Interview: Kaylee Schuler

Today we’re joined by Kaylee Schuler. Kaylee is a phenomenal author and visual artist. She writes a number of different things, including short stories and poetry. She’s currently working on a novel with an aro-ace protagonist. When she’s not writing, Kaylee enjoys drawing. She frequently draws characters from her stories. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist who loves to create, 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 am an author and an artist. I usually write short stories, but I’ve dabbled in poetry, spoken word, and am currently working on a novel that happens to feature an aro-ace protagonist. I’ve self-published a children’s book and plan to self-publish its companion once my edits are done. One of my short stories just won 10th place in a Reader’s Digest competition, so I’m very excited about that!

What I value most in writing is emotion, so I try to write things that make people feel. I try to tell stories that I think are important, that I know no one else can tell. I strive to write pieces that are powerful, influential, and cathartic. Even though it’s a lofty goal, I want to write something that will change the world.

As for art, I started out with sketches and drawings, but I currently work with a variety of mediums, some of my favorites being watercolor and digital. Good old graphite never fails me, though.

I create art about pretty much anything — I draw a lot of people, often characters within the stories that I write. Drawing for me is somewhere between a hobby and a potential career. I’m currently studying it in college, but I still draw mainly for myself and create things that I want to create.

What inspires you?

I get inspiration for my work in everything I experience. The villain in my novel is based on a character who showed up in just one episode of a TV show from the ‘90s that I used to watch reruns of. Another character is named after a friend who was super supportive of my writing. I write the books I want to read, so I often take inspiration from a lack of content. I don’t see enough diversity in the media I consume, so I want to add that to my work. My visual artwork is often inspired by my writing or other people’s work that I enjoy. The main thing that inspires me is the hope that someone out there will encounter my work and be inspired to create something of their own. Art is such an incredible force for change, and my desire to be a part of that drives me to create.

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

I’ve been writing for my entire life. It’s something that comes naturally to me, but even beyond that, I feel like a part of me is missing if I’m not writing something. It’s a huge part of who I am. I started writing my self-published book when I was 8 years old and haven’t stopped since.

I’ve also been creating visual art as far back as I can remember. Just like my writing, my artwork feels like an extension of my very being. Because art, be it written, visual, or otherwise, can be a catalyst for social change, and because I’ve always wanted to use my talents to better the world, I figure that the best way for me to make an impact is to combine those two things. My desire to improve this world and my desire to create go hand in hand.

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

I’m one of those artists who’s never been able to pin down a style. I suppose that’s a blessing because it gives me greater freedom and versatility in the content I create, but it’s also a curse because most of my pieces aren’t recognizable as belonging to the same artist. One thing I aim to do is include as much diversity in my work as I can. I think everyone deserves to see someone in media who they can relate to. I’m still learning how to improve my art and my representation, but I feel like making an effort to be inclusive and diverse is crucial to being a good artist and a good person.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Art is something so incredibly personal to each individual. My advice is, first, to not be afraid to pour your soul into your work, and only share it when it’s ready. Share it first with people you trust. This especially applies to writing, though also to visual art you’ve worked particularly hard on. Find people who will build you up, not tear you down. And a note on criticism—at the end of the day, this is your work. Create for you. When people tell you what to do with your craft, that’s what they want. I’m not saying to never listen to criticism. Feedback can be very useful and it will help you grow as an artist. But make sure you put what you want first and remember that, at the end of the day, what you do with your work is up to you. And try to remember that critiques are about the work itself, not the part of you that you put into it. On a different note, something I want to stress is that artists have to support each other! We all face challenges in art and in life and I believe that we can never spread too much compassion and positivity. And finally, never give up on your dreams. One of my creative writing professors once shared something with us that his friend told him—the reason successful artists become successful is that they’re the ones who don’t give up. If you want to create, create. Keep at it, you’ve got this!

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Mental Illness

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic and asexual. I always knew there was something different about me, and finding labels for my feelings was an incredible relief. I’ve never felt romantic or sexual attraction, and I’m also sex-and romance-repulsed. This definitely affects my work, especially my written work, because you create what you know. It’s hard for me to imagine being anyone other than myself, holding any identity other than aroace. As a result, much of my work features characters who are asexual and/or aromantic.

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

Specifically related to my art, I haven’t come across much negativity. I think this is largely because most of my work concerning asexuality hasn’t made it very far out into the world yet. I worry that readers won’t understand the way my characters feel and interact with the world, and I worry that artwork about my asexuality will result in negativity directed at me. I think it’s likely that I will encounter prejudice or ignorance when my work spreads around a little more, and when faced with it, I think I’ll have to remember that all of us are ignorant to something and that the only way to educate is through understanding. I’ve been uninformed and misinformed about countless topics, and I was able to learn more about them when people treated me with respect and open-mindedness. I will strive to do the same. If that fails, though, if I run into someone who can’t see my point of view and won’t make an effort to do so (as I have frequently encountered outside the art world), I’ll need to remember a mantra my therapist once gave me: “They’re doing the best they can.” Sometimes, other people’s “best” isn’t enough for us. But we have to remember that we all have our limits and that, sometimes, our knowledge is beyond the limits of someone else. At that point, I’ll have to take a step back from my stubbornness and abandon the argument. It’s not always worth it.

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

I commonly see this both outside and within the LGBTQ community, and the latter can be particularly frustrating. Many people think that asexuality is synonymous or similar to abstinence, which isn’t true. They believe that asexuality is simply a lack of desire for sex, and that’s not quite true. Asexuality is a lack of attraction (and even beyond that, it comes on a spectrum). Not all asexuals are sex-repulsed or sex-averse, and some asexuals engage in sexual acts for a variety of reasons. Furthermore, many people seem to think that being asexual is the same as being aromantic. I often find it difficult to explain that there’s a difference between romantic and sexual attraction and that some asexuals do, in fact, feel romantic attraction.

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

The main thing that’s often said but can never be said enough is never be said enough is you are NOT broken. I spent years of my life thinking I was and became resigned to the idea that one day I would have to have a relationship, even though I didn’t want one. Here’s what I have to say about that: you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You don’t have to try to force yourself to feel something you don’t. Wherever you lie on the spectrum, you are valid, you are seen, you are whole, and you are not alone. You may feel guilty sometimes for not reciprocating someone’s feelings. You may feel empty sometimes, or alone, or angry. And all of that is valid—your feelings are always valid—but you don’t have to feel any of that. Teach yourself that you don’t need to be ashamed of your orientation. It’s a part of you, you can’t get rid of it, so you might as well learn to love it. And you can. I have.

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

I don’t yet have a proper website, but you can find me on social media. My art Tumblr is https://www.deepspaceart.tumblr.com and my main Tumblr is https://www.deepspaceace.tumblr.com. I’m also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/deep.space.ace. You can find my art on Redbubble at https://www.redbubble.com/people/deepspaceace. You can read some of my written work at https://www.wattpad.com/user/CelestialFalcon. You can buy my children’s book at https://app.thebookpatch.com/BookStore/midnight-a-wolfs-tale/ce878c14-8bd6-44ad-bb38-93b585c582e9?isbn=9780984719808 .

Have a great day! 🙂

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Enamorarse

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

Interview: Amy Valentine

Today we’re joined by Amy Valentine. Amy is a phenomenal visual artist who does a lot of art journaling. She uses mostly colored pencils, watercolors, and various markers. She’s also an art student, so she works in a variety of mediums. When she’s not creating visual art, Amy also writes quite a bit of fanfiction. It’s clear she is a dedicated and passionate artist with a very bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Green Lady

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

On my free time, I do a lot of art journaling, which is basically having a sketchbook expect I put more effort in decorating the pages to fit with my current mood. I also enjoy writing, mostly fanfictions, but I’m very eager to write something of my own someday.

I’m also an art student, so at school I also do paintings, photography and whatever else, and hopefully after school I could practice painting at home, too.

For art journaling, I like to use watercolors, color pencils and different kind of markers. Sometimes I just glue things in.

What inspires you?

Music is a big inspiration for me, because I’m almost always wearing headphones. I also get a lot of ideas from movies – When there is a scene that is just so pretty to look at, I always want to draw my own version of it.

I also take a lot of inspiration from my own feelings, since art journaling is kind of something that you do to express your emotions.

I also draw a lot of women’s nude bodies as a way to start learning to love my own body, so I guess they also give me inspiration. Don’t know what to draw? I’ll draw a torso. The headless statue of a woman is always there to save me from art block.

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Kissing Watercolor

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

Yes, definitely. As a kid, I loved drawing comics and other cute things. I was really into manga back then. I would always be sketching at the edge of the test paper, even if the teacher told me not to.

At school, we also wrote a lot of our own stories, and I was always told that the stories I wrote were good and unique, so I got more inspired to write every day. I guess I can safely say I have always wanted to be an artist/writer. At this moment, I think I’d want to be a writer more than 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?

At the moment, I don’t think I yet have my own style or my own unique thing. In art, I’m still figuring out what I want to create and what kind of a style fits me the most. In writing, I’m trying to experiment a little to see what kind of stuff I want to write and how. So, for now, no unique signatures or anything.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice, practice and practice. And do not compare yourself to others. I did that and only felt worse about my skills. The first 6 months at art school were rough because I kept thinking everyone else was better than me. But when I learned to just focus on my own work and did my best, my drawings ended up looking a lot better. So just don’t give up. We’re all at different skill levels here, so just focus working on your own thing.

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Big Painting

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’d say I’m somewhere between being a demisexual and asexual.

I did just find the term ‘aegosexual’ that fits me quite well, but, I’m still trying to figure myself out. And that’s okay.

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

When I told my parents, both of them were confused but supportive, thankfully. Before I tried to get into art school, I told my school nurse that I felt like I was close to an asexual, and they said to me ‘I WILL find the right one’, and if I wouldn’t, I should seek medical help. I also told my friends that I was in the ace spectrum, and they said that wasn’t possible.

I’ve also been in two relationships before and in both of them I felt like being asexual was wrong. I felt like saying ‘no’ to sex was wrong, and that was used against me. I’m still healing from that.

I think the best way to handle any kind of prejudice is to know that you aren’t broken, and that there is nothing wrong with you. Also, calmly explaining to them what asexuality is can help them understand it better. And honestly, never, EVER, do something that feels uncomfortable to you just so you could please someone else. Listen to your own feelings.

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

Probably the one where they think that if I’m in the ace spectrum, I can’t feel any kind of sexual pleasure, or that I can’t have sex, or that I can’t include sex scenes in my writing, and so on. Asexuals aren’t 100% sexless – some can be, but some asexuals are okay with having sex for their partner, and some asexuals masturbate. Some people don’t seem to get that.

The other misconception is people thinking asexuals can’t experience romantic feelings. And the third one that my school nurse one suggested – that being asexual meant you were afraid of sex.

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

It’s OK to not be sure where in the ace spectrum you are, and it’s OK to change labels later on, and it’s OK if you’re still searching for yourself. Just know that there is no rush. You are what you are, and even if you aren’t 100% sure what your label is, then that’s alright. You don’t have to put yourself into a box if you’re not ready yet. Just take your time with your inner self, love yourself.

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

Tumblr: https://paper-star-fight.tumblr.com/
AO3: https://archiveofourown.org/users/ValentineRunaway

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Lake

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

Interview: Laura

Today we’re joined by Laura. Laura is a phenomenal architect from Colombia. She frequently uses 3D simulations and images to create the concept of the project. Aside from that, she does a number of other sorts of visual art including linoprinting and painting. Recently, Laura has started dabbling in cosplay and miniatures, both painting and creating scenery for miniatures. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and talented individual, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a 27 years old Architect. Concerning this job I like producing 3D simulations and images (renderings) and creating the concept of the project, which includes lots of free-hand drawings. Besides that, I do linoprinting, painting, sketches, I’m starting to produce some cosplay pieces and props, miniature painting and the scenery for these miniatures. Since I began Architecture school I’ve been producing special pieces and exploring works that use our real space and always bringing some kind of questions about how to bend or interrupt the daily routine.

What inspires you?

Even though I watch a lot of films and Japanese animation, I probably use these media to create a repertoire of concepts. Usually when I’m listening to new music, if the song isn’t too abstract and if I feel a connection, there may be inspiration to create a drawing. Most of the time the urge to produce any kind of piece is born from random things I live: it may be something someone said, an image I read the wrong way…

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

Ever since I was a kid I loved drawing and painting. A cousin of mine is a painter and decorator, she was the one who taught me how to use oleum, acrylics, the basics of drawing and everything related to these arts.

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?

Recently I’ve started to introduce a golden Mickey Mouse in my renderings.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stress about making your art your way of living. It is ok if you want to keep it as a hobby or something you deeply enjoy by yourself without sharing it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I used to identify as Demi-sexual… but now I’m just leaving it at grey-sexual.

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

Ignorance. People don’t know that Asexuality is a thing. I explain to them what it is about and if they are interested I explain in more detail. I always make it clear that every person that identifies within the spectrum live asexuality their own way and that my explanation comes from what I’ve lived.

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

That an asexual is a person that simply doesn’t like having sex. Of course, they don’t know how sex repulsion works or how a person that places themselves on the ace spectrum experiences the world.

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

It is fine if you discover your orientation “late” in your life, especially with asexuality because it is something most people don’t talk about.

It is fine if you think that because of being on the spectrum you have trouble identifying how you feel about someone. Most people are driven on how they feel sexually towards other people and so they know really fast if they like someone else or not. When you’re asexual (or on the spectrum) sometimes you realize you have feelings for someone else after a long time and the other person may think you’re don’t have any interest in them. You can explain to them or just live with the certainty that that person wasn’t meant for you. (of course, if you’re not aromantic too). BUT don’t use this as an excuse to stay in your comfort zone

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

https://www.behance.net/lauravanegas

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

Interview: Ellison

Today we’re joined by Ellison. Ellison is a phenomenal actress and an aspiring writer. She writes mainly poetry and short stories and hopes to be published one day. When she’s not acting or writing, Ellison enjoys to work on her visual art. She draws and sketches frequently. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist who really loves to create. 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 dabble in lots of art forms, but mainly pursue theater, writing (poetry and short stories), and drawing. I’ve been in multiple productions, most recently A Midsummer Night’s Dream and will be playing Penny in You Can’t Take It With You this fall. If you’d like to contact me about doodles, sketches, poems, or stories, please contact me directly on my Tumblr:   wellnoduhofcourceimafangirl.

What inspires you?

I get a lot of my inspiration from my past and experiences I’ve had, a lot of which were bad. I also take motivation from close friends and one that not many people seem to talk about, but the media I consume. I read all the time, almost always fiction. In a well written book there might be a storyline that inspires me or the way something is described, I just have to sketch it out.

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

I’ve always loved art, in some form or another and I’ve been a performer, or depending on who you ask, a drama queen, as long as I can remember. I wanted to be an artist but not until high school did I actually think about making a career out of it. Little kid me would’ve been okay with princess, but really wanted to be a spy. Currently I’d go for taking deep breaths and making it through the day because the future is big and loud. As a career, I think I’d be most likely to pursue my writing.

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

I don’t, I’m pretty boring. Though, now that I’m thinking about it, I should totally come up with one. I’m always willing to listen to suggestions.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

No matter your art form, never stop. Ever. If you practice your art every day, you’re an artist. If you only practice one a year, you’re still an artist. I’ve been at an art school for over two years and I still invalidate myself as an artist. You’re not an imposter, you are good enough. And if anyone tells you otherwise, contact me for a hug plus I’ll fight them.

ART picture 2

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Currently I identify as asexual but I’m still trying to figure myself out. One of the biggest problems I’ve had is feeling like it is just a phase, or maybe I am just doing for attention. I still struggle with that. It’s okay if you try on labels to see what fits you. It doesn’t make you a liar or an imposter. All I really have to do now is figure out how to take my own advice.

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

I haven’t. I hear the stories about acephobia and I haven’t experienced any yet and I have to remind myself that everyone’s experiences are different, and that doesn’t make you wrong.

Art picture

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

That Aces can’t have or don’t like sex. It’s not about whether we enjoy, or even have sex. It’s not about sex drive, nor about whether we think someone is beautiful or hot. We just don’t experience sexual attraction. That’s it.

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

Talk to people that understand. Talk to people who love you regardless of how you identify. Try as hard as you can to love yourself and remember that it isn’t anyways easy. Remember you aren’t alone. You will find love as you are, whether it’s physical or romantic or platonic or familial or self-love. You’re amazing.

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

To see my work or ask about commissions, contact me at my Tumblr:    wellnoduhofcourceimafangirl.

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

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: 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.

Veil of Stars_new
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.