Interview: Jojo

Today we’re joined by Jojo. Jojo is a phenomenal versatile writer and visual artist who describes herself as “a figure skating writer and artist who dabbles in cosplay props.” For writing and visual art, Jojo specializes in scifi and fantasy. She does both traditional and digital art and has a degree in animation. When she’s not writing, drawing, or animating, Jojo enjoys making various props for cosplays and even has a blog dedicated to cosplaying on a budget. She’s clearly a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Arc Reactor

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a sci-fi and fantasy enthusiast, and most of my art is themed around that. I do a lot of digital art and pencil drawing in an actual physical sketchbook, but have a degree in animation and like to play in Flash when I have time (RIP Flash). Most of the time though everything I draw stays in sketch form. Drawing helps me work out ideas and logistics, which translates into writing very elaborate Sci-Fi worlds. I have one that I’ve been writing for a literal decade that I’m finally only just starting to amass into something like a novel. So far it has a tone I didn’t expect but I’m actually liking it. Fingers crossed.

I’m also a hobby prop maker, I make small manageable props and things that won’t weigh too much for cosplay using items from the dollar store.  I’ve done a Squall cosplay, an arc reactor, the purgatory blade and Samulet from Supernatural, Mad Max: Fury Road’s Bloodbag equipment, fake skulls, phasers, and Wonder Woman Armor from the new movie!

What inspires you?

I love ice skating, space, human goodness, animals, the sky, large swaths of nature, dungeons & dragons, stars, anime, food, Star Trek, multiverse theories and FOOD.

I adore food, it’s one of those things everyone can agree is amazing, and it’s something that comes in so many forms and says so much about each culture. If I didn’t enjoy eating it more than making it I might be a chef instead of a writer today!

Star Trek and anime started me on a very interesting path when I was very young. Star Trek is about a positive future, and anime is all about a protagonist finding out what makes them tick and then using it to do a thing. In my case I spent more time trying to figure out the ‘whys’ of my life than the ‘hows’ but luckily the two seem to go hand-in-hand so I believe even more in the power of being the protagonist of my own story.

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Fury Road Fanzine

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

Well, Starship Captain isn’t a viable career path (yet) so I settled for doing what I love. I always knew I’d be an artist, my father is an artist, both grandmas on both sides of the family are artists, and my grandfather is a former NASA engineer. I had a lot of people saying ‘if this is what you want, do it’ my whole childhood, it never occurred to me to try and pursue anything else. If space became a viable option I’d go there, but honestly I’d never stop creating 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?

Goodness, I actually don’t think so. The only thing I can say for sure is I try to make really stylistic varied body types, but I don’t think that’s a symbol, just a preference. Every main character I’ve ever had (once I got out of my ‘every character is from CLAMP’ phase- and shut up, you know we all had that!) has had a different body type that affects how they do things. I do it for fun and also because it adds different lifestyle choices they have to make.

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Inktober Ikali

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My advice is always Go for whatever that thing you want is. Seriously, go for it. The world out there isn’t made for doing the bare minimum to get by and then dying. If you can do something to get yourself ready to do That Thing you want, then do it. Work that retail job, but put all that money (as much as you can) away so you can eventually tell the customer they’re wrong and try what you want to do. If you have something you love to do, there’s probably a way to live off it if you want. And if you don’t want your art to be your job be sure of this: Don’t live to work. Work to live. Your art, your passions are worth pursuing even if you’re the only one passionate about it now. Your art doesn’t have to ‘contribute.’ Support your friends, but if they don’t support you back get new friends. Be loyal to yourself.

But seriously; be who you are, even if society isn’t a fan. Because screw them, society elected Trump, what the hell do they know? You’re you and you’re stuck being you forever, so try to get along with yourself. Artists are often eccentric, and I know that’s hard, but listen up, bb artists, you’ll be alright. Everyone’s actually really weird, some just hide it better than others. There are weirdos just like you who want to be friends, but are too nervous to fly their own personal flag. Put yours up, they’ll come. It’ll be hard, but you’ll find your people because they’re out there, they’re just hiding.

To those of you not hiding: Kick ass, take names and don’t let anyone tell you that eccentric = bad. Do no harm, but take no shit. XOXO

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Mugiwara Puppies

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a sex neutral aromantic asexual and it annoys me! “Nothing, nope not even that” is a hard orientation to be and massively inconvenient to explain. Especially when “maybe your first experience with sex was bad?’ doesn’t apply to me. Sex was … fine. I would have rather gone for ice cream, but eh, okay, we had fun together and I loved the guy so okay. So there. Tell your parents THAT. I actually tried it! It’s fine! Not the best but whatever who cares.

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

Strap in folks, you ain’t gonna BELIEVE this one! I’ve been holding onto this story for a special occasion and I guess this is it:

I used to work at a big corporate company, and our department took us out for a Christmas Dinner every year. Nice! This particular year I get sat between two men I know, across from a woman I don’t and she’s MILITANTLY lesbian. I’m talking about the type who won’t go five minutes without being like “So because I’m a lesbian” and we’re all sitting there like “we get that you’re a lesbian, Carol, go on…”

So Carol (she’s Carol now) is drinking because it’s a Christmas Dinner/Party and we’re all happy and buzzed and chilling and ALL OF A SUDDEN out of nowhere she says “I’m a lesbian so you won’t get it-‘ a pause then she turns to me and says ‘you’re not a lesbian right?” FINALLY. Thanks for finally asking, Carol! But no, I’m not a lesbian and I say so. “I’m Ace,’ I say, assuming her militant sense means she’s active in the LGBTQA+ space and she’ll know what I’m talking about. I was young and foolish.

She has no clue what I’m talking about. I now have to explain to her and my two straight male friend/coworkers what being asexual means. I do so, because why the hell not, I’m already in deep. Straight male friends go ‘oh okay, so you’re not attracted to anyone’ and go on with their meal. GOOD JOB STRAIGHT MALE FRIENDS YOU’RE ACTUALLY THE HEROES FOR ONCE!

Carol says “Oh. So… what happened to you? To make you like that?”

A pause. A horrified pause. A horrified pause where my two straight male friends and everyone within hearing radius at the table realizes Carol just asked if I was assaulted or molested or abused to make me asexual. I see straight male friends glance at me in horror.

But I am two drinks in, and I am transcendent. Instead of getting embarrassed and answering honestly straight out, I ask, as loudly as I want because FUCK YOU CAROL “Did you just ask me at the company Christmas dinner if I was sexually assaulted?” A horrified silence falls. I stare at her as she realizes she has come to the WRONG HOUSE. She starts stammering and backpedaling but OH NO, not today, Carol. “Not that it’s your business,’ I say loudly, ‘but I was born this way.”

She correctly decides to excuse herself to powder her nose. Run Carol, run.

This is when straight male friends, and actually the entire department, show some goddamn solidarity, kids. The boss (who I don’t actually think heard the convo) has already paid the bill, and as one, while Carol is in the bathroom, the whole department decides dinner is over. Everyone is talking and acting like it’s normal, but the whole table- myself included- gets up and leaves while Carol is in the bathroom at this restaurant.

It was ignorant, and it could have been very embarrassing, but I was able to realize I wasn’t the one who should be embarrassed, and if you can remember that next time someone tries to shame your asexuality, you can ditch Carol at a restaurant on Christmas too. The End.

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Phaser

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

People seem to think three very incorrect things. They think something had to happen to make you asexual. Like it’s their damn business to know if it did. Two: that their opinion on you being ace matters (pro tip: hell no) and three: that being ace means you don’t care about being cute and flirty. You get to be as damn cute and flirty as you want, cuz it’s fun! They still ain’t gettin’ none of this, so they better step off.

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

I am struggling too. I get you. It’s hard to be ‘nothing’ when you’re conditioned to think everyone gets ‘something’. Some people don’t and that’s okay. Again, society is dumb, so find something that works for you, whether it’s a Poly tribe, a best friend, a cat, two best friends and a cat, or an online community of people who get you better than the physical ones. Whatever works for you is the right orientation for you. If you wake up tomorrow super attracted to someone, fair enough. You’re a changing person and regardless of how you wake up tomorrow, today you’re ace and that’s your choice to identify- or not! Ace is just a better word for ‘nah nothing really works for me’ and gives you a bunch of other people who get it. Aro’s also a hard one, because you have been told your whole life you want something, but then when you have it, it’s… fine. I had a great relationship for a while, but I felt like we were friends who slept in the same bed. I was later informed that’s not how most people feel (?) Doesn’t de-legitimize my relationship, just means what I’m looking for and what others are looking for might be different. Which is fair, and valid. Labels exist for you, not for the world. You do you, as the saying goes. That’s my advice. I won’t tell you it’s not hard, it is, but it’s also worth fighting for yourself and what you want, not what society or parents or friends want for you.

ALSO ADVICE: Find a doctor who’s cool with you not having sex. My doctor doesn’t care, doesn’t ask why I don’t have sex, doesn’t ask why I laugh if he asks if I’m in danger of becoming pregnant. He just nods and says ‘okay’ and moves on. Find one of those. You not having sex is not a problem and if your doctor says it is: time for a new doctor.

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

My main blog is http://starshipcaptainjojo.tumblr.com/
Art is posted to http://hipster-safari.tumblr.com/ (though also to my main blog most of the time)
And my cosplay/craft blog is http://dollarstorecosplay.tumblr.com/.

Siano_Debut
Siano Debut

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

Interview: Grace Schodel

Today we’re joined by Grace Schodel. Grace is a phenomenal visual artist who is currently studying in uni. She does both traditional and digital art, drawing a variety of subjects. Her art is remarkably beautiful, showing an incredible attention to detail and a masterful use of color, which draws the viewer in. She’s an incredibly passionate artist, 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.

My name’s Grace Schodel but I go by knittinganarchist online, I use the pronouns she/her, and I’m studying a bachelor in animation. My art is pretty all or nothing honestly! I use both traditional and digital mediums to either spend 3 months working on a series of conceptually similar drawings, or spend 3 minutes smashing out cute and stupid cartoony comics.

What inspires you?

Probably a mixture of a good colour palette, my drawings are all pretty heavily inspired by colour palettes that caught my imagination, and romanticizing everyday life. A lot of my drawings are about making mundane everyday things fun; my uni induced breakdowns are overdramatic and honest, forgotten gift cards are a cause for celebration, and messy hair can be a Look. I love positivity; at the moment I’m working on a series for an art show in February that focuses on the spacy disassociation I felt for most of my first year of uni, but instead of going over old wounds is supposed to represent me working through that feeling.

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

I’ve always loved art, but was never really allowed to think it was a viable option for my future. I did design after graduating school because I thought it was a good balance between creativity and responsibility. But I was miserable, and decided to just follow my heart instead and study animation.

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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 don’t have hidden codes in my drawings, but now I kind of wish I did because that would be rad. The closest I have is that for a while now all my lineart is in two layers, one red one black and the black one is set to a lower opacity. I think it just makes the picture a little softer and adds something cool to the overall look.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to use references. I spent so long feeling guilty for using reference photos or other artworks, that I tried to do everything from my head. In my opinion even tracing something is okay (as long as you don’t try to pass it off as your own original without giving credit) it helps immensely with anatomy, perspective, and developing your own “style”.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a sex-neutral asexual.

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

In my field? No not really, everyone at my uni so far seems to be fairly open minded and accepting of everyone. But in my personal life I’ve been mostly met with confusion and disbelief, the classic “What happened to you?” and “But you wear short skirts and have dated before” get thrown around a bit. A few deeply uncomfortable conversations about sexual scenarios have happened where someone has said “Well, what if …. happened, would that make you normal?”, but I mostly just avoid that by only telling people who need to know, such as my boyfriend, and the close friends I trust.

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

Of course I can’t speak for everyone here, but personally its either been that I can’t be ace because I like dressing up nicely, and apparently people only do that to seem attractive so they can hook up? Or that aces are afraid of sex? Some aces may be, and that’s their choice to identify as ace, but its endlessly annoying so have to explain no I’m not afraid I’m just not interested.

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

It’s perfectly fine to have no interest in sex. It can seem the be all and end all of relationships and growing up, but honestly if it’s not for you, it’s not for you.

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

Either on my Facebook page where I offer commissions:
(https://www.facebook.com/knittinganarchist/)

Or my Instagram where I post a lot of my personal and uni work!
(https://www.instagram.com/knittinganarchist/)

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

Interview: Zombie

Today we’re joined by Zombie. Zombie is a wonderful young aspiring author. They are gravitating toward writing YA fiction, mostly in the fantasy genre. They have an incredible creativity and an awesome enthusiasm for their craft, as you’ll soon read. Zombie obviously has a very bright future ahead of them. 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 consider myself to be a beginning author. I’ve been writing since 8th grade and the things I write tend to be geared towards young adults. My characters are from a variety of backgrounds. For instance, there’s a character by the name of Ozymandias who is a gay immortal alchemist who appeared in literature and art all the way from 1337, his Latino husband, and the main protagonist of the Eden series; a psychic Puerto-Rican aro-ace girl named Kira Black. I enjoy coming up with unique characters. I euphoria I get from creating them on paper is what I imagine to be the feeling of artists when they draw their OCs. Even the villains I work hard to create.

Honestly, I’m very proud of what’s in my head, and I can’t wait to show it to you all!

What inspires you?

My life experiences and the things I’ve read. It’s hard trying to find characters that relate to my struggles in the genre I prefer to read and honestly, I’m tired of seeing pretty female protagonists with perfect bodies and flawless skin and love triangles. I always wanted characters that I can relate to! Ones with physical and mental flaws! I want heroines with OCD and depression! I want girls to wear glasses because they’re visually handicapped! I want protagonists who DON’T want to get the guy/girl! And since I could never find any, I set out to write them myself.

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

I guess it was the books I read. The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod and Artemis Fowl by Zac Brewer and Eoin Colfer respectively. I think to a degree, I always wanted to write. When I was a kid, I’d beg my teacher to let us have time to write. When I grew older, I’d write in my notebooks instead of doing school work and then my grades started to slip!

There’s something beautiful in writing and I’m not quite sure I know what it is.

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?

Actually, yes! Characters from previous works/series will always be mentioned. Remember Ozymandias who I mentioned earlier? I’d keep an eye on him if I were you!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice makes perfect, and there’s no shame in starting off your writing career with fanfictions! You have to learn somewhere, right?

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Romance-Repulsed, Sex-Neutral Aromantic Asexual. I identify as the gender I’m born with (female) because I’m not sure I have the right to call myself anything else. Though I’d love to have an androgynous form. Having no gender sounds amazing and honestly, being a girl is just a bit tiresome. I guess I’d feel more free and less ashamed.

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

Not really. The only other authors I talk to are Ace positive or Ace themselves. I don’t appreciate being called Heterosexual.

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

That we don’t understand sex or can’t handle sex jokes. I assure you guys I know plenty about sex, which is why I’m uninterested in it. Also, I have a huge repertoire of sex jokes just waiting to be set free because of the shows I watch and the company I keep.

They do get some things right, though.

I effing love cake.

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

You’ll figure it out by yourself in enough time, and when you do, don’t let strangers or even family tell you you’re wrong.

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

On my Wattpad, AO3 account, Tumblr and Twitter! ZombiesNeedCoffee, CemeteryLights, Kirablackisback, and Zombieaugust respectively. While my Tumblr is a roleplay blog, I do post frequent snippets from my stories and information about my characters there. You can send me emails at ghostwritergraves@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from people.

(Zombie also has a blog they made strictly for writing: https://zombieastronomy.tumblr.com/)

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

Interview: K O’Shea

Today we’re joined by K O’Shea. K is a wonderful writer who has completed a fascinating sounding graphic novel. Anytime someone mentions The Maltese Falcon, I perk right up (I’m a sucker for noir). K’s novel is entitled The Ghost Army of Atlantis and it’s currently being illustrated. It’s clear they’re very passionate about the project, 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 currently have an unpublished but fully written graphic novel called The Ghost Army of Atlantis: A Millie Buckle, Ace Investigator Adventure. It is currently being drawn and colored by the artist, who is an equal partner on the project.

Millie Buckle was a project I began while I first was working out what being asexual meant to me, and is a reflection of what I always wanted in literature – awesome women, zero romance, and skeletons fighting ghosts in a two-page spread splash panel. Millie is a private investigator in the 1930s who often gets called for some of the weirder crimes – the elevator pitch is basically “What if The Maltese Falcon also summoned ghosts?”

I also write the occasional editorial and review on a website created by friends.

What inspires you?

A lot of my inspirations come from experiences or shared stories with my friends, but I do take a lot of influence from the books and movies I had growing up. There’s a little bit of Stephen King in me, but also some K.A. Applegate and Terry Pratchett.

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

Honestly, I always have ideas for stories, but I get the most excited when I get to share them with friends and 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?

That would probably be a good idea, huh? Probably my love of the semi-colon, which gets used far more than grammatically should be allowed.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to shove things back in the vault if it’s not working. You might get to it later when you’ve learned more. It’s okay to let yourself stop and move on to something else if you’re just not feeling it. If you force it, it’ll come out forced.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Sex-neutral, alloromantic, asexual. It’s never been that important to me as it has been for my partners – I get intimacy from emotional bonds and physical closeness.

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

Not personally, but I’ve seen more published authors struggle with it.

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

That my marriage is not as valid as it otherwise would be. My spouse and I love each other, and sex doesn’t factor into it. We’re no less married than we were before I figured this out.

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

You’re not broken. You are absolutely not broken.

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

My reviews, editorials, and former podcast (I have since given it to my former cohost who continues to produce it) are at Made of Fail Productions (http://www.madeoffail.net). When Ghost Army is nearing artistic completion and ready for publishing, it will be there as well.

I’m also around at Twitter and Tumblr under the username osheamobile.

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

Interview: Cin

Today we’re joined by Cin. Cin is a wonderful young artist who hasn’t met a medium they didn’t like. They do a lot of visual art and writing, but they’re also quite interested in music and dance. They demonstrate a wonderful passion and enthusiasm for art, as you’ll soon read. This is definitely an artist with a bright future. 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’ve really just been intensively drawing since about April. I’ve been doodling for a very, very long time though. I mostly draw fanart, from Steven Universe and Homestuck. I have many OCs that I continue editing and creating. I occasionally draw real people too, like this drawing of Thomas Sanders (at thatsthat24 ) I recently did.

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I write and I’ve been writing for about 3 years, and surprisingly, I’ve stuck with one story and it’s about 100 pages long by now. It’s called The Portal Guards.

I also dance, sing, and act, all three of which have been for 9+ years. I take dance classes and voice lessons too. (Tap, jazz, ballet, and lyrical, and I’m an alto/mezzo-soprano)

Finally, I play both the viola and piano. I’m a novice piano player, having started a month or so ago, and I’ve been playing viola for 4 years. I recently started writing sheet music for strings too.

What inspires you?

I guess, other artists, and my friends. If I find something interesting to myself, I research intensively then draw or write.

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

Hmmm… I’ve really never thought about how I started… I mean, none of my art hobbies really had a backstory. I sorta just got interested…

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 mean my signature is pretty special, but I mean there’s not very much significance behind it…

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I am an aspiring young artist! But if anything, be your own critic. Let others be critics. Don’t let people’s bad critics get in your head. I guess what I mean to say is, don’t compare your work to others.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Just ace! I guess I’m sex neutral hehe

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

Yeah, kinda, I mean, if you count me getting overly uncomfortable when some friends are making sex jokes and stuff ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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

That an asexual has to be virgin. I mean, I am a virgin but gosh

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

Accept yourself as who you are. What other people say can’t and will not change you. I completely know the utter feeling of dejection, and I just had to take it as it was and roll.

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

http://why-nyello-i-am-trash.tumblr.com/
http://blubberfish23.deviantart.com/

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

Interview: Amy

Today we’re joined by Amy. Amy is a wonderful genderfluid writer from Australia. They sent me one of the nicest emails I’ve ever read. They’re currently studying creative writing and judging from their passion, they have an incredibly bright future ahead of them. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

So far, I’m only a student writer taking a writing course. Though, once I’ve got the time, I hope to publish novels, short stories, poetry, and so many other forms. I don’t have any particular genres I’m going to restrict myself to, but there is one genre I’m definitely avoiding as a stand-alone: romance. That genre is the bane of my existence, especially in young adult literature.

I would say my favourite genre has to be either sci-fi or detective fiction, so I definitely hoping to write under those categories in the future. The possibilities of world-building is breathtaking and terrifying at the same time, so having the chance to construct my own world excites and scares me. Normally, I hate feeling scared, but this is a good kind of scared… You know what I mean?

I try to give my stories good representation on all fronts, especially for the LGBTQIAP+ community — in fact, I manage to get a short story published about a girl moving into a haunted house, who met her girlfriend through the ghosts there. I do worry about a character falling into a stereotype, so I keep myself informed on what to avoid.

What inspires you?

I can get inspiration from anywhere, such as unusual moments — like strange dreams or listening to music or even reading other stories — the little what if… chimes in my mind and starts to sprout from there. It’s starts off with the basic plot, and as it grows out, I decorate it with details and organise key events for it to follow. It’s such a delight to wish for a story to exist, and then realise that there’s nothing stopping you from writing it yourself!

But to be specific, what drives me to write is this urge to tell stories. Naturally, I’m a very shy introverted person who has trouble expressing themself through everyday speech and often what I say isn’t heard because I talk too quietly. So writing is one of the ways to help me express myself — I would even say that it’s the most fluent method. My writing is the only skill of mine that I’m confident in.

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

From a young age, I’ve always wanted to be a storyteller. I had this forte whenever something along these lines would be set as classwork, and I found the written word much easier than my peers. My teachers and my family would praise me on my talent, and through that I became more confident and passionate. My Mum was my best supporter when it came to my writing — she would always be willing to read my stories, give me advice, and encourage me to keep at it. Though, I can’t really show her my work anymore considering that I now write less “innocent” works.

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?

In most of the stories I write, a red ribbon will appear at any point; it doesn’t matter how relevant it is, I like to add that one repetitive detail. Why I choose to include the red ribbon is a little inside joke with my younger self and me — for most of my childhood, I never had proper bookmarks (because I’d either lose them or they’d be accidentally ruined by my clumsiness) and instead, I would use a red ribbon. In a way, I’m honouring and thanking my younger self for being so interested in reading.

Another inside joke/detail would be owls. This is in a way a tribute to my favourite band, Owl City, who I would even go as far to say helped me figure out my identity. His music has a sweet innocent love to them, and it was refreshing to listen the beautiful imagery it produced. When everyone around me was “coming of age” and discovering the world of puberty and sexuality, I’d felt left behind and alienated on that front. Being already an unpopular kid as it was, I was so desperate to fit in that I pretended to have crushes (god forbid on the guys who hated me the most), and boy, was that a mistake! However amongst the flood of hormones and sexual desire, I remember being in class one day with the radio on, ignoring the music because they were about romance and/or sex. Then on comes a song, and it’s not about either — it’s about fireflies.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice, practice, practise! You can’t climb a tree by only imagining the canopy — you have to start somewhere. Trust me, this is advice from someone who doesn’t take their own advice and really should because it makes sense.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m not sure at this point. I believe that I’m sex-neutral and have some element of autochorissexuality, but apart from that I haven’t figure it out. I haven’t had any sexual or romantic experiences. I’ve had one crush in the past, but I couldn’t act on it and I haven’t had one since. It’s weird to think about, and I’ve run in circles trying to determine my identity.

I tell people that I’m demiromantic asexual to make it easier, but it doesn’t sit right without any experiences to refer to.

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

Mostly I’ve come across ignorance — like stereotyping ace characters or aces in general. If it’s a person I’m talking to, then I would try to inform them on their mistake. But other times, I’m not courageous enough to go out of my way to contact them, and I hope the ace community can forgive me for that.

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

That because someone is ace, it means they don’t have relationships and/or don’t have sex. From what little representation I’ve encountered, this is the most prominent misconception used by allosexuals. Also that aces can’t appreciate people’s beauty. This one is most irritating to me considering I hope to have a partner one day, albeit romantically not sexually.

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

You don’t have to fit under a label perfectly and you have plenty of time to figure it out. In fact, you don’t have to use labels altogether. I’m sorry, but I don’t have much else to say, since I’m still kind of struggling too.

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

At the moment I’ve only gotten one short story published to my name, however I’m not “out” to my family or beyond close friends, so I’m not ready to come out to a wide audience yet.

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

Interview: Martin

Today we’re joined by Martin. Martin is a positively fantastic visual artist who is so incredibly enthusiastic about their work. They do a lot of fanart, but also find great enjoyment in drawing original characters as well. They’re starting to dabble in fanfiction. Their passion for art truly shines through in their interview, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Trigger warning: There’s blood (or what looks like blood) in the first picture.

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Furuta

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art means a world to me because it is the way I spend my free time and let my creativity flow, if I can say. I often complain about my artworks and find them “not so good” but the truth is I can see an improvement and that makes me happy each single time!

I mostly do fanarts to series I am currently into (for this moment it would be Tokyo Ghoul, One Punch Man and Marvel Cinematic Universe in general) but I am trying to write some fanficiton as well! I am not a professional artist, however it would be nice if I were able to publish a book or contribute to an art project one day.

Sometimes, I draw original characters, too! They are part of me, I must say.

What inspires you?

This is a hard question because I often wonder about it and cannot find a proper answer. I think it is everything and nothing all at once. Catchy song I have accidentally found? Inspiration. Heartbreaking fic I have just read? Inspiration. A view from a tram? Inspiration. I cannot list everything, honestly.

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

When it goes to drawing I have been doing it since I was a little kid and I have never really thought about giving it up. Only recently I have started to take it kind of more seriously.

When it goes to writing though, I honestly cannot remember. I guess I was just bored and thought about something like “Hmm, how about writing? Sounds fun!” and then I sunk into it.

It is not like I have always wanted to be an artist, actually, it has never crossed my mind to be a professional until two or three years ago. To this day I do not know what I want to do but giving up art as at least hobby? Never!

mariuisel
Mariuisel

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 put a tiny signature on my drawings! It consists of my initials.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

NEVER. GIVE. UP. Such a thought has came into my mind billion times already but hey, I am still going forward! I do complain, I even cry about “not being good enough” but people around me are supportive which helps A LOT. Even if you don’t have encouraging family or friends let me tell you there are many people out there in the world who silently admire your work and would do anything to brighten your day and help you keep going. Maybe you do not know them yet but trust me, they are closer than you think! So please, never give up on doing what you love.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I find it complicated even to myself but for this moment I go with simple “sex repulsed/sex neutral asexual”

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

In art field? No. In my close environment? Yes. It was actually one or two times when ignorance towards me for being asexual occurred and I think I handled it pretty well, then? I was upset, of course, but everything ended quite well.

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

That I must be sick for “not wanting sex” and that “I will regret my decision because sex is the best thing in this world”. Only a few people know I am ace but only one said nothing about it. The rest, even after my explanation what asexuality actually is, seemed skeptical and indirectly called me “a special snowflake”. Because of that I am closeted to, well, almost everyone.

The most common misconception? That something is wrong with me and that I do it for attention. That sex drive = sexual attraction.

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

To not listen to people who claim to know more about you than you yourself. It may be hard, sure, but why should we listen to people who call us “ill” or “weird” while they do not even understand the definition of the word “asexual”? Try to educate them on this matter and if that does not work, please, do not blame yourself. Keep going, show them you are brilliant and great the way you are, no matter what they say about you and your sexuality! Do not ever let them make you feel as a less of a human.

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

I publish most, if not all, of my artworks on my Tumblr, eroemo.tumblr.com! I sometimes post them fanfiction as well but I mostly publish it on my AO3 account, which is under same nickname as my Tumblr.

I am always open for any kinds of questions so if someone is interested about details, advice or just want to talk about the weather – you know where to find me!

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