Interview: Evelyn Lloyd

Today we’re joined by Evelyn Lloyd. Evelyn is a young aspiring writer who is working on a number of interesting sounding stories. She plans to post her work on Wattpad. When she’s not writing, Evelyn enjoys participating in dramatic acting. She has a wonderful enthusiasm, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

American Idiot

WORK

Tell us about your art

I don’t have anything published yet, but I plan to soon. My main project is a story called The Wishing Well.  It’s about Simon, a small town Canadian teenager who moves to LA with his new step father. As he gets used to his new life, Simon is haunted by dreams of a strange yellow haired girl. When exploring his backyard, he investigates a sound coming from a shed which whisks him away to a world of demons, a complex society where a silent war rages. As a conspiracy unfolds right under his nose, Simon realizes this yellow haired girl is the key to winning the war, and he wonders about the voice that spoke to him the moment he left his own world “welcome to the wishing well, you asked for heaven we give you hell.”

I have two other side projects that are slowly making progress. The Hanging Tree and American Idiot

The Hanging Tree: Thirteen years ago, they were born into a sweat shop, into a place where they are doomed to work until their inevitable early death. With rumours circling about a way out, Kate, Alex and Mark begin to conspire about searching for the hanging tree–a supposed long dead oak–with miles of forest between the children and its location.  After a narrow escape, Kate, Mark and Alex soon discover the many horrors lurking in that forest, and the reason no one has ever made it to the hanging tree alive.

I don’t have much for American Idiot, but it’ll be about four young adults living in America, and the way they were treated because of their sexual orientations, gender identities and race drives them to form a rebellion against the government.

The first chapter of The Wishing Well will most likely be published on Wattpad by (Canadian) Thanksgiving hopefully.

I also enjoy drama, but mainly for fun and competitions.  I don’t plan to take it anywhere past high school.

Playing With The Lights Off

What inspires you?

Music mostly. I got the original idea for The Wishing Well from the music video of Dead Bite by Hollywood Undead. I don’t have much that inspires my writing, usually I just give myself a basis, like that song, and I run with it. That’s what I like about writing fantasy and paranormal stories, there are no limits. Sometimes I get ideas for random stories I end up making a chapter or two for and get bored of it.

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

I always loved to write. As a kid, I liked to describe different things I’ve seen and experienced in vivid detail before I slept that night. I loved competing in oratory competitions they had at school and I got complimented a lot by my teachers whenever we wrote stories in French and English class. Then social anxiety stopped me from sharing any writing with people, and a few years later, I found out about Wattpad, where I can show my writing to people under a pen name, so here I am.

As for acting, I performed in the musical our school had in grade 6, found out I was good at it and kept doing plays n’ musicals in school. My high school has a great drama program (we’re known as the beast from the east at festivals) and I really enjoy acting, so I do.

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

I don’t think so.  A lot of the creatures in The Hanging Tree come from nightmares and sleep paralysis I’ve had, but other than that I wouldn’t say I have anything specifically me.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

This question makes me sound like a professional writer when I’m just a high school student haha. I’d say don’t procrastinate. Sit yourself down for about an hour and work on whatever you’re working on, even if you only write one sentence in that hour. Also you will not remember that plotline you thoughts of in math class. Write it down. Somewhere you won’t lose it. I don’t care how good your memory is you will not remember. You’ll mentally slap yourself for not writing it down when you draw a blank trying to remember it.

The HangingTree

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum to you identify?

Asexual and aromatic

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

Not so much in my field, but I do experience a bit in my daily life. My mother straight up laughed in my face when I asked her what she thought on asexuality, and most of my family says it isn’t a thing and the person will grow out of it, so I’m not out to them yet. The one thing that stung the most (and still sometimes gets to me) was a close friend told me he can “fix me.” He told me “its so good when its done right” and “I can make you want sex.” He crossed lots of lines when he started trying to touch me, though luckily it didn’t go any further. Needless to say, he’s not my friend anymore.

Another one is when someone I talked to on Tumblr they told me I was lucky for being ace because they thought their attraction to people was a curse.  I don’t know why it hit as hard as it did, but I didn’t like the way the said I was lucky.

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

That aces can’t be in relationships and can’t enjoy sex. People don’t seem to get that asexuality is simply the lack of sexual attraction, not the lack of libido or romantic attraction. Another big one is that asexuality is the same as celibacy. Celibacy is like going on a diet; asexuality is like just not liking cake. Yet another is asexuality is a mental illness/hormone imbalance. A hormone imbalance would affect someone’s sex drive and libido, not their sexual preference/attraction. As for mental illness, the biggest thing is a mental illness impairs your life in some way. I can say with certainty my asexuality has not once impaired my life the way depression or anxiety does.

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

No matter what, you’re valid. You’re valid if your asexuality stems from trauma. You’re valid if your asexuality does stem from a mental illness. You’re valid if your asexuality stems from dysphoria. You’re valid if you enjoy sex, you’re valid if you’re in a relationship, you’re valid if you have a dirty sense of humour, you’re valid if you find people aesthetically pleasing, and you’re valid no matter your race, religion or gender identity. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You’re ace enough.

Where can people find out more about your work?

My Tumblr is https://h1tlerthestr1pper.tumblr.com/ where I don’t post much about my work (although I will once drama festival rolls around.) I do post a lot of ace positivity though!

My Wattpad is https://www.wattpad.com/user/LowBudgetCIA where I don’t have anything published yet, but I plan to in the near future. If you’re interested in The Wishing Well or random short stories I might publish make sure to keep an eye out.

The Wishing Well

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

Interview: Ty Jordan

Today we’re joined by Ty Jordan. Ty is a wonderful young illustrator who is just starting out. He’s experimenting with a few different styles. He specializes in what he describes as a “trippy realistic style.” Ty is currently trying to make his drawings resemble monochromatic oil paintings. He’s a very passionate artist who has a great amount of enthusiasm as you’ll soon read. 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’m currently writing a novel where two of the central characters are ace, but I won’t be done for a few months because it’s very complex. I’d love to get it published so you could read it! That’s all for my writing.

My art is usually very busy looking, but the style depends on my mood. I split my works into a main series of related pieces and “pastime scribbles,” which are basically anything I make that’s not in a series. The series I’m working on at the moment is called Illusions and its main goal is to show the viewer a distorted reality that has vaguely familiar things, while also being very disorienting. There’s usually no specific message that I’d want the viewer to get because I want them to come up with their own answers and not rely on one definitive answer. It tends to be that what you see in these drawings says more about you than it does about me. Since people will always come up with their own meaning for things even if the actual meaning is explained, I decided I’d have a little fun and not give a viable answer at all.

One quick mention before we’re off to the next segment: One of my drawings looks like it’s clearly supposed to be upside down but it’s actually not. It’s made that way specifically to irritate that human tendency to want things to be easy to understand and well aligned with everything else we see.

What inspires you?

This changed a bit over time. In the beginning I wanted to be good at drawing because one of my cousins is amazing at it and I always thought he was cool. Around middle school I wanted to be famous, then I wanted money, then I just wanted to get better. Recently my life’s been a storm of s…sauerkraut. I think about my life a lot and the impact I want to leave behind, so that finds its way into my art. Life’s been really stressful and it seems like nothing’s working, and that along with a lot of discouragement and berating really put a dent in my self-esteem. I’ve been in this rut for a few months where I have a really hard time wanting to draw and unfortunately I’m still there. In mine own life it feels like there’s no point in trying when I have so much opposition and nothing seems to be paying off, but I don’t do it for my own sake anymore. The knowledge that there are other people like me in situations like mine makes me want to keep trying with everything I’ve got. I dedicate my art to them. The people like me who are around right now, the kids of the next generation, and all the one’s I’ll never live to see; I’m doing this for them.

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

Whoops, I already answered some of this one! I’ve been drawing since I was four, which as long as I can remember. My drawings were terrible for a while, but I kept at it because I really enjoyed it. Like I said, seeing my cousin’s work made me want to take art seriously. Comic books definitely influenced my style, specifically any issue drawn by Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko!

Nerd tidbit: Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko both drew covers for Amazing Fantasy#15, but Kirby’s was the one used in 1962. Ditko’s cover was used as a limited variant for The Amazing Spiderman#700. Kirby also drew my favorite superhero: Black Panther)

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?

Funny you ask; there’s a character I put in most of my drawings called Peppermint Pete. He represents me and his location and actions in my drawings gives a glimpse into how I was feeling when I drew that piece. Bonus: my signature and handwriting are pretty cool.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You’re good enough! Keep at it! You won’t be at 100% all the time, but that’s okay! Take breaks! Don’t push yourself too hard! Your physical and mental and physical health are more important than the art you’re making! You can’t make art if you’re not alive, so take good care of yourself! Be consistent with your work! Make art and post on your platform(s) it even if it seems like nobody cares about what you’re doing; do it for you! Stay true to yourself. Even though you won’t get as much fan-fare in the beginning, there’s no other feeling like people being interested in your work solely because it’s your vision!

Kiki’s Delivery Service is a movie that really helped me get motivated again. It’s a movie that artists should definitely see! I’d love to talk about it more, but that’s not what here for, is it?

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual, but I’m cool with having sex. Some would say my pursuits are promiscuous, but that doesn’t invalidate my lack of sexual attraction. If someone told me I had to choose between sex and cheesecake, I wouldn’t even hesitate to give up sex for the rest of my life. As my romantic orientation — I’m not sure if I’m aromantic or not, but it’s not that big of a deal to me. Maybe I’ll figure it out one of these days.

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

A few artists I’ve had to work around have been very ignorant about more things than asexuality and the LGBTQIA+ community. However, people generally know better than to try and say things that could get me upset. To put in short; I’m not the kind of the person it’d be a good idea to fight.

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

I’ve heard the tired arguments of “sexual attraction is what makes us human”, “But you’re so good looking”, and “That’s not even real”. Apparently, since sexual attraction makes us human, I’ve transcended humanity a long time ago. As for the other ones, I don’t care. People will be ignorant from sunrise to sunset. Unfortunately, being black in the U.S means you’ll probably be fetishized at some point in your life. Sure, I don’t have it as bad as black women, but if I had a dollar for every time I’ve been fetishized, I’d have enough to pay for college and an apartment in New York. Seriously, can somebody set up that deal for me? I’m gonna get fetishized anyway, I’d at least like to be paid for the inconvenience.

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

You’re valid. Whether you’re sex averse, you’re like me and it’s nice to you, or if your experience is anything in or outside of those bounds, you’re valid. Know who you are and trust in that; it’ll carry you through any storm. If you like the same sex and you’re ace, you’re valid. If you like the opposite sex and you’re ace, you’re valid. If you like men and women and you’re ace, you’re valid. If you like any gender and you’re ace, you’re valid. If you don’t subscribe to the idea of gender at all and you’re ace, you’re valid. If you’re ace, you’re valid. Not experiencing sexual attraction or very little is the only thing that it takes to be on the asexual spectrum. None of your other identities will obscure or invalidate your (a)sexuality. I wish you all the best in life!

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

At the moment I just have a Tumblr: ty-jordan-ty. I’m working on a website right now, so whenever I have that up I’ll put a link in my description. I don’t have other forms of social media yet because I’m trying to focus more on my work rather than the platform I’d be using to present it. However, when I do get other forms of social media then I’ll also put that in my description.

You can also email me at tybrown099@gmail.com if you want to go that route. See you around! I hope you have a spectacular day!

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

Interview: Sophia Hodgson

Today we’re joined by Sophia Hodgson. Sophia is an amazing young visual artist who does a mix of original work and fanart. She uses bright colors and lines to bring vivid images to life. She’s a talented and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Abstract
Abstract

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My work takes 3 forms: fan art, assignments, and anxiety. My personal work tends to revolve around feeling like an outsider, feeling empty, or feeling useless. I like using bright colors and big shapes.

What inspires you?

Dynamic lines, pretty colors, simple forms, and because I’m a student, deadlines,

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

Not always. For a while I wanted to be a teacher, then I wanted to be a police officer, then a librarian, etc. I don’t think I settled on artist until Freshman year of high school, and even then I wasn’t totally sure. I got interested because it’s always been a fun thing I enjoyed doing, and I think I’m pretty good at it!

DSC_0053

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 weird, but I’ve been including fish in my work a lot lately. Especially goldfish, I love painting goldfish. There’s something about their blank stares that lets you project any emotion onto them.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Draw things you hate. Do things you hate, and don’t hesitate to ask for help! I hated painting for years but now oil and watercolor are some of my favorite media. I realized I had never really learned how to use them and sometimes it’s nice to have someone explain how you actually use turpentine.

Nine of Swords
Nine of Swords

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual/Aromantic

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

Not in my field, no, day to day life is a different story though.

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

That I’m too young to know I’m asexual, despite everyone else my age being perfectly capable of knowing if they are straight or not.

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

Asexual doesn’t mean alone and neither does Aromantic! Romantic love isn’t the only kind out there, and anyone who doesn’t respect you isn’t your friend.

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

My Instagram is xx_g0ldf1sh_xx and my art Tumblr is xxg0ldf1shxx!

rose 6
Rose 6

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