobic things in my dating life, unfortunately. Guys seem to be under the impression that everybody loves kissing and sex, and they get angry when you say you aren’t into either of those things. Since I’m not out of the closet, I’ve never dated a female, so I’ve no idea how they would react to being told that I do not like sex.

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

The most common misconception I see about asexuality is the idea that people who identify as asexual also do not have romantic relationships, or that all ace people are also aromantic. Not only is this patently false, but it harms people who are asexual by promoting the idea that we don’t want romance. It also harms people who are not on the asexual scale by promoting the idea that all romantic relationships must involve sex or it’s not really a romantic relationship, which can be INCREDIBLY toxic.

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

Sure! Just remember that no matter how many people turn you down or scoff at you for your sexuality, you are VALID!! You may be more on the graysexual scale, and that’s totally fine. Humanity is filled with so many people of so many types- it only makes sense that you won’t fit in a box completely perfectly. And remember also- you don’t have to figure it all out yet! People change- you may change as well, and that’s totally okay and valid.

Sure! Just remember that no matter how many people turn you down or scoff at you for your sexuality, you are VALID!! You may be more on the graysexual scale, and that’s totally fine. Humanity is filled with so many people of so many types- it only makes sense that you won’t fit in a box completely perfectly. And remember also- you don’t have to figure it all out yet! People change- you may change as well, and that’s totally okay and valid.

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

I’m not really online at all except for my Tumblr account. Feel free to stop by and say hi to me at uppercase-ace 😉

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