Interview: Erin Malo

Today we’re joined by Erin Malo. Erin is a phenomenal visual artist who was interviewed some time ago on this site. She has done quite a bit of work since then, including some design work on asexuality. She works in a number of mediums, both traditional and digital. Her work is fascinating and diverse, showing a great amount of talent. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a 4th year visual communication design student, and I work primarily with logos and identity branding. I also love both digital and traditional illustration, and traditional art when I have the free time. Photography is a recent darling of mine as well. I guess I do a little bit of everything!

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What inspires you?

When it comes to design, I get really inspired by other creators. I can scroll Instagram and Pinterest for hours, looking at all the amazing and unique ideas people have! In my illustration work, I’m endlessly inspired by the various D&D campaigns I’m in. I feel like I’m always doodling the characters and the monsters we come across. For my traditional art, I’m inspired by the body and the natural world.

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

I’ve always wanted to be an artist, as far as I remember. I loved art as a kid, so I did it a lot and got good at it. I didn’t want to formally pursue art after high school because it’s such a difficult field to break into, especially in a fairly small city like Edmonton, so I looked into animation, interior design, and visual communication design, and settled on the latter. It turned out to be much closer to my heart than I expected, and 4 years into my degree I’m still loving it!

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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?

No, I don’t think I do.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Nobody can create exactly what you can. Don’t get discouraged because there’s artists out there better than you. Just do your own unique thing, and do it lots, and share it with everyone you can. You’ll find the people who love what only you can do, even when you don’t always love everything you make.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual when asked, but I’m probably more specifically demisexual. I’m biromantic as well.

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

I’ve received very little negativity in person when it comes to my identity. I’m pretty open about being asexual, so if people have a problem with me, they’re staying quiet. I presented a zine I made on asexuality to my design classmates in my second year, and I got polite curiosity and even some praise for my openness.

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

Definitely that (some) asexual people never have sex, or are incapable of sex. It’s very difficult to explain to people that attraction is highly separate from libido – especially when those people are people you don’t necessarily want to sit down and have a conversation about sex with. An unfortunate part of coming out as ace (I’ve found) is having to do the internal work to understand how your own attractions and feelings mesh together, and then articulate that to others if you want them to have an accurate picture of what asexuality is to you. Not that it’s anyone’s business. I just have less and less pride about it every passing year and I’m fine detailing the nitty-gritty to people who ask me questions. Aces with big ol’ sex drives exist, and I’ve had to become fine with explaining that to non-aces.

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

You’ll probably figure it out, but if you don’t, that’s okay too. It doesn’t matter how long you identify as ace, you will likely always doubt that you’re “actually” ace, and that’s okay. If it’s comforting to you and it describes your experience better than other labels in the moment, by all means, use it. Also, if you’re feeling like aces aren’t accepted in the queer community, get off Tumblr, and go make your presence known in a LGTBQA+ group in your school, community, whatever. You’re much more accepted and wanted than others would have you believe.

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

I’ve got an art blog on here at neon-biology, and an Instagram account full of art at erin_aceous. As well, if you’d like a free 12-page pdf. of my zine on asexuality, titled “Visible”, you can email me at emalo[at]ualberta[dot]ca.

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

Interview: Jainai Jeffries

Today we’re joined by Jainai Jeffries, who also goes by fydbac, llc. Jainai specializes in creating violent and erotic imagery to break through mediocrity. They specialize in concept design, tattooing, and violent webcomics. It’s clear they’re a dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for participating in this interview.

Warning: potentially triggering material in this interview and the images included. Views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this interview don’t reflect those of Asexual Artists.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Its aim is to murder off the mediocre and cliché.

What inspires you?

Exploring the unseen and untold. The countless unexplored (or rarely explored) ideas and concepts.

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

I always loved fantasy and hearing stories I never heard before.

Where does “always” start for you? Let’s just say, yes; if we don’t count the half day I considered being a Veterinarian, or the month or so I reached out to the FBI about being a sniper/assassin.

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 change it periodically: For the past year or so, I’ve been stamping my work with “©fydbac,llc”.

I hope that’s what you meant. Is it what you meant? …We’ll just say that’s what you meant.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Undercharging yourself (anything under $20 for line art) is a sign of an amature, and makes you look unprofessional (like you have no respect for yourself).

Don’t half ass shit: like relying on only social media. Work on your presentation and business as hard as you work on your craft.

But then again, there are folk out there who are half assing it, but still making $2k+ on Patreon, so da fuck do I know?

Point is…there are countless paths to maintain an art career. There is no “correct” one. But they ALL share one thing: Luck. [Don’t obsess over it.]

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Sex: Ace [thought not ruling out demi, cause I think I have the capacity, but never had such a connection]. Romantically: Aromatic (my idea of “romance” doesn’t fit into the general category of this era I think).

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

No. I actually still don’t understand how prejudice against ace is possible: The lengths folk go to infringe upon someone’s existence over something that ain’t they fucking business is just utterly ridiculous to me in general.

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

Probably, “you just haven’t found the right person yet”. That was mostly just before I realized I was Ace, or just as I was realizing it. Cause I have yet to share that I was Ace to those people, (no reason why I haven’t, I’m just not one to share myself unsolicitedly).

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

I don’t think I can give “advice”, as I never “struggled” about it. I guess I can share my personal attitude about things pertaining to myself? What other people think have no relation on what I think about myself and how I view the world. They have their world, and I have mine. Sometimes they brush against each other to learn from each other, but…yeah, my orientation has never been a “struggle”, so don’t think I can help

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

Official: http://fydbac.com
Webcomic: http://ipity.me
Tattoo boutique: http://fydmi.ink

My current primary social medias:
http://twitter.com/fydbac
http://instagram.com/fydbac

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

Interview: Erik Soriano

Today we’re joined by Erik Soriano. Erik is a wonderful visual artist from Miami, Florida with a very unique style. An emerging artist, he takes his inspiration from the Pop Art movement of the 60s and artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Having recently discovered his own asexuality, Erik has used his art to explore human bodies and sexuality through a visual medium. He started out doing mostly digital art but has recently branched out into acrylic paints. It’s clear he’s a dedicated artist with a bright future ahead of him. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WARNING: Some images in this interview contain nudity.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Ever since I re-discovered myself as an artist last year, I have been fascinated with the Pop Art movement of the 1960s, which in a way, is still prominent in our contemporary time. So far I have explored everyday objects, as well as sexuality and the human body as subject matters. I also have a fascination with typography as I am a graphic designer, and I love seeing typography on the human body. I’ve mostly worked with digital software, but I recently took on painting with acrylics, but I’m open to experimenting with other idea as I keep discovering myself.

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What inspires you?

As I mentioned earlier, Pop Art, the work of the masters, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, and Everyday objects, such as food, videogame characters, ya know things that aren’t seen as “fine” art. But given that I am asexual (like everyone else here I suppose lol) I am not afraid to explore sexuality visually through art. I love the idea of sex, fetishes, or deep desires, I think we shouldn’t be afraid to address those topics in general.

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

I’ve always been a creative, and I’ve always been good at sketching and drawing since I was little. I remember always drawing my favorite cartoons while watching tv or playing with my Nintendo games, but I also remember very vividly creating a huge art supplies case out of an empty pizza cardboard box! I used to watch this art show on Disney channel called “Art Attack” and I got crafty and creative with that pizza box, good memories indeed. Too bad my mom threw it in the garbage a month later. Eventually I didn’t do art until last year when I came back to it and started doing graphic design and sketching, and here I am now. Still growing and learning but eager and committed.

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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 experiment a lot, so I wouldn’t say I have a signature style yet, but I have found myself using the colors hot pink, green, red and back and white a lot. I do have a logo that I used to brand myself as a graphic designer but I don’t really include it in my art, nor do I tend to sign anything. I let the art speak for itself haha.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to follow your dream of being an artist of whatever media or field you choose. Time passes by way too fast and you don’t want to end up older and saying “what if I had tried it” the hardest but most important part is actually starting instead of just saying “I will”. Also it may sound overrated and cliché but always practice, experiment, until you discover who you are and where you want to be. But most importantly, have fun while doing art, or better yet, don’t do art- but be Your art.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m sorry for repeating myself but, Like I said. I re-discovered myself in 2017, both as an artist and as a person. And after careful research and finding AVEN, I now identify as a Homoromantic Asexual.

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

So far I haven’t really experienced anything bad since I rarely speak or get asked about my sexual preference. But I would handle it normally and instead of getting mad if I am mistreated, I would educate those people on what sexuality is and what it isn’t.

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

The few people I’ve spoken to about my asexuality, just think that this is a passing phase and that I just haven’t “met the right person” if you know what I mean. They believe that it is impossible for a human being to not be attracted sexually to anyone.

blue-portrait
Blue Portrait

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

First, get to know and love yourself, if you ever feel weird or that there something wrong with you for not experiencing sexual desire like “normal” people do. Just remember that in your life, what you are and want matter first, and also research online about what asexuality is, the aven website is in my opinion the best source of information wherein you can actually join forums and ask questions and there are answers, you can also chat with fellow asexual people and such. But don’t feel bad for who you are, always love yourself first and take things with patience.

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

I am emerging so it’s not like my work has yet showcased at any gallery (I’m hoping it will happen soon) but you can find me on Instagram at erikgsoriano, or my main website: www.eriksoriano.com.

Thank you for having me! It has been a pleasure, and I’m looking forward to reading other artists interviews on here.

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Hylian Hero
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Snake Kiss

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

Interview: August

Today we’re joined by August. August is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in drawing people. They focus on body diversity, drawing bodies in a variety of shapes and sizes. They also enjoy drawing transgender and nonbinary characters as well. They have a very refreshing approach to art and believe people can be beautiful without being oversexualized or fetishized. Their work is gorgeous, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking part in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hello! My name is August and I use the pronouns They/Them. I’m currently a university student working on my BA for Multimedia. My art is more often digital and focuses on women of color. I also really enjoy drawing transgender and nonbinary characters as well. It wasn’t always my focus, but the reason I shifted to drawing this particular genre is because I myself am a person of color and it’s hard to find artwork that doesn’t just fetishize our bodies, but empowers us. With that said, my main focus is heavier set bodies that fit “media standards”. Bodies are beautiful and I want to be able to portray a love for every shape and size with honor and dignity. I’ve heard people describe my mission as “political” but I don’t think it’s political to want a female body to appear beautiful without oversexualization.

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What inspires you?

What inspires me on a regular basis is music. Music is such a big part of my life and with all of my anxiety, it does a wonderful job of keeping me grounded. It doesn’t happen with every song I listen to, but every now and again I’ll listen to something and it will paint such a vivid image in my mind that I have to grab a sketchbook and start a new piece. It isn’t always immediately obvious how music inspires each piece, but I think that’s something I can hold for myself and not feel like I have to explain to anyone. It’s a personal experience, after all.

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

I wouldn’t say I always wanted to be a visual artist. But for as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to create something. In middle school I was part of the after school newspaper, and wrote stories for each issue. Sometimes I wrote poetry and most other times I would sit alone and draw in a notebook. What eventually stuck with me the most was my visual artistry and ever since then I’ve been dedicated to improving my craft.

I suppose one of the main reasons I became interested in the arts is the fact that I was born with a physical disability that prevented me from being incredibly active. Art was one of the few things I could do that didn’t involve running around and it really means a lot to me in terms of expressing myself. Everyone deserves an outlet, whatever that may mean to them and for me, that is art.

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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?

Nothing that I’ve intentionally kept secret! I do have one quirk though and that is I only draw four fingers per hand. I don’t have a particular reason why and sometimes people will point it out, thinking I made a mistake. I suppose it dates back to when I started really focusing on drawing people. There were some artists I followed that drew in a cartoonish style and their characters all had four fingers per hand. I adopted that style and since then it’s just always been a thing of mine. I think it’s cute!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

The biggest piece of advice I can give is to never compare yourself to others. Everyone is on their own path and it’s not fair to judge your progress by theirs. You’re not trying to be exactly like them, so why does their own talent matter to you?

If anything, I would say compare yourself to yourself. On days where I feel frustrated with my art for whatever reason, I look back on past pieces I’ve done. It always helps me, because I can see what I’ve improved on and where I used to be before. Something else I’d also like to offer is that if you draw every day, or even every now and again, you have a talent. You have an artistic bone inside you and the only way it can grow is practice and repetition. Anyone can be an artist if they put time and energy into their craft.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual. It’s something I’ve struggled with my whole life and it’s only been recently that I felt the term “asexual” described my feelings. So far, it’s been working just fine!

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

Sometimes when I create characters, people like to know their romantic backstories. I always get a confused look when I tell them a certain character isn’t really interested in the sexual aspect of a relationship. Normally I just shrug off any off hand opinion. It’s my art, my character and my choice.

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

The most common, which I think anyone under the umbrella can relate to, is that people assume I’m just confused about sex and that I shouldn’t judge it if I haven’t tried it. Another one is that I’ve been told it isn’t real love if you don’t have sex. Which I think is a ridiculous assumption to make and only exists to pressure someone into sexual activity against their personal comfort. If anyone tries to pressure you into a sexual situation and you’re not comfortable, leave. You’re not a bad person for taking control of your body.

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

Everything is okay. You’re okay. I’m someone who likes to be labeled, because I’ve lived so long without knowing who I was and why I was feeling the way I was that I felt lost and confused. Sometimes I convinced myself it was a phase and I’d grow out of it eventually. But labels help me understand who I am and what I’m about. Other people hate labels. They don’t want to fit into another box and decide that whatever they feel is good enough without a name. And that’s okay too. If you want a label, keep doing research and talking to various members of the queer community. If you don’t want a label, then simply learn to be comfortable with just existing and focus on what makes you happy. There’s no time limit and if it take another week or 5 years to figure yourself out, that’s okay too. And don’t forget, labels change. You aren’t a liar if you chose one label today and another tomorrow. It’s part of the learning process.

I believe in you my friend.

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

I’m hoping to establish an online presence again soon, but for now, a few of my pieces can be found on my personal Tumblr: blackjackink.tumblr.com

It’s a bit of a mess, but like I said, I’m going to try and create a personal space for my art. Stay tuned!

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

Interview: Jones

Today we’re joined by Jones. Jones is a phenomenal musician and visual artist. He specializes in a variety of music genres and plays no less than six instruments. When he’s not creating music, Jones does a lot of visual art including graphic design and drawing. His work shows an interesting use of color and beautiful visuals. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

The artist
The Artist

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

The only place I fit in this world is behind my guitar (or PC). I’m the weirdo loner that your parents probably warned you about. (And if they didn’t warn you about weirdo loners then you should get new parents). My name is Jones and I like creating music, filming, writing, editing, producing, photography, drawing, and graphic design. I love mimicking psychedelic art (cause the 60’s were awesome . . . duh lol) but my real passion is music. I taught myself six instruments (thanks YouTube!) and decided to get involved in producing my own work. I especially love beat making and sound designing. Anything that keeps me in my room. I’m an introvert. Outside to me is the hallway lol.

Asli Omar
Asli Omar

What inspires you?

Pot, Anime, and music… well that’s the vague answer… What really inspires me are events in my life whether it’s friendships, manic depression, music, or…. pot. I normally use my experiences in songs. I’m a huge lofi indie rock fan so I like to think of myself as the millennial version of Daniel Johnston (Shout out to the few people who know who Daniel Johnston is lol) but rap and metal are another form of inspiration.

I’m a huge fan of Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler the creator, 2pac, Wu-tang, Future, Migos, Kung-fu Kenny and J Cole. My favorite metal bands that inspire my “Dark art” so to speak are: Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Bathory, Acid Bath, BreakDown of sanity, Killswitch Engage, Alice in Chains, Mercyful Fate, Straight Line Stitch, Heaven Shall Burn and Uncle Acid.

But I’m a huge Indie rock nerd. I love Beat Happening, Beach fossils, Car Seat Headrest, Neutral Milk Hotel, Beulah (basically anything from the Elephant 6 label), A great big pile of leaves, Empire Empire I was a lonely estate, Marietta, The Ton Tons, Modern Baseball, and the War on Drugs.

Demon child
Demon Child

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

I wanted to be Goku when I was a kid… but that didn’t seem like a lucrative career choice so I opted out to drawing comics. From there I was hooked into art and drawing. I was always introverted as a kid. I stayed alone and watched cartoons all the time and tried making my own cartoons. I was always the weird kid at my school and I never fit in so I just avoided people and focused on my artwork. I found everyone to be distracting and I only hung out with people that shared my interests in art. It really freaked out my parents because I would stay home and watch cartoons all day then stay up at night acting out what my cartoons would say and do. I was living in my own world of art. It was pretty chill.

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?

Lo and Cho (Lo’s the dude and Cho’s the girl). They were doodles associated with my music because I was inspired by Beat Happening’s first album and the child like appeal of it. I wanted to mimic that for my lofi music. I also made comics with these two that I may or may not release. It’s mostly about tripping acid and contemplating life as a drawing inside of a huge notebook of drawings.

kinky sheets
Kinky Sheets

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you’re a musician, just starting out I’ll be straightforward in saying this: nobody is going to like you. Don’t ever get discouraged by this fact though. When the Doors had their first show, nobody came. Few years later, they had riots at their concerts because people lost their minds hearing Jim Morrison’s voice. Any skill takes time and it will take a while for some to build up a fan base whether you draw or sing. My best advice is to create something that changes YOUR world first. When I first started making music I’d put it on my iPod and pretend like I was a famous person before I started uploading songs online. I used these moments to critique and rewrite my work and improve my sound. Don’t worry about what anyone else says because your talent is something that they cannot take away. If you want your moment you’re gonna have to stay motivated because time and practice goes a long way. Some people blow up overnight while others never do, that’s just how it is. You just gotta stay focused and do it for you and you alone. This is YOUR world of art, use it to create something meaningful for yourself.

Frostburg Sunset
Frostburg Sunset

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m somewhere between Asexual and Demi/grey sexual. I’m still figuring it out but I find it hard to be attracted to people. Sometimes I can get curious (key word: sometimes) but when I notice someone it’s like “Oh He’s handsome” or “she’s pretty” but it doesn’t lead me to sexual feelings. I’ve had mild interests in sex but not to the point where I wanted to experiment because sex and body parts always looked weird to me. I was always interested in voyeurism and fetishes like BDSM, macrophilia, etc. because I got to notice body types without really touching them. My motto in life was always Snack, Fap, and Nap lol.

I never cared about flirting signals from others and I didn’t reciprocate any feelings whether it was from men or women. In late high school/early college I thought I was heterosexual but when I had sex for the first time it was kinda weird (Nothing wrong with my partner, she was wonderful, I just wasn’t really invested during the times we… you know). I tried experimenting with both men and women and neither really interested me. The only time I actually liked someone is through personality.

But just because I’m asexual/demi doesn’t mean sometimes I don’t get curious. I feel like that’s just a part of human nature to notice members of your own species and to identify with them. Sometimes I notice people and although for the most part it’s difficult to sexualize them sometimes I fantasize (again keyword: sometimes). For me it’s mostly from a voyeuristic standpoint where I’m not involved or I’m looking in from a third person viewpoint. My fantasies are not as common as regular people but sometimes it happens. For the most part, they’re just thoughts and I don’t really have any interest in acting on them but I don’t want to be seen as anti-sex because I’m an ace/demi. I’m indifferent when it comes to sex because it’s not that important to me and I can definitely live without it but if I ever fell in love with somebody’s personality I also wouldn’t mind exploring our buttons together.

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Giantess Ayisha

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

Oh yeah. My friends used to think I was only asexual because I couldn’t get laid. When you’re a black male you have to be this hyper-masculine oversexualize creature and here I am avoiding anything with parents LOL. I probably handled ace prejudice poorly when it happened to me.

But when I came out I didn’t fit in with my friends. All they did was have sex with each other and I felt suffocated by this because I was the odd man out who didn’t want to be touched.

I was also very misogynistic back when I first came out because I used to think hypersexual girls were disgusting. I’m not like that anymore and I now believe that women have the right to sexually express themselves any way they want to without anyone’s opinion but back when I first came out I had a different mindset. It started when the girls that wanted to sleep with me were more puzzled that I wasn’t as hypersexual as they were and they just simply marked me off as gay and spread rumors about me. This lead to the dissolution of a lot of female relationships because I felt weirded out that there was this unspoken pressure to form sexual bonds with them. I became the odd man out not only around my female friends but my male friends also and for that I became a slut shaming bitter misogynist and a loner. Many of my female friends were hypersexual and looked at me differently because I was this anti-sexual Queer that didn’t fit in with any group. Again I’m not misogynistic anymore but back then I had a different mindset and a lot of conflicting emotions that really came in the way of a lot of friendships with other people. For some time, I avoided girls because many of the females around me preached about their sex lives. This was also common with my male friends. I just started avoiding everyone. I especially avoided female friends because I was the “diary” to some and I didn’t want to be. (I also learned that a lot of my female friends could be very Queerphobic.)

What was worse was that some of my male friends would avoid me because I wasn’t interested in girls while others would accuse me of making up asexuality to get “closer to sleeping” with their girlfriends. It was insulting because it was like my sexuality didn’t matter to anyone. Even when I told them “I’m asexual, I never slept with any of your girlfriends” they would give me puzzled looks and brush me off. It was even harder explaining my asexuality to friends that I used to have crushes on. Every crush that I ever had I liked them for their personality. Some instances it got sexual but I was much more interested in their persona than the sex. When I came out some of these friends would hang it over my head like “didn’t you used to like me, what happened?” etc. I felt broken because I thought I was heterosexual then the more I experimented with people the more I realized how different my sex drive was compared to theirs. It was like I couldn’t shake my old hetero identity and my old identity wasn’t even the real me. It was an awkward time. I even used to joke about how college “ruined my sexuality” because I thought rejection was the cause of my lack of sex drive but it was the simple fact that I was always different and experimentation with both sexes showed me how different my sexuality was compared to my peers. Now I just avoid making friends and talk to people online. It’s easier to find people who like the same interests as me online instead of the real world.

frostburg watercolor
Frostburg Watercolor

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

That asexuality is the result of a mental illness. It’s insulting because there are plenty of Aces who ARE NOT mentally ill who live perfectly normal lives and there are Aces who do have mental illnesses that do not relate to their sexual orientation. It makes it difficult for Aces who actually suffer from mental illnesses to seek help because they fear that their entire sexual orientation will be put under the microscope. ASEXUALITY IS NOT A MENTAL ILLNESS IT’S AN ORIENTATION JUST LIKE OTHER SEXUAL ORIENTATIONS. DON’T FEEL ASHAMED IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE MENTALLY ILL AND ASEXUAL BECAUSE THE TWO ARE NOT RELATED IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM.

Hello (1)
Hello

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

Don’t take your sexuality so seriously. Feelings change and shift all the time and in the end Gay, Straight, Trans, and Asexuality are all labels. If you follow your heart and find what you love out of life the right people will come along eventually and you can establish any relationship you want with another person (just don’t be a creep about it). Don’t be worried if you’re struggling to find your sexual orientation. There’s nothing wrong with staying to yourself and there’s nothing wrong with experimenting. Just trust yourself to make the best decisions when the time comes and know that you don’t need all the answers all the time. Sometimes life just happens…

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

https://soundcloud.com/94sheets
https://apppk.bandcamp.com/ <- For Lofi/indie pop fans
https://apppk.bandcamp.com/album/projct-skybomb-cloudy-dreams-forever <- Chillwave beats

lianne la havas watercolor
Lianne la Havas Watercolor

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

Interview: Sarah

Today we’re joined by Sarah. Sarah is a phenomenal artist who does a lot of original work and fanart. Her art is mostly a creative hobby, but she’s incredibly dedicated to it. She writes, draws, and does some cosplaying as well. It’s clear that she’s an incredibly enthusiastic artist. 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’ve been drawing for years, and jumping from style to style pretty much randomly. More recently, I picked up writing and making cosplay. I’m not a professional in any capacity, and these are all forms of relaxation and hobbies for me. I love drawing, and it’s something cathartic for me. More often than not I’ll get an idea in my head and draw all through the night (sometimes neglecting my homework or responsibilities). I also draw constantly in school, all of my papers are covered in little doodles and sketches. I’m a disorganized mess, with half full sketchbooks and craft supplies all over my room. I usually just sketch in pencil, and I’ll occasionally ink and color the pieces I like.

As far as writing, I write a lot of fanfiction, but I also have my own ideas all plotted out. I think creating new characters and rich worlds is one of my favorite things to do. Putting together the mythology and culture and history and politics of a fantasy world is so interesting, and it really adds to the story. Needless to say, most of my writing takes place in fantastical settings with a lot of complex background.

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What inspires you?

The work of other artists, mostly. Lost of my art inspiration comes from pictures I see, or from lines from songs and poetry. I take ideas from my stories and apply them to my drawings, and vice versa. I like to draw beautiful or pretty things, and I mostly do portraits of people in various styles. I’ll gather pictures of clothing or hairstyles, and then use those to create new people in pictures.

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

I never really wanted to be an artist, or considered myself one until recently. I always thought that I was more of a hobbyist than anything. My creation is on and off, because I never want to have to create art on other peoples terms, so I’m stuck writing and drawing in between my other responsibilities. I have loved drawing since my childhood, and it’s something I’ve practiced a lot to get good at. My early style was heavily anime-based, but I’ve really tried to grow out of that. Fanfiction is actually what initially got me into writing, and I got started writing short oneshots of fanfiction. Ive grown since then, and I now have multiple different, long stories plotted out, with tons of world building each. I’m excited for when I eventually compile all the scraps of characterization and plot together, though it might not happen for a while.

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, my art style changes often and I’m prone to experimentation.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Doing a little every day works wonders. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, drawing something you saw, or an outfit you think is cute, or a dog or a pretty flower. It doesn’t matter if you write some haiku’s or just a little characterization or dialogue. You’re always getting better, even on the days when nothing seems to come out right. Make sure that you’re doing it for you, and don’t get discouraged if you’re in a rut, even if you can’t manage for a day or a week, pick back up when you can.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an asexual aromantic.

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

I’ve encountered a lot of ignorance, people who generally don’t believe that asexuality is real or that I’m just trying to seem special. I try to explain myself sometimes, but honestly a lot of time I just refrain from being out because I don’t want to have to teach an impromptu class on sexuality. Calmly explaining has actually worked for me a surprising amount, I’m currently out to most of my school.

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

I’ve seen some people who assume that asexual aromantic is the only way to be ace, which is simply not true, and I’ve seen some invalidation of demisexual and grey-ace people. People are generally just uninformed about what it means to be asexual. I can’t count how many times I’ve said ‘wow they’re attractive,’ and gotten a response of ‘wait aren’t you ace?’

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

For a very long time, I struggled with the feeling that I was ‘broken’ or somehow missing some essential part of the human experience. Sometimes I still feel that way. I find that when I’m upset, I vent to someone (I use websites like blahtherapy a lot) and I read fiction that doesn’t focus on romance. I also try and normalize my sexuality in the eyes of the people around me by bringing it up, making jokes about it, and just generally treating it like a normal part of life. Having people around me who accept my sexuality as something integral to me and natural really helps me to normalize it in my own mind.

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

Most of my work isn’t published online, but my fanfiction can be found at https://archiveofourown.org/users/Umidunnostuff.  I also have a Tumblr, umidunnothings, (creative, I know) and an Instagram at s_rose_k, where some of my art can be found.

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Thank you, Sarah, 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.