Interview: Natasha

Today we’re joined by Natasha. Natasha is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in digital drawing. She mostly enjoys drawing people and has a great eye for lines. Her pictures show a great attention to detail and she obviously enjoys what she does. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

goth-girl-sketch
Goth Girl

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a digital artist and hobby photographer. I change styles a lot and try to challenge myself but I tend to stick to just drawing people. Art is my way of release. I don’t draw how I feel I just draw and watch myself be good at it and it calms me whenever I’m stressed or anxious which is kinda often.

What inspires you?

I don’t really have any inspiration… for as long as I can remember I’ve been good at art and people have always told me so. I guess, maybe, they’re the ones who inspired me?

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

I drew just because I was good at it. That’s all. I never wanted to become an artist, necessarily. I wanted to keep drawing, sure, but I spent most of my life telling myself I’d be an engineer. It was what my dad wanted for me so I didn’t ever question it. Until I got into high school, that is. That’s when I decided to stop pushing myself so hard and just follow my joy.

little-koi-fish
Little Koi Fish

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’ve started signing my work with my initials, NK.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

When someone tells you something seems off about a drawing, never make the excuse “that’s just my style” or get mad and push them away. Notice the mistake, accept it, improve upon it and learn from it. That’s what I think marks a true artist, the ability to take criticism and turn it into good.

looking-down-wip
Looking Down

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and afraid of sex/sexual topics. I heard there was a specific kind of asexual for that but I forget what it’s called.

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

Not really, I only just started coming out to some of my close friends.

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

“That’s not really a sexuality though, more like a lack of it.”

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

If you aren’t sure, don’t push it. Maybe you just aren’t made to fit into a label. Just accept yourself and your feelings and maybe someday you’ll reach a spot and say, “Oh yeah, I’m ___.” But maybe not. That’s fine too.

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

I have a Facebook page, a DeviantArt account and a Tumblr blog!

twisting-mermaid
Twisting Mermaid

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

Interview: ZutaraBeliever

Today we’re joined by ZutaraBeliever. ZutaraBeliever is a first for Asexual Artists: she’s a stop-motion fabricator. Aside from that, she’s a phenomenal illustrator and animator. ZutaraBeliever has this wonderful enthusiasm that shines through in her work. Her art demonstrates a sense of whimsy and a real attention to detail. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

chris_stickerbase
Chris sticker base

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an illustrator, animator, and Stop-Motion Fabricator! I love working with my hands and sculpting. I went to college for stop motion, but drawing wise, I am mostly self-taught.

What inspires you?

Honestly, other people. And things I love. I am a creative person, and if you look around, there are really cool people just waiting to be turned into your own characters. Everyone has a story to be told, and no matter what the medium, being creative is a great outlet for your stresses and ideas.

cutiepatoots
Cutie Patoots

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

Yes! I have always wanted to be an artist. Cartoons were a huge inspiration. I remember that PowerPuff Girls was a huge influence on me! And, obviously, from my username, Avatar: The Last Airbender was a HUGE inspiration.

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

I love eyes. That sounds creepy, but I think they are the most amazing part of people. They are the first things I notice about someone.  I usually put a lot of detail in the eyes. I also love thick outlines. I will try to sneak those in when I can!

dragtrio2
Drag Trio

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

FANART IS OKAY TO DRAW! I can’t believe how many posts I see a day or how many times I hear my fellow artists rant or criticize younger artists about making or using bases, or making O.C.’s from fandoms, and it makes me so mad. EVERYONE DOES THAT. No one comes out of the womb knowing how to draw, or making cartoons, or comics, you have to learn. If you use a base, give credit. ALWAYS GIVE CREDIT.

icecream
Ice Cream

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a heteroaromatic Asexual!

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

Oh man. Yes. I have been kicked out of parades, support groups, I have been called a plant (cliché, I know). I have had people tell me that ‘There’s no way you can be asexual, you like dudes’.

I am 23 and still haven’t told my parents. I’ve talked about adopting instead of giving birth to kids, but that’s about as close as it gets. But, your parents and over ones may surprise you. We are living in a culture that is constantly changing, and though it may seem scary, tell someone. Tell someone, especially if you are being pressured by someone else. And don’t hate your parents if at first they don’t understand. Most parents automatic reaction is ‘Did I do something wrong?’ —‘Was it something I did that made them this way?’ Most parents want to try and understand, even if it takes a while.

sexsticker_base
Sex Sticker base

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

That you can’t have a relationship if you’re asexual. Boundaries need to be set, like any relationship, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it work.

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

One day, it’ll just hit you. I have had that moment, and I think every other ace has. That moment where you think ‘Wow…I really am Asexual’. Labels are nice. They really are, bring able to name something you feel is fantastic. And sexuality is fluid. Don’t worry what others think, and don’t let ANYONE pressure you into something you don’t want or aren’t comfortable with. OH! And make sure you prepare snappy comebacks if someone calls you a plant.

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

You can always send me a message on Tumblr or message me here:

https://twitter.com/ZutaraBeliever
http://zutarabeliever-art.tumblr.com/
https://www.etsy.com/shop/CraftyFandom

ace
Ace

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

Signal Boost: Burning Down Dollhouses

Hello all!

Another signal boost for the weekend. A while back, I interviewed Jai of Madjaw Dolls for this site. I was really impressed with her work: it was incredibly colorful and bright, yet there was also this fantastic touch of surrealism to it. Jai is really versatile and has this fabulous unique style. Her fashion is unique and I just enjoy looking at it. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but that’s the same with all art.

Jai recently started a webcomic called “Burning Down Dollhouses” and it demonstrates her unique eye. Here’s the summary from her site:

“Being a newly engaged couple running on a low income is enough to test anyone’s patience. As is being two life sized dolls working in a traveling band for a companies that exploits more than it serves….

Jaimie Little-Bronze and her fiance Ben Wonder had their toys taken away from them long before they were even old enough to decided which toys they wanted to play with. Life since has been an ongoing struggle to feel normal in their own skin. It’s now the late 90s, they recently rented an apartment in downtown New York in order to perform in a band with Ben’s friends. Still, finances are looking dim, families are fighting and the worry of addiction hits closer to home than either are willing to admit.

It’s the toys that take the stage in the world of “Burning Down Dollhouses”. Madjaw Dolls is a growing company where dolls can talk and the babies in the audience just can’t seem to stop smiling. Jai and her love Dyxxin perform in a traveling toy band under the rules of an old woman named Mads. Fighting for a promotion is tough and both are worried that Mads may have some other plans.Securing a stable life in a world without logic may get the best of them

Rated T: Some mention of abuse, drug/alcohol use, mention of sexual content and mild language. Not suitable for a younger audience.

Burning Down Dollhouses

It’s an ongoing series and it’s worth a look. Jai has created a dark fairytale, which really fits with her aesthetic.

For more information:

Personal site: http://www.madjawdolls.com/

Tumblr: http://madjawdolls.tumblr.com/

Again, both sites contain material that is potentially NSFW, so proceed with caution.

Interview: K. M. Claude

Today we’re joined by K.M. Claude.  It’s actually wonderful timing:  February is Women in Horror Month and K.M. Claude is working on an erotic horror comic for their undergrad thesis.  Their artwork is darkly beautiful as you will see.  My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I think someone once described my art as erotic Southern Gothic. Or maybe that was me hoping someone would. But my art does tend toward the gothic and horrific — sometimes outright horror with monsters and demons, sometimes mundane horror where all the demons are internal — often mixed with the erotic, both at once sensual and horrific. Also priests, I tend to draw a lot of priests. Heck, the comic I’m working on at the moment for school, Ninety-Nine Righteous Men, is all about priests. Bit of an obsession, really. Regarding boring technical stuff, my art is mainly digital and draws a lot from manga and anime. I am shackled to my beloved MangaStudio.

What inspires you?

In terms of media, Disney movies from the 90’s, particularly The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and earlier Tim Burton films like Beetlejuice or Edward Scissorhands are constant background inspiration, as are Asian horror films, particularly Ju-On and Ringu. Outside of films, there’s comics — especially manga like Yami no Matsuei or Hellsing and webcomics like Starfighter or Yu+Me — and most recently musical theatre, notably productions by Takarazuka Kagekidan (there’s a lot of fanart of Takarazuka’s Elisabeth on my blog, fair warning.)

In terms of the mundane, I’m mostly inspired by Roman Catholicism, which I grew up in, Roman myth, and my hometown, New Orleans, as well as some of the surrounding towns in southeastern Louisiana.

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

Outside of watching my mother who does art, probably Disney films, to start. I wanted to be an animator until I found out you had to draw 24 frames per second of animation — that scared little seven year old me. So I kinda gave up on that dream and just drew as a hobby, getting into comics and watching cartoons and spending many an allowance on trashy yaoi manga during high school, but I always wanted to do art, which is why I’m now majoring in English and creating a graphic novel for my undergrad thesis. I tried to escape and it caught right back up with me! I guess I’ve always sort of taken the roundabout way to being an artist.

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

I used to change signatures so much! For a long time, I’d sign things KT (for my first name) and then a scribbly rendition of my surname. Now I sign things with my initials: KMCR. But I occasionally sign things with 貞 as a nod to my old, longer fandom handle (a handle which I still use for personal blogging and the deviantART account that I don’t bother switching over, haha!)

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just do it — whatever it is you want to do, however daunting it seems, do it. You learn by doing. So keep doing; keep making art. And don’t feel pressured that you have to go a “safe” route in school, like academic excellence or whatever, if you know you want to do art and are able to do so — don’t live with regrets and what ifs because that’s gonna take valuable energy away from making art. (And for anyone who, like me, for whatever reason, be they personal, financial, etc., took the “safe” route: don’t worry, it’s not too late. You’ll have your own struggles but it doesn’t make you or your art any less because you didn’t major in art or didn’t take classes or didn’t go to art school or whatever. You don’t have to have made a masterpiece by the time you turn 21. Just make art.)

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aromantic asexual.

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

Eh, the only real ignorance I’ve ever dealt with was tangentially related to my field. I work on the school paper as the resident cartoonist and when I wrote an opinion piece and did a cartoon for the paper about asexuality, there was some (allegedly — I never had it said to my face) grumbling about, you know, who cares, what does it matter, etc. But it never was directly to me so I did not have to handle it myself and my friend who did encounter stood up for me in absentia. So I guess I handled it by having a supportive friend group, ha! I definitely got backlash on the paper’s website though. But hey, what can you do? I did my part trying to educate, let haters work themselves into a frenzy. I’ve stopped trying to control what others’ think; all I can do is try to explain.

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

Usually, for me, I get a sort of double take because I draw a lot of erotica and my works deal with sex and sexuality so people tend to go “wait, but if you’re asexual, then how come you can draw smut?” As if my lack of attraction or my lack of activity somehow dictates what I can and cannot draw. I’ve actually been insulted to my face by a rather ignorant friend who said “oh but you draw the yaois so well, you’ve got to be a little bit … you know … I just don’t believe you’re like totally asexual or whatever” which was mind boggling, honestly, since there is so much wrong with that statement, starting with some basic biology that I regrettably don’t have. But yes, that’s come up a lot for me, personally The other is the common “oh that’s just a phase, everyone goes through not wanting to get married or have kids, you’ll grow out of it” which is frustrating to say the least.

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

First, you’re fine. You might not be normal in the sense of the average or the majority and that might cause difficulties and struggles depending on your situation, but you’re fine as you are — don’t feel that you have to change who you are or do anything that might compromise what you know is true about yourself. Additionally, I know with the internet, tumblr especially, it can be very overwhelming and sometimes, if you’re still questioning if you’re ace or straight or gay, you may feel like you have to figure out exactly where you are right now and use the most correct and up-to-date terminology and God help you if you don’t (and I say this as both an asexual and as someone whose gender is still up in the air and who is still having a hell of a time trying to fit the pieces together). If you find something and it works, great, more power to you, but don’t ever feel like you need to have your orientation all figured out and exact and to the point right now this very second. Sexuality is difficult and different for everyone. Psychology’s still figuring out how human sexuality works and that involves researchers with degrees and years of study! So, you know, don’t feel bad if you haven’t got everything figured out either.

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

I can be found on tumblr where all my art both finished, sketchy, and in progress go at katiemarieclaude.tumblr.com or on wysp where I occasionally post finished pieces at www.wysp.ws/katiemarieclaude

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