Interview: Alyssa Furtado

Today we’re joined by Alyssa Furtado. Alyssa is a young artist who is remarkably talented. She is a visual artist who works with a number of different mediums, everything from digital to charcoal drawing. Even though she’s young, her work demonstrates someone with a keen eye. It’s clear she has a very bright future ahead of her. 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 still feel as if I am fairly new to the art world. Even though people say I am good for my age, I feel really behind. Maybe it is, because I’m always really hard on myself. But besides that, I like to work with a variety of mediums. I have done print making, digital art, paintings, and charcoal drawings. When I started to take my art seriously, I noticed that a lot of my portfolio surrounded around when I discovered I was asexual, and coming out to the people around me. since then I have enjoyed making most of my art as stories about being asexual, even if it is not completely noticeable when you first look at it.

What inspires you?

My sexuality has to do with a lot of the art that I make. But there are other things, like my anxiety that pushes me to do better. I also love to listen to classical music when I am doing art, and I am obsessed with Van Gogh. I sound like such an art nerd, but I can’t even defend myself. I am one, and will always be one.

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

When I was younger my uncle used to stay at my house, and he would bring his portfolio. Since then I have been mesmerized with artists, but it was not until I started high school that I tried it myself. To be honest, I wanted to be an archeologist when I was younger, and I would draw dinosaurs all the time. When my mom gave me a Barbie doll, I had my plastic T-rex tear her head off in the first day. You could say she was not happy with me.

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Ace Painting

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 am constantly worried that someone will steal my art! So I always try and include my signature. This is what it looks like:

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Seriously, do not give up. I remember one time I had spent hours drawing something, and I showed my friend who is also an artist. Then within 15 minutes she whipped up something that was 10 times better than mine. I felt like crap, and completely ashamed of what I made. But after years of just practicing every day, I am now applying for art school and I actually love what I make. There are days when I panic, and think I will end up as a hobo on the street, but I always try and remember that nothing else makes me happy. Even though I could have applied to a medical school, or became the hottest farmer in town, I knew that nothing else would make me as happy as my art does. And even if you don’t want to do art for a living, and it is just a hobby, never let it dwindle away, because it is more important than you think it is.

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Blue

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as just asexual, but I am panromantic.

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

A lot of people like to think that we don’t face any phobia, but honestly that is a complete lie. I unfortunately don’t have a family that supports my sexuality. I came out to my mom, and she said what most ace kids get. She said “it’s just a phase. One day you’ll find someone who will change your mind”. Like I said, a lot of people experience this as an asexual. I also came out to a friend once, and she asked me when I was going to go to a doctor to get it fixed. Usually I don’t get insulted so easily, but I was a bit irritated so I explained to her why that wasn’t ok to say. Then she said I didn’t understand her point of view, because being asexual was a disability. Obviously, this is not true, so I was very angry. Luckily I am pretty level headed, so I did not freak out, but I have not talked her since then.

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

One of the things that people don’t understand, is that we can still feel romantic attraction. I have dated people before, and I have loved someone. I understand why it is confusing for people who are not asexual, because I find their sexualities confusing also.

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

I would say that you should do as much research about it as possible. It helped me a lot when I had a better understanding of what other people experience. This also helped me feel like I was not alone, because I knew that what I am feeling is not fake. Once I found out I was asexual, I have met 2 other people who are ace, and 3 other people who are on the ace spectrum.

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

You can follow my art account on Instagram called at acedthis. I post most of my art, and I have my own original characters. My favorite character is named Row, and he is ace. (You will see a lot of him) There is also my Tumblr account, acceptanceofthenerds.tumblr.com, but I do not post my art on there often.

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

Interview: Axel

Today we’re joined by Axel. Axel is a phenomenal and versatile artist from France who does a bit of everything. He enjoys writing when he finds inspiration, does a fair amount of visual art, and is very enthusiastic about SFX makeup. While there’s a bit of darkness to his work, there’s also an incredible attention to detail. 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 am a super-productive ace during some days of the year. I write, I draw, I do some SFX make-up, and some other things. I am not an art student, I am learning everything myself, and decided to simply express myself through various medias, depending on which one I find more appropriate to speak my mind.

What inspires you?

My nightmares are a good inspiration. I am not talking about real nightmares that I have had during my sleep: I am talking about my fears, my doubts. I like to create things that can recreate how I live, what I see, and how I feel during my days.

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

When I was in elementary school, I wanted to draw but was persuaded that my skills were so bad that trying was not worth it. I figured out I was wrong, once, as someone told me I did not draw how they wanted me to draw, but more in a particular way. And that was my way. I liked it. I kept it. I bought books, I watched videos, I learned, and I kept drawing.

Still, I always wanted to be an artist but always have had a low self-esteem. My work could not be of any interest as so many people did things much better than I did. But I was wrong: I am not drawing to be good, I am drawing to express myself. As well as I am writing or creating make-up to express myself.

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 think I have anything like that for now.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do not give up. Even if your family is not supporting you – which was my case. Even if your friends are not understanding your art. Even if you feel like many others are doing better.

Do it for yourself. To feel better. To communicate. To create. To live.

Remember that being great in an artistic field does not make you the best : you have to express something. Keep exercising, do not stop trusting yourself. You are the best at being you.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a grey-romantic (aromantic most of the time) asexual.

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

As I did not speak of my asexuality to many people, and did not show it in my drawings until … a few hours ago. I did not directly encountered any prejudice or ignorance. I just know that there is a lack of representation that is more than obvious, and it often leads to misconceptions that can be hurtful. It affects us, but we are not the only ones to lose something by this lack of understanding: everyone is, sadly enough.

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

“If you are an asexual, you must have lived through a traumatic experience, or are depressed, or have a biological dysfunction”. I had this one talking to old lesbians that were surprised that LGBT+-phobia are still existing today. Funny thing: they were saying to me exactly what people said to them when they were younger.

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

Be proud of yourself. That’s the most powerful thing ever. Be proud of who you are. It does not mean that you have to tell everything to everyone: it just means that you are yourself, and you can be. Go wherever you feel safe, and talk with people that have similar experiences. Help each other. Remember that you are not alone, and that you are a fine person.

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

I will soon create a blog to post my stuff. But for now, I am creating a series of sketches about ace/trans/aro issues and jokes on my Tumblr: naerlhyss.tumblr.com

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

Interview: Hannah King

Today we’re joined by Hannah King. Hannah is a phenomenal visual artist who works in a wide variety of media. They’re currently attending university again to become an art teacher. Hannah hasn’t met a medium they don’t like and has this amazing enthusiasm for visual art. They do illustration, mixed-media fine art, abstract photography, and a variety of other things (as you’ll soon read). There’s an amazing eye for detail demonstrated in the images Hannah sent and it’s very apparent they’re amazingly talented. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I have three different styles I work in. I’m a Fine Artist and an Illustrator, with training in both, as well as a lot of self-directed study in other styles and media.

My first and most often seen style is my illustrative western-comic’s influenced style. With this I tend to do character art, concept art, book illustrations and comics. I use both traditional media – pen and ink – and digital media – anything from Photoshop to PaintTool Sai and MediBang to Corel Painter – to create these images.

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My second is mixed-media fine art, in which I use every media I can get my hands on, including everything from stamping-ink to acrylic, fine-line pens to sewing, dried flowers/leaves to hand-made papers, and even found objects. I work mostly on canvas for this art, but sometimes I use hand-made paper. My fine art is either figurative, architectural or non-representational abstract.

My third is a recent foray into abstract photography, using the medium of Instagram. I have a deep and abiding love for texture, so I collect photographs of those textures I discover in my daily life – often these are crumbling walls, peeling paint, shattered concrete and so on – and I have started using these photographs to create abstract images.

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My passion is the human figure in all its shapes, colours and configurations. So a lot of my work tends to focus on people, whether characters from novels/tv shows/films/etc or models I have had sit for me or drawn/painted from photographs. I have been making myself work on my non-figurative work, though, so I’ve started having fun with architectural art.

I am also a huge fan of fantasy. A lot of my work, including my fine art, incorporates fantastical elements or is fantasy illustration outright.

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What inspires you?

It’s a little cliché to say ‘everything’ but that really is the most correct answer. To get a little more in depth, I guess the human figure inspires me. And well written fantasy. Folk tales. Myths and legends. Painted concrete walls where the weather and age has conspired to peel the paint in interesting ways. Abstract art. Songs with meaningful lyrics. A pretty face. A complicated hairstyle. My own emotions. Ancient, neglected and rusty farm equipment. Weird and wonderful fashion. Tattoos and scars and body modification. I could go on.

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

I come from a fairly arty-crafty family. My mother dabbles in abstract art, sewing, knitting and scrap-booking. My father makes dioramas and scale models of armed forces vehicles. My maternal grandfather was an architect and painter, maternal grandmother was into hand crafting, knitting, crocheting, drawing. My paternal grandfather was an architect, paternal grandmother is into sewing and knitting.

So when I first started showing signs of wanting to be creative it was encouraged. Even when I drew and painted murals on my walls, ceiling and the back of my bedroom door, I wasn’t reprimanded, just told to keep it to my bedroom. My maternal grandmother taught me all sorts of crafty things – like collage and stained-glass painting – and my maternal grandfather got me started on the basics of perspective.

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I first got into comics when I was 11 or 12, and that obsessions lead to my wanting to be a comic artist and an illustrator, which in turn lead to me taking fine art at college and illustration at university. I do now work with a couple of writer friends on some webcomics – not yet published, but looking to get them up soon.

In more recent years I discovered a love for teaching, so now I’m about to go back to university for a post-grad degree in teaching art to 11 – 17 year olds.

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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?

Because I’m heavily influenced by the likes of Klimt, Mucha, Shiele, Yoshitako Amano and comic artists like Dave McKean, David Mack and J.M. Linsner, my work tends to have a lot of idiosyncratic marks in it.

Normally this shows up in my Fine Art or personal illustrative art. Most often, the marks are tiny squares picking out a checkerboard pattern, sometimes it’s circles picked out in tiny triangles, or negative space filled with interlocking circles or even dotwork.

I try not to do this in commissioned character art, but even then, Mucha’s influence shows out strongly in the way I draw hair and folded clothing. Dotwork sometimes also makes an appearance in my commissioned character art, but I try to restrain it.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Life Drawing.

Seriously.

Do as much Life Drawing as you possibly can – not only does it fill out your portfolio and make University professors very happy indeed, it also very quickly builds up your ability to not only draw the human figure but also your ability to SEE.

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Once you know how to draw a person, once you’ve learned the anatomy underlying how the body works, you can start breaking rules and developing a style of your very own. And once you’ve trained yourself to actually SEE what’s there, rather than draw what you EXPECT is there, you can draw just about anything.

Basically, draw from life as often as you can, even if that means taking a sketchbook out to a public place and drawing what’s around you (you don’t HAVE to go to an actual class to do this!)

Draw everything. Draw all the time. Learn how to see what’s there.

You’ll thank yourself for doing it. Trust me.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Celibate Asexual, Pan-Demi-Romantic – I’m sex indifferent and mostly find it boring, but I am willing to have it with a partner if they want it. I have been celibate for 5 years and single – with the occasional date – for most of them.

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

Thankfully not so much prejudice in my particular experience, though there has been some ignorance, mostly in the form of misunderstanding where I’m coming from on certain projects.

I have ended up having some interesting conversations with other artists about the difference between sexual and aesthetic attraction. I think what has helped in my case is that many of the artists I know are also LGBT+ or allies so they have at least some idea of things to start from when they learn of my asexuality.

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

That I just haven’t had good enough sex, or sex with the right partner yet. Which is extremely condescending and annoying. Often when this is said to me I’ll give them an abbreviated list of all my sexual partners and the various fetishes I have tried out with them all. Normally this makes them shut up, so I can then give them a basic Asexuality 101 class.

I wouldn’t recommend this for everyone, I only get away with it because I’m in my 30s and I’m normally talking to other people my own age; I also discovered my asexuality late, after a series of relationships, so I actually have a laundry-list of info to dump on people who say this.

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

I discovered asexuality very late – I was 28 – and it took me both by surprise and as a huge relief, it explained so many things that had been confusing me and causing stress and anxiety for most of my post-pubescent life. It’s been amazing to know that what I experience is actually a thing, that there is a community I can become part of, that there is a name for me to use.

My advice is to own it.

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Read up on it, talk to other asexuals, get to know the community, find your particular flavor of asexuality and own the hell out of it. There are haters – as we’ve seen in the Tumblr community – but they’re not as many as Tumblr makes it look like, I promise, Tumblr’s just a very noisy place, so you can ignore them fairly easily in the real world.

Accept that the majority of the world is sexually oriented, accept that you’ll have to deal with annoying advertising and friend and family comments and opinions. It’s difficult, but it’s not insurmountable, I promise. There are people who get it, who are like you, or who will accept you. There are even people – even non-asexual! – who will date and love you just as you want (if you want! I’ve been mostly single for 5 years now and I have been thoroughly happy!)

There is a place in the world for you, for us, and we are absolutely allowed to take it, on our own terms, whatever they are. So go ahead, own it.

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hannahlkingart/

Website: http://hannahlking.wix.com/hannahlkingart

Tumblr: http://hannahkingart.tumblr.com/

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

Interview: Parker W.

Today we’re joined by Parker W. Parker is a wonderful young aspiring artist who enjoys drawing. Though she does a lot of work with traditional mediums, she also works in digital as well. She draws inspiration from many different artists, including Lenora Carrington (one of this author’s favorite surrealists). Parker has a number of different styles she enjoys using and her pictures are fascinating and unique. This artist definitely has a bright future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Cool Eyes

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw!! My main medium is traditional pictures, usually stylized portraits or surrealistic pictures. I also like to draw digitally, however, and I’m also very interested in comics. What I’m trying to pursue personally and as a future career is something in animation. I draw lots of character designs, as well as storyboards. I’ve always felt drawn to more macabre type art, so I try to show some of that in my own drawings. Symbolism is also a huge factor in my drawings, I like to incorporate lots of symbolism from my own personal life, or from topics that are easily relatable to the people I display my art to.

What inspires you?

Everything inspires me! Music, shows, other art, culture in general is very inspiring. I love taking all the possibilities of symbolism about a certain subject or personal event in my life and turning that into a picture with lots of symbolism. My friends have joked about me being the ‘queen of symbolism’ since absolutely everything in some of my pieces, right down to the tiniest detail, means something.

Some artists I am inspired by are Claude Monet, Salvador Dali, Vincent van Gogh, and Leonora Carrington.

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Dream Girl

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

It has always been art. I wasn’t really sure what kind of art I wanted to pursue until a couple years ago, but it has been art ever since I could pick up a pencil. What really kickstarted my interest in animation, character design, and illustration was being introduced to anime and manga in 6th grade. While I’m a bit embarrassed of those years, they did help me gain a sense of what field of art I wanted to legitimately pursue.

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?

It’s more of a symbol than a signature (though I do sign my own name on my traditional art pieces), but I tend to draw people crying, or with some sort of fluid coming out of their eyes, nose, or mouth. Most of the time it’s not even used as some sort of symbolism, but just because I enjoy drawing tears, hahaha.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Work tirelessly on your passion. When you care enough about something, nothing else matters to you. And it’s alright if you get frustrated and nothing feels right. Take a breather and try again tomorrow. You can give up for a day, just don’t give up forever. And the whole “innate talent” thing is stupid. Anyone can be an amazing artist if they have the passion and determination to put in the hours. Talent only gets you so far. You can be talented, but incredibly lazy and never get anywhere, or have no talent and be incredibly hardworking and become successful.

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Flowrrr

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a biromantic asexual!

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

Not really in my field, I guess, but it got so bad just in general that I stopped telling people completely for a few years. My mom and I got in several awful fights over it and she tried to force me not to tell anyone else, my friends at school said I was a freak of nature or an abomination, and when I first realized something was off, I thought I was called to be a nun (no joke) and cried because I still had romantic feelings for people and didn’t want to give up art to become a nun, hahaha. Nowadays I don’t get nearly as much prejudice, and I’ve become open about it again. It’s definitely still there, you’ll always encounter idiots, but I try my best to point them in the right direction so they can learn more and maybe change the way they think. However, I have no obligation to do this, and if it gets too much I usually just remove myself from the situation if possible (or get in a fight).

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

Where to begin? Haha, maybe with the idea that you can’t feel romantic attraction if you’re asexual. I’ve heard several times that since I get crushes on people and have a girlfriend, I can’t be asexual, which is a very backwards way of thinking since it confuses sexual attraction with romantic attraction. And then there’s “you’re just trying to be special” and “you’re just a late bloomer/women don’t feel sexual attraction anyway” which is problematic for several reasons.

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

Do your research, find what fits you, and be proud of it. Being proud doesn’t necessarily mean being open, if you’re in a hostile or unsafe environment I’d advocate safety first, but pride means understanding that being this way does not make you broken and being unashamed of who you are. Understanding another piece of yourself is a beautiful thing, and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is completely, totally wrong. You are an amazing human being, worthy of love (in whatever form fits your needs) and respect.

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

My store: redbubble.com/people/mayonnaiseparad
My main Tumblr: mayonnaiseparade.tumblr.com
My art Tumblr: mayonnaiseparadeart.tumblr.com
My Instagram: instagram.com/mayonnaiseparade/

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First Galaxy Girl

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

Interview: Martin

Today we’re joined by Martin. Martin is a positively fantastic visual artist who is so incredibly enthusiastic about their work. They do a lot of fanart, but also find great enjoyment in drawing original characters as well. They’re starting to dabble in fanfiction. Their passion for art truly shines through in their interview, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Trigger warning: There’s blood (or what looks like blood) in the first picture.

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Furuta

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art means a world to me because it is the way I spend my free time and let my creativity flow, if I can say. I often complain about my artworks and find them “not so good” but the truth is I can see an improvement and that makes me happy each single time!

I mostly do fanarts to series I am currently into (for this moment it would be Tokyo Ghoul, One Punch Man and Marvel Cinematic Universe in general) but I am trying to write some fanficiton as well! I am not a professional artist, however it would be nice if I were able to publish a book or contribute to an art project one day.

Sometimes, I draw original characters, too! They are part of me, I must say.

What inspires you?

This is a hard question because I often wonder about it and cannot find a proper answer. I think it is everything and nothing all at once. Catchy song I have accidentally found? Inspiration. Heartbreaking fic I have just read? Inspiration. A view from a tram? Inspiration. I cannot list everything, honestly.

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

When it goes to drawing I have been doing it since I was a little kid and I have never really thought about giving it up. Only recently I have started to take it kind of more seriously.

When it goes to writing though, I honestly cannot remember. I guess I was just bored and thought about something like “Hmm, how about writing? Sounds fun!” and then I sunk into it.

It is not like I have always wanted to be an artist, actually, it has never crossed my mind to be a professional until two or three years ago. To this day I do not know what I want to do but giving up art as at least hobby? Never!

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Mariuisel

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

I always put a tiny signature on my drawings! It consists of my initials.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

NEVER. GIVE. UP. Such a thought has came into my mind billion times already but hey, I am still going forward! I do complain, I even cry about “not being good enough” but people around me are supportive which helps A LOT. Even if you don’t have encouraging family or friends let me tell you there are many people out there in the world who silently admire your work and would do anything to brighten your day and help you keep going. Maybe you do not know them yet but trust me, they are closer than you think! So please, never give up on doing what you love.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I find it complicated even to myself but for this moment I go with simple “sex repulsed/sex neutral asexual”

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

In art field? No. In my close environment? Yes. It was actually one or two times when ignorance towards me for being asexual occurred and I think I handled it pretty well, then? I was upset, of course, but everything ended quite well.

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

That I must be sick for “not wanting sex” and that “I will regret my decision because sex is the best thing in this world”. Only a few people know I am ace but only one said nothing about it. The rest, even after my explanation what asexuality actually is, seemed skeptical and indirectly called me “a special snowflake”. Because of that I am closeted to, well, almost everyone.

The most common misconception? That something is wrong with me and that I do it for attention. That sex drive = sexual attraction.

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

To not listen to people who claim to know more about you than you yourself. It may be hard, sure, but why should we listen to people who call us “ill” or “weird” while they do not even understand the definition of the word “asexual”? Try to educate them on this matter and if that does not work, please, do not blame yourself. Keep going, show them you are brilliant and great the way you are, no matter what they say about you and your sexuality! Do not ever let them make you feel as a less of a human.

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

I publish most, if not all, of my artworks on my Tumblr, eroemo.tumblr.com! I sometimes post them fanfiction as well but I mostly publish it on my AO3 account, which is under same nickname as my Tumblr.

I am always open for any kinds of questions so if someone is interested about details, advice or just want to talk about the weather – you know where to find me!

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

Interview: Gremory

Today we’re joined by Gremory. Gremory is a phenomenal visual artist from Scotland who brings their ace pride with them wherever they go. An incredibly creative individual, most of Gremory’s work is original characters though they do occasionally dabble in fanart. Some of their pieces are rather dark, but they definitely have their own style, which is quite interesting. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do a lot of writing so my art is practically all original characters though I do fanart from time to time. I used to be traditional mediums only, using ink pens, alcohol markers, white inks, etc but now my work is almost exclusively digital. I use an Ugee 1910B drawing tablet (19 inches) and recently my work has all been done using Krita. Recently I’ve been exhibiting and selling at artist alleys, notably Glasgow’s Rai Con which I’ll be returning to in October. My table banner uses the ace flag and I use my little catboy Ahceria (Ace-ehrea) as my mascot!

What inspires you?

Two things: people and the paranormal. My work is either perfectly normal people living perfectly normal lives or it’s demons, vampires and faeries. There’s no middle ground with me. Recently I’ve been doing a lot of reading on Black Eyed Kids, demonolatry, UFOs and the Missing 411 series and I’ve been combining elements from all for a new novel.

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

As far as I can remember, I’ve always been drawing characters. I was inspired by shows like Sailor Moon, Monster Rancher, Dragonball Z, etc when I was a kid – I’d come home from school and sit in front of the TV like a little zombie, devouring the shows. As I grew up, I never got away from the whole “character creation” thing. All of my problems would be projected onto new and interesting people that were born in my mind – I use art as a therapist. Recently however, I’ve realised that as an exhibiting artist doing the rounds at conventions, I have a voice and I can use it to promote LGBTQA awareness and issues. I’ve also become very vocal about my pro-Scottish independence, anti-war and anti-racist stances. My moral and politics issues are often translated more into my writing than my art though – I’d say my art is my LGBTQA space and my writing is my human issues space.

A really life-affirming moment for me was at Rai Con in Glasgow, March 2016. A young girl, maybe 13 or 14 approached my table with her mum and they began flicking through my portfolio. When they reached my “I AM NOT INVISIBLE” ace pride print, the mum nudged her daughter and said “honey, isn’t this what you are? Asexual? And you’re not invisible either!” That touched me so much, to see someone taking an asexual youngster seriously instead of the usual “it’s just a phase” or “you’ll find someone” stuff that we so often hear. That was the moment that I realised I had a platform to help other aces feel comfortable and raise awareness. I’m planning a series of characters for each pride flag with the hopes that the series will open conversations at conventions and I can discuss these people and issues with my fans.

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 my theme has been either dropping hints to my characters’ sexualities or occult symbolism. I guess you could say my excessive use of blood is a theme, haha. Not all of my work is dark but I feel much more comfortable when I’m working with my vampires or demon characters.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t ever question yourself. Do you create? Yes? Then you’re an artist. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you’re not good enough or that your style isn’t art. As soon as you breathe life into a new thing, whether it’s a character or a photograph, a song or a painting, you’re an artist. You’re a creator. You have a voice and you matter.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a panromantic asexual.

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

Not as an artist or on my social media presence but in my personal life, quite a lot, actually. It’s mostly been in my work place. I work in a department store as an arts and crafts assistant. I actually had a conversation take place about who in the workplace we’d sleep with – when I was asked, someone interjected with “Don’t bother asking her – this is adult talk”, implying that I’m not developed or mature enough to understand the topic. I laughed but inside, I was deeply offended by the implication. I’ve been called broken, told by a couple of people online on my personal Facebook that they would “fix me” and I always get called out for being in a relationship, because apparently love is something reserved only for non-aces. I handle it by ignoring it. I know that sounds counter-productive to my promotion of asexual awareness but some people just don’t want to be educated and you can’t get through to them. I promote, I don’t preach. To those people I say, I don’t need your acceptance.

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Dean Adams

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

That asexual means unhappy. That you can’t be happy without sex. That you’re not allowed romantic (or sexual) relationships because you label yourself ace. Here’s the thing – aces CAN and do have sex. Not all, but some of us, and no one has any right to judge them for it. It’s just not something we’re interested in. We’d rather have cake (or pizza for me, please!)

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

Be honest with yourself and those you’re closest to and trust. My current relationship (which is also the most positive, honest one I’ve had) is the only one where I’ve been open about my asexuality and I’ve been able to have discussions and we’ve both compromised. You’re not broken. You don’t need to be fixed. Trust me, you’re not alone. Even if you can’t talk to your friends or family, you can talk to me and other aces. My inbox is always open for anyone who wants to talk or needs reassurance.

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Pluto

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

I’m active on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/gremdawg) and I’m always open to banter and chat and making friends. I also have a DeviantArt, Pixiv, Twitter and Patreon. You can buy prints of my work on Etsy and Merchandace.

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=3026710&ty=h
https://twitter.com/gremmu_art
https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Gremmu
http://merchandace.com/item/i-am-not-invisible-art-print/
http://gremdawg.deviantart.com/
http://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=17554546

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Saffy

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