Interview: Sarah

Today we’re joined by Sarah. Sarah is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in digital mediums. She draws mostly characters and famous figures. There’s a remarkable realism in her work and some of her drawings are incredibly expressive. She is clearly very talented and has an amazing eye for detail, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WARNING: One picture in this interview contains nudity.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw art mostly of characters and famous figures. Occasionally I draw a subject of my own creation as a representation of an idea, but almost all of my art features recognizable subjects. Although I can draw realism using traditional mediums of pencil and paper, it’s frankly easier, more fun, and less expensive to draw digitally in a far less realistic style.

What inspires you?

Because my drawings are mostly fan art for things that I like, the love for those things is what drives me to want to produce art for it. I like the feeling of contributing something to the fandom. By no means am I a famous fan artist, but a few of my pieces have amassed some good recognition from blogs from that fandom.

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

Somewhat embarrassingly, although not uncommon, I became interested in art in sixth grade when I saw an anime-style drawing. I’ve always loved to draw, but I think that was the moment where I became a die-hard art fanatic. In high school, I realized that I should try my hand (literally) at styles other than anime, and branched into realism. However, my “style” is by no means realistic.

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. The only kind of recognizable element to my art is that I use very vibrant color pallets, and (usually) do line art in a non-black color.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice, and don’t get hung up on how “good” you are. Art should be about the fun of creating something, not the end result. Even if you think that something sucks, there will always be someone who thinks it’s really cool.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Well, this is a question I myself am still wondering about. For a long time I identified as asexual biromantic, but now I think I’m demisexual biromantic.

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

In the field of art, there is usually a bit more acceptance about someone’s self-identity. I will say that although I myself have been privileged enough to not experience them, there are some issues with asexual intersectional representation. Asexual POC aren’t represented well enough.

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

That asexuality just means you haven’t found the right person yet, and that demisexuality just means you’re not a slut (although most of us know that there is no such thing as a slut except those who take back and own that label). For me, personally, I did think I was asexual until I dated some (for a long time) and I developed sexual attraction for that person. One friend in particular has used that as “See? You just needed to find the right person!” justification, but the fact is that just because it was the case for me, that doesn’t automatically make it the case for everyone who identifies as asexual.

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

Some people really feel the need to label themselves so that they have a sense of belonging, and that’s okay. But if you’re stressing yourself out over what label fits best, just remember that asexuality is a spectrum and its okay to use the word “asexual” as your label no matter where specifically on the spectrum you’re trying to find out where you fall.

At the end of the day, the greatest sense of belonging you can have about your sexual orientation is not from a label, it’s not from other community members, it’s not from friends and family. It’s from knowing yourself, being kind to yourself, and accepting yourself.

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

They can follow me at pohlarbearpants and search the “my art” tag.

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

Interview: Fereby

Today we’re joined by Fereby. Fereby is a phenomenal artist who does a bit of everything. She’s mostly a singer who has a wide vocal range. When she’s not singing, Fereby does a bunch of different kinds of crafts like knitting and sewing. If that weren’t impressive enough, Fereby also does a bit of visual art as well. It’s clear she’s a very 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.

First and foremost, I am a vocalist. I have been singing in my high school choirs for four years, three of which I’ve been in the advanced choir. I recently participated in the ACDA honor choir at the regional and state levels. I love choir because I love to harmonize; singing without harmony gets boring quickly. In choir I usually sing soprano, but I’ve gotten so tired of singing the melody that I take any chance I get to sing lower parts. I have a satisfyingly wide vocal range that allows me to sing most tenor (higher male) parts up through the highest soprano (high female) notes, which is nothing but fun for me since I like variety.

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I also love to make things with my hands. I cook, sew, knit, crochet, draw, paint, craft. I make tiny animals out of chewy candies and kneaded erasers. I daydream about building things, and would build them had I the time and means to do so. I just love to make stuff, but on a day-to-day basis when I have to go to school, I tend to stick to drawing and singing, with an occasional poem or short story if I feel like it. I may or may not be mildly obsessed with being able to do everything.

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Visually, I mostly focus on pencil and paper and other readily accessible traditional media. I do use a free mobile application, Adobe Ideas, which lets me do some simple digital drawings in a very nice vector format. I generally don’t have the time or patience to work with the digital medium for most of my ideas, but it’s great fun for playing with color.

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What inspires you?

The way I see it, there are two kinds of inspiration. The “idea” kind and the “inspirational speech/quote” kind. I get ideas from everywhere, anything, from random thoughts that pop into my head at all times of day and night. Sometimes I take them and run with them, sometimes they don’t get very far before I give up or move on to a better one, but ideas are abundant and everywhere and totally random. The other kind, the motivational kind, tends to come from people I admire. Professional choral conductors are highly skilled at being inspiring. (I suspect it’s a trained skill, because without it they would not be able to so easily win the enthusiastic cooperation of a hundred plus people in a short enough amount of time to begin making good music.) However, I also find inspiration and motivation watching some of my favorite YouTubers like Josh Sundquist and the Green brothers, John and Hank.

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

Both of my parents sing, so from almost the day I was born my life has been influenced by music. My parents wanted to get me piano lessons when I was little, but they were told my hands were too small and so they focused on teaching me to sing instead. I have never had private formal vocal training, but years in choir have taught me a lot about technique and improved my technical skills tremendously.

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My interest in drawing came from I-don’t-know-where. Little kids are encouraged to draw and color and otherwise be creative, and I guess I just never really lost interest in that. There have been periods of time where I didn’t bother to do any drawing, but I keep coming back to it.

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I have always considered myself somewhat artistic, and there were times in my childhood when I aspired to become a singer professionally, but because of my skills in math and language I am continually overwhelmed by all the things I could be and have trouble thinking of myself as any one thing. I currently consider myself an artist, but in a very general sense of the word. I participate in too many forms of creativity to call myself anything more specific.

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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 an established one, no. I keep changing my signature on my visual art as I mature and get new ideas, but it’s usually some version of my first and last name in swoopy artistic lettering. Music-wise, I don’t do enough original work to warrant a signature, but my usual vocal style tends to include smooth, clear tones that blend well in harmonies or with soft guitar accompaniment. The songs I write tend to sound like lullabies, as I usually prefer to sing in a relaxed style and focus on melody. I have no experience writing high-energy songs.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You do you. Skill and experience are important to do anything well, but at the end of the day, art is about making things, and it’s up to you what you add to this world. Do what you enjoy. Make something you can be proud of. Especially with performing arts, your audience will enjoy your art much more if you enjoy making it. If you’re bored and tired of what you’re making, your audience may notice and be bored along with you. So do things you like to do.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aromantic asexual. I still haven’t figured out what gender is.

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

I’m not really out among musicians, and I don’t really have a community when it comes to visual art, but there are always people in my life who don’t understand. I tend to just put up with whatever comes my way, though not without doing my best to correct misconceptions first. People don’t tend to give up their preconceived notions so easily though.

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

For some reason, I keep encountering people who think they know what I’m feeling better than I do. When I honestly disclose my experiences, they express disbelief that it’s possible for me to feel that way, and then tell me what they think I must be feeling based on what I’ve told them. They can’t imagine how anyone could possibly not have a sex drive or sexual attraction, and they are incapable of understanding that wanting to experience kissing or other romantically-coded activities does not equate to romantic attraction.

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

Listen to yourself. No one can decide how you feel about something but you. Learning about the experiences of other people who came to identify on the ace spectrum can be a tremendous help in giving you a frame of reference as to what your orientation might be, and there are plenty of blogs on Tumblr dedicated to patiently answering the questions of people just like you. Just remember that the words you attach to yourself should be there because you feel they are right and not because someone told you that’s what you probably are.

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

I don’t currently have an internet presence as an artist, but that may change at some nebulous point in the future. Any information about my art will most likely be posted to my Tumblr at ferebypie.

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