Interview: Emily Jane

Today we’re joined by Emily Jane. Emily is a phenomenal artist who does a bit of everything. She enjoys singing, writing, and drawing, but her main passion is photography. Emily has a great passion for creating and is incredibly enthusiastic, 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 sort of jack of all trades artist to be honest. I love to sing, write, draw, photograph…I love many things, and try not to limit myself to just one. When I sing, I often sing about my personal experiences, but when I’m writing, I try to immerse myself in my characters. To me, art should express something about the artist or the subject that he or she has not or cannot share with the world. I try to capture that in my photography as well- to find a secret and exploit it on camera- though the person seeing the photo won’t see the secret, they might catch a hint of emotion tagging along the end of it.

What inspires you?

Oh, gosh, the list is endless. A current inspiration is just the existence of people. People, as a whole, are so miraculous. They live, they breath, they exist and one of my favorite things is catching them doing that. I also try to find myself in my work. I try to ask myself, who am I? What person do I show to others, and is that person really me?

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

Unfortunately enough, I think the person that got me into my field was my mother, though I really don’t want to credit her with anything that I love. She was a graphic designer in college, and just frankly an extremely creative person… Without her influence, I doubt I would have found myself as deeply entrenched in the artistic world as I do.

Ever since I’ve remembered, I’ve wanted to be an artist, but I often wonder about the differences between nature and nurture. Had my father, who is an engineer, had more to do with my growing into myself, would I be leaning more into the STEM fields? Or had I grown up in a family that didn’t focus me on anything, would I have begun to lean towards a completely different field? The world may never know.

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 have a specific symbol in my work… I often draw young women. I think that might be because of my sexuality, me trying to draw potential girlfriends haha!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would encourage them to never give up! I have received so much backlash from my work- being labeled the weird emo girl (because apparently only emo people draw??), people yelling at me for drawing different body types… it’s not ideal, that’s for sure. But never give up on your art. And remember, while it’s not wrong to want praise for your work, the person you most need to accept your work is yourself.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

As of now, I identify as a panromantic asexual. I’m attracted to people, not what’s in their pants- probably because I never want to touch what’s in their pants haha.

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

Not so much relating to my field as to me as a person. As of now, I am only halfway out of the closet with one person, which means that she knows I’m asexual, but not that I’m panromantic. I have experience aphobic things in my dating life, unfortunately. Guys seem to be under the impression that everybody loves kissing and sex, and they get angry when you say you aren’t into either of those things. Since I’m not out of the closet, I’ve never dated a female, so I’ve no idea how they would react to being told that I do not like sex.

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

The most common misconception I see about asexuality is the idea that people who identify as asexual also do not have romantic relationships, or that all ace people are also aromantic. Not only is this patently false, but it harms people who are asexual by promoting the idea that we don’t want romance. It also harms people who are not on the asexual scale by promoting the idea that all romantic relationships must involve sex or it’s not really a romantic relationship, which can be INCREDIBLY toxic.

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

Sure! Just remember that no matter how many people turn you down or scoff at you for your sexuality, you are VALID!! You may be more on the graysexual scale, and that’s totally fine. Humanity is filled with so many people of so many types- it only makes sense that you won’t fit in a box completely perfectly. And remember also- you don’t have to figure it all out yet! People change- you may change as well, and that’s totally okay and valid.

Sure! Just remember that no matter how many people turn you down or scoff at you for your sexuality, you are VALID!! You may be more on the graysexual scale, and that’s totally fine. Humanity is filled with so many people of so many types- it only makes sense that you won’t fit in a box completely perfectly. And remember also- you don’t have to figure it all out yet! People change- you may change as well, and that’s totally okay and valid.

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

I’m not really online at all except for my Tumblr account. Feel free to stop by and say hi to me at uppercase-ace 😉

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Interview: Renn

Today we’re joined by Renn. Renn is an extraordinary visual artist who also dabbles in embroidery and sings in their state’s LGBTQ+ chorus. They have mainly worked in traditional mediums, though they have recently started branching out into digital art. Their work is fascinating in its use of color and light. It’s clear Renn is an incredibly talented and passionate artist who enjoys what they do, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m something of an ace-of-all trades (pardon the pun). Most of my work has been traditional pen and ink drawings- I’ve always been the most comfortable with felt pens as my medium since you can re-do the sketch as many times as it takes to get each line juuuuuuust right before finalizing it in ink. Every now and then I’ll do a watercolor- the colors can be quite vibrant and watercolors can blend together in a way markers and ink can’t. Watercolor is something of an exercise in discipline for me; I’m not the most patient of persons even without taking my ADHD into account- so waiting for the paint to dry before adding another piece of color can be trying sometimes. I’ve ruined plenty of paintings only because I just couldn’t wait! I recently started painting digitally with my beloved Huion tablet- a much better way for me to explore painting as a medium because there are no more wait times for colors to dry! And layers! Oh do I love my layers. Working digitally, I enjoy using a limited but vibrant pallet to challenge myself to really bring out the highlights and shadows of what I’m drawing, making the artwork overall more striking.

Sometimes when I have the time + materials + energy, I craft my own cosplays (and bowties!) In my spare time I also enjoy doing embroidery and singing with the Rainbow Chorale, my state’s local LGBTQ+ chorus!

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What inspires you?

A lot of my main drive to create comes from seeing the work of other artists. You know how your brain will see someone else’s work and go “Gee I wish I could draw like that!” I take that feeling and turn it into “Well why don’t I go and draw something I want to create that will look just as good that I and other people will enjoy!”

I also enjoy doing art as an out and visible queer asexual person, because it gives other people like me the chance to see themselves reflected in my art and see themselves being represented, even if they themselves cannot be out and visible like me.

Butterflies
Butterflies

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

I’ve been drawing since I was really little, like 4 or so. Creating art through drawing was something I would do to relax after school…  or something I did to avoid taking notes or doing homework… ah ha. For young, awkward, socially anxious me, art was the best way for me to express myself and communicate. So, in a way, I’ve always been interested in creative fields because that ability to create from my own ideas has always been with me. With respect to “wanting to be an artist” (I’m interpreting this as become a professional) drawing as a job isn’t something I want to do. I’m happy to take the occasional commission, or make something as a gift, but drawing as my main profession isn’t for me. Art is an escape for me, for when life gets to be too overwhelming. If that escape was invaded by the stress and pressure to constantly create and keep churning out artwork, then creating would no longer be that escape for me.

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 sign my work (well, when I remember) with my screen-name (Renaissance Aeroplane) initials “RA” and a little airplane flying out from the “A”. Typically I’ll put it in the corner of digital paintings, and tuck it in somewhere in sight when I do pen and paper drawings.

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I’ve had that screen-name for a while, except ‘renaissance’ was spelled with two Ns since spelling wasn’t a strong suit of mine. Thus that turned into the nickname “Renn” which I’ve gotten rather attached to and started using as an offline nickname as well.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Take a deep breath, and relax. Sit back, stretch your arms, and release that tension you’ve been holding in. It’s okay- if you aren’t as popular as that one artist, if that one line just refuses to come out right, if you fudged up the inking, painting didn’t come out the way you wanted it to- It’s going to be all right! There’s always so much pressure as an artist, to keep making more art and be perfect and get likes/reblogs/retweets/site traffic. That pressure is overwhelming and the last thing that will help you improve is pushing yourself so hard that creating art becomes stressful and overwhelming. So take another deep breath, relax, and continue to do what makes you happy.

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Palette Portrait

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Definitely full-on asexual; the frying-pan of sexual attraction feelings won’t be hitting me in the face anytime soon. It’s not a sensation I’ve ever felt, likely will never feel, and I am cool with that being so. I’m probably?? somewhere on the gray-bi-romantic scale of things; every now and then I’ll become romantically inclined towards someone, but it doesn’t happen all that often. *shrug*

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

Fortunately I haven’t had much experience with prejudice aside from the occasional bigot being rude online. What I have encountered more of is well-meaning but ignorant folks coming into my inbox and expecting me to educate them. Which can sometimes be annoying, and other times be emotionally draining and exhausting. So, what I’ll do is send them a few links with good articles about asexuality (or trans/nonbinary issues because I get questions about that too. Yaaaaaay.) that I’ve read through beforehand to ensure all the info is correct. Then I’ll let them know I’m glad they want to learn more, but I don’t have the time/energy to educate them one on one on the basics, that the links I sent contain more info about the subject, and once they’ve read through what I’ve sent and understand it, I’ll be happy to talk with them later.

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

That eventually I’ll “grow out of it” or “there’s always the possibility you meet the right person!” *barf* I get that for some people, sexuality can change or you can discover something you didn’t know about yourself, but that is not me. I already did all my soul-searching and exploring and I am quite happy labeling myself as ace, thanks very much. That and there’s something so gross about the insistence that I will become sexually attracted to someone. Euggggh.

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

It’s helpful to ask for advice or experiences from other ace folks and to ask other LGBTQ+ folks about their experiences to help you figure out what you’re feeling- BUT what determines your sexuality, above all, is what YOU think and how YOU feel. So, if you think “Well I’ve never/rarely/only sometimes feel sexually/physically attracted to people” then congrats! You’re ace! And that is for you to decide whether or not you want to label yourself that way.

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

Y’all can find me on Tumblr at renn-aeroplane-art.tumblr.com where I post all of my recent works or if you want to trawl my old Deviantart for some of my older stuff I go by Senkokura there. If you like goofy cat pictures interspersed with the occasional drawing or selfie, then check out my Instagram at renaissance_aeroplane!

TheWitch
The Witch

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

Interview: PJ

Today we’re joined by PJ. PJ is a phenomenal actress and a singer/songwriter. She’s also a YouTuber and a former state title-holder for talent. PJ has recently finished filming her first film role, which is super exciting. When she’s not working on her art, PJ is also an asexual and autism self-advocate. She’s clearly a passionate and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do a variety of things. My strength is definitely music (singing and songwriting), but I also have a passion for acting, YouTube, and modeling. I just recently finished filming my first movie (sorry, no details can be shared yet)!

In music, my strength is opera (even though ironically, I don’t like singing it that often). I’ve also written a song about asexuality/aromanticism, but since I’m not with a record label yet, I can’t really share my music with the world. I have this huge vision that can’t be done without a little help. I hope to be signed one day!

What inspires you?

Coldplay. As an autistic person, they’re my obsessive interest. If it weren’t for me being exposed to Coldplay at such a young age, I wouldn’t be involved in music at all. At 5 years old, I was already mimicking Chris Martin’s recognizable vocals. It’s honestly how I learned to sing. Coldplay inspires me on a daily basis. They’re all I really listen to. Then again, I also really love Owl City. My music is kind of like a mix between the two.

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

I’ve wanted to be a singer-songwriter and actress for as long as I can remember. My interest in YouTube started a couple years after YouTube launched. My dad was also a professional drummer, so I suppose I got some of my musicality from him. I just always knew in my heart that I was meant to enter the entertainment field; even though it’s still a bit of a struggle for me.

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 wish I did!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Here are my 10 rules for success:

1. Go for it and don’t hold anything back. Give it your all. Be confident in your work.
2. Listen to your heart/audience. I’m only here in this position because people kept telling me, “Hey, you’re really good. Have you ever thought about putting yourself out there?” If people believe in me, I’m not going to let them down. It was people encouraging me to be my best that got me this far.
3. As for the haters, just ignore them (which I know, can be difficult). Haters come and go. Followers stick around as long as you do.
4. Be your awesome self! If people don’t like that, too bad. They’re probably missing out on how wonderful you really are.
5. Reach out. Some connections are pretty important.
6. Keep perfecting your craft. Your work can ALWAYS use improvement; even if you think it doesn’t. I’ve surprised myself a lot. I always thought I was done, but then switched a few things up and-BAM! It was even better than before!
7. Keep persisting and working. If you’re having a writer’s/roadblock, don’t let that stop you from working on something else… and then coming back to that block when you’re ready!
8. Stay positive. I know this part is difficult as well, but trust me. It’s important.
9. Learn from your mistakes. Let’s be honest, you’re going to screw up at one point or another. The good news, however, is that the next time you come back, you’re going to be even stronger than you were before.
10. Strive to be YOUR best. I don’t aim for the #1 spot; I aim for the best I know I can be. The only thing I’m good at is being me. Don’t pay attention to what someone else is doing.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am heteroromantic asexual, and extremely sex-repulsed (apothisexual, if you want to get technical). Yet, I LOVE kissing, cuddling, etc. Just everything except sex (which makes me physically sick for some reason).

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

Luckily, no. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Some people praise me for figuring myself out at such a young age. I actually receive more prejudice and ignorance for my autism than my sexuality (and I’ve been openly asexual for years). I’ve been dealing with the autism stigma and stereotypes my whole life, so at this point, I’m pretty much immune to any hate. It doesn’t bother me at all. I actually think it’s quite hilarious.

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

“It’s just a phase.”

I first suspected I was asexual when I was 14, found the term at 17, and still identify this way at almost 21 years old. I don’t think it’s a phase if it lasts for several years.

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

Ask yourself, “Has this always been me?” I’ve had many things happen to me that further confirm that I’m asexual. Most of the time, I’ve just felt out of place. What was this “sexual attraction” that people kept talking about? Why do I only feel the need to hug, kiss, and cuddle someone? Instead of being “turned on”, why do I experience nausea? There were just too many things that lead to me finding asexuality.

If you’re struggling about coming out, I feel you. I was once there. If someone doesn’t like you because of your orientation, again, that’s too bad. Your orientation does not define you; you define it.

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

I highly encourage anyone who may have questions about asexuality to message me on my ace blog: at theapothisexualace. Other than that, my Instagram is at peytonjustine, my personal Tumblr is at peyton-justine, my YouTube channel is Clodplaye; named after my original Coldplay-themed Tumblr: at clodplaye and my Coldplay-themed Instagram: at clodplaye. Lastly, my Twitter is at Clodplaye as well. I have other social media accounts, but I don’t really post to them that often.

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

Interview: Harmony

Today we’re joined by Harmony. Harmony is an awesome up and coming author who is currently working on the first novel in a series. She prefers to write science fiction and fantasy stories. When she’s not writing, Harmony enjoys singing and dancing. It’s clear she’s a 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 primarily a fiction writer, although I do sing and dance. Most of my stories are fantasy, sci-fi, or have supernatural elements to them. Currently, I’m working on the first book in a series based on fairy tales. It’s been hard for me to find the time to write, but I’ve been making progress little by little.

What inspires you?

I like to ask myself a lot of “what if” questions, and see where my imagination takes me. I also use little bits and pieces that I like from other stories. Some ideas can come at random times, which is why I usually have my phone on hand to jot down ideas. One of my stories was inspired by a title that I randomly came up with while thinking about a cartoon character!

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

I’ve always been a reader, and since I was little, I’ve made up stories. When I was younger, my mom swore I would be a writer, and even though I insisted she was wrong, here I am now! I really started writing in elementary school, when we had to write short stories for class. I came up with a book about a girl who adopted a dog that turns out to be a cursed human girl. I won a small writing contest with that story, and that inspired me to keep writing.

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 any common mark in my stories, but every writer has their own individual voice that you can sometimes identify. I like to be very descriptive in characters’ appearances and the background.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep practicing and developing your art, no matter what other people say. There’s no one else who knows your art like you do. It might seem hard, but if you take a few minutes every day, you can create something beautiful.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual, though I use it as the umbrella term, since I’m not sure where I fall on the spectrum.

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

There’s not really any prejudice so much as ignorance about asexuality. I’ve read a lot of books, and it’s been mentioned once or twice, at most. Most fiction books for anyone over thirteen have some sort of “oh, that person’s so hot” moment. I’ve heard of some books with a canon ace character, but I’ve never read any. Personally, I try to keep my characters diverse, but there’s barely any romance, and no sex in my stories, so their sexualities aren’t very important to the story.

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

I’ve only talked to a few close people about asexuality, and they’re accepting, but the most common misconception is that I’m too young to know. I live in a city, so more people do know a little about it, at least.

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

You know yourself better than anyone, and only you truly know what you’re feeling. Other people’s ignorance doesn’t change that. There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re not broken, and you are not alone.

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

I don’t have anything published … yet. But I occasionally post parts of stories based on writing prompts on my Tumblr, at demonfairyprincess. You can also find me on Wattpad, sgeheart24. (I named my account a while ago, when I had just gotten into the School for Good and Evil series. I’m a fan, so sue me.) I only have part of an old fanfic there, but I plan to eventually post some original stories.

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

Interview: Riley

Today we’re joined by Riley. Riley is a phenomenal performance artist who does a bit of everything. She dances, acts, sings, and even does public speaking. Riley is a fascinating artist with an incredible presence, as you’ll soon read. She’s an artist to watch and definitely has a very bright future. 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 dance, act, and sing, and do public speaking! I’ve also dabbled in expanding those specific interests of mine by choreographing, playwriting, songwriting, and I’ve started a YouTube channel where I can focus my speechwriting.

What inspires you?

I always find myself so inspired by other people who can break the mold of their art forms and selves. I’m also inspired by the idea that I could fill that same role for another person.

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

My mother was a dancer, but how I found a love for acting, singing, and otherwise performing, I haven’t got a clue where the passion originated. I do think that I’ve always wanted to be an artist- performing was, is, and will always be a part of my life.

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

I like to bring my knowledge of acting into each of the art forms I am involved in. I think that understanding character, role, and the ability to outwardly perform that in any artistic production is an integral piece that I hope to bring to all of my work.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Know why you’re doing what you’re doing, and never ever stop. I know how cliché it sounds, but it’s so true! If you love it, keep at it, and keep reminding yourself that you love it, even if it gets tough (and it will get tough).

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aro-ace, but really my sexuality is just one big shrug emoji ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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

Grade 11 was my first onstage kiss… Or it was supposed to be, anyways. It ended up more as some weird mashing of lip corners, cheeks, and chins. My inability to properly articulate my odium and quasi-fear of romantic interactions led to an angry director and a hurt castmate, and my attempts at explanations only led to anger and confusion.

Every child has heard the “advice”: if you break a plate while washing dishes, you’ll never be asked to do the dishes again. That’s seemed to work for me- I haven’t had a PDA role in the three years since performing that scene.

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

“Asexuality is biologically impossible, humans were made to copulate and procreate”, to which I eye roll so hard I strain a muscle. I just don’t like the idea of sex- and romanticism is a man-made and societally enforced idea. Nothing in the animal kingdom are holding hands and bringing each other flowers. If you like it, you do it. It’s just not really my style.

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

If you want to adopt a label, do it! If you don’t, that’s cool too! Orientation is about comfortability for yourself. Don’t be afraid to chuck a label you’ve found for yourself and pick up a new one if it’s a better fit. Life is too short for constrictions you’ve set for yourself.

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

You can find my dance videos and some of my rants on YouTube, and I have some more videos and updates on my Instagram and Tumblr! Come and chat!

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

Interview: Jordan

Today we’re joined by Jordan. Jordan is a fantastic author who currently has a short story out in the world, in the collection entitled Athena’s Daughters. When she’s not writing, Jordan does various crafts and even enjoys singing in a local LGBTQIA+ affirming chorus. Jordan is obviously an incredibly dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer who dabbles in art and various and sundry forms of crafting. I mainly write curriculum material these days (I’m a high school English teacher), but I’m a Published Author (all-caps, so official, yes yes) with a short story out in the world. I enjoy making costumes, knitting, doing cross-stitch, writing fan-fiction, and baking. Oh! I sing, too. I’m a member of an LGBT-affirming chorus in my hometown.

What inspires you?

My family and friends, and often, my students. And books! Good lord, books. I read voraciously, and nothing is more inspiring than encountering a book that you can get yourself completely lost in for a few hours. I read a lot of historical fiction, and I’ve been diving into LGBT+ YA quite a bit since I started teaching. Glorious stuff, all.

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

I’ve always been interested in the arts. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been writing stories. I remember a “series” I wrote when I was in first or second grade all about my favorite teddy bear. It was called “Cinnamon: Bear of the World,” and it chronicled the adventures of my teddy as he saved lives and spread love across the globe. I fell in love with anime in middle school and started drawing then — I’ve never stopped, really, although my anime obsession has fallen to the wayside (probably for the best). I was introduced to Broadway pretty early by my parents who recognized a drama student when they saw one, and after seeing “Beauty & the Beast” when I was 7, I’ve never looked back.

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 necessarily include them in my “official” work, but I like to sneak opossums in whenever I can. I always draw opossums when I sign yearbooks, and I’ve gotten very good at drawing one on the spot in less than 10 seconds.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do your craft. If you’re an aspiring writer, WRITE! Love art but not sure if you’re good enough to make it in the real world? Who cares! Draw! Paint! Sew! Bake! Even if you think your stuff is awful, you’ll never get better unless you keep getting your work out there and practicing like it’s your job (and maybe it will be). I look back at things I wrote even five years ago and I shudder. We’re always developing and growing, learning, as artists, and that’s OK!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aro-ace.

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

Not necessarily in my field (although there is plenty of ace-phobia out there on the Internet, and Tumblr is no exception), but in my personal life, I struggle to get myself recognized. I’m not “out” to most of my family, but when I express my desire to remain single and my apathy towards romance, the most common response is confusion or even exasperation. My parents are afraid that I’ll end up alone, and it’s difficult to convince them that having a partner and/or getting married are not the end-all-be-all. I try to explain asexuality, usually without using the actual word, as simple and logically as I can. It’s a work in progress.

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

That you’ll “find the right person,” or that you should get into counseling. I take medicine for my OCD, and my parents have suggested that I talk to my doctor to get my prescription changed, as if that would alter my views on romance and sex.

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

You are valid, you are not a freak, you are are not unlovable or unloved. Just like gender is a spectrum, so too is sexuality. Some people like girls; some people like guys; some people like both; some people like everybody; and yes, some people don’t “like” anyone, and that doesn’t mean you’re broken. Your life can be as full and rewarding as you want it to be: your worth is NOT measured by your libido. Be strong, loves, and surround yourself with people who love and accept you for who you are.

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

My short story “As Far as Death This Way” is in the Athena’s Daughter’s 2 Anthology published by Silence in the Library and can be purchased in hard-copy or eBook form on Amazon at http://a.co/3fx7mPK

I’m on Tumblr at dozmuffinxc, Instagram at extermiteach, and I have a fledgling travel blog at http://www.anopossumabroad.wordpress.com.

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