Interview: Laura Welch

Today we’re joined by Laura Welch. Laura is a phenomenal musician who makes a living as a pianist. She mostly performs for musical theater and she also plays at the local dance studio for the ballet classes. Laura plays a wide variety of musical styles and has even performed as part of a symphony orchestra on occasion. It’s a clear she’s an incredibly passionate and dedicated 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 am a musician – a pianist, specifically. I am classically trained, though nowadays I am highly experienced in playing a multitude of genres, from your typical “classical” fare to jazz to modern-day pop. I make a living primarily through playing piano – something I try not to take for granted as not everyone can say they live off doing something they love and don’t really consider “work.” I play for a church service (sometimes two) every Sunday morning, and I currently accompany ballet classes at a dance studio. In the past I have accompanied voice classes held at various schools in the area, and at one point I was part of a thirteen-piece jazz orchestra as well as a ragtime band. Occasionally I am given the opportunity to play in the local symphony orchestra, but it does not happen too often.

Currently one of the biggest presences in my life where my talent is concerned is the theatre community where I live. I played my first musical back in 2007 – I was freshly nineteen, I recall – and after that I was quickly absorbed into the world of musical theatre. Since then I’ve played for a plethora of shows (I stopped counting about three years ago), and I’ve even gotten to music direct a small handful of them! I can’t see myself stopping any time soon, so long as I am available and can be put to use.

What inspires you?

I find much of my inspiration comes from the people I get to work with in whatever environment I happen to be playing in. In theatre, it’s the actors, crew, and musicians I get to perform alongside. In the dance studio, it’s the teachers and students whose movements are supported by my playing. In both of those cases there’s a feeling of collaboration for me; we are creating something together by combining our respective talents, whether it’s for an audience or for ourselves in that moment. The challenges that come with playing alongside other people – be it other musicians, dancers, vocalists, or whoever – push me to do better, to be worthy of working with these other performers who have dedicated themselves to their own crafts and are working just as hard to do well by them.

I also get inspired by particularly moving pieces of music, especially ones that are adept at conveying an emotional story. I am a huge instrumental score/soundtrack junkie, whether it’s from films or video games or what have you, and it’s not uncommon for me to shut myself away in my bedroom with my phone and a pair of earbuds and just sit and listen for an hour or three. Doing so when I have the time is relaxing for me, but it also reminds me why I do what I do and why I love it so much. Having a story told to me through music alone reminds me that I’m capable of doing the same, and what a pleasure and privilege it is to be able to reach someone else’s mind and heart through something that I can create.

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

I’ve always held a fascination with music, even when I was a very young age. At this point I really don’t remember always wanting to be a musician, but when I was seven my parents asked me if I wanted to take piano lessons and I recall taking to them immediately. My parents got me this tiny little keyboard to practice on, and once it was apparent that I was getting better and better – and fast, at that – my teacher urged them to buy me an actual piano. (Spoiler alert: they chose to make the investment, and I bet they’re glad it paid off!) As time went on I got more and more invested in being able to play the piano, so much so that I left other hobbies and commitments behind (including playing softball and learning to play the trumpet). It got to the point where it followed me to school, so to speak: I got my first real shot at accompanying in sixth grade, when I learned to play a song we were singing in choir and was then allowed to accompany the group at a concert. More opportunities arose in middle school when I joined the orchestra and jazz band, and by high school I was both singing and playing piano in the choirs I had joined. By the time I was nearly a legal adult I had clearly decided that yes, this was definitely the path I wanted to continue taking.

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’m not sure if calling it a unique feature is correct or not, but I’ve developed this one tendency that pops up when I’m involved in musical theatre that people have come to associate with me: I have to see to it that the production’s band/orchestra gets a name. I just do. Every musical has a band, and every band needs a name. It’s silly, but I’ve found it can be a bit of a bonding experience among the musicians (and even the cast and crew) when it comes to deciding upon one.

Often times the names will be inspired by something from the musical in question; sometimes it’s a line of dialogue, sometimes a lyric, and sometimes even a tempo marking in our music. Two years ago when I music directed a production of The Rocky Horror Show, we named our band The Satanic Mechanics (inspired by a lyric taken from “Sweet Transvestite”). Last year in a production of Little Shop of Horrors, inspired by the brief gore featured at the end of the first act, we called ourselves Gut Buckets (but you can’t just say it; you have to sing it to the tune of the Hot Pockets jingle). And recently for a production of Chicago, we had two drummers splitting the five-week run between them, which essentially meant we had two different bands, so we needed names for both of them! We ended up alternating between The Spread Eagles and The Dirty Bums (both names having been pulled from one of the show’s most famous numbers, “The Cell Block Tango”).

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It’s easier said than done, but try not to let your mistakes and insecurities discourage you from practicing your craft. Growing up, I was very much a perfectionist concerning just about everything I did, and I practically crippled myself with doubt whenever I hit too many walls when it came to practicing piano. I could be very impatient with myself, and it took me years to allow myself the courtesy of making mistakes without beating myself up afterwards. It doesn’t mean that I don’t still occasionally have bad days where I get frustrated with myself. If it does happen, though, I do allow myself some distance from whatever hurdle it is I’m trying to overcome before I attempt it again. Practicing in anger does me no good at all, and brief time away can help refresh my mood.

One other thing I try and make sure I do when practicing is give my weaknesses twice the time that I give my strengths. Sure, it’s fun playing the passages I’m good at over and over again, but that intimidating section I’m still struggling with will continue to be difficult if I never actually practice it. Yes, it will be tedious and slow-going and I may not enjoy it at first, but before I know it a week will have gone by and suddenly it’s that much less intimidating! Why was I ever afraid of that section in the first place? It’s so easy now! Because I gave it time. Slowly and in small increments, yes, but time nonetheless.

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Photo by the Humboldt Light Opera Company (https://www.hloc.org/)

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am gray-romantic asexual.

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

I’ve never encountered prejudice in my field. I was never really worried about judgment from within the theatre community, considering the vast diversity of orientations and identities I’ve seen among the people in it. Though I publically came out as asexual about four years ago, I’m sure there are still plenty of people I work with at places like the dance studio and the church I play for who have no idea I’m ace. The topic of my orientation is not one I feel comfortable just diving into without good reason, though if it happened to come up I think I’d be fine with divulging the information. The majority of people I work with outside the theatre community are pretty broad-minded, so I’d like to think I wouldn’t encounter any prejudice from them either.

I’ve only personally experienced a couple of moments of ignorance, and outside my field at that, but it was never anything hurtful. One instance was a person not knowing of the existence of the asexual spectrum (who listened intently when I offered to explain it to them), and the other was a person making a (mostly) harmless generalizing assumption about asexuality in an offhanded comment while in conversation with me.

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

The idea that because a person is asexual, it means that they don’t desire – or even understand – relationships at all is one that I’ve encountered enough that it’s starting to give me a headache. I’ve seen it perpetuated in various forms of media, from fanfiction to comics and then some. It feels like too many people zero in on the misconception that asexuality = NO SEX, and then too many of those people continue on and assume that without sex there can be no relationship, which is utter bullshit.

People can be asexual and enjoy and desire sex, just as they can be asexual and not enjoy or desire sex. People can be asexual and feel and desire romantic love, just as they can be asexual and not feel or desire romantic love.

The lack of sexual attraction towards others does NOT automatically disqualify the possible desire for romance and/or intimacy.

The sooner the general populace starts to understand this, the less headachy future me will be.

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

You do not have to figure yourself out right now. You have time. Some days it will feel like you needed to figure shit out weeks ago but the answer is nowhere in sight. Some days it won’t bother you at all. Just know that solving the puzzle that is you often takes more than a day. Sometimes it takes months, or even years. It’s possible you may never figure it out completely. But know that in the end, regardless of everything, your feelings are still valid. It sounds cheesy, but listen to your heart and your body. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If you think it feels right and you feel safe, maybe give that something a shot.

And if in the end using a label makes you feel that much more comfortable, use it. If the idea of using labels is uncomfortable, then don’t. You are no less valid regardless of what you do or don’t do. You are you. And you matter.

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

I don’t really have an online space dedicated to my craft. (I keep telling myself to make an artist page on Facebook or post recordings on Soundcloud, but so far no dice.) I do, however, occasionally post things on Instagram (at flamingo.hate.marshmallows) related to my adventures in musical theatre. I’ve got two shows in the works as we speak, so there should be some fresh musical-related content added soon!

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

Interview: thetruthhurts1

Today we’re joined by thetruthhurts1. thetruthhurts1 is a wonderful young poet and songwriter. She has written mostly poetry but has recently started work on a novel. When she’s not writing poetry or prose, thetruthhurts1 is writing ballads for the piano. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist who loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

It started out with me writing short lines in the margins of my notebooks. Sometimes it was just funny phrases. Other times it was witty stanzas. Eventually, I bought a composition book and started writing out all the things I couldn’t seem to say out loud eloquently. Then one Christmas my mom bought me this cheap piano…and I felt all my thoughts and emotions slide down my brain to my fingertips and I can’t imagine going back to a time before piano.

What inspires you?

Well I would say that there are two stages currently in my inspiration department. The first stage was me trying to figure out who I was through words and songs (gave a try at drawing, painting, etc. and let’s just say if finger painting becomes vintage ever I may switch careers). After that I met someone who made me think about deeper things within me. I went from writing about philosophical things like “Why am I here?” to “Why do I get excited to just hold your hand?” My songs went from angst to love ballads.

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

I have always wanted to help people. My favorite super person is Spidey, I hope to one day become a therapist, and I’m not one to shy away from volunteer work. I sadly can’t say I’ve always liked writing. In fact, I was more of a reader growing up. I think, that it was my love of reading that led me to become so enamored with words. I fell in love with fictional characters and felt what they felt and went where they went and one day I wanted to do that too. I wanted people to feel what I felt and go where I’ve been to. I grew up a minority and then slowly realized I was Ace so writing and music is where I found a lot of comfort

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?

My friends that do get to see my work notice how I never target one specific group in my work. I use neutral pronouns, I speak to all socioeconomic groups, and when I’m disappointed in humanity it’s as a whole. The only other fun feature is that I try to slip the title into the work somewhere. It doesn’t always happen though because I’m not as crafty as I’d like to be lol.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t do what I did for the first 4 years of this. Don’t keep all of your writing in a torn Spidey folder you grabbed from Wal-Mart back in the day. Get your work out there. Your words might be what makes the difference in someone’s life.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am Ace or Asexual in the sense that I find the idea of having sex about as fun as sliding down a razor blade slide into a tub of alcohol.

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

I’ve only had a few occurrences of more…abrasive?….harsh people. It was mostly of the sort where they told me that you can’t say being repulsed to sex is a sexuality and invalidating the identity. I am lucky enough to have found people in my life to love me so the hurt souls of the internet don’t phase me as much as they could in the past. I usually just report them and go on about my day.

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

For some odd reason, people think Aces can’t enjoy sex jokes. I was an avid user of the phrase “that’s what she said” and as I matured I was able to gain a better arsenal to male my friends choke on their drinks. Aces can make sex jokes folks. We just don’t all partake in the action.

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

I went over half my life just calling myself an Alien (I’m 22yo to give some reference). Not everyone knows right out the gate how to identify. Everything is constantly flowing and moving like the ocean so when your water craft lands to shore there’s no guarantee you won’t get back out there and land somewhere else. Life’s supposed to be about something more. Don’t get anchored down trying to rush the process. Live and Love friends.

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

I post a lot of my poems on an App called Poet’s Corner under the name healthepain. I post poems, quotes, and just mind farts on Tumblr under thetruthhurts1. I haven’t posted my songs anywhere (mainly because I’m the noob that writes the lyrics and music separately and they never coordinate and it’s just a hot mess).

Thank you, thetruthhurts1, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Kathryn Henzler

Today we’re joined by Kathryn Henzler. Kathryn is a phenomenal musician who plays a number of instruments. Aside from playing music, Kathryn also sings and composes for visual media. When she’s not creating music, Kathryn also dabbles in other arts such as acting and fashion design. She’s clearly a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Music Headshot

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I dabble in a lot of artistic things, including acting and fashion design, but I’m mainly a musician (vocals, koto, viola, piano, taiko and other percussion, harp) and composer for visual media. I tend to write music that is full of feelings and may be a bit cheesy, but that’s the style that I like to reach people with.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by nature, emotions, other artists of all types, history, fashion, and intriguing stories.

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

I always knew I wanted to be involved in music somehow, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do specifically. Eventually when I was in high school I got really into anime, and some of those shows have absolutely beautiful scores. Around the same time I was heavily involved in orchestra and choir, and something just clicked when I was playing a piece with my orchestra from the score to Spiderman by Danny Elfman. At that point I realized I wanted to write music in addition to playing it. I think in particular I was captivated by the idea of music’s ability to completely influence what a person feels in a particular moment or scene.

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 usually incorporate at least one of the instruments I play or my own vocals in each composition, because I like to be both the composer of the score and a performer in it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would say that you should go for what you want to do, even if lots of people tell you “no” or say you aren’t good enough. I know from experience that it’s hard to ignore them, but you just have to keep doing your best to prove them wrong.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a heteroromantic asexual.

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

I haven’t encountered ace prejudice per say, but the music and film industry is constantly churning out media that is obsessed with sex, and I’ve had multiple occasions where material that I am supposed to be working on has made me so uncomfortable that I can’t continue. Most people when they hear about that issue tell me I need to grow thicker skin, but I think we just need to make more ace-friendly art and media. It’s hard when there is literally no ace representation in the films and shows you are trying to write music for. I guess I don’t really “handle,” it, I just kind of try to avoid having to write for media which I can’t feel comfortable putting my musical stamp on. I’m hoping in the future I’ll be able to help produce films that I write music for so that I can bring an ace perspective to them.

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

A lot of people think that asexual people are “prudes,” or that they just “haven’t met the right person yet.” It’s not about that, and it’s hard to explain it in a way that they’ll understand. I’ve also had some ace friends deal with some nasty blowback at Pride Parades from people who say they have no right to be there because asexuality isn’t “a sexual minority,” which is of course absolutely not true.

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

It might be hard for me to give advice since it’s only been a year since I fully realized my own asexual identity, but I would say that the best thing you can do is to embrace who you are and try to find a support network of fellow aces. It is always super-helpful to have people who you can ask questions of.

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

You can check out my music for visual media and some of my performance information at https://kvhenzler.wixsite.com/music. I also have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KathrynHenzlerArtist/.

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

Interview: Tori

Today we’re joined by Tori. Tori is a phenomenal artist who does a little bit of everything. She acts, writes, plays music, and is even a photographer. For music, she plays a number of instruments (clarinet, piano, bass clarinet, and contra-alto clarinet). Tori has even dabbled in cosplay and animation. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an artist, a photographer, a writer, an actress, and I play piano, clarinet, bass clarinet, and contra-alto clarinet. I’ve also done a few cosplays and animations/edits.

What inspires you?

It could really be anything. I’ll take pictures of anything I think is pretty. I’ll draw whatever comes to my head. I’ll write about anything I think has a story to tell. I think that almost everything has beauty in it, and I love trying to capture it. I also deal with anxiety and depression, so I like to personify different feelings using drawings, because I feel like it makes them easier to deal with.

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

Ever since I was a kid, I loved drawing, singing, telling stories, and performing. I don’t think I ever thought I would be as into it as I am now, but the passion 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?

Not really. I try to make everything I do look different. Everything should have its own style.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I mean, I am an aspiring young artist. I’m only 14. But I’d say, just do what you love to do. It doesn’t matter what field it’s in, if you take pride in what you’re doing, you will improve.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I currently 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 really. I try to surround myself with supportive people, and if people don’t support me, they shouldn’t be around me at all. I do understand ignorance, though. There’s a difference between being ignorant and not knowing everything about a particular topic, and being prejudiced and unaccepting.

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

A lot of people seem to think that because I’m ace, I don’t want to have a relationship with anyone. That’s not true at all. Currently though, I just don’t know anyone that would be worth taking time out of my schedule to go on a date with them.

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

Just know that labels can change. Sexuality, especially asexuality, can be difficult to define. Don’t worry about the specifics of a label. Just be you.

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

If I think that my art is good enough, which I usually don’t, I’ll post it on my Tumblr blog (torieltears-art.tumblr.com), but other than that, I’m usually pretty secretive with my work.

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

Interview: Iranka

Today we’re joined by Iranka. Iranka is a phenomenal artist who does a bit of everything. While art is mainly a hobby, Iranka has a variety of talents that she enjoys using for her creative pursuits. She does a lot of visual art, mostly drawing and painting. She depicts a variety of subjects, both fanworks and original ones. When she’s not doing visual art, Iranka enjoys playing music or writing. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do a little of a lot of things. Mainly, I paint and draw fanart, original characters, or real life people or things such as flowers and scenery. I’m also a pianist and flautist, and I also like to write – particularly short stories or just creating characters/worlds.

What inspires you?

It could be anything really, often a film I have seen, other artists, or nature.

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

I can’t remember how I got interested in drawing actually, I just know I’ve been drawing for fun since I can remember. As for music, I got jealous when my sister was learning piano so I wanted to learn too. I haven’t always wanted to be an artist, and I still am not quite sure what I want to do, but I really enjoy doing it. I also really love the idea that something I create could touch someone or make something happy, so that’s what I aspire to do. I think that realisation hit me while watching some Studio Ghibli movies, because they’re so beautiful and explore such amazing and important themes. So yeah, although art has mostly just been a hobby to me, if I could do anything it would be that.

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 have one.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep trying! The more you do it, the better you will get, so don’t give up! It’s okay if you get a block sometimes and can’t seem to create anything; it will pass. Some of your art will be bad too, and that’s okay too, because no one has to see the bad stuff, you just learn and improve from it. No one is perfect on their first try.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am definitely asexual but I’m still not 100% certain. At the moment I’d say I am pan/demi romantic asexual.

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

Personally I haven’t experienced any prejudice. I’ve had the odd few people not believe me, or tell me I “just haven’t found the right guy yet”. One person said they thought I can’t be asexual because I “dress like a girl.” Yet to understand how that relates to my sexuality but yeah

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

That we are all prudes, all hate sex, that we just haven’t found “the one”, or that asexuality means you just don’t want sex. Oh, and that asexuals are just “special snowflakes on Tumblr” or something.

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

It’s okay. There are lots of people either online or in real life who could help you figure out your orientation or come to terms with it. I found out I was asexual only after researching stuff online and finding other asexual people’s stories that I could relate to a lot. Forums like AVEN can be helpful. Also, know that you don’t HAVE to come out if you think doing so would hurt you, like if you know your parents are against the LGBT+ community for example.

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

I am at iranka on Tumblr, and at iranka.art on Instagram 🙂

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

Interview: Mia

Today we’re joined by Mia. Mia is a fantastic up and coming writer who also dabbles in music. She writes fanfiction but also has a number of original stories she’s working on. When she’s not writing stories, Mia composes pieces for the piano. It’s very clear that she’s an incredibly dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a mostly unpublished writer who also happens to dabble in composing pieces on the piano. I write anything from short stories to poetry, I have too many novels in the works to count, and most of my composing is inspired by my writing. The vast majority of my writing is YA fantasy, but I’ve recently gotten back into writing fan fiction again, too. My two biggest current projects are a fairy tale rewrite (featuring gay kings!) and a novel for National Novel Writing Month that features (among others) a female, Ace protagonist.

What inspires you?

I find inspiration in a lot of different things. The people around me tend to inspire me most. I’m constantly borrowing little things like names, traits, quirks, etc. from people I encounter in real life.

If we’re talking people, I drew a lot of inspiration from my favorite authors as a kid, especially Brian Jacques, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and Christopher Paolini.
My writing inspires my music, to an extent.

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

I started writing and taking piano lessons both around the age of six. My mom even has a poem I wrote around that age still saved somewhere. It’s just always been a part of 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 officially, but, and this is something I don’t tell a lot of people: Any time you see a goddess called Thelbriza in any of my stories, that’s actually me, keeping an eye on my characters from their own world, instead of from my own.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice makes perfect, but never feel bad for not Doing The Thing. Art takes time, and art takes effort, and nobody got to where they are without constant work, practice, and, yes, really awful art. But it’s okay to take a break from practicing. Art isn’t about being the best, it’s about putting something that no one else could make into the world, whether or not someone else sees it. If it’s not fun, what’s the point?

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Demisexual (and have since I found the term about four years ago).

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

I wouldn’t say I’ve experienced it in my field specifically. I’m not sure if it could be considered “prejudice or ignorance” but the almost total lack of any sort of representation in written media is really jarring sometimes.

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

That we’re all prudes who don’t like sex. I’m a sex-positive ace who has a long-term partner and an active sex life, and honestly, seeing how many people think that aces don’t like or don’t have sex, I occasionally feel Not Ace Enough.

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 absolutely okay to change your labels or how you identify. I’ve personally gone from Straight, to Bi, to Demisexual, to Demisexual/bi-romantic, to Demisexual/pan-romantic, to Demisexual/pan-alterous to Demisexual, Demi/pan-alterous! Questioning just means that you’re still learning about yourself and growing, and personal growth is never a bad thing.

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

I (used to) post a lot of my work on my personal Tumblr: http://once-upon-a-lyfetime.tumblr.com/
This is also where you’ll find one of the pieces I’m most proud of (any fans of mermaids? It’s under the short story tag!)

I’ve started posting somewhat frequently on AO3 under the name Mistress Dandelion, too! This is where you’ll find my fairy tale rewrite.

Anyone who wants to watch my progress in November as I write my Ace Representation NaNo novel can find my profile on the NaNoWriMo website here: http://nanowrimo.org/participants/lady_eemia

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

Interview: Fran

Today we’re joined by Fran. Fran is a phenomenal musician who plays a variety of instruments and also participates in her school’s marching band. When she’s not playing music, Fran enjoys doodling and is currently writing a novel, which sounds like a fun adventure (a superhero rom-com, how can you not love that). She has also written some poetry and short stories. It’s very clear that Fran is a dedicated and versatile artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Ace Flute

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I just graduated high school and plan to attend university as a double major in music education and music performance. My primary instrument is flute, but I also play saxophone and a little bit of piano, ukulele, and clarinet. I really enjoy playing classical music, but a lot of my passion lies in jazz, and I am a member of my high school marching band and a future member of my college marching band. I also doodle a little bit, and I am writing a rom com superhero novel about a meteorite that wishes that she can become human and the stars grant her wish. It is a wlw romance, but mostly it consists of humor and superhero action. I also write poetry and short stories.

What inspires you?

My hero is Michael Giacchino and other movie soundtrack writers like him. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved getting inspiration for my music from soundtracks. Because of this wonderful music guiding my life, I plan on inspiring others to pursue music by teaching, and maybe even continue my talents into the professional field. For my visual art, I mostly get inspiration from my friends. We all draw together as a hobby so we get inspired by each other often. For my writing I am inspired by my favorite authors, J.K. Rowling, Brandon Sanderson, David Leviathan, and Rick Riordan. I love writing books with positive outlooks and messages about love and peace.

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

I have loved music and art ever since I was a child. I started playing flute in 4th grade and I have been obsessed with band ever since. I loved watching movies and playing games almost solely for the excellent musical track. It was only a matter of time until I decided it would be my career. I’ve drawn and written for just as long. I wrote many short stories when I was young, and drew in that stereotypical 6th grade anime style that all artists cringe at later in life. My writing and drawing styles are a little bit better now, though I look back at my childhood doodles and stories with fondness.

Ace artwork 3

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

Not really. My signature is just my name in cursive.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you want to be a musician, do it! Don’t let anyone tell you it’s a “phony career” and that you won’t be able to make a living with it. With hard work and a little thinking outside of the box, you can make a good career out of any art form. Follow your dream and don’t let the downers destroy your passion!

Ace artwork 2

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as an Asexual Lesbian. I experience no sexual attraction, but I am romantically attracted to girls exclusively.

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

I’ve had people tell me that you can’t have a romantic relationship without sex and that I’ll “change my mind”. It used to bother me, but now I just let the words wash over me. I know that I’ll find someone who will understand and love that part about me. I can’t help it that their concept of relationships is so small-minded. I don’t experience that often, though. Most people in my field are very accepting.

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

That I can’t experience a romantic relationship. Many people lump asexual and aromantic together without realizing that they are both different. You can be both, or just one or the other. There are also people who think I’m just innocent. It’s true that I’m a bit innocent in some areas, I don’t like to cuss, I don’t have a dirty mind, I would rather watch Disney movies than anything with too much sex or violence, but that has nothing to do with my orientation. I know how sex works. I just don’t want to have it.

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 rush into a label. And your label can be fluid and change over time. I know that I may change my label in the future. Just like your favorite color changes over time, so can your label. Also, I know it’s hard living in a world where sex can be prioritized over a healthy and understanding relationship. Be who you are. Because “those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter won’t mind”. Your identity is a beautiful thing!

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

I don’t really have a website or anything. Most of my work is just in my ensembles or in my community.

Ace art 1

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