Interview: Marie-Pier

Today we’re joined by Marie-Pier. Marie-Pier is a phenomenal seamstress who uses her incredible skills for fashion design and cosplay. A dedicated cosplayer, Marie-Pier has cosplayed as various characters from different fandoms. Aside from her costumes, she also makes the accessories that go with her cosplays. Marie-Pier has also designed regular everyday outfits as well. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Elsa
Elsa

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hello! I am Marie-Pier and I am an artist in the broad sense of the term. From drawing, to writing and even programming (it’s an art, believe me!), I enjoy many aspects of art, but my favorite outlet at the moment is sewing and cosplaying. For me, the main appeal of this activity is the fact that it’s so versatile and it encompasses most of my other passions. I draw my own concepts, I make my own patterns and I often have to handmake accessories, which allows me to build up so many skills. I haven’t made a ton of outfits and costumes thus far, but that’s because a lot of care is put into everything I make, which ends up being quite time consuming. Among the characters I’ve cosplayed, one can count Queen Elsa, The Evil Queen (Regina Mills from Once Upon a Time, Emma Swan (“Dark Swan”, also from Once Upon a Time) and a few other simpler cosplays like Wednesday Addams.

When I make “regular” outfits, I often go for little black dresses, although my most recent creation is an autumn/spring wool coat.

What inspires you?

I’m mostly inspired by the gothic aesthetic, as well as fabrics. I love things that look graceful and elegant, but I also have a soft spot for more structured/tougher looking outfits.

As far as cosplay characters go, I am mostly drawn to evil or dark characters, because more often than not, they’re the ones with the best outfits! It’s also always fun to portray villains or anti-heroes because they’re usually really confident and completely unashamed to be themselves.

One of my idols in the designing world is Eduardo Castro, the costume designer for Once Upon a Time, hence why most of my cosplays are from that TV show. Let’s just say that I am easily won over by impressive gowns and really captivated by anything that sparkles.

When I make actual clothes, I usually go for things that I am unable to find in stores. I don’t really care about what’s trendy; I simply make what I want to own and what I know would look nice on me.

Emma-Regina
Emma-Regina

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

I’ve always loved arts and crafts, as well as dressing up. Both my grandmothers used to make clothes and costumes for me. I would draw what I wanted to have and give them the drawings so that they could make it.

In high school, I decided it was about time I learned to sew on my own. As a longtime fan of Halloween, I started making my own costumes and I attempted to outdo myself every year. By the time I finished High School, I learned about conventions and cosplaying and began to consider it.

A year later, in 2014, I joined a fashion design club and took that opportunity to make my first wearable garments and my first real cosplay (Queen Elsa from Frozen).
What I grew to love the most about cosplaying is the amount of skills I got to learn from it. Each costume of mine came with different challenges that allowed me to learn things I wouldn’t have otherwise. (E.g. woodworking, making 18th undergarments, sourcing screen-accurate materials…)

However, despite my love of sewing and costume making, I would not want to make a career out of it, because it is my own way of clearing my mind and relaxing. I never really try to force myself to work on a project; I just let out my creative energy whenever I feel like 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?

There is a little something special I try to include in all my cosplays and it’s a bit of an inside joke. It began when I made sequins out of plastic soda bottles to cover the entire surface of my Queen Elsa bodice. Ever since I discovered how versatile a material plastic bottles could be, I’ve incorporated at least one element made from them in all my costumes. Thus far I’ve used them to make sequins, a hair comb, detailing on a dagger’s handle, and a necklace.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

There are three things I would tell young aspiring artists. Firstly, practice makes perfect. The more you practice your skills, the better you’ll get. Don’t be scared to tackle huge challenging projects, they are the ones that provide the most learning experience. Also, don’t be scared to ask for help when you need it.

Secondly, don’t feel bad if you start preferring another art form over what you currently are into. Do what makes you the happiest and build as many new skills as you like.

Lastly, follow your own quality standards no matter what others say. If someone tries to tell you that you can’t possibly do something of a certain quality, don’t listen to them. Trust in your abilities and in your will to learn and perfect your craft.

Fashion-Design
Fashion-Design

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual greyromantic/aroflux.

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

Since my favorite character to cosplay (the Evil Queen) is known for being quite sexy and alluring, some people think that I dress like her to attract the male gaze and seek attention. Some even said that if I really was asexual, I wouldn’t choose to dress like that. I had thought about that sort of thing before making my costume and it almost stopped me from making it because I was afraid of conveying the wrong message, but ultimately, I decided to not care. I cosplay the Evil Queen/Regina because I love her as a character and because her outfits are beautiful and intricate works of art. I chose to not let people spoil that for me.

Orientation has nothing to do with the way we dress and asexuals have the right to be confident, comfortable in their own bodies and wear whatever they like.

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

The most common misconception about asexuality that I’ve encountered is that asexuals simply haven’t met “the one” and that they’ll change their minds one day. There are a lot of people who think we need to be “fixed or cured” and that does get very tiresome in the long run. Also, some people think that we can’t be in a relationship if we’re asexual, which is not exactly true.

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

This is not really an advice, per say, but I think that those people need to hear that they are not broken, no matter what society tells them. Today’s world is so overly sexual, but we must not let that discourage us. Even if we’re a minority, we’re out there, we’re valid and we shouldn’t let other people tell us otherwise. If you think that you might be asexual, just follow your gut feeling and let that guide you. Set your own boundaries and limits and respect yourself; do what makes you happy.

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

I am on multiple social media under the name Silyah246.

For sewing and cosplay progress (and the occasional daily life post), find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/silyah246/
For more professional high quality photos, you can head over to my DeviantArt page: https://silyah246.deviantart.com/
For more fandom orientated things and the occasional makeup tests, my Tumblr is the place to go: http://www.silyah246.tumblr.com/

I am also on Twitter (https://twitter.com/silyah246) and YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/Silyah246), but I use those less frequently than the others.

Regina-V1
Regina-V1

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

Interview: Sweety Aurore Mutant

Today we’re joined by Sweety ‘Aurore’ Mutant. Aurore is a visual artist who does a bit of everything. They draw and paint, both digital and traditional. When they’re not drawing or painting, Aurore is writing and while they haven’t had anything published yet, they’re working on a number of stories. Aside from that, Aurore is also into crafting and writing fanfiction. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and passionate artist, as  you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is quite diverse. I would say that my “main” medium, as in the one I spend the most time on, is writing. I am working on two novels and a short stories series right now (none are ready to be published yet because I am a perfectionist) and in the meantime I work on a lot of fanfictions (I have been writing a fanfiction about a 60s movie since July 2016, it’s about 75k words long now and not yet finished. Not yet published either, because it needs to be perfect, by that I mean good enough). I am also writing on a few Larp and video game projects right now. Yes, I multi-task. When I write, I am mostly obsessed with the concepts of subjectivity and points of view. How reality can change depending on who you are. (This must be why I love Larping so much)

I also draw/paint, both digitally and traditionally. Fanart and original art alike -plants, people, original characters, commissions…-  I like pencil drawings and watercolour the most, even though I try my best to draw with ink, because it looks so gorgeous! Also Photoshop is my best friend, I spend several hours in a row often to paint on photoshop the details of something.

I also like to take pictures -mainly of plants and people, but sadly my old camera is dead and I haven’t yet found the money to buy a good one again. I have a few filming ideas too (mainly co-ops) but again, lack of material.

I also knit, crochet and sew, mainly costumes but also a few clothing items for myself or friends. I did cosplay long ago, but decided to leave the community,

Lastly, I also do happenings, of which there are rarely any picture. My next one with involve old domestic objects and plants, I will try to record its process.

What inspires you?

So many things! The people I see in the street, the world around me, my friends and their awesome ideas (I remember painting Henry David Thoreau as a hispter because of a university friend…), the Larps I play, the video games I play, the books I read, the shows and movies I watch… I have no shame about doing fanart and fanfiction, it is as worthy and honourable for me than any other form of “original” art. (Yes, I am a proud believer in the monomyth and the fact that there is no real “original” idea, and that the re-telling and the ways of representing is the only thing that matters, hence the important place of fan-work in my conception of art). Another source of inspiration for me is also the social and environmental context (I am working right now on an environmentalist happening).

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

What got me interested? Oh what a difficult question! I began drawing and painting as soon as I could hold a pen, and writing once I knew how to. I was a very curious child/teen, so I learnt to knit, crochet, sew, embroider, and I soon made my own costumes and cosplays. Taking pictures and filming came later, when I was in High School because I studied cinema and arts then, and had access to good quality material. Writing for larps came also later, when I was more inside the community but I remember writing roleplaying games in middle school already.

I have always wanted to be an artist, yes. I tried to convince myself that I wanted to do other things as jobs to earn money, but yes, even studying for a Linguistics Masters like I do now, I know that in the end, I am meant for art.

K family
K Family

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 signature I have been using since I was 13 or so, and writing this I realise how long ago that was, oh my! It’s a “R” in the right corner of the drawing/painting/picture, and at first I decided to use it for three reasons: it is the only consonant of my first name, it is a homophone of “air” which is my element, and it is the first letter of the pseudo I was using back then. As time went on, I also realised it was the initial of the first name of my idol and the rébus of the fictional character I relate to the most (Grantaire in Les Misérables)… two things I had not thought about at all when I chose that signature, and because of that I like it even more!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Work, work, work. Fail, hate your work. Work again, be proud for a day or two, hate it a week after. It’s normal to be proud of something and then to hate it, it’s normal to be envious of other people’s work, it’s normal to be discouraged, and it does not mean that you are not good. There will always be people who are better than you, and people who will be worse and jealous of you. Just keep working, and work for yourself. Do it for the fun, for the art. No one will be mad at you if you can’t finish something, if you abandon a drawing or a draft. If they are, they did not deserve you in the first place. Your art should be made for your own enjoyment first. Be selfish.

Marika p
Marika

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as panromantic grey-asexual, or as I like to say it, I love everybody too bad I don’t like them. I really need to be in a very “special” relationship with the person to consider having sex with them, and I noticed that is had a lot to do with how much I find them interesting on the intellectual side of things.

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

I have, mainly ignorance, incomprehension and the same old clichés than everywhere else. When I face an ignorant person in my field that is open-minded, I handle it by helping hem understand what asexuality is. If the person is, forgive my vocabulary, an imbecile that just want to cling to clichés and not learn, I handle it with a raised middle finger,

silver4
Silver

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

The old “you haven’t found the right person yet/it’s a phase” bullshit. What hurts the most for me is that I see such misconceptions about aces in communities like feminists or LGBT+ that, I hoped, should have been more open-minded than your usual human. I most of the time get this feeling that people just don’t try to understand aces.

teach
Teach

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

I would say… labels don’t matter, as long as you feel good. You don’t have to fit into a category, what you feel and how you live it -alone or with how many partners you wish- is the only thing that matters in the end. Sexuality is fluid, don’t be afraid to change, as long as you feel right about yourself. Also, you’re the only one who know yourself, don’t let toxic people influence you towards anything you don’t feel comfortable with.

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

Mainly my Tumblr for my drawings/paintings: The Artful DodgeR’s Tea Rooms (http://sweetymutant.tumblr.com/) because my DeviantArt has been dead for too long. I will probably create a YouTube and Twitch channel soon, but have not yet found the time to! To read me, there is my AO3, Sweety_Mutant: (https://archiveofourown.org/users/Sweety_Mutant/pseuds/Sweety_Mutant)

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

Interview: Pesky

Today we’re joined by Pesky. Pesky is a wonderful fanartist and crafter. They write a lot of fanfiction, specializing in queer relationships. When they’re not writing fanfiction, Pesky enjoys doing crafts and specializes in knitting and crochet. They sell their work on Etsy. It’s very clear that Pesky is a dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write fanfiction in whatever fandom I’m in at the moment, usually involving very little romance and when there is romance, it never involves straight characters. Even my m/f relationships tend to involve at least one non-straight or non-cis character.

I knit and crochet a lot, and I usually have at least five different projects at any given time. Since I don’t usually make things my friends and family would enjoy, I’ve recently opened an Etsy shop to give those projects I have no use for a home. The completed project I’m currently most proud of is a triangle shawl I made out of wool scraps from an old elementary school finger knitting project.

Sewing is a recent addiction to my repertoire, mainly for the purpose of practicality and cheap small useful things.

What inspires you?

In fandom, my friends and my conversations with them are often my inspiration for my writing. Besides that, I try to fill absences and correct flaws in the source material. (We exist, after all, and yet, very few of us ever make it into mainstream media.)

In my crafting efforts I’m much more focused on aesthetics. I make things that I enjoy looking at, that I enjoy touching and wearing. Also, novelty. I have a terrible attention span, so I’m always on the lookout for new patterns, new techniques, new interesting projects, new challenges. (This is also why I have so many projects going at once.)

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

Actually, it’s all my mother’s fault.

She’s the one who introduced me to fanfic, because she found Twilight fic on deviantArt and was like, hey, I think my kid would like this! Eventually I started writing my own fic and poetry, and besides extended writer’s blocks caused by depression and anxiety, I haven’t stopped since I was fourteen. Now I’m almost twenty-four.

Mom was also the one who taught me to knit. I used to go to her to get help with casting on because I couldn’t figure it out how to do it for the longest time. These days I have things to teach her.

Crocheting on the other hand, I taught myself via YouTube, because my sister’s been crocheting for years and I wanted to learn this skill too. The differences and similarities with knitting have made it a valuable learning experience and the fact that many crocheted projects can be completed very quickly makes it much easier for me when my attention span is especially short.

Sewing is pretty much the only lasting gift my grandmother gave me. Everything else I learned from her has turned out to be toxic, bigoted cow manure.

All of my creative work comes from skills I discovered as a teenager and adult. I don’t think I would’ve gotten here any other way. And I look forward to continuing to learn new things.

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?

My Etsy projects all get a tag sewed on with my shop name and username on it, but other than that, I don’t think I’ve got anything besides my Tumblr profile pic, which I drew myself.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times before but the best thing you can do is practice. Find exercises for practicing common techniques in your chosen medium and repeat them over and over again.

Write all the terrible awful things you can. Trust me, you’ll learn from your mistakes.

Knit a hundred ugly uneven scarves or hats or legwarmers or whatever. You’ll learn a lot.

Draw all the unrealistic little sketches, paint all the paintings in badly chosen colors, sew all the weird little unusable bags.

Do research and then try out all the things you learn. Keep doing it until it starts looking like something you’re happy with. And in the meantime, forgive yourself for making mistakes. You’ll never stop making mistakes, you’ll just learn to fix them or make them look like they’re deliberate.

And keep in mind that practice and hard work always wins out over talent. Talent is a head start, not the goal.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and aromantic.

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

I’m lucky to have never directly encountered ace prejudice beyond the general “aces are basically cishets and they’re stealing lgbt+ resources”. But I’ve never encountered that kind of thing directed at me so I’m honestly not sure what I’d do if I did.

In fact, almost all of the close friendships I’ve made in fandom are with other aces. A funny coincidence, since I searched out fellow fans, not fellow aces.

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

“It’s just celibacy.” I’ve actually been told that to my face at a pride parade when I explained to someone that the colors of my clothes are the same as on the ace flag. I was still pretty new to the whole ace thing and ended up totally speechless.

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

Kinda depends on what exactly they’re struggling with.

In general, I’d say, find people who are struggling with similar things or who have struggled with similar things. Talk to them, try following their advice and give yourself time. Stop talking to people who make you feel guilty, ashamed or insecure about your identity.

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

I’m on Tumblr, Archive of Our Own and on Etsy. My username is peskylilcritter on pretty much every platform. My Etsy shop is, creatively, peskylilshop and my Tumblr writing sideblog is peskywritesstuff.

On my main Tumblr, I usually tag my writing with #pesky writes stuff and every other creative endeavor with #pesky makes stuff.

Feel free to come visit! And if you’ve got any more questions, my ask box is always open 😉

Thank you, Pesky, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s 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: Britani Palazzolo

Today we’re joined by Britani Palazzolo. Britani is an awesome artist who is incredibly versatile and works in a variety of mediums. She does a lot of papercrafts and other visual arts. When she’s not drawing, Britani does a lot of writing and some baking as well. Her work shows a fascinating sort of surrealism. It’s very clear she’s an incredibly dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Shibori15

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do a little bit of everything! I write, draw, sew, bake, papercraft, paint… If there’s an art medium out there, I’ve probably tried it haha! I usually jump around from one to the other, so right now I’m working on papercrafts mostly (my current project is making one for each Overwatch character) but I’ll probably drift back to drawing or writing soon. I mainly draw my OCs or myself, and I love drawing cute but gross stuff and object heads. I draw traditionally sometimes, but most of the time I use Adobe Illustrator because I love how it works with my style. I’ve been doing art since I can remember, and I’ve watched my style change over the years and it brings me a lot of joy just doing something with my hands. There’s really no telling what I’ll come up with next.

What inspires you?

I guess that depends on what I’m doing. If I’m drawing, usually it’s movies or other media because I’ll make a self-insert character or an AU for my OCs and draw according to that. I think my friends inspire my writing a lot of the time because we bounce around ideas and I just have to get them out! I also draw a lot of creepy/gore things, so catch me at Halloween time really inspired! Fandom also inspires me, but sometimes I’m afraid to contribute fanart because I compare myself to others (a bad habit I know, but I’ve been working on it!) and will instead stick with my own characters haha! I also use my own life as a lot of inspiration, including the fact that I’m ace. I make music playlists (I guess you could call that an art?) and I have an “All Your Favs Are Ace” series which are just character playlists based on my headcanons of characters being on the ace spectrum. I’ve written a fic involving a character coming out to their partner as a sex repulsed ace which I based largely on my own feelings and experiences. Music is also a huge inspiration provider, as well as long showers!

2. stomachmouthgirlidk

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

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to be creative and do art projects. Art class was always my favorite thing about school, and I would make things at home all the time. It was really in high school that I started figuring out that this was a real thing that I could do with my life. I learned a lot about digital art in high school, and had some great teachers that helped me along, so I decided to go to college for an Art Education degree. At the time I was working in a fabric store so I was teaching myself to sew and cross stitch, and in school I learned about oil paints and charcoal. I got to try every medium and it was fantastic! The chips fell as they do, and I got into baking and cake decorating. So, instead of teaching, now I bake and do art on the side!

3. objecthead

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 sign everything with my initials, but it’s not very special haha! If I sew anything for someone though, I attach a little tag that I made that says “Handcrafted”. I hand carved the stamp used to make these tags on an eraser, so I guess that’s kind of cool! Other than that I think it’s just my personal drawing style that is pretty unique. I tend to over exaggerate certain features (legs for example) and simplify others (feet).

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do not stop. If someone tells you that you can’t do something, you look them in the eye and you do the thing and you keep doing it until they close their mouth. It might take a while, but if it makes you happy, just keep going. Art is what you make of it. There are no rules!

4. rickcrossstitch

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a sex repulsed asexual panromantic!

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

I haven’t had a lot directed specifically at me (except somebody once didn’t like my ace playlists and called me homophobic for making them, which baffled me), but the first year I went to the pride parade in my area only ONE booth sold ace flags and they were those tiny ones on sticks. When I went to pride this year, I was hoping maybe asexuality had gotten a little more out there, but again only ONE booth sold the full size flags and the people at the booth had very little knowledge on the subject (didn’t know which flag I wanted until I pointed directly at it, didn’t know if they had any more ace merch, etc). Mostly I just ignore it or roll with it. If there is an opportunity, I will attempt to educate people on the matter, but most people spouting ignorance don’t want to learn, so I’ve found there’s not much point in trying.

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

That ALL ace people HATE sex/anything to do with sex/are innocent pure beings who don’t know anything about sex! It makes me laugh because I know so many ace people who are very sex positive, a lot are very kinky in their own ways, and are in no way ‘innocent and pure’. People assume you’re an emotionless robot (especially if you’re aro ace, I’m so sorry to those guys) and it just astounds me.

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

It’s alright to take your time learning about your sexuality, and do lots of research, read a lot of info! I thought I was straight until about the first year of college (19 years old or so), and from there I was maybe bi, but something just didn’t feel right about that. It was only once I started seeing a lot of info about the ace spectrum on Tumblr that I was like “Hold on… this sounds like me!” I identified as demisexual for a while, but did some more research, did some soul searching, and decided to go with full asexual. But just know that this could change too! Sexuality is fluid. Just go with the flow, meet people, make friends, maybe fall in love? Who knows!

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

You can find me basically anywhere on the internet by the same username: ranebowstitches
I’m most active on Tumblr, AO3, Instagram, and 8tracks.

Pop by and say hi! I love to chat!

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

Interview: Lehenne

Today we’re joined by Lehenne. Lehenne is an amazingly versatile artist who dabbles in a bit of everything. They currently have a book out, which they’re trying to get some buzz for, so please check out their links (their work features prominent LGBT+ characters as well as angels, demons, and maybe even an apocalypse). Aside from writing, Lehenne dabbles in a number of visual arts and even enjoys singing. They’re clearly a passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I love every kind of art. I sculpt, I paint, I sing (I’m probably driving my colleagues crazy over this one), I do origamis and engraving, I knit and sew, I also dabble in the art of Bonsaïs…

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But most of all, I draw and I write. Like, an unhealthy amount. It’s my thing, when I do something, I don’t do anything else until I bore myself out of it. And I love the art of words (the puns, spoonerisms and malaphors, oh my colleagues, my poor colleagues!)

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What inspires you?

My dreams! I dream all the time always. To the point where I eagerly wait for any alone time to do so without distractions. And when I’m not dreaming, I’m doing art… Or looking at it. And my dreams are inspired by everything that surrounds me; To the films I watch at the cinema and the TV series I follow, the museums I visit and the images I come across on Internet, the ancient mythologies and the comic books, nature’s work of art and pareidolia I catch on my tile floor, to the medieval choruses and chiptune I listen to.

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

I’ve always been drawing, since I can remember; my oldest memory is of me drawing in kindergarten. And I’ve started to read and write in sixth grade after my French professor (I’m French so the equivalent would be your English professor) gave us this short stories book, and I flashed on it; I mean, a light went on in my head, and I thought to myself “that’s it, I want to write. Create my own stories and share with everyone.” Watching movies and reading books, that’s good and all, but I thought to myself, my dreams deserve to be written down, if only for my own consumption. I have so many plot bunnies in my short stories’ file.

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As to wanting to be an artist, I don’t think I ever had a choice, it’s my life, and I don’t think I could bear going through it without doing art. It’s not what pays the bills right now, but I hope the current book I’m working on will launch me into the fabulous world of paid authors. For now, I share it for free on the site “Booksie”.

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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 do enjoy writing about supernatural characters, going inside their head and change the way I think to show an original point of view. I love drawing winged characters, probably because it’s my dream to fly (Yeah, I know, how original). I’ve also been told my original portraits’ style is somewhat always androgynous. My current book (see link below), regroups all that, I realised just now!

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

DON’T study art. Study whatever else you’re interested in. But always keep art on the sidelines, never give it up. And when you’re set in your life, with what society calls a “real job”, you’ll have every occasion to art and live from it. With your hard-earned money, you’ll buy as much art supply as you wish, and you’ll art whenever wherever.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m relatively new to this part, I’ve found all those amazing descriptions and denominations earlier this year. But I can affirm that I’m asexual and aromantic. I’m also pretty sure I’m agender, but I can’t be certain (I don’t really know what a gender is supposed to feel like, but I suspect, from my fascination with agender characters and my agender dream alter ego I’ve thought up when I was six and still imagine stories for, that that’s what I am).

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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’ve never come out, so that’s going to be difficult to answer. I don’t feel like saying, “I don’t do that” to somebody, that would just be… odd? Also, I don’t hang out with many people, but! One conversation I’ve had with a lively colleague did stir in that direction. When I bluntly said that I was aromantic and told her what it was, she simply said, “That’s not possible, ‘cos you aren’t a snail!” I’m still unsure what that means, but it did discourage me to ever talk about it again (I’m the epitome of shyness and introversion, so…) It still hasn’t come up again.

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

Mmh. When I was little, I would ask how I was supposed to know and feel like when I’d fall in love. I’ve always been told, “You’ll know”. But I never did. And I went through my teenage years thinking I would know when I’d want to have sex with someone. But I never did. I don’t think I answered that question correctly, but I don’t really know what to say, we don’t talk about sexuality much, here in France; People just kind of just openly lust over random people, and we don’t go beyond that. So if like me, you don’t lust over people, you just don’t say anything. I do have been called a prude for not enjoying sexualizing strangers, though.

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

Don’t struggle? I have never given it any thought, really, it just seemed like a natural thing to me. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering if I should be (sexually/romantically) attracted to people I found attractive, but the answer has always been “nope”. I’ve just found out it was aesthetic attraction (because I love art so much!) So really, I don’t know what to say to people that don’t feel comfortable with who they are.

Just know that you aren’t alone, there are plenty of good people around to support and love you. With some introspection, you might even come to terms with and enjoy who you are!

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

Here’s the link for my current book (It’s a work in progress): https://www.booksie.com/502306-dragged-out-of-heaven

If there’s any French speakers around, I also have another book here (still free): https://www.404-factory.fr/story/feroces-heros

As for my drawing, I haven’t spent much time on my Tumblr blog yet (I’m still new and haven’t yet completely understood how it worked), but I will make some efforts to post stuff on it in the near future: https://lehenne.tumblr.com/)

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

Interview: Matthew J-B

Today we’re joined by Matthew J-B. Matthew is a wonderful artist who specializes in crafts. He does quite a bit of crafting, a little bit of everything in fact. He does crochet, sewing, yarn spinning as well as things like paper craft and duct tape craft. He even does some cooking. Matthew is an incredibly dedicated and enthusiastic artist, as you’ll soon read. 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 craft.  I make everything that I know how to make.  I crochet, spin yarn, sew, sculpt, paper craft, duct tape craft, rainbow loom, paint, make bath products and cook.

What inspires you?

Mostly what makes me happy inspires me.  I create thing for friends, family (including my critters) and sometimes just for myself. My best friend is also a very good and positive muse.  They inspire me to create things to make people happy.  I am also inspired by my spirituality and my devotion to my path. I have a close connection to Hephaestus, god of artisans.

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

I grew up surrounded by all sorts of crafting materials.  My mother has always had crochet projects and my grandmother before her is a leader in her retirement communities crafting circles.

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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 do work with a lot of bird and animal imagery in my paper crafts since my parrots are such a huge part of my life.  But as far as universal signatures in my work, not so much.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just keep making.  You will find a medium you click with and maybe that is the one you love but sometimes you will love the look of painting but be predisposed to being better at crochet.  Nowhere is it written you can’t do both!  You can diversify and work on both what you are good at and what you love.  You have enough creativity to do it all!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a panromantic and probably asexual at this stage in my life but I am still exploring labels right now.  (I am also a somewhat fluid trans man which makes things just a little more complicated)

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

I have encountered a little since most of my crochet, spinning and scrapbooking is taught and expected of cis, straight women.  The expectation is to be creating for kids or a partner… whereas I have neither and don’t really want either.  But as far as outright prejudice, I have been lucky and most I come into contact with are understanding.

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

That it is one or the other. Most people I have mentioned it to expect someone who is asexual to be entirely non-sexual, this simply isn’t the case.  I do have a sex drive… I just don’t want to do anything about it with anyone.

I have also encountered the concept that because I am not interested in a sexual partner I must have been sexually assaulted.  I am lucky that I have not been, and even if I had, that knowledge is not for public consumption.

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

Explore on your own terms. You don’t have to pick terms right away, you don’t have to ever pick labels if you don’t want to.  It is your life and your identity.  It is entirely up to you how much if anything you explain to others.

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

I post quite a bit to my Tumblr:  ravenbara.tumblr.com

I also have an Etsy shop where I share a lot of my crafts at www.etsy.com/shop/RavenBara

Thank you so much for listening to me ramble!  I hope you find your way.

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