Interview: Diane Ramic

Today we’re joined by Diane Ramic. Diane is a phenomenal freelance illustrator who specializes in prehistory, science, fantasy, and science fiction. She does a ton of paleoart and dinosaurs are frequently in her work. Diane has also written a couple children’s books, including a coloring book of scientifically accurate dinosaurs. She has a passion for science and it shows, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a freelance illustrator and graphic designer, and my work tends to focus on prehistory, fantasy, and sci-fi. So, you’ll find plenty of dinosaurs, dragons and aliens in my art. I also illustrate children’s books, and have written a few of my own as well! I love combining art and science into a work, as those two fields have both captured my imagination since I was very young. Educational media is something I try to work on whenever I can.

What inspires you?

Nature for sure. Thinking about life that existed in the past, and life that may exist in the future, it just makes me want to design or re-create them through art. Astronomy is a huge inspiration for when I need to do alien designs, and just thinking of the cosmos gets me in the creating mode of thought.

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

Well, when I was seven, I wanted to be a Velociraptor. I even started walking on my toes, all hunched over and with my arms mimicking their folded up arms. When I found out being a Velociraptor was physically impossible (for now), my next goal was to be a paleontologist, and that turned into wanting to be a science-minded illustrator. Fossils are a fantastic base for knowing as much as we can about these extinct animals, but the only way we can really know what they looked like in life is through artists reconstructing them in their work. For most of the public, their first impressions on prehistoric animals comes from the media, be it in movie, toy, or book form. That’s why it’s important, when you’re working with paleoart, to incorporate the updated science in your work. It brings me great satisfaction to help contribute my work to the paleoart community, and help educate the public about the lives these wonderful animals lived.

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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?

Beyond designing aliens and their environments, I really, really enjoy doing the math for figuring out the planet’s mass and composition, atmospheric pressure, its place in the solar system, the mass and age of its star(s), how many other planets it shares the star(s) with, etc. Even if no one ever sees these things, it’s just very satisfying to have it all work out in your head and on paper.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m a visual artist, so this will be in that category of art. Study from life as often as you can. Once you’ve got a good grasp on the basics of how objects interact with one another and understand color theory, you can experiment with distorting and exaggerating figures, and play with color choice. A lot of online resources are free, and try to share what you’ve learned with others. There’s a lot of gatekeeping in the artist community, even though that doesn’t help anyone. You will most likely have to go through plenty of rejections, and that’s OK, too. Just pick yourself back up and keep going as best as you can. And whatever you do, don’t make fun of younger or less experienced artists’ work.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am definitely both ace and aro, and have felt this way as long as I can remember. I’m actually pretty relieved to not have developed any romantic or sexual feelings; I feel they would get in the way of me doing my work.

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

I think the most common thing is being told again and again that what I am doing is unnatural, and going against nature, the person’s gods, or “how it should be.” The “late bloomer” stuff can get kind of annoying, too. I’m about to be 23 as of this writing, I’m pretty sure if I was going to develop any other orientations, it would have been a thing by now. And if nothing else, I’m pretty sure there are plenty enough humans on this planet, the global population isn’t in danger of going extinct anytime soon, haha.

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

Probably that we are seen as cold, unfeeling robots. I understand a lot of ace people out there definitely have the same range of emotion as anyone else, and being compared to a robot is very dehumanizing. But as someone that also has a lack of emotion/empathy/etc. in general, I actually kind of like the description.

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

You are a valid and real person, and you know yourself better than anyone else can. You might be confused at first, thinking “Is something wrong with me?” or “Am I really like this?” and that’s ok. Sometimes feelings can shift over time and you may find yourself having a different experience than you do now, and this is normal. Part of what makes living things special is their ability to grow and change over time. You’re not alone. Do what makes you comfortable.

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

I have a website at http://dramic.wixsite.com/home, but more frequently post on my Tumblr at  http://dianeramic.tumblr.com. I’m always working on new projects, so I hope you stop by to see what’s new! I’ve also got an Amazon author page; feel free to check out what new books I have available!

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

Interview: Jessica Suphan

Today we’re joined by Jessica Suphan. Jessica is a phenomenal author who has recently published her debut novel, a psychological thriller entitled Perfect World. Jessica hasn’t met a genre she doesn’t like and writes in a variety of them. She’s an incredibly passionate and dedicated writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Gladly! I’m an author, I write psychologically based stories, romance, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, any genre that pops into my mind. I write novellas and novels and short stories; just like I write whatever genre is needed for the story, I write whatever length is needed for the story I’m telling. Though most of them tend to be really long. It was very recent that I became a published author instead of an unpublished writer; my psychological thriller Perfect World came out in June. In a sentence, it’s about a young government agent who shoulders the burden of his utopia’s secret origins and has to struggle against psychosis because of those secrets. Just like all my other work, it’s extremely diverse. Perfect World features LGBT+ and ethnic as well as racial diversity. But I give all forms of diversity to my stories; it’s something that’s very important to me, and something I’ll never stop.

What inspires you?

It’s a dumb answer, but I’d have to say everything. I adore worldbuilding so cool tidbits from various cultures get tucked away into my mind along with science facts (mostly space) and psychological phenomenons. I’m a counseling psychology student so I learn a lot in the latter most’s area. Tumblr’s a great place too. I’ve gotten ideas of things to add to stories, ideas for characters, phrases that leap out. Perfect World actually has a scene inspired by a Tumblr post that asked why we never learn about other cultures in dystopian stories, and a character inspired by another post about how we never see a man sleep his way to the top. My friends do too, along with nature. Have you ever walked outside when it’s raining? Not a downpour, just raining. If you look at flowers and leaves then, it feels like the world is a fuzzier and gentler place. That’s a feeling that really sticks with me. And injustice.

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

I’ve been a writer as far back as I can remember. My first finished story happened when I was in fourth grade. It’s the first story I recall writing, but my parents assure me that it went on beforehand, and I’m not surprised. Like many writers I was a voracious reader; how could I not want to add to the number of worlds in the universe, even as a young child?

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?

Hm. I’m not sure if it falls under it, but I do love putting exact onomatopoeia in. Exact though. It’s such a delightful yet challenging thing to write if you want to get the true sound of what just happened. A metal fan’s blades don’t go rrrrrr, they go brrirrrr, a rock doesn’t grind sssssss against another rock, it grinds ssszzzzzt!, but you have to stop and listen and focus only on the sound in order to get it. I’ll spend easily an hour trying to figure out the spelling of something that isn’t even a word.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just write. A lot of advice will tell you to copy how great authors write, and you totally can if you want. But I’ve never seen the point of it. Write like you. That’s how you find your voice, something else writing advice frets about, because your voice is how you naturally tell a story. Not only that, but write what you know doesn’t mean you’re stuck writing high school stories until you graduate. Good heavens, can you imagine how awful that’d be? You can write anything you want because, for me at least, that phrase is about emotion. I will hopefully never experience what it’s like to have my child go missing. But I’ve experienced the emotions of panic and dread and frustration at my own helplessness. I haven’t gone to another planet (yet). Still, I know the thrill of exploring, that tight stomach and fizzy head that comes from embarking out into something I couldn’t possibly know. And don’t write for word counts. I’ve found that sitting down to write a scene gives you a lot more success than sitting down to write ______ words. In the latter you’re pausing to count words, focused on those instead of the story. When you sit down with the intent to write a scene you’re honed in on the story and moving it forward, and we all know scenes can be very long. So if you write one you can look back on pages instead of a paragraph that leaves you wanting more.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m homoromantic asexual! A girl who has romantic interest in other girls but no sexual attraction or urges whatsoever.

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

Everything I’ve experienced has been ignorance. Since I hang out with other writers who also know the importance of diversity that’s slightly less common than it otherwise might be, but it’s still very much present. I personally really enjoy teaching people things. So if something comes up, I take pleasure in patiently but (if needed) firm explanations. The vast majority of the time, people just need to be treated with respect and not attacked for their ignorance, and they’re happy to learn and respect. Of course you have to be more aggressive with some people though, it can’t be helped. I do experience compassion fatigue though with all the activism I do (where your brain is so overloaded and so tired from caring so much about everything you could read the most heinous article title and be unable to feel anything about it), so sometimes I let a comment pass. With those though, they have to be both ignorant and not harmful in a large way.

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

That asexuality = aromantic pops up, but the most common one is absolutely that asexuals don’t have sex ever. Some don’t. But some, myself included, have. Asexuals might like it on an intellectual level, because they crave physical contact that much, because they enjoy the emotional intimacy that comes from it, or any number of other reasons. It’s very common for me to get nothing but crickets when someone says that I just need to try sex and I tell them I’ve had it several times and am still asexual. That’s my truth, it’s the truth of many people, and there’s nothing wrong or “lying” about it.

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

You exist. You’re okay. I promise you are, you’re not broken and you’re not wrong. There hasn’t been a term for us until now because there wasn’t a safe space for us to be heard, talking about sex was taboo, and the expectation was that it was a necessity not a pleasure. That’s why it’s “new”, not because it’s made up. We’re real.

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

Right here on Tumblr! My blog is scripturient-manipulator, and you can find Perfect World as a print book, as an ebook, or for your kindle. Feel free to message me to talk as well!

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

Interview: Georgia

Today we’re joined by Georgia. Georgia is a wonderful aspiring author who specializes in YA sci-fi/fantasy fiction. She’s currently in the process of writing a 5-book dystopian series that features an asexual main character. It’s clear she loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an unpublished author and in the middle of creating my very own mermaid tail.

I write sci-fi/fantasy YA novels that only I have read. I just find such safety and confidence in creating worlds of my own or manipulating this world to fit my own design. I’m writing a five-book dystopian series under the pseudonym of Amber Whittaker, which has a main character (Aphrodite) that is actually asexual.

What inspires you?

Since I was little, my inspiration and best friend has been my mom. She supports me through almost anything and guides me when I’m sailing on stormy seas.

I draw inspiration for my writing from the world around me. I always write in public because I meet/see such interesting people and places. Several times, I’ve integrated random people into my stories simply because they brought something new to my characters!   For my mermaid, Gaia is the name of the goddess of life/Mother Earth. Once it’s finished, I’m going to be primarily using my mermaid persona to spread awareness about ocean conservation.

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

I actually always wanted to be a scientist; marine biologist, to be specific. That’s how I got into mermaiding. I love the ocean and always felt more at home under the water.

As for writing, I actually didn’t have any interest in it until 5th grade. It was a writing assignment that my teacher, Mr. Reisler, gave. “Imagine you were a scientist and you became famous for a discovery. What’s that discovery?” He emailed home and asked my mom not to help me on writing assignments. She hadn’t. The next day, he told me that I had a talent and I should pursue it.

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

I always include myself in my books. It will never be obvious, but there’s always a background character that mirrors who I am.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never give up! Every successful artist began as a starving artist, and every accomplishment began as a dream. I have nobody standing behind my mermaid dream because everyone thinks it’s stupid and a waste of money. I have nobody to read my writing or give me advice on how to get published because nobody I know likes the genre. As long as you stick with it and take criticism as advice, you’ll go somewhere with your dreams!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a hetero ace.

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

I have experienced ignorance, but not prejudice. I know many people have experienced the latter, but I am more than thankful that I’ve not had to deal with it.

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

“You just think that because you haven’t met the right person.”

No, I know that because my right person will accept me for who I am! Asexuality isn’t a disease that needs to be cured, nor is it a phase that someone can just snap out of. I’m asexual because I don’t feel a sexual attraction to anybody; man, woman, etc.

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

Be true to you. My mom is my best friend, but I haven’t told her because she doesn’t accept this kind of thing. I know who I am, and I know what’s important to me. Your sexual orientation doesn’t define you, unless you make it.

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

You can follow my progress in my writing life on my Facebook page: at authoramberwhittaker

You can follow my progress in my mermaid life on my Instagram account: mermaid_gaia_ravenshelm.

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

Interview: Jai M. King

Today we’re joined by Jai M. King, who was interviewed quite a while ago. Their company has since evolved into something almost completely new. Jai is a fascinating and unique artist that has a style that’s entirely their own. They’re behind Madjaw Dolls, a brand gearing toward multimedia arts. They do a lot of illustrations but also quite a lot of writing as well. Jai is currently working on a science fiction series, which is part of the Madjaw Dolls universe. Based on their interview, Jai is a fascinating and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

(WARNING: Some images contain nudity and are risque)

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King watercolor

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Madjaw Dolls is brand gearing towards the multimedia arts. There is one main universe in which all products and creations stem from. The stories under MJD combine influences of retro-fantasy, raypunk and Grimm’s fairytales to create a distinct branch of dark tales that are both innovative in terms of character and world design but also blunt in terms of political and social commentary.

My work ranges from traditional illustration to digital most recently with working on the IPad Pro. I am also going into producing for multimedia to expand MJD so I am also a creative director in collaborative projects.

Currently I’ve been in the process of producing a science fiction series called “Sector M.I.” which takes you through a multi-world war. The world design is very distinct to the universe in which a multitude of my stories derive from. Most of what will be seen at Madjaw Dolls exists within that universe.

What inspires you?

My inspirations range from the array of media I grew up on to naturally being attracted to retro-media such as anime/manga from the 1970s-1990s to western influences such as Ralph Bakshi’s “Cool World” to much of the bizarre fantasy works from the 1970s and also the strange futuristic narrative of 1970s funk music. I also grew up loving the Grimm Brothers which has influenced my work and story process quite a bit. I love creating words that feel at least a little uncomfortable. A lot of my work has a warped quality that I’ve developed purposefully for the stories. I’m not so much about supplying reality as I’m about creating something entirely new.

Since my last interview with Asexual Artists I do think I’ve returned to my roots a little more with my influences. Every project I take on entails a good amount of research which I personally love as I often find that people tend to overlook just how much time and research it takes to develop a well-crafted creative process. I think my influences change the more I grow and learn.

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Kingfin

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

I’ve been illustrating since I was little though around 17 was when I landed my first job illustrating a children’s book, though I didn’t know very much about illustrating at the time and taking on the process of illustrating a book was hard, I learned a lot about what to do and what not to do when illustrating books. I went back and forth for a while as I was potentially good at so many things, ultimately illustration is where my roots have always been, I’ve been looking into multimedia producing for the very reason that I can expand in the future through different platforms and ways to tell the stories, starting with graphic novels; which the graphic novels under MJD will be a combination of written and illustrative narrative, a format I’ve been working on to be a little more unique to MJD.

I learned quite a bit in the last year after interning for another comic artist and developing sound connections with illustrators and comic artists who’ve helped me a lot with both communications and not to let the mainstream dictate my vision.

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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?

At the moment, I’m working on the first installation under “Sector M.I.” Which is currently titled “The Hanged Man’s Plan” though changes are always possible in editing. I’ve been quiet about much of the story, in previous experiences I’ve had, I’ve learned to do so, haha. What I will say is that HMP occurs 200 years prior to the main events of “Sector M.I.” It was a story I started last year, nixed, and then decided that it had more potential as it establishes the birth of a lineage with one of the main characters of SMI, King. At least right now, all of the stories will be told in relatively short books, similar to a children’s book, but with a more mature story. HMP is relatively benign compared to what I have lined up for the future editions in the series. All of the stories cover particularly controversial subjects, one of the mains in HMP suffers through a smear campaign within his own workplace, and there’s a huge focus on the destruction and outcome of jealousy as well as laying the groundwork for the world seen in “Sector M.I”

The story has undergone rights and registration along with the entirety of the Sector M.I. series so it’s a matter of completely the first story. I’ve been experiencing the ever-so-lovely world of publishing but I’ll be happy when it’s done.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Take pride in the effort you put into your work, but always be open to learn more. It’s a process first and foremost, there is no golden finish line where you’ve made it as an artist. The moment you close yourself off to growth, you’ve basically cheated yourself from the next level of your journey. It takes time, and at times it really sucks. Also, if you have an idea you believe in, don’t bend to please other people. I’ve learned that the hard way throughout my journey so far, there are literally thousands of ways to be an artist, if one idea doesn’t work, keep pushing and don’t take no for an answer when you know what you have to offer. Also process the rights to your work, haha I also learned that the hard way after experiencing content theft!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m still asexual and aromantic, I don’t really know if that will ever change.

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

Yes and no. It’s not so much in my field as it has been coming out of art school. Oddly enough, most would think art school is particularly accepting of every type of person but I’ve learned the opposite. My art tends to trickle over into my daily outfits, I still work as a creative director for photo shoots from time to time, so I love to express through creating extravagant outfits, but I’ve found that with creating flamboyant outfits people tend to assume you’re an equally flamboyant person. Flamboyance has its own set of stereotypes as people assume I’m someone who goes out and dates a lot or dressing up to impress others. I’m a bit of a contradiction in that sense, how I dress is mostly because I love to create myself every day, it’s an extension of my art to me. I’ve faced the expectation to “stop being ace” because of what someone else expects or wants and it’s very uncomfortable. It’s disturbing that much of society doesn’t accept no as a valid answer when it comes to relationships (this is when “no” should be taken as an answer!).

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

I would say for me that it’s a phase. Or that I’m waiting for some knight in shining armor to save me from asexuality as for me, it was never a choice. I can’t speak for every asexual but I have always been this way, though there were times in high school before I knew who I was, where I tried to date and be “normal” due to social pressures. In many communities, even in black/mixed communities, asexuality isn’t fully accepted due to the heavy stigmas black people still face. Black women tend to automatically be sexualized and stereotyped (and it’s even worse for non-binary folks, as I am as well) that it’s even harder to say I’m asexual without being laughed at or denied.

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

Definitely to speak up when you feel uncomfortable. If you feel like someone is pressuring you, speak up and leave the situation. You shouldn’t have to explain who you are to those who don’t get it.

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

“The Hanged Man’s Plan” is still in production, so whenever all the cards are in place is when it will come out, there’s no telling how long it may take but I’ve recently be finishing the process for the rights and registration for “Sector M.I.” and Madjaw Dolls so it’s all in that awkward phase of planning to put out actual products and not just prints of works.

http://madjawdolls.com/
https://www.instagram.com/madjawdolls/
https://www.facebook.com/Madjawdollsmjd/
https://twitter.com/MadjawDolls

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

Interview: Clara Quinion

Today we’re joined by Clara. Clara is a phenomenal science fiction writer who is quite prolific. To date, she has written three novels, a number of short stories, and some poetry as well. It is quite apparent that she has an incredibly 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 write science fiction. Also bits of art, photography, and craft.

What inspires you?

Everything. I’m a highly sensitive introvert with synesthesia. I take in more sensory impressions than most people, spend a long time mulling them over, making connections, and come out with some interesting thought-experiments.

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

I used to draw all the time when I was a kid. During my teens I got more into photography, and thought that would be my career. That didn’t work out. I got into writing by serendipity: having failed to get into any arts courses at university, I applied for a bunch of other creative courses through clearing, and got into an English with Creative Writing degree.

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 write in a multiverse called The Sustained World: all worlds capable of sustaining intelligent life lined up, separated by the Void, yet transversible. The denizens of The Sustained World are called Eltoids, which is a wider definition than humanoid, and means creatures capable of intelligence, communication, and manual dexterity, the symbol of which is a three-noded triangle. I’m also working a lot with black crow imagery: in The Sustained World, the Reapers who take the spirits of the deceased to the Void take the shape of crows.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do your own thing. Not what’s popular. Not what you think will sell. Not what everyone else is doing. Your own thing. You don’t have to be the best at your medium. Being authentic is much more important.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual and biromantic/panromantic. And queer, as far as I think that gender roles are arbitrary rubbish.

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

Nothing comes to mind. In the past I haven’t actually spoken much about not wanting to have sex. Just kept quiet and nodded along when people bring such things up. I have a pretty filthy sense of humour and I don’t mind talking about sex at all, but I always get uncomfortable if I see sexual imagery.

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

Not directly, but I feel that it’s been indicated to me that being sexually active is like a further step in developing towards adulthood. Probably by the same sort of people who think getting drunk is a sign of maturity. Knowing yourself and what you like and don’t like is a great step in your development.

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

There is nothing wrong with you. Sex is not a fundamental need like eating and sleeping. It’s more like an interest. I have no interest in sex just as I have no interest in sports. We are all different, and that’s what makes us beautiful. Do your thing, and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re wrong because you don’t like what they like.

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

http://thesustainedworldatransverse.tumblr.com/ and www.facebook.com/ClaraQuinionWriting

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

Interview: Jen

Today we’re joined by Jen. Jen is a phenomenal painter who uses oil paints on canvas. She creates a wide variety of different images in various genres: science fiction, fantasy, and even some fanart. Her work demonstrates a keen imagination and a beautiful use of color and line. It’s very obvious that she loves painting and it shows in her work. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Portrait

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a traditional painter — oils on canvas. The bigger the better, but I’m running out of room to store them all. I paint a lot of landscapes, mostly science fiction or fantasy, sometimes abstract or modern stuff, some fan art (Elder Scrolls, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and Witcher fandoms), and I dabble in bit of fanfiction as well.

What inspires you?

So many other artists! The natural world, video games, books, colors or textures I’ve seen. Smells. Dramatic scenes. Music. Lighting. Inspiration can come from the most mundane and sometimes the funniest most unlooked for places. Never take it for granted.

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

I was never the kid with the sketchbook when I was young. I started collecting Star Wars comics and art books when I was in high school. I remember looking through one of the art books and seeing Ralph McQuarrie’s matte paintings for the original trilogy and realizing that people did this for a living. So I started drawing on my own. I went to two semesters of state college and then pleaded (I was splitting the cost w/ family) to transfer to art school. I had to take a painting course as part of my major. It was challenging but I ended up loving it and although I dropped out before completing the degree, I have now been painting for over fifteen years and am starting to work towards making a career out of it.

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Winter Medley

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?

Along with my signature, I add a thumbprint. I don’t know if that’s all that special.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Besides the obvious one of: practice, practice, practice? I’d add that it’s important to have as much variety in your education as possible: Sculpture, digital, drafting, even dance. It all helps your brain learn to translate light, movement, color, and form and perspective from two dimensions into three and back again. Diversity is key. Lots of different media, lots of different subject matter. That and learn some solid financial and organizational habits. Boring, but it will help keep you in food and work.

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Urdnot Wrex

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am demi/ace/autochorisexual.

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

Mostly, I don’t tell people. But even so I’ve encountered a bit when it’s come up as to why I’m single and not dating. Ignorance more than anything else. Many people have not heard of it. Those of an ‘old-fashioned’ mindset insist I’d be happier with a husband and children. As if I don’t know what I’m talking about. Some tend to think it’s a trend or an affect to gain some kind of reputation or attention like I’m putting on some kind of special snowflake act.

Then there is the preconception that artists are somehow more passionate than other people…so it follows that they should be more promiscuous, too, right?

I’ve also been told, mostly by men although I did hear it from at least one woman, that if I’m ‘not getting any’ that I’m somehow stifling my own artistic ability and creative process? Which is as ridiculous as it is manipulative crap and very annoying.

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

As I’ve sought to learn more, I’ve noticed a lot of folks struggling to understand what asexual is and getting it confused with being bisexual or pansexual. They just take all these terms that they don’t understand and lump them together.  The gender preference (or lack thereof) regarding any potential partner is an entirely different aspect of human sexuality. A person can be asexual and bi, asexual and pan, asexual and gay, asexual and straight, etc. Asexuality deals with the lack of sex drive and/or sexual attraction and/or interest in having sex.

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

Take your time with it. You don’t have to meet anyone else’s expectations. Figuring yourself out is a lifelong process. You are allowed to learn and grow and change your mind as often as you need to about who/what you are. Society still places a lot of pressure on people to be in relationships. If a relationship makes you happier and healthier, then fine. If not, that’s fine too.

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

I post on Tumblr. http://caffeinatedmusing.tumblr.com/
My portfolio is http://jenniferward.foliohd.com/  and I have some prints and such available on Society6 https://society6.com/jwardart_2016

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The Ritual

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

Interview: Dragon Harris

Today we’re joined by Dragon Harris. Dragon is a wonderful visual artist who is currently studying illustration. She’s fond of drawing things related to mythology, fantasy, and science fiction (awesome!). Dragon is inspired by a number of things and is obviously very enthusiastic about art. She’s definitely someone who has 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 an art student at BYU, currently applying for their illustration program.  My favorite things to illustrate are scenes from mythology, fantasy, or science fiction.

What inspires you?

That’s a bit like asking “where do you get your ideas?”  My religion, my favorite music, my family, the landscape I live in, the work of other artists — it all mixes up in my head and cool ideas result.

I especially like the work of James A. Owen.  His art always inspires me.

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

I’ve been drawing since I was big enough to hold a crayon, but I didn’t decide to try making a career out of it until my last year of high school.  I’d been looking at a few different scholarships and realized that the only ones that interested me were for art students.

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?

Nope.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep practicing and studying.  There’s always more to learn, from books, other artists, and your own experiences.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual.  No idea on the romantic side.

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

So far, I haven’t run into prejudice.  I have had a few headaches over how sexualized the art world can get, but my university has a lot of folks who think like me involved in the program so it’s not too bad.

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

That we don’t exist or are just confused.

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

The person you are right now is an okay person to be. No one is “normal,” and it’s more important to be decent to other people than to fit in.

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

I’m on Twitter, (at) enoughdragons, Tumblr, (at) onedragontorulethemall, and WordPress, at dragonharris.wordpress.com. The WordPress blog is where I post most of my essays and thoughts on life.

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