Interview: Myr

Today we’re joined by Myr. Myr is a wonderful writer and visual artist from Germany who dabbles in a few different things. They mainly write as a hobby and are currently working on a novel. They’re a dedicated fanfiction writer who writes a lot of slash in a few different fandoms, which they post on a German website. When Myr isn’t writing, they also enjoy doing visual art and specialize in photography. It’s clear they’re very dedicated to their art, as you’ll soon read. 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 am a genderqueer hobby author and fan fiction writer, I started writing in elementary school and lost passion multiple times on the way to where I am now. I don’t really publish and certainly don’t sell anything but I keep going. Occasionally I also photograph and I used to draw/sketch.

What inspires you?

I mostly write fan fiction and some of my favourite own characters started off as side characters in fan fictions as well as autobiographical characters, so yea. I take inspiration from the original canon as well as my own experiences. I did so even before I grew confidence to talk about myself and my personal history with bullying and depression.

For photography I try capturing simple things in another perspective or engage mostly in documentary photography.

2. Carnations
Carnations

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

Funny enough, I didn’t like reading when I was a child until when my mom bought the Harry Potter audiobooks and I was like a sponge, I even could recite big parts of my favourite (book 3 – Prisoner of Azkaban).

I always was a little artistic, trying to express myself with drawings and a little bit painting but I was told way too often how good I am with words, so I started writing.

My father and uncle and godfather and cousin are all interested in photography and I was drawn to it from young age, always having cameras focused on me when on family gatherings or on holiday.

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?

As afore mentioned I tend to include autobiographic own characters partly resembling myself and partly expressing my goal regarding life choices, character traits and so on.

So it’s likely my newer OCs (since end 2016) are somewhere on the asexual spectrum and every autobiographic OC is gender non-conforming if not genderqueer, when it comes to character traits the characters don’t have that much in common if you don’t look closely, but getting to the characterisation they are very much alike.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

This might seem stupid but: just do it! Honestly I started out with a fairytale in elementary school which I didn’t even research for and it was so… I was 8 at the time and a huge anime-fan, so looking back it was horrible! I wrote something about a Japanese Wadden sea /mudflat and a girl having wings as arms, I think…?

And my next phase… I am not that proud about it but when I started writing again at age 11 or 12 I was writing PWP – “plot what plot?“ – which is… it’s erotica basically.

At age 15 (2014) I created a small Facebook page which is deleted since 2014 and published bits and pieces of romantic and adventurous one-shots.

I was used to writing erotica, I didn’t know how to do action or crime… and I didn’t start reading regularly until 2014 when I first discovered the German website fanfiktion.de

By now my longest work online is 52 pages and 29,900 words long (fan fiction to BBCs Sherlock).

So yea, keep going, no matter where you start off, no matter where you pause and pick up again, keep doing what you enjoy!

3. Nico

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Nico

 

 

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am aegosexual (I feel not connected with what arouses me and prefer consuming erotica over actually engaging in sexual acts) and grey-biromantic

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

I was told I couldn’t write smut and border on very explicit erotica since I am ace and shouldn’t care about such things otherwise I would invalidate myself.

I mostly laugh it off despite being able to get very vocal when I am upset, frustrated or angered.

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

That no asexual is sexually active, I personally needed a sexual relationship to realise I am asexual. Attraction doesn’t equal action, sweethearts.

And we are no innocent little honey buns, not in general.

Never generalise about any group, okay?

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

Reach out, get to know the community. I was uncomfortable, too.

I was certain “I must be greysexual, I mean… I can not not feel attraction, I am enough of a freak, I can’t be this strange!“

Reaching out and getting to know people on Tumblr and Facebook helped, we are all perfectly normal (as far as anything ever is normal at all) people and we are diverse like every other group.

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

I suppose my profile in fanfiktion.de is the way to go. It’s fanfiktion.de/u/Kayli+Talis

With a good translator-plug-in for your web browser you will be able to read my works without knowledge of German.

I am also working on translations (as you can see in the attached photos) and will publish at least my 52-page-work in an English version once I completely translated it.

Thank you for having me.

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

Interview: Pierre

Today we’re joined by Pierre. Pierre is a wonderful artist who does both visual art and writing. They mostly make digital art, though they also dabble in photography on occasion. They have written a book, which they’re currently making into a webcomic. They’re a very enthusiastic artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

interview1

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make drawings and write some books. I don’t really post the books I write, and normally I make digital art

What inspires you?

There isn’t something specific than inspire me, sometimes is the sky, sometimes are people, but I just do what comes into my mind, the place and stuff than are around me don’t matter anymore when I get into my own world and the random creativity never ends!

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

Writing, well every time I see something I want to do it, so I saw a character who write books and I wanted to write about it too! I wanted to write books for a veeery long time, and started studying about them, how they were made, the number of chapters, the number of pages and etc., than I made my first official (I made more than one history but this was official, it was actually a book and I actually study for that, so I put more effort and professionalism on it) book. (It’s called Sleep on life, I never posted it, but I made a comic about it.)It felt so great, finally writing a book, one of my biggest wishes! But I never really wanted to become a writer or something

Drawing, well, I grow up with my mother and sister, and both wanted to be art teachers, so it didn’t take too many time to I get interested in drawing too. For a long time I wanted to be an artist, then an animator, then nothing else related to art…but, to be honest, I feel very happy drawing original comics and fanarts on Tumblr, even if it takes a very very veeeery long time to make those, I feel happy and sometimes proud to still being able to draw the stuff I like

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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, not really, just do random things and improve them to become big and good projects. I don’t work with a special feature, at least not than I know or remember

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Well here are some short texts than when I was starting to become an artist I needed to listen:

Just cause people tell you your art is bad, it doesn’t mean it’s really bad; Just cause you tried it for the first time, second time or fifty time and didn’t end like you wanted, it doesn’t mean you should give up; Still trying and trying until it gets satisfying to you; You don’t need to make this perfect, just do the way you want, not the way other people want, okay?

interview4

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as panromantic asexual at the moment, but life is full of surprises, right?

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

Not really, I don’t really tell everyone I’m ace. I put on my bio, where normally nobody cares to read, actually this interview is the only place I am telling in an actual post I am Asexual

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

I read a lot of people talking “ace people aren’t from LGBT community!” “Ace people are straight girls trying to get on LGBT community!” “Ace people don’t exist!” and like…this is wrong in so many ways…Ace people are from LGBT+ community, ace people are ACE not straight dude, and Ace people DO exist. Ace people just don’t feel comfortable doing sex or just don’t like it, after all sex isn’t the only thing then can let a human happy, and humans aren’t just “sex and reproducing!”, nose and reproduction isn’t the biggest talent of the human being! Remember that time he discovered a way to make humans fly? Or that time he discovered how to make images have life? Or that time he discovered a way to talk to someone when they are far away, so when you miss that person or when you are feeling bad and need to talk to someone you can talk with a person you trust in the moment even if that person is far away from you? Or that time he discovered then not every woman/man liked each other, what means every person is different, what just make them more special? Human beings have a lot of talent and you can’t say sex and reproduction are the biggest talent of the human being so ace people are wrong or not human for don’t have this “big talent”. We are amazing with or without sex, with or without romance and being or not being just like you; and on my opinion the human being biggest talent is just the fact then every human being is different.

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

It’s okay to not like sex mon ami, it’s okay being different. Don’t like sex doesn’t make you least good or special, actually is something you should be proud of, because don’t like sex is just a part of you, and you should be proud of being the amazing human being you are!

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

It’s sad the interview ended so I guess I have to put some links to my comic than was a book than I never posted here?

Anyway here is the link of my webcomic than were a book https://tapas.io/series/Sleep-on-life

And here is more of my art: https://aliens-on-neptune.tumblr.com/tagged/my-art or you can go to this blog I made recently https://aliens-on-neptune-art.tumblr.com/

and sometimes I post some draws on my Twitter, some are on Tumblr, other I just post on Twitter so if you want see a little https://twitter.com/_cursedGhost_/media (just don’t see the videos please or my sis will kill me, she is in them..)

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

Interview: Fiia

Today we’re joined by Fiia. Fiia is an amazingly versatile young artist from Finland. She does a bit of everything: writing, film, and plenty of visual art. She’s marvelously passionate about the art she does and has a very creative spirit, 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 do many kinds of art, especially now that I study media. Photography, all kinds of editing (photos, videos, sound), short films, graphic design… and the list goes on. And I love it all! I also like to draw and paint and whatnot. I’m not that great, but I like it. That’s the important thing, right?

But what I absolutely love to do, is write.

So I love to write. What I write has been ranging from poetry to fanfiction, and from regular short stories to screenwriting. The last year or so I’ve been concentrating on screenwriting; TV show scripts, to be precise. The genre is usually somewhere along the lines of action drama, because I can’t bring myself to be interested in “regular” relationship love dramas.

Also, I always write in English. I’m from Finland, so English isn’t my first language (it’s actually my third, Swedish being the second) but I’ve kept it from stopping me. I was around 13 when I started writing in English, and I haven’t stopped since. Nowadays I couldn’t write in Finnish even if I tried, because everything sounds so dumb to me!

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by a lot of things. Mostly just what happens around me; regular people. I love the idea of taking a normal person and throwing them into a completely different setting, like in a story I’m currently writing. It’s the regular life and regular people who inspire me to begin a story, but it’s the adventure that inspires me to work out the plot and write it down.

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

I’ve always loved writing, ever since I knew how to hold a pen and how to write Finnish. I don’t even know where the passion comes from, because even though I have artists in my family (mom is a tattoo artist and my big brother does comics for a living), I’m the only one who enjoys writing.

It’s probably just the power to create anything that’s got me hooked on writing. Pick a word, write it down, and a couple thousand words later I could’ve created a whole different universe. This isn’t, naturally, how I saw it as a kid, but it was probably something similar even if I didn’t actually realize it. I just wanted to tell stories.

One of my earliest dream jobs was to be an author. Over the years it shifted and I dreamt of becoming a psychologist, but I still wanted to publish a book. Then I wanted to become a nurse, a teacher, a translator … and now finally I want to be in the TV/movie business. Either as a screenwriter or a cameraman/editor. Or maybe even all three.

So being an author/screenwriter wasn’t always on the top of the list, but it was always there.

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 love to explore friendships. They are important in whatever I write, because I love nothing more than a person willing to go to a great length for the sake of a close friend.

This isn’t as important as the above, but there is always (a lot of) action in my stories, and recently the stories have revolved around good and bad, as simple as it sounds. There is more often than not a criminal aspect, usually pretty important, and how the lines between good and bad are really shaky, blurry and broken sometimes.

To put it short, I have a certain style, like most artists. I try new things every now and then, but the above is what feels best to me and what I enjoy the most.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

This may be a bit cliché, but believe in what you do and work hard. It’s a sad truth that maybe it will never work out and you’ll have to settle for a job that isn’t an artist – but other people have made it, and you shouldn’t give up your dream without a fight. Get better at what you do, practice some more and never give up, and who knows? Just make sure to keep at least your other foot on the ground and remember that life goes on even if we don’t make it there.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Totally asexual, like 110%. I’m also biromantic.

Although, I must admit, I just usually call myself bisexual. I don’t think it’s anyone’s business, really, and it’s just less confusing that way.

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

No, I’m lucky and I haven’t. Asexuality hasn’t really been a problem for me in any way, and since I’m still just a student with a few close friends in a small town, I’m relatively safe from anything like that.

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

That I’ll magically like it once I try it. I’ve been trying to explain it to my mom and my best friend, and they both keep saying I can’t know whether or not I like it since I’m a virgin. I keep telling them “I know I won’t like parachuting either, even though I haven’t tried it, because I know myself and I’ve seen enough of it to have a feeling of what it’s like.”

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

Accept yourself, and understand that there’s nothing wrong with you. Sex is all over the place and we all know the pressure to have it, but just know that that’s not the case. You’re perfect just the way you are, and asexuality doesn’t define you. You can do and be whatever you want.

Also, you’ll find someone who loves you, asexual or not, and they won’t give a shred of an f. Just keep your head high, be yourself, and the right people will find you.

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

Unfortunately nowhere just yet, but who knows, maybe in some years you’ll see my TV shows on TV 😉

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

Interview: Hale

Today we’re joined by Hale. Hale is a phenomenal artist who does both visual art and fanart in the form of cosplay. She has degrees in graphic design and fine art. Hale is also a great cosplayer who has an admirable love for bringing characters to life. She’s an incredibly dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

DChuntress
DC Huntress

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Right out of high school I started as a graphic designer. I got my Associate of Science in Graphic Design, so a lot of my art from back then is focused on design principles. During the rest of my undergrad (Art History Bachelor’s with a minor in Fine Art) I took other fine art classes, but I still stuck with shapes and forms that were more simple or geometric – meant to advertise an idea or be a backdrop rather than a focus. Now that I’m going for my Master’s in Business Design and Arts Leadership, I make a lot of presentation graphics. A lot of the projects I work on take lengthy case studies or papers and turn them into design works that are understandable or fit a brand image.

Outside of school, I also cross stitch, take photos, and I cosplay. The cross stitches I make are usually based on old 8-bit graphics from video games. I tend to cosplay as video game characters, as well, though I enjoy anime cosplay, too. I’m currently interning at a photography business, so I’m learning to take portraits of family and weddings. This is informed by cosplay photography, but it’s also something that I just enjoy as a hobby. I took several photography classes at school, but they were more fine art focused rather than portrait focused. I like going down different avenues of thinking or going through different art worlds for my work, so it varies a lot.

What inspires you?

When it comes to the art I make as a student, I get a lot of my ideas from Pinterest. I don’t directly copy from them, of course, but I first get an idea of the brand that currently exists (or if I’m working on rebranding, the brand that I want to exist) and then search for images on Pinterest that fit that idea. For example, I might type “plants” into Pinterest to get an idea for a logo for a farming agency that hasn’t already been done. Or if I’m working on a case study write up about Etsy, I might type “orange” into Pinterest, since one of Etsy’s brand colors is orange. Making mood boards helps me get into the right mindset of the project I’m working on and sends me down different avenues I might not have thought of if I just had a sketchbook in front of me (sort of like the 2-D art version of the Youtube wormhole)

I find that RPG video games inspire me the most in both cross stitching and cosplay. For example: Pokemon, Dragon Age, and Ace Attorney are all games that I’ve used in my work. Usually when I cosplay from an anime, it’s because I’m doing it as a group or because it’s meaningful to a certain point in my life. I don’t usually just pick from an anime because I enjoy a certain character like I do with video games.

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

When I first got into all three of my degrees, I didn’t really know what I was getting in for. I just kind of went for it. I never really considered myself an “artist” because I am not as good at drawing or painting as some of my artist friends. I enjoy art and always wanted to do something related to art, but even now I feel some hesitation to call myself an artist. With all three of my degrees, I sort of took a baby step into the field first and then just jumped in without considering all of the consequences. For example, I started college as a PSEO student, meaning I took college classes as a high schooler for credit. I took Graphic Design as an elective, and then after graduating high school, decided that would be my career path. The same thing happened with Art History where I took an art history class as part of my Associate’s and decided to jump into it as my Bachelor’s. I took a year off in between my Bachelor’s and my Master’s where I tried to decide what I wanted to do. I still didn’t think I was an artist, but I had an art degree (kind of). I didn’t want to work on commission, and I had a vague idea of working in a museum, but didn’t really know how to get there. I went for my BDAL Master’s with the idea that it could get me headed in the direction of a nonprofit organization without needing to pick a certain area (Museum Development or Museum Studies seemed too specific)

I guess I was always destined to be involved in art in some capacity. I’ve always surrounded myself with other artists as friends and peers. I feel like artists get better critiques and feedback from their friends, especially if those friends are also artists. Friends got me interested in video games, in anime, in design; I wouldn’t have become an “artist” (in the loosest sense of the word) without my support. That being said, I don’t think the traditional categories of painter, writer, sketch artist, etc. necessarily make sense anymore in today’s digital world. Art doesn’t have to fit into one category to be art, so although my friends may fit into those categories better than me (and for a long time I didn’t consider myself an artist because of it) that doesn’t mean that what I do isn’t good art. It just means the ways in which my art gets critiqued needs to be different. I have always wanted to do what I do, I just didn’t always consider what I do to be “art.”

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 so much in the art I’m making now, but I focused on stars quite a bit when I was starting out professionally. I said earlier that I use a lot of geometric shapes, and a star is more visually interesting than a simple circle, but I’m come to appreciate simplicity a little more than when I began. Otherwise, my signature is more literal. Especially in designing case studies, you get credited for “visual layout” or for creating charts that better convey the information. So my unique signature in my more recent art is literally my signature. I don’t do anything like that for the art that I consider to be more of a hobby (cosplay, cross stitching, etc.) and I use the basic metadata info for my photos and digital art.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Try lots of different areas of art. Even if you’re a painter, and you’re always going to be a painter, there are lots of unexpected avenues you can find by trying something new. I never considered myself a sculptor, but my school required me to take a 3D class and some of what I consider to be my most unique art (if not my best) was 3D. It was hard, and not something I particularly enjoyed, but it broadened my horizons.

I would also say, study art history (and especially non-western art history). There’s no better way to learn about your own art than to immerse yourself in art. If you can’t immerse yourself physically by making something, learning about the ways that ancient people (or contemporary people) made art is just as informative. A lot of contemporary artists make works to continue conversations that artists of the past were having. We speak of art like it’s a visual narrative of an individual’s life, but it can be a conversation with another artist or political movement. It’s easy to get inspired by other artists around you, so it should be just as easy to get inspired by artists who made works long ago.

Print
Print

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Grey-asexual and Grey-aromantic. I can’t picture myself having sex or dating anyone in particular, but I can imagine myself having sex / dating in general. I don’t find anyone (or I haven’t found anyone) that I’ve met sexually or romantically attractive, but I can still picture myself doing the action in a more general sense.

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

I’ve found that most artists are fairly accepting of asexuality. Ignorance is vastly more common than prejudice, in my experience. I know that there are many female artists that define their work as feminist art and engage in feminist conversation by either pointing out gender roles as necessarily sexual or making art that is intentionally sexual and thus provoking. There are also artists that focus on sexuality and gender as a social construct and assume that the conversations they want to convey apply to all people within their audience. I’ve run into the conversation in critiques where the artist will explain sexuality as a “universal experience” while they, in the same breath, explain that gender roles are not universal. I usually just question their beliefs further and try to understand why they came to that conclusion or how they justify their ignorance. In terms of prejudice, I find it much more common to experience prejudice against asexual individuals from home, or when I was in college, at the dorm, rather than directly at work in my field.

There have been a few experiences in cosplay where I have been hit on or flirted with because I was in costume (despite the ‘cosplay is not consent’ banners everywhere), but I tend to view those as one off experiences that I ignore rather than something that I personally need to address. I handle them the same way that I would handle someone flirting with me were I not in cosplay, which is usually to find a group of friends and avoid contact with the person flirting. I haven’t found any of the flirters to be particularly aggressive once I’ve left, though ignoring the problem is obviously not addressing the deeper issue, it works in those one off situations.

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

I get the misconception that there must be something wrong with me quite often. I was in a pretty dangerously sexual situation as a child that many people who know about the situation think informed my ‘decision’ to be asexual, but honestly I have never experienced attraction, so I don’t think it has anything to do with that– or there being anything wrong with me. I’ve been lucky that most people have been pretty accepting, although there have been a few of those “oh you just haven’t found the right person yet” replies that get under my skin. Still, the biggest misconception tends to be ignorance more than anything else. The fact that people in my area just don’t know what asexuality is or refuse to believe that a person may not experience attraction is the most prevalent conversation that I’ve run across.

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

I would just recommend doing your research. If a label makes you happy, use it. Don’t feel like you have to keep it forever. I’ve gone back and forth between ace and grey-ace forever in my head and just decided that in the end, it makes no difference to anyone but me. If you’re comfortable with labelling your orientation as something now, then label it. If later you decide that it doesn’t really fit, you can change the label. I know that when I first researched asexuality, I was thinking that it might fit me, but I was hesitant to agree because what if it didn’t fit me sometime in the future? What matters is your comfort now and finding supportive people might start with a label, but it might not. You should find people that support you no matter what your orientation is. That might mean seeking out a support group or forum for asexuals, or it might mean just finding a group of people that don’t care what your orientation is. It’s more important to reflect on yourself and to know your boundaries and morals when it comes to sex and romance than it is to find a label that perfectly fits you. It’s just as important to find a group of people that will help you to keep those boundaries rather than pressure you into something you’re uncomfortable with– whether that’s because you’re ace or just uncomfortable with the situation. It feels cheesy just to say “don’t worry about your orientation, the label will come when you’re ready” but the best way to find supportive people and figure yourself out is to do your research.

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

The three social media areas I update on a regular basis are-

My online portfolio: behance.net/halebi
My cosplay Facebook: facebook.com/puppyrock32
and My Society6: society6.com/puppyrock3
My personal Tumblr is: puppyrock3.tumblr.com
It has my art, process images, cosplay, etc. but also just things I enjoy, so it can be a lot to sift through. I only link it here because you can send me an ask on Tumblr as a form of contact, and I can link you to other social media pages that I update less frequently or to process images on certain pieces of interest.

godproject
God Project

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

Interview: Cassandra Wolfe

Today we’re joined by Cassandra Wolfe. Cassandra is a phenomenal artist jack of all trades. She’s predominantly a fantasy writer who is working on a novel that sounds absolutely fascinating. When she’s not writing, Cassandra enjoys photography, particularly wildlife. She’s incredibly passionate, as  you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

death adder

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a bit of a jack of all trades really but my main focus at the moment is my writing (funny considering I’m trained as an art teacher). I work mainly in the fields of urban fantasy. I am currently working on the final drafts of what I hope to be my first novel featuring a bunch of werewolves living in modern day Australia along with a few short stories that I’m working on getting published in some online anthologies.

Outside of writing I’m trained in painting but I find that these days most of my work tends to utilize photography as a medium, with wildlife being one of my favourite subjects. I’ve also dabbled in both ceramics and sketching.

What inspires you?

I get most of my inspiration from the natural world and folklore. I grew up in a family that loved nature so I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time in the African wilderness which made me fall in love with the wonder that is wildlife. There’s a certain thrill that comes with getting up close to wild animals and it hasn’t faded now that I’m dealing with kangaroos instead of springbok. I’m rather proud of the fact that I can and have gotten within meters of hartebeest, bat-eared foxes, snakes and lizards. Reptiles are my absolute favourite subjects to shoot simply because they’re so chill that it makes approaching them a piece of cake.

The folklore that inspires me comes through mainly in my writing where it combines with my love of the natural world in the form of critters that are closer to that world than most people are. I tend to include a lot of shape shifter lore in my work and the fae are never far behind! I also enjoy including aspects of my religion into what I write in terms of how I shape the magic and witchcraft that is 99% guaranteed to be a part of my fictional work.

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

I was the kid who always wanted to sit down and write stories when asked what I wanted to do; it used to drive my sister up the wall. I actually entered a writing competition when I was pretty young and got to meet a whole bunch of authors at the close of it which helped drive my passion even if my story for it wasn’t what you’d call great. I still own the signed copies of one of Fiona McIntosh’s series and every time I feel disheartened by my writing I find reading that ‘keep writing’ on the front page keeps me going. Reading that little handwritten quote inspired me to be published one day when I was all of ten years old and that dream has yet to die on me.

My passion for Visual Arts came later in life even if, like most kids, I liked to draw when I was young. I actually originally planned on going into the equestrian industry with hopes of training race horses one day and even got a job as a groom at a show yard but unfortunately I had a bit of a tough time of it there. I ended up being rather over worked and on top of a couple of injuries I received I was slowly wearing my body out. I found that at that time the one thing that got me through it all was my art. I was doing some writing at the time but what really distracted me from my sore legs, ankle and back was painting. I bought a couple of canvas boards and some acrylic paint and Bob’s your uncle, I was falling in love with art all over again.

When I finally accepted that working in the equestrian industry wasn’t going to be possible going into art was the obvious choice. And since I had no desire to try and live purely off of my art I felt that being an art teacher was a perfect fit for me.

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 so much in my drawings and photographs per say but I do have a few in my writing. One of the big things is ‘circles’, I love having little tidbits here and there that circle back and link to another part of the story. Half the time they’re completely irrelevant to the plot and very subtle in their implementation but I just love including them. Eyes would another one, I fully believe that eyes are the window to the soul and as such the eyes of my various critters tend to tell a tale in themselves. It’s one of the reasons why all of my shifter characters retain their human eye colour when in animal form.

On a larger scale you can expect to see a bunch of diversity in what I write, half of my characters end up being some version of queer (often less well known sexualities) and I try to limit the amount of cis, straight, white males in my writing since they’re over-represented in fiction.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to experiment; try different mediums and genres, play around, try something that might not work for the hell of it. It’s the only way to grow no matter what your field is. And above all, persevere. It doesn’t matter if what you made didn’t come out the way you wanted it to, you still made it and the next time it will be even better. Even your worst mistake is better than not having tried in the first place.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demisexual and homoromantic.

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

Most people haven’t heard of it to be honest, I’ve only heard it mentioned once. That time there was a bit of confusion about it but I didn’t exactly feel comfortable explaining more since I was just a prac student at the time. As a whole the Australian education system is generally anti-LGBTQIA+ with a recent program designed to teach high school students about the various genders and sexualities and why it’s wrong to discriminate being muzzled and defunded by the government over fears that it was sexualizing children. I find that being an art teacher makes it easy enough to get around that prejudice however as half of the artists I teach experienced some form of discrimination.

I haven’t really encountered anything in terms of my writing but if I get published it’ll only be a matter of time considering Wolf Moon and its sequel currently feature at least two lesbians, an ace-aro, and two non-binary folk.

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

That it’s the same as being straight. That’s the big one online at the moment and it drives me demented considering that most of the people spouting it refuse to be swayed from their position by the experiences of actual ace and aro people. It’s especially frustrating because of the impact it has on the ace (and aro) communities as both are made to feel unwelcome in both straight and LGBTQIA+ spaces.

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

Ignore the current online discourse; it’s not reflective of real life LGBTQIA+ spaces at all. Most of the people in those spaces have no issues with aces or aros and those who do aren’t worth giving a damn about if you ask me. Whatever your orientation you are valid, it doesn’t matter if things change down the line or if you don’t have the exact word to describe your orientation, you and your experiences remain valid. Just hold your head up high and be proud of who you are.

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

Those interested in my writing can find it at http://cassandrawolfe.tumblr.com/ I tend to post drabbles, and writing advice there as well as keeping people updated on the progress of my bigger works there. My art can be found at http://thepaintedwolfe.tumblr.com/ with the vast majority of it being wildlife photography.

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

Interview: Clara Quinion

Today we’re joined by Clara. Clara is a phenomenal science fiction writer who is quite prolific. To date, she has written three novels, a number of short stories, and some poetry as well. It is quite apparent that she has an incredibly bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write science fiction. Also bits of art, photography, and craft.

What inspires you?

Everything. I’m a highly sensitive introvert with synesthesia. I take in more sensory impressions than most people, spend a long time mulling them over, making connections, and come out with some interesting thought-experiments.

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

I used to draw all the time when I was a kid. During my teens I got more into photography, and thought that would be my career. That didn’t work out. I got into writing by serendipity: having failed to get into any arts courses at university, I applied for a bunch of other creative courses through clearing, and got into an English with Creative Writing degree.

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 write in a multiverse called The Sustained World: all worlds capable of sustaining intelligent life lined up, separated by the Void, yet transversible. The denizens of The Sustained World are called Eltoids, which is a wider definition than humanoid, and means creatures capable of intelligence, communication, and manual dexterity, the symbol of which is a three-noded triangle. I’m also working a lot with black crow imagery: in The Sustained World, the Reapers who take the spirits of the deceased to the Void take the shape of crows.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do your own thing. Not what’s popular. Not what you think will sell. Not what everyone else is doing. Your own thing. You don’t have to be the best at your medium. Being authentic is much more important.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual and biromantic/panromantic. And queer, as far as I think that gender roles are arbitrary rubbish.

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

Nothing comes to mind. In the past I haven’t actually spoken much about not wanting to have sex. Just kept quiet and nodded along when people bring such things up. I have a pretty filthy sense of humour and I don’t mind talking about sex at all, but I always get uncomfortable if I see sexual imagery.

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

Not directly, but I feel that it’s been indicated to me that being sexually active is like a further step in developing towards adulthood. Probably by the same sort of people who think getting drunk is a sign of maturity. Knowing yourself and what you like and don’t like is a great step in your development.

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

There is nothing wrong with you. Sex is not a fundamental need like eating and sleeping. It’s more like an interest. I have no interest in sex just as I have no interest in sports. We are all different, and that’s what makes us beautiful. Do your thing, and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re wrong because you don’t like what they like.

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

http://thesustainedworldatransverse.tumblr.com/ and www.facebook.com/ClaraQuinionWriting

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

Interview: Mike Crawford

Today we’re joined by Mike Crawford. Mike is a wonderful visual artist from Scotland. He specializes in photography, but he also does a lot of drawing and painting. When he’s not creating visual art, Mike also writes poetry. It’s very clear he enjoys creating, 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.

My art is mostly figurative and realist, and includes such things as life drawing, still life, portraiture and landscape.

I identify as ace, but as yet this doesn’t really make an appearance in my art.

I have had long conversations with ace friends about what ‘Ace Art’ might actually be….whether it might be a political statement about our struggle, or whether there is actually some sort of intrinsic ‘Aceness’ that might be detectable in a person’s paintings.

And also there’s the whole question of ‘Ghetto Art’ i.e. ‘Gay Art’, ‘Black Art’, ‘Feminist Art’, ‘Queer Art’ etc. To me, those forms of expressions can be valuable politically, but I think they raise expectations in the minds of the potential audience, so for instance if I had an exhibition entitled ‘Queer Art’ which was made up of naturalistic landscapes, I can almost hear a viewer saying ‘Oh…this isn’t quite what I expected…’ …so the fact that I’m queer and I make art doesn’t perhaps automatically lead to ‘Queer Art’

So I guess I’m still pondering any ‘ace dimension’ that my work may or may not contain.

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What inspires you?

I’m inspired by the world around me, by places I visit and by people I meet.
I’m also inspired by the artists, poets and photographers I love.

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

Yes, from a very young age I was always drawing or colouring in.

In my teens, I was very fortunate to have an inspiring art tutor at school. He taught me how to use a grid pattern to scale up my vinyl album sleeves into posters, so I spent many happy hours in school copying photos of Bowie, Elton John, Roxy Music and Queen. People began to ask me if I could paint a design on their leather jacket or on a drum kit or the petrol tank of their motorbike and I became hooked on the incredibly social nature of art. I’m naturally shy, but art gave me a position within the group, in the same way as the class clown or sporty person… I was the arty one.

Later on, I went to some evening classes to study colour theory and then after I moved to Scotland to live at Faslane Peace Camp (a community which protests against nuclear weapons), I began to stop using photos and other people’s art as my references and to instead draw the people I was meeting and the landscape around me. This was very liberating as I discovered that I no longer needed to be copying other people’s ideas….that I could be original.

During my time at the Peace Camp, I also studied for a Foundation Art Course, which allowed me to build a portfolio of life drawings etc…and to then apply to Art School.

I then spent the next four years studying intently and have basically never stopped learning ever since.

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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?

I try to begin every artwork from scratch….from first principles if possible. One of the problems I’ve had with using galleries and agents is that they prefer you to be the guy or gal who paints cottages or stormy skies or clowns or whatever. If a painting sells, they want you paint another 20 exactly the same, because that’s how they make money. I don’t do that and I try never to repeat myself.

I don’t really have any recurring iconography in my work, except to say that I love to paint flowers. But no….not a unique symbol as such.

Many of my favourite artists very much DO have repeated objects and themes in their art and I love it….it just doesn’t happen for me in my own work, but if it works for you, I would absolutely encourage you to explore any and all personal symbolism.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

To always be your authentic self and to get as far away from any form of copying as possible. Try every possible medium you can. You might suck at oil on canvas, but be amazing at lino printing, so give everything a try. And also just have fun!

Something I used to teach my students;

Remember two simple things…’What do I want to say?’ and ‘How do I want to say it?’

…in other words, what do you wish your artwork to convey in terms of meaning, colours, politics etc, and also, which mediums will be best suited to tell your story? And of course as you continually revise your ideas, the mediums and methods can change too, so it’s a constant process…a journey rather than a destination.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Just plain old ace is fine for me, as I’m personally not the world’s biggest fan of the ‘spectrum’ concept.

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

Several years ago I was invited by some gay friends to take part in a local LGBT art exhibition. I submitted a painting, but it was returned to me by the organisers with a note to the effect that ‘asexuality has nothing to do with LGBT’ and that ‘there must be some confusion, so we are returning your artwork’.

In actual fact, what upset me the most was not the ignorance of the organisers, but the fact that several LGBT artists I know were happy to continue to submit work to the show without a word of protest about my poor treatment. That experience taught me a lot.

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

Most of the misconceptions and negativity seem to come from gay acquaintances, who will say stuff about asexuality being a medical problem caused by a hormone deficiency, or that ace relationships are not genuine or are ‘merely friendships’.

I’m not sure why straight friends have never said any of that stuff to me.

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

I would say that you are in a more fortunate position now than folk in my age bracket, who were struggling with their sexuality in a pre-internet, pre-google world.

I know it’s impossible to imagine now, but in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, there was literally no way to meet other aces, and no coherent way to explain to friends and family who you were as a person. Aces in their 50s and 60s often have failed relationships and marriages behind them, and years of suffering blindly, so I would say to young people ‘enjoy this amazing new community’

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

http://mikeyartwork.weebly.com/.

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