Interview: Eva I.

Today we’re joined by Eva I. Eva is a phenomenal South Asian visual artist and author. She draws portraits and character concepts, using a variety of mediums. As far as writing, Eva is currently working on two fantasy novels, both of which feature asexual protagonists. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist with an incredibly bright future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Character Concept
Character Concept

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m one of those artists who likes to dabble in, well, everything. Over the years, I’ve tried out typography and hand lettering, crafts, music (I still play the ukulele occasionally), writing, and drawing. Out of all those things, I suppose the ones that have stuck with me would be the latter two.

Even with drawing, I can’t make up my mind. My style fluctuates with my mood, the weather, every time I sneeze… This is evident if you scroll through my Instagram feed; it’s like one of those repost accounts featuring different artists. However, I am consistent in the sense that I mainly draw portraits and character concepts, and my preferred medium is digital art – although I do work traditionally, using ink and sometimes watercolours, whenever the fancy strikes me. I’m hoping to branch out and try illustrating more environments in the future.

As for my writing… I’m currently working on two fantasy novels, both of them featuring ace protagonists, because I want to see more ace characters (particularly those of colour) in SFF. I’m a slow writer, especially as my mental and physical health are never that great, but I think I’ve made good progress with both novels. I’m almost done with a passable draft for one of them, which I hope to send out to trusted readers soon. I’m not sure if I want to publish these stories or not – at least, not at this point in my life.

What inspires you?

I draw inspiration (haha) by consuming all kinds of art by all kinds of artists. In fact, I’ve found it pretty inspiring to go through some of the interviews on this blog! Whenever I need to recharge my creative battery, I just read a book, study the works of my favourite artists, watch a movie/show, read/watch interviews, and listen to some music. In addition to that, I also like sleeping? I’m a permanently exhausted pigeon (aka I have a chronic illness) so I tend to sleep a lot; I end up having a ton of cool dreams, which I sometimes weave into my writing.

fish
Fish

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

Creativity runs in the family, so I picked up art as a matter of course when I was very young. I have vague memories of throwing tantrums at the age of five when I couldn’t draw things the way I wanted; thankfully, I’ve since managed to improve my skills (and my temper). I opened my first art account on Facebook when I was fifteen-ish. I deleted that one a few years ago, and started my current accounts on Twitter and Instagram under a pseudonym so I can be more out about myself.

More recently, I started accepting freelance commissions via social media, which has helped expand my reach (and my wallet). I wouldn’t consider this as a career, yet, though. I don’t receive enough commissions to depend upon it as a main source of income, so I have a day job of sorts, and I’m trying to figure out how to get myself yeeted into college.

Writing has also been a huge interest for me since I was a toddler; my earliest memories are of my father telling me stories. I was quick to develop my reading skills, and you would rarely find me without a book to read. From there, it felt natural to me that I would eventually write my own stories. I’m a big fan of fantasy, so I read and write those for the most part. I used to post my writing on Wattpad, but I’m a little more private about my writing at the moment.

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 almost always sign my art, either with ‘EVA’ or ‘evadrawssometimes’. I don’t really hide anything special in my artwork, but there is one thing about them that I can confess to: I sometimes forget to draw eyelashes. I’m not very good at drawing them either. I’m working on it.

In contrast, I think my writing contains many elements that I feel are personal to me; I include puns (multilingual ones, too) and references to real-life events that I’ve experienced personally, or have taken place in my hometown. Those who know, will know.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Your art is a luxury, so if you’re offering commissions, price them as such! You deserve to be compensated for your time and efforts. (Still working on this one myself).

Breaks are good! Don’t burn yourself out just for the sake of updating your social media. Your most dedicated fans will still stick around even if you miss a post or ten. Maintaining a social media presence is not worth the risk of burnout, injury, or even losing passion for your art.

If you’re offering commissions, try to include your contact information on your profiles. Make it easier, not harder, for potential clients to reach you.

Don’t feel obligated to post all your art on social media.

Don’t forget to make art just for yourself sometimes! Even if capitalism says otherwise, you don’t have to monetise all your work/hobbies, particularly when it comes to art.

It is acceptable – and good, even – to use references. It’ll save time, and ultimately it will help you improve.

ilyas
Ilyas

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m ace, I guess. I’m still figuring it out, though I’ve gotten more comfortable with my identity over time. I experience little to no sexual attraction, aesthetic attraction to people of all genders, and romantic attraction mainly towards people who are not of the same gender as myself (I think??).

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

In my field? Not directly, I would say. I choose my audience very carefully, and so far people have been largely accepting. I have come across some misconceptions from others, but thankfully, most people have been receptive to being corrected. I block those who are not interested in changing their minds, and honestly? Best decision I ever made.

I’m not out in other circles except for a select few family members, friends, and my current partner. I only come out to and explain my identity to those who I think will be understanding. I don’t really mind explaining, but it can get exhausting, especially when you’re dealing with people who don’t listen in good faith.

Lake of Voices
Lake of Voices

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

One of the major ones I’ve come across is the conflation of asexuality with aromanticisim, and asexuality with lack of desire for sex; the Venn diagram of those experiences is often seen as a circle, when in reality there are an intersection of various experiences, some of which may or may not overlap depending on the individual.

In addition to that, there are people who believe that the ‘A’ in LGBTQIAP+ stands for ally and not asexual, aromantic, and agender. I’ve also had someone suggest that asexuality was a phase I would outgrow, or that I was simply nervous or afraid. There have been other extremely harmful hot takes I’ve come across on Twitter by trolls, but they’re too numerous and unpleasant to recount.

All of these misconceptions seem to multiply during Pride month, which is disappointing but not surprising.

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

I would say… be open to the possibilities, and don’t be too worried about taking your time figuring yourself out. It’s also okay to decide on another label in the future; it does not negate the label itself nor your experience while using it. Ultimately, it’s your identity and you are in control of deciding who you are. Even if you’re not comfortable with/able to come out to certain people, I hope you get to feel confident about your own sense of self.

I’ve also managed to connect with a lot of aces during my time on Twitter, which has been a big help in affirming and discovering more about my identity – and, incidentally, picking up on quality ace puns (and pins. Gotta love well-designed merch by ace/LGBTQIAP+ artists).

Finally, I highly recommend checking out The Asexual (http://theasexual.com), an online journal about asexuality run by Michael Paramo. The site includes content like essays, artwork, and personal pieces, contributed by ace people of various backgrounds. The Asexual has helped me pick apart many of my own misconceptions and find joy in being who I am. You can find The Asexual on Twitter as asexualjournal (https://twitter.com/asexualjournal).

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

You can find me on Twitter as isthispigeon (https://twitter.com/isthispigeon), where I sometimes post my art and accept art commissions, but mostly tweet about art-related shenanigans. If you want to get to know me, or commission me in a more informal setting, that’s the place to go!

I’m also on Instagram as evadrawssometimes (http://instagram.com/evadrawssometimes), if you want to see all my art in one place without getting distracted by random thoughts and terrible puns (though they sometimes work their way into the captions). I accept commissions there as well.

I have a few phone wallpapers available on my Buy Me A Coffee account (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/isthispigeon), if that’s something you might be interested in.

Finally, if social media is not for you or if you wish to contact/commission me in a more professional setting, you can reach me via email: eva (dot) isq4 (at) gmail (dot) com. Currently, my writing is not available anywhere.

Shampoo ad Alucard
Shampoo ad Alucard

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

Interview: Tina Speece

Today we’re joined by Tina Speece, who also goes by tinadrawsstuff. Tina is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in pinups and portraits. She mostly does black and white and grayscale. Her work is beautiful and has an extraordinary amount of detail. It’s clear she’s a talented and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Pink Pop Dress
Pink Pop Dress

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My name is Tina, and I’m multimedia artist-illustrator with a deep love of stories and storytelling. I love color, but I wind up working in black and white and grayscale a lot for reasons I still haven’t figured out. Pinups and portraits are my bread-and-butter and I take a lot of pride in making things “cute”.

What inspires you?

Stories!  Especially the way themes cycle and recycle and how we relate to those themes.  Cautionary tales disguised as kids’ bedtime stories, campfire scare stories that you know by heart but still a net a scream in the right atmosphere, stories “you think you know BUT” with some aspect changed [anything sympathetic to the monstrous is my favorite in this category]–there are patterns and beats that are older than time, but they still draw us in and we still keep going to those themes no matter what the world is like, and that’s so amazing to me!

2. Flapper Carmilla
Flapper Carmilla

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

Funny story: my 4th grade art teacher told me I had no talent for art and needed to pick a new elective, which as a highly impressionable child pretty much destroyed any confidence I could’ve had at any point as a kid.  I switched to vocal music and theater and didn’t really make any art for a long time after that.  I was still fascinated by visual arts but since I “had no talent” for it, I settled for watching tons of movies and cartoons and writing fanfiction, and telling myself “This is good, this is fine”.

Then I got to college, and was planning to go on as an English major.  My first semester (like most everybody’s first semester) was a hodgepodge of “required” Gen. Ed classes that didn’t have anything to do with what I wanted to be doing but I had to do it.  I had some really good friends in my Japanese class, and to practice both the writing and our vocab, we started making silly little comics with the characters in our book (the illustrations in GENKI! were really easy to copy). Because we were all doing little comics and we were all friends, there wasn’t pressure to be “great” at it? They were just silly little things that we made, that I enjoyed making–that I drew during other lectures because I have always needed to do something while listening to something else so I could focus.

So I was sitting in Philosophy one day, doodling the ongoing love-triangle between Mary, Susan, and Takashi and listening to the lecture when it hit me [we’re talking a metaphorical punch to the face]: I like language, I don’t like it enough to sit and analyse it to this kind of depth for the next four years.  I called my mom, told her I didn’t want to study English, I wanted to study art, no I don’t know what I’m going to do, but it’s more right than anything I’ve thought about studying.

Fortunately for me, my mom was (and still is) super supportive.

I graduated with a BFA in 2013 and after a year of not being sure what to do (because freelancing is hard and art-focused opportunities in my area wanted more degree than I had), I applied and got into the Masters program at Columbus College of Art & Design in Ohio, finished THAT in 2017 and am still freelancing but now with a much better idea of what I’m doing. I honestly can’t imagine having gone in any other direction at this point in my life, and I only regret not drawing for so long between 4th grade and college.

4. Deep Sea [3x3, acrylic pour]
Deep Sea (acrylic pour)
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I try to remember to sign everything, but I like a small unobtrusive signature, so I tuck a TS somewhere in just about everything.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

1. You are going to make some really, really, really ugly things.  Sometimes you’ll be proud of those ugly things for a while, but they’re still gonna be ugly.  And that’s a good thing: you have to make ugly to understand what it is and whether you want to use it actively.

2. Do your best to purge the pop-culture expectation of an artist from your brain.  That way lies the path of disappointment and being really freaking annoying, not to mention it takes a lot of energy to namedrop and fake ennui.

3. Don’t fear the “art block”.  It’s your friend in the long run, because it lets you know something’s not working–either your mental health needs some attention and that’s why you’re not making, or you’ve stopped actively trying to hone your skills and have gotten lazy and your brain is bored and that means you need to get out of your comfort zone for a while, or that you need to take a break from the thing you’re currently doing and go do something else; even if that “something else” has nothing to do with art–everyone needs a break regularly.

3. Glow Up 2007-2019
Glow Up 2007-2019

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a demisexual bi!

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

Oh yeah–I get it two-fold for being both demi and multi-attracted.  I usually get asked if the figures and character I’m drawing are ideal sexual partners or if my conflict and discomfort with another person in my field is because deep down I just want “bang them”.

The subject question is easy to displace, I just start ranting about the lack of variation in character design and that kills almost all follow-up.  The second question I usually just shut down with a face-melting stare because sometimes it’s not a judicious moment to ask someone if they’re a friggin idiot.

5. Penguin [3x3, acrylic pour]
Penguin (acrylic pour)
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That it’s something that can be “fixed” by an encounter with “the right person” and you’ll know in an instant

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

1. How you feel does have a name, and there are other people who feel the way you do.

2. You’re not alone, and that’s important.

3. You’re not broken, you’re not stupid, and you can’t just “pretend to be normal” because there’s nothing abnormal about you.

4. Most of the people you try to explain this to probably won’t get it, and they’ll say things that hurt because they mean well.  You have every right to correct them, you have every right to defend yourself; don’t feel bad when you do, because you deserve that respect, even from people who generally mean well.

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

My portfolio
My studio Instagram
The Facebook page
Ownable, hard copies of work here, here, or here!

6. Valentine [Silicone] 9x12
Valentine (silicone)
Thank you, Tina, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: NW

Today we’re joined by NW. NW is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in fanart. She does mostly digital art, though she does occasionally dabbles in traditional media. NW does a lot of costume and character design. She enjoys doing mostly fanart, but will occasionally do original art. It’s clear she’s a 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.

meeeeee

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

So, a lot of my work right now is done digitally — that is to say I don’t have an aversion to traditional media, it’s just more accessible to me at the moment — and usually it’s of people. Ranging from character or costume design, fan art, and a lot of my original artwork I don’t get to post. I love drawing portraits and faces, so right now, I guess the majority (that I post, anyway) is of that. I’m mostly self-taught; I’ve learned through practicing, studying classical paintings, and even watching Bob Ross as a little girl. I’ve had the traditional drawing courses (you know, still lives of apples or shapes) in addition to a lot of experimentation software like Paint Tool SAI, Adobe Photoshop, and Procreate.

I don’t particularly stick to one “style”; I don’t really like doing line art, I find it too time-consuming and I have issues with tremor, no thanks to my medication I take. So my style is very “paintery”, if you like. What I’ve learned in painting courses (and, again, Bob Ross) and I paint over my mistakes. When I do traditional media, I usually go back to the pencil or watercolors. I’m a visual person and I love coloring and colors. My favorite thing about creating art is eventually coloring it.

What inspires you?

A lot of things inspire me.

Art has been a therapeutic thing for me and I’ve gone back and added my own feelings in them. I’m very guilty of day-dreaming and since I was a kid, those day dreams inspire art. I think of stories and they become my pieces. Things I see in real life, whether it be color combinations, fashion, or images I pass, I try to hold onto that visual memory and bring it back.  Nowadays, I carry my iPad and stop to at least get it out before it goes. Movies definitely do—I hadn’t realized how much movies affected my stories and images until I got older.

Other artists most definitely do, which is why I’m Tumblr a lot. Most of the blogs I follow are other artists. There are also a few blogs that post traditional and classical artwork that I love. And, really, the music I listen to also is a huge influence on me and I always listen to certain bands and artists to try and captivate a mood in my pieces. My usernames “ofborrowedlight” and “rainbowillness” actually come from one band that I listen to a lot when I do artwork, Wolves in the Throne Room. They’re titles to two songs, “Rainbow Illness” and “Queen of the Borrowed Light”. For my personal “project”, I listen to them quite a bit.

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

Well, I’ve been holding a pencil since I had an Etch-a-Sketch and I cannot recall the rest. And I keep bringing up Bob Ross for a reason—I watched him religiously as a little girl. I’d say that he was actually the first influence that wanted me to get into the field. By the age of five, my mind was made up: I wanted to be an artist. I struggled with dyslexia and bullying and art was my constant companion for me. Having that man on television taught me so much about color and composition at an early age and his attitude of “there are no accidents, only happy mistakes” is such a positive thing to have and he’s really still pushing me, to this day, with that attitude. If you ask me now, yeah, I still want to draw and create for a living. It hasn’t been easy working full-time and trying to earn money, though, but I have not given up. I still try to draw every day; unfortunately, I get really shy posting stuff online or I’m spending more time on it than I wanted to.

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 in particularly? At least I don’t think so; maybe my coloring?

Maybe the closest to it if anyone notices that I incorporate a wave or a flow around my figures, sometimes. That comes from how Gustav Kilmt, Alphonse Mucha, and some traditional Japanese paintings that seem to have a special way to draw smoke and water. I can’t really write it, but anyone can find it in my sketches. But flat out, there’s no real unique symbolism, usually. If there is, it’s with my original stuff with little hints, but no one is going to know context, it’s just me, because I haven’t really presented the world with that story yet. It’s an inside joke with me, I guess.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep drawing, draw as much as you can, and don’t be afraid to expand your style. I was like a lot of artists out here on Tumblr; I’d print Sailor Moon illustrations and copied them. It’s good to do that to get up on your feet, but don’t allow that to be a dependency. Don’t be afraid to get books for the sake of illustrations—I still do. And don’t feel bad about your level of technique doesn’t match your friends or other artists out there. Art is all about your interpretation. While I can go on hours how stupid still lives and contour drawing is, they are essential to getting better. Take classic courses; if they’re not accessible to you, check out Udemy or Coursea.

With digital art, it’s a lot of practice. You just need to play around with features in software and you’ll find some really cool effects to enhance your coloring. Transitioning from a sketchbook to a drawing tablet is weird and don’t feel bad about not getting it; it took me years to get it and I’m still trying to play around with it. You’ll find a favorite program that you love! And even then, I would encourage you to have more than one digital art program. I hop around Paint Tool SAI, Photoshop, and Procreate all the time.

And really, I can’t stress it enough: don’t give up. You’re in an age where more of these things are accessible to you and it wasn’t when I was a kid. Keep drawing, draw more, and draw whatever you want.

versussmall
Versus

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Heteromantic asexual but more often gray-sexual. I think men are handsome, that’s about it. I’m not bothered by it and I really don’t care about relationships. Finding a man attractive is the furthest I’ll go; I don’t want much interaction after that.

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

The closest I’ve experienced any sort of misconception have been at concerts, anime, or comic conventions (surprise, I draw there too) and having to really push back men that have approached me for a date or my number. If they really can’t take the hint or accept “no” for an answer, I’ll get up and leave. A few times I’ve had men at just concerts or gatherings telling me they can “fix” me or change my mind. Then I’ll just tell them to fuck right the hell off, literally.

However, the most prejudice and ignorance I experience is outside of art and I experience it more with my family. It’s an odd mix of Irish and Mexican Catholicism where most of the women in my family married young (we’re talking 17-19) and they think there’s something wrong with me because I have no kids and I’m not married. No matter how many times I tell them “I don’t care, I don’t find anyone attractive” or “sex doesn’t interest me”, it doesn’t seem to sink in. Even when I told them there’s a community of other asexuals, one said “well, they must all be very depressed”. I make jokes about things like “this is why I don’t date” and use it to reiterate I don’t care about relationships.

So I’d say the run of the mill crap—“you haven’t found the right man”, “you’ll change your mind someday”, or “you must be very lonely”. I just shrug it off because I’ve had this conversation so many times with my family.

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

I’m not sure if this is common, but my father believed it was the same as bisexuality—I’m just glad he recognizes that even if I’m not!

One thing I’ve seen is people assume its celibacy and then I have to explain there is a huge difference between the two. It does get tiring having to explain it’s a lack of physical attraction and a desire for it and no, I am not going to change, I’m not worried about not being married, and I’m well over 20 years old and it’s not likely I’m having second thoughts. I am, myself, sex-repulsed, but other asexual people are not and that’s usually one assumption that people go with. Having other people chime in and say they aren’t hleps.

Unfortunately, I will say that because I struggle with PTSD from abuse, therapists assume that the asexuality may be a cause of it. I’m sure it’s a contribution, but more along the lines I just find general touch revolting, though I’m confident that it’s not the ultimate reason why I’m asexual. I feel like psychology needs to learn more about it because I am tired of that assumption is because its due to trauma. I don’t think it’s asking too much that therapists and psychiatrists learn about asexuality. We’re not all like this, not every asexual person is like that due to trauma. And this thinking let me believe that I was really, really destroyed for years when I was not.

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

If you also had a past of trauma like me, I’d say check out Aven and other communities geared towards asexuality so that you will know you’re not broken. I feel like this isn’t really talked about that much and it’s a shame. This isn’t part of PTSD or other forms of mental illness; you are not mentally ill if you’re asexual. When I first heard asexual at 18, I didn’t know about these things and I’m so happy other people have this access. Even now, at Pridefest here in Denver, there are asexuals and I haven’t seen them not even five years ago. My present employer, Ikea, even had “asexuality” listed on their diversity and inclusion talks—that’s really awesome.

There’s a lot of research and groups, there’s a whole world out there. But if you get the same spiel as I do, I think at this point, all we can do is just poke fun at it. Nothing makes me feel better than mocking these conceptions with other aces, it’s a nice reassurance. And if you’re in the same boat with me and family, yeah, post a link on Facebook or just print it off and be like “read this”. I don’t feel like we have the same level of resistance to people that are gay, lesbian, bi, and trans, so we need to also understand that. Watching a family member bullied out of the closet was horrific; I still couldn’t draw comparisons to their situation. Ours seems like a lot of people just can’t comprehend a life without physical attraction, I think. I just hope people remember that, especially.

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

Most of my stuff is posted on Rainbowillness.com, which is hooked up to Tumblr. If you’re in the American McGee’s Alice fandom, you know me, I’m sure you’ve seen my stuff. I’m also on Instagram under “ofborrowedlight”; sometimes I will post WIPs (works in progress) on my personal Tumblr, “ofborrowedlight”, but I urge everyone just go on my site and follow me there.

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

Interview: Taylor

Today we’re joined by Taylor. Taylor is a fantastic visual artist who works mainly in graphite, ink, and colored pencils. She mostly does portraits, but has recently started branching out into creative space type drawings. Her work is absolutely beautiful, drawing the viewer in with her attention to detail and use of space. 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.

IMG_0393

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hello! So, my art has always been all over the place, but I have stuck with drawing since childhood. I’ve only been a hobbyist, taking some drawing classes throughout school, but my goal is to work part time and run an art studio on the side.

My work is usually black and white, either graphite or ink, or colored pencil on black paper. I love working with high contrast and, specifically with portraits, minimalistic shading. I like working with realism, but I’ve recently branched out into some more creative, space-y pieces.

What inspires you?

Music has been a huge influence for me. Despite lacking any musical ability whatsoever, music has been a huge part of my life. Listening to storytelling in the lyrics, along with themes and feelings that can only be portrayed through instrumentals, is such a creativity boost for me and helps me branch out of my artistic comfort zone.

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

Art, as a kid, was the only thing I really engaged in. I was the type that naturally did well in school, so I never really had to try or care. However, with art, I could really experiment and improve my skills, so I devoted all of my time to drawings. As I got into high school, I began studying fields I saw as potential careers, yet I didn’t stop drawing.

My overbearing logical side always stopped me from seeing myself as a professional artist. However, I realized that, even if I don’t do it professionally, I can still be an artist and devote myself to my artwork.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop! You’ll see really, really good artists, and you’ll meet people who will look down on your art, but you shouldn’t let that get in the way of your creativity. I completely stopped art for a full year because I felt I was inadequate and that art would never get me anywhere in life. It was hard to get out of that funk, but getting back into art was the best decision of my life.

IMG_0388

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as an aromantic asexual.

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

I have gotten some weird backlash for creating LGBTQ pride art, because I’m not “really a part of the community.” Honestly, I just ignored it and kept doing what I was doing. Asexuality is a part of the LGBTQ community, regardless of what anyone else tells you.

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

Since I have divorced parents, no one believes I am really asexual, especially aro/ace. They all tell me that it’s because I didn’t grow up seeing a loving relationship. However, my backstory isn’t traumatic and my situation doesn’t define my sexuality.

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

Don’t worry about labels in the beginning. I was so freaked out about whether or I was straight or gay or bi or anything. If you’re struggling, just be yourself. You may find a label that perfectly fits, and that can give you a wonderful sense of community and not being alone, or you might not. Even if you don’t have a perfect label, you are still valid.

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

I use my Instagram page the most: at sketchingpencils. I also have a DeviantArt page that I recently started: sketchingpencils.

IMG_0389

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

Interview: Monica Stuffle

Today we’re joined by Monica Stuffle. Monica is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in realistic drawing and portraiture. She has also dabbled in sculpture. While she prefers realistic drawings, Monica also draws in a cartoon style on occasion. 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.

My art ranges from digital to traditional, and even occasionally sculptural. I usually draw as realistically as I can, but my people-pleasers tend to be more simple and cartoonish. My art is almost always portraiture, and my strongest portraits are in plain old graphite.

What inspires you?

People around me, both on and off the internet. I’m drawn to aesthetics, so I’ll be inspired my a pretty face, a lovely themed blog, or another artist’s work.

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

I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember. I never really considered my talent and important thing until recently. I’ve been trying to incorporate my passion into my life more and more, including doing commissions (open 😉 ) and posting my work to try and build a career out of 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 wish! Maybe I should come up with one. Like a tiny ace flag in the corner or something.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Young or new artists should always remember to breathe, taking a step back and looking at where they are. I know I struggled a lot with not living up to my own expectations, so I had to learn to sit back and remember how far I’ve come already in my artistic journey. There will always be someone better than you, and that’s okay. My advice is to take what you can from your experiences. Learn from other artists, acknowledge your mistakes and fix them, and never give in to frustration.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic asexual as far as I know! Still unsure of my romantic orientation but very set on the asexuality.

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

Very little. There’ll always be someone who just doesn’t understand when you come out, but for me they have always grown either accepting or quietly confused yet still loving. I’m very lucky in that sense.

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

That aroaces have no soul! Honestly, there are different kinds of love. We aren’t all apathetic!

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

Take your time. There’s no pressure to find a label, soon or ever. If you feel that you’re asexual or aromantic, that’s your own business and no one else’s. If you figure that you don’t identify on the ace spectrum even if you thought you did, no worries! The LGBT+ community is one of self discovery.

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

I have a Redbubble and an art Tumblr, both at monic-artt. (Again, commissions are open!! It’s dirt cheap!)

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

Interview: Mika Babineau

Today we’re joined by Mika Babineau. Mika is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in painting, both traditional with acrylic paints and digital. She is currently finishing up a series of portraits about the ace experience (having completed 6 out of 8 large paintings). Mika has also painted landscapes and her digital paintings mostly consist of demon girls and fanart. Her work is inspired by impressionism with her own flair. She’s obviously a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. draculaura
Draculaura

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Yo yo my name is Mika and I’m a Sheridan college graduate living in Toronto, Canada. I do all sorts of things but my main focus is acrylic painting and digital art! I do portraits and landscapes with my paintings and fanart and demon girls with my digital art so you’ll get quite the mix of everything coming from me haha but that’s the way I like it. My paintings focus on colour energy and an impressionistic style while my digital art is more simple with pastel colours. The art I really want to talk to about today though is my “Ace and in your Face” series of self-portraits. Upon realizing that I was asexual during my college years I felt the need to educate and shed some light on the topic, a topic seldom, if ever, discussed. My “Ace and in Your Face” series does just that. By painting portraits of myself I explore various topic and themes pertaining to asexuality and answer commonly asked questions. Both my frustration at the lack of understanding as well as the pride I feel towards my asexuality are displayed in this series covering a wide range of emotions

2. sakura
Sakura

What inspires you?

My inspiration comes from music, media and the people around me. Music brings out great creative energy in me that keeps me motivated or sets the tone of how I want the piece of art to go. Consuming all sorts of media helps inform me of new ideas and ways to create art. I fully believe that one of the most important parts of creating is being exposed to other people’s creations. Finally I would not be able to do what I do without my amazing and inspiring friends who are always working so hard and creating wonderful things. They are truly an incredible group of people.

3. hiragana yo
Hiragana Yo

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

I did always want to be an artist but for a long time I thought animation was going to be the direction I went in. I really disliked painting in high school believe it or not. Then in college I was exposed to so many different kinds of art and teachers who saw potential in my paintings. I switched gears and now I’ve had art in all sorts of galleries and art fairs. It goes to show you never know where life will take you.

4. Aces can still love
Aces Can Still Love

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?

Hmmm not really a symbol per say but I would say my most defining feature is my colours. It is the first thing people notice and I take great care is making that jumble of colour turn into something recognizable haha.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

A lot of people aren’t going to believe in you and a lot of people are going to look down on the path you’ve chosen for yourself as if art is some lessen purpose in life. You can’t let them discourage you. Art is filled with no’s and rejections and hard times but if you want to make it you need to be the one who keeps going. Believe in yourself, believe in your art and never give up. You’ll find your audience.

5. Don't assume I'm straight
Don’t Assume I’m Straight

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I prefer to just call myself asexual plain and simple.

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

Not so much in the art field really. Paintings are always about so many things so asexuality isn’t really a wild out there concept for them I think. A new concept for them yes but not one they would have the audacity to be prejudice about. I provide long explanations with each painting so people are willing to learn. The ignorance I see is more from people on the internet, I know, shocking. All you can do is remember that they are only a small minority of voices and keep doin’ your thing.

6. Hooray! Representation!
Hooray! Representation!

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

I have a boyfriend and people can’t seem to wrap their heads around how that works. It is like the most foreign concept to them. Love??? Without sexual attraction??? What?? It takes a while to explain to them how this is possible but even then I think some people still don’t fully understand.

7. Invisible
Invisible

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

It took me a long time to come to terms with who I am. Self-discovery is a process and you have to be willing to accept who you are. There are tons of people out there who will accept you for who you are and I know it feels like you are alone sometimes but you are never alone. Just know this: you are not broken, there is nothing wrong with you, you are you and that is beautiful. Just get out there, be proud and live your best life.

8. Not gay enoughnot straight enough
Not Gay Enough, Not Straight Enough

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

I have a website: http://www.mikababineauart.com/

As well as a variety of social media:

https://twitter.com/MikachuNinjamon
https://www.instagram.com/mikachu_ninjamon/
https://mikachu-ninjamon.tumblr.com/

9. haha so you're like a plant small
Haha So You’re like a Plant

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

Interview: Ally Mueller

Today we’re joined by Ally Mueller. Ally is a phenomenal painter who specializes in portraits. She paints humans, fairies, and occasionally animals. Her work is so beautiful, brimming with color and detail, creating exquisite images that draw the viewer in. It’s clear she’s a talented and passionate artist, as you’ll soon see. 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 watercolor and acrylic of people, fairies, and the rare animal.

What inspires you?

It’s a different thing every time I pick up a brush. Sometimes its just a need to create something with no idea what! I’ll just re-do something I’ve done already. Or I can see someone somewhere and want to paint. Or good afternoon sun. or just a great color somewhere can get me started. looking at other people’s art helps too.

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

I always wanted to be an artist! I drew all the time when I was little and started painting when I was 10 but got really into it when I was in middle school and had an amazing watercolor teacher.

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

Not really

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Even if its crap, don’t stop!!! If you keep going you’ll get better at it.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Grey-demi aegosexual (cause that’s not super confusing and weirdly specific)

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

I haven’t really told many people, the few people I have told literally already knew.

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

That I/we don’t like orgasms. I’m personally not a fan of sex, but (to get really TMI) solo orgasms are fun as hell. Also, tons of aces out there like sex!!! The other big one is that I/we don’t think people are cute! I may not wanna do the do with them, but I like looking at them!!

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

I, personally, struggled with my orientation for years! I was 27 before I had any inkling of that I wasn’t straight. It’s a really weird orientation because its defined by not experiencing something I don’t really experience. So I guess I would say that’s its OK to change the words you use to define yourself, its OK if how you feel changes, there’s no “right” way to be or feel ace, its OK. The most important thing is that you are comfortable with who you are.

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

I’m on Fine Arts America as Ally Mueller in Parker, CO and plan on doing some local art fairs this summer.

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