Interview: Emie

Today we’re joined by Emie. Emie is a phenomenal performance artist based in Malmö, Sweden and London, UK. She does a variety of different forms of performance art, including installations and video art. Emie has traveled around the world and recently gave a panel in New York. A lot of Emie’s work has a deeply feminist bent and she’s incredibly dedicated to her work, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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“Sexually Disoriented in Tokyo” Shibuya, Tokyo, 2017. Costume and Photo: Daisuke Tsukuda

WORK

Please, tell us about you and your art.

I’m an artist and film activist from Sweden who’s spent over a decade working in London as a filmmaker and cinema worker.

My main disciplines as an artist are video, performance and installations.

It was only in recent years I started exploring the field of performance art and transgressing various art disciplines. I make stylized, political work that is influenced by my background in DIY arts, avantgarde clubbing and queer/feminist activism.

My A Sexual Series includes a variety of works that explore and visualize our struggles as asexuals to find acceptance in the world, on a personal, local as well as international level. It also provides various methods for dealing with those struggles and gives a nuanced picture of asexuality to a wider audience, who may have no previous knowledge of these terms or never encountered any of these themes before.

“A Sexual Series is a sex positive asexual’s perspective on our contemporary sexual culture.

A Sexual Series is inspired by posthumanist theory and gender studies.

A Sexual Series works with contradictions as a premiss to find greater understandings of human and posthuman thinking.

A Sexual Series explores the queer identity asexuality with the intent to raise awareness of the sexual construction of teenagers from both liberal and conservative environments and offer alternative ways of thinking about desire and attraction.”

I’m so pleased that my work in A Sexual Series has an international appeal and has already showcased in two art venues in Tokyo (JAP), Athens Museum of Queer Arts (GRC), multiple places in Sweden. It just premiered in New York on Jan 25th at Utopia School @ Flux Factory and in London on Feb 8th for Cuntemporary’s Deep Trash Romance event at Queen Mary University. My hopes and ambitions are to continue bringing the work to more countries globally!

Whilst showcasing the work, I try to find more participants for my international documentary about the asexual spectrum. I call it Ace of Baes and the aces featured so far represent a variety of cultural experiences, being from Japan, the US, Sweden, Estonia, India, Greece and Spain. I am currently looking for an ace producer to help me secure funding for a group shoot. (Holla!)

What inspires you?

Everyday life, encounters, people, the world, technology and meditation – spending time in my own mind. And reading!

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techtest_SexDisorientation: Emie, featured in the documentary QUEER by Daniela Runesson, Thara Schöön & David Falck, 2017

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

I’ve identified as a filmmaker since I first touched a video camera at the age of seven! Then I started curating my family gatherings at the age of 10, turning them into social and performative happenings!

I carried on pursuing my dreams of making a living – or more importantly, a lasting impact on society – and during production of several films DIY, I started my own international production company in London.

The move into contemporary art wasn’t an obvious one, but it makes sense to me. I was in my late twenties and disappointed with some encounters of sexism in the film industry – similar to those that came to light during this current #metoo revolution! So I decided I would explore the field of progressive video art – only to realize that everywhere is a patriarchal world, with artists calling #metoo as well! My hope is to return to film as my main medium at a later stage in my life, but as an artist.

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 can see a reoccurring trend with a lot of deep pink in my video works. And cyborgs in my performance art!

Being inspired by post-humanism and monster studies, the cyborg as a symbol, metaphor and identity really appeals to me, as I’ve had scoliosis surgery (reinforcing my spine with three long metal rods). My crip experiences really had an impact on my self-image and I share similar feelings of resemblance towards the Monster of Frankenstein as scholar Susan Stryker has expressed on behalf of the trans community in her My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage from 1994.

Bodies reshaped by science.

Recently I’ve started exploring glitch art as a metaphor for queerness.

A digital glitch, a rebellious pixel, reminds me of queers.

To go against normative expectations of you.

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aligning_glitch: “Straightened” physically and culturally by the hetero norm.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t overthink things, do something and reinvent it if needed. Challenge yourself, step out of your comfort zones. Don’t wait for people to invite you, do as much as you can yourself, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. Doing it together is a really good method to progress as a creative being. DIT is the new DIY! Move away from the individualist idea of the sole artist by collaborating and start art collectives!

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“Asexual Rebel” Shibuya, Tokyo, 2017. Costume and Photo: Daisuke Tsukuda

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Sex positive, panromantic, demisexual.

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

Oh, definitely! Try dating as an open asexual…! The worst part is not that the Jungle is so much thicker than average for us in a context of this ultra sexual dating culture, it’s the fact that people in general show no interest in you beyond the sexual. Or you come out and they just fall silent and let their own preconceived ideas control their behavior and actions (usually non-actions). The only person who’s asked me a genuine follow-up question after coming out as an ace person (who listened carefully and didn’t judge me or argue their point), is the person I later ended up falling for and am still seeing today!

Generally, we need an intersectional perspective on how power dynamics impact our emotions and sexual behavior to fully understand the idea of sexual attraction and desire. And it would help if people learn to self-reflect, listen and be curious rather than douchebags.

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sex_dis04: Exposition of Emie’s Sexual Disorientation (performance video). Documentation by Anette Skåhlberg.

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

That all asexuals are the same.

In fact, I was surprised by the diversity within the spectrum and the intelligent level of thoughts and conversations about sex and sexual behavior in the ace community.

Some people argue that sex positive aces shouldn’t be included in the asexual community, but where would we belong? The lack of sexual attraction is what unites us, no matter our sexual behavior and whatever reasons behind it.

But actually, I’d like to challenge the phrasing of the question and proclaim that I believe the majority of people have misconceptions about their own sexual attraction to others. I believe the estimated ‘1% of the world population being asexual’ is a massive understatement.

So I can’t wait to live in a world with a greater understanding of what the ace community means when we talk about ‘lack of sexual attraction’ and do another poll. The problem is that everyone is so caught up in the middle of the sexual culture, that we don’t realize the power the sexual norm has on us. It’s an extremely hard norm to remove and distance yourself from, so I have the utmost respect for my ace siblings out there, because I know the inner self-dissecting and acceptance you need to go through before you can even consider coming out as ace!

Now, if I’m right when I believe there are a lot more than 1% of aces out there, suddenly we’re touching upon the infected question whether or now we belong in the queer community or not. If the queer community includes around 50-60% of the world population, is it still queer by definition? Personally, I’d like the definition of queer to stand for radical thinking and norm-breaking behavior. Capitalist queers is for me a far greater contradiction than asexual queers, as the status quo way of thinking is so influenced by colonialism and the global capitalist norm – especially in terms of how we are expected to conquer, consume and collect our lovers and relationships.

My utopia is relationships with ourselves and others built on curiosity, acceptance, love and consent.

Coming from a post-humanist standpoint, I want to move beyond the humanist idea of the polarized mindsets (white/black, man/woman, left/right, us/them…), so I would claim that the ace spectrum is building a complex parallel across the sexual dichotomies homo/hetero. We’re opening up the straight-line way of thinking about sexuality and attraction into a fluid mind map in 3d, which automatically encourage self-reflection and openness both towards yourself and others.

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

You’re not alone. Find people who are into similar things as you. Deepen the relationships with people that respect you for who you are and let those encourage personal development in you, as you in them. Grow! Do what you love, not what people around you and society at large say what you ought to do. Learn to respect yourself, your body, your (non-)desires and your boundaries (extremely important!). Don’t let people take advantage or disrespect your comfort zones.

This is what I wish I’d heard when I was a teenager.

Instead, I was under the impression that everyone was like me and shared similar conflicting feelings, but was just better at pretending and performing.

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

If anyone’s in the UK, I’ll perform at Goodbye To London // This Dancefloor Isn’t Here Anymore’s event about disappearing queer spaces in London on Valentine’s Day! https://goodbyetolondon.wordpress.com/

www.happyendingsproductions.co.uk
www.facebook.com/HappyEndingsProductions
www.twitter.com/happyendingsltd
www.instagram.com/semiemie.

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M-E: A Video Selfie, 2015. Distributed by FilmForm.

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

Interview: Maeden

Today we’re joined by Maeden. Maeden is an awesome cosplayer who is perhaps best known for her wonderful Supergirl. She puts a lot of time and effort into her cosplays and it shows. When she’s not working on cosplays, Maeden also enjoys drawing (both digital and on paper) and does some graphic design. 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 love to draw both digitally and on paper, but my main artistic medium is cosplay. I started off by doing characters who wore “street clothes” that I could just approximate and wear as-is, but have recently grown my skills to make heavy modifications to base pieces. I strive for accuracy and am always looking for ways to improve.

I also run a YouTube channel that is mostly centered on cosplay, with occasional fandom rants and tip videos.

What inspires you?

Honestly, Supergirl. Specifically, as played by Laura Vandervoort. Seriously though- when I first discovered the character, my life was really awful. But striving to embody her helped to keep me from becoming bitter and angry. I saw someone who had lost everything and was severely displaced, but was still kind, and hopeful, and strong. I decided I wanted to be like that. And I wanted to pay tribute to her, starting by writing her and adopting her bright, bold aesthetic, to eventually bringing a full-fledged portrayal to life.

I don’t agree with all the ways she’s been depicted, as I’ll mention more later, but aiming to be more like my ideal version of her keeps my head held high.

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

I just love creating. With cosplay, I went to my first con without cosplaying and just realized I’d enjoy it more if I were playing a character. A few months later at my second con I cosplayed for the first time, and haven’t stopped since.

As far as my drawing, it just started as something to do when I was bored. Over time I improved and realized I was pretty OK at it, and wanted to share it.

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What’s the best thing you’ve experienced through your art?

Being able to bring my ideas to life. I’m so often disappointed by how the character I love is represented, but by both drawing and cosplaying- especially the latter- I can realize what I would like to see, ranging from queer headcanons, to creative and unique stories that respect my muse.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Pursue what you’re passionate about. People may call it an obsession- and that’s fine! Be driven and proud of your work.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demisexual Panromantic. With most people I just say Bi though, and even that’s wild or complicated to some.

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

In the cosplay community, most are very accepting of everyone. I also don’t introduce myself as Mae the A-spec, so I haven’t had occasion to tell many people. But those I’ve happened to mention it to are perfectly accepting.

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

That it’s a medical/psychological “condition” or that it simply means a complete disdain for sex. To me, it means that sex is never my imperative with anyone when meeting or getting to know them.

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

It’s OK to not be sure. How I identify has changed more than once as I’ve grown and learned about the spectrum. There’s no rush or need to pick a label if you don’t know; just be yourself!

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

I’m everywhere, man. Most of my cosplay photos go on my Instagram and Facebook:
https://www.instagram.com/maedencosplay/
https://www.facebook.com/maedencosplay/

My YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4nKr6HiN6bdNGwIgC0c9-w

I also have a TeePublic shop: https://www.teepublic.com/user/maeden

And I post some stuff on my Tumblr, at Maeden.

I’m also a partner with fandom culture site Cosplay Spotlite – http://cosplayspotlite.com

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

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Round Cloudicorn
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Round Furycorn

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demisexual and panromantic.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?)

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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! 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.

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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

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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 ^_^

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Girl in Glasses

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