Interview: Broeckchen

Today we’re joined by Broeckchen. Broeckchen is a phenomenally talented visual artist who works in mostly digital mediums. She mostly does character design but has an incredible passion for any kind of drawing. Her work shows a masterful use of color and extraordinary detail that just pulls the viewer in, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. A Whole New World
A Whole New World

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My main focus is on character design, but enjoy illustrations of all kinds and even some crafts like bookbinding. Most of what I create is digital art.

2. Taste in Style
Taste in Style

What inspires you?

I’m strongly inspired by the aesthetics of animated stories and by art nouveau in terms of style, while mythology is one of my main inputs when it comes to the contents of my art. For example, I love creating variations of well-known mythological beings to go for an unusual and fresh look!

3. Rosemama
Rosemama

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

Sailor Moon! I always wanted to be able to draw, but different from many other kids I was extremely self-critical with what I created and got frustrated with my pictures very easily. Discovering Sailor Moon was what first gave me a really strong drive to push through that frustration and get better at art. I would probably still have given up very early on if my Mom hadn’t taught me how to trace from the magazines I owned – that was how I started actually studying the art I admired. From that point on though, yeah, I always wanted to work as an artist! I briefly wavered after graduating from school because everyone told me I couldn’t live off art, but then I soon discovered that there was nothing worth having art behind for either.

4. Harpy
Harpy

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?

Yes! It looks like two lines with a diamond symbol in between, often followed by the last two digits of the year I drew the image in.

5. Round KingfisherGriff
Round KingfisherGriff

I chose this symbol because it consists of my initials and incorporates that diamond-shape. At the time when I thought of that symbol, my best friend was a huge fan of the rapper Diam’s, and once told me that the rapper chose that name for herself inspired by the dictionary definition of a diamond: “The hardest substance known to man, a diamond can only be cut by another diamond.” It was a statement about perseverance and resonated so strongly with me and what I want to be that I felt it should be part of my identity.

6. Round PeacockGriff
Round PeacockGriff

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Learn to be forgiving and appreciative and do not stop. One of the most positive things I ever did was learning to look at a half-finished picture, realising it wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be, and then just finishing and putting it out there anyways. More often than not, other people ended up seeing the beauty in it that I was blind to because I was too close. Sometimes a small miracle happens and it turns out that the half-finished work just happened to look worse than it did at any other stage, with the final result being incredibly pretty. But many people drop a piece or even the craft at large when they bump into that wall of “damn, this is not what I wanted at all!” and never get to find out how good and positive their work would actually turn out to be.

7. Round Cloudicorn
Round Cloudicorn
8. Round Furycorn
Round Furycorn

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demisexual and panromantic.

9. Pearl
Pearl

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

I actually don’t tell people about my exact identity too often. Since both labels I most strongly identify with are pretty obscure where I live, I tend to dread the conversation a little. I am also exceptionally lucky, though – where I live, most people are pretty progressive, and the number seems to shoot up even further when you go to an art school.

I am trying to open up about being demisexual more though ever since I realised that younger people with the same identity could probably really benefit of noticing that someone older and (hopefully at some point?) more established identifies that way, too.

10. Garnet
Garnet

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

The “But isn’t that normal?” one that follows demisexuals around a lot. I always have to explain to those saying it that while the emotional bond I need often appears alongside romantic feelings, it doesn’t always. I’ve felt attracted to close friends I had otherwise exclusively platonic feelings for, and I have been head over heels romantically for people but we never arrived at that specific bond I needed to feel physically attracted to them.

11. Amethyst
Amethyst

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

First off, it’s okay to take your time with figuring things out. Anyone who demands of you to have a firm and established label within a short deadline is just being a butt about it, you’re free to think about it, experiment, gather experience and even to reject specific labels altogether. And secondly, you’re a gift to everyone who shares your experience and is still searching for themselves. Whenever I wasn’t sure about continuing to grasp for my goals for my own benefit, that helped me out a lot. Knowing that I’m one more person in my field who improves all of our chances to become more visible and provide a future generation with more stability some day.

12. Alien
Alien

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

While my artblog at broeckchen is one of the most complete collections of my current work, I also have a nice hub-page at http://linktr.ee/broeckchen89 where people can see more different places to potentially follow me instead.

13. Rosa's Pumpkin
Rosa’s Pumpkin

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

Interview: Nicole C.

Today we’re joined by Nicole C. Nicole is a wonderful young up and coming artist who does a lot of acting. She also professionally models. For acting, Nicole does a number of theater arts: musicals, plays, one acts, and improv. She’s clearly a very passionate artist, 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 am a part of my theater group in my high school, this is my 7th year being in theater, I’ve been in countless productions including, Musicals, Full plays, One acts and Improv Shows. I recently won an award from my County event for directing a short skit. I am working with a talent agency that has allowed me to book modeling gigs and auditions in LA/Hollywood

What inspires you?

When I’m on stage I get to be someone else, I become this character that gives people the opportunity to feel things they may not feel in their day-to-day lives. When an audience member comes up to you after a show and tells you that they were laughing so hard they were in tears or that they cried because something touched them, a warm feeling bubbles into your stomach just to know that you did something amazing, that not everyone can do. It’s the relief of looking around after a long day of building sets and arguing with cast members about props and saying, we did good. That is inspiring.

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

I was placed in drama at a young age because I was shy and scared; I was stuck in my shell. I didn’t want to be in front of people until I realized I liked talking to a crowd knowing someone out there is understanding what I’m saying. Drama got me out of my shell and boosted my confidence.

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?

Before a show, I always pray. Not even as a religious Dear God don’t let me screw up kinda way, more so of, please, to the good spirits around, aid us in this journey and help us out.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would tell them it’s okay to be scared, that fear is there for a reason- to push you forward and help you feel calmer and more accomplished afterwards.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a panromantic Demisexual.

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

I have not

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

That we aren’t real, it’s all an act, or we have trust issues

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

Who cares? You date who you want to date not whom other people want you to. If you’re scared talk to someone, be open with yourself, explore if necessary. You are valid and real and wonderful. You will be okay.

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

My Instagram at raincloudingg or Tumblr at raincloudingg.

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

Interview: Kyle Etges

Today we’re joined by Kyle Etges. Kyle is a phenomenal musician who specializes in quite a few styles. He’s a saxophonist who plays with the band Contraband. He’s a composer (some of his music can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/kyle-etges-463890162). Kyle is an incredibly passionate and dedicated musician, 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 am a saxophonist, educator, composer, and bandleader. I have been playing music professionally for the past 12 years in the Denver area, and have been writing music for probably even longer. I’ve led or helped lead 6 bands in that time, and I’ve written several pieces for all of them, particularly my Afrobeat band- Contraband. I also work for commission, and have arranged music for a few funk bands in the area, as well as a handful of guest entertainers with Celebrity Cruises.

If I had to characterize my writing, it would be an eclectic mix of jazz, funk, and reggae with a touch of classical. I like writing large through-composed works that leave a lot of room for improvisational interpretation from my band members.

What inspires you?

Oh boy… it’s different every week, it seems like. Right now I really like Snarky Puppy, and have been trying to emulate their sound in my writing. I’ve also been incorporating some hip hop elements into my music as of late, and have been checking out a lot of Hiatus Kaiyote, D’Angelo, Kendrick Lamar, and Brotherly. I really like music that grooves hard and gets people dancing, and I especially like Snarky Puppy’s (namely their primary composer, Michael League’s) ability to transition and weave through several different grooves in one tune.

I’m also heavily inspired by a jazz composer named Maria Schneider, especially when it comes to writing in solos. Many composers will just have a soloist play with the drums and bass, maybe with a few backgrounds thrown in. But Maria Schneider always paints these beautiful tapestries of sound that take the soloist and listener on a journey on their own. It’s something I’m still trying to master in my own writing, but I’m already pretty good at nerding out about it.

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

I knew I wanted to do something in art since I was very young. I loved visual art when I was a kid, and I also got into theater from a young age. Music sort of took a side seat until I was 12, when I began listening to jazz and decided I wanted to pursue that full time. I think I was attracted to the idea of jazz more than the music. I like the image of being in a smoky club at three in the morning, surrounded by my friends calling out tunes to play. It all has a romantic quality to it, and I’ve been fortunate enough to experience that on multiple occasions.

As for writing music specifically, I think video games probably played the biggest hand in my interest. I was raised on Nintendo, and grew up listening to pieces by Koji Kondo. I’ve been told some of my pieces sound like overworld themes from a Zelda game, and I can’t say I’m surprised. I still get goosebumps when I put in Twilight Princess

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?

Hmm… I kind of do, but it’s difficult to explain. Do you ever have a tune stuck in your head, but you’re not sure what it is or where it came from? I get those all the time, and naturally as a composer I eventually get to thinking, “is this a song already, or did I make this up?” I had this one a few years ago that was driving me nuts, and it became an inside joke amongst the band that it was every/any song. We started throwing this little melody into our solos, and eventually I started throwing it into my pieces.

I’ll try and upload a picture of it, but in solfedge it would be do-me-sol-^do-te-sol-me-fa-sol do-me-le-sol-me-do-re-me. I know it shows it’s face in 3-4 of my pieces. I guess I should make it more of a thing!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

One of the biggest lessons I had to learn -or perhaps am still learning- is to foster discipline for your art. Many people are inspired to make art, and some of those people are even motivated enough to go through with it and create something beautiful. But I believe a true master is marked by daily regimen and improvement, even in the absence of motivation. In short … to truly master something, practice it every day, even if you don’t want to. Between inspiration and daily discipline, discipline always wins- hands down. It’s the only way to ensure growth improvement in your craft. No matter what, you always need to strive to be greater. Keep going!

saxophone-19

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Panromantic Demisexual, but usually I just say Asexual for simplicity’s sake.

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

If there has been any prejudice, I haven’t heard about it directly. There are of course many musicians who don’t understand what it is, particularly musicians I met when working on a cruise ship. For most people, it’s a simple matter of educating them on the subject.

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

My asexuality is a recent self-revelation, and a big part of my self-acceptance was upon meeting another asexual, with whom I proceeded to get into a queerplatonic relationship. For that reason, many people think my asexuality is a choice for the benefit of my partner (now fiancé!). It’s true that she played a huge role in helping me realize and accept this aspect of myself, but the truth is it’s always been a part of my life, and it’s dictated all of my past romantic relationships. Still, many people still tell us that our relationship ‘isn’t fair to me’ or in one case ‘is a waste of my penis’ (I really hate the guy who said that one). However, the truth is I’m happier than ever to be in a relationship that finally makes sense to me!

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

No matter how weird or different you feel, there’s at least one person out there who feels the same way. You are probably not as special as you think you are, and that’s not a bad thing! Find like-minded people and connect with them. I would not recommend trying to fit in by doing things you don’t want to do. I did that for an embarrassingly long time, so take it from me- it doesn’t work out!

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

Follow my Facebook page for now: facebook.com/etgesmusic. You’ll hopefully see some information soon about my website launching!

Contraband can be found at contrabandco.com or facebook.com/contrabandco

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

Interview: Earl

Today we’re joined by Earl. Earl is an incredibly versatile artist who does a little bit of everything. He does a lot of visual art, pencil drawings and photography in particular. They also dabble in writing, both poems and songs, and they play the flute. It’s very apparent that he’s got a very creative spirit and a truly wonderful eyes, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I like to do a number of things in the arts like drawing (mostly pencil drawings, sometimes I color with mixed media or draw with a pen), amateur photography, playing flute, poetry, and singing. My art isn’t the main focus of my life right now but I really love the creativity I get from it. I’m kind of sporadic with how often I do any of them but I try to have fun when I do!

What inspires you?

When I was very young inspiration for visual art was almost anything from TV shows to my stuffed animals, now it’s very much fandom-oriented (Steven Universe, Harry Potter, etc.) when I draw. I love to take photos of nature (mostly trees and flowers) and edit pictures with filters and such. Creating music just really relaxes me (I am always constantly inspired by other musical artists) and my poetry has been mostly inspired by my feelings/emotions.

2

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

I never really stopped drawing as I got older, I have always loved to memorize my favorite songs, the crappy editing options on my iPhone got me into photography, flute is my escape from reality, and poetry helps me vent (I’m also a romantic sap when it comes to poetry on the rare occasion I have a crush).

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?

On the majority of my drawings I try to put a little fancy G that with little carrot markings around it that kind of looks like a star.

3

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Try to always practice your art form — if it’s visual art, doodle or something similar, hum under your breath or sing really cheesy songs that you know by heart if you sing — all the little things in your everyday life not only help you improve your art, it’s also a great way to relieve stress.

4

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demi/panromantic and demisexual (maybe gray-asexual?) and I’m sex-indifferent

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

Nothing has affected me personally concerning the arts, although the fact that so many romantic songs are inherently sexual sometimes makes it hard for me to relate to a song (I guess that’s ignorance/lack of representation?)

5

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

I’ve heard people ask if asexuality pertains to plants (in fairness, I don’t think those people were aware of asexuality in a attraction sense) and one person tried to say demisexuality is what “most people experience”

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

It is always okay to question and explore your (a)sexuality. Even if it seems like no one else close to you knows how you feel, there will be fantastic people that you will meet (whether online or in person) who know. Never think for one second that it’s wrong to not feel sexual attraction — you are all amazing people and I believe in you all!

6

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

I have a drawing sideblog on Tumblr at gsdoodlesanddrawingd and a photography sideblog (also Tumblr) at earlgayteaphotography; my main blog is at pandemic-porl12 — feel free to message me anytime!

7

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

Interview: Gobetti

Today we’re joined by Gobetti. Gobetti is a fantastic writer and visual artist. She loves both forms of art equally and is dedicated to both. She draws a lot of inspiration from fandoms and obviously loves art. Working with both digital and traditional media, her work shows a beautiful attention to detail 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 write and draw, both traditionally and digitally! I’m taking drawing classes at the moment, and though I have very little time to practice, I love drawing and writing equally.

What inspires you?

This might sound very fangirl-y, but the fandoms I’m part of inspire me, and above all, romance inspires me – the cuter, sappier and sugary, the better. I love reading fanfics and seeing all the types of fanart of every fandom I participate in, because reading and seeing other people’s ideas and talking to mutual fans about those ideas inspire me to work and create my own things.

02 (2)

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

Writing: I began reading fanfics when I was 12 I think – browsing Fanfiction.net and reading every single fic that existed for my current fandoms was my favorite pastime. Back then I used to think “man, I wish there was a story about x”, or “dang, I wish y story was written z way, or got a different ending,” and from there I thought “wait, I should write this!” and then I went and did. My first fanfic was written in 2007, I think? It was posted on Fanfiction.net, naturally, and it was a short, very angsty and bittersweet Danny Phantom fanfic that I wrote based on an instrumental song called “My Most Beautiful Smile”. I got SO MANY good reviews, even though my English had plenty of flaws, and that made me so happy I never stopped writing since. if people didn’t take the time to comment on my fic I would’ve never continued writing, and I’m forever grateful to all those 20-something people that I brought to tears back in 2007. I’m sorry, but at the same time I’m not. :’) And thank you.

Drawing: I’ve always drawn, since I was very little. My uncle used to do oil paintings, and he gave us blocks upon blocks of blank paper for me, my sister and my cousin to draw on, and boy did we draw. My parents always encouraged us, and even when one of my teachers called my mom in school to complain about how I doodled all over the margins of my notebooks, my mom just shrugged it off. She told me to make sure to draw just on the margins, and if I did so, then the teacher had no real reason to complain. I wanted to write my own comic when I was little, but nowadays I wish I could work in something related to game design.

04

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! My style is a bit inconsistent since I’m still trying to figure it out, which means I don’t have many trademarks yet 🙂

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Writing: read. Read a lot. Then read more. And then, when you write, read what you wrote. Read it in your head to see if it sounds OK. Read it out loud if you have to – the key is remembering how a narrator talks like, and make sure your own writing sounds cohesive and well-paused and all nice and flowy like that. Obviously it doesn’t have to be identical to how narrators talk because everyone has their own writing styles, and that’s more than ok! Just make sure that grammatically everything is looking and sounding good and dandy. And then when you finish reading it, read it again. And then once more, just to make sure. if you have someone to beta for you, even better, because that way they can explain to you why something that you wrote was OK or why it wasn’t, and from there you learn a little more every time.

Drawing: never give up! Draw every day! Wherever and whenever! Even if you don’t feel like it and everything you do sucks that day! Draw, draw, draw! And don’t be discouraged that you’re not yet where you wish you were, because you’ll eventually get there; everyone has their own pace when it comes to evolving artistically. Also get a lot of references, and I mean A LOT, and follow them all the time – don’t think you can’t use them, that is NOT cheating no matter what some people say! And don’t follow those how to draw manga books as reference! Draw from actual people, do live drawings, study anatomy, etc. EVEN if your intention isn’t to draw realistically, just knowing the proportions of the human body, how everything works and is built and etc. will help you a hell of a lot when you move on to doing everything in your own style – even better, it’ll help you develop your own style! Oh and always do the flip-test. It’s a life saver.

adoribull - Cópia
Adoribull

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a panromantic demisexual!

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

Not in my field, but personally. back when I didn’t know that asexuality/demisexuality was a thing, my mom told me that it is completely unrealistic of me to expect people to just accept that I don’t want any kind of intimate contact BFORE dating (it’s common for our culture to “hook up” before dating, and hooking up basically means making out with no strings attached, which is a HUGE no-no for me). Nowadays… not so much. I usually avoid saying the word “demisexual” to people, but when I say that I don’t want to hook up with a person I barely know, and don’t actually miss kissing and sex ever since I broke up with my abusive ex, no one really questions it too much. My sister was one exception: she thought I was just being picky and annoying, and got mad because she thought I was overreacting when the thought of kissing a complete stranger made me scratch my arms and cry. A few months later I felt more comfortable talking to her about it, and she did her research and tries to understand me. My online friends all find it quite normal – I have a few friends in the aro spectrum – so overall I’m alright.

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

Regarding demisexuality specifically, that I’m frigid just because I don’t want to hook up with anyone. I AM interested in sex and whatnot, but I like the whole intimacy of the act rather than the getting off part, and it means that everything slightly more intimate, like kissing on the lips, I find extremely personal and would not do to a person who I don’t trust. Just thinking about it makes my skin crawl :c

anders - Cópia
Anders

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

Don’t rush into anything! Listen to your instincts and your own heart. Don’t let anyone else dictate who or what you are and what you’re comfortable with. You’re not being weird, you’re not being picky, and most important, and you’re not alone.

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

I have a Tumblr: http://gobetti.tumblr.com, and an AO3: http://archiveofourown.org/users/Gobetti/pseuds/Gobetti 🙂

unfortunately because of work my time to do personal things is limited, so I have a lot less on both those links than I’d like, but hopefully in the near future I’ll be posting more ^_^

girl in glasses - Cópia
Girl in Glasses

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

Interview: Mara

Today we’re joined by Mara. Mara is an incredibly enthusiastic and talented visual artist who enjoys drawing a variety of things. They enjoy drawing humans, animals, and fantasy creatures among other things. Their art has a delightful sense of whimsy to it and it’s obvious that Mara absolutely loves what they do. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

chinese new year
Chinese New Year

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, my favorite things to draw are people, animals, furries and hybrid/fantasy creatures. My style isn’t always the most consistent but I have fun with it so it doesn’t usually matter all that much. I have a lot of characters and would like to produce comics and games with them in the near future.

What inspires you?

My main inspiration is the idea that anything is possible in art. The laws of physics, society, logic, and anything else can be ignored if you want. It can transport you to a different time and place, culture, world, universe, or simply another person’s shoes. It’s a powerful medium and a universal language. No two people’s perspectives are exactly the same, and art allows people to share those views with everyone else.

As for people that I look up to… I read a lot of manga and follow a lot of really cool artist.

Manga Artists: Irie Aki, Mori Kaoru, Douman Seiman, Inio Asano, etc.

Tumblr Artists: There are a lot, but here are a few of them

mewtwo sweater tumblr
MewTwo Sweater

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

I got started with drawing Neopets and Pokémon. Shows like Naruto, Sailor Moon, Hamtaro and Inuyasha were also inspirations even though I didn’t draw much fanart for them.

I’ve always enjoyed doodling, even though I haven’t considered it a possible career until recently. It’s kinda silly thinking about it now, but one of the main reasons I began drawing more seriously was because I couldn’t afford to commission people as a kid, but wanted my characters to look pretty too. My art isn’t perfect or anything, but at least I can say I’ve come a long way since then (and have had the opportunity to commission some great artists since then too!)

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I don’t have anything in particular that I can think of. The last iconic image I can remember using was back in 2010 when I was making a comic for myself and a couple friends. Every page had this little legged fish with cat ears named Landfish somewhere on it. The comic was basically giant inside joke & parody of all things anime.

reading arthur fin
Reading Arthur Fin

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Create what you love, even if it’s for your eyes only. Share what you’re comfortable with who you’re comfortable with. There’s only one you, and you’re the only one who can share your flare with the world. And know that if it’s something that you love, there’s probably at least one other person who will love it along with you… No matter how weird or bizarre it might be to the majority.

Also, there’s nowhere to go but up as long as you love what you’re doing. Nobody was born knowing how to do anything, and hard work & perseverance have a lot more to do with skill than being naturally good at someone. Keep creating whatever it is you love, and when you feel like your art looks especially bad that usually means improvement is right around the bend. Climb past the art block and boredom. Strengthen your weaknesses, find something that excites you and inspires you. If you feel like you need a break, take it, and come back with fresh eyes, ears, or mindset.

spright2
Spright

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a panromantic-demisexual, but still find myself more on the asexual 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. I can’t say I handled any of it very well though since I tend to avoid conflict.

I said I was ace to my bi friend and they responded saying maybe I was pansexual. I just said that was pretty much the opposite though and the conversation moved on.

Another time, someone I know started talking about sex. It made me uncomfortable so I mentioned that I was ace. I thought it would help move the conversation along but instead it turned into a “How to be Sexual & Do the Sex” talk. They didn’t listen to me when I insisted it wasn’t an issue, so I wiggled out of the conversation and haven’t been able to talk to them since then. I feel kinda bad about feeling awkward around them, but it feels really weird being patronized like that…

Thankfully my partner is accepting of my sexuality and super supportive. I’ve also been fortunate enough to make some really great friends who have also turned out to be ace or demi. It’s really great having a few people in my life who are completely understanding. My family is fine with it too, but took it more as a celibacy statement than anything. For religious reasons they reacted much more strongly to finding out I was in a same-sex relationship.

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

The biggest misconception… I would have to say is that asexuals can’t be certain they’re asexual unless they’ve tried having sex (and if they didn’t enjoy it? It wasn’t with the right person or it was with someone who wasn’t skilled enough.) Sexual people know they’re sexual long before they have sex though, so it miffs me that it’s so hard for them to believe the opposite can also be true. If you have to try something first to know if you like it or not, then every heterosexual person needs to try having homosexual sex at least once to know they’re not bi/pan/gay/etc.

I’ve known gay people that’ve experiment with the opposite sex for that exact reason, but at the end of the day they’re still gay. It’s also important to note that sexuality can be fluid, and things may change. Everybody is different, but there’s no deadline for having it all figured out.

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

I would have to say, don’t compare yourself to other people. You don’t need anyone else to approve of your sexuality for it to be valid. Being ace has a lot of benefits to it too. The main thing being, we don’t have to worry about getting caught up in the hook-up culture.

For me at least, the biggest struggle with accepting my sexuality was my curious nature. When something’s popular, I want to know why and to form my own opinion on it. This made growing up in a sex-obsessed culture really confusing. On one hand, the media promotes sex like it’s the holy grail… then on the other hand religion often treats it like the end-all of sin (except under very specific circumstances) … And I just never “got it”. There are so many double standards too, I feel like life is so much simpler without it all. I’d be lying if I said I never wondered (and sometimes still wonder) how it would be to be just like “everyone else”, but I’m really glad I don’t have to worry about any of the issues that can go along with an active libido. I’m glad I can focus on self-development instead of self-promotion. I’m glad that I can be just friends with someone. I’m glad that I can offer another perspective on sex to this beautifully diverse world. I’m glad that I can share words that will hopefully help some of you out there who feel alone.

I hope that those of you who are currently struggling will also find joys in being ace.

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

At the moment I’m only active on my Tumblr (marachi-art.tumblr.com) but I’m thinking of starting to use Twitter for original works and sketches too. We’ll see!

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