Interview: Mia

Today we’re joined by Mia, who also goes by Aljoscha online. Mia is a phenomenal photographer. They specialize in nature and architecture photography. Their work is brimming with life and an astonishing amount of detail. Mia truly captures snapshots of life and places with their gorgeous pictures. They are an incredibly talented 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.

Basically, I’m interested in any kind of art, because my family has an artistic disposition. I tried several things like drawing or making music but photography is the one field where I see my qualities. I do this as a hobby but I try to specify my work to nature and architecture photography.

I love to travel and I want to show other people what I have seen on my journeys. And of course photos are the best way to do this. 😀

What inspires you?

First of all, nature is a huge inspiration for me. It just offers the best subjects. Also cityscapes are incredible amazing. You just need to visit other towns and you see such a difference. It’s the diversity I want to capture and that gives me the inspiration to do my hobby.

Other huge inspirations are several photographers, e.g. Olaf Heine and Farin Urlaub. They both are in really different fields of photography but their works are impressing as heck. Their works give me a self-confidence boost à la “I can do this too!”

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

As I said I saw the works of Olaf Heine and Farin Urlaub and I wanted to do the same. First I thought I couldn’t do this because these people have a good qualification and worked in their field for years. I was nearly giving up when I saw that my brother autodidactically learned how to photograph and it turned out really well! This was the moment I got the self-confidence to also start photographing.

When I was a child, I was actually really annoyed that everyone in my family was so talented. I think it was because I am by far the youngest one and I wanted to be able to do all the art stuff my family did at the first go. I took me some time to realise that it takes time and patience and that you have to practice a lot. Now I’m happy with what I’ve already achieved and that I make people happy with my 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’m currently working on a signature. 😀

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Take your time! And don’t be sad if it doesn’t turn out well immediately. It’s hard work but in the end it was worth it, I promise. Also share your art everywhere you’re comfortable with. And always stay positive! When you see other peoples’ works don’t get sad – tell yourself you can do this too! Because you really can 🙂

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as polyromantic (sex- / touch-repulsed) asexual.

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

Luckily not. When I’m taking photos / traveling I’m alone or with people who don’t know I’m ace — and that’s fine.

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Font de la Cascada

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

The most common misconception I heard about is that asexuals are broken and need to be “convinced” to have sex. People don’t seem to understand that you can be totally fine without having sex and that this is not bad.

And of course that asexuals wouldn’t belong to the LGBT+ community.

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

Keep calm. There’s nothing wrong with you and your identity.

Also make sure you have someone you can talk to – on the internet or in real life, doesn’t matter. If you’re sex-repulsed immediately tell your partner and talk about it. It’s important that they accept your boundaries and that you don’t push yourself into something you don’t want and / or you’re uncomfortable with. And don’t be afraid that you won’t find someone when you’re asexual! You’ll and so did I. It may be hard sometimes but life would be boring otherwise. 🙂

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

All my works are on DeviantArt: https://fdjpunx.deviantart.com/

Also I have a blog about photography where I post my works too: https://wuestenkind.tumblr.com/

strasse_bei_nacht_by_fdjpunx
Strasse Bei Nacht

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

Interview: Jade

Today we’re joined by Jade. Jade is a phenomenal writer who has one of the most adorable dogs ever. She writes mostly poetry and fantasy. When she’s not working on original work, Jade writes fanfiction as well. It’s very apparent that she’s incredibly dedicated to the art of writing, 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 writer who works mostly with poetry and fantasy works. I’m only just starting out publishing my work to my blog but it makes me really happy to share something that means so much to me with others. The last few years I have been big into writing fanfiction for Supernatural but recently I’ve wanted to start working on original works more so I’ve started doing daily couplets and taking poetry requests from my followers. I also did a little challenge for a few days where I would have one of my friends pick out a dialog prompt and I would write a few paragraphs of a story based on it. Writing is one of my favorite things and it has always been a very empowering and relaxing process for me so I’m happy to be expanding on things and doing more of it.

What inspires you?

My dog Duke is a huge inspiration to me since he survived going to the pound twice and having to be there so long but has come out a super loving and amazing dog despite it. Besides that, I’m mostly inspired by the progress I see every time I post something new and can see how much I’m improving and getting better and the knowledge that if I keep going then that trend will continue. My religion also is a big inspiration for me as I’m encouraged to create new works to honor my deities all the time and knowing they appreciate my art helps me want to make more.

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

When I was little I actually wanted to be a scientist and get to study rocks. However I soon realized that doing things that required set steps that were always the same bored me. However since the moment I could read books have always been my escape and eventually I realized that I could write stories too and my heart was set. I’ve dabbled in all sorts of prose but the freedom offered by poetry has brought me back there time and time again.

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?

Well all of my works are their own thing so there’s not really anything I purposely add into them to connect them, however many things that I personally like do get carried over to some of my characters (Like a love of cheesecake or the color blue). I also work a lot with mythology and exploring diversity. Another thing that’s often featured in my works is mental illness and having the characters learn to accept and work with their limits to reach their goal since it’s something that’s important to me since I have had major depression and anxiety since I was really young.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do what you love and love what you do. No matter what you do there will be people who put you down or don’t like your work but when you create you should do it for yourself because its something YOU love, not for them. That and try to hold onto old works. Looking back and seeing how much you’ve grown can be such a rewarding and empowering feeling.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a non-binary poly panromantic sex repulsed asexual. Try saying that ten times fast XD

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

Most of the prejudice I’ve encountered has actually been from family and people outside of my online fanbase. My father and brother both believed my identity was just because of my time on Tumblr and I was just being a “Special snowflake” However after wasting my breath in many arguments I realized they’d never change their minds and I instead just moved on with my life. I know my body and my life better than them and I wasn’t going to waste more time or energy fighting with them just to be seen as something I already knew was a real part of me. In the few works I’ve written that has Ace characters I’ve mostly gotten support from others who were happy for the representation. I have no tolerance for people who want to insult or mock others so they get deleted, banned, and ignored. I don’t give them the time of day.

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

That it’s just a phase or it’s for attention. It’s not natural. People can’t be sure about it unless they’ve had sex and even then they probably just had bad sex and it’d change if they were with someone who “knew the ropes”. No one seems to take asexuality seriously and it can be really frustrating at times because defending yourself is like talking to a wall but if we don’t stand up for ourselves then we’ll never be able to earn the respect we deserve.

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

You are valid. You don’t have to feel like any label you choose is cemented in stone. You don’t have to have sex to know what you are and your sexuality is as natural as any of the others. It’s okay to not know for certain at the moment and it’s okay to take as long as you need deciding even if you change later. Asexuals exist and are just as important as anyone else.

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

My work is being posted on InkStainedWings.tumblr.com currently. I take poem requests there and post story shards as well as reblogging writing tips and tricks. I hope to see you there 😀

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

Interview: Wilfre

Today we’re joined by Wilfre. Wilfre is a wonderful writer who writes both fanfiction and is working on an original series. Wilfre is incredibly passionate about writing and dedicated to the craft of the written word. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

credit for art is @carcinocreator
Art Created by Carcinocreator on Tumblr

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Most of the art I do is fanfiction. I write for a lot of fanbases! Some of the ones I’ve done the most writing for are Hatoful Boyfriend, Artekao, Professor Layton, Tokyo Ghoul, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, and currently, Boku no Hero Academia.

Recently, though, my writing has taken a turn and I’ve been starting an original series called A Million Years, which about two men and their allies trying to avert the end of the world and rewrite fate.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by images and text posts I see on Tumblr a lot. I also look for inspiration in things I overhear or odd things I see when I’m out. I also look for inspiration in motivational quotes and the like.

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

I first got interested in writing in fourth grade, when my teacher anonymously read the first paragraph of a short story I wrote to the class. I remember I had so much fun writing that piece, and she said that it was a perfect example of description and foreshadowing. It really motivated me, and from that point on, I knew I wanted to write more!

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?

You bet! I’ve sort of developed a gem stone language that you’ll be able to spot a bunch of in A Million Years. Sort of like how bouquets being arranged a certain way gives a special meaning in the language of flowers, gemstones have their own unique meanings, and arranging them in a certain order (typically seen on jewelry or clothing) can either send a message or tell a story. The language is a work in progress, but I look forward to one day seeing people work out the meanings!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Honestly? Don’t panic. It can be easy to break down or compare yourself to other artists, but that’s the worst thing you can do for yourself as an artist. Critique and praise your work on its own, not in comparison with other pieces.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Strongly sex-repulsed asexual!

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

So far? No. I don’t really have a “field” per se, since my writing is very niche and not well known. I have encountered prejudice from school and my family, though. In fact, when I first came out as asexual, people in my class literally convinced me I wasn’t and that asexuality isn’t real. My mom said much the same. Same for me being aromantic. I didn’t handle it well at all. I didn’t have the information to back myself up at the time, and honestly, now that I do have the information, I’m still too scared to come out again.

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

That asexual is only a term for plans, probably. I’ve heard a lot of people claiming asexuality can’t be real because humans can’t reproduce by themselves. Wild.

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

Stick to your guns. I promise, you’re not what someone else claims you are. If you believe you’re ace, don’t let some stooge tell you otherwise. Only you can define yourself for sure. Even if the whole world tells you that you aren’t ace, so long as you stick to it, you’re in control. I believe in you!

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

I post about it on my Tumblr, at acchidekocchide. My fanworks are all published on my AO3 account, at ahumblescientist. My original work has its own sideblog dedicated to it where I RP my characters and post character, world, and plot development. You can find all that good stuff at wilfres-ocs.

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

Interview: Allyzah Allene

Today we’re joined by Allyzah Allene, who also goes by Ani or Ani Fangor. Allyzah is a phenomenal visual artist who works with in digital and traditional mediums. They haven’t met a material they didn’t like and work with just about everything. Their work is brimming with detail and a masterful use of lines and colors. They’re incredibly dedicated, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Self 2017

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an artist that likes to dabble in just about everything I can afford. I have worked with traditional mediums like pencils (graphites, colored pencils), charcoals, markers, paints (acrylic, watercolor, oil) and digital mediums (limited photoediting, mostly digital art). My goal is to be able to learn as many mediums as I can because I want to teach art. I also occasionally write, and recently began posting my comic on Tapas.

While many other artists have a “deeper meaning” behind their artworks, or a consistent theme, I find art to be most enjoyable when it is “whatever I feel like.” I don’t like stressing over incorporating hidden meanings and “how it may be interpreted,” but rather getting the idea out of my head. My art blog and my art tag ends up being full of random half done pieces and concepts because it’s not always about finishing, but expressing my ideas. (Perhaps not the best rule to live by, but as a student, it’s enough for me.)

What inspires you?

Most of the time, the deadline. Otherwise it’s usually whatever I find aesthetically appealing enough to draw!

For my writing and my comic, though, that was inspired by the lack of diversity in the media I consumed. I got tired of the same old “boy meets girl” plot/subplot found in most things I read, and especially, the lack of characters who even vaguely looked like me. Growing up, the books I read often degraded characters that shared my race or ethnicity, and I struggled with my identity until I was 16 (a mere four years ago). I hated who I was because I wasn’t white, and I thought that I would only be successful if I were like the white characters in my books—even then, that could be a stretch, as there were very few books with girls as the lead. I didn’t find out that I wasn’t cishet until I was about 15, and by then I barely read outside of the class readings, so I wasn’t as bothered by the lack of LGBT+ positive books just yet. In my junior year, I had my “if no one else is going to do it, I will” moment and decided I would make a comic featuring a diverse cast in both ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual/romantic orientation. It took a while, but I finally decided I had put it off long enough and started publishing pages early July 2017 as my 20th birthday gift to myself.

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

When I was in the second grade, my school’s art teacher brought a guest artist to speak to everyone. I don’t remember the name of the artist, but I remember being so intrigued—it was one thing to learn about Van Gogh and Picasso in class, and a completely different thing to see someone live at work that wasn’t my teacher. The way he worked was by covering a canvas with black charcoal, and slowly erasing it away to create an image. My art teacher later caught me trying to do the same thing while waiting for my dad to pick me up, and asked me if I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. It wasn’t something I had thought of before, but I remember being so happy that she thought I could, and I said yes. Since then, I have been on a quest to learn as much as I can about art so that I can help as many people as possible when I become a teacher.

As for writing, we have a rocky relationship. During elementary school, I had a pattern: I would love writing one year, and hate it the next. I didn’t really take it seriously for a while, even when I started writing and posting fanfiction. I found out about NaNoWriMo in middle school, and became serious about writing original work, although the passion and motivation is not nearly as consistent as with art.

Death Lingers_Allyzah Cabugao
Death Lingers

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 if I’ve been consistent enough with anything to have one of those! The closest thing is the stamp I use to sign my artwork (when I have it). I visited China two years ago as part of an exchange program, and the Chinese students gave me an approximate phonetic translation of my name so that I could have a “Chinese name.” I bought a stamp with that name on it to remember them and the trip, and I use it as half of my artist signature.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Besides the ever present “keep practicing,” I’d say “if you can’t figure out what’s wrong with it, put it on pause and work on something different; it’ll come to you sooner than if you keep focusing on it.” If it’s art, that one part will still be waiting for you to come back, and if it’s writing, you can always just type in something like “akdguhos” or “[COME BACK TO THIS]” and continue. (Just make sure that you go back to it before you publish it or turn it in!) You don’t have to finish everything in one go. Take a break, let your creative juices recharge.

Something specifically for visual art: we tend to hyperfixate on the small area that we’re currently working on. Every now and then, remember to step back (or, if digitally, zoom out) and look at the piece as a whole. Something might look okay while zoomed in… and then you look at the whole picture and realize that it’s completely misaligned or maybe the color palette doesn’t match the rest. I’ve worked on several semi-realistic pieces and realized that the “perfect nose” was too far right, or that it looked like the neck didn’t come from the same body as the head, because I didn’t look at the whole picture as much as I should have.

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Lumos

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual sex-repulsed, and demi-panromantic. (As well as agender/non-binary.)

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

I’ve been lucky enough not to encounter any prejudice in my major related classes yet, but that’s partially because I don’t know anyone well enough to actually care what they say, partly because I have headphones in during class almost all the time. I have had people try to get “creative” with their flirting though, automatically assuming that because I’m an artist, I draw nude people, and that I’d want to draw them … How I respond to them depends on how rude they’re being.

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

Ohh boy, there’s so many that I spent three years researching asexuality in order to academically debunk misconceptions and presented speeches about asexuality to just about any academic platform I could reach. (I’m no longer doing competitive speech as I switch to the coaching side of things, but I’m still ready to spread asexual awareness.)

The one that I hate the most is when people think asexuals are being childish if they state that they have no sexual attraction, especially if they say that they’re a sex-repulsed ace. I’ve had people say that I’ll eventually “grow up and want sex,” and when I literally had an anxiety attack due to a class assigned movie (marked UnRated and with no CW/TW in the film description, nor from the professor) that featured multiple explicit sex scenes and nudity, I was told to grow up and realize that “sex is an art form. You’re an artist, why can’t you appreciate that?” It’s frustrating that sex is seen as a major turning point in your life, the time you’ve “finally reached adulthood,” when there’s plenty of us who can live without it.

Southern Belle_Allyzah Cabugao
Southern Belle

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

Most importantly: you are not broken. Your orientation doesn’t make you any less valid than anyone else! Remember, for every person that takes you down, there’ll be many ready to help lift you back up again.

Also, it doesn’t matter if you fit some of the stereotypes or misconceptions of asexuality or not, you can still identify as ace. Things like “you can’t know if you’re ace if you’re a virgin,” “it’s just a hormonal imbalance,” “it’s because of PTSD/similar,” it doesn’t matter if these are true or not for you. If you feel like asexuality is the best label for your orientation, then you’re ace.

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

I post my work on Tumblr with the tag “#ani amount of art” on both aniamountofart.tumblr.com and aniamountofsketches.tumblr.com; on Instagram/Twitter tagged #aniamountofart on artisticAllyzah; and my comic can be found at tapas.io/series/OMNI!

Marco the Mallard
Marco the Mallard

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

Interview: Raven Black Writer

Today we’re joined by Raven Black Writer. Raven Black Writer is a wonderful upcoming New Adult fantasy author who also does quite a lot of blogging. While writing is her first love, she also dabbles in drawing and music. It’s very clear Raven Black Writer is an incredibly passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer, blogger, artist, and I love to sing and dance in my bedroom. I blog about my life, mental health, self-love, philosophy, and human potential because I like to inspire people – or  maybe show them a new perspective – and just bring positivity into the world. In terms of writing, I see my book falling into the New Adult fantasy genre because I’m not getting any younger and adulthood is scary! Lastly, my art is anything from bored doodles in notebooks to spontaneous drawings of the person in front of me.

What inspires you?

Life inspires me. My own experiences and the things and people I read about or see inform my work and encourage me to keep going.

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

In fifth grade, my teacher had us write short stories and I was hooked. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something so addictive about making up people and places and calling it a story.

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?

If you look closely, you’ll find a cesspool of angst that collected over the course of my life and never really found an outlet.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you’re afraid of being judged, wait until nighttime to do your work because it’s literally impossible for anyone to watch you or insult you. If the person who’s watching you and insulting you is you, I want you to learn to love yourself. It sounds hella sappy but self-love is the only reason I’m here today and I want everyone to know that they deserve to love themselves; whoever they may be.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aroace! I’m also romance and sex repulsed as well as touch-averse . . . in other words, I’m aggressively ace. 😉

Looking back, I think I’ve experienced aesthetic attraction my whole life, but obviously I didn’t know what it was when I was younger. So I confused that attraction with bisexuality, and eventually pansexuality, because I was aesthetically attracted to pretty much anyone, regardless of gender. Eventually, though, I realized that I didn’t actually have crushes on people so much as their style resonated with me. I felt like I was looking at artwork and was content with just seeing them for a while then leaving. Though I didn’t know about aesthetic attraction until a couple years later, I figured I was aroace because dating and sex are so not my thing and nobody can convince me into either.

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

The first place I heard about asexuality was on a women’s period forum from a woman who identified as ace. I was 16. So I think it’s pretty safe to say that ace erasure occurs basically everywhere. I’m dealing with it by making my main character in my upcoming novel, with no title as of yet, identify as ace. Bit of #ownvoices for ya.

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

That there’s no such thing as asexuality. America and many other countries have such heavily sexualized cultures that people tend to just assume that everyone wants to have sex and that anyone who doesn’t is celibate or “hasn’t found the right one yet.”

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

I want to emphasize that falling on the ace spectrum does NOT mean you’re broken. I’ve been a victim of severe bullying and for years I used to think that caused it, but it didn’t. I’m just genuinely not into dating or sex at all.

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

I blog over at <theboundlessagenda.wordpress.com> and my Wattpad username is TheOriginalPhoenix, but I haven’t posted anything yet.

Thank you, Raven Black Writer, 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: Nathaniel Hicklin

Today we’re joined by Nathaniel Hicklin. Nathaniel is a wonderful writer who specializes in pulp adventure novels. He publishes with Sic Semper Serpent Books. His current project features a globe-trotting archeologist’s adventures and it sounds like there’s a few fantasy elements thrown in there as well. It’s clear that Nathaniel is a passionate writer with an amazing imagination, 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 write novels, mostly in the pulp adventure genre. My current series is The Adventures of Dr. Israel St. James, a globe-trotting adventurer archaeologist who tracks down magical relics to contain them so they can’t wreak havoc and chaos on the world. The first book takes place in the mid- to late 19th century, and the upcoming second book covers the entire 20th century. The character doesn’t age, and a lot of the drama comes from him trying to deal with his condition and place in the world while he’s saving the world from tyrannical fairies, evil Nazis, and crazed Pinkerton agents.

What inspires you?

I drew my initial inspiration from shows like Doctor Who and Warehouse 13, things that intersect the mundane world with fantastic elements. These days, I get a little inspiration anytime I see something that mixes magical things in with the real world, making the real world seem that little bit more magical as a result. Superhero stories like The Avengers and stories about the little-known margins of history like Monuments Men always get me going, too.

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

I definitely didn’t always want to be an artist. I read almost exclusively non-fiction throughout my childhood. The only author I reliably read as a kid was Michael Crichton (I read all of Jurassic Park on a family road trip when I was about 9 or so). I got into Tom Clancy in high school, and I transitioned into Terry Pratchett in college.

For most of my college, I wanted to be an engineer. I mostly focused on math and science classwork, but I tried my hand at some story writing on the side, just to see what it might be like. (This was when the early comic book movies like Maguire Spider-Man and Blade were coming out, so I tried to see what kind of superhero story I could write.) I switched from engineering to theater because I discovered that I liked writing a lot more than calculus, but at first I doubted that I could actually make a living with writing. Then I looked over at my bookshelf full of novels, and I thought to myself, “Well, those people made it work. Why the hell can’t I give it a shot?” That was really what got me interested in the field of writing: the realization that it was actually possible to just write for a living, and have that be a real job.

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 a particular signature element I like to use in my writing. I usually write about characters who are smart and try to solve problems without a lot of violence, but that’s mostly just the kind of character I like to read about. (That’s a good rule of thumb for aspiring writers: write the story you’d like to read.) I try to do something a little bit new with each story, just to keep stretching my boundaries and broadening my horizons.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you want to try doing art, just do some art. If doing the art was fun, do more art. If the art is bad, figure out which parts are bad and make them better next time. If the art is good, figure out which parts are best and make everything that good. Don’t worry about getting people to like your art. If Rule 34 has taught us anything, it’s that absolutely anything can find its audience.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am ace, cis-male, heteroromantic, and as far as I can tell, sex-repulsed. I might be willing to try sex for someone I really, really liked, but I have limited experimental data on the matter. I also have Asperger’s, so that puts some limits on dating.

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

The only way that being ace has directly impacted my work is that I tend not to include sex in stories. I like to have a good romance in there, but there is never anything physical directly featured in the text. The focus is always on the emotional intimacy, which I’ve always felt is the more important part anyway.

It was a bit of an impediment at first, because I used to leave out romance altogether. I didn’t really have any experience to draw from, and the stories never felt to me like they were missing anything. The story flowed logically and the plot made sense, so as far as I was concerned, everything was fine. Other people would say that they thought there should be a sex scene, and that never made sense, because the story would have to stop for the sex and continue where it left off afterward. I had to make a deliberate effort to write stories that had romance in them, but with some practice, I learned how to write stories that the straight folks could wrap their heads around.

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

The most common wrong idea I’ve heard about asexuality is that the first sexual experience will cure it. Like, the only reason I’m ace is that I’ve never had sex. I’ve actually dreamt about having sex before, and I don’t recall feeling particularly excited afterward. My favorite dreams were always the ones where I had conversations where everything I said was just the right thing to say at the time, and I came across as the slickest dude on the planet. If the conversation was with a woman, all the better. I always liked to dream about perfect chemistry, not perfect sex.

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

Probably the best way to feel comfortable with my orientation was to build up self-confidence, and the best way for me to do that was to become an artist and be constantly working to get better at my art. If anyone tries to slight me for my orientation or accuse me of being dishonest with myself or whatever, I always just say to myself, “Screw you. I write awesome adventure books. I don’t care what you say. Write a novel or two and then come back at me about being ace.” Frankly, that’s a good self-help line if people slack off my writing, too. Anyone who wants to tear me down for fun is welcome to try doing what I do. This crap is hard.

That probably sounded a little aggressive, but that’s kind of what self-promotion does to a person. Meekly polite writers don’t get a lot of publicity.

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

Anyone interesting in learning more about my stories can visit SicSemperSerpent.com, the digital home of my publisher, Sic Semper Serpent. We can also be seen in person at fine literary conventions in and around the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area.

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