Interview: Kailey Lewia

Today we’re joined by Kailey Lewia. Kailey is a wonderful young hobbyist writer and visual artist. She’s currently working on a couple different novels that deal with pretty heavy subject matter. When she’s not writing, Kailey enjoys doing visual art. She paints, sketches, and does digital drawings. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and enthusiastic 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 am a hobbyist writer in high school and I’m currently working on two projects. The first is a novel that focuses on rape trauma, identity, sexuality, and race which is currently on hiatus, and the second is a novella about the concept of Stockholm syndrome. I also do some painting and digital drawing in my free time, just little sketches for fun.

What inspires you?

The idea of creating characters that stick with people. You see all these characters in pop culture that everybody loves and looks into: I want people to take my characters and bring them to a point where everybody is dissecting my work and figuring out what, exactly, my point is.

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

I was always an avid reader and after reading stories like Harry Potter in second grade, I instantly knew I wanted to write. I’ve been attempting to write stories since I was eight, it’s just that I’ve never really had a solid idea that I can follow through with. I think I do now, though!

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?

Nope, sorry.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never give up. It doesn’t matter if there’s someone ‘better than you’- you have to push for a chance for people to see what you can do, and you have to strive to improve. Never give up and make sure that you’re happy with what you’re creating, so what you want to.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a biromantic asexual but I prefer not to label myself as biromantic simply because I don’t think that’s set in stone.

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

Not necessarily in ‘the field,’ but I know I’ve certainly experienced ignorance at school for my identity in general. I know for me being part of the GSA has reinforced the way I feel about myself and my identity because it puts me next to several other people in the LGBT+ community who I know are willing to listen to me and speak up with me if there are problems with other students.

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

Personally, the most common misconception would be that someone of my age is too young to consider themselves asexual. I’ve known I wasn’t straight since I was eleven and spent two years figuring out I was asexual and I’ve obviously stuck with that since and believe I always will- but people think, despite my personal journey of finding my identity, that I’m either just saying I’m asexual for attention or because I’m too young to experience sexual attraction.

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

If you have friends telling you it’s just a phase or doubting you when you’re figuring out your sexuality, drop them. If they can’t support you through such a tough time then they’re really just going to make it worse.

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

I just recently created a Tumblr so there’s only one digital sketch on it right now, but I plan on posting more sketches on it and sharing my writing/ updates on my work on it! At actual-brontosaurus.

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

Interview: Lucy Cyclone

Today we’re joined by Lucy Cyclone. Lucy is a wonderful visual artist and fanartist. She mostly uses digital mediums although she also dabbles in traditional ones as well. Lucy enjoys drawing comics and animations, which allows her to convey more emotions in her work. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist with a lot of enthusiasm, 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 draw mostly digitally nowadays, rarely finishing sketches I do on paper. I like to tell stories with my drawings, and am very attracted to comics and animation, as those can convey a lot of feelings more efficiently than a single picture.

Externally I live to learn and can appear sturdy, while art is my vent of things I don’t trust to show in company as well as sources of enjoyment I can’t possibly show any other way.

I also suffer from the very common Can’t Draw Properly With A Tablet 2 At Pm But Definitely Will Make A Realistic Portrait At Midnight With A Ball Point On Lined Notebook Paper syndrome.

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What inspires you?

Music, random ideas, other fanwork and personal thoughts. My biggest muse would be sitting up late while staring at the ceiling, and Sleeping at Last’s music. Currently really into Transformers comics and Boku no Hero Academia as well.

Once I get a good idea it tends to completely overwhelm me. I don’t finish a lot of them because I always find myself caught up in something else before I do. It takes a while for me to set foot on solid ground and decide that I want and I will do something.

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

Currently – art is a hobby. I drew while young but only took it seriously around two years ago, when I started practicing more often. When I was 12 I got dragged into cartoons – most notably My Little Pony at the time – and I suddenly wanted to create more and more visions of fictional worlds – and create my own.

My appreciation for animation and expression grew from thereon. I still struggle with some human anatomy aspects (legs-) but overall I’ve come a really long way in the past years.

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 settle on having my signature being legible. With style being the subject, I prefer to pander to natural proportions as much as I am able to. Big fan of Disney and western styles, and while I do refrain from anime and chibi, I do try to replicate the styles of eastern animation work I enjoy.

Even though chibi is always a go-to when I am tired and just want to draw something cute.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t take criticism personally, tracing is superb as long as you credit the original, and studies of photos do miracles

Also don’t be like me and spend 3 years of your life drawing almost exclusively cartoon horses. Ultimately it helps with general quadriped anatomy but… just don’t.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Ace and Bi – I prefer not to directly use SAM unless someone insists.

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

Luckily, no so far! Asexuality isn’t widely known (which I personally don’t mind) and I like to be hopeful enough to dare to say a lot of the young generation in the connected world doesn’t really care about which way one swings. We’ve come a long way!

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

Being somewhat young, I can understand people suggesting it is just a phase, and I accept that as a possibility, but I notice that a lot of other aces experience this as well. Whether or not it is a phase, if the shoe fits I’ll wear it.

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

It’s okay not to know and never okay to hurry! Take some time to know yourself, it’s a very long way and ultimately has meaning only to you, but can still affect others, so keep your head cool. Reason is the best road.

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

On Tumblr, I post my work at lucy-cyclone, and I try to post at least once per week. I plan to reboot my DeviantArt soon, though this is enough for now.

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

Interview: Sara

Today we’re joined by Sara. Sara is a phenomenal visual artist who I met at this year’s Indy PopCon. I was so excited when I realized she was ace and made sure to hand her a business card for the blogs, because good heavens she had such beautiful art. She draws mostly fantasy and original work, favoring a stylized look rather than realism. The result is her work has a wonderful dream-like feel with vibrant colors and soft lines. It’s clear she’s an incredibly talented and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Little witch_new
Little Witch

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw a lot of fantasy pieces, whether it’s sketching or digital paintings. I like painting/sketching in a stylized style instead of realistic one. I mostly paint my own characters but I love to do fanart of characters in my own style just to see what they’ll look like.

What inspires you?

My biggest inspiration is music. I love listening to classical or instrumental music when I draw/paint. Music helps art flow and it opens up new ideas for me. I hear a melody playing and think I can turn that into something. I paint a lot of fantasy pieces and nature also helps add to my inspiration especially flowers.

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

When I was little I wanted to go into animation. Traditionally animated Disney movies were some of my favorite things to watch as a child and I always wanted to know how they made everything move. Now that I’ve gone to school for animation I’ve gravitated more towards concept art and illustrations.

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?

As of right now, no I don’t have a special signature. But maybe some day I will.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I know this has been said and done many times but Practice, practice, practice. Having raw talent is the start of being a good artist but honing that skill and perfecting it will make you an even better one. That there are gonna be days where you second guess your art, style or your skill but always remember there are ups and downs in all aspects of life even art. Many talented artist out there still have those ups and downs. So don’t quit and don’t lose hope in your abilities.

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Veil of Stars

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual/aromantic.

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

Towards me, personally, no I haven’t. But one of the things that does irk me is that there is barely any representation in media. Sure sometimes they have hints that a character is Ace but then they sweep it under the rug as if it wasn’t an important part of a character or that Asexuality is a disease that needs to be cured (I’m talking about the House episode that centered around that).

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

“How do you know if you’re Asexual if you haven’t had sex yet?” or “You haven’t met the right person yet.” These questions drive me up a wall and make me feel uncomfortable since I don’t necessarily wanna be in a romantic/sexual relationship with people. So when these questions are directed at me I feel a bright glaring spotlight put on me and it absolutely embarrasses me.

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

Take your time with your orientation it’s not a race to figure everything out in one night. It took me maybe 3 years to final except what my orientation was. Talk it out with people you trust and do research (it’s what I did). You are not broken because you don’t want to have sex or be in a relationship.

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

I have a two Tumblrs and an Instagram. You can find them both here:

http://the-lady-saron.tumblr.com/
https://sarahartart.tumblr.com/
https://www.instagram.com/sara_hart_art/.

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

Interview: Sierra Sonora

Today we’re joined by Sierra Sonora. Sierra is a wonderful visual artist and fanartist. She specializes in nature photography, taking pictures of local flora and fauna, showing the beauty of life in vivid color and detail. When she’s not taking picture, Sierra dabbles in fanfiction and fanart. She’s also currently endeavoring to write a novel. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist with a bright future ahead of her, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art consists of a variety of mediums. One includes the photography of natural landscapes as well as nature, such as local Flora/Fauna. It also includes writing of both original work and Fanfiction. I also draw in what can be considered an Anime/Cartoon style of me, my friends, pets, and Fanart on mostly regular sketchbook paper with pencil/pen and colored pencils, or I will digitally upload my art and work on it with a paint program. I thoroughly enjoy singing, and write poetry, but have yet to compose any original songs-although I have written at least 3 parodies that revolve around different favorite pairings of characters from TV shows I watch.

What inspires you?

The need to create and channel my emotions inspire me to do all of the above. I often struggle with verbally expressing my emotions, but through art I can slow down and think things through-especially when I draw. The joy of others also inspires me, as I find happiness in making other people happy with my art. I find that when I share my art, whatever the medium, I feel a meaningful and spiritual connection with the ones I am sharing with and that connectivity is vital to me.

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

Ever since I was little, I enjoyed watching cartoons, reading books, and drawing. It’s hard for me to say that I’ve always wanted to be an artist, because what I do doesn’t really feel like “art” to me; I see it as a coping mechanism and a way to make others feel happy. Put simply, I view my art as a tool, and that prevents me from seeing it as what I feel “art” actually is.

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

I do have one thing in my art that I include; it’s a simple necklace of mine that I’ve had for about 8 years now; a simple black nylon string with a silver eagle talon pendant holding within its three claws a white marble. This necklace is a special possession I hold, and I like to include it when I draw myself or a main character from one of my original works.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

As cliché as it sounds, I am going to say it anyway because it’s true: Don’t give up. Don’t give up on your art, whether it is photography, mixed medium, paintings, writings, drawings, fandom related, etc. Don’t give up. You, as a unique individual with your own perspective on life, your own unseen and secret views, have so much to offer to the art world. Whatever it is, it may not turn out quite the way you want it to the first time-this is only reasonable; you are new at things, and with novelty comes practice.

It may even take a long time to feel comfortable where you are on your journey in creation. I still have 10-year-old art lying around that makes me cringe every time I see them, but I keep them to remind myself of the journey it took to get where I am, and to propel me to work hard and push myself further. I highly recommend you do the same-keep your art, every scrap. You’ll be glad you did so later on down the road.

Another piece of advice that is repeated over and over again for good reason is this: Don’t compare yourself to other artists if it is only going to result in self-loathing or any form of negativity. It’s not worth it, and it won’t help you become better at your passion. Trust me, I know. I’ve done it, and it only made me want to quit art altogether and it would make me feel inferior/jealous. How terrible is that- to want to give up on something that brings you joy because you feel you are not adequate? To feel negative, nasty feelings towards others because I was not secure enough in who I was as an artist? It’s terrible, and unfair to yourself and the other person.

So I say this: don’t compare. Just create. If you must compare, try to do so with humility- recognize that you aren’t where you want to be yet and have patience with yourself.

My last piece of advice is this: Be kind to yourself and be kind to others; you’re not the only one struggling. Reach out to one another with love, offer emotional support when possible, and practice constructive criticism on yourself and others. You, as an honorary member of the art world, are here to uplift, inspire, create, and comfort through your works-whatever they may be. We need you, and you belong here. My sincerest hope is that this advice has been useful/helpful and uplifting to those who read it.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as an Aromantic Asexual. Personally, I find that when I am in a relationship, I can adapt to the other person and provide physical intimacy such as hand-holding, kissing, cuddling, even if I don’t necessarily feel a desire to do so, and when/if I marry, I am willing to provide them with the sexual intimacy that I know my partner will deserve if they are not Asexual themselves.

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

I’ve encountered, blessedly, a little amount of ace prejudice/ignorance. Generally, it was from people asking me how I could not want sex, and I generally would deal with it as such; I’d tell them I just didn’t find sex interesting, or I’d tell them I found things to enjoy out of life that was more fitting for gaining pleasure than sex, such as books, or video games, or eating. I was never called a freak, or anything of that nature, which is a blessing and I hope my experience helps others. Mostly the people who I have talked to were rather open-minded and just curious, but I know this isn’t the case for everyone. For those of you who have experienced ace prejudice, my heart goes out to you.

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

The most common misconception about asexuality that I’ve encountered is the notion that Asexuals just don’t want sex. Which isn’t true as we know- our orientation is about sexual attraction, not the actual desire for sex. Like other orientations, it varies for everyone. Personally, I don’t want it, but that doesn’t make me any more Asexual than someone who does.

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

You’re not broken. That is the most heartfelt advice I can give. You are not broken, and you’re not alone. The love songs will say you’re incomplete without that “special person”. It’s a lie. If you can find someone who is whole and spend the rest of your life happily with them, then wonderful. But you are not broken and you are not incomplete. You are you, and you are not alone- we’re here with you, flying under the same purple, grey, white, and black flag and we’re proud to stand with you.

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

You can find out more about my work through my Tumblr account, my username is “Willchild”. I don’t post much art or works there, to be honest, but I think after this interview I will if it can help bring joy to other artists and help them feel more secure about posting their own art. Please feel free to tag me in your art, I would be ecstatic to see it; or message me/ask me, from one artistic Ace to another.

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

Interview: Bob Josef

Today we’re joined by Bob Josef. Bob is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in Zen doodles, which he puts his own spin on. He draws a number of fandom related things as well. His works show an interesting use of space and lines, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I think I’m kind of all over the place, and what I do is for my own satisfaction, but in the last like 2 years I’ve been doing a very simple version of what is called “Zen doodles” I say it’s simple because if you Google it what comes up looks nothing like what I do. I also do this squiggly thing that fills up a page and you don’t know where it begins or ends, what part is the object and which is just empty space…I do these the most because coming up with ideas of what to actually draw.

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What inspires you?

Way too many things honestly. Probably my biggest inspirations are the internet (other people’s fanart), books, movies, Podcasts (Welcome to Night Vale), just looking at cool things gets me going. I LOVE taking pictures of sunsets because they are absolutely stunning pieces of natural art.

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

Um…I don’t really know what got me interested in drawing, it kinda just happened when I was in school, and it happened all over my homework and notebooks. Freshman year of HS I specifically dedicated the left side of my notebook pages to just doodling while taking notes. I haven’t always wanted to be an artist but at the moment I really enjoy spending time to create something…actually I hate the process, drawing is super tedious but the result is always worth the work.

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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?

Well, it’s not something I put in my drawings but I like it’s my style for drawing faces, it’s an ever slightly modified version of the Epic Face. It’s just so simple to draw that I use it for like signatures on cards and things like that and my sketch/notebooks are filled with them.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Let people compliment what you’ve created, you may absolutely hate it because it doesn’t compare to the work of pros on Tumblr or Deviant Art. But to your friends and family it might as well be just as good, so accept their compliments and use them to motivate you to improve and impress them more with the next thing you make.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

At the moment I am Aromantic Asexual, I am totally open to the possibility that it can change should I meet a special person. Or maybe it doesn’t and I’m alone forever…that’s OK too.

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

In relation to art? No not really, I’ve just started posting anything on a dedicated account outside of my personal one, and it’s not really ace-centric. I do however reblog ace positive things in-between my doodles. In real life, when I came out I had a cousin say I was going to hell with the “gays” because instead of liking the same gender, I like none (attraction wise, I’m sure all genders are nice people), and that means I won’t make the babies to “replenish” the earth. It was a real punch in the gut that anyone, especially one of my relatives, could say something so ignorant and (insert sexuality)-phobic.

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

Probably the “you just haven’t met the right person yet,” which may be true, but in my experience I don’t want none of that sexy-time mess. And I don’t feel the need to date people. (Not that I don’t want a partner, cuz I do, I just don’t feel the need to seek it out.)

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

Give yourself time to come to terms with it, there is no rush to figure everything out and then come out, and get all the things ace (or any other orientation) pride. Just slow down, breathe, research, and when you are comfortable with what fits you, feel free to come out. Just be prepared that people won’t understand and you will most likely have to explain yourself over and over. If you ever feel like it’s all too much, search Ace Positivity on Tumblr and just scroll through all the cool things people make and say for/about us.

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

Well like I said before I just started out so I’m only on Instagram and Tumblr. On Insta; I’m at gandalftheace42 and gandalf-the-ace on Tumblr so it’s easy to find me! I don’t post things terribly often but I am in a painting class at my college so I will be posting updates on my projects that we are working on there. But yeah perhaps later down the road I will be super cool and make art and make them into shirts like all the cool people on tumblr.com do! Thanks for checking out my stuff if you do and I’m always open to talk to anyone if you want (desperate for human interaction) okay BYEEEEEE!!

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

Interview: FF2

Today we’re joined by FF2. FF2 is a wonderful visual artist who does a mix of original work and fanart. They’re a self-taught artist and tend to gravitate to fanart. They get inspiration from many different sources, like video games, anime, and movies. When they’re not doing fanart, they enjoy just sketching original characters. It’s very obvious they’re a dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

a zoe sketch
A Zoe sketch

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Um… Okay! It’s mostly fanart of things I like (video games, anime, movies, etc.), but sometimes I’ll draw and share OCs and stuff! I do a lot of sketches and doodles (school is very energy and creativity-draining, so usually I have just enough to doodle and sketch), but sometimes if I REALLY have the energy for it I’ll make full drawings! Those are usually my favorites! (Example: A screenshot re-draw of one of my favorite Attack on Titan scenes. Took a few days but it was worth it in the end because it came out really well!) But… Drawing sketches is fun too! I also really like drawing my OCs, even if I keep… NOT drawing them! (I get so many good ideas of things to draw with them but then it’s like “Wait that’s beyond my skill level-”)

What inspires you?

Well, it’s mostly anime, actually! Originally I took inspiration from like… Sailor Moon, but now – albeit it’s STILL anime – , I’m taking more references from Studio Ghibli films (specifically When Marnie Was There and Spirited Away), and the anime Attack on Titan. I’ve also been trying to make it look a bit more… realistic. Not, SUPER realistic, but like… (oh how do I explain this…?) just a bit more? Not like… in a way it would make my art style look weird or unnatural, but just enough so it makes it look BETTER? If that makes ANY sense? Plus, whatever I look at more often influences what I draw a lot. Like, say I played a lot of Pokemon recently. Then I’d probably be drawing a lot of Pokemon characters.

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

Uhh… Really, I’ve kind of been drawing for as long as I can remember. Like… We have pictures from when I was three and we had this… thing – I’m not exactly sure what is was – and it has a little marker that worked with water, so when you got it wet, you could DRAW on the mat and stuff, and in the picture I’m just scribbling away. I guess I just really liked the idea of making my own pictures? And I never really dropped it…! I’ve always liked drawing, but I haven’t ALWAYS wanted to be an artist (Right now for example, I want to be an author!), but there was a phase when I did.

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 a special, unique signature, but I do have some things that I think make my art… My own and easier to recognize I guess? I think it’s the way I do eyes? Or at least, that’s what I think and what a few friends have told me…

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Joking aside, please practice, or take a class! Seriously, like… say you wanted to be a professional athlete or something. You’d practice to get better at that right? So… Why should drawing be different? Also, DO NOT ignore guidelines. They can REALLY help. And, another thing… Try tracing guidelines over pre-existing images. Don’t… Don’t POST those or anything, but do that on your own practice, because it can help you get an idea of the anatomy and stuff.  I know there’s this whole mindset of “If I EVER trace anything ever, even for practice than I’m Bad and an art thief!” but like… That’s not true! If you need to practice anatomy and want to trace something for a better idea of how it works, then try that! Again, just don’t post it.

He is not a threat to humanity! ALT
He is not a threat to humanity!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Sex-repulsed ace. (Probably panromantic too? I don’t want to say for sure, though…)

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

In… my field? I assume this means art. If so then no. Though… I have some ace OCs and I’ll probably make a lot of emphasis on that and if anyone is rude because god-forbid someone has ASEXUAL OCS, then I‘ll probably just ignore them?

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

Either… “oh so you don’t have any emotions/empathy/whatever?” (which is blatant lie. And also a really stupid thing to say.), and “that’s not a thing, you’re just making a sexuality up for attention.” (more lies.)

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

DO. NOT. RUSH THIS!!! You don’t HAVE to have a label if you don’t want one! You think you might be ace but then you find out you’re not? That’s fine! It doesn’t make you bad!! You think you’re something else and then find out your ace? That’s fine, too! Figuring yourself out takes a while! Also… For anyone told this because ew ace discourse, YOU AREN’T INVADING LGBT+ SPACES OR “STEALING” RESOURCES OR NOT A “REAL LGBT+ PERSON”. YOU ARE VALID. If ANYONE says otherwise, just ignore ‘em. They are NOT worth it! I know it’s hard but really, what they’re doing is kinda pathetic, you know?

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

My art Tumblr! It’s https://ff2-draws-stuff.tumblr.com/!! I post art and WIPs there, so if you’d like to see more of my art, check it out!

Thank you, FF2, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Jojo

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

ArcReactor
Arc Reactor

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

FuryRoadFanzine_Final
Fury Road Fanzine

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

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

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

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

Inktober_Ikali
Inktober Ikali

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

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

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

Mugiwara_Puppies
Mugiwara Puppies

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phaser_original
Phaser

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Siano_Debut
Siano Debut

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