Interview: Sophia Hodgson

Today we’re joined by Sophia Hodgson. Sophia is an amazing young visual artist who does a mix of original work and fanart. She uses bright colors and lines to bring vivid images to life. 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.

Abstract
Abstract

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My work takes 3 forms: fan art, assignments, and anxiety. My personal work tends to revolve around feeling like an outsider, feeling empty, or feeling useless. I like using bright colors and big shapes.

What inspires you?

Dynamic lines, pretty colors, simple forms, and because I’m a student, deadlines,

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

Not always. For a while I wanted to be a teacher, then I wanted to be a police officer, then a librarian, etc. I don’t think I settled on artist until Freshman year of high school, and even then I wasn’t totally sure. I got interested because it’s always been a fun thing I enjoyed doing, and I think I’m pretty good at it!

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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?

It’s weird, but I’ve been including fish in my work a lot lately. Especially goldfish, I love painting goldfish. There’s something about their blank stares that lets you project any emotion onto them.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Draw things you hate. Do things you hate, and don’t hesitate to ask for help! I hated painting for years but now oil and watercolor are some of my favorite media. I realized I had never really learned how to use them and sometimes it’s nice to have someone explain how you actually use turpentine.

Nine of Swords
Nine of Swords

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual/Aromantic

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

Not in my field, no, day to day life is a different story though.

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

That I’m too young to know I’m asexual, despite everyone else my age being perfectly capable of knowing if they are straight or not.

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

Asexual doesn’t mean alone and neither does Aromantic! Romantic love isn’t the only kind out there, and anyone who doesn’t respect you isn’t your friend.

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

My Instagram is xx_g0ldf1sh_xx and my art Tumblr is xxg0ldf1shxx!

rose 6
Rose 6

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

Interview: Hana Li

Today we’re joined by Hana Li. Hana is an exciting first for Asexual Artists: she’s a burlesque dancer. She specializes in nerdlesque and queerlesque, as you’ll soon read. Hana has written on her blog a couple times about how asexuality factors into her art. Aside from burlesque dancing, Hana also participates in drag performing. She has so much passion for her art and I learned quite a bit reading this interview, as I’m sure many will. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Black Glasses Hana Li photographed by Brandy Lynne Photography

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am burlesque dancer. For those of you who don’t know what it is, burlesque is striptease for a broad audience rather than one individual tipping.  It often has elaborate costumes and a storytelling element.  My specialty is nerdlesque, a sub-genre that references pop culture and fandom, and queerlesque, burlesque from a queer POV.

I also perform drag as Tony Fo-Hawk.  He’s my failed self-cloning experience since my tagline is “lab teched my way through striptease school.”

What inspires you?

As a burlesque dancer, I’m inspired by my fellow Asian performers, past and present.  We are often out of control of our bodies and sexuality with our culture wanting us to be modest and reserved while Western media depicts us a exotic flowers and dragon ladies.  Learning about the dancers in Chinatown’s Forbidden City and about my contemporaries gave me the courage to start performing.  I’m also inspired by good stories, characters I connect with, music that makes me want to move, and action sports.  I’m an X Games fanatic and the “go big or go home” attitude that the athletes live by push me to always give 110% and take risks.

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

In my adolescent years, I was drawn to sensual forms of dance.  I was actually a belly dancer first, but when I got my own place, there weren’t any classes near me.   Before my partner moved in, I took classes at a studio near his apartment, and that was where I decided to try burlesque.  At that time, I had seen performances at a show and was really inspired by the confidence of the dancers.  The teacher, Ginger Valentine, later moved to the Ruby Room, a burlesque studio that I could get to.  By then I had seen some shows sand was getting interested in the history of burlesque so I signed up.  I never intended to be a performer, but the community was so welcoming and the teachers at the Ruby Room were so encouraging that I got sucked in.

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Hana Li photographed by JD Morgan

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 really have something in all my acts, but I have what I call “ace pride” socks that have made a couple of appearances.   I wore one in my solo debut act since that performance was supposed to embody me.  Then I decided to add them into my gender-bending Tuxedo Mask number for the Texas Queerlesque Festival as a statement that we do belong in the queer community.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Stay true to yourself while remaining open to change.  It’s easy to get caught up in doing what sells best, but you have to believe in what you do.  Although I studied classic burlesque, inspiration pointed me in the direction of nerdlesque.  I fought that label since nerdlesque wasn’t too popular, but I figured out how to incorporate my classic bump and grind skills with nerdy themes.  The same happened with drag.  I figured doing queerlesque was enough, but one day it wasn’t, and I decided to hand over some routine ideas to my drag self.

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O-Ren Ishii Hana Li photographed by Miracle Bennett

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m grey-asexual.  I’m heteroromantic, but my aesthetic attractions are primarily towards women and androgynous individuals.   Aesthetic attraction plays an equally important role in my identity, as I feel that’s what shifts me from being strictly ace to somewhere in the grey area near ace.   It’s hard to explain so I tend to tell people I’m a “genderqueer grey-a”.  I do wish there was more conversations about all the forms of attraction, not just sexual and romantic.

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

People don’t think that I can be ace and a burlesque dancer because in their minds, burlesque is sexual. Depending on the situation, I’ll either wave them off or educate them about the difference between “sexy” and “sexual”.  An on-line conversation, plus some encouragement in a burlesque social justice forum, led to me writing my thoughts out in this blog post: http://hanaliburlesque.blogspot.com/2016/02/burlesque-for-me-is-not-about-sex.html

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

The number one is that aces don’t have a libido or engage in intercourse.  For a while, I bought into the idea that I was “too horny” to be asexual.

I do have to bring up another misconception I frequently encounter: that my grey-asexuality is the result of either my day job or my culture.  Both make me go WTF?! because they lump me into a stereotype, and it’s actually kind of offensive.  I did have a conservative upbringing, and I suspect that at least one of my parents is ace (unfortunately I don’t have the vocab in Mandarin to talk to them), but that doesn’t mean Asians are asexual.  Likewise, working in science doesn’t make me ace, just like doing burlesque doesn’t make me sexual.

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

Know that there isn’t a simple definition.  Yes we say “lack of sexual attraction” to make the conversation easier, but there’s an entire spectrum and sometimes exceptions happen. I’ve known lesbians who became attracted to a man and pansexuals who don’t love all orientations.  You don’t have to have a check list to fit into an orientation, and you shouldn’t let people try to make you feel like you don’t belong.  Sometimes I still wonder if I’m “queer” enough even though I perform and produce queerlesque shows.  It’s important to recognize your privilege, but not at the cost of denying your identity.

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

I blog about my shows and experiences here: http://hanaliburlesque.blogspot.com/

You can learn about upcoming appearances and see performance (and cosplay) photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr:

https://www.facebook.com/hanaliburlesque
https://www.instagram.com/hanaliburlesque/
http://hanaliburlesque.tumblr.com/

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

Interview: Mary

Today we’re joined by Mary.  Mary is an exceptionally talented fanartist.  She draws various characters from different fandoms.  Her attention to detail is absolutely amazing and the colors are quite eye-catching.  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 mostly fan art for various things, like Homestuck and the Shadowhunter Chronicles. I draw in pencil and color my pictures digitally.

What inspires you?

Well, inspiration can be a bit of a problem for me. Sometimes I go through month-long periods where I can’t think of a single thing. Eventually, I’ll be reading a book or hearing about a concept and thinking, “Hey! This would be fun to draw.” My sister has great ideas for drawing (she’s a writer), so I ask her for advice sometimes.

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

At some level, I’ve always loved art. When I was little, I liked making my own paper dolls and building houses for them out of cardboard. I wasn’t particularly GOOD at drawing, though, until about a year ago. At the time, I was into painting and poetry, but I wasn’t really skilled with words or paints. I saw a tutorial on Tumblr about how to draw arms and legs, and I started looking up more anatomy tutorials. I soon found myself drawing in the margins of my notebooks! Over many months, I developed my own art style and started posting my work online.

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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 actually haven’t thought about that. I don’t have one now, but I’ll think about it for future drawings!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would say that you’re not instantly going to get better. Art may seem hard at times, but don’t tell yourself that you just don’t have enough “natural talent”. No one starts out good at anything, but with a little bit of effort, time, and practice, you can be great. 🙂

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m definitely asexual, and possibly aromantic or demiromantic, too. I’ve never really had a crush on anyone before, so I’m not sure.

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

In my field, not really. I’m not a professional artist, so I can’t speak for everyone in this field. In day to day life, yes. I’ve never “come out” as asexual before, but I have tried to make it clear to my family and friends that I’m not interested in dating anyone. My mom is probably the most okay with the fact that I may not get married or have kids, but even she  jokes about setting me up with one of my friends, and my dad is basically convinced every time I make a male friend that I’ll end up dating him. I generally brush off these comments and correct people, but it doesn’t always work.

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

Probably either that a romantic/sexual relationship is a necessary part of life, that asexuals just don’t know what they’re looking for yet, or that we’re all prudish or childish.

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

You know yourself better than anyone else, so only you can decide how you identify. Also, to anyone who’s been told “it’s just a phase,” it may be or it may not. Either way, it’s okay to change labels, keep the same one, or not use any at all. This doesn’t make your experiences and identity any less valid.

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

My tumblr URL is quietdoodling, and my art tag is marysdoodles. I also have a Twitter, but that’s a little more personal and I don’t feel comfortable sharing it publicly. If you want to contact me, whether it’s an art prompt, sharing some of your work with me, or just stopping by to talk, feel free to send me an ask! My box is always open, and I love receiving even anonymous messages

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

Interview: Oliver

Today we’re joined by Oliver.  Oliver is an incredibly talented visual artist who also identifies as aro-ace. He is incredibly passionate about his art and it really shows in his work.  My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WARNING: The 2nd to the last image in this interview could potentially be triggering and/or NSFW.

Kurokaga
Kurokaga

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I started drawing when I was really young. I lived in an incredibly small town in the middle of nowhere, so entertaining oneself was a survival skill. The TV was not utilized often, but I was allowed to us MS paint on our bulky 1990’s computer. Drawing, since my discovery of it, has always been an important survival skill for me.

My art, within the last several years, features carefully picked colors and symbols to convey meaning. Generally, my art’s symbolism and color palettes are confusing, or allow for many interpretations. That is less intentional, and more a cause of my own conflicting thoughts. It is a visual record of who I was, am, and will be. I can look at any one of my drawings and remember what the air smelled like when I drew it, who was around me, the weather, what I was wearing. It is a powerful thing and an integral part of my being.

What inspires you?

Life! I love life. When it’s ugly and dirty, when it’s beautiful and bright. It all inspires me. Though, what truly spurs my hands into motion is a sense of need. I like to write, draw, create things for a purpose, to be something useful to other people. Or sometimes I just want to make something that is useful to myself. Though, I’m always surprised by how many people benefit from something I created only for my own satisfaction.

Manhou Shounen Harper
Manhou Shounen Harper

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

I don’t think I ever did want to be an artist, I was just born one. I don’t believe I ever said “I want to be an artist.” I said “I am an artist.”

My thoughts and feelings bottle themselves up, I’m not good at releasing this kind of tension. So you could say my interest in drawing was sparked by a need for catharsis. I experience an inexplicable feeling of relief and peace when finishing a piece, or even looking at it years after the fact. My drawing instructor in high school always told us, “Art is a gift you give to yourself that no one can take away.”

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?

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t do it for anyone but yourself. Do it because it makes you feel good. Practice, practice, and practice some more, and if you cry because you’ve erased a hole through your cheap printer paper, well you better scream too because that sucks.

Honestly all of my best pieces, the ones I am most proud of, came about when I was just trying to do a warm up doodle. Try to find your rhythm and enjoy what you do.

Quantrell
Quantrell

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a quoiromantic asexual, I also happen to be trans masculine.

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

Yes, I suppose I have. Though what I’ve seen, or been involved in, most of it didn’t require a reaction. It’s all microaggressions that don’t bother you until it’s midnight and you can’t sleep because the poem you wrote three years ago about asexuality for valentine’s day was stapled with too many responses of “slut shaming” and “hateful.”

There are some people who are not worth reasoning with, they are only present in your life to be contrary. They do not care what you have to say, so you should perpetuate the same attitude. Celebrate yourself and let their anger fuel your self-love.

Trans Magical
Trans Magical

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

Asexuals, aromantics in particular, are not interested in relationships! Please friend, no one can live alone. I am searching for my corner of love in this world just like everyone else, do not be fooled just because the type of love I feel is different from your own.

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

I struggled a lot with coming to terms with my asexuality, actually. Realizing my transness was not nearly as difficult as accepting my asexuality and aromanticism. Being trans, oppression aside, was just moving from one social box to another. Asexuality, however, was breaking the box and willfully existing in white space. It was scary, but because I no longer had to live inside boxes, I found peace with my less masculine interests and settled a crumbling foundation inside of me.

If I have any advice for asexuals or questioning individuals, it would be; don’t ever settle. Even if it’s scary, even if it’s painful. Don’t settle. You’ll thank yourself for it later.

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

sirotterpup.tumblr.com/tagged/things_i_drew

This is my drawing tag, you will also find links to my other works (writing, costumes, etc) in my blog’s side bar.

Aoba Bride
Aoba Bride

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

Interview: Elliot Cooper

Today we’re joined by Elliot Cooper.  Elliot is an incredibly talented writer who is currently studying contemporary performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  He’s studying filmic, photographic, and textual art through the medium of performative technology.  Judging from his enthusiasm, Elliot has an amazing future ahead of him.  My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

This is a big question- but I’ll give it a shot.

My background is theatre mostly, I have been in various community arts plays and movement pieces. However, that is not my current praxis.

Since I got involved with contemporary art I have gone on to study Contemporary Performance Practise, which is nothing at all to do with traditional theatre. Although people write, and perform – we do not write plays, there is no narrative per se – there is just the hope that through our work we can communicate an experience to the audience in an accessible manner. But you know, what does that actually entail? Well, for me it means a lot of textual work as well as visual work through photography or technological interaction. A performance I am in the midst of planning currently takes place entirely in a PC based game played by the audience, with the communication being the fact that the experiences the character has gone through are experiences that I myself have gone through. Previous performances of mine have involved installing myself in a space, and repetitively performing an action for durational – or site specific work such as movement pieces that interact with a nearby stone circle in sight hill, Glasgow.

What inspires you?

My inspiration is basically the drive to communicate, as an autistic individual I find it very difficult to communicate exactly what I want to say to people IRL. So, my practise very deliberately divorces me from that interaction and allows me to create photographs, spaces, or interactive games or exhibits that communicate in ways that are not just talking. Or when they are talking, the communication is not the subject of the text, the communication becomes something that is more of the feeling that the audience get off the speech as opposed to the actual speech itself.

The text is also apparently quite funny, so there is a fair bit of use of humour to communicate darker principles or more complex ideas. Beyond my own personal communication I also want to communicate things about science or coding or philosophy – these are much more systemic concepts that are not anything to do with the creative industries. I can see connections between them – both art and science examine life, they just use differing linguistics to do so. I fail to see why these can’t be married up, and you can have art that talks about science or science that is seen as beautiful/emotionally affecting. I have a massive love for logic, and I have read theorems that have given me shivers down my spine, or physics theories that feel like looking into the Grand Canyon. I would love if I could communicate that with others.

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

Joseph Bueys (an aktion artist) says that every human being is an artist. I would maintain this to be true, especially with the fact we live in the Information Age. Previous to this, sure we were in charge of our own aesthetic – but that stretched to clothes and speech. Now, our aesthetic is clothes, speech, text, video, photos, what we like and dislike and a thousand other packets of data that we put out into the world. Your blog is an artistic practise, as is mine – even when you don’t care and reblog that picture of that cat you really like – well that is still a statement. It is a statement concerning you particular aesthetic of cat, and your wider adherence to the cultural norms of the Internet.

I always wanted to be a scientist, and I am a scientist (at least I will be formally when I get my other degree). I draw no difference between scientist and artist except language, so – the actual ‘I want to be an artist’ never arose with me. Because I will always be an artist, as will everyone else.

The reason I ended up in the creative industries though – in this particular weird part of the creative industries- was actually, if I trace it back, from therapy. I was placed in theatre as a form of social therapy, to teach me how to react, how to look someone in the eyes (how to pretend to do that) how to present as a normative human being etc. And, well – it kind of failed. I did not learn to be normal, hence could not progress in traditional theatre. So I looked to contemporary art, which holds politics far to the left of the traditional establishment. So I though I would go get qualified in it, so I turned up to my current place of study (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) and auditioned (with a song about plumbing and social isolation) and got in.

I have spent the last year immersed in contemporary art specifically – and I have come out knowing I am a contemporary artist (as well as science).

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 think my signature is just general awkwardness.

But if you would prefer the artist answer – my signature is monologues that sound like ‘Steve Jobs channelling Bill Nye on crack’ – and the ability to rephrase things about the world that were previously taken as something else. Another artist I work alongside says my signature is being short and sarcastic,

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do stuff. Even if you think it is crap, just do stuff. Go make public art, go perform on the street or build a sculpture in your back garden. Perform a monologue on the train, go busk, do whatever. Go out into the world and show them your chosen art form – someone will like it, even if you don’t like it yourself.

And remember the product at the end is the not the most important thing, the most important thing is the process you as artist go on – if you can express that in your work- if you can learn from it and create with that knowledge – then your work will be awesome.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual, sex indifferent. I have a sexual partner, this has kind of very much drilled it home to me that I do not do sexual attraction and I am not all that into sex.

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

A lot of the work coming from contemporary artists of my generation is incredibly sexual, so yes I find prejudice. People assume that the lack of sexuality in my work means I am a closeted gay guy, or that I am not comfortable with myself, or I do not want to be vulnerable in the space.

In all honesty, it is not in my head to make work exploring sex – so why would I?

I handle it by just being really open about my orientation, and asserting it when needs call for it.

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

That guys can’t be asexual, and if you are then you are autistic or abused.

As an autistic abuse survivor I just tend to argue about the ideas of choice, and why exactly autistic abused individuals exist who are not ace and why exactly I happen to be one and be totally functional considering that they are implying a sexuality is only present with dysfunction (doubtful NTs are viewing autism or abused as functional.)

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

Research. Read up – and continue to do so when you feel bad. It is what helps me.

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

My blog – coopahlawkz.tumblr.com

As for actually coming to see some work, well you’d have to be in Scotland at this moment in my career. Or engage with a few online performances I am thinking of setting up. ‘

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

Interview: Daeris

Today we’re joined by Daeris.  Daeris is an incredibly talented digital artist and a gaming YouTuber.  Their goal is to be a game designer and if their art is anything to go by, that goal is easily achievable.  Expect to see a lot more from Daeris in the future.  My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a digital artist and a gaming YouTuber. I honestly don’t know how to describe my digital art. It’s sort of realistic with some anime/cartoon elements thrown in. I still consider myself a beginner so I’m nowhere near as good as I want to be, but I’m improving a lot! My ultimate goal is to be a game designer. Specifically a level or character designer.

I also make your typical, cliche Let’s Play videos on YouTube! I don’t have a specific genre of game I stick to, I usually play whatever I feel like playing, but the horror genre comes up a lot. I’m currently doing a playthrough of Outlast, as was voted on by some of my viewers. As far as style of commentary, I try to get immersed into the game and give it the respect that it deserves, so it’s sort of serious with a few silly/bad jokes thrown in. Oh, and puns. Always the puns. But other than that I’d say my full playthroughs, at least, are rather chill.

What inspires you?

I get inspired by quite a few things.

Digital art I get inspired by random things I see in my everyday life, TV shows, movies, music, books, you name it. Though the thing that inspires me the most would be art from other artists, especially my “art-senpais”. Seeing other people’s art that is better than mine inspires me to get better at my own art.

My YouTube, on the other hand, has more of a personal inspiration to it. If you watch other YouTubers you’ve probably seen at one point or another that they tend to get messages from people saying they’ve saved their life and such. This strikes a chord with me as I, myself, suffer from depression and anxiety and watching other people play and enjoy games has helped me through many rough days and because of that I want to be able to do the same for others as well. I’m not saying I feel like I have to be super popular in order to help, cause I don’t want to be all that popular, but my inspiration to make videos comes from the hope that maybe someone going through a rough time will somehow stumble across my videos and maybe enjoy it enough to forget their troubles, if even for a second. That even if all my videos produce is a small chuckle, then I feel like I’ve accomplished my goal.

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

As a kid I’ve always loved drawing and generally anything considered an art. I drew your usual horses, cats, wolves etc. up until middle school. I don’t remember why I stopped drawing once I got to middle school, I think it was because I got tired of everyone asking me to draw them something. Then when I was in high school I started trying out digital art. With a mouse. Yeah that was a time in my life. About a year or two ago I got my first tablet and well, here we are. If I remember correctly, yes I’ve always wanted to be some sort of an artist.

I got interested in doing YouTube like I said above, by enjoying other people’s playthroughs and being inspired to entertain and help people myself.

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 don’t think I have much of a signature in my digital art. I guess eyes are a consistent thing I put a lot of effort into. Because for me, eyes hold a lot of information about a person and that’s something I find important to try to convey in my art.

I guess a sort of signature I have in my YouTube videos would be random, short “post-commentaries” of text that I edit in every now and then that are like a half-second long. For example, in my Outlast playthrough I predicted that the game was going to implement the push carts into chase scenes which later turned out to be true, so I edited in “yes” after I made my prediction.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t give up. People are going to try to do anything they can to try to tear you down. Don’t you dare let them. It’s tough to start out in anything, especially art forms, so random negative comments are going to hurt, but if you enjoy doing what you’re doing don’t let anyone stop you because one day it will all pay off.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Grey-Polyromantic/Quiroromantic Asexual and I also identify as Agender.
I’m still trying to figure out my romantic orientation.

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

In my field, no, not yet, but in real life yes, from both friends and family not believing that my identity is real. I handle it by either cutting that person from my life or just shrugging it off with sarcastic comments, depending on the severity of their ignorance.

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

We are plants, lol. That and that we can’t love. Both of which are untrue, unless of course you happen to be plantkin with a lack of the chemicals needed to feel love, in which case, you go plant-buddy!

witchdoctorWEB

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

I have to say, living in a society that revolves around and worships sex is incredibly difficult especially if you are unconfident of your orientation. Just remember you do not need a sexual or romantic relationship in order to be fulfilled in life, no matter what society says. All you need to be happy is whatever makes you happy.

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

You can find my art here:

-DeviantART: http://tacomasky.deviantart.com/

-Tumblr: http://captaindaeris.tumblr.com/ (this is also my personal tumblr so if you just want my art, then I recommend my DA. I try not to post porn, gore, horror, etc, but if for whatever reason I do, I usually tag it. This is also where I post updates about my YouTube.)

And you can find my videos here:

YouTube Channel (warning: I do curse in my videos) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7e5w5fToDP-5L_zAiegKOg

AnthromorphWolfWEB

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

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.