Interview: McKenzie

Today we’re joined by McKenzie. McKenzie is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in sculpture.. She got her start doing 2D art, mainly drawing and painting. She gradually shifted to working with metals, particularly steel and bronze. McKenzie is particularly fond of sculpting bugs. It’s clear she’s a very passionate artist. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Most of my work right now is sculpture work, with mostly metal and slowly moving into mix media projects. I used to do only 2D work, with drawing and painting. My sculpture work right now is bugs, in steel and bronze interacting with a mix media environment.

What inspires you?

My own imagination inspires my work, as well as what I have experienced in life. Talking to other artists I find myself thinking of more ways that I could create something that is visually interesting and can tell an interesting story. It’s a little bit of everything from the mundane to even something so complicated at emotions to difficult events in life.

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

I have always wanted to be an artist, there was never a time in my life were I serious considered another path to walk. I find that I can express myself easier in a visual manner. I always felt the need to challenge myself and am willing to take the chance of failure to find my 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?

I think the only thing that I could think of is my signature which is my initials. I write out MJ with a crazy flourish in the “J.”

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just make art. If your stuck take a break and get your hands into something you don’t have to think about. I find that if I’m stuck on a piece a nap helps, or a walk too. Its okay to want to try a wide range of things but finding the media that works the best with you is a great place to start, because learning the inside outs of that area will make your work get just that much better. I still have a lot to learn, I’m not even broken into the business side of the art world yet.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as an asexual. I used to think that I was a Demi but after thinking critically about myself I found that the title didn’t fit with me.

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

I find that it can be subtle sometimes when talking with artists about their work when it’s solely focused on sex and I don’t always understand their reasoning. Most people I know and work around don’t bring up their own personal sexualities so I haven’t either.

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

That we asexually reproduce. Though I wish I could clone myself, because that would be more hands working on a project. Then more work could be done… but then I’d have to feed more of my selves and that would get far to complicated.

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

I’ve never been one to overthink what I am, for a long time when people asked what I was I would say a question mark. It wasn’t something that mattered to me until I was a bit order and around people that already understood themselves to such a point of having a label. When I was in high school it rather overwhelmed me when I started to do reach, and that was the same time I first found the title of Ace. I quickly forgot about it, finding that I wasn’t ready to think to much about who I was. In college, I am in a period of self-reflection so it fit. I found the title and am slowly getting used to wearing it. I love having a label now, I enjoy having a flag and a community of close friends that I can be around. I would suggest having a support net work if you can, or even one online if that’s the safest option for you.

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

My Instagram is the best place to follow my work! I do a lot of things and would love to share it with more people: Jerofkm.

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

Interview: Alie Schnabel

Today we’re joined by Alie Schnabel, who goes by Astringent online. Alie is a wonderful up and coming visual artist who does a bit of everything. Her favorite mediums are printmaking and sculpture, though she has also done painting, weaving, sewing, ceramics, and book making. Alie hopes to open a community art center and she is clearly a dedicated and passionate artist, 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.

Oh geez. My work is kind of all over the place, I’ve done painting, printmaking, ceramics, weaving, sewing, I made a book recently, as well as a myriad of other things. My favourite mediums are sculpture and printmaking, although I still have a lot to learn. I’m still in college so I’ve been pretty busy with assignments I haven’t had the time to just create what I want to. The end goal is to run my own community art center where I’ll have a studio for myself.

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What inspires you?

The deadline? For real though I try to make my art personal. A lot of what I’ve been doing lately has been on a prompt since I am currently in school, but I try to make it relevant to my experiences, and to have a deeper meaning. Some of my favourite recent work has actually been about asexuality, most of it is craftier in nature as it comes from my Activism and Textiles class (although, if you ask me ‘crafty’ art like sewing and weaving doesn’t get enough recognition as an art form). A lot of my paintings take a fairly heavy topic and use a childlike style to make it seem almost fun while retaining that somber theme (like Time is Running out for Jeff, my piece with the balloon dog)

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

I’ve always loved art and I think deep down I always knew that it was what I wanted to do, but of course, people told me that it was impractical. In grade school there were so many things that I wanted to do; forensic scientist, veterinarian, anthropologist, psychologist, and even a pilot for a while, but I kept coming back to what I loved most. I think what really solidified my decision was my art teacher my senior year, he was always there for me and was always so inspiring (even during his amazing feminist rants about how awful and degrading the Carl’s Jr. commercials were). I guess I just realised that I wanted to inspire people the way he inspired me.

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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?

I have a tag that I leave places, usually with chalk or sharpie, I got to use spray paint once on a boulder on the side of the freeway (chill. the rock is a local landmark because everyone spray paints it) Anyway, the tag is a little bird, sometimes I’ll give him a little crown and he becomes bird king. It doesn’t show up in my actual work though, at least not yet.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I don’t know if I’m the best person to give advice, since, I, myself am an aspiring artist. I guess what I would say is; “don’t listen to those who degrade you or your work, even if that person is yourself”. I know that I am my own worst critic and I usually hate what I create. However, I know that’s not healthy and I’m working to overcome that (yay counseling) seriously though, as long as you are creating for the right reasons, you are making a difference and that’s what matters in the end.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aromantic Asexual. But I do deeply love those who are close to me and I’ll fight anyone who says platonic love can’t be as strong as romantic love.

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

Not yet, I’ve been lucky, especially in such a conservative college town. Although I don’t really put myself out there other than in-class critiques when my pieces directly correlate with asexuality. I usually start out by saying something like “I’m happy to answer any questions, but if you’re just going to be a jerk you can just shove it” I tend to be pretty blunt and without much of a filter, so it usually comes out a bit more ‘colourful’ than that, though my teachers so far have thought my little disclaimer is funny.

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

I haven’t noticed one more than the others at this point, since I only recently came out, a memorable one is my mum asking “So do you like girls then?” that’s about is as far as asexuality goes. I get a lot more crap for my aromanticism though, mostly people assuming I don’t love others, or that I’m cold and distant. I like to think I’m a pretty friendly person, and I genuinely love the people close to me.

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

Stop it. I know the world can suck sometimes, but people are inherently good, and you will find people who accept you for who you are. There is nothing wrong with you, but there is also no shame in reaching out for guidance if that’s what will help. Also, if anyone gives you crap tell them I’ll beat them up.

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

Oof. My Tumblr is a bit of a mess, but I might post some work on there, it should be ada-refractor. I do post some stuff on my Instagram, that one is agentastringent.

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

Interview: KSAMF

Today we’re joined by KSAMF. KSAMF is a phenomenal illustrator and sculptor from Barcelona. She uses a number of materials to create incredibly unique sculptures. KSAMF draws information from a variety of sources and it makes for intriguing images. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Wo Ai Ni

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw and I make sculptures. I like to combine 2D and 3D materials (like clay or paper mâché with cardboard or wood). I use art as a way to express my thoughts and my frustrations.

What inspires you?

Daydreams and nightmares, society and its norms and personal experiences. In terms of art, Primitive arts (prehistoric, African, Aboriginal and American) and medievals arts (Romanic and Illuminated manuscripts) are pretty present in my works.

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Stars and Goals

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

When I was 2 years old I was diagnosed with dyslexia and I wasn’t able to speak for a time. So, instead of writing, I used drawings as a form of communication. After my recovery, my family let me keep on drawing and they still encourage me to do it. I used to wanted to be an artist, but it’s an ideal that has been “falling apart” since I finished Fine Arts. Although I still want to see my artworks in a gallery.

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

I’ve never thought about that.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Focus on your work, accept critiques, some of them are advice. But don’t let others influence you. Show them you’re sure and proud of what you do.

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Dry and Alone

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify myself as gray-asexual.

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

Yes, especially during Fine Arts. I had to cope with some situations like one time when a classmate told me that asexuals are diseased or when another, after knowing about my identity, nicknamed me as “little starfish”. Nowadays I act naturally, I laugh at spicy jokes (although I don’t find them funny). I’ve never told about my asexuality, but I crossdress and identify myself as female even though some people refers me with male and female pronouns!

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Ningen

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

That asexuality is actually celibacy.

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

It’s okay to not feel sexual attraction! There’s nothing wrong with that,

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

You can find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ksamf/
And Behance: https://www.behance.net/saramarf24e6

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Wired Deity

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

Interview: Will Hernandez

Today we’re joined by Will Hernandez. Will is a phenomenal and versatile visual artist. He specializes in drawing, both in traditional and digital mediums. Will does both illustrations and comics, as well as regular drawing. When he’s not drawing, Will also dabbles in sculpting, photography, and even animation. It’s clear he has an admirable amount of passion as well as talent, as you’ll soon see. 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 am a visual artist. I enjoy drawing, inking, and watercolor painting both traditionally and digitally. I illustrate as well as make comics from time to time, and I mostly enjoy doing so in a more “cartoony” style. From time to time I’ll sculpt, photograph, and even animate, but just plain ol’ drawing is where my heart’s at.

What inspires you?

Honestly, science is what inspires most of my work. Nature, robotics, physics, astronomy, all these concepts and more are what really interest me. When you look closely at them you can really come to appreciate the universe we live in a little better. You learn that reality really is stranger than fiction. And you also realize that some of the biggest surprises are a lot closer than you think.

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Forest Walk

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

I honestly hadn’t considered pursuing art as a career until I entered high school. Earlier in my life art was nothing more than a personal endeavor, more of a hobby. It wasn’t until I enrolled in a video class, and met my video teacher, which was when I really started to pick up art as a life goal. He was very kind and supportive to all his students, especially when it came to those who showed artistic ability. He suggested I look into doing cartooning or animation as a career, which was the first time I had even though about my artwork as something profitable. But aside from that, I’ve always loved to draw, paint, sculpt, and just create in general. I just hadn’t considered myself an “artist” until later.

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Forest Walk

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?

Aside from my main signature (which is present on most of my artwork) not really.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you ever ask anyone how to get better at art and they tell you to do a lot of it, that really is the answer, the one and only answer. Do a lot of art, and never give up if you really love it. Also, be sure to look for like minds, make friends with other artists because it will really help you stay motivated. It’s a long and often times difficult road to travel, but what you get out of it in the end makes it all worth it. And be sure to keep past artwork, you’ll want to see how much you progress as time goes by 😉

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Mermay

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual, though I’ll develop romantic attractions from time to time depending on the person. Also I’m not really sex repulsed, it’s actually a curiosity of mine, but more in a science way than in a “do it” sort of way. But in general I try to use my labels lightly. We’ve all got our own unique point on the spectrum of things, a place that nobody has or ever will again occupy. For the sake of explaining an experience labels are great, but I don’t think that we should be confined to them because subtly that separates us from each other, which simply isn’t the case. I’m asexual yes, but more importantly I’m me and I’ve got my own unique experiences.

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Mmm

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

Luckily for me most people have been so kind and understanding whenever I choose to bring it up. Though from time to time there may be some misunderstandings which I can typically explain away with ease (yes I know what “the sex thing” is)

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

Like I said, I know what sex is, it’s not like I don’t…

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Robot Aestetic

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

DUUUDE! DO WHAT YOU’RE LITTLE QUESTIONING HEART FEELS IS RIGHT! AND BE THE BEST YOU YOU CAN POSSIBLY BE! I know that’s kinda blunt but it’s really what it all boils down to 🙂

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

You can find my work on my main art blog at willhernandezdraws
Or you can find my slice o’ life comics at willhernandezcomics
And if you like you can support me at https://ko-fi.com/willhernandezdraws

I can’t wait to meet you all!
See you around 😉

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Watch Me

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

Interview: Kodiak Rain

Today we’re joined by Kodiak Rain, who also goes by Kodi. Kodi is a phenomenal visual artist who does a bit of everything. Ze enjoys colored pencils and watercolors mostly, although ze has worked with clay, acrylics, and oil paints as well. Kodi also illustrated a graphic novel written by zer son entitled Trayvalle Tales (it can be found on Amazon, here). Ze are incredibly passionate about art and zer work shows a remarkable amount of depth and complexity as well as a phenomenal use of color, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to zer for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I work with a variety of mediums from oil paint to acrylic to watercolors, sculpting with clay, drawing in pencil, ink or colored pencil or a combination of those, pastels, charcoal, using a Wacom drawing pad to create digital art, woodcuts and printmaking. Of all those things, I think my current favorites are colored pencils and watercolor paints. I like how those methods are easy to use so that I am able to work quickly without a lot of set up or clean up.

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What inspires you?

Nature is my biggest inspiration. I wish to capture its beauty while also offering a perspective on it that reminds others that we are part of nature and that nature is alive all around us. Even more alive than we tend to give it credit for on a daily basis. Emotions also inspire me. I want my images to evoke feelings although I don’t always want to determine ahead of time what those feelings will be. And finally symbolism inspires me. When working with images, there are so many ways to express different ideas, emotions and messages through symbols both ancient and more modern. It is fun to think about what symbols are universal and what may be very individualistic.

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

My mother was a professional artist all my life so I was exposed to art from the beginning. It wasn’t what I dreamed of being, it was just something I loved to do and found myself doing most, in fact with every opportunity I was creating something. I was fortunate that I had access to so many materials and was encouraged by my mom. I eventually discovered that I simply cannot live without making art. It has been many things for me. It has been my saving grace, my therapy, a way to tell my own story and the stories of others, a way to communicate my character and a way to express things I find hard to say in words.

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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?

I often include spirals because the spiral is found in the double helix of DNA and also in the vastness of a galaxy. It has mathematical qualities and just seems to be the most magical of symbols to me. I also like to draw eyes in my trees (not always but sometimes) to symbolizes that nature is watching us and judging our actions. I guess I am a bit of an agnostic pagan.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Draw every day! Try every medium! Find what you love and don’t stop. Develop tough skin so that if you are criticized or critiqued, you will hear what is beneficial to you and toss out what hurts. Do it for YOU.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I guess I am somewhere between asexual and demisexual and often sex repulsed.

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

I find more prejudice about being agender than asexual because I think people haven’t wrapped their heads around the idea that someone can be genderless. I think though that my sexuality doesn’t come up often enough for me to experience prejudice, although I know that some people think that it means something is wrong with me. I even had someone take it personally as if it were a judgment about their sexual ability when in fact it has nothing to do with other people and is simply all about me.

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

I guess that being asexual means that there is something wrong with me physically or that I just haven’t been with a good lover or found the right person. Also that I am a prude. I am not a prude and can talk about anything regarding sex with an open mind AND my asexuality is not about other people. It is all about me, what I feel and how I identify.

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

Just be true to yourself and know that you are healthy. What matters most is what makes you happy, what makes you feel good about yourself and your life. Nothing else matters as much as that. Remember that most of the time, people are projecting their own experiences and ideas onto each other so know yourself and don’t worry about what other people think.

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

I used to use Tumblr under a different name but I have forgotten the account info for that so now I have my own blog here on WordPress: kodiakrainblog.wordpress.com. It is fairly new but I plan to share my artwork and my life story there. I hope you check it out and subscribe if you like what you see!

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

Interview: Alice Marie

Today we’re joined by Alice Marie. Alice is a phenomenal visual artist who is currently studying sculpture at uni. When she’s not sculpting, Alice enjoys singing and songwriting. She’s got a wonderful enthusiasm and love for her art, 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 sculpture student currently in my second year at Camberwell, UAL. My practice has always been a bit sporadic – with the constant thread of connection being my sense of humor, and my habit of making elements a little cryptic, often leaving sculptural pieces as an in-joke with myself, and moving recently into outright baffling video works. I also earn sporadic money as a singer/songwriter, pandering to different fandoms at different times, but ultimately it was Destiel that taught me to write about love.

What inspires you?

I look very much to my own experiences, largely being media that I consume – be it an actual television show, a Netflix original, a meme, but then also folktales and Shakespeare, anything that I’ve found funny or engaged with on a more intense level will ultimately end up included somewhere. My music started off literally written for and about fandom, could literally not be divorced from the original content, but in the last few years I’ve moved on to more mythological themes, which are much more socially acceptable for some reason.

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

I’ve gone from singer, to chef, to actor, to comic book artist, to fashion designer growing up. But creativity is a real part in all of those careers, so I knew from early on that the creative process was an innate love. Ultimately it was my parents’ support that meant I could choose GCSEs and A-Level qualifications for purely what I enjoyed, and not what I thought necessary to succeed in a specific career, and I could never get away from Fine Art.

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 like having humor, if a project isn’t amusing to me in some way then I tend to drop it very quickly and move on to something more entertaining. My art is very self-indulgent, it’s a purely selfish process of ‘what do I want to do?’ and never what I ‘should’ do, because that gets very boring very quickly.

I also like there to be levels – either by different things combining in strange ways, or different intellectual levels to understand something – though I always talk about them on the most accessible level in public, because sometimes a floral plushie stingray pushing a shopping trolley full of tuna is literally just that.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Look at art, talk about art, just sit and work on your practice, and build up a file of images or text that grabs your eye! Even a blog, instagram, any form of documentation of ideas is invaluable because when you are lost you can always look back at something to reflect where you started from. But also, be open minded about everything – having a position is an attractive thing in any discussion, but learning is more important.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual, hetero-romantic… But with the added bonus of not being terribly attached to my gender, but not with strong enough feelings to go through the hassle of talking about pronouns, so I’m just staying under the umbrella of the female binary for now. Which means that yes, still hetero-romantic. I want to lean back into someone with more masculine body temperatures when having a movie-marathon.

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

My field so far has been as a student, and studying any Fine Art at Uni means that absolutely nobody cares as long as anyone involved is a fully informed and consenting adult. Ignorance, yes, because not every student arrives at Uni fully educated about the ace spectrum, but no prejudice. I’m normally quite patient with people worth the time, but I’ve been known to say ‘please Google it, sleep on it, see me in the morning’.

I could write essays on what I’ve seen online, but it’s only ever been observed as petty discourse squabbles. Everyone in direct communication with me has been at worst ignorant, and never malicious unless I already knew they were rotten eggs to begin with, in which case they’d be malicious about any personal information I revealed. So, Tossers.

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

The assumption is either that I have no sex drive and can’t get turned on (which hey, is one hell of an assumption to make after knowing me for the duration of one conversation) or that I am happy to be alone, completely solitary in my existence, for the whole of my life.

It gets so old, so fast, as I’m sure anyone else has said before and will say again. I now just, when asked about my sexuality, say ‘nah’ and make vague shrugging gestures until they take the hint.

The amount of times people have asked ‘do you wank?’. I normally ask ‘Does your mother?’ and go from there.

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

Just remember that any healthy relationship, of any kind, should be based on a mutual trust and respect. If you don’t have that, then nothing will work. But also that you don’t have to know – you can just agree to yourself to do what feels right if and when the time comes. If you want to go on a date, or kiss someone, or just hold hands, or just hang out, then do it, because if you are honest with yourself and the people around you then any crap they give you is their crap, not yours. Don’t play a part and then be confused when you feel like it’s not real, because you can’t make feelings happen, they just do.

One day you might – like I did – find a word on tumblr that resonates with you, and makes you think ‘oh, yes actually, darn, yes very much, the whole of 2010 -15 makes sense to me now, oh gosh, so many interactions could have gone so much better if I knew’. I never would have asked that guy to prom.

Even then, don’t worry about finding a word/label if none of them fit. You are a complete individual. Have a cup of tea. Pet a dog. You’re good.

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

I have a Tumblr where I post music related things at Alicemariemusic, I have a more personal Tumblr where I reblog funny things at Plamplamp.

I also have an Instagram when I remember that photography is fun at Alicemaarie

I also have a YouTube that has some songs, some educational videos, and some art videos at Hitstereo, but you could find it under Alice Marie too.

I have a Soundcloud at alicemarie-e, and my Bandcamp is alicemariemusic.bandcamp.com!

And then, because the social media presence and links never end, I have an official website (shiny, new, never been used) at goodsardine.wixsite.com/alicemarie.

Please, if you have any ideas you want to share for collaboration, music or art or literally anything, I always love to hear from people! Even if you want to chat about Diabetes or having a cleft lip, asexuality or the weather, I’d be happy to see a new name in literally any inbox from any of these sites, except maybe soundcloud ‘cause I’m rubbish at checking that fellow.

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

Interview: Eldervine

Today we’re joined by Eldervine. Eldervine is a phenomenal visual artist who enjoys experimenting with different mediums and styles. She is mostly a realistic illustrator, but occasionally dabbles in impressionism and surrealism. Eldervine does both traditional and digital art. She does sculpture/3D modelling and is currently studying game art/design. She’s a passionate artist and obviously has a very bright future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Amadeus

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’ve been drawing pretty much my entire life- I can’t remember when I started but (looking back) by the time I started school I was pretty well practiced for a 5/6 year old. Since then I’ve dabbled in almost every art form; painting (and then digital painting) was my staple for a long time but I’m pushing myself to sculpt more now.

In style I consider myself a realistic illustrator, even though I slide into impressionism and/or surrealism a bit.

What inspires you?

I’m an unashamed lover of beauty whether it’s found in pleasing shapes, rich colours or lush textures. Animals are the best source for me, particularly horses- they’re made of such beautiful shapes (loads of sine curves) and textures and I was totally that girl at school that always drew horses haha

My first degree ended up being in biological anthropology though (through a weird slide from the art school into the humanities, into the sciences), and that did get me interested in how humans work- that and working at my city art gallery made me more appreciative of human (and cultural) beauty. And it seems weird to me but playing The Sims 3 inspired an appreciation for architecture and landscape. The greatest artistic urge I get remains equine though, so I guess it’s true that old habits die hard.

handsdoodling
Hands Doodling

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

Phew, it’s a bit of a twisty ride!

My obsession with horses lead me into playing a ton of the online text-based horse sim games that abounded during the 90s/2000s; they were good because they were targeted just at people that like horses, unlike the modern ones which also have a clear intended age bracket. Those games all eventually died so I found myself joining a forum that used The Sims 3 (in modded form) as a horse game, with picture shows and breed registries etc. hosted on the forum. That then led me into the world of computer game modding, and I found I really enjoyed retexturing things and became interested in learning how to 3D model.

So starting from last year I’m studying game design/game art, and I think it’s the best career idea I’ve had so far! I previously didn’t think I could make a living doing art, but games is a growing industry with heaps of demand for artists. I’ve also found that games is a field that allows me to apply the biggest selection of my broad interests and skills (I’ve found my anthropology surprisingly relevant too), and offers specialist and generalist opportunities in equal amounts so I’ll be able to try a lot of different jobs and/or specialize in whatever I end up liking the most.

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 know about a unique thing (apart from a signature obvs). I’m guilty of the ol’ scratchy sketching that my new teachers (all animators) hate and are trying to beat out of me haha, but I don’t like leaving much lineart in my coloured stuff anyway. I think I certainly have a style which is very different to what everyone else in my class does- mainly, I think, because my artistic influences come from fine art whereas most of them grew up on comics.

mmsculpture
MM Sculpture

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Stop worrying about having a style, it will happen naturally over the course of your life and if you try and force it you’ll just end up limiting yourself as an artist.

Learn the fundamentals of colour, light and anatomy (yes, I mean realism) BEFORE you start stylizing. If you do it the other way around you’re locking yourself in to only being able to do that style, and often not as well. Anime/manga artists are prone to this; the good ones did heaps of life drawing before translating into the style, whereas you can tell the ones that started out in the style because they do some real janky stuff with anatomy and perspective, and it just doesn’t look as good even when considering style.

Also, be intelligent with your art; always ask yourself why you’re doing something or why something looks good to you. It helps you learn about yourself as well as your craft.

ibex
Ibex

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I knew I was asexual when I was 12, and I’m now 100% again, but there were bumpy bits at 22 and 25 where I thought I could be demisexual (thinking back and being brutally honest with myself, the first boyfriend I wasn’t interested in at all and the second one I thought I had found someone who I could be happy with, but they didn’t seem to get what I said about my sexuality and so I just tried my best to be into him sexually too. Spoilers: didn’t last long with either of them).

As far as the romantic scale is concerned, I have no idea. I do overwhelmingly connect better with women than (heterosexual) men, but I honestly don’t know what exactly the difference is between a close friendship and a platonic romantic one. Because I seem to be missing something, my current guess is that I’m aromantic as well. xD

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

I’ve only mentioned asexuality to a few friends so far in the games field, so I’m going to answer from all the fields I’ve dabbled in.

I am conventionally attractive, and my body developed early- my breasts were already fully developed and large at 12. Both things I have had people try to use as evidence that I cannot possibly be asexual, despite my pointing out that what feelings they get from my body are the results of their sexuality. (That and breasts are not actually sexual organs, they’re just sexualized in many cultures).

Apart from that, whenever I do mention it (which isn’t often) people tend to go “uh” and then gloss over it, clearly not understanding/not believing but not wanting to make more of a deal out of it. Which is fine by me actually, except I’m pretty sure my parents still have their fingers in their ears (some crossed) and are looking the other way as well. (I’ve definitely heard the “you just haven’t found the right person yet” line).

yuki
Yuki

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

Apart from the binary fission joke (which every asexual gets I think) and the one where people get their sexuality mixed up with yours, that asexuality is due to trauma.

I did actually have panic attacks – with my first boyfriend, the first week after we became official I couldn’t eat anything or I’d throw it up. Doctor gave me meds to calm the acid in my stomach and then I was fine. With the second boyfriend I woke up one day in abdominal agony, shaking and sweating (making it rain, but not in a good way!) but as soon as he called the paramedic hotline and I was talking and joking to the lady on the line I was better- when doctors later examined me they found absolutely nothing wrong. I had another exactly a week after (and I still feel awful about this one) where we had finished making out for a bit and he went to start on lunch (or something, can’t remember) and he came back to ask me something, and as he sat down next to me/leaned over me I suddenly felt so ill, had to bolt to the bathroom- didn’t quite make it- and was ridiculously, violently sick everywhere.

It was at this point that my mother helped me set up 6 months of therapy with a well-reputed sex therapist. xD Who was actually really lovely, and I enjoyed those sessions with her! It was really nice to have talks about sex that weren’t charged with expectations, with someone who was relaxed and had actually studied sexual health, critiques of sex ed, etc. She didn’t believe though that anyone with any hint of sexual need was asexual (and I did say that I was fine to have sex with myself occasionally) so I didn’t really get the benefit of that discussion. She also thought that my aversion to men (as she saw it- honestly I think guys being the only issue was because no lesbians ever hit on me haha) was due to my developing early and being sexualized by others before my mind was caught up. That boys would pretend to be friends with me because I had the big boobs, she said, lead to me linking sexual desire with dishonesty and so I distrusted it. Now, I still think it’s a really interesting idea and I do wonder if my sexuality would’ve expressed any differently if a)I got boobs later and b)if the world/how we raise boys was different. It’s been a long while now though and I’ve continued thinking about it and reflecting on myself, and while I do think I am put off a lot by how the world at large treats sex and sexuality (and women), I think 13 year old boys being self-centered pricks triggering asexuality for the rest of my life is giving them rather a lot of credit!

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

I used to get so stressed when I was a teenager because I was taking on everyone’s expectations about me and my future, and felt that a relationship and sex was just going to happen to me and I had no control over anything. Don’t stress- I can’t talk for everyone, everywhere in the world or in every situation, but at least in my case, the only thing that was keeping me from feeling secure and in control was me thinking that I wasn’t. Hopefully, this can serve as a reminder for someone else in a similar situation. You don’t have to do shit if you don’t want to. If you’re not in a similar situation, don’t be scared to go looking for help to get that control. It exists.

Having said that, don’t be scared to revisit what you think and try working yourself out all over again- you are what you are, and labels are tools that we can use to try and make more sense of ourselves, for us and for others, but remember that they are tools crafted from an imperfect world and they are clumsy.

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

My Tumblr that I set up to share my game art/schoolwork is eldervine.tumblr.com (you can also find my Twitter through there, which I use to post arty stuff, game stuff, school stuff, news stuff and feminist rants haha)

If you’re interested in seeing the Sims 3 horse art I did when I was a part of Equus-Sims, you can have a look at eldervinefields.tumblr.com (it’s sadly not active anymore but all my stuff, including mods, is still there).

doodle
Doodle

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