Interview: Embo

Today we’re joined by Embo. Embo is a phenomenal artist who specializes in cross stitch. She has recently cross stitched a number of Pride badges, which are absolutely beautiful. Embo also does some embroidery and she has recently started dabbling in drawing as well. It’s clear she’s a driven and passionate artist who loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Ace
Ace

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I mostly cross stitch, sometimes embroider, and occasionally draw. Cross stitching is my main art though. I favour working on smaller pieces, and recently I’ve spent most of my time making small Pride pieces.

As for drawing, I’ve taken up doodling fan art of Mass Effect with the intention of writing fan fic in the future.

What inspires you?

I follow many talented people on Tumblr, and seeing their work inspires me greatly! If I see someone has created a wonderful piece of art, I find it spurs me into action and I will immediately start trying to create something of my own. Drawing is more accessible for me, but I can’t resist taking on new cross stitch projects, to the detriment of older forgotten WIPs!

Bookmark
Bookmark

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

Admittedly my reasons for getting interested into cross stitch aren’t very inspiring. I kept seeing subversive cross stitch popping up online and thought it was really funny and wanted to get into that. As soon as I started though, I realised that cross stitch is an amazing craft, really fun, and especially good for stress relief! And to this day, I’ve only produced one piece of subversive cross stitch haha.

I started as a fan artist when I was younger, but found that no matter how hard I tried, I was never satisfied with my drawings. Cross stitch, however, has always been really satisfying.

Butterfly
Butterfly

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?

To be honest, not really. I still haven’t gotten into the habit of signing my cross stitch pieces, which is something I really ought to get into doing. I used to sign my drawings, but I dropped the habit some years ago when I stopped being happy with what I was making.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t get bogged down in getting lots of Likes on social media. Be proud of what you’re making, and don’t stress about what other people think.

Hoop
Hoop

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Somewhere between ace and demisexual. Possibly panromantic and demiromantic too, but I’m still figuring that part out.

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

The worst I’ve encountered was coming out to a family member and being told that I just hadn’t met the right person yet. This was frustrating, as talking about my asexuality has always been hard in the first place, and I felt like I was being shut down. In response, I just never brought it up with them again. Nowadays I rarely come out, unless it’s necessary for the situation. This… is not a great way to be. I shouldn’t have to feel the need to hide this aspect of myself, but the fear of prejudice tends to take me over a lot. I’ve also had to quit visiting some “LGBT-friendly” websites outright, because the audience was completely acephobic. I realised that I just wasn’t welcome there, which was a shame because I otherwise enjoyed the site. I… was angry and sad for days afterwards. It’s not an easy thing to process.

Pride Badges
Pride Badges

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

That we’re all a bunch of prudes. Or that we’re just trying to make ourselves out to be special for something that isn’t even a thing. I also worry that, because I’m in a relationship, people think I’m not ace anymore which… is not how that works at all.

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

Don’t be afraid to embrace yourself! Labels can be greatly helpful, but use them carefully- don’t cling to them completely. You’re 100% valid in who are, and don’t let anyone take that from you. And don’t worry if you find your labels change over time. Mine did, and I had nobody to talk to about it at the time, but don’t worry if that happens to you, it does not make you any less valid!

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

I post cross stitch and embroidery at http://stickyfigs.tumblr.com/ and doodlings at https://potatopotholeakastickyfigs.tumblr.com/.

Steven
Steven

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

Interview: Hampermarketplace

Today we’re joined by Hampermarketplace, who also goes by Sophie. Sophie is a phenomenal visual artist and fanartist. For visual art, they mostly do digital illustration, both original work and fanart, They also do some photography as a hobby. Aside from that, Sophie also cosplays and writes fanfiction. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and passionate artist as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

hampermarketplace homestuck collage
Homestuck Collage

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Sure thing! I’m mostly a digital artist, though I don’t know if “drawing” or “painting” describes best what I do, but in any case, I have a lot of fun doing it. I draw a lot of Homestuck, (I’m unfortunately rather obsessed with it—and it’s easy to share online), but I also do original work, when the inspiration strikes. Since, when it comes to hobbies, I’m very much a jack of all trades, I’ve done writing (I once wrote a 40k fanfic, several one-shots, and began some original stories I’m probably never going to finish, I’ve got a word doc somewhere full of cringy poetry), cosplay (once again Homestuck—so basically, I’m just really good at putting on grey facepaint), and photography (I take my iPhone and try to take pretty pictures I then post on Instagram so it’s not just all filled with selfies).

Basically, I just like to create stuff, no matter the medium.

What inspires you?

You mean, apart from Homestuck? I’d say my life. Ok, I know that’s vague, but I haven’t quite got a more specific muse. There is a lot to show and tell about the subtleties of everyday life, the things I see, hear, or feel. I’m ADHD, so perhaps trying to put my constant zoning out to good use is my main inspiration after all. I think sunsets are good, too. They’ve got lots of pretty colors, there’s nothing like a rainy autumn sunset to get a good photoshoot full of pinks. The city inspires me, too. The sort of aesthetics born of the layered lives of so many people, written in the concrete and the weed peeking through it, the graffiti’s, the decaying factories and the shiny skyscrapers. In painting, I draw people a lot, too. I think it’s because the figure is so evocative. I like the humanity, the feelings, the fleeting joys and pains of life, and so I try to capture them whenever I’m bored enough. It’s cheesy, but it’s true.

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

Oh boy. Well, I’ve always hung around people who drew, and the envy that I felt at their cool talents pushed me to try my hand at it. Around maybe 11 or 12, I got into manga and anime, and the thing with those, is that they make the human figure very appealing, and yet very simple-looking to draw, for someone who is just starting out. I’ve been a casual artist ever since my early teens, and recently, when I graduated high school and all my friends entered art programs, I started to realize just how much I didn’t know about art, and that’s really what helped me get much better really fast. Just a year ago, I didn’t draw half as well as I do now, because now I draw almost every day, pay attention to the world and put a lot more effort in studying the theory of art than I ever did in any of my school classes, ever.

I’m still in college, and I’m not planning on making a career out of my art, but I’ve still got some ambitions to reach a point where I can paint and draw at a professional level, for myself.

Maybe one day I’ll write an actual book or make money from my art—I’ve been offered to be an assistant photographer once, when I showed my Instagram feed to the woman whom we had hired to take our family portraits, but it didn’t work out. In the end, I take opportunities as they go. Art is just one of the things for which I have potential and interest, it’s a refuge, and I don’t want to ruin that by forcing it into a business perspective.

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

Well, I’m known on most platforms (Instagram, deviantart, tumblr—although only for Homestuck in the last one) as hampermarketplace, and I sign my digital paintings (some of them—I often forget) as HMP. By now, it’s how I sign pretty much all of my artwork. Often, I won’t put it in the lower corner, but try to include it within the drawing, if there is writing somewhere, graffiti or posters in the background. It’s my thing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You’re going to feel bad sometimes, like you can’t quite illustrate what you want, or like everyone is better than you. It’s important to learn to use that dissatisfaction as motivation, not as a deterrent. The process of improving is an adventure, to be taken one step at a time, so awaken your inner Moana or whatever, and sing about wanting to know how far you’ll go. When you’re stalling, and nothing works, push through by going back to your basics, and putting less pressure on yourself. Take a chill pill. Go watch some Bob Ross. It’s ok to just doodle for 15 minutes sometimes, you’ve got to make art time a time to meditate, to enjoy yourself. If you do it right, it won’t feel like a chore (too much—I can’t make any promises if you decide to make a living out of it). One day you’ll look back and be amazed by how far you’ve come.

montage instagram
Montage

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual, low libido but not sex repulsed per se, and somewhere in the grey areas of romance, probably demi, although I still think of myself as a lesbian because I’ve always had a strong aesthetic attraction to women, and if I were to fall in love, I feel like it would be with a woman, or someone woman-aligned. I identify *mostly* as a woman, although I won’t deny to some gender fluidity as well.

Usually, the womanlier I feel, the gayer I get, then on some days I’m just what is gender and what is love, I want to blog about cats. My main on Tumblr is like 75% cats, 20% beautiful women and 5% ace positivity. I think that sums it up pretty well.

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

The most kind of ace prejudice or ignorance I’ve personally encountered is from myself. I’m usually quite down-low about it, I’ve come out a couple of times, but not to everyone, and I’m pretty sure most people going through my art aren’t even aware of my sexuality—I come off quite gay in real life. Since I don’t do commercial work, I can easily surround myself with people who are OK with my orientation, and anyway, I live in some of the most progressive places, where no one would openly challenge you on stuff like that, even if they disagreed with it. I’m lucky in that regard. I’m always afraid that people will still hold subconscious prejudice towards me, though, I don’t think I’m paranoid, but I need to get over it if I want to be myself, and work towards deconstructing those prejudices. When I’ve actually come out, I’ve been met mostly with love and acceptance—just once a bit of confusion. Also, once I came out to a sex-loving vegan by saying “I don’t like sex, but I do like ice cream” and she just told me “You go girl! Live your best life!” and anyway, she gets it.

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

I think this one is not an explicit, but an implicit misconception that even well-meaning people will hold, and that is this idea that aces don’t like to talk about sex, or be exposed to sexuality, and that the goal of asexual activism is to make a world where it’s possible to ignore the fact that sex and romance exists. I mean, some aces may be uncomfortable with discussions about sex, or don’t want to be exposed to explicit sexual content, but truly, anyone may have these holdups regardless of sexuality. The basics principles of consent, human decency and content warnings should be plenty to cover that. In my experience, most aces I’ve met are more than eager to talk about sex and the different types of attractions, so long as they are allowed to openly share their experiences without feeling like outcasts or weirdos. Unless they tell you otherwise, it should be perfectly fine to share your latest thirst with your friend who came out to you as ace. You don’t have to stop being yourself, and most asexuals don’t want to be treated like little kids with bleeding hearts that can’t handle the sexiness, neither do they want you to stop being yourself: they just want to be allowed to be themselves as well.

This is pretty abstract, I’m not sure if I’m making sense, but I feel like this needs to be said more. Asexuality doesn’t exist within queerness as a form of “Don’t force sex on me”, because, honestly, sex shouldn’t be forced on anyone, but rather as a force of “It’s OK to live in accordance to how you feel, regardless of social norms or whether or not it aligns with the majority around you,” because that represents much better the aroace community as I’ve known it: diverse, open, with a wide range of worldviews and experiences, just wanting to live their truth.

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

It’s not easy to find out who you are. Being asexual is challenging, because it’s probably even only one part of the identities you’re going to have to cope with—asexuality doesn’t mean you won’t have to deal with the prejudice of being gay, bi or trans—but it’s also challenging in and of itself. You’re going to have to deal with conflicting cultural ideals about chastity, lust, marriage and family, with a world that you’ll never quite understand despite your best efforts to do so, and which probably won’t even try to understand you. You’ll fidget in your psychology or sexuality class, not quite capable of explaining how you know for a fact the textbook is wrong without sounding like you’ve spent way too much time on Tumblr. You’ll smile, glad, at queer representation in the media, not quite daring to ask for some yourself—afraid it’ll take away some gay or trans kid’s chance to see themselves on screen. You’ll feel like you don’t exist, like there are no historical figures or public personalities who can bear your flag in your name, you’ll doubt yourself.

Don’t. There is nothing to doubt about it, there is nothing to be ashamed about. You’re on the frontline of progress, of our growing understanding of love and sexuality, as a society. Asexual people have always been there—the world just didn’t have a box to place them in until recently. Before that, we erred like bohemians among dandies and spinsters, bisexuals, pilgrims and nuns. But today, there are words for it, for asexuality, for aromanticism, for all the maybes and in-betweens. We are many, more than you would think, and we are solidary—to one another, and to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people, and to all other minorities, and it is our strength. Through sharing our experiences, through creating new words to define how we feel, we help people from all walks of life define themselves. So maybe, really, we’re something like great.

You can be proud.

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

My main blog on Tumblr is chaoticintellectual, though, like mentioned previously, it’s mostly  filled with cats and pretty women.

I have a Homestuck blog where I post art frequently, called Hampermarketplace, for all the filthy Homestucks out there

I write on AO3 under the name miki_and_company

Hampermarketplace is also my DeviantArt, though I don’t post much on there, but I do show my original art there more,

And finally, my Instagram, still hampermarketplace, where I post a lot of my photography.

My inboxes are open to talk, I’m quite friendly and impishly verbose, however I’ll be gone and inactive for most of the summer, sadly, but I’ll be back without question next fall.

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

Interview: Iranka

Today we’re joined by Iranka. Iranka is a phenomenal artist who does a bit of everything. While art is mainly a hobby, Iranka has a variety of talents that she enjoys using for her creative pursuits. She does a lot of visual art, mostly drawing and painting. She depicts a variety of subjects, both fanworks and original ones. When she’s not doing visual art, Iranka enjoys playing music or writing. 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.

_DSC_0336 (1) edit2 copy

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do a little of a lot of things. Mainly, I paint and draw fanart, original characters, or real life people or things such as flowers and scenery. I’m also a pianist and flautist, and I also like to write – particularly short stories or just creating characters/worlds.

What inspires you?

It could be anything really, often a film I have seen, other artists, or nature.

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

I can’t remember how I got interested in drawing actually, I just know I’ve been drawing for fun since I can remember. As for music, I got jealous when my sister was learning piano so I wanted to learn too. I haven’t always wanted to be an artist, and I still am not quite sure what I want to do, but I really enjoy doing it. I also really love the idea that something I create could touch someone or make something happy, so that’s what I aspire to do. I think that realisation hit me while watching some Studio Ghibli movies, because they’re so beautiful and explore such amazing and important themes. So yeah, although art has mostly just been a hobby to me, if I could do anything it would be that.

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

No, I don’t have one.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep trying! The more you do it, the better you will get, so don’t give up! It’s okay if you get a block sometimes and can’t seem to create anything; it will pass. Some of your art will be bad too, and that’s okay too, because no one has to see the bad stuff, you just learn and improve from it. No one is perfect on their first try.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am definitely asexual but I’m still not 100% certain. At the moment I’d say I am pan/demi romantic asexual.

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

Personally I haven’t experienced any prejudice. I’ve had the odd few people not believe me, or tell me I “just haven’t found the right guy yet”. One person said they thought I can’t be asexual because I “dress like a girl.” Yet to understand how that relates to my sexuality but yeah

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

That we are all prudes, all hate sex, that we just haven’t found “the one”, or that asexuality means you just don’t want sex. Oh, and that asexuals are just “special snowflakes on Tumblr” or something.

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

It’s okay. There are lots of people either online or in real life who could help you figure out your orientation or come to terms with it. I found out I was asexual only after researching stuff online and finding other asexual people’s stories that I could relate to a lot. Forums like AVEN can be helpful. Also, know that you don’t HAVE to come out if you think doing so would hurt you, like if you know your parents are against the LGBT+ community for example.

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

I am at iranka on Tumblr, and at iranka.art on Instagram 🙂

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

Interview: Mady O.

Today we’re joined by Mady O. Mady is a wonderful aspiring author who specializes in writing short stories, short novels, and plays. Occasionally she dabbles in poetry, but narrative forms are where her heart lies. When she’s not writing, Mady enjoys doing a number of other creative activities. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist with a bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a currently unpublished writer. For the most part I like writing short novels / stories and sometimes fanfiction, but recently I’ve been writing plays (because my literature teacher really liked a play of mine and asked me to write more). Sometimes I write poetry, but I never put as much heart into my poems as I do my novels and plays.

I do dabble in other things like cosplay, doodling, and origami. Dancing is also fun, but I am in no way good at it.

What inspires you?

Oh man, a lot of different things, but usually songs and paintings. I love listening to music, and I think lyrics are an important part of the experience. At times I hear a line or two of a song and immediately start thinking of a scenario. The same goes for those beautiful painted fantasy posters. They’re always so intricate and busy, yet flowing and well balanced. It’s fun to think of what might of happened to create such a pretty scene. I also like to take my different scenarios and mix them together to make a story.

Most other things I get inspiration from are other arts like books, movies, shows, comics, podcasts, etc. But I also like to take a bit from real life. Like a couple of my characters are like a couple of my friends in some ways. Or, in one case, an event happened to a family member, which helped inspire me to write a story for them.

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

I don’t know what got me interested, but for as long as I can remember I loved to write.  I’ve been told (but I’m not sure how true it is) that I’ve been writing since I was two. Although those first stories were scribbles on a paper that I would show to my mom. I would then tell her the story by translating the scribbles. Since then I have been slowly improving, and I still have a lot to learn.

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?

Ha ha yes I do. To honor my literature teacher, who has helped me rapidly improve my writing more than any other teacher, I have been putting an Easter egg in all my more professional works. It’s also a little in-joke with my friends.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Read good books and write! Write anything! Anywhere! Grab a notebook and describe your lawn. Or maybe write a poem about the silence of your home. Or the craziness of your grocery store. That one idea that’s been floating around in your head? Go write it! Then go read a good book and write it again. If the book is written well, then you will be learning from the author without fully knowing it. Some of my best teachers have been authors that lived long before I was born.

And never EVER stop writing.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a heteromatic asexual (with some currant suspicions that I could be demiromatic as well).

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

Thankfully no (but I wouldn’t be surprised if I did in the future). That’s probably because I am still in the slow process of coming out to those I’m close to. Also because I am just beginning to be known more professionally in my field.

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

I haven’t personally encountered much misconception. But a couple times I get the “you may not like it at first, but you’ll get used to it” idea. Which is a pretty dumb idea. It’s like trying to force you to like a color that you don’t like. It’s unnecessary and rude.

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

If you’re unsure, then take the time to think about it. There’s no rush, my fellow human. We’re all learning new things about ourselves every day. If you think you’re broken or too weird, you’re not. As you might have seen from this blog alone you are not the only one who feels this way. And if you feel nervous about coming out to everyone, then you and I are on the same boat. You’re not alone either.

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

Sadly I don’t have any official blog or website for my writing as of yet. But I do have a AO3 account for fanfiction. I’m a new member to the site so there’s not much at the moment, and I am still in the process of moving my older fics from the Fanfiction net account to the AO3 account. https://archiveofourown.org/users/JekkieFan/pseuds/JekkieFan

I also have a personal blog here on Tumblr were I reblog mostly a bunch of fandom things. Feel free to look at it if you’d like:  https://jekkiefan.tumblr.com/.

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

Interview: Holly

Today we’re joined by Holly. Holly is a wonderful writer who is currently working towards a biochem degree. In her free time, she runs a D&D campaign that involves a lot of writing and worldbuilding. They’re also working on a story podcast project, which she hopes to bring to fruition in the future. Holly is clearly a dedicated and talented hobbyist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

It’s something I use to distract a little bit from the real world, nothing too professional. I’m mostly interested in writing short stories, and I’m currently working on a fictional podcast series with one of my favourite people, and while we do have some scripts written up, it is going to take a while to put into production. While I’m making my way through university for a biochemistry B.Sc, most of my creative energy goes towards a lore-rich D&D campaign in a homebrew setting that I run for my very best friends. It’s difficult and long-form but it’s increased my social confidence, I’ve created some wonderful characters that I feel able to apply to different forms of writing, and it’s definitely given me more experience with storybuilding.

What inspires you?

Generally, looking at fictional stories and seeing what hasn’t been included, rather than what has. It’s satisfying to fill a gap and tell the stories of people who aren’t often looked at in popular media, i.e. neurodivergent characters, people with underrepresented gender identities and sexualities, people with disabilities, people of varying ethnic backgrounds. I’m aware that I can’t personally relate to some of the characters I write, so I do try and stay respectful and do a ton of research, ask people who know better than me, etc. Sometimes I do make characters that correspond to my own experiences with depression and severe social anxiety, and even the speech impediment I still have to manage – and the personal catharsis I get from that can be reward enough, even if I don’t do anything with the characters or works I create.

For the most part though, I tend to like interspersing mundane reality with absurd high fantasy or scifi concepts. Like a time traveler who uses their ability to cut in line before it forms, or a particularly finicky pit fiend who wants you to remove your shoes before entering its lair.

On another level, I’d say my friends inspire me on a day to day basis. Especially the person I’m working on this project with, whom I’ll call T. T has a fascinating mind and boundless creativity, and with her and K’s support, I can have days where I feel indestructible. My mum also tends to listen to whatever crazy plotlines I’ve come up with that day too, so I’d say she also plays a big part in my support network.

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

I always wanted to be an actress when I was growing up, but did a big ol’ switcharoo around college (not university, the British meaning of college), where I found an interest in biochemistry. I’d begun to feel directing and writing was more my thing by that point anyway, but didn’t have enough belief in myself to do it. I think what drew me back to creative writing alongside my STEM studies was the freedom I felt when I began this D&D campaign. Building the world, building the story, adapting to the unexpected antics of my players, it felt like when I was a kid throwing blankets and pretending they were fireballs, or picking up a stick and pretending it was a greatsword, having intricate sociopolitical plotlines with my Barbies, and all that grand stuff. I’d been doubting for a while the value of that kind of imagination, but gradually it became necessary to keep me sane during university. Now I appreciate silliness and the Rule of Cool way more than I do grimdark, gritty, realistic scenarios.

I write more often than not to just have fun. Sometimes it’s a scenario that I can’t stop thinking about and I have to write it down or it’ll keep bouncing around in my head, and other times it’s building a character that can help me feel less alone when I’m winding myself into a spiral about the simplest social situation. I write so that any potential readers can have fun too – and, if I’m lucky, find a character that they can carry about with them like I do.

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 usually include at least one of my NPCs from my campaign in almost everything I write – with a different name and/or species. This isn’t obvious unless you’re part of that group, though.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I have struggled with finding my voice because I thought I needed someone to address – like an audience or someone who wouldn’t reject me. But to hell with it. This isn’t a marketing strategy meeting, go ahead and shout into the void with your art until someone shouts back, if that’s what you’re after. Make the art for yourself. What’s actually stopping you?

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am ace demi-aro. I think. The ace part I’m certain about, but I’m still figuring out my romantic orientation. Demi fits for now.

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

Not in my field particularly, but I’ve been given the ‘you’re young’ and ‘you’ll find someone’ or ‘how can you not be attracted to anyone, is there something wrong with you?’ talk quite a few times by well-meaning friends or relatives. Usually this is met with an eyeroll, but it hasn’t held me back anywhere. I’ve experienced some anxiety about going to LGBTQIA events because of the whole ace inclusion debate I saw floating around at the time, but I’m fairly confident aces are more universally accepted than not, these days.

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

The idea that it means having no sex drive. Even people who are familiar with asexuality seem to fall into this trap a lot. Many non-ace people seem to have trouble separating the idea of having a libido or enjoying sex with sexual attraction. I guess I can understand where they’re coming from, but I don’t know how many times I’ve said the sentence: “Asexuality is literally just a lack of sexual attraction. It means I don’t look at a person and want to have sex with them. That’s it.”

Some people seem to get it after that explanation. Others don’t. Whaddya gonna do except raise awareness?

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

Finding out that you’re ace can be a confusing and deceptive road, simply because it’s harder to characterize a lack of something than it is to characterize a different something. I thought I was bi or pan for a long time in high school because I felt the same way about all genders (turns out? Not an uncommon experience for ace/aros), and many people still don’t even believe being ace is a thing. Protip: don’t listen to those people.

What I would say? If you don’t feel you fit neatly into the ace label, firstly remember that there is a wide spectrum of asexuality, and includes identities such as gray-ace or demi-ace, but secondly remember that you don’t have to assume it. Same goes for knowing your romantic orientation. This is not required of you. Honestly, this applies to any LGBTQIA identities – you are not required to know what label you are. Just listen to yourself and trust what yourself is saying, because you know better than everyone who you are.

You are still a ‘proper ace’ if you’re not sure what labels fit you, and you’re still a ‘proper ace’ if your orientation was due to past events, or if you think it might be temporary. It is not a life sentence. It is simply what fits you the most at the time, and sexuality can be fluid as heck.

Most importantly – you are welcome here. You are welcome in LGBTQIA. You’re always free to find one of us in the ace community and ask questions if you’re not sure where you fit or how you feel about your orientation.

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

Nowhere yet as I’ve still gotta get this degree under my belt before I take on any projects, but soon. Soon.

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

Interview: Starr Myers

Today we’re joined by Starr Myers, who also goes by iSpazzyKitty on Tumblr. Starr is a phenomenal visual artist who is currently working on a webcomic entitled Justice Roulette. Starr enjoys creating worlds and stories with her art. Her passion really shines through in this interview, as you’ll soon see. Starr’s enthusiasm is wonderful and she definitely has the heart of an artist. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw cartoons!  I started out using markers a lot, and got fairly decent with them, and as I learned more about digital stuff, I eventually ended up moving on to doing fully digital work (save for scanning in sketches sometimes).  I use a Wacom Bamboo Tablet and SAI (with a sprinkle of Photoshop 7.0).

I create stories and worlds with my characters, namely a webcomic called Justice Roulette, and other future concepts that I have yet to officially start writing.

JR Banner
“Justice Roulette” Banner

Also, while I do write stories as much as I draw, I’m gonna use “draw” as an easy umbrella term for me because it’s easier than typing “draw/write/make music/etc.”

What inspires you?

Sometimes the weirdest things can inspire me haha!  But notably dreams, other artists and writers, and my favorite media.  Steven Universe and is a huge inspiration to me for story-telling in general, A Certain Scientific Railgun was a huge inspiration for JR, and some of my friends as well as YouTubers like TheMysteriousMrEnter and The Nostalgia Critic have really helped me improve my ability to pick apart plots and put them back together in a stronger form, so to speak. ❤

Grem
Grem

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

I started drawing when I was about 7-8 years old, and I recall watching Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and Krypto the Super Dog.  I drew my first character inspired (design-wise) by Bendy from an episode of Foster’s, and gave him Superman(dog) powers.  His name was Nossy (pronounced “nosy” because I have two Rs in my name, therefore I thought having two Ss would be cool).

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 always sign and date my work, preferably with my own hand writing.  And I don’t remember when, but I’ve taken to drawing a tiny little star at the end of my name, which I use a * for in text.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

First of all, TAKE CRITICISM, or at least consider it.  Even if it’s said in a very harsh way, it can still help you improve.  Don’t let harsh or negative words destroy you or make you want to quit.  If you love what you do, KEEP TRYING.  Criticism is there to make you the best you can be, not to get you to give up or build a wall.

Secondly, draw for you. While improving is always a good thing, what I mean is don’t only draw because people will pay you or people ask you to.  Making money off your art is great too, but I feel like it’s important to truly love what you’re doing, ya know?  At least for me, commissions are not nearly as fun to work on as personal art.  And if I like how my art turned out, I’m more proud of it than if someone else tells me they like it.

Thirdly, you can’t please everyone, so if someone bashes your art just because they don’t like the subject matter, kick em to the curb.  And on the flip side, don’t ever EVER tell an artist that they’re terrible for creating something you may not like.  I don’t care if it’s “problematic” or “gross,” people have different interests, and FANTASIES ARE OKAY.  ← Obviously very important to me.

Fourthly, USE REFERENCES. There’s no shame in it.  In fact, it can make your art tons better even in the long run!  Tutorials, references, photos, whatever you need!  How do I shade this?  What’s a nose look like?  Feet? Horses?  Three-armed caterpillars?  (well…) Yeah.  DO IT! ❤

References
References

Fifthly (are these words?), I know it’s in our nature to copy things we like.  It’s fine to take on a style you like in order to grow; however, it’s best that you eventually build your own.  That way, you’re original and memorable as more than “that artist that draws like this more popular guy.”  Also, be careful when creating characters and stories inspired by other things!  There’s inspiration, and then there’s flat-out ripping something off.  I went through a terrible “ripping everything off” phase, and I literally did not understand why it was bad until years later. So maybe this’ll spark people to think it over early. 🙂

Sixthly, you do not have to be the best at realism or landscapes to be an artist.  You don’t have to paint to be an artist.  You don’t have to be good at all mediums.  Being decent in various places is great, but there’s nothing wrong with focusing on what you love the most, AS LONG as it doesn’t hinder you from learning new things or researching when you do draw/write things you don’t know much about.

Lastly, I could go on all day.  I really hope some of this stuff was helpful haha.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m sliiiiiightly unsure at the moment, but I’m pretty comfortable with biromantic asexual. Though, I’m also considering changing that to demiromantic.  I know not many people use that term, but I’ve never found myself desiring romance with anyone I wasn’t already close to (except when I was a dumb little kid who just wanted a boyfriend because “that’s what girls do”).

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

I don’t recall anyone ever being intentionally rude or unaccepting over me being ace, and that’s regardless of the field lol.  But I’m still fairly young and I’ve only been identifying this way for about a year. Also I don’t leave the house. xD

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

The most annoying questions I get asked:

“Wait, but how can you like porn/smut?”
“So you don’t feel pleasure?”
“That must suck.  That means your man don’t get screwed.”
“You never masturbate?”

Etc. Etc.  None of that is true in my case (though asexuality is a spectrum, so it may be for others).

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

Honestly, I still struggle with it because I personally wish I wasn’t asexual, and I’m soooo used to hearing “oh, you just haven’t done it right yet” or “try doggy style.” >.< But that doesn’t mean it’s bad to be ace, and there are lots of people who understand how you feel even if you don’t like the fact that you are.  It really, really helps me to find blogs like this to remind me that I’m not alone and that it’s totally okay to be asexual.

I can still be proud to be ace even though I wish I did get pleasure from sex, and I think with time I can learn to be okay with that too.  I’m already starting to.  In fact, now that I’ve accepted the fact that I don’t like it, I’m more comfortable identifying this way, because I know it’s something I cannot control and there’s no reason for me to feel bad about it.

Also, don’t let anyone make you feel like you owe them anything.  I have sex with my fiancé because I love him, and I enjoy it on a romantic level.  But you don’t have to if you don’t want to, and if you have a partner, they should understand that and be open to the relationship never including sex.

And of course, remember that you are really awesome!

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

I am iSpazzyKitty here on Tumblr, as well as many other sites!  I have an art tag, and also a link to ALL my other social media profiles haha.  Here is that list: http://ispazzykitty.tumblr.com/links

Thank you for reading!! ❤

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

Interview: Mee

Today we’re joined by Mee. Mee is a wonderful and versatile artist who does both visual art and writes. For visual art, they enjoy drawing and paint with watercolors. They also love to write and write a variety of things. It is very obvious that Mee is a wonderfully enthusiastic artist who enjoys what they do. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

comilianff
Comilianff

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I’ve been drawing since I was in high school, and a little bit before that. I sometimes don’t consider myself an artist, because I don’t do it professionally or anything, and it’s hard especially when someone criticizes it without me asking for it or showing it willingly, even if a part of me want to show my work I get self-conscious to show it to others in real life, because I think people will laugh or something, but still I love to draw and to paint with watercolors, it’s a part that I really like of myself that I can create things that sometimes look beautiful, or decent at least!

I also enjoy writing, usually short stories, or children’s tales, but mostly in Spanish since that’s my native language, I love when people enjoy them.

What inspires you?

I get huuuuge blocks sometimes. But I guess it depends on the time, sometimes it’s a song, sometimes it’s a book, or a series, or some event that made me feel certain way. I’m also very inspired every time someone believes in what I do, and believes that I can do better. My dad for example is always buying me art books, he never comments about it, but he’s very supportive on his own quite way. And the rest of my family as well, they’re always calling me “the artistic one” or similar stuff. And my friends refer to me as “an artist” when I draw something, that helps a lot, that helped me to start appreciating more what I can and could do.

edsafs
Edsafs

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

Well my mother usually made small drawings all the time to explain things, I picked the habit. And then I had this amazing best friend, I was just learning to draw, exploring the possibilities and a lot more insecure of what I’m now, when I meet this friend everything changed, drawing was our thing, a thing only we understood of each other, we made stories about the drawings, and sometimes took the other’s drawing home, it was amazing.

I’m not a professional artist. Right now I’m actually a Social Worker, but I would have love to be an Art Teacher for children, in my work sometimes you need to be creative, having this skills helped me a lot along the way.

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?

Haha, I don’t think so, but I do enjoy a lot people that do have.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’d say go for it. If you feel like this is something you want to do for a living try it out, and if not then don’t stop being an artists, it’s a part on yourself, and just because maybe you don’t earn money with it doesn’t mean it isn’t an important part of your life or that you should stop doing it.

New Canvas

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Oh, that’s a hard one. I’m not that sure, I don’t feel sexual attraction, and even in the rare occasions that I have, I don’t feel like doing anything about it. And as far as I know I’m aromantic, but I’ve sometimes entertained the thought that I might be demiromantic.

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

Oh well not in my field, but in my life in general: yes. It has been hard to explain to people. Even more to people you care about, because what they think matters for you. They sometimes just assume other things because they’ve not heard about it before. Sometimes you see people struggling to understand, but they take a while, because asexuality it’s not something that you hear a lot about, at least not here in Latin America.

It was just recently that I discovered I was asexual, or rather it was somewhat recently that I discovered it had a name, and there were a lot of people like me out there.

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

That I’m a lonely person who doesn’t believe in love.

I love people, I really do, and I love people easily, and sometimes I feel lonely, but that’s because I’m human not because I’m asexual.

I believe in relationships, they work for other people, I just don’t feel that kind of attraction towards other people.

Ah and the old “you just need to find the right one or give it time.” That one is rather frustrating because you know people say it because they care, and it’s hard to make them understand that you’re okay, that you’re happy the way you are.

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

It’s okay if you don’t know! It’s okay if you have doubts or if you’re unsure about where you fit, you’ll figure it out in time, and you don’t need to have a list of characteristics to fit in certain community, you’re the only one who should define yourself.

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

Oh! Well I’m recently working on this Tumblr art blog
http://sometimesidrawyeah.tumblr.com/

And my DeviantArt

http://yue2neko.deviantart.com/

tumblr_o65k1sGTL71voeu7ro1_540

Thank you, Mee, for taking the time to participate in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.