Interview: Schi-Lee A. Smith

Today we’re joined by Schi-Lee A. Smith. Schi-Lee is a phenomenal artist who is incredibly versatile. She does a lot of visual art and even teaches painting classes. When she’s not doing visual art, Schi-Lee enjoys writing and writes both original work and fanfiction. Schi-Lee also has a passion for singing and even has some karaoke fans. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist with an impressive amount of passion, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I paint quite often, I actually teach painting classes sometimes.  I sing, a lot; I have some fans at karaoke.  I draw with pen or pencil, too, and I write, both fanfiction and original works.  My writing is usually like what I read, sci-fi ish, and I pride myself on making realistic dialogue.  I like to paint and draw realistically, haven’t quite gotten abstract down.  My singing can be just about anything, I can sing Creep by Postmodern Jukebox and Highway to Hell just as easily.

What inspires you?

When I was a child, it was my Dad.  I still have his drawings and poems around my house, and when I was very young, he would record us singing on a giant cassette tape recorder thing and let me do skits in between songs.  He was very artistic, and just about all my artistic tendencies stem from him.  Now, it’s still that in a way, but also I just want to see the beauty in the world, and add to it if I can.  Lots of people love hearing me sing, and love my writing, and love my artwork.  If I can make someone else happy, then I’ve succeeded.

2

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

Technically my field is Biology, that’s what I’m majoring in in University, but I’ll always consider myself a musician, artist, and writer.  My Dad never put me down for any art I did, so I was never afraid to get into something I wanted to do, and it’s always been with me since childhood so even if I never get any recognition for any of it, I’ll always be an artist. Therefore it’s not as much something I want to do, as something I’m doing, even if I stay obscure.

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, actually.  My Dad’s signature was a heart with ‘LAB’, his initials, in the center, all interconnected, it’s really neat.  I made one for myself when my initials were still SAB, but it looked really weird, so when I got married, I changed it to a kind of horns, or something, to match SAS.  It’s hard to draw with a mouse, but it’s basically this.

Signature

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t worry about what others say is art, art is what you want it to be.  I have friend who play metal that people say isn’t music, but it is to them, and it makes them happy.  Draw/sing/write/do whatever to make you happy, or to get it out of your head, don’t do it for others.

And don’t be put down if it sucks at first, most everyone’s first drawing of a person is a stick figure, just practice, and practice a lot.

3

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a biromantic asexual.  I suppose if one goes for this part, I’m sex-positive.

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

I have encountered some people that didn’t really know what it was, but my friends were very supportive and defended me before I could.  I have awesome friends.  Thankfully I have yet to encounter any prejudice or ignorance that scared me like I know plenty have, so I thank God every day for where I am in life.

4

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

That we hate sex, or we never have sex.

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

You aren’t alone, that feeling that you don’t understand what all the fuss is about?  Other people feel it.  It’s not weird to think that a ‘hot’ person isn’t hot, according to your body. You don’t have to pretend.

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

Well, I have a YouTube channel, youtube.com/schihigh, where I’m attempting to post my singing and music videos I make on.  I also have a Tumblr and a specific tag with my art on it.  You can just search ‘schi’s art’ on schi-walker-locked.tumblr.com.  If someone were to want commissions, they could message me on Tumblr, or email me at schihigh@yahoo.com.  Just put commission in the subject.

5

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

Interview: Joey

Today we’re joined by Joey. Joey is a wonderful visual artist and singer who does both drawing and painting. He uses art as a kind of catharsis and his pictures are filled with gorgeous colors. When he’s not creating visual art, Joey enjoys singing. He has a particular fondness for showtunes and opera. It’s very clear he’s a passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

20170929_162010-1

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

This is a complicated question because I’m involved in many forms of art. As far as visual arts are concerned, I enjoy drawing and painting. I use these as ways to express my emotions and interests when others are unwilling to listen. The other artform that I am heavily into is singing. I prefer singing showtunes or opera, but any singing makes me happy. Sometimes I go busking with my friends, and my voice alone can make a lot of money. I’m currently training to become an actor, and I dream of being famous one day for my talent.

What inspires you?

As an aroace people might think that I’m cold or uncaring(not to throw “cold or uncaring” aces under the bus of course!), but my inspiration for much of my art comes from my love of life! Some of my art is from a darker time in my life where I had to use my art to vent, but I’ve always tried to use my art to make sense of the world. This carries over into my singing as well when I pick songs to sing. I naturally feel connected to the music, and songs have always been a great way for me to communicate feelings.

20171106_180847-1

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

I have always been an artist. When I was younger I would create houses out of paper for my stuffed animals until I had a whole village. Eventually I started to take drawing more seriously, and that evolved into a love of painting. Within the last 2 years I gained an interest in musical theatre, particularly singing. Although singing and drawing are my two main creative outlets, I’m a lover of all forms of art. I’ve always been a thoughtful person, and art helps me to feel calm and joyful.

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 my visual art I often end up sneaking pride flags into my work! Admittedly I more often put in the trans flag than the aro or ace flag into my work though. This is because being trans, while being a tough journey, is something I often feel more validated in. Recently I’ve been on a kick to feel more confident in my aroace-ness, and I know I’m gonna use my art to accomplish this. Time to make all of my art in purple, white, grey, and black!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

One mistake in my thinking as an artist has been that there’s an age where it’s too late to try. I was so nervous to get into serious singing, because I thought it was only something I could do if I already had experience since childhood. When you’re an artist you will see people who have more skill than you, but the best way to prove yourself is to keep trying anyway. If it takes until you’re old to master your skill then so be it!

20171118_210407-1

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identified as aroace for years up until about 1 year ago when I kind of broke and gave up on identifying as such. Being aroace, but receiving no validation or help other than through the internet coupled with my other emotional issues made me internalize it, and for almost a year I identified as straight. I’m not sure why I choose that out of any identities (awfully heteronormative), but I was so tired of constantly questioning my own identity that I wanted an easy lie. This lead to almost dating one of my friends that I really cared about, which lead to me panicking and breaking up before it even started. A few months ago I got myself in a good enough place where I was finally able to realize again that I was aroace! Trying to forget my identity did a lot of damage, so now I’m just trying to get comfy with the label for good.

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

To me, I feel like artist spaces are usually more open to queerness in general, but I often feel disconnected to these communities. It was one of my friends that happened to collaborate on lots of my art that refused to understand why I didn’t want to date my friend I cared so much about. Other than rude/ignorant comments, the rest of the prejudice is more implied. In theatre, almost every single has romance. As a soprano, almost any role I could possibly be assigned is the love interest! Of course this is what acting is for, but I think there’s an idea that romance is put into stories because it’s relatable to all. As an aromantic, singing songs over and over again about the inevitability of love can be heartbreaking.

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

I think a lot of people assume that alterous love has to be accompanied by romance and sexual attraction. The thing is, I think allo people experience alterous attraction too, but they can’t tell because it’s mixed in with those other feelings. We may not experience more alterous attraction, but I think perhaps it’s easier to identify something if it’s not mixed in with other feelings. All my theory aside, people really do misunderstand when I want a platonic life partner. It might be what has made me so anxious to identify as aroace too!

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

I would say that accepting yourself can be hard, but all of us aces are in it together. Sometimes it can feel like you’re going in circles with your identity, but I believe that your value is great no matter whether you find the right identity immediately or not. I would also say to not be afraid to go outside the box. Sexuality is a strange thing, but I can promise that having a strange or unidentifiable identity is a-ok! If you wanna use a rare label, or maybe step outside the SAM model? I say go for what makes you feel at ease.

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

I do not use the internet as much as I should to get myself out there, but I do have an Instagram (smallbirdboy) that is mostly my art!

20170929_161817-1

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

Interview: Eliott

Today we’re joined by Eliott. Eliott is a phenomenally talented Japanese voice actor who mostly works in the Homestuck community. When he’s not voice acting, Eliott also does some singing, mostly Vocaloid. He’s got a great amount of enthusiasm for his art, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

tumblr_ovrn2zEByW1s01kbpo1_250

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do some voice acting and singing. I mostly voice act in the Homestuck community, but I’ve done other fandoms such as Steven Universe and My Little Pony, and I’m in a few original productions where I’m not imitating a voice. For my singing, I just cover songs that I feel like, whether it be popular songs by mainstream artists like Fallout Boy or Imagine Dragons or more niche songs like Vocaloid or anime openings. I also combine my VA work with my singing by singing as a character. Of course, this is mostly Homestuck because that’s how I got into voice acting, but that’s for later.

What inspires you?

For my VA work, it’s mostly anime voice actors in Japan, like Ikue Otani (Chopper from One Piece, Pikachu), Noriaki Sugiyama (Sasuke from Naruto, England from Hetalia), and Daisuke Namikawa (Italy from Hetalia, Eustass Kid from One Piece). I can’t really list off English voice actors because I just don’t watch dubs all that often, and in most cases, I prefer the original Japanese voices. For my singing, I’d say my number one inspiration is Case (hi I’m Case). Not a lot of people know of them, but they’re a musician in Wisconsin that some people might know if they were in the Homestuck fandom. Their music is super relatable to me, and I honestly aspire to be like them one day and actually write my music too, not just do covers. Other than Case, I enjoy works of Fallout Boy, Imagine Dragons and Taylor Swift. I also enjoy Idina Menzel (voice of Elsa in Disney’s Frozen, Elphaba in Wicked) and wish I was as talent as her, haha.

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

As I briefly mentioned earlier, Homestuck got me into voice acting. I saw works of Zanney (Broadway Karkat) and wanted to be like them, and singing just came as part of the package since I tried to go straight into the voice acting/singing field.

I’d always wanted to be an artist, yes, and originally it was somewhere in music. Considering not many artists live off of doing only covers of songs, though, I was a bit discouraged. I mean, I couldn’t compose well just because of my lack of musical creativity, and I still can’t, and I’ve honestly come to terms with that. I know all the musical theory that goes into composing, but I just couldn’t compose. That combined with the fact that the entertainment industry is really a hit or miss, I thought that I’d keep this on the sidelines as my super dedicated hobby.

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 really have that “trademark me” type stuff, just because I work for other people and their projects. I guess the most unique thing is having people ask how I do my “Nepeta voice” which is pretty high and cutesy (imagine the range of Honey senpai from Host Club or Chopper from One Piece) when my regular speaking tone is much lower, and I try to use that vocal versatility for a variety of projects. Then again, I’m starting HRT soon so I won’t be able to do it anymore, haha.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t give up. I know it’s been said countless times, but just don’t give up. Unless you’re a prodigy, you won’t get cast in the first production you auditioned for, and you won’t get a million notes on your first song that you post. Show it to friends and boost it, but you’ll only really get two or three notes. That’s not your fault, and it doesn’t mean that you’re bad at it. It just means that people don’t know you yet. Keep working, keep improving, and keep faith. With time, there will come a time when people will recognize you at conventions or just online through your voice.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an asexual. I say I’m homoromantic but I’m also leaning towards demiromantic, but I’m not sure about that part yet.

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

I guess I have, in a way. It’s not a “aces are actually cishet and don’t belong in LGBT spaces” type deal, but a lot of the people who are trying to be inclusive of all genders and sexualities just … forget about asexual people, y’know? Mostly in the original podcasts, which are trying to be inclusive with leads being trans and/or POC and whatnot, forget about us aces. If they do remember, the label of ace is slapped on that one kid that appears in episode 4 for two minutes. Don’t get me wrong, not all podcasts do this, but it’s still really frustrating to see other marginalized orientations be represented more than others. We’re like the one percent of the one percent. No one sees us. Those that I’ve brought this up to, though, have been pretty cool about it, saying that they’ll either write in an asexual character or straight up start another podcast with an ace as a lead, and I think that’s pretty awesome! More to come on that later, hopefully.

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

“Aces don’t have sex” probably. I’m 21. I’ve had sex. I don’t really like it, and probably somewhere between neutral and sex-repulsed. I mean, part of my asexuality might have come from past trauma and maybe that’s why I don’t enjoy it? I don’t know, and I honestly don’t care why I’m ace. I just know that I am. Date at Cheesecake Factory? Perfect. Taking me to Outback so you can get laid? Back off.

Another is that because I’m ace, I can’t find people attractive and/or make lewd jokes. Like, yeah, I’m ace, that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the way people look and fall in love with them. For the jokes, especially, I’m pretty sure that I make these jokes because I’m ace. It’s just… I guess how I cope and a way for people to stay off my ass about being ace. “OMG are you a plant” is so old, and jokes are funnier and easier to deal with than that aphobic bullcrap.

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

Don’t listen to all the negative stuff that the media spews at you. They’re just uninformed and ignorant, and that’s their loss, not yours. You are 100% valid. Whether your asexuality comes from trauma or not, whether you love sex or not, none of that really matters in the end. If you’re asexual, embrace it. Find other aces who want to actually Netflix and Chill, binge ice cream, and talk about puppies. You are not broken, and you are valid.

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

All of my voice related work (reblogged or original posts) can be found on my voice blog at http://skylerva.tumblr.com. I made the blog before I changed my name to Eliott and that’s why it’s Skyler, but don’t worry, that’s still me.

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

Interview: Kate Adams

Today we’re joined by Kate Adams. Kate is a wonderful young songwriter from Northern Ireland who has recently begun writing poetry as well. She posts singing videos to her Facebook page. Kate has such an admirable enthusiasm and is incredibly engaging, 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’ve recently started writing poems and songs. I’ve always loved music so eventually I just started putting piano accompaniments with the words, the first poem I ever tried putting music to wasn’t my one, it was “Solar” by Philip Larkin.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by Philip Larkin, I really admire how honest his work is and how he was always true to his beliefs. I am also very inspired by my friends. They are also creatives who are LGBT+ and they encourage me so much. We always share work with each other and give feedback, they are very important to me and I write a lot about them.

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

I took English at a higher level at school and really fell in love with the poetry section. I went to a few poetry readings in local bookstores and it really inspired me to start writing. I have been singing from a very early age with my granda, my dad is also very musical and it kind of rubbed off on me. My brother and I took piano lessons for a few years and he really succeeded at it, but I stuck more to singing.

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, I haven’t really thought about a sign off or signature to be honest. I just tend to write my initials.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

To any young aspiring artist reading this interview I would say: Even if you don’t like what you have created, it’s probably good you made it because it furthered your talent and ability. Everything you do is part of a creative journey you are on. Be proud of what you and always keep true to who you are and what you believe. Be respectful of others and their work and be you 😊

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a HetAce as of right now, but I might be BiAce.

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

I have had a few people who are part of the LGBT+ community tell me that I don’t belong in “their” community. I have dealt with it by saying stuff like “I mean, here is some material you could read that may sway you…” and then linking them to posts and articles on the topic. It’s infuriating to be oppressed by being excluded and demonised by a group of people who aim to fight oppression.

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

I had a conversation very recently with somebody who thought that all asexuals were repulsed and opposed to kissing, masturbation and sex, I explained that that isn’t always the case and that it varies from person to person.

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

I am still figuring out my own orientation, some people don’t figure it for a very long time, orientation and sexuality are very fluid things and labels can change as you grow as a person. Don’t feel that you should fall under one label either! It’s totally okay to just be you and like what you like. As long you are mindful and respectful of others you’ll go far.

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

I’ve recently started posting videos of me singing on my Facebook page, no original songs yet but you never know what the future holds! Most of the people who like it don’t know about my being asexual, I’m still trying to tell a few people aha.

The link to my page is: https://www.facebook.com/KateAdamsMusic

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

Interview: Fereby

Today we’re joined by Fereby. Fereby is a phenomenal artist who does a bit of everything. She’s mostly a singer who has a wide vocal range. When she’s not singing, Fereby does a bunch of different kinds of crafts like knitting and sewing. If that weren’t impressive enough, Fereby also does a bit of visual art as well. It’s clear she’s a very dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

IMG_0362

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

First and foremost, I am a vocalist. I have been singing in my high school choirs for four years, three of which I’ve been in the advanced choir. I recently participated in the ACDA honor choir at the regional and state levels. I love choir because I love to harmonize; singing without harmony gets boring quickly. In choir I usually sing soprano, but I’ve gotten so tired of singing the melody that I take any chance I get to sing lower parts. I have a satisfyingly wide vocal range that allows me to sing most tenor (higher male) parts up through the highest soprano (high female) notes, which is nothing but fun for me since I like variety.

IMG_1430

I also love to make things with my hands. I cook, sew, knit, crochet, draw, paint, craft. I make tiny animals out of chewy candies and kneaded erasers. I daydream about building things, and would build them had I the time and means to do so. I just love to make stuff, but on a day-to-day basis when I have to go to school, I tend to stick to drawing and singing, with an occasional poem or short story if I feel like it. I may or may not be mildly obsessed with being able to do everything.

IMG_1060

Visually, I mostly focus on pencil and paper and other readily accessible traditional media. I do use a free mobile application, Adobe Ideas, which lets me do some simple digital drawings in a very nice vector format. I generally don’t have the time or patience to work with the digital medium for most of my ideas, but it’s great fun for playing with color.

IMG_1108

What inspires you?

The way I see it, there are two kinds of inspiration. The “idea” kind and the “inspirational speech/quote” kind. I get ideas from everywhere, anything, from random thoughts that pop into my head at all times of day and night. Sometimes I take them and run with them, sometimes they don’t get very far before I give up or move on to a better one, but ideas are abundant and everywhere and totally random. The other kind, the motivational kind, tends to come from people I admire. Professional choral conductors are highly skilled at being inspiring. (I suspect it’s a trained skill, because without it they would not be able to so easily win the enthusiastic cooperation of a hundred plus people in a short enough amount of time to begin making good music.) However, I also find inspiration and motivation watching some of my favorite YouTubers like Josh Sundquist and the Green brothers, John and Hank.

IMG_1112

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

Both of my parents sing, so from almost the day I was born my life has been influenced by music. My parents wanted to get me piano lessons when I was little, but they were told my hands were too small and so they focused on teaching me to sing instead. I have never had private formal vocal training, but years in choir have taught me a lot about technique and improved my technical skills tremendously.

IMG_1470

My interest in drawing came from I-don’t-know-where. Little kids are encouraged to draw and color and otherwise be creative, and I guess I just never really lost interest in that. There have been periods of time where I didn’t bother to do any drawing, but I keep coming back to it.

IMG_1278

I have always considered myself somewhat artistic, and there were times in my childhood when I aspired to become a singer professionally, but because of my skills in math and language I am continually overwhelmed by all the things I could be and have trouble thinking of myself as any one thing. I currently consider myself an artist, but in a very general sense of the word. I participate in too many forms of creativity to call myself anything more specific.

IMG_1382

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?

Not an established one, no. I keep changing my signature on my visual art as I mature and get new ideas, but it’s usually some version of my first and last name in swoopy artistic lettering. Music-wise, I don’t do enough original work to warrant a signature, but my usual vocal style tends to include smooth, clear tones that blend well in harmonies or with soft guitar accompaniment. The songs I write tend to sound like lullabies, as I usually prefer to sing in a relaxed style and focus on melody. I have no experience writing high-energy songs.

IMG_1519

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You do you. Skill and experience are important to do anything well, but at the end of the day, art is about making things, and it’s up to you what you add to this world. Do what you enjoy. Make something you can be proud of. Especially with performing arts, your audience will enjoy your art much more if you enjoy making it. If you’re bored and tired of what you’re making, your audience may notice and be bored along with you. So do things you like to do.

IMG_1620

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aromantic asexual. I still haven’t figured out what gender is.

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

I’m not really out among musicians, and I don’t really have a community when it comes to visual art, but there are always people in my life who don’t understand. I tend to just put up with whatever comes my way, though not without doing my best to correct misconceptions first. People don’t tend to give up their preconceived notions so easily though.

IMG_1646

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

For some reason, I keep encountering people who think they know what I’m feeling better than I do. When I honestly disclose my experiences, they express disbelief that it’s possible for me to feel that way, and then tell me what they think I must be feeling based on what I’ve told them. They can’t imagine how anyone could possibly not have a sex drive or sexual attraction, and they are incapable of understanding that wanting to experience kissing or other romantically-coded activities does not equate to romantic attraction.

IMG_2108

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

Listen to yourself. No one can decide how you feel about something but you. Learning about the experiences of other people who came to identify on the ace spectrum can be a tremendous help in giving you a frame of reference as to what your orientation might be, and there are plenty of blogs on Tumblr dedicated to patiently answering the questions of people just like you. Just remember that the words you attach to yourself should be there because you feel they are right and not because someone told you that’s what you probably are.

IMG_1983

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

I don’t currently have an internet presence as an artist, but that may change at some nebulous point in the future. Any information about my art will most likely be posted to my Tumblr at ferebypie.

IMG_1661

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

Interview: Silivrenelya

Today we’re joined by Silivrenelya. Silivrenelya is a wonderful singer and songwriter who sings with a pop/rock band. She’s been performing with her band since 2012 and they’re currently working on their debut album. We’ll likely be seeing quite a lot more of Silivrenelya in the future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hi! I am a singer-songwriter in a pop/rock band. We’ve been playing together since 2012. We are currently recording our debut album, as signed artists, since 2015. Our main influences are The Killers, The Beatles, Paramore, Arctic Monkeys, Queen, The Kooks, and The Struts.

What inspires you?

Beautiful and powerful stories inspire me. Everything that can make me feel something strong inspires me. Soulful and talented people inspire me. Soothing landscapes and music made with passion inspire me.

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

I think I have always liked singing and telling stories. Growing up, I went through crucial moments in my life that strengthened my desire to do this as a job. I remember feeling so good and like I belonged when I first sang in front of people, and when they expressed their enjoyment, I felt great. I managed to make people feel something, and that was it. I loved this feeling and I wish to keep it for as long as I’m able to provide 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?

Not particularly! I really like to write stories that have a double reading or “double entendre” in them though. I personally love it when a song has different meanings, like levels of understanding, and the deeper you search the deeper the meaning is, and thus the song becomes even more relevant.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would say, if you’re really passionate about your art, about what you’re doing, then burn your bridges that would take you backwards and go forwards, always straight ahead. Have a goal, no matter how tiny or huge it is or seems. One step at a time. Never regret what you’ve done, only learn from your mistakes, there is no such thing as failure, it’s only new data to analyse and try to avoid or improve for the next time. Try to be indulgent towards yourself. It is always the hardest part, but it can actually save you from so many dark times. And sleep!

I am still a young artist myself though, so it is just what I gathered along the way. I still have a lot to learn.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify myself as asexual (and panromantic).

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

I realised only recently that I belonged to the Ace spectrum, so I am not out to everyone, but my closest friends know. At first they were just really confused because I used to be very active in relationships – but they didn’t realise I was doing this to try to figure out what the hell I truly felt about all this. After then they all didn’t know what was asexuality, so I tried to explain to them, using some quotes from different aces’ testimonies, and also with the 4 sides of attraction: that proved to be the most efficient and clear explanation so far for ignorant people.

I always try to remain calm and open when explaining it, because in my country (France), it is still not very well known and clarified, and all I wish is for asexuality to be better understood and handled.

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

The common misconception about asexuality that I’ve encountered is that of the sexual trauma or sexual hate. While it may be true for some, it is not for all. And people often think that you are ace because of some awful past experience, or because you haven’t found where you really belong. But… That’s not how it works. At all. They often don’t understand why you wouldn’t have any sexual attraction or intercourse. Sex is such an inherent part of society – it forced itself so hard in it – that for us to say that we are not receptive to this side of the system is often seen as a form of – rebellion? Weirdness? Marginality even. People simply don’t understand (yet) why we are like this. But they will eventually, I have hope!

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

Just like “It’s okay to be gay”, it’s totally okay to be ace! And it’s okay to be afraid of who you are at first. I mean, it’s frightening when you don’t know what you are, why you’re feeling what you’re feeling. And even if you’re not 100% sure about what you are, guess what? It’s ALSO okay. And, please, don’t worry about whether people will still like/love you if you’re ace. They will. The right people will always love you, no matter who you are.

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

For now there is nothing public that I can give away, but as soon as there is, I will let you know!

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

Interview: Alice Marie

Today we’re joined by Alice Marie. Alice is a phenomenal visual artist who is currently studying sculpture at uni. When she’s not sculpting, Alice enjoys singing and songwriting. She’s got a wonderful enthusiasm and love for her art, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-17-53-43

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a sculpture student currently in my second year at Camberwell, UAL. My practice has always been a bit sporadic – with the constant thread of connection being my sense of humor, and my habit of making elements a little cryptic, often leaving sculptural pieces as an in-joke with myself, and moving recently into outright baffling video works. I also earn sporadic money as a singer/songwriter, pandering to different fandoms at different times, but ultimately it was Destiel that taught me to write about love.

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-18-50-06

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Georgia Evans

Today we’re joined by Georgia Evans. Georgia is a phenomenal musician. She’s most passionate about singing, but she also plays the piano, violin, and guitar. Georgia also composes music and is a very dedicated songwriter. She’s got an incredible enthusiasm for music, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

georgia-evans-img_0809

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a musician so my art is incredibly versatile and eclectic. I play piano, violin, and guitar all self taught but I am, above all else, a singer. Vocals were the first thing I trained myself in and I have been singing longer than I have been playing any instrument. I am a singer songwriter and a performer. This means that I write my own songs and then I perform my own work at any opportunity. I have posted a few online but in the last six months I have gone into pre production for my first CD in the hops of getting my music onto platforms like iTunes and Spotify. This means that not only have I written the songs themselves but that I am now in the process of writing all the other instrument parts for them, including bass, drums, strings and harmonies. Adding dynamics, adding effects and filters and writing out the parts for other musicians to play when it comes time to take the songs into the studio. This stage of making an album can take months and months. It is all of the preparation of setting everything up just so, so that you have to spend minimal time in the studio. Because here’s the thing, studio time, costs a lot of money and session musicians (the guys and gals who come in and play the parts written for instruments I cannot play myself) have to be paid for their time as well. Then you have to pay the tech who runs the desk and the techs who set up the rooms and the producer who mixes and masters your tracks for you. It gets expensive if you’re still writing parts in the studio, so you get it all done before you go in.

When I’m not working on this though I like to learn new instruments and do covers of songs that I like. I have a Facebook page where I post videos of some of these, which has gotten me a lot of positive attention as an artist. I gained an invite to the Wollongong RAW festival this March and an invite to a sit down with the creative director of Fire Entertainment in the Surry Hills.

The most important thing about this art form for me though, is that through it I can reach out to people and make them feel something. I can make people feel less alone in their mental illness with my songs. Music is my safe place, my release and I can use it to impact people in a positive way which I think is beautiful.

What inspires you?

A lot of things inspire me, to be honest. Some of the time I write songs about my own feelings and experiences. Other times I write about my family and their experiences and how they make me react emotionally. Then there are the days when something happens or I see a friend struggling and I am inspired to write something that tells them that they are not alone and that I am here and I understand and I see them. A lot of people with mental illnesses (like myself) I think feel invisible and unseen by the music industry, which is so focused on love songs and sex and fighting the establishment. That’s what sells you see. It was Jared Padalecki and his AKF campaign that helped give me the courage to start writing songs about a subject that’s, thus far, still quite taboo. No one talks about it and so those of us fighting these kinds of things end up feeling isolated and alone. I want to write music that brings us into the light again, humanizes us and unites us so that we no longer feel so alone or forgotten or like we have to blend in in order to be a part of the society that we live in. I want to make people with mental illnesses, young and old feel like they are seen and heard again finally. We have been silent and invisible for so long. It’s time for a change.

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

I cannot remember a time when I didn’t want to be a famous singer. I used to get told off for singing along when my mum sang lullabies because I was supposed to be sleeping. I grew up, luckily, with a mother who was incredibly supportive of this dream and who did everything in her power to give me the tools to make it come true.

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

I think the signature is the content and the actual sound of my voice… I’m not sure how I’d share that aside from saying, have a look on my Tumblr for some of my videos. There might even be a link there for my Facebook page if you’re lucky.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Being a professional musician is hard. It is rewarding and amazing and it can be great fun, but it’s hard work. You will be turned down for gigs, you will be sent away from labels. There is no talent scout just waiting around the corner, you have to go out there and perform, and practice, and learn new things. You are the only one who can make yourself successful.

People will tell you, you have to have talent to be a musician. They’re wrong. You have to be strong, and determined and willing to work immensely hard.

And above all else, you need to love what you do and have faith in yourself. Be a musician for the love of the music and the people who hear it. Make music to bring joy and music will bring you joy in return.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m not actually sure how to answer this. I only learned what asexuality is a year ago during my recovery from a relationship that had turned abusive. I hadn’t realised that I was allowed to feel the way I do. That it was normal and dint mean there was something wrong with me as my partner at the time inferred regularly. I have always felt that if I am in a relationship then the other person is going to want sex and I’ll have to give them that because society taught me that love=sex. In the last year I have started to learn that they are two very different things. I can love someone and never want to touch or be touched in that way and that is OK. Because I was ignorant I allowed terrible things to happen to myself, which means that I am still confused about where I sit on the spectrum and where I belong. I know I will figure it out eventually but at the same time even if I never do I know I can still identify as ace and take each situation as it comes to me. I have met a lot of lovely people who are in different places on the spectrum and they have all been lovely about helping me to recover and understand myself a lot more.

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

Most people try to tell me I just haven’t met the right person yet and then once I explain that I have had encounters and decided I still identify this way they try to convince me it’s because the other person was doing it wrong. Men regularly seem to think that they have magic in their genitals that will make me like sex if I just try it with them. I try to stay calm but often I end up laughing in their faces and walking away. Sometimes they follow me which means I have to find a crowd (which I hate, crowds are scary) or find someone I know to scare them off. Other times people are less aggressive and more ignorant. “So… you’re like a plant?” is a common phrase. So I try to educate them. It’s like this; imagine that sexuality and sexual attraction is a fridge full of fruit. Lets stick with apples and oranges for now, (I know there are more genders but the metaphor will get too messy to understand.) Some people like apples, some like oranges and some like both. Someone who likes apples can go to the fridge, get an apple and be satisfied. Someone who prefers oranges can go over, get an orange and that’s that. Someone who likes both is spoiled for choice but they can pick either one and be satisfied. Now imagine staring into the fridge only to realize, you don’t like apples or oranges really. Even worse, imagine you’re hungry and realizing this fact.

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

That it’s not a real thing and that there aren’t many of us. I have met dozens of aces from all over the place. Admittedly that’s mostly online here on Tumblr but the point stands, we are out there, we are real and we are valid.

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

It’s OK to be unsure. You are allowed to take your time with this kind of thing and it is 100% OK no to realize that you might be asexual till later in your life. It is also 100% OK to know and be sure from a young age. As we grow up and learn new things our perceptions of ourselves change. I went from straight to lesbian to bi before I realized that it was OK to not really be attracted to either. Now I am proudly asexual and Bi romantic. The label doesn’t define you, you define the label.

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

The easiest place to find my stuff is on my Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/georgiamusicofficial/

Alternately you can search the tags #music #original #songwriting and probably a few other music terms or song names on my Tumblr, heck even message me and ask for a tag and I’ll find the posts for you.
https://keepingcalmisoverratedgoddamnit.tumblr.com/

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

Interview: Abigail Brown

Today we’re joined by Abigail Brown. Abigail is a wonderful young singer who is just starting out. She’s incredibly enthusiastic and hopes to tell stories through song. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I don’t really think I have any art yet, to be honest. I’m just starting out as a singer and I haven’t done anything real with it. I want to write and sing songs that tell stories; whether they’re honest emotional stories (like “Sandcastles” by Beyoncé) or stories with a plot (like “Story 2” by clipping).

What inspires you?

Mostly things that are happy or beautiful. That’s what I want to put into the world, so I try to draw inspiration from those sources.

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

I’ve wanted to be a singer ever since I was in 7th grade and I had my first ever solo in our spring play.

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?

Like I said, I don’t even really have any work yet.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t give up. I know it can feel tempting to give up because it’s hard or others don’t support your goal and take it seriously (I’m there right now), but the reward of your hard work will pay off in the long run.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual. Just your garden-variety ace, really.

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

I’m barely in my field tbh, but I have experienced it in my personal life. I try to just give the definition of asexuality and answer their questions, but if they’re being rude or disrespectful I ignore them. I’m not sacrificing my mental health to try and educate people who don’t want to be educated.

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

That it doesn’t exist. But we’re out here!

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

Definitely talk to people. There are so many ace blogs out there that provide information and answer questions! Everyone has been confused and struggled at some point with their orientation, so there’s no such thing as a stupid question. My favorite thing about the ace community is that we’re all here for each other!

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

I upload songs to my SoundCloud account (https://soundcloud.com/abbysings68).

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

Interview: Jordan

Today we’re joined by Jordan. Jordan is a wonderful and versatile artist who does a bit of everything. Her main passion is visual art and she specializes in digital mediums. She does both original work and fanart. Aside from visual art, Jordan is also interested in theater and music. She’s got an amazing amount of enthusiasm, as you’ll soon see, and her work is beautiful. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

IMG_9514

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a visual artist. I mainly work digitally but I do a lot of sketches traditionally. My program of choice is Paint Tool SAI. I do a lot of fanart and pieces of my original characters. My favorite thing to draw is people & characters.

Besides visual art, I also participate in community theatre, I act and also have an interest in costume design. I also love music and I sing, and play the ukulele. I’ve also started to write songs. I don’t do it very often, but I write poetry and sometimes, rarely, short stories. I’m currently trying to put together a script for a webcomic based around my original characters.

I have a lot of hobbies, but visual art is the one thing that has been a constant throughout my entire life.

What inspires you?

A lot of stuff inspires me. I follow a lot of artists on Tumblr and Instagram who influence me a lot. Some webcomics such as Ava’s Demon and Lackadaisy Cats, as well as mainstream Marvel & DC comics offer me a lot of inspiration as well. The movies and TV shows I like to watch offer a lot of inspiration, especially Star Wars. Music inspires me in all art forms. I have an eclectic music taste, but I would say the most inspirational music for drawing and writing is classical, movie soundtracks or instrumental, and for acting it would have to be musical soundtracks.

I have a lot of friends who also draw, write or act and they offer me a lot of inspiration. For example, my best friend who I met in an acting class actually, her older sister who has a webcomic of her own, and another friend who has lately been furiously writing a novel. They inspire me to keep working at my craft and to pursue new interests.

Telling stories is probably the reason I would say I do most things. Stories are really important to me and I love to read and see and listen to them. Visual art, writing, music and theatre are all different ways to tell a story and portray emotion.

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

Well, when I was around 8 years old I was really into neopets. I feel a little silly admitting that but I used that site for years. I was fascinated by the art people would create for their virtual pets. They took the time to create characters and character designs that were completely different from the source material. And their styles were almost always influenced by anime/manga which I didn’t really get into until much later. But I picked up lots of books on how to draw in that style, and sifted through lots of tutorials artists put up on DeviantArt. About visual art, it’s something I’ve definitely always loved to do and I don’t think I’d want to ever stop.

I didn’t develop a particularly deep interest in music until I was older, but I grew up singing in church and school choirs. Once I got older, and I guess, a little sadder, I began to really relate to and rely on and love music more than when I was younger. Acting wasn’t even something I considered until my junior year of high school, I’d always thought it was frightening. I took an acting class, the one where I met my best friend, and it turns out that it was something I really enjoyed. I’ve always said I wanted to publish a novel ever since I was younger, my love of visual art comes from a love of stories and characters and so I was also interested in writing. I always felt my visual art and writing went hand in hand.

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 signature on my art has changed a lot since I was younger. It used to be more definitive but now it’s simply my name and a year. I really like to use interstellar objects as symbolism or features in my art.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Love what you do. So many people will tell young visual artists that they have to draw every single day to get better. Acting in general is stressful and requires a lot of hard work, and certain people you interact with can be less-than-pleasant with personalities that don’t quite jive with your own. Writing can be extremely stressful for me personally and so I don’t do it often, but once in a while I’ll find the inspiration to pursue it again. I’ll find the joy I found in it once more.

What I’m saying is, if you want to explore an art, make sure you like it. Don’t force yourself into it. Take a break if it’s causing you stress. It should be fun and you should enjoy what you do, everyone deserves that from life.

IMG_0179

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as biromantic demisexual

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

I haven’t seen anything specifically in any art specific communities or settings but I’m also not particularly public about my sexuality outside of my personal Tumblr.

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

I’ve seen a lot of crazy things on this website recently. A lot of bad stuff going around. Besides that, I’ve always seen people claim demisexuality is made up, so that’s never fun to encounter.

I think a lot of people just don’t realize how diverse asexuality is as a spectrum, and how people experience it in so many different ways.

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

You’ll figure out what labels best fit you over time, don’t be afraid to change them as you come to know yourself better. Your identity is your own, and no one else can tell you how to identify. Discovering your sexuality and using a label should be for yourself and no one else.

You’re valid. You can count yourself as a member of the LGBT+ community if you want that, and no one should tell you that you can’t. If a romantic or sexual relationship is something that you want, your identity will not prevent you from finding that. The right person (or people) will be able to respect your boundaries. And if it’s not something you want, you aren’t weird or broken because of it. As well, the right friends and people in your life will respect your identity, and if they don’t, you’re not obligated to keep them in your life.

Do what’s best for yourself, you’re amazing. Go live life to the fullest.

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

I have about a million places where people can find me, I’m kind of ridiculous.

Art Website: http://joniha.weebly.com/
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/junebugjo
Art Blog: http://junebugjo.tumblr.com/
DeviantArt: http://joniha.deviantart.com/
Personal Blog: http://aahsoka.tumblr.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/forgivenessiscompassion/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jordieha

IMG_9856

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