Interview: Li

Today we’re joined by Li. Li is a wonderful and talented aspiring author who has published a couple things in his school’s literary magazine. He writes mostly comedic poetry and short stories that fall under the horror genre. He’s a dedicated and passionate writer, as you’ll soon read, and undoubtedly has a bright future ahead of him. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an aspiring writer and enjoy writing comedic poems and short horror stories. My writing style can be very hyperbolic when writing poetry, while with my horror it can be very uncomfortable. My writing style as a whole still hasn’t fully developed, as I began writing only two years ago (Infrequently, though I’ve been trying to write more as of late), and my writing reflects that, though it’s slowly becoming its own thing.

What inspires you?

A mixture of pop-culture, music, my hometown, and my friendships/acquaintanceships. A lot of my comedy is inspired from my town specifically, where I’ve met a lot of interesting folk alongside a lot of strange ones. I wrote a poem recently about a PTA mother writing to another one named Barbra; Barbra was an actual mother I knew, but I did use a different name for her.

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

I’ve been interested in writing since I was very young, though I became more intensely interested in it about two years ago. I only recently decided I would like to write, as before this I wanted to be an astrophysicist (Admittedly, I’m not that much good at math) but decided that wasn’t quite the right career for me. What got me interested in horror was a mixture of things; artists like Junji Ito and movies like Perfect Blue are what got me interested in writing horror, as I wanted to provide the same intense feelings that they are able to produce. I only just became interested in writing comedy, and no one in particular has inspired me- I write to make myself laugh, not others, though I want to be able to write well enough to write things that others will enjoy besides myself.

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

I actually don’t have any sort of thing like that, though as I develop my writing skills, I would like to make one.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

There’s always that cliché of working hard, but it’s a cliché for a reason- work on your craft, and try to really make it your own. For writers specifically, there’re a lot of skills you’ll need to learn to help you further your writing and help get yourself out there (A video titled Skills You Never Thought You’d Need as a Writer by Jenna Moreci is a very good in-depth video that I would recommend checking out, as she explains things far better than I could.). It’s important to remember that, in general, to try to not compare your work to others. Where you are with your skills are different from others, and though it’s good to strive to continually better yourself, it’s important that you don’t drag yourself down as “not as good” or “not good enough.” Keep your passion for your art burning, and make sure you have other things you’re interested in to go to when you need a break from your art.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aromantic and asexual. I’m sex-repulsed, and am open for a queer-platonic relationship, but will be perfectly happy if I never end up in one.

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

I haven’t experienced any sort of prejudice, but there’s definitely been a lot of ignorance my way. Most of it has been confusion as to what asexuality is, while some of it has been more vitriolic. Everyone who finds out I’m asexual asks what it is, and the more pleasant reactions included asking a lot of questions about it and what it means and so on, which I am always happy to oblige in. The more negative ones include being offered massages to see if that will “awaken” anything in me, getting sexual advances, butt/boob grabs to see if it will help me “get excited”, and being told I need to go see a psychiatrist to get medication to help “fix” me. For those who physically touch me, I cut off all contact with those people and warn others about them. For those who are just unaware of what asexuality is, I try to answer everything to the best of my ability.

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

One of the most common that I’ve personally received about being asexual is that I’m “a late bloomer” and that eventually I’ll begin to feel sexual feelings, and that I should try to get laid. For being aromantic, a lot of people think I’m just cynical about love and shouldn’t “give up on it” even if I express that I genuinely have no interest in it. In general, for both, people say that I’ll end up “alone and sad” because I don’t want a sexual/romantic relationship, alongside not wanting children. Just because I don’t want none of these, it doesn’t mean I’ll be alone and that I won’t have people who care about me- I’ll have friends and family (Plus my lovely pets), and that’s all I could ever ask for.

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

Remember that there isn’t anything wrong with you. Granted, there aren’t as many of us as there are gay, straight, or bi people, but that doesn’t mean your sexuality isn’t as real as anyone else’s and that you’re in any way dysfunctional because of it. Just because you don’t feel sexual/romantic attraction doesn’t mean you aren’t perfectly capable of being a whole human being, and as worthy being treated as well as everyone else.

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

I suppose the easiest place to find it would be my DeviantArt, Hid3AndS33k, as that’s the only place where a lot of my writing can be found.

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

Interview: Sahar

Today we’re joined by Sahar, who also goes by sinamonroll draws. Sahar is a phenomenal visual artist and writer. They write a lot of poetry and have started dabbling in prose. For visual art, they specialize in character art with lots of color and dynamic lighting. Sahar hopes to one day combine their visual art and writing into a webcomic. It’s very clear they’re a dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Architecture Study
Architecture Study

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer and a visual artist, specializing in character art. I love using a lot of colors and dynamic lighting in my art, and drawing and creating stories about diverse people in fantasy settings. For writing, I mainly write poetry, but dabble in prose. Sometime in the future, I plan to combine my drawing and writing skills to create a webcomic or graphic novel, but that’s a long way away.

What inspires you?

Over the past year, I’ve been super into reading webomics, gobbling up new ones whenever I can. I used to read a lot of regular books, but I hardly have time anymore and webcomics are my way of satiating that need for reading and imagination, while also getting to check out really cool art in the process. I also tend to be really inspired by TV shows I enjoy, like Steven Universe and Avatar, or music I listen to (especially musicals). Oddly enough, science and the natural world are also incredibly inspirational to me. I’ve always been super into science and physics and astronomy and things like that, and the weird stuff that exists out there is a huge inspiration when it comes to worldbuilding, fantasy creatures, and even poetry that I make.

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

I don’t actually want to be an artist, at least not professionally, when I get older. I have been interested in writing and creating fictional worlds ever since I can remember, and towards the end of middle school, which was a pretty tough time in my life, I took up drawing as a means for me to escape the reality I was in. Today, it still serves that purpose, as well as just being something that’s incredibly fun for me to do. While like I said I do want to make a webcomic someday, I don’t necessarily plan on making writing or drawing a full time job, just because I’m more interested in studying physics and engineering.

Liya Character Design
Liya Character Design

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 that I know! I’ve been told that I have a unique use of lighting and color, but I wouldn’t really say I do. In my writing, I like taking existing clichés/metaphors/phrases and upending them, but I don’t know how successful I am at doing so.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I think the most important thing for artists in any field is to know your limits, and then challenge them. Constantly. Practicing your craft is incredibly important, but what’s even more important in my opinion is practicing efficiently – learning where you need improvement and actively working in those areas to achieve that improvement.

Reo Character Art
Reo Character Art

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an aromantic asexual.

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

It’s not really been in my field, but I’ve encountered my share of ace-exclusionists or just general queerphobes on social media, as you do. I was forcibly outed to my mom and we’ve come a long way, but at first she was very confused and put off by it.

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

That it’s just, like, a “neutral” identity that goes away in the presence of another identity. Like homoromantic aces are “just gay” or heteroromantic aces are “just straight.” It’s really frustrating because it feels like asexuality is just being entirely ignored and shoved aside, like it’s not a valid identity in and of itself. Also the idea that it’s “just a phase” or something that can be easily fixed by “finding the right person” or taking medicine or whatever.

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

You’re not alone! It’s okay to want or not want sex and romance, it’s okay to identify as whatever you feel most comfortable with and it’s okay to change your identity if you feel like you need to. You’re not broken or wrong or weird.

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

I have a Tumblr (https://sinamonroll-draws.tumblr.com/) and an Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/sinamonroll.draws/), where you can follow me or message me for commissions. I also have a Redbubble (https://www.redbubble.com/people/sinamonroll) if you’re interested in purchasing my art.

SU Screencap Redraw
SU Screencap Redraw

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

Interview: Gigi

Today we’re joined by Gigi. Gigi is a phenomenal and versatile artist who does a bit of everything. She writes a bit of poetry and she also has a running fan comic set in the Kirby universe. When she’s not writing, Gigi does a bit of visual art. She mostly does fanart, but she also does self-portraiture and some abstract drawings. It’s very clear that 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.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I like to write mostly, and I’ve started with fanfiction. Ever since late 2010 I’ve worked on a fan comic called 20 Times Kirby, and my story with it is kinda funny. I started it just ’cause, literally, I had no expectations for it and I was only working on it due to boringness, but soon I grew attached to it, to a point where I actually started putting effort into it. The results are a pretty complex story with multiple characters, almost 1000 pages, and almost 7 years of work, with constant updates! In fact, the comic became more my own thing rather than just me exploring the Kirby universe; the elements of the series are there, but they aren’t extremely important. Looking back, this all is insane! But I love it; working on this comic is my passion. I even plan on rewriting it in the future, since I’ve made some mistakes in the past and I’d like to fix them.

I also like writing poems, both in English and in my first language (Brazilian Portuguese). They are literally about anything, and I write them when I suddenly feel inspired. I haven’t really published most of those, but I’m starting to think I should.

Another art thing I do is drawing, usually fan art, but sometimes self-portraits and some abstract drawings. Most of them end up as sketches only, however. I’ve also more recently started to learn to compose, but for now it’s mostly experimenting and trying to learn stuff.

What inspires you?

In general, videogames and music inspire me, but any kind of art may do the trick as well. When I see something that I can tell that was made with care and attention to detail, that motivates me to do something similar. Also, whenever I find something I really like in any kind of fiction, I try to make something similar to it happen in my stories, if possible of course.

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

Ever since I was a kid I’ve had a huge imagination and I would make countless stories in my head about literally everything. I would never write them down, however, apart for one or two Pokémon fanfictions I only drafted the beginning. Only when I started working in 20 Times Kirby, and got so attached to it, I stopped to think that maybe writing had be my secret passion all this time. That’s when I actually started to write stuff down, even if it’s just bullet points of a story. Seeing friends and other people do other art stuff like drawing motivated me to try these too, but writing will always be my main passion.

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 think? Although I do love giving a meaning to everything that happens in any story I work on, and connect all events whenever possible too.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never give up! Whatever the field of art you want to work with, it’s extremely unlikely you’ll be a master at it on your first tries, and this goes for everyone! I know that when you start, you already want to be very good like the artists you see around, but it’s actually a long road, and those people have travelled it. And you can do it too!

Also, don’t be afraid to rewrite stories, redraw drawings, remake your songs, and so on. If you think you can improve something you’ve already finished, you probably can, and you’ll learn more in the process!

Finally, don’t be afraid of criticism, it only helps, no matter how much it may hurt. Take it and try to learn with it, whoever commented about your work like that only wants to help you. However, if you notice someone commenting about your work only giving negative thoughts, looking like they aren’t trying to help, ignore them. Giving constructive criticism is one thing, giving hate is another, and learning the different between the two is very important.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic and asexual. Well, at least I think I am; these are the labels I identify with right now.

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

Not really directly, and I guess this is more aro related, but I do notice that lots of people comment a lot about shipping and have gotten disappointed when I didn’t really do any real romance in my comic (yes, even in a Kirby fan comic). Honestly… I just ignore them for most part. I don’t avoid romance completely but I rarely use it, I don’t think this kind of stuff is mandatory in a story.

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

The misconception that Asexuality is just a “phase”, and that it will change when you “find the right person”. That’s like telling a straight person they are going through a phase, and will realize they are actually bi when they find the right person of a gender they claim to not be attracted to. It makes no real sense and it’s just trying to erase who we are.

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

First of all, no matter what others say, your orientation is valid. You are valid. Don’t let others tell you otherwise.

Also, feel free to explore labels, if you think one doesn’t fit you completely. If you asked me a year ago what my romantic orientation was, I would have told you grayromantic, not aromantic. That’s because it took me a while to truly identify as aromantic, and identifying as grayro for a while helped me do that. Really, you don’t have to pick a label once and never change it, change your labels whenever you feel it’s the right thing. These labels exist to help us find more about ourselves!

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

20 Times Kirby can be found here: http://www.smackjeeves.com/comicprofile.php?id=91583

I also have a Tumblr where I sometimes post art, although I haven’t done that in a while. Either way, you can find it here: http://gigithoughts.tumblr.com/tagged/my-art. If I ever get around to post my other art stuff, I’ll post about it in my Tumblr, but let’s see.

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

Interview: Isaiah

Today we’re joined by Isaiah. Isaiah is a phenomenal writer and visual artist who does a number of things. For drawing, they mostly do digital art and enjoy drawing and designing their own characters. For writing, they focus on fanfiction, poetry, and short stories. They’re currently working on a short story featuring an ace main character. It’s clear they’re a very dedicated and talented artist. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

adrian (6)

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I primarily do digital art of my original characters, but I also write poetry and fanfiction and short stories (though none of them are finished.)

The story I currently put the majority of my effort into is (somewhat ironically) a hodge-podge romcom/coming of age/ self-acceptance story about a gay demisexual cis boy who fell in love with his best friend. It features a lot of religious themes and internalized homophobia so I understand it definitely isn’t for everyone! The main storyline is about him, but it also branches off to tell the stories of the other cast members, who are largely queer and neurodivergent. My fanfiction is pretty standard mutual pining stuff and my poetry is largely about mental illness.

What inspires you?

I’ve had a lot of bad experiences with very queerphobic content, so oddly enough I’m kind of inspired by the very strong desire to give other queer youth a story to latch onto!! I really want to put media into this world that folks who aren’t usually represented can see themselves in. I’m also really inspired by my friends & the kindness they show to me. They’re all amazing artists and people and they help me do better.

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

I haven’t been doing this for long but… honestly I just thought art looked pretty, and I really wanted to be able to create it too!! I started when I was twelve so I’m a bit behind other folks my age, but I’m not too worried.  I used to want to be an author before I’d ever even wrote books. I liked ELA and besides that it was… largely due to J.K Rowling and the attachment I had to her story and characters, though she’s fallen out of my favor in recent years.

riley (7)

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 do, honestly? People say that the way I draw lips and eyebrows is pretty recognizable, but I think for the most part my art isn’t like, at all that unique. Which isn’t a great selling point I know but I just kind of… scribble until something happens!!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you’re feeling uninspired, or frustrated, it’s okay to take a little break. Don’t push yourself too hard. If drawing is making you unhappy, you don’t need to do it. There’s a lot of pressure to pursue art like a hound and draw every day, but everyone is different!! Find your own balance and treat yourself kindly.  Don’t compare yourself to other artists, even if they’re your friends and you feel compelled to. Have fun & be yourself and it’ll come to you!!

Also; if you know you’re sitting down to draw for a while, get yourself some water!!

sanchez (3)

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m quoiromantic & autochorrissexual asexual.

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

To be honest, I feel like most people who take in my art don’t know I’m asexual, though I definitely see a lot of acephobia & other queerphobia in the community I post in. It’s unfortunate & really bums me out, but I’m not really one to get into arguments. Personally, I tend to delete any rude comments that reference sexuality on my work because I worry about queer kids stumbling onto them and internalizing that hatred.  If they do get to me, I’ll vent to my friends about it, but a lot of it just inspires me to work harder and be even more visible. At the end of the day, I think that your work bothering a bigoted person is an achievement.

s

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

A lot of people think we’re either just celibate, or that we have absolutely no libido at all. The concept of someone being both asexual and having a consensual, voluntary sex life is bizarre to them, but in a way that they almost refuse to process most of the time no matter how many times you attempt to explain.

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

You aren’t broken, and there isn’t anything wrong with you. Humans are multifaceted and strange, and being asexual is as normal as any other way of being. I know it can be difficult living in a society that prioritizes sex and romance so highly but you aren’t alone, and you don’t need to experience relationships the exact same ways as allo people do. You’re allowed to feel this way and don’t have to justify it to anyone.

Also: it’s okay to try out a label, you don’t have to be positive. You’re allowed to change your mind and learn new stuff about yourself. Just hang in there!!

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

DIGITAL ART:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blahruto/
Tumblr(s): blahrutocs.tumblr.com & blahruto.tumblr.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blahruto/
Toyhou.se: http://toyhou.se/blahruto
Twitter: https://twitter.com/blahruto
DA: http://roblobliotical.deviantart.com/
Picarto.tv: https://picarto.tv/blahruto

WRITING:

Fanfic: https://archiveofourown.org/users/blahruto
Poetry: http://sobliotic.tumblr.com/
https://www.wattpad.com/user/sobliotic

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

Interview: Erika

Today we’re joined by Erika, who also goes by one-true-houselight online. Erika is an awesomely versatile artist who dabbles in a few different fields. They do a lot of writing. Erika specializes in poetry, much of it focusing on mental health and their experiences. They’re currently working on an original story, which features three main characters who are ace and the fourth is a dragon. When they’re not writing, Erika dabbles in fanart and has written a few comics. They have also been in the theater too. It’s very clear they’re a dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

D&Dcomic
D&D Comic

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I have a couple of thing I do. For a while, the only thing I did was write poetry because when I tried to write other things, I never liked what I started and never finished. So I wrote poems on many things, gravitating towards my struggle and life with mental illness. It became a coping mechanism for me. I started drawing for the first time in a long while because again, I felt like I couldn’t. But I drew a comic of a moment in the D&D campaign I am a part of because I wanted to, and I recently sent in a comic as fan mail to Rhett and Link. I also have been getting into more narrative fiction! I’ve written two fanfics: a tiny one about Rhett and Link as children, and one Psych one where I explore Shawn being aro-spec. I’m also working on an original story with three ace main characters, one of whom is non-binary. So that’s fun. I’ve also been doing theatre for years, and I’d like to think I’ve created some art there as well.

What inspires you?

I love that I get to create things in ways I feel comfortable doing so, and I love that doing so can help me understand things better. Like, when I would write a poem about my anxiety, I could use interesting turns of phrase to define what before was just unintelligible screaming in my head. Drawing my and my friends D&D characters made the game feel more present. I explored my fear of heights and the demiromantic part of myself in my fics. I had just recently figured out I was non-binary when I started my original piece, so I got to write a character going through similar things. And my time in theatre has let me see the human condition in so many ways.

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

Most of the time, I started by just fooling around with the field until I realized I really liked it.

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 have a weird symbol I draw that combines my first and last initials. You can see it in the last panel of the comic attached. That’s just for the small amount of drawing I do, though. Beyond that… I don’t think so?

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Hello young artist! I will repeat the advice you often get: keep practicing, you are good enough, don’t give up. All that. And also: do the art that makes you happy. Do the art that makes you feel things, that means something to you. Yes, if/when it becomes a career, that isn’t always possible. But understand what you want to do, what makes you feel whole. Then, even when you don’t have a ‘dream’ project, you know why you are where you are. If that makes sense.

IMG_2568

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and akoi-demi-bi romantic. I know. I don’t find it any easier to understand than you do.

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

Um. I mean, there is the ever-present ‘entertainment must have sex to be good/wanted by a lot of people’, but since I am a hobbyist at best, I don’t get too much problem with it? And obviously my coworkers sometimes don’t understand everything, but I have been so lucky to have people who do their best and listen to me.

Handling it for me is either just explaining or sarcasm. Again, I am in a position of privilege where I can do that without fear from most people I encounter.

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

Probably just ‘how’. A lot of people can’t wrap their heads around how it is possible. I also get people assuming it means someone just doesn’t like sex, but since I am sex repulsed I generally try to explain that while I might be like that, not everyone is.

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

Hello friends! Guess what? I love you in the least creepy way possible. And for real, you are fine. It’s hard. I felt so amazing when I figured out I was ace, and I still sometimes get crippling self-doubt and fear. We live in a world where our identities are erased, ignored, joked about, misinterpreted, and so many other things. But we are who we are, and we will be ok. If you want to find someone, you can. If you don’t want to, you will be fine. You deserve to be happy and loved in a way that you are OK with. Don’t let people tell you that you deserve less of anything.

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

You can find me on Tumblr and AO3 at one-true-houselight. I tagged everything about my RandL comic as ‘comic’ (I know), and some D&D stuff fell in there as well. My writing tag is ‘I write sometimes’. Ask me theatre stories if you want a fun time. Have a lovely day!

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

Interview: Kassia

Today we’re joined by Kassia. Kassia is an accomplished poet who specializes in free form and free verse poetry. They live in Florida with their husband and work as a freelance writer and editor. Kassia is a genderflux feminist and has a background in theology. They did their bachelor’s work on how Eastern Orthodox theology supports and advances ecology and environmentalism. It’s clear they’re an incredibly dedicated writer, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write poetry, mostly free form and free verse, though in the past year I’ve gotten much more into prose poetry and ghazals, and am trying to train myself in some of the most common Western forms of poetry (sonnets, villanelles, etc.). In the last few weeks I’ve been funneling my poetic skills into composing Akathists, which are long hymns used in the Eastern Orthodox Church, comprised of thirteen odes. I’ve also been glossing some of my favorites from a collection of Akathists I have, because whoever translated them got a little carried away with the pseudo-Shakespearean language for my taste and it’s very distracting.

My big pet project, though, is a novel centered around two people in an asexual/aromantic relationship. I want to show that a relationship built purely on platonic attraction can be just as compelling and erotic (in the classical sense) as every tired and predictable YA franchise out there (not that I don’t love me some Hunger Games).

What inspires you?

That’s a hard question to answer, because my inspiration doesn’t usually come from anything external. Most of it comes from my experience of the numinous in the physical world and my interior response to it–though a small portion of my work is inspired by people close to me, and trying to articulate the experience of being asexually and aromantically, yet powerfully, in love with someone. My entire impetus for writing—from poetry to fiction to blog posts—is to translate my intense interior life into language. That’s my main inspiration: not really the outside world, but how the things I experience get internalized and translated into symbols, archetypes, and mythopoeia.

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

I’ve been writing since I was six or seven. It’s just always been a part of my life. When I was in middle and high school I got fixated on Charles Baudelaire and Oscar Wilde and the Decadence and had all these crazy plans involving blowing off college for being a bohemian poet in Paris. Thankfully cooler heads prevailed and I went to college, and got some wonderful exposure to academia and the publishing world while pursuing a degree in religion. For a semester or two I toyed with going into theology and trying to get published in journals, but when my advisor pushed me towards academia, something didn’t feel right and I knew I had to stick with the more artistic side of my work. So I pushed back, and here I am a few years later working on a solid poetry portfolio.

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’s a lot of cosmic, space imagery in my work. Moons, stars, black holes, galaxies, energy strings, gravity waves. Some particular constellations make repeated cameos, especially Cygnus and Orion for some reason. I didn’t really consciously make it that way, but I’ve always been fascinated by the weirder, more surreal aspects of physics, space, and how space-time behaves. It makes sense; huge structures like nebulas and black holes are excellent ways to communicate the vastness of inner, spiritual/mental space that I try to capture in my work.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Stay weird. Never stop learning. Teach yourself about subjects you’d never think you’d be interested in, no matter how arcane or mundane or strange they may seem. Don’t be afraid to be experimental, or make mistakes, or produce things that no one else understands but you. Making art is like clearing a spring choked with mud. Sometimes you have to produce utter shit before you get to the good stuff underneath.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual and aromantic.

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

Not really. I haven’t published anything yet, so we’ll see. One of my goals is to publish a collection of platonic love poems; it’d be interesting to see what reactions such a work would get.

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

That as an asexual person, I do not like, understand, or engage in sex, and that “asexual” is synonymous with “sex-negative”. It’s an understandable enough misconception, and I’ve never personally encountered it in a malevolent way. Even my best friend, who is bisexual, heavily involved in the LGBT community, and very understanding, thought that was the case until I cleared it up. I like sex well enough (though, I think, it’s far less important to me than the average population; the thought of a life without sex doesn’t fill me with horror), I understand why it’s important to other people, and I am sexually active (married, even!). I simply don’t experience sexual attraction, which is much different than having a negative or ignorant attitude toward sex.

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

You are not broken. Your experiences are completely valid and absolutely no one gets a say in how you experience your orientation except you. Not your parents, not your boss, not your school, not the Internet, no one. Being asexual is not a curse or a reason to pitied. Always celebrate who you are, even if you have to do so fiercely, in the midst of people trying to tear you down.

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

Nowhere at the moment! I wish I did have somewhere to point people, but I’m very careful about publishing online—that is to say, I don’t. I am in the process of building an asexual blog, though, and will post regular links to it at my Tumblr, acequeen.

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

Interview: Jade

Today we’re joined by Jade. Jade is a phenomenal writer who has one of the most adorable dogs ever. She writes mostly poetry and fantasy. When she’s not working on original work, Jade writes fanfiction as well. It’s very apparent that she’s incredibly dedicated to the art of writing, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer who works mostly with poetry and fantasy works. I’m only just starting out publishing my work to my blog but it makes me really happy to share something that means so much to me with others. The last few years I have been big into writing fanfiction for Supernatural but recently I’ve wanted to start working on original works more so I’ve started doing daily couplets and taking poetry requests from my followers. I also did a little challenge for a few days where I would have one of my friends pick out a dialog prompt and I would write a few paragraphs of a story based on it. Writing is one of my favorite things and it has always been a very empowering and relaxing process for me so I’m happy to be expanding on things and doing more of it.

What inspires you?

My dog Duke is a huge inspiration to me since he survived going to the pound twice and having to be there so long but has come out a super loving and amazing dog despite it. Besides that, I’m mostly inspired by the progress I see every time I post something new and can see how much I’m improving and getting better and the knowledge that if I keep going then that trend will continue. My religion also is a big inspiration for me as I’m encouraged to create new works to honor my deities all the time and knowing they appreciate my art helps me want to make more.

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

When I was little I actually wanted to be a scientist and get to study rocks. However I soon realized that doing things that required set steps that were always the same bored me. However since the moment I could read books have always been my escape and eventually I realized that I could write stories too and my heart was set. I’ve dabbled in all sorts of prose but the freedom offered by poetry has brought me back there time and time again.

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?

Well all of my works are their own thing so there’s not really anything I purposely add into them to connect them, however many things that I personally like do get carried over to some of my characters (Like a love of cheesecake or the color blue). I also work a lot with mythology and exploring diversity. Another thing that’s often featured in my works is mental illness and having the characters learn to accept and work with their limits to reach their goal since it’s something that’s important to me since I have had major depression and anxiety since I was really young.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do what you love and love what you do. No matter what you do there will be people who put you down or don’t like your work but when you create you should do it for yourself because its something YOU love, not for them. That and try to hold onto old works. Looking back and seeing how much you’ve grown can be such a rewarding and empowering feeling.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a non-binary poly panromantic sex repulsed asexual. Try saying that ten times fast XD

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

Most of the prejudice I’ve encountered has actually been from family and people outside of my online fanbase. My father and brother both believed my identity was just because of my time on Tumblr and I was just being a “Special snowflake” However after wasting my breath in many arguments I realized they’d never change their minds and I instead just moved on with my life. I know my body and my life better than them and I wasn’t going to waste more time or energy fighting with them just to be seen as something I already knew was a real part of me. In the few works I’ve written that has Ace characters I’ve mostly gotten support from others who were happy for the representation. I have no tolerance for people who want to insult or mock others so they get deleted, banned, and ignored. I don’t give them the time of day.

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

That it’s just a phase or it’s for attention. It’s not natural. People can’t be sure about it unless they’ve had sex and even then they probably just had bad sex and it’d change if they were with someone who “knew the ropes”. No one seems to take asexuality seriously and it can be really frustrating at times because defending yourself is like talking to a wall but if we don’t stand up for ourselves then we’ll never be able to earn the respect we deserve.

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

You are valid. You don’t have to feel like any label you choose is cemented in stone. You don’t have to have sex to know what you are and your sexuality is as natural as any of the others. It’s okay to not know for certain at the moment and it’s okay to take as long as you need deciding even if you change later. Asexuals exist and are just as important as anyone else.

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

My work is being posted on InkStainedWings.tumblr.com currently. I take poem requests there and post story shards as well as reblogging writing tips and tricks. I hope to see you there 😀

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