Interview: Allyzah Allene

Today we’re joined by Allyzah Allene, who also goes by Ani or Ani Fangor. Allyzah is a phenomenal visual artist who works with in digital and traditional mediums. They haven’t met a material they didn’t like and work with just about everything. Their work is brimming with detail and a masterful use of lines and colors. They’re incredibly dedicated, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Self2017
Self 2017

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an artist that likes to dabble in just about everything I can afford. I have worked with traditional mediums like pencils (graphites, colored pencils), charcoals, markers, paints (acrylic, watercolor, oil) and digital mediums (limited photoediting, mostly digital art). My goal is to be able to learn as many mediums as I can because I want to teach art. I also occasionally write, and recently began posting my comic on Tapas.

While many other artists have a “deeper meaning” behind their artworks, or a consistent theme, I find art to be most enjoyable when it is “whatever I feel like.” I don’t like stressing over incorporating hidden meanings and “how it may be interpreted,” but rather getting the idea out of my head. My art blog and my art tag ends up being full of random half done pieces and concepts because it’s not always about finishing, but expressing my ideas. (Perhaps not the best rule to live by, but as a student, it’s enough for me.)

What inspires you?

Most of the time, the deadline. Otherwise it’s usually whatever I find aesthetically appealing enough to draw!

For my writing and my comic, though, that was inspired by the lack of diversity in the media I consumed. I got tired of the same old “boy meets girl” plot/subplot found in most things I read, and especially, the lack of characters who even vaguely looked like me. Growing up, the books I read often degraded characters that shared my race or ethnicity, and I struggled with my identity until I was 16 (a mere four years ago). I hated who I was because I wasn’t white, and I thought that I would only be successful if I were like the white characters in my books—even then, that could be a stretch, as there were very few books with girls as the lead. I didn’t find out that I wasn’t cishet until I was about 15, and by then I barely read outside of the class readings, so I wasn’t as bothered by the lack of LGBT+ positive books just yet. In my junior year, I had my “if no one else is going to do it, I will” moment and decided I would make a comic featuring a diverse cast in both ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual/romantic orientation. It took a while, but I finally decided I had put it off long enough and started publishing pages early July 2017 as my 20th birthday gift to myself.

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

When I was in the second grade, my school’s art teacher brought a guest artist to speak to everyone. I don’t remember the name of the artist, but I remember being so intrigued—it was one thing to learn about Van Gogh and Picasso in class, and a completely different thing to see someone live at work that wasn’t my teacher. The way he worked was by covering a canvas with black charcoal, and slowly erasing it away to create an image. My art teacher later caught me trying to do the same thing while waiting for my dad to pick me up, and asked me if I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. It wasn’t something I had thought of before, but I remember being so happy that she thought I could, and I said yes. Since then, I have been on a quest to learn as much as I can about art so that I can help as many people as possible when I become a teacher.

As for writing, we have a rocky relationship. During elementary school, I had a pattern: I would love writing one year, and hate it the next. I didn’t really take it seriously for a while, even when I started writing and posting fanfiction. I found out about NaNoWriMo in middle school, and became serious about writing original work, although the passion and motivation is not nearly as consistent as with art.

Death Lingers_Allyzah Cabugao
Death Lingers

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

I don’t know if I’ve been consistent enough with anything to have one of those! The closest thing is the stamp I use to sign my artwork (when I have it). I visited China two years ago as part of an exchange program, and the Chinese students gave me an approximate phonetic translation of my name so that I could have a “Chinese name.” I bought a stamp with that name on it to remember them and the trip, and I use it as half of my artist signature.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Besides the ever present “keep practicing,” I’d say “if you can’t figure out what’s wrong with it, put it on pause and work on something different; it’ll come to you sooner than if you keep focusing on it.” If it’s art, that one part will still be waiting for you to come back, and if it’s writing, you can always just type in something like “akdguhos” or “[COME BACK TO THIS]” and continue. (Just make sure that you go back to it before you publish it or turn it in!) You don’t have to finish everything in one go. Take a break, let your creative juices recharge.

Something specifically for visual art: we tend to hyperfixate on the small area that we’re currently working on. Every now and then, remember to step back (or, if digitally, zoom out) and look at the piece as a whole. Something might look okay while zoomed in… and then you look at the whole picture and realize that it’s completely misaligned or maybe the color palette doesn’t match the rest. I’ve worked on several semi-realistic pieces and realized that the “perfect nose” was too far right, or that it looked like the neck didn’t come from the same body as the head, because I didn’t look at the whole picture as much as I should have.

Lumos114
Lumos

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual sex-repulsed, and demi-panromantic. (As well as agender/non-binary.)

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

I’ve been lucky enough not to encounter any prejudice in my major related classes yet, but that’s partially because I don’t know anyone well enough to actually care what they say, partly because I have headphones in during class almost all the time. I have had people try to get “creative” with their flirting though, automatically assuming that because I’m an artist, I draw nude people, and that I’d want to draw them … How I respond to them depends on how rude they’re being.

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

Ohh boy, there’s so many that I spent three years researching asexuality in order to academically debunk misconceptions and presented speeches about asexuality to just about any academic platform I could reach. (I’m no longer doing competitive speech as I switch to the coaching side of things, but I’m still ready to spread asexual awareness.)

The one that I hate the most is when people think asexuals are being childish if they state that they have no sexual attraction, especially if they say that they’re a sex-repulsed ace. I’ve had people say that I’ll eventually “grow up and want sex,” and when I literally had an anxiety attack due to a class assigned movie (marked UnRated and with no CW/TW in the film description, nor from the professor) that featured multiple explicit sex scenes and nudity, I was told to grow up and realize that “sex is an art form. You’re an artist, why can’t you appreciate that?” It’s frustrating that sex is seen as a major turning point in your life, the time you’ve “finally reached adulthood,” when there’s plenty of us who can live without it.

Southern Belle_Allyzah Cabugao
Southern Belle

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

Most importantly: you are not broken. Your orientation doesn’t make you any less valid than anyone else! Remember, for every person that takes you down, there’ll be many ready to help lift you back up again.

Also, it doesn’t matter if you fit some of the stereotypes or misconceptions of asexuality or not, you can still identify as ace. Things like “you can’t know if you’re ace if you’re a virgin,” “it’s just a hormonal imbalance,” “it’s because of PTSD/similar,” it doesn’t matter if these are true or not for you. If you feel like asexuality is the best label for your orientation, then you’re ace.

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

I post my work on Tumblr with the tag “#ani amount of art” on both aniamountofart.tumblr.com and aniamountofsketches.tumblr.com; on Instagram/Twitter tagged #aniamountofart on artisticAllyzah; and my comic can be found at tapas.io/series/OMNI!

Marco the Mallard
Marco the Mallard

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

Interview: Keelan

Today we’re joined by Keelan. Keelan is a wonderful visual artist who hasn’t met a medium he doesn’t like. Right now, he’s focusing mostly on ace pride/positivity and autistic pride/positivity, both of which are greatly needed in today’s world. His work is so beautiful, brimming with color and life, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is mostly fanart, sketches and positivity/pride drawings. I have also done a bit of costume design and costume making for some local theatre. I’ve experimented with a variety of mediums such as oil paint, acrylics, chalk/charcoal, photography and ink + bleach but I mostly stick to pencil and digital drawings because it is what I am most comfortable working with, and what I have the most access to. In the past year or so my art has been focused mostly on asexual/a-spec and autistic positivity because they are both important parts of my identity and I want to express that and my love for the two communities. I’ve been drawing with pencils for a long time, but digital art is still very new to me because I only started exploring it last year.

What inspires you?

Other artists and their work are a huge inspiration to me. Seeing the beautiful work other artists create inspires me so much and motivates me to keep on practicing and improving. Sometimes they inspire me to try new things as well. I probably wouldn’t have begun to explore digital art if I had not seen and been inspired by the progress of other artists on social media. I am also inspired a lot by the communities I am a part of, such as the online asexual and autistic community. They have given me the confidence and inspiration to express myself more through my art and take pride in my identity through it.

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

I’ve wanted to be an artist ever since I was little, and I began to put effort into learning and improving my art when I was around eight and wanted to be able to draw my original character properly. That goal from when I was a kid has been motivating me for years to keep on trying. Unfortunately, because my main focus was being able to draw a character that meant that for years I didn’t explore anything outside of drawing people in pencil and pen. I only began to pick up exploring other things such as colour and different mediums when I chose to do Art in GCSE when I was fifteen. Even though my career goals are a little different from when I was younger, I still want to continue being an artist as a hobby.

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. I used to have a habit a few years ago, of signing all my art with my initials. I don’t do it as often anymore; however, I try to keep it up (inconsistently) with any art I post online. In all my autistic art I make an effort to include the neurodiversity symbol; a rainbow infinity symbol.

dai-li-agents
Dai Li Agents

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep on trying. It can be difficult and very frustrating but the thing about art is that you are always learning. Even those artists who seem to have mastered it all are still learning and making mistakes and improving. Art takes practice and time so its fine if you struggle with and take a long time to learn something (such as how to draw hands or animals). Looking back on your old art might make you cringe but that’s only proof of your progress. Its proof that you have grown a lot and will probably only continue to grow and become more skilled.

proudace
Proud Ace

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am panromantic asexual, though I also identify with demi-romantic.

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

I have encountered a little. In my life offline I experience it less because not as many people know I am asexual. I have received some ignorant and slightly insulting comments from people who do know, or from people who don’t know I am asexual but have heard of it. It always hurts and frustrates me a bit to hear it. I tend to either speak up about it or let it slide depending on the situation and how well I know the person. I don’t handle confrontation well so I admit I tend to avoid it even when it might be best to speak up.

I have definitely experienced more prejudice and ignorance online. I am fairly open about my sexuality online and I post most of my asexual positivity art on my blogs and it has caused me to receive some unpleasant comments as a result. I find it is best to delete the messages, block the sender and not let it bother me. In fact it usually motivates me to draw even more ace positive art.

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

That asexuality is just a lack of interest in having sex or a form of celibacy. It’s a misconception that frustrates me a lot because I have seen it be used against asexual people to invalidate them or make incorrect claims based on that misinformation. It is also, I suspect, where the comments from my family that I “just need to meet the right person” or that I am a “late bloomer” come from.

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

You aren’t broken and you are not alone. There is nothing wrong with being asexual and there is a wonderful community out there for asexual and aromantic people. It’s okay if it takes you a long time to come to terms with being asexual and it’s okay if you aren’t sure of your orientation.

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

I post a lot of my art on my Tumblr main: keelan-666.tumblr.com under the tag #keelan-art and on my side blog: autistic-space-dragon.tumblr.com under the tag #space-dragon-doodles. However neither blogs are purely art blogs so a lot of other stuff is posted there too. I also have an Instagram: keelantheace.

acepositivitypost
Ace Positivity Post

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

Interview: Amber

Today we’re joined by Amber. Amber is a fantastic visual artist and a writer. She mostly does fanart and fanfiction though she also does original work. Amber loves what she does and it shows in her work. She has a phenomenal attention to detail and color. It’s very clear she has a very creative spirit. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

amber5
Amber 5

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’ve only been drawing for a couple of years, so I haven’t really developed a certain style yet. A lot of what I draw is fanart, from books or TV shows, but, especially recently, I’ve been drawing more and more OCs and original things. I do most of my sketching on paper with pencil (and a massive, heavy duty eraser) but I do most my Nice Good Pieces digitally!

I write as well, I’ve been writing for a longer time, and I mostly do queer romance or zombie/horror stories, and fanfiction.

What inspires you?

Other artists, mainly. I love looking at other people’s styles and techniques and try to expand my skills that way. A lot of inspiration also comes from art books, like ‘The Art of the Legend of Korra’, movie concept art, things like that. I have an active imagination (blame my ADHD) and am constantly coming up with scenes and images in my head and I try to draw them a lot.

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

I’ve always loved to draw, but when I was younger there was never the ‘I want to get really good at art and make a career out of it!!’ mindset. It was just fun and games, a way to pass the time when I was bored. It wasn’t until my older sibling went to university and I started paying attention to the details, like the behind-the-scenes of movies and shows and games, that I decided that’s what I wanted to aim for. I’ve been seriously drawing for two years now.

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?

Uhh, not really. Most of the time I’ll sign with my Tumblr URL just so people know it’s mine, but I don’t have a special mark. Yet. I’m working on it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I am a young aspiring artist, so I’ll say what I keep telling myself – don’t compare your art to others’ work. Compare yourself to your old art, sure, but never to artists with more experience than you. It won’t help. And, tutorials. Tutorials are life, tutorials are great. Always look out for tutorials, especially in the form of speedpaints! It really helps to actually see how things are done.

dreadlocks_by_chelberno1-daid8qz
Dreadlocks

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Just plain ol’ ace! Not quite sex repulsed, but almost.

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

Uh, yeah. My family knew nothing about it before I started to talk about, and I live in a small country town where everyone is very old fashioned, so yeah, I’ve encountered a lot of that. I used to try and correct people and explain why they were wrong about whatever, sometimes I still try if I’m in the right mood, but then people started to say that I was too defensive and that I should stop taking everything so seriously and stop trying to upset people. So now I mostly just grumble under my breath and rant to internet friends, and wait for the day when I’ll finally be an Adult and can have my say without getting into trouble.

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

My dad used to always assume that because I was ace, I wasn’t interested in dating and people at all. When I came out as pan shortly after I came out as ace he kept asking how it was possible if I didn’t like people like that, and what would be the point of dating anyone. It took a while to actually get him to understand that ‘asexual’ does only mean ‘no sexual attraction’ and that yes, I am still able to date, and yes, it’s possible to date without having sex. Even at school and everywhere else I go – where I’m not out – everyone automatically thinks that and given up trying to correct them without giving myself away.

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

I’m not the best person for this type of advice, since I’m still struggling with it, but what helps me a lot is just finding and making friends that understand how I feel and friends that know a lot about asexuality and other queer identities. I follow a lot of blogs that have a lot of handy information and a lot of positive posts: (at) rainbow-hotline is a good one, as is (at) ace-big-sis!

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

I have an art blog on Tumblr, over at cheldraws! I also have a Devinatart (ChelberNo1) and an Instagram (at cheldraws)!

I also write, both fanfiction and my own original works, you should be able to google ‘ChelberNo1’ and find where I post things.

you_know_that_you_re_beautiful_when_you_work__by_chelberno1-dam5zel
You Know that You’re Beautiful when You Work

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

Interview: Becky

Today we’re joined by Becky. Becky is a wonderful artist who enjoys doodling with pens and pencils. She does paint occasionally, but it’s clear she prefers pens/pencils and paper. Her work shows her vivid imagination and it’s very obvious that she pours her heart into her drawings. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is mostly pen/pencil and paper, I rarely start with a plan when I begin my projects. I just sorta let my hand do what it wants! I seldom work in realism, I prefer my scribbles and rough movements, but there’s always room for improvement! I’ve really been trying to improve my anatomy. I like my style, but I know each time I draw, I’m getting a little better. Even though they all seem nonsensical and meaningless, I pour my heart and soul into each little doodle.

What inspires you?

Art is food for my soul. As I’ve grown, I’ve come to realize that I can’t starve myself. I need to create! I always feel so much better after hashing out a vent art, or putting time and effort into a more detailed piece. I’m heavily inspired by the things outside of the visual realm. Reality is great, but I love giving life to the weird little things that live in my mind.

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Cabin

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

I’ve been drawing ever since I could remember. At first, I was really driven by cartoons and wanting so hard to be part of that reality. Growing up wasn’t easy, so I’d escape into my imagination as often as I could. It was my safe haven, nothing could hurt me there. And so, I’d draw what I “saw” at first. Then it turned into moving beyond that and really diving into my mind and trusting my hand to show me what it was trying to portray. As far as wanting to be an artist, I can say I always was. I still am, even though it isn’t my career.

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?

Oh gosh, I don’t even know. I just use my initials most times if I can remember. I guess my drawings aren’t really ever “smooth..” I pick up me pen/pencil a lot and use short strokes. I know you aren’t “supposed to” but anarchy.

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Derek

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It’s okay if it doesn’t look like what you had planned! The important thing is that your creation is yours, your imagination is yours, and NO ONE can take that away from you! Feed your soul, even through those days when picking up a pencil is the last thing you want to do, you’ll really surprise yourself!

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Pretty

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m more on the Gray-A side.

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

Since art isn’t really my career, I can’t say I’ve dealt with it so much in that regard. My dating attempts in college though, boy that’s another story.

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

Well, I’m married (happily, I might add.) And my husband and I have agreed to remain childfree for the foreseeable future. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve heard with a smug chuckle, “You say that now…” or, “Just wait, you’ll change your mind.” Someone even bothered to tell me that it was my purpose and responsibility as a vagina owner to repopulate. Are you kidding me??? So I always just say snide like, “oh well you’re free to have a baby for me, in the meantime I’m going to enjoy not destroying my body.”
And I don’t need to mention reproducing by budding… But in college, my romantic interests just assumed “Oh, you’ve just had bad sex.” Or “Try it with me, you’ll change your mind.” UGH…

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Purple

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

YOU. ARE. NOT. BROKEN. Read that again and again because I know how hard it is living in a world where “sex means love” and “love means sex.” IT DOES NOT. You are asexual enough, and you are loved and valid by me and this community, okay? If you’re sex positive, or sex repulsed; you’re still valid and cherished. If you like sex but don’t have a sex drive, you’re still valid. If you hate sex and the very idea of touching, you’re still valid. Don’t let anyone ever police your identity because for some of us, it’s important.

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

On my blog: http://beckycause.tumblr.com/ under the tag “beckydoods” 🙂

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Fox

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

Interview: Jacen

Today we’re joined by Jacen. Jacen is an incredibly versatile artist who works in a few different mediums. She’s a very passionate visual artist who does both original work and fanart (her Eevee is truly delightful). She hasn’t met a medium she doesn’t like and uses both traditional and digital mediums. Aside from visual art, she’s an incredibly dedicated oboist who was an admirable love of music. It’s very clear that she loves creating art and that’s always awesome to see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

ahsokainterview
Ahsoka

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a digital artist, primarily, but I love to experiment in all different mediums. I’ve worked with pencils and pens, Copic markers, watercolors, oil paints, India ink and more, and I like to combine different mediums as well. Be it fanart or original works, I enjoy taking an interpretive approach to my pieces.

In addition, I am a passionate musician. I’m one of the few oboists in the city and even though I haven’t been playing for all that long, I have an extensive background in music and theory.

What inspires you?

With my art, a big part of my inspiration is geometrical shapes. I like arranging irregular shapes and making them work together to form an image. As someone who heads out to the Rocky Mountains on a regular basis, I also enjoy taking inspiration from nature, both living and inanimate. And, of course, my favorite TV shows and movies. I just really love seeing my pieces come together and make sense.

My music is a lot of the same idea. I absolutely love just the sound of my oboe, and I actively enjoy practicing on my own, but my real passion is for sitting down with the entire band and hearing all the parts together. My favorite pieces are always the ones that send chills down my spine to hear and to play. I’d say that’s really why I play, to hear mine and everyone else’s parts combine to make something incredible.

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

Ever since I was very young I’ve drawn and played instruments. Growing up as a longtime student in the Gifted program, creativity was always massively encouraged. I would definitely say that being in such a program was what got me continuing to draw and make art into middle and high school. I wouldn’t say I’ve always wanted to be an artist, it’s more something that slowly and unconsciously evolved into a hobby; I’ve never really been interested in a career in art, but it’s still a big part of me.

As for music, I actually hated piano lessons when I was young, and I stopped playing anything for a long time. In eighth grade my best friend convinced me to join band and I started out on the clarinet, which I can still play, and the next year I took up oboe. That, I can see myself continuing for a long time, for sure.

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Flareon

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 mentioned earlier incorporating geometric shapes into my work, that’s really my thing. I like the challenge of taking an image and turning it into shapes, and making it still make sense. That’s something I do with a lot of my work, even sometimes when I do semi-realism.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You really have to stop worrying about getting it right. Especially if you’re a perfectionist like me, you have to stop trying to get it right every time. You gotta experiment with styles and techniques and mediums and don’t feel that you have to know anything about that medium to just try it. If you like it, that’s when you do your research, take some classes, whatever you want. Just practice your art without worrying about how it might turn out.

For any oboists who may or may not be reading this: FIND A GOOD TEACHER. Band is great but oboes are so weird and specialized that you need an expert to help you. Oboe reeds need a lot of tweaking and I’m gonna guess you don’t know how to make reeds yet. Not to mention that damn Db key. Trust me, a teacher you get along with and who knows their stuff will be invaluable to you.

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Wolf Inverted print

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic asexual.

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

Ignorance, definitely, more than prejudice. But I’ve found that artists and creative-types in general are quite accepting and open-minded. When the odd person arises who has a real issue with it (mostly only existing on social media) I try to not let it get to me. It’s not the minority’s job to educate anyone on their community, but when someone genuinely doesn’t know what they’re talking about, I try to clear it up for them.

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

That we just don’t like sex, or we’re scared of it, or that we’ve had some kind of sexual trauma. Of course there are aces who are scared of sex or have been traumatized, but it’s inaccurate and rude to place that assumption on all of us, because it often leads to us being dismissed or harassed for it.

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

When I was figuring out I was asexual, I was scared to identify as such in case I really was just a late bloomer. There’s so much emphasis put on the fact that aces are definitely never going to change or start feeling sexual attraction that it’s easy to forget that it’s alright if it is a phase. It doesn’t make it any less valid. If you identify as ace now and you don’t later in your life, who cares? Sexuality can be fluid, so if it feels right at the moment then just go for it.

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

I have my Tumblr (http://the-cat-in-the-fez.tumblr.com/) that you can always message me on.

I post art to my Instagram (stcrmpilxt)

I have a couple works-in-progress on my AO3 (http://archiveofourown.org/users/satancat)

And I sell my art on Society6 (https://society6.com/suncat) and I’m working on uploading stuff to Redbubble (http://www.redbubble.com/people/satancat)

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Eevee

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

Interview: Maria

Today we’re joined by Maria. She’s a phenomenal visual artist from Germany who is a fellow da Vinci fan (YAY!). Maria enjoys drawing with pencils, both traditional and colored pencils. She specializes in realistic images and her pictures show the most amazing attention to detail. The anatomy pictures are particularly impressive, though all her work is absolutely brimming with creativity. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

asclepios
Asclepios

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Mostly I draw with pencils and color pencils. All my artworks are realistic. I’ve started to practice portraits, but changed short after my apprenticeship to human anatomy (like my role model Leonardo da Vinci). But I also draw templates for tattoos.

assassins creed
Assassins Creed

One day I started to mix my interests all together and since then you can see them in my artworks. There are also very personal stories behind some of them, too.

Hades & Persephone
Hades & Persephone

What inspires you?

As I said, Leonardo da Vinci is my role model. My first exhibition had the topic human anatomy (organs, bones, muscles oft he human body). The drawings itself where inspired by one of my associate professors during my apprenticeship. He teached the subject anatomy and his fascination affected me.

Hand
Hand

Today I have four muses, which inspire me from time to time without knowing it. It just needs one word or sentence and my mind makes something up right away.

My personal drawings are inspired by my own life and experiences made in it. It’s fascinating what ideas my subconciousness comes along with.

jackman-willis
Jackman – Willis

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

I’ve honestly got no idea why I started drawing- I just did. When I was maybe 12 years old I grabbed a pencil and never stopped practicing.

But there’s is only a short period in my past life where I wanted to be an artist for living. That was the time right before my apprenticeship. The reason I fast quit the idea were the low chances of being successful in this are, in fact. Here in Germany everyone wants to be an artist. There are a lot of designers in different areas and everyone of them is looking for a job. Just a few a successful. The cold hard truth is, that it’s very hard to make a living with creativity. So I stayed with art only as a hobby. If there’s a chance of getting known I take it (e.g. exhibitions).

kidney and bladder
Kidney and Bladder

Another reason is my lack of interest in art. I’m just not interested in other styles of art like impressionism or surrealism or even the history of art itself. I do like realism, sculptures and antique buildings. Modern art, for instance, I don’t understand. Why pay thousands, even millions of dollars for a “piece of art,“ which could be created by a five year old child? But that’s just my opinion.

laugh and cry
Laugh and Cry

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 think that there’s something unique in my drawings, except my signature. It’s a monogram, made out of the first letters of my first and last name. I also include a shortcut of the year the picture was created – that’s it.

like a feather
Like a Feather

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My advice must start with my favourite quote of Leonardo da Vinci himself: “Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art“. I think that every artist sees the truth in those words. Without passion, diligence, patience and trust in your own abilities it’s very hard nearly impossible to create art. Your spirit and your heart have to work together to create art, that shows the artists soul.

quote
Quote

There will be days when it seems like your talent is forever gone. That your hard work just vanished and you’ll never be able to create any kind of art. But be patient. Those days will end as fast as they started.

mouth
Mouth

I’ve also made the experience that it’s important to finish every single piece of work you started. Sometimes it seems that your current work isn’t turning out as imagined. Don’t fool yourself! Finish your work and you’ll see that you invested your time right. Sometimes the whole great picture is seen only after the last steps. You will never know if your artwork turned out like you wanted it if you stop in the middle of progress.

Nic Cage
Nic Cage

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an aromantic asexual.

queen
Queen

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

One of the reactions I encounter every time is that everyone assumes at first that I’m joking. Yes, I’ve got a twisted sense of humor but in that matter I’m absolutely serious.

Every time i just hear: “What?! You’re what?! That’s impossible, because I’ve never heard of that. You definitely joking right now!”

surgery
Surgery

When I try to explain I can see the doubt in their eyes. Shortly after my explanations they still want to explain their point of view. Sometimes it seems to me like they think I’m suffering from a kind of disease that has to be cured immediately. So they try to discuss with me hoping to convince me of their own view. Just because they didn’t know any better.

My favourite point of those discussions is: “You’re too young to know so. Wait another five years then you’ll see! You will be in great love, married and a great mother!“

I’m 25 years old by now and still have to hear those stupid sentences.

section brain
Section Brain

First I was disappointed and angry when I heard all that. I didn’t understand why it was so difficult to understand my orientation. But today I smile and explain patiently why I still doesn’t want to be in love or have sex.

I can imagine what it feels like to hear about this “new thing“. But I hope that someday people will understand and accept us.

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

Most people think I’m mentally ill. In their eyes to be asexual is definitely a personality disorder, nothing more. It’s sad but I think the most people fear what they don’t know. So they try with all their imagination to explain the unknown. To give it a reason or purpose they can accept. But there’s nothing to fear, only to accept. They don’t care about hurting someone‘s feelings. As long as they can believe that they’re right and feel good about it.

soul
Soul

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

Talk to someone you trust about your orientation. One of my friends told me that I might be asexual. I didn’t know this word until then. After research I found another one: aromantic. I‘ve always known about my orientation but could never name it right. Now I can and it feels great. It’s also a relief to know that I’m not alone. Yes, there is still a silent fight of acceptance, but just because only a few people know about asexuality. There are tolerant people, but not enough. We all have to change that. But first you have to accept yourself. There was a moment when I thought: “Mmhh… so I’ll never fall in love. No marriage, no children, no sex… Is that how I want to live?” The answer is YES. Because I know, that I wouldn’t be happy in a romantic or sexual relationship. I would deny my own personality, deny who I really am. How could I be honest to others, when I’m not even honest to myself?

spine
Spine

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

Just a few days ago I created an account on DeviantArt. You can find some of my artworks there. Look for JackieP90 (jackiep90.deviantart.com).

I’m also writing my memoirs right now. I’m hoping to publish it one day.

Moirae
Moirae

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

Interview: Erin

Today we’re joined by Erin. Erin is a fantastically talented visual artist who specializes in traditional mediums. Her attention to detail is absolutely amazing and the pictures she sent to go with her interview show that she has an incredible eye. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

anime suz_edited-6
Anime Suz

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do mainly traditional work with pencils and fine tip felt pens. I haven’t done much digital work recently, but I really enjoy working in Photoshop when I have the time. Overall, I like working small and packing detail into whatever I’m drawing.

What inspires you?

Since starting a fine arts degree in August, I’m finding that seeing people around my own age working hard in their own styles and making incredible work is very inspiring. We all push each other to do our best work, and it really shows when it comes to final critiques. Professionally, I’d say artists who work on large-scale movies inspire me, as that’s what I’d like my career to turn into one day. The Lord of the Rings trilogy was what first inspired me to become serious about art.

grumps
Grumps

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

Watching the special features for movie franchises like the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter really got me interested in a career in art. Whenever I see a film I love, I immediately run out and buy the art book and absorb all I can from them! I’ve always been creative, and I’ve been drawing since I was little, so a career in art was always where I was headed. Even though I still have a long ways to go, seeing my own improvement keeps me passionate.

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. In some of my digital pieces that aren’t watermarked, I hide my initials very subtly all over the place.

IMG_20141002_145300

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Whatever your chosen medium is, do it a lot! Even if you think what you do isn’t the best, the only way to get better is to make mistakes and try again. That being the most important factor, try to also keep inspired by the people around you. Keep a folder full of pieces and artists that you look up to, and don’t be scared to emulate the parts of their work you like. See a colour palette you like? Try it out! Like how somebody draws eyes? Try drawing that way! Eventually you’ll arrive at your own unique style that feels natural to you.

IMG_20151014_111506

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Right now I’d place myself as heteroromantic, sex-repulsed asexual.

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

The people in the field who know my orientation have either been nonchalant or politely curious. I’ve had a few classmates even approach me privately during after-hours studio time to ask questions. It was a little nerve-wracking to be honest, but it’s been very encouraging to have encountered such a positive reception. I’ve had very negative receptions outside the field, and the way I’ve dealt with that is to acknowledge that we’re a small, fairly unknown community, so getting confusion or seemingly rude remarks from people is to be expected. Take people’s words with a grain of salt, and encourage them to do their own research.

IMG_20151019_130039

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

Probably that it just means a person’s shy, or naïve about sexual relationships. For me, sex-repulsion happens totally separate from my feelings about a person. I could have a sexual relationship if I wanted, but I’m just not in tune with people feeling sexually towards me, because it’s not something I understand or can reciprocate. I had to end my last relationship because I thought I was just ‘too shy’, even though the anxiety I was having over things as little as kissing was part of my asexuality (though I didn’t know it yet).

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

Don’t feel like you have to nail what you’re feeling down to a bunch of labels, because chances are, none of them will fit perfectly. It’s important to not try and define yourself right now, especially if you’re younger. Things could change for you, so just take yourself one day at a time and find people who will be there for your ups and downs. Following blogs like this one that shines a positive light on the community is a good step towards being okay with yourself. Chin up, kiddos!

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

My Tumblr art blog is neon-biology, and if you like daily updates and doodles, I post tons of stuff to my Instagram, aberrantbiology.

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