Interview: Kat Lawson

Today we’re joined by Kat Lawson. Kat is a phenomenal writer and visual artist. She’s working on an urban fantasy novel that is filled with diverse and interesting character. When she’s not writing, Kat is a photographer who focuses on perspective and color. It’s clear she’s a very passionate artist who loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m primarily a fiction writer, specifically urban fantasy (though I’m not yet published, give me time). My books feature all kinds of sexualities and gender identities in the hopes that everyone who reads them can find someone like themselves, as well as a lot of vampires and other supernatural creatures. I also do a lot of photography on the side, where I focus on perspective and colour, and how changing your perspective can completely change what you see.

What inspires you?

I’m most inspired by the world around me. I go on a lot of nature walks to find inspiration for my photos, and I’ll take photos of anything that takes my fancy. Anything that holds beauty, even if it’s not traditional, will find itself my muse. I spend a lot of time down at the local gardens, the gardens there are themed and so no two photos are the same. I can often be seen in strange positions trying to get the perfect photo, especially when I’m playing with the perspective, trying to make a flower look like a tree or a puddle look like the sky.

My writing comes from the people around me and the stories they share with me, as well as a life-long fascination with the paranormal and fantastic. An English teacher I used to have in high school told me to write what you know and you can never go wrong, and I live by that. How I feel, experiences I’ve had, and research I have done all contribute to my stories.

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

My dad is a professional photographer, so he kind of passed on his love down to me. Right from the first camera I got at age ten I knew that I wanted to be able to share my photography with people and to share with them the memories that said photos hold.

I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I remember, I’ve always been a bookworm, and when I couldn’t find the sort of stories that featured people like me, I decided to write them myself.

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

I don’t really have a signature, that I know of anyway.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never give up doing what you love, and don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t good enough. As long as you are doing what you love, then there will always be someone who will recognize it and love it in return.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m one of those people who has kind of jumped around the spectrum, trying on every label I could find until I eventually found one that fit me best. I grew up in a super religious household, where it was expected that I would marry a guy and have kids with him. It wasn’t until a friend told me (right at the end of high school) that I had other options that I even began to seriously consider that how I felt was okay and I didn’t have to pretend anymore. Realizing I was ace was easy once I found the word, I always felt like the whole sex thing was a joke, I never understood it or why it was so important in every story I felt. I always thought but why don’t they just not have sex? It was a total mystery to me. But now, after several years of experimenting with different labels, I’ve settled on asexual lesbian.

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

The joys of being an independent artist is that I can pick and choose the people around me. I have come across a few people who haven’t been able to understand who I am, but I either do my best to either educate them, or simply ignore them. I’ve never really encountered true prejudice, more ignorance than anything else. All the jokes about sex and how I’d like it if I just tried it really grate after a while, but you learn to ignore it.

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

That sex-repulsed aces are the only aces out there. There’s this whole misconception that sexual attraction must be present for one to enjoy sex, which I totally disagree with. That, and that asexuality is a mental disorder, or just flat-out isn’t real.

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

It’s okay to question, and it’s okay to change your label. Asexuality is hard to figure out, especially when you have nothing to compare it to. But you’re not broken, and it does get easier. Sexuality is a spectrum, and you’re allowed to change where you fall on it.

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

As I’m unpublished, you can’t find my writing anywhere (yet, give me time), but my photography is on Instagram at Lady_Nyx and Tumblr at disaster-gay-beauregard.tumblr.com

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

Interview: Leo

Today we’re joined by Leo. Leo is a phenomenal photographer, singer, and guitarist from Mexico. He is the lead singer and guitarist in an emo band. He also makes music on his own. When he’s not creating music, Leo also enjoys doing photography. It’s clear he’s a driven and passionate artist who loves to explore the world through art, 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.

Well my work might be seen as intermedia, I like to use photography, video and music. I have a kinda emo band and a solo folkish project, I also work as a photographer in the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco in Mexico. It all started as a way to get through things in life, then I realized that other people experiment the same things and that we are all in this experience called life together and that is important to share it with the world so we don’t feel alone.

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What inspires you?

The people most of all, I think that there’s beauty in every heart but sometimes you have to seek for it. I also love music, movies, and love and childhood stories from others.

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

I wanted to be an astronaut or an engineer but in middle school I got some troubles because I used to fight a lot with other kids so my physiologist told my parents that I should try something more artistic and started to play guitar, then I wanted to make music for films so I started working on some short films and finally an ex-girlfriend has an online bazar and I started taking pictures of her with the clothes and the photography just made the way through my art.

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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?

Emotions and films, my work such as music or films or photography always have the style of some 90’s 00’s movies.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never give up, always give your best to yourself and be honest. Help others to get better and you’ll get better too.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demisexual close to asexual, biromantic.

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

My friends still think that I’ll “get better” and stop of being asexual. It’s also so boring to explain to others what asexuality is and that is valid.

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

That’s for being a man I have to seek sexual intercourse with every person I meet.

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

It only matters what you think of yourself, you are valid and you are not alone. It is ok if you don’t feel that you don’t fit quite well on any label. There are more people like us than you think, you are not alone.

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

I have two Instagram accounts at poortraitsphotography and at tinaparados and a YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/Leokitee

My band is called Sylvia. For Sylvia Plath and here’s a song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TVAWCvbxrY

8. Ameyalli

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

Interview: Amy Valentine

Today we’re joined by Amy Valentine. Amy is a phenomenal visual artist who does a lot of art journaling. She uses mostly colored pencils, watercolors, and various markers. She’s also an art student, so she works in a variety of mediums. When she’s not creating visual art, Amy also writes quite a bit of fanfiction. It’s clear she is a dedicated and passionate artist with a very bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Green Lady

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

On my free time, I do a lot of art journaling, which is basically having a sketchbook expect I put more effort in decorating the pages to fit with my current mood. I also enjoy writing, mostly fanfictions, but I’m very eager to write something of my own someday.

I’m also an art student, so at school I also do paintings, photography and whatever else, and hopefully after school I could practice painting at home, too.

For art journaling, I like to use watercolors, color pencils and different kind of markers. Sometimes I just glue things in.

What inspires you?

Music is a big inspiration for me, because I’m almost always wearing headphones. I also get a lot of ideas from movies – When there is a scene that is just so pretty to look at, I always want to draw my own version of it.

I also take a lot of inspiration from my own feelings, since art journaling is kind of something that you do to express your emotions.

I also draw a lot of women’s nude bodies as a way to start learning to love my own body, so I guess they also give me inspiration. Don’t know what to draw? I’ll draw a torso. The headless statue of a woman is always there to save me from art block.

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Kissing Watercolor

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

Yes, definitely. As a kid, I loved drawing comics and other cute things. I was really into manga back then. I would always be sketching at the edge of the test paper, even if the teacher told me not to.

At school, we also wrote a lot of our own stories, and I was always told that the stories I wrote were good and unique, so I got more inspired to write every day. I guess I can safely say I have always wanted to be an artist/writer. At this moment, I think I’d want to be a writer more than an artist.

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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?

At the moment, I don’t think I yet have my own style or my own unique thing. In art, I’m still figuring out what I want to create and what kind of a style fits me the most. In writing, I’m trying to experiment a little to see what kind of stuff I want to write and how. So, for now, no unique signatures or anything.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice, practice and practice. And do not compare yourself to others. I did that and only felt worse about my skills. The first 6 months at art school were rough because I kept thinking everyone else was better than me. But when I learned to just focus on my own work and did my best, my drawings ended up looking a lot better. So just don’t give up. We’re all at different skill levels here, so just focus working on your own thing.

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Big Painting

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’d say I’m somewhere between being a demisexual and asexual.

I did just find the term ‘aegosexual’ that fits me quite well, but, I’m still trying to figure myself out. And that’s okay.

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

When I told my parents, both of them were confused but supportive, thankfully. Before I tried to get into art school, I told my school nurse that I felt like I was close to an asexual, and they said to me ‘I WILL find the right one’, and if I wouldn’t, I should seek medical help. I also told my friends that I was in the ace spectrum, and they said that wasn’t possible.

I’ve also been in two relationships before and in both of them I felt like being asexual was wrong. I felt like saying ‘no’ to sex was wrong, and that was used against me. I’m still healing from that.

I think the best way to handle any kind of prejudice is to know that you aren’t broken, and that there is nothing wrong with you. Also, calmly explaining to them what asexuality is can help them understand it better. And honestly, never, EVER, do something that feels uncomfortable to you just so you could please someone else. Listen to your own feelings.

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

Probably the one where they think that if I’m in the ace spectrum, I can’t feel any kind of sexual pleasure, or that I can’t have sex, or that I can’t include sex scenes in my writing, and so on. Asexuals aren’t 100% sexless – some can be, but some asexuals are okay with having sex for their partner, and some asexuals masturbate. Some people don’t seem to get that.

The other misconception is people thinking asexuals can’t experience romantic feelings. And the third one that my school nurse one suggested – that being asexual meant you were afraid of sex.

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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 where in the ace spectrum you are, and it’s OK to change labels later on, and it’s OK if you’re still searching for yourself. Just know that there is no rush. You are what you are, and even if you aren’t 100% sure what your label is, then that’s alright. You don’t have to put yourself into a box if you’re not ready yet. Just take your time with your inner self, love yourself.

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

Tumblr: https://paper-star-fight.tumblr.com/
AO3: https://archiveofourown.org/users/ValentineRunaway

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Lake

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

Interview: E.T.Vise

Today we’re joined by E.T.Vise. E.T.Vise is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in 2D cartoons and photography. He has recently gotten into filmmaking and is exploring that medium as well. It’s clear they’re a passionate and enthusiastic artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Jumpin on Tramp
Jumpin on Trampoline

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I primarily do 2D cartoon and pen art but I do go into photography and I’m starting to get into Filmmaking and the art of filmmaking.

What inspires you?

The world around us and how our brains are built with what we feel & think.

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

Wanting to create something that said me and just the influx ideas for art.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Make whatever the hell you want to make, grab a pencil and paper and experiment and find your creative voice.

Mr Tape Man
Mr Tape Man

ASEXUALITY

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

No… not really that and I haven’t really been active in the community but I’m sure as I become more active the situation will arise one day.

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

That we don’t have any physical interaction (cuddling, holding hands kissing etc.). I’ve had to tell people so many times “no it’s just sexual things”

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

Embrace it and just know that this doesn’t affect who you are as a person.

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

You can find more of my work on my YouTube Channel: E T V, (and while there’s not much there right now a big project of mine is coming soon so be on the lookout for that.)

Also my Twitter ETVtwutter and my Instagram etvinstagrem and my Tumblr, apersonwholikestodraw.

Tyler08
Tyler08

Thank you, E.T.Vise, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Emily Jane

Today we’re joined by Emily Jane. Emily is a phenomenal artist who does a bit of everything. She enjoys singing, writing, and drawing, but her main passion is photography. Emily has a great passion for creating and is incredibly enthusiastic, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a sort of jack of all trades artist to be honest. I love to sing, write, draw, photograph…I love many things, and try not to limit myself to just one. When I sing, I often sing about my personal experiences, but when I’m writing, I try to immerse myself in my characters. To me, art should express something about the artist or the subject that he or she has not or cannot share with the world. I try to capture that in my photography as well- to find a secret and exploit it on camera- though the person seeing the photo won’t see the secret, they might catch a hint of emotion tagging along the end of it.

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Erin Malo

Today we’re joined by Erin Malo. Erin is a phenomenal visual artist who was interviewed some time ago on this site. She has done quite a bit of work since then, including some design work on asexuality. She works in a number of mediums, both traditional and digital. Her work is fascinating and diverse, showing a great amount of talent. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a 4th year visual communication design student, and I work primarily with logos and identity branding. I also love both digital and traditional illustration, and traditional art when I have the free time. Photography is a recent darling of mine as well. I guess I do a little bit of everything!

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What inspires you?

When it comes to design, I get really inspired by other creators. I can scroll Instagram and Pinterest for hours, looking at all the amazing and unique ideas people have! In my illustration work, I’m endlessly inspired by the various D&D campaigns I’m in. I feel like I’m always doodling the characters and the monsters we come across. For my traditional art, I’m inspired by the body and the natural world.

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

I’ve always wanted to be an artist, as far as I remember. I loved art as a kid, so I did it a lot and got good at it. I didn’t want to formally pursue art after high school because it’s such a difficult field to break into, especially in a fairly small city like Edmonton, so I looked into animation, interior design, and visual communication design, and settled on the latter. It turned out to be much closer to my heart than I expected, and 4 years into my degree I’m still loving it!

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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?

No, I don’t think I do.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Nobody can create exactly what you can. Don’t get discouraged because there’s artists out there better than you. Just do your own unique thing, and do it lots, and share it with everyone you can. You’ll find the people who love what only you can do, even when you don’t always love everything you make.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual when asked, but I’m probably more specifically demisexual. I’m biromantic as well.

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

I’ve received very little negativity in person when it comes to my identity. I’m pretty open about being asexual, so if people have a problem with me, they’re staying quiet. I presented a zine I made on asexuality to my design classmates in my second year, and I got polite curiosity and even some praise for my openness.

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

Definitely that (some) asexual people never have sex, or are incapable of sex. It’s very difficult to explain to people that attraction is highly separate from libido – especially when those people are people you don’t necessarily want to sit down and have a conversation about sex with. An unfortunate part of coming out as ace (I’ve found) is having to do the internal work to understand how your own attractions and feelings mesh together, and then articulate that to others if you want them to have an accurate picture of what asexuality is to you. Not that it’s anyone’s business. I just have less and less pride about it every passing year and I’m fine detailing the nitty-gritty to people who ask me questions. Aces with big ol’ sex drives exist, and I’ve had to become fine with explaining that to non-aces.

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

You’ll probably figure it out, but if you don’t, that’s okay too. It doesn’t matter how long you identify as ace, you will likely always doubt that you’re “actually” ace, and that’s okay. If it’s comforting to you and it describes your experience better than other labels in the moment, by all means, use it. Also, if you’re feeling like aces aren’t accepted in the queer community, get off Tumblr, and go make your presence known in a LGTBQA+ group in your school, community, whatever. You’re much more accepted and wanted than others would have you believe.

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

I’ve got an art blog on here at neon-biology, and an Instagram account full of art at erin_aceous. As well, if you’d like a free 12-page pdf. of my zine on asexuality, titled “Visible”, you can email me at emalo[at]ualberta[dot]ca.

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

Interview: Scott Pete

Today we’re joined by Scott Pete. Scott is a phenomenal photographer who is just starting out and already displays a remarkable amount of talent. Aside from photography, Scott also runs an asexual meetup and discussion group, in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, called ‘A Space for Aces’ (Twitter & Meetup). His photography shows an incredible eye for beauty in nature. It’s clear he’s a passionate artist who loves what he does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

DSC_1231

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My photography (as art, rather than play) is still somewhat in its early stages but I’m developing the idea that photography is inherently surreal; a facsimile of reality, copied under a certain set of conditions and translated into the photographer’s visual language.

What inspires you?

The effortless, self-unaware beauty of nature. The play of water, moss, and plant life. Light and motion.

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

I used to buy disposable cameras and try to get as many good photos on a roll as I could. When you’re 9-years-old, 24 exposures usually isn’t enough. I was given a 1.2 megapixel digital camera at 15 started playing with Photoshop and editing techniques.

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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?

A common theme in much of my photography is a long exposure, resulting in any moving objects leaving a trail. For example, when I’m shooting a waterfall, I’ll set the camera to expose for 3 to 4 seconds to give the water a soft texture and make a still image look like it’s in motion.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do what you want to do, but look to other artists to help you develop your craft. The study of art is just as important as your raw talent and the moods, concepts and images you convey through your art. I’ve been reading books on photography theory but, also, studying paintings and their painters, trying to see the images conveyed by the music I listen to and, (if this makes any sense) trying to feel the emotional texture of what other photographers are putting out. Do whatever you can to mindfully develop your style, your technique and the personal language of your art.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual, Biromantic.

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 the prejudice and ignorance I encounter in my daily life, I face head-on. I don’t worry about seeming pedantic because the only way to combat ignorance is with education. I try not to use the word “actually” and I have a kind of script that I follow.

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

That asexuality means having nothing, as if it’s void that speaks of an emptiness of being. That “you seem so normal, though” and implying there’s something broken or abnormal about being Ace.

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

Those who are uncomfortable with the idea of asexuality are probably uncomfortable with themselves. If a person is ignorant, you can choose to educate them or not to do so. It is your choice and you don’t owe anyone an explanation for who you are. Everyone has questions about their identity at some point in their life. You are valid and no one can ever take your identity away from you.

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

I’m on Instagram at scottpete_photography and on Twitter at scottpetephoto. I’ll be starting on Zenfolio in the next couple of years, too.

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