Interview: Abby Grace

Today we’re joined by Abby Grace. Abby is a wonderful writer and musician. They have been playing the cello for over ten years and are even studying for a degree in it. They’re also going for a degree in English Literature and have written both fanfiction and original poetry. As if that’s not impressive enough, Abby has also recently taken up crochet. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and enthusiastic artist, 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’m a writer and musician – specifically, I write various fanfictions, and some original poetry, and have been playing music from the age of four. My main instrument is the cello, which I’ve played for almost 12 years now. I’m lucky enough to have been able to pursue both of these passions, and am currently at university studying English Literature and picking up a minor in cello. I also recently picked up crocheting.

I’ve had two original poems published in the past, in Skipping Stones (an international children’s magazine). Personally, though, I feel most accomplished about my work whenever I receive a heartfelt review on my fanfics. I’ve actually cried over a couple of emotional reviews on a specific story, “Firsts,” which is about a trans character trying on his first binder. I also recently started sharing some of the funnier stories from my life and my family, and am considering collecting them into a book of short stories.

What inspires you?

I find inspiration everywhere – from silly things overheard in public to major life events to watching a storm roll in. Inspiration for art, no matter what medium, is everywhere.

There are a few specific people who inspire me every day, though. My grandmother, who was known locally for her amazing quilts, didn’t learn how to sew until her late twenties. I crochet to feel closer to her. Janelle Monáe, who is so unapologetically herself at every turn. Yo-Yo Ma, the best-known cellist in the world, who is still so kind and friendly as to grin widely and give a fist bump to a shy fourteen year old who plays the cello, too.

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

I’ve always loved reading and writing, it’s been an important part of me for as long as I can remember. More than half of my family is musically-inclined in some way or another, too, so it was really less of an ‘if’ I would be a musician, and more of a ‘when.’ There’s definitely a few pictures in a family album somewhere of me sitting on my grandfather’s lap at the piano, looking absolutely delighted as he shows me that pressing the keys makes sound.

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?

Hm, I don’t believe I have anything that I work into every piece I do. A lot of my poetry involves stars in some way, but that’s just because I really like space.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be discouraged by only getting a couple of notes or kudos, or even nothing at all. You still have something valuable to share with the world – the world just takes a little while sometimes to notice it. I have one fanfic that has the most kudos of that specific ship on AO3… and I have 10 fanfics with less than 30. I have even more with less than 3 comments. Don’t worry about the numbers. Focus on doing your best.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demisexual

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

Luckily, I have yet to see anything specific in the general writing and music communities. Within fandom itself, however, I have most certainly seen people attack others for being ace and/or aro and trying to identify with a character by suggesting that they are also ace and/or aro.

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

That we are frigid, unfeeling, or that asexuality isn’t ‘a thing’ and is just ‘attention-seeking.’ I hear this most often in regards to demisexuality.

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

Be confident in yourself. And if you’re not, ask questions! Talk to the community – most people are happy to chat and help where they can. It’s something that I wish I had done more when I was younger. It could have helped me avoid a seriously bad time.

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

I’m on AO3 (DarthAbby), and Tumblr (main – butim-justharry) (side – official-cello). Please feel free to send an ask or private message to either blog if you want to talk!

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

Interview: Minerva Cerridwen

Today we’re joined by Minerva Cerridwen. Minerva is a phenomenal SFF author and visual artist. For writing, she has a story published in Unburied Fables and recently released her novella, The Dragon of Ynys (which features an aro-ace main character). Visual art is more of a hobby for her, though she does do commissions. Minerva does handlettering and draws, using traditional mediums such as pencils and ink. It’s clear she’s a very passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

01 Bianca (own character) - pencil - 2017
Bianca (own character)

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’ve always loved writing, and to my great joy I can call myself a published author these days. I mainly write fantasy and science fiction and sometimes dabble in poetry and horror. So far I’ve got a short story in the queer fairy tale anthology Unburied Fables and my debut novella, The Dragon of Ynys, came out in May 2018.

The Dragon of Ynys is a light fantasy tale suitable for all ages, starring aro/ace main character Sir Violet, the knight of Ynys. He helps Holly, a trans woman, to find her missing wife, the baker. They suspect the ever-thieving dragon who lives near the village might have something to do with her disappearance…

02 Cover for 'The Dragon of Ynys' by Kirby Crow
Cover for ‘The Dragon of Ynys’ by Kirby Crow

I also love drawing and handlettering, using traditional materials—mainly because I haven’t had the time yet to learn more about digital art. I like to experiment with different techniques: I’ve been using pencils, watercolour, brushmarkers and ink, both for original works and fanart. I wouldn’t mind taking this to a professional level someday, but so far I’ve mainly been drawing for myself and my friends.

What inspires you?

I grew up with fairy tales, both the ones my mother read to me as a child and all the Disney movies I watched so many times. It’s no wonder that I love writing fairy tales myself. However, the big difference with the tales I consumed at a young age is that there will always be queer characters in my stories. It’s so important to be able to relate to characters when you’re trying to figure out your own identity, and I feel like it took too long before I finally experienced that moment myself. Once you’ve seen your identity validated in popular media, it’s so much easier to accept who you are, rather than to believe those who say you can’t feel the way you feel or be the way you are.

I hope that my writing will make it easier for future generations to find stories that tell them they’re not alone, not broken, and that teach them acceptance towards others as well. In that light, I write the stories that I would love to read myself, with all the dragons and magic and hopefully wittiness that I adore in the works of Pratchett, Rowling, Tolkien and other masters.

For more specific inspiration, my friend Fie and I started a project in 2013, inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s Flax-golden Tales. Every week, she took a picture for which I wrote a ten-sentence story. These days we’ve dialled it down to two photo-story combinations per month, but Paranatellonta is still going strong after five years! Getting random prompts from friends is a great way to stay inspired at all times.

When it comes to visual art, getting an Instagram account has definitely done wonders. There are a lot of awesome artists out there whose samples inspired me to try new techniques. Every month there are challenges going around in different themes, for any kind of art actually, but in my case those mainly influenced my handlettering. Practice really helps! I also finished Inktober last year. It once again proved that an inspiring prompt doesn’t need to be more than one word or one image. You can see my Inktober drawings if you scroll down a little on my Instagram.

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

I’ve been telling stories for as long as I can remember. As I said, my mother read fairy tales to me from a young age, and once I learned to read myself, my greatest joy was to discover more fun stories. There were never enough of them, so it only made sense that I wrote down my own as soon as I could. Surrounded by those fictional adventures, somewhere deep inside I knew what adventure I wanted to have myself, even when I was five years old: I wanted to be an author, like those wonderful people who’d given me all those beautiful tales to enjoy.

My drawing story is completely different. For a very long time I was convinced I couldn’t draw at all. I just didn’t have the talent. Looking back at art class in school, I feel like they never stressed the importance of studying references enough. I was always doodling in my school books for fun, but it never felt like that counted.

Fast-forward to when I’d finished university and my parents were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. I didn’t have much gift inspiration, and they joked about a “grown-up” child making a drawing for their parents—and the fact it was a joke tells you enough about how much the arts are respected unless you’re a Big Name. I often feel like our society expects people either to be a grand artist or talentless, and the fact that there must be a learning process in between is often completely neglected.

Anyway, I went through with it, and as I was drawing my parents from a reference photo, it turned out pretty okay (especially considering it was supposed to remind them of a child’s drawing). Most important of all, I had a lot of fun working on it. I’d been looking at a lot of art online since I’d last taken up a pencil, and combined with using a reference for the first time, I could see I’d massively improved since my last school drawing years earlier.

From that point on I let my more artsy friend Fie convince me to take part in courses on Skillshare to improve my drawing techniques and handlettering. Now, almost five years after that anniversary drawing, I actually feel like I’ve made some pretty things!

03 Fiery Mushroom - brush markers - 2017
Fiery Mushroom (brush markers)

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 I mentioned above, you’ll find many fairy tale elements and queer characters in my writing. More specifically, you’ll encounter a lot of dragons and spiders. The dragons are a more conscious choice than the spiders, who just always happen to show up… Just like in real life, I suppose.

I don’t think I have any recurring elements in my visual art, but I’ve been using a signature since late 2016. It’s made up of the initials of both my pen name and legal name.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I think it’s an important message that you can always learn and improve. That’s something I only truly learned from starting to draw. I’d always been “born” a writer: I started at a very young age and people told me I was talented. But I had to work to become better at visual art, and that made me realise that the reason why I’d loved writing all my life was that I’d been exposed to so many stories to learn from. Having played with words from a very young age, stories had never been the big “mystery” that a beautiful piece of art was. So what I mean to say is: people aren’t born a Grand Artist. They become them. And going down into history means you’ve worked hard, but also that you were lucky (or, in some cases, unlucky) enough to have your name picked up and talked about. But that luck, too, is something you can influence by promoting your work. Like doing interviews on awesome websites. 😉

04 Space Ace 2 for Tanouska - watercolour - 2018
Space Ace 2 (watercolour)

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and somewhere on the aromantic spectrum, but I usually go with “aro-spec” rather than a more specific label, because it’s difficult for me to figure that one out.

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

There’s certainly a lot of ignorance. Even in some queer organisations, it seems the A’s are often forgotten. I can only hope that my stories will spread more knowledge, while still being entertaining rather than feeling like a lecture.

05 Violet - ink - 2018
Violet (ink)

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

That asexuality would mean you never have sex. It can mean that, and I guess it does for me. There’s certainly nothing wrong with a life without sex. But for sex-positive aces it makes things all the more confusing to figure out their orientation when people keep asking: “But you’ve enjoyed having sex, how can you be ace?”

Aside from that, I think that asexuality and aromanticism are too often considered the same thing. This also makes it hard to find a label that fits you when you do experience romantic attraction but no sexual attraction, or the other way round. When different sources tell you that you need to feel things a certain, very specific way in order to identify as ace or aro, it can be a long search to find a label that fits. And of course not everyone needs to label their orientation, but in my own experience finding the names and other people who used them certainly helped to stop thinking I might be broken or wrong.

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

You’re not alone and you’re not broken. For me it was a massive help to enter queer spaces (in my case on Tumblr) and read experiences from other queer people. It made me discover terms (like asexual and aromantic) which I’d never heard of before I made a Tumblr account almost 10 years ago. It showed me that they weren’t some kind of theoretical concept, but a whole spectrum of people who experienced things in different ways—and some of their experiences were just like mine! Suddenly I was no longer “the weird one”. Which actually took me some time to adapt to, because I’d become quite used to being “just odd” and labelling myself that way 😛

However, in the long run, learning about all flavours of queer (be it through books, blogs, or directly talking to others) taught me to be more open-minded in general and made me more comfortable with myself.

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

My website is http://minervacerridwen.wordpress.com/. There you find everything about both my writing and drawings, with links to my social media. Feel free to follow me!

Paranatellonta, a flash fiction project inspired by my friend’s photography, can be found at http://paranatellonta.tumblr.com/. It updates twice a month and you can read all the stories and see all the pictures for free.

My visual art can be found here: https://www.instagram.com/minerva_cerridwen/. I’m posting pretty much everything I draw on Instagram, showing my learning process with both the pieces that worked out and the ones that didn’t. Mainly because I find it interesting to track my own evolution and learn from that in turn!

Other places you can find me:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/minerva_cerr
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/minervacerridwen/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15904760.Minerva_Cerridwen

And places to buy my stories:

– The Dragon of Ynys (Publisher | List of other retailers)
– Unburied Fables (Amazon)

06 Cats Rule the World for Ether - watercolour - 2017
Cats Rule the World (watercolour)

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

Interview: Morwenna Greenleaf

Today we’re joined by Morwenna Greenleaf. Morwenna is a wonderful writer who specializes in poetry and fanfiction. She also dabbles in music, mostly song covers, and visual art. Morwenna takes inspiration from subjects that aren’t often talked about. It’s clear she’s a passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is mostly written word, though I occasionally draw, and sometimes post covers of songs on my YouTube channel, and I have had dance lessons, though I don’t really showcase dancing and don’t really do much anymore. I occasionally write poetry, but the majority is fanfiction written in prose, usually with a theme of fantasy and they can cover really heavy, or not commonly talked about, subjects.

What inspires you?

Well, I guess that events in my life have inspired my stories, but also the stories of others. For example, I’ve always loved watching crime shows with one of my personal favourites being Law and Order S.V.U. and I think that inspires me, because they go into subjects such as rape, kidnapping, and human trafficking. These subjects intrigue me, so I find myself researching them to add into existing stories, or I piece together new stories featuring things like them, which results in a lot of half-finished stories, some of which aren’t yet published so the public can’t read them.

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

What got me interested? Well, I’m not sure. When I was younger, I would always make up stories, whether they be epic sea battles with phoenixes, all from a cluster of clouds, or fanfiction, before I realised it was a thing. I always used to just insert myself into the shows/movies/books and tweak the storyline slightly to involve myself. Drawing? I kind of just slipped into it, like with the writing. I was always drawing over my books and scraps of paper, pretty much anything I could find. Dancing, I think one day when I was about three or four, I saw a ballet on TV, probably Swan Lake, and fell in love. After about four years or so of pestering my mum, I ended up doing four years of classical ballet classes, including character, and two years of jazz classes. Singing has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I’d sing around the house as a child, and my dad started taking me to karaoke at bars in town when I was about seven or eight, I think, and I’ve recently turned eighteen, so that’s about ten years of karaoke.

Have I always wanted to be an artist? I think I have, somewhere deep down. I love writing stories and singing, and have always, in the back of my mind, wanted to do something artistic. True, it was always performing, like singing/dancing/acting, but it’s all artistry anyway. I even have the small amount of acting experience that comes from primary school plays, hehehe. I love what I do, but I also have no clue exactly what I’m going to do once I leave high school, because I also love things like science (chemistry and physics), ancient history, and learning languages (I’m currently monolingual, but who cares?).

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?

In most of my stories where I use an OC, her name is generally Jessica McCarten, which is my real name outside of the internet. She’s basically me, but with different hair and sometimes different backstories depending on age, situation, and things like that, which are usually dependent on the story. If she isn’t the protagonist, then she’ll usually appear as a secondary character, but pretty close to the protagonist. Also, my profile pic tends to be the same on all platforms except for Tumblr, and if there’s a running obsession for another fandom or a certain type of music, it’s because that’s most/all of what I’m listening to at that time, or obsessing over when writing the parts of those stories.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Advice to young aspiring artists? Technically you could say I’m one of them, *insert awkward/exhausted laughter here*. I would say to keep doing whatever you’re doing and always, ALWAYS, look back over your old work to see how you’ve changed, grown, and evolved. I personally hate doing this, because my voice recorded, to me anyway, sounds terrible, and I cringe as I read over things like my first story on Wattpad. However terrible you think you were, always go back over your work, and you might find something better. Hell, I’m still looking for a story I started in year 4 or 5 because I want to read over it and build on it! The thing is, it doesn’t really matter. Just keep practising and looking over your old work. Maybe if you’ve finished a story, wait at least a year or so then, keeping the original, rewrite it, edit it, do what you need to to make it fit your current style, or to correct grammar and punctuation errors, because I can almost guarantee that you will have them, no matter how much you think you don’t.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

At the moment, as it could change when I’m older and such, I identify as asexual, but I am not aromantic. I still haven’t figured out my romantic orientation, properly, but that doesn’t really matter.

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

No, I haven’t. However, this could be due to the fact that aside from Tumblr and Quotev (my original platform) and about four people IRL, I haven’t really come out, as I’ve been hesitant about it, and I’m not really sure how people will react. The few people that I’ve come out to IRL have been really nice about it, and not made a big deal. I have to admit though, that I have a plan on coming out to my entire high school if a certain event I wish to partake in (public speaking) occurs before I leave, a term afore the other years. *Spoiler* If I do manage to, I’m doing a speech about asexuality, and will hopefully have a homemade flag to show people before I wrap it around my shoulders. As far as everyone that I haven’t come out to knows, I’m just a straight white girl.

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

Well, probably that asexual people don’t like sex, or don’t have sex. I know that this is true for possibly the majority of aces, but it’s also false for a certain percentage of aces. This has come from people that identify as bi/pan and do a subject that requires presentations on the LGBT+ community, though I’m not sure if any have included aces. As an eighteen year old female ace, I have never understood how sexual attraction works, or had a partner, romantic or otherwise aside from an occasional partner in science/chemistry. However, I have always been intrigued and curious about what the act of sex feels like, just never felt the attraction to anyone pertaining to it. Whenever I’ve heard this one, I stay quiet and just get silently annoyed/irritated/mildly mad, because I’ve learnt if I speak up about things that I’m interested in/passionate for, I tend to receive a lot of shit from people, and this is mostly to people I’ve known since year seven but haven’t come out to as I don’t really consider them friends.

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

Do your research, read the stories of other aces, watch videos on YouTube, whatever you need. I actually procrastinated for at least a year before I decided Yes, okay, I think I’ll identify as asexual now. It doesn’t matter how long you take to figure it out. Take your time, and remember that no-one other than you can tell you who you are or what your sexual orientation is, and don’t feel bad if it changes because sexuality is fluid. For example, here I am identifying as asexual, when for all I know, I could be demi-sexual or grey-asexual, but I haven’t explored anything that would let me know, so until anything changes, if it does, I identify as asexual.

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

People can find out more about my work by looking me up on different platforms. My *main* email is crush.girl.101.at.high.school@gmail.com because I made it in year nine when I was seriously crushing on a guy. My Quotev, Wattpad, Deviantart, and YouTube are all under the name Morwenna Greenleaf, and I have a Facebook page by the name Morwenna Greenleaf, managed by my actual account, and you can message me through the page. I also, obviously, have Tumblr that people can feel free to message me on, and I have Instagram under my actual name, though, like YouTube, I don’t really post often (at jess_mccarten). In fact, you can message me on any of the sites, though there is a high chance that the majority of videos on my YouTube may have their comments turned off, due to fuckheads being, well, fuckheads. When it comes to any of them, I do requests for things, songs, stories, whatever. Feel free to request some things, because, while I procrastinate pretty much everything *Hello! Procrastinated my sexuality!*, if I enjoy the request, I will, eventually, get around to fulfilling the request, and, just feel free to talk to me. I can be really awkward, and drop a lot of terrible, terrible, puns, jokes, whatever the fuck I’m in the mood for, on you, and just be extremely weird in general. Live long and prosper, aces, and remember, Barty Crouch Jr stopped drinking because it was making him Moody! 😉

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

Interview: Chimney

Today we’re joined by Chimney. Chimney is a wonderful poet from Germany. He writes mostly for a hobby and his poetry tends to focus on emotions. Chimney mainly writes in German though he has translated some of his poetry into English. It’s clear he’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a writer and poet. I write a lot of poems about love and being heartbroken by love, but also other stuff. In my writings I concentrate a lot on the emotional side, like how the characters feel, why they feel that way. I want the reader to understand my characters and feel with them. I really want to have this transparency in my stories and poems.

My poems especially are very personal. And I try to throw as much emotions and pain as possible in them, that’s why it often hurts to read them, because their pure emotions.

What inspires you?

I get inspired by a lot of stuff, actually. Obviously I get inspired by real life experiences, but music is one of those things that inspires and influences me the most. When I listen to songs there are always popping up some lines and ideas in my head. But I also get inspired by other people or artist who achieved something in their life. Seeing them getting from bottom to almost the top inspires me and gives me the courage to try my best. And even if I don’t made it there will be always people who I can inspire and that’s it what keeps me going forward.

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

Honestly at first I hated writing poems, because I never was able to rhyme something good. So I first started with writing stories, because some guy in my class wrote a very funny story and I wanted to write something funny as well xD. But after finally starting to rite I realized how much fun this is to me. I love creating stories, telling  stories and share them with others. Being an artist was never my main goal. It was and unfortunately still is one of my greatest hobbies. But I really hope that it someday will be more than just this little hobby of mine.

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 that I’m aware of. I try to change my still very often and I like to experiment a lot. Especially with my poems. I often change the metre and sometimes even use different languages.

But more like snippets or a few specific words. Other than that all I can say is that my writings are full of emotions.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would say: “Have the courage to post your art online!“ Why? Because there will always be at least one person that will like it. Art is very important and it can help people, inspire people etc.

So it doesn’t matter how insecure you feel about your stuff, there will be people who supports you and by sharing it you can grow. Be open-minded accept critique and advice, so that you can grow.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as quoiromantic asexual. And I think more on the sex-repulsed side.

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

Yes I did, from one person actually. Who actually very radical and I don’t want to explain the details. They said horrible things to me. First I tried to have a real in-depth conversation with them about it, but after that didn’t worked I broke contact with them, because in the end it was better for my mental health.

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

From what I’ve heard most people think that asexuality = anti-sexuality. Like that we’re all against sex and everything that has something to do with it. Which is just not right.

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

Seriously, the most important part is that you accept yourself how you are and that you understand that you’re fine, lovable and not broken by being asexual. The sexuality is just one small part of you and what really matters is your personality. I can understand that finding out that you’re ace can be frightening, but when someone really likes or loves, they will do it because of your personality, because you make them smile and give them a reason to stay strong.

You’re all valid.

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

So for my German fellas you can always read my work right here: https://www.fanfiktion.de/u/Chimney

For the others I suggest you to follow me on my Tumblr where I’m planning on releasing little English poems and snippets: megahyperchickenwing.tumblr.com (yes, that is my name)

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

Interview: Sierra

Today we’re joined by Sierra. Sierra is a phenomenal poet and dancer. She uses art as an outlet. When she’s not choreographing dances, Sierra enjoys writing poetry. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist with a great amount of enthusiasm, 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 am a dancer and poet. I write or choreograph what I am feeling and use my art as an outlet for my emotions. I try to address issues and subjects many people deal with such as mental health, grief, etc. I think it is important for everyone to express themselves, and if my art can be used to help someone express themselves, I feel I have reached my goal.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by everything, but my main inspiration is people. When I see someone being purely themselves, I can see the art in them and want to be able to express that to others. I also get a lot of my inspiration from music of all kinds.

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

I have always loved the arts, specifically dancing. I grew up dancing and felt like it was the only thing I could relate to others through. As I got into high school I discovered a love for poetry and began to write. I have not published any of my work, but it is a goal I have for the future. Art has always been something very close to 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?

There isn’t anything special about my work. I just try to capture raw humanity and convey it to others.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do what you love and don’t worry about what others think. You will grow into a uniquely beautiful artist no matter what you do. Not everyone will love your work, but if you reach just one person and help them feel something, you have done the best you can as an artist. Push yourself to your artistic limits and allow your creativity to flow freely.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aromantic-asexual. I consider myself sex-repulsed and between romance-neutral and romance repulsed.

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

Not specifically in my field have I encountered prejudice or ignorance, but in life in general I find a lot of ignorance. So many people can’t understand how something so engrained in their minds can be non-existent in ours, and therefore ridicule us for it. I think as long as you can stand tall and ignore that hate that comes towards you, you can be whoever you want to be. Anyone and everyone is valid.

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

I’ve found the most common misconception of asexuality is what it actually means and that it is different for everyone. Many people don’t understand asexuality and try to decide for themselves what it is. They then have an incorrect idea and/or opinion of asexual people which can be hard to change.

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

If you embrace who you are, you will feel amazing. Its okay if you don’t know what that is yet, you will figure it all out in due time. If you don’t feel like coming out yet, then don’t. Just know that the ace community is such a loving family that is always looking for new members.

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

You can find out more about my work on my Tumblr, at poeticaceinspace. P.S. I’m pretty bad about keeping up with my blog but I’m trying to get better.

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

Interview: Snig

Today we’re joined by Snig. Snig is a phenomenal poet who has recently come out as asexual. They write a lot of blank-verse poetry and most of it has to do with emotions. They have a book out titled Girl Behind Scars, which is definitely worth checking out. It’s clear they’re a passionate author with an admirable dedication, as you’ll see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a writer/poet on WordPress.

A lot of my work is blank verse poetry usually relating to my emotional status at the time. But more so than often you can find me also ranting about some topic that has caught my eye, or just random thoughts that go along in my head. Ya, I’m pretty much all over the place when it comes to writing.

What inspires you?

To be honest, too many things inspire me. It can be a conversation I’ve had with someone, my mental illnesses, the people around me, a meme I saw online that made me feel a certain one. But I think at the crux of all of them is the fact that they evoked a raw, undeniable urge to write about them.

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

I’ve always written. Even as kid, penning my thoughts down on paper provided me with more clarity than anything else could have. So that’s where it all started I guess, a need for little me to understand the world around her, and so I would write down every perspective or thought I could about something that had caught my eye. If I couldn’t understand how I truly felt about someone or something, I’d write about them.

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

I don’t think I have any unique signature, symbol or feature that I include in my work.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Art has very little to do with success and more to do with how it personally makes you feel and that’s what make someone a true artist. So no matter what art form you choose to pursue or do as a hobby, always keep it true to yourself and your perspective on life. Success will follow.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as panromantic asexual.

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

In my field? Not really, but that’s probably because my sexuality isn’t something that’s ever brought up in my discussion with people. However, I have encountered people in daily life that do think me identifying as an asexual, is just a typical “women” thing because apparently women aren’t sexual beings. A thought process which is just appalling.

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

That it means we will never have sex or enjoy sex. Nah bruh, it just means I don’t have to deal with panties in a twist just from seeing someone particularly attractive.

Also people who confuse it with asexual reproduction and then say “oh so one day you’re just going to split into two”, not funny guys, not funny.

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

You aren’t broken. I know in the hyper sexualised world that we live in it can feel that way, but you aren’t broken. You are just as valid an orientation as someone who is gay or lesbian, and even though the LGBTQ+ community may sometimes also treat us as broken, there are many of us out there who exist and will always be willing to help you out. You are queer and you are here.

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

As of now most of my work is on my WordPress blog, Semblance of Normality.
https://justanotherdepressedsoul.wordpress.com/

Screenshot (7)

But I’ve also had a poem be published in a collective anthropology called Girl Behind Scars
https://www.amazon.in/Girl-Behind-Scars-about-Writing/dp/B078WQJSDX.

Screenshot (3)

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

Interview: Amanda Sexton

Today we’re joined by Amanda Sexton. Amanda is a phenomenal visual artist who recently did a painting for the Haitian American Museum of Chicago (a fellow Chicagoan, who is also a feminist and fan of Myrna Loy. Insert squee here). When she’s not painting, Amanda enjoys dabbling in poetry and has written an epic surrealist poem in the past. It’s clear she’s an incredibly talented and very passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

me

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is all over the place really, as I only do it for a hobby. Last year I did have the privilege of working with the Haitian American Museum of Chicago. My piece represented the first black men in Chicago—first resident/founder [Chicago] from Haiti, first black mayor, first black president. Then I worked with the art gallery next door, Sustain, who wanted to make t-shirt designs from my painting. Lately, I’ve been working with watercolor, and really, I have no aspirations to be an artist, I do it for fun.

What inspires you?

I have a fair amount of inspirations, nature–trees, especially. History and politics, I have a degree in historical interpretation, and that has definitely played a role in my creative process—a  big influence on my poetry. Other artists also inspire me, film, paintings, music, literature. Dali, Jheronimus Bosch, John Bauer, Zdzisław Beksiński, Leonora Carrington, and Remedios Varo. You can see the influences in my 2017 Inktober set on my Tumblr. Music plays a big part as well, for the last few years Swedish synth pop has been my jam, my creating music, and my muse, like iamamiwhoami and the knife. I’ve also been working to musique concrète lately. Anything weird haha.

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

I’ve always been artistic. I’ve been drawing my whole life. Though I’m not a career artist, I try to incorporate my artistic nature in my field of work, which is archiving and curating. Working on exhibits taps into my creativity.

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 have anything symbol or unique feature

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Take the risk, because there could be a time that it works out! You’ll spend the rest of your time regretting it.

selfportrait
Self-Portrait

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a homoromantic asexual

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

Not in any fields I’ve worked in, but I don’t typically bring up my sexuality unless asked. I know I did have someone assume my sexuality at an art showing, and I revealed that I was asexual. I had the support of my director, who is mentor and stand in mom at the Haitian museum, which was nice.

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

That it doesn’t exist, I haven’t met the right person, or I have a phobia. All untrue of course! I do want a relationship, just not a sexual one. I want to hold hands with a girl in an art museum and that’s about it. And I think that’s very sweet. Also, I wish allosexuals would stop asking asexuals questions that are very personal, especially involving sex, it’s rude to ask anyone.

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

Don’t be afraid of not knowing where you are on the spectrum and not being afraid of changing if something fits better. Also, not feeling ashamed if you want to talk about your sexuality (you are valid!) But also don’t be ashamed if you have to hide who you are. I for the most part still live in the asexual closet, because of the prejudices I would face where I live.

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

My painting at the Haitian American Museum of Chicago can be found at : https://www.hamoc.org/product-page/first-black-chicago-commemorative-t-shirt

My other art is scattered on my Tumblr between a lot of asexual postings and Adventure Time references: https://iamamianarchivist.tumblr.com/

I also have a YouTube channel with some art pieces: https://www.youtube.com/user/AMsexton7

I have poetry as well, I haven’t put it on any kind of platform yet, but if anyone wants to drive into a 42 page epic, surrealism poem, PM me!

inktober panel
Inktober Panel

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