Interview: Amanda Akins

Today we’re joined by Amanda Akins. Amanda is a phenomenal and versatile artist who does a bit of everything. She does quite a bit of visual art and crafts, including drawing and scrapbooking. She’s also in a band with her sister called Phine Wine (you can buy their EP on Amazon and iTunes). It’s very apparent that art and creativity are a huge part of Amanda’s life, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do a lot of different types of art and creative things. I have for as long as I can remember. I paint, draw, scrapbook, other crafts, sing, write, edit graphics and make YouTube videos

What inspires you?

Music is probably the biggest thing that inspires me. It puts me in a certain mood where I just get motivated. Also past experiences and other people’s experiences, especially when it comes to writing. I get a lot of inspiration from movies and other people’s art as well. I love seeing other artists thrive. I’m one of those people that will see an amazing work of art and then want to go out and do the same thing.

amywinehouse canvas painting
Amy Winehouse Canvas Painting

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

It’s always just been a part of who I am, I think. I’m still figuring out what I want to do with my life but being creative and creating something for others to see and appreciate is definitely up there.

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 but I think it’s a really cool concept to have that. Especially if people recognize it throughout your work.

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Bow

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop. Never give up. It sounds really cheesy but it’s incredibly true. I had an art teacher in high school that told me to sketch every day and you will get better and I wish I took that advice. Your motivation needs to be pure. If you’re just looking to make art to get recognized then it’s not genuine. I think you really have to love it because it’s obvious when you don’t.

walking dead painting
Walking Dead painting

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I still am figuring it out but right now I identify as grey ace specifically. But I usually just tell people I’m asexual as a general term.

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

I haven’t thankfully. I don’t usually tell people that I’m ace unless it comes up because it just doesn’t seem important for people to know.

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

That we are all the same and we’re not. Asexuality and sexuality in general is a huge spectrum and trying to fit people in boxes is counterproductive. I also think when talking to people about asexuality you really have to explain and make sure that your perspectives aren’t the rule. That not everyone that identifies as asexual has the same experiences or beliefs I guess you could say. I would say a lot of people don’t actually understand the general definition of asexuality and that’s what I find myself explaining most of the time.

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Paradise Pier

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

That it’s okay not to know right now. That it’s okay to identify one way and then change that. We all change and we all grow so why wouldn’t our sexual orientations grow with us. You are valid and your feelings are valid and you matter. Do research and do what is comfortable for you. For me it was figuring out a word for exactly how I was feeling and even know I still am figuring that out with my sexual and romantic orientation and that’s okay. Maybe you don’t want to identify at all but it doesn’t make you less of a human being. Keep doing you and doing what you love.

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

I have a website where I sell a lot of my arts and crafts at: https://www.mandasscrapcrafts.com/

I also make music with my sister in a band called Phine Wine. We have Instagram, Twitter (linked below), Facebook, and YouTube. And you can buy our EP on iTunes and Amazon mp3.

Twitter: at phinewineband & at mandamargaret7

Instagram: at phinewineband & at mandasscrapcrafts.

lily ipad drawing
Lily iPad Drawing

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

Interview: Matthew Staton

Today we’re joined by Matthew Staton. Matthew is a phenomenal and versatile artist who dabbles in a number of different mediums. He does a lot of visual art, specializing in couples and animals (his drawing of a calico is adorable and gorgeous). Aside from drawing, Matthew also does some fanart and cosplays from time to time. When not doing that, he also enjoys crafts. And he’s a fellow Da Vinci fan! It’s clear that he’s an incredibly passionate and dedicated artist. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I mostly draw fanart, but have recently gotten into doing realistic pet/human portraiture. I focus heavily on anatomy and am trying to improve upon composition and posing. I draw people first and foremost, but also like drawing animals–mostly dogs, as I spend a LOT of time around them and they’re fun and expressive and stuff. Also although I’m aromantic, I looooooove couples and romantic stuff. Apart from drawing, I like doing crafts (clay sculptures sometimes, scrapbooking, odds and ends) and cosplay casually! I won’t lie, I tend to be lazy and cut corners but as long as I get one good picture and have a good time with friends, I’m happy.

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What inspires you?

I’m inspired by the media I consume (hence the amount of fanwork) and by the people and the things around me, mainly the animals I have and work with! I work at a doggy daycare, so my muses tend to also be my charges.

Some of the artists that inspire me are Da Vinci, who has inspired me to pay close attention to anatomy and musculature, Klimt and his focus on the female form, and Mucha’s Art Nouveau is a style I’m trying to pay tribute to in terms of design and linework. I find inspiration from a lot of Tumblr artists too! Domirine, pheberoni, and chaoslindsay to name a few.

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

I’ve been drawing since I was a wee babe. I never wanted to be an ‘artist’ as a career per se, but I never stopped doing it, and here I am. It’s not a full time job by any means and I’d probably lose my mind if it was the ONLY thing I did, but it’s definitely always been something that I could be sure would have a solid place in any life I chose to live.

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?

Nothing that I can really think of, to be honest!

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just keep doing it. Practice won’t make perfect but it will make you better. Take the time to point out your problem areas then sit down with a sketchbook and hash that problem out until you come out on top, or at least with a better understanding of it. You won’t learn to do it and do it well until you TRY. Keep your old art; somewhere down the line you’ll need a pick me up, and seeing how far you’ve come from a month ago, a year ago, a decade ago, is always a sure way to lift the spirits and boost confidence. Take criticism but ignore hate; at the same time, be aware of other people’s perspectives and interpretations. Don’t be afraid to try something new; don’t be afraid to ask for help either. Tutorials are a LIFESAVER, and so are other artists!!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual/aromantic! Technically my brand of ace is “aegosexual” (interest in sex with a disconnect from the self) but that’s splitting hairs.

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

Not necessarily in the field, but I have experienced ignorance otherwise. Mostly, just keep a cool head and explain it. If someone doesn’t want to learn they won’t, and that’s their onus. If they won’t drop it with offensive and invasive questions, you’re allowed to tell them to shut the fuck up and mind their own business. I try to stand up for myself and for other people, but I’m also aware that it’s not something that’s as commonly known as being gay, so education is important. A surprising amount of people will accept it without further question. My mother won’t drop the whole ‘me having kids in the future’ thing, which is irritating, but I just tell her to shut it and she gives up. You just gotta hold your ground, and if that’s not working, then disengage. Let them know it’s none of their damn business and they’re NOT allowed to bug you about it.

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

People think that I’m super squicked out by sex and will like, vomit if I hear about it. For some people yes, that’s the case, but not for me. Also the fact that I have sexual interests. Like I have kinks that I enjoy. I enjoy them apart from myself, and I don’t experience heightened attraction (or attraction at all really) towards it, but there are things I enjoy in my art and in other’s that are sexual in nature. Or, that I don’t find people attractive. Just because I’m not attracted TO them doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate them aesthetically, right?

Also the whole “does that mean you’re numb down there?” Christ please STOP. (The answer is no)

ALSO the conception that, because I’m asexual, I must be a neutral, unfeeling, blob of a person. That’s not true. Or if it is, it’s not because I’m ace.

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

You’re not alone. You’re allowed to change your mind, your sexuality may be fluid, it’s not something that’s set in stone. You’re not a freak and you should NEVER feel like you’re the only one out there that feels that way. You’re not. I guaranTEE it. Find someone you trust and tell them about it. Talk about it.

Don’t be afraid to look for a shoulder to let loose on. It’s confusing and can be upsetting at times, but it’s not the end of the world if you can’t find a word that describes exactly how you feel. Labels can be comforting in their sense of community, but they can also be too confining. You don’t have to fit the perfect definition.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to set boundaries with your friends and loved ones. If you’re really upset by the mention of sex, tell them that, and don’t yield. If someone is making you uncomfortable either tell them to stop, or leave, and let them know that you are 10000% serious about it.

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

You can find my art on Tumblr at only-half-human.tumblr.com,
On Facebook at facebook.com/m.n.staton,
Or on Patreon at patreon.com/user?u=699531.

I sell it on Redbubble at redbubble.com/people/mstaton
And on Society6 at society6.com/mstaton

My personal blog is lmaodies.tumblr.com 🙂

Thanks so much for reading!!

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