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.

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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.

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Arc Reactor

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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Fury Road Fanzine

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

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

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

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

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Inktober Ikali

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

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

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

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Mugiwara Puppies

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Phaser

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Siano Debut

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

Interview: Baku

Today we’re joined by Baku. Baku is a wonderful visual and fanartist. They mostly do fanart, but have done original work on occasion. They’re incredibly passionate about comics and plan to be a comic artist in the future. Baku is a very gifted artist and their work is brimming with color and life, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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De-er

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a fanartist for the most part with random original pieces thrown in here and there. I’d say my specialty is comic, but I don’t really think that’s true yet, haha … It is something I’m working towards though. Being a comic artist. Right now it’s just a lot of doodles, illustrations, short comics, sometimes fanfictions, sometimes even more out-of-the-blue fan contents, like song translation for example.

What inspires you?

Naming any specific category of thing wouldn’t seem right, because I kinda draw and write for the randomest thing … I’d say love. Or emotions, in general. My strong emotions for something make me pick up my pen. Drawing and writing has become one of my main ways to express emotions now, even more of use than just proclaiming it sometimes.

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

I’ve always been a fan of things, if my memory serves me well. The first time I tried writing was after I read Harry Potter and thought to myself that I wanted to write something like this. The first time I took drawing seriously was after reading a magical girl manga and being introduced to the “standard manga style” so to said by my cousin. I think I’ve always had that fascination with narratives and stories, and the desire to make them came the moment I was exposed to the possibility. These people who are still alive made these things, why don’t you try your hand too, etc., etc.

The fact that I’m very emotion-driven probably adds to my becoming a fanartist, in that I’m most productive when I feel strongly about something, and that’s one thing that being a fan delivers plentily.

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Street God

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?

Lampposts, bus stops, electric poles, and liminal spaces in general. I also draw/write about dreamscapes a lot. Dripping/splashing effects are my favourite too.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Everyone starts somewhere. Everyone goes somewhere. There’s this special brand of nihilism that I find serves an artist well: all our struggles are ultimately objectively meaningless, so what matters is our own perception. If art fits somewhere into your perception, keep it. Do it for yourself. Give it the meaning you want to. Have your fun.

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Frog 2

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aro/ace.

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

I am lucky to have found a very accepting community in the Mob Psycho 100 fandom around the time I started realizing that I’m as aro/ace, but there are stories told, of course. I myself try to distance myself from that; luckily no problems have wandered to my part yet.

In my personal life I haven’t officially come out to my family yet, but I’ve made my decision to not find a life partner quite clear, and my parents have long accepted (or emotionally dealt with) that. My extended family is another story; some of them don’t believe I can make it out there as an artist either. My mom taught me to consider talking to them ‘diplomatic work’. I’ve never been good at that, but I manage. Most of the comments on my choices come hand-in-hand with those on my appearance (and how I don’t care about it as much as I’m supposed to), so it’s a bit easier to dismiss them altogether.

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

That there are no such thing, mainly. My mom denied the existence of asexuality and aromanticism when I brought it up to her. Most people I’ve met in real life say that one can’t live without love, and that everyone will find their chosen one someday.

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

You are who you are. As long as you hold that belief dear and clear in your heart, there will be ways to work around everything else.

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

My Tumblr is bakanohealthy: http://bakanohealthy.tumblr.com/

And I have an AO3 account for my fanfictions: http://archiveofourown.org/users/BakanoHealthy

Some of my works are up for purchase in my Redbubble: https://www.redbubble.com/people/bakanohealthy.

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Moped

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

Interview: Hana Golden

Today we’re joined by Hana Golden. Hana is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in digital art but also works in traditional mediums as well. She does character design, capturing expressions and emotions through a masterful use of detail. Hana also frequently draws canines and her ability to capture dog’s personalities with color and lines is amazing. She’s an incredibly talented artist, as you’ll soon see. 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 mostly a digital artist, but still work with a variety of traditional mediums. I enjoy watercoloring, spraypainting, stippling, and simple illustration work. I like to focus on expression cartooning, character design, and heavily enjoy fanart as well. Canines specifically have also always been a go-to for me and is one of the things I’ve always been known for. I also like to create my own custom Funko Pop figures as another side hobby.

For my art, I’d say that I like to focus heavily on expressions and making you feel what the character is feeling. When someone feels the same emotion I’m drawing by looking at it, that’s the best thing. Either way, I love drawing faces and just sketching in general.

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What inspires you?

Let’s see … kinda tough question cause there’s so much that inspires me. From an early age, my oldest sister was an artist, and my biggest inspiration and drive to improve. Now, I’d say that Disney/DreamWorks is my biggest inspiration. Watching certain films and shorts just make me want to push myself more and more. From the character design to the emotional feelings you get when you look at a scene, that’s what I want to create. I want to capture that one moment that made my heart pound, where I pause the scene and just stare at the characters face for a long time. It was that face that gave me a feeling, and I have to be able to do it too. I can get pretty obsessed about it actually, haha. I’m just super into animation, and hope to animate again. I use to do it a lot as a kid.

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

Like I had stated above, my oldest sister was the one who got me into drawing. I wanted have that one thing in common that we could do together. Watching anything animated/cartoon pushed me to draw those characters constantly. I remember being in my room drawing the covers of old VHS Disney movies, drawing Pokémon cards, really anything I could get my hands on. I was just drawing all the time.

I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil, like most everyone else, but I’m not sure to be honest. It never really occurred to me that I could partake in making these movies, or designing these characters. I’m not sure why, I guess it was never pushed on me or talked about as something I could potentially be a part of, not even by my teachers.  I knew I loved to draw and wanted to do it all the time, but I never pursued it the way I feel like I should have. My mentality about it was all wrong compared to how to feel about it now, and I wish I had pursued it more seriously. For the simple short answer, yes, I have always wanted to be an artist.

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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?

Honestly, there’s really nothing this deep in anything I do haha. I have a simple signature that if it’s not out in the obvious, then it’s small and hidden in the picture. I’ve never been a fan of putting my signature on my work, but since I had multiple works stolen, I’ve gotten to the habit of hiding it in the picture so it couldn’t be erased haha.

When I work on commissions, I really try to pull the person’s personality (or animals) out on paper. I want people to see their pet, s/o, or themselves in my work. I want them to feel like their personality is right there. That’s really important to me.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Please, just don’t give up. I know it’s what everyone says, but it’s so true. Too many people I know who use to draw and loved it, don’t do it anymore cause they said they were intimidated by other artists, or just got too down on themselves and came to a stop. It takes work, and you just have to push past all that stuff and focus on you. Compare your work to your own, not someone else’s. Look at how far you’ve come and embrace that. Just keep going.

Also, don’t be afraid of referencing/copying when starting out. That’s how you’re going to learn such a variety of things and all the different styles and types of art out there. You’ll develop your own style eventually by dropping things that don’t work for what you visually like, and picking up parts of others that you do and adding it to your own. Drawing from life is important though to learn proper proportions, lighting, color, etc. Don’t rely fully on cartoons or anime to teach you that stuff haha. It’s okay to copy other people’s work as long as you’re not claiming it as your own, just give credit where credit is due. A good rule of thumb I always worked from was if you copied it, keep it to yourself. If you had help from another artist’s work, credit it.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual. I’m not super sure if I lean towards gray or not, but I’m comfortable just using the term Ace. Finding out there was a word for how I was feeling, and that others were like me, was one of the most important parts of my life. I can still remember how I felt the minute I typed that word into Google and discovered its meaning haha.

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

Not really to be honest, at least not to my face. If anything, with some people I just got a feeling that they didn’t truly believe me or fully understand. It’s tough, because I want to have a family someday. I’ve always wanted children, and people who know me, know that. When I told them that I was ace, most of them will point out “You know how to get children, right?” I hate when people say that because I’m not stupid, yes I know about sex, I understand how it works, but I don’t like it, and don’t want it.

I even went to go see an Endocrinologist (a hormone doctor) cause I do actually have an issue with my hormones. I asked her about my libido and stuff like that (before I identified as ace, I thought my hormones were the problem) and she told me that with the way my hormones are, I should have a high sex drive and crazy libido. I laughed and cried the whole way home, because that wasn’t me, and I still got no answers.

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

That we don’t want a family, a significant other, or refuse to have sex in general. That’s not true for many people who identify in this orientation, and for some, it is. There are many asexual people who want their own children, want to be in a relationship, and even like having sex. All of that is okay, being Asexual just means that you don’t feel sexual attraction.

For me personally, I still struggle time to time. I want to be in a relationship, cuddle, hold hands, and I want a family. I just don’t want to have sex so it’s tough when I tell people that cause they don’t understand. Most people just tell me that when the time comes, I just need to “suck it up and do it” if I want kids.

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

Don’t just ignore your own feelings and please teach others. I went to great lengths to get an answer as to why I was afraid to be close with my boyfriend, or why I didn’t feel anything when it came to kissing or avoiding situations that would make the other feel like we could take the next step in our relationship. It was awful, and not fair to either of us. It was hard to admit to people I get more of a love feeling walking into an art store or watching an animated movie, and then I got going on a date. In the end, it wasn’t a doctor that helped me, but a person that I follow online who just happened to use the word asexual in a sentence, and I decided to google it. I wish that I was exposed to the idea that you don’t need to have sex. It can be scary when all of your friends and people you are exposed to daily are all talking about something you just can’t relate too. You look at your own life and see how old you’re getting, and you haven’t had sex yet. It’s normal, and it’s okay to not want that in your life.  Just talk, educate others, and be open about it! It’s important to teach people to listen to your own body, and don’t do something because you feel you have too.

You’re valid and important, talk about it openly, because it will help you to be more comfortable with who you are.

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

Sorry this got lengthy! I like writing. I post my art mostly on my Instagram! You can also follow me on my Facebook page, Sebatticus, and my Tumblr Sebatticus as well 🙂

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

Interview: Gigi

Today we’re joined by Gigi. Gigi is a phenomenal and versatile artist who does a bit of everything. She writes a bit of poetry and she also has a running fan comic set in the Kirby universe. When she’s not writing, Gigi does a bit of visual art. She mostly does fanart, but she also does self-portraiture and some abstract drawings. It’s very clear that she’s a dedicated and 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 like to write mostly, and I’ve started with fanfiction. Ever since late 2010 I’ve worked on a fan comic called 20 Times Kirby, and my story with it is kinda funny. I started it just ’cause, literally, I had no expectations for it and I was only working on it due to boringness, but soon I grew attached to it, to a point where I actually started putting effort into it. The results are a pretty complex story with multiple characters, almost 1000 pages, and almost 7 years of work, with constant updates! In fact, the comic became more my own thing rather than just me exploring the Kirby universe; the elements of the series are there, but they aren’t extremely important. Looking back, this all is insane! But I love it; working on this comic is my passion. I even plan on rewriting it in the future, since I’ve made some mistakes in the past and I’d like to fix them.

I also like writing poems, both in English and in my first language (Brazilian Portuguese). They are literally about anything, and I write them when I suddenly feel inspired. I haven’t really published most of those, but I’m starting to think I should.

Another art thing I do is drawing, usually fan art, but sometimes self-portraits and some abstract drawings. Most of them end up as sketches only, however. I’ve also more recently started to learn to compose, but for now it’s mostly experimenting and trying to learn stuff.

What inspires you?

In general, videogames and music inspire me, but any kind of art may do the trick as well. When I see something that I can tell that was made with care and attention to detail, that motivates me to do something similar. Also, whenever I find something I really like in any kind of fiction, I try to make something similar to it happen in my stories, if possible of course.

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

Ever since I was a kid I’ve had a huge imagination and I would make countless stories in my head about literally everything. I would never write them down, however, apart for one or two Pokémon fanfictions I only drafted the beginning. Only when I started working in 20 Times Kirby, and got so attached to it, I stopped to think that maybe writing had be my secret passion all this time. That’s when I actually started to write stuff down, even if it’s just bullet points of a story. Seeing friends and other people do other art stuff like drawing motivated me to try these too, but writing will always be my main passion.

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 really I think? Although I do love giving a meaning to everything that happens in any story I work on, and connect all events whenever possible too.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never give up! Whatever the field of art you want to work with, it’s extremely unlikely you’ll be a master at it on your first tries, and this goes for everyone! I know that when you start, you already want to be very good like the artists you see around, but it’s actually a long road, and those people have travelled it. And you can do it too!

Also, don’t be afraid to rewrite stories, redraw drawings, remake your songs, and so on. If you think you can improve something you’ve already finished, you probably can, and you’ll learn more in the process!

Finally, don’t be afraid of criticism, it only helps, no matter how much it may hurt. Take it and try to learn with it, whoever commented about your work like that only wants to help you. However, if you notice someone commenting about your work only giving negative thoughts, looking like they aren’t trying to help, ignore them. Giving constructive criticism is one thing, giving hate is another, and learning the different between the two is very important.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic and asexual. Well, at least I think I am; these are the labels I identify with right now.

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

Not really directly, and I guess this is more aro related, but I do notice that lots of people comment a lot about shipping and have gotten disappointed when I didn’t really do any real romance in my comic (yes, even in a Kirby fan comic). Honestly… I just ignore them for most part. I don’t avoid romance completely but I rarely use it, I don’t think this kind of stuff is mandatory in a story.

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

The misconception that Asexuality is just a “phase”, and that it will change when you “find the right person”. That’s like telling a straight person they are going through a phase, and will realize they are actually bi when they find the right person of a gender they claim to not be attracted to. It makes no real sense and it’s just trying to erase who we are.

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

First of all, no matter what others say, your orientation is valid. You are valid. Don’t let others tell you otherwise.

Also, feel free to explore labels, if you think one doesn’t fit you completely. If you asked me a year ago what my romantic orientation was, I would have told you grayromantic, not aromantic. That’s because it took me a while to truly identify as aromantic, and identifying as grayro for a while helped me do that. Really, you don’t have to pick a label once and never change it, change your labels whenever you feel it’s the right thing. These labels exist to help us find more about ourselves!

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

20 Times Kirby can be found here: http://www.smackjeeves.com/comicprofile.php?id=91583

I also have a Tumblr where I sometimes post art, although I haven’t done that in a while. Either way, you can find it here: http://gigithoughts.tumblr.com/tagged/my-art. If I ever get around to post my other art stuff, I’ll post about it in my Tumblr, but let’s see.

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