Interview: Leah

Today we’re joined by Leah. Leah is a wonderful and talented artist who does a bit of everything. She does visual art and works with a variety of mediums. When she’s not doing visual art, she also plays a number of musical instruments. The main instrument she plays is the clarinet and she’s started learning the mandolin. As if that weren’t impressive enough, she also writes poetry. It’s clear Leah is a dedicated and enthusiastic artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a visual artist, as well as a musician and a poet. For my visual art I tend to work with whatever medium seems to fit my topic the best, and I enjoy creating things intuitively. Music wise, my main instrument is the clarinet, but I also know how to play the piano, flute, tenor saxophone, and ukulele, and I am learning the mandolin. My poetry is more random and for myself. I like writing whatever comes to mind and using poetry as a way to funnel my emotions.

What inspires you?

What inspires me is nature and other works of art. A lot of times I’ll see something in nature and my first thought is “I’d love to paint that” so I like doing a lot of nature based pieces. The work of other artists is also inspiring to me because it gives me the inspiration to work more on honing my own craft so I can someday reach the level of skill and expertise I see in the works of others. Musically I am inspired by my friends who are also musicians. Watching them and their love of music, and passion for their instruments inspires me to spend more time with my own instrument.

2

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

What got me interested in my field was probably my grandmother. She was an elementary school art teacher, so when I was little she always did lots of crafts and art projects with me. She would also take me to art museums and show me famous works of art which really helped me fall in love with art. When I was little I really wanted to be an artist, but then I got older and realized I was not good enough to be able to make a living off of my artwork, and I’m always too attached to my pieces to give them away to someone else. Now I want to be an art teacher, so hopefully that’s where my life will take me. My mom was the one who helped encourage my interest in music. She played the clarinet in middle school and high school, which is what inspired me to play the clarinet. And she has always supported me and my musical talents.

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 really have a specific thing included in all my works. Because I love exploring different mediums, I don’t really have something specific that’s included in all my works.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep practicing your art. The more you do it, the better at it you’ll become. It’s okay if art is just something you do for fun, you need things to enjoy in life so don’t worry about trying to make a career out of your art if you don’t want to. If you do want to make a career out of your art, I know you might hit some low points, but don’t give up and keep creating things, inspiration will come and you will be successful.

4

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a panromantic asexual.

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

I haven’t really encountered much prejudice or ignorance in my field just because that’s not really anything that’s come up yet, but I’ve experienced plenty of it in general everyday life. Mostly I handle it by either ignoring it, or trying to explain my sexuality, it depends on the situation.

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

The most common misconception I’ve heard is that we’re emotionless, or that we just don’t feel anything.

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

Don’t worry about feeling out of place or broken. I thought for the longest time that I was perfectly normal and that there was no way the rest of the world just thought about sex all the time, and that’s still a really strange concept to me. If you’re struggling to figure out your sexuality, don’t discredit that you might be ace, because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being ace and there are people who will have no problem accepting you for who you are.

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

I don’t really have a specific place where I post all my work, but I will sometimes sporadically post on my Instagram at hpandthegobletofsass or on my Tumblr at wxtchmxbxrn.tumblr.com or if you want to find any of my Harry Potter fanart whenever I feel like getting around to it you can find it at hpandthegobletofsass.tumblr.com.

3

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

Interview: Alex

Today we’re joined by Alex. Alex is a wonderful artist who is a bit of a jack of all trades. He does a lot of visual art, mostly drawing and painting. He also does crafts and enjoys knitting and crochet, particularly long scarves. When he’s not doing crafts or visual art, Alex also makes music and can play the ukulele. It’s clear he’s a passionate artist who enjoys what he does. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. meeeee

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I use my art to create things I think the world is missing, whether it’s music, or extra-large scarves, or just a painting.  My art is my outlet, it’s diverse and powerful (even when it’s just for me) and it enables me to express myself.

What inspires you?

The ability to create, to bring something into this world that causes emotion.  When I knit or crochet I am, more often than not, creating a gift to give to someone else.  When I play my ukulele I hope that someone listening can feel the emotions of the music.  I am inspired by the ability to make something that was once missing from the world.

2. boi

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

I had a friend in elementary school who inspired me to create comics.  They were just stick figures, but I had so much fun coming up with jokes and stories, that even when I stopped creating comics I continued to draw.

At the same time, my family has always been very musical and so, when my nana let me play her ukulele I decided I wanted have one too.

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?

Ah, no haha, I’m too inconsistent to do something that clever.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

At times it may seem tough, but art is an outlet, it doesn’t matter if you think it’s good if you enjoy it. What matters is if you feel good while creating whatever it is you are making.  Improvement will come with practice, for now, just enjoy the ride.

3. cover

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual and do not use the split attraction model (SAM).

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

I’m rather isolated, and I do not bring up my asexuality unless it is with people I trust, so as of current, I have not experienced any prejudice from my fellow artists.

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

That asexual means you don’t like sex.  Which is false, different people have different views on sex and just because I experience so sexual attraction does not mean that I have no libido or interest. But like I said, it’s different for everyone.

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

If you decide one that that you are not ace, that’s OK.  If you live your whole life never subscribing to a label, that’s OK.  What matters is your comfort and that others respect you. I thought I was a lesbian when I was younger because if I didn’t like guys I must have to like girls then right? But I allowed myself space to grow and now I know I am trans and asexual. There is always room to grow and explore, so don’t feel stuck with one label.

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

My music is available here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLHiHayKl58aLduLbGJShFw
And my art can be found here: Lukassskywalker.tumblr.com/tagged/my+art
And I have some things posted on RedBubble :D: https://www.redbubble.com/people/slothguard?asc=u.

4. sponge

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

Interview: Fran

Today we’re joined by Fran. Fran is a phenomenal musician who plays a variety of instruments and also participates in her school’s marching band. When she’s not playing music, Fran enjoys doodling and is currently writing a novel, which sounds like a fun adventure (a superhero rom-com, how can you not love that). She has also written some poetry and short stories. It’s very clear that Fran is a dedicated and versatile artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Ace Flute

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I just graduated high school and plan to attend university as a double major in music education and music performance. My primary instrument is flute, but I also play saxophone and a little bit of piano, ukulele, and clarinet. I really enjoy playing classical music, but a lot of my passion lies in jazz, and I am a member of my high school marching band and a future member of my college marching band. I also doodle a little bit, and I am writing a rom com superhero novel about a meteorite that wishes that she can become human and the stars grant her wish. It is a wlw romance, but mostly it consists of humor and superhero action. I also write poetry and short stories.

What inspires you?

My hero is Michael Giacchino and other movie soundtrack writers like him. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved getting inspiration for my music from soundtracks. Because of this wonderful music guiding my life, I plan on inspiring others to pursue music by teaching, and maybe even continue my talents into the professional field. For my visual art, I mostly get inspiration from my friends. We all draw together as a hobby so we get inspired by each other often. For my writing I am inspired by my favorite authors, J.K. Rowling, Brandon Sanderson, David Leviathan, and Rick Riordan. I love writing books with positive outlooks and messages about love and peace.

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

I have loved music and art ever since I was a child. I started playing flute in 4th grade and I have been obsessed with band ever since. I loved watching movies and playing games almost solely for the excellent musical track. It was only a matter of time until I decided it would be my career. I’ve drawn and written for just as long. I wrote many short stories when I was young, and drew in that stereotypical 6th grade anime style that all artists cringe at later in life. My writing and drawing styles are a little bit better now, though I look back at my childhood doodles and stories with fondness.

Ace artwork 3

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 signature is just my name in cursive.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you want to be a musician, do it! Don’t let anyone tell you it’s a “phony career” and that you won’t be able to make a living with it. With hard work and a little thinking outside of the box, you can make a good career out of any art form. Follow your dream and don’t let the downers destroy your passion!

Ace artwork 2

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as an Asexual Lesbian. I experience no sexual attraction, but I am romantically attracted to girls exclusively.

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

I’ve had people tell me that you can’t have a romantic relationship without sex and that I’ll “change my mind”. It used to bother me, but now I just let the words wash over me. I know that I’ll find someone who will understand and love that part about me. I can’t help it that their concept of relationships is so small-minded. I don’t experience that often, though. Most people in my field are very accepting.

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

That I can’t experience a romantic relationship. Many people lump asexual and aromantic together without realizing that they are both different. You can be both, or just one or the other. There are also people who think I’m just innocent. It’s true that I’m a bit innocent in some areas, I don’t like to cuss, I don’t have a dirty mind, I would rather watch Disney movies than anything with too much sex or violence, but that has nothing to do with my orientation. I know how sex works. I just don’t want to have it.

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

Don’t feel like you have to rush into a label. And your label can be fluid and change over time. I know that I may change my label in the future. Just like your favorite color changes over time, so can your label. Also, I know it’s hard living in a world where sex can be prioritized over a healthy and understanding relationship. Be who you are. Because “those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter won’t mind”. Your identity is a beautiful thing!

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

I don’t really have a website or anything. Most of my work is just in my ensembles or in my community.

Ace art 1

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

Interview: Lee

Today we’re joined by Lee. Lee is a wonderful artist who does a bit of everything. They love cooking the most, but they also do some writing and crafts. They also enjoy music and play a number of instruments as well as sing. It’s very obvious they love creating, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I like to cook, knit, cross-stitch, write and play music. I love cooking the most, as it provides a lovely meal for you to eat when you are done! My specialties include mushroom risotto, spaghetti carbonara and chicken chow mein. My knitting and cross-stitching is really good for relaxing in my spare time with some music and a cat on my lap.

Writing is also one of my favourite things to do, but unfortunately writer’s block stands in my way like a stubborn boulder more often than not. I like to write romance (because asexuals can still have lovely romantic relationships!) and horror. Sadly for my characters, they are sometimes combined.

As for music, I can play bass, keyboard and ukulele, and I love to sing. My friend gives me the nickname Tyler Joseph because I can rap as well. I mostly do covers, but recently I composed an original song.

What inspires you?

My inspiration for cooking and writing almost always starts with a ‘what if?’.

I love to take tropes and recipes that people are used to and flip them on their heads. Adding a certain new ingredient can make meals really tasty, especially if you switch out a vegetable you don’t like for one you do. What if instead of beansprouts and lettuce, you had mushrooms and sweetcorn in your stir-fry? What if you added cinnamon to your muffins? (I add cinnamon to everything and anything I bake. Someone needs to stop me.)

In writing I love challenging tropes, and mostly I use it as an opportunity to make my characters diverse and three-dimensional. For example, what if the superhero is ace & aro and never gets a love interest, but the villain is so busy trying to find out who they’re dating that they don’t realise the hero has found their lair? If I’m writing fanfiction, my question may become “what if this scene went differently?” Or “What if these characters had a happy ending?”

Inspiration also comes from things I read; books, I like to believe, are not just paper. They reproduce, as plots and characters and settings from all different books inspire more plots and characters and settings in other writers. It’s like a whole new species.

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

I’d have to say the thing that got me interested in writing was reading. I was the epitome of a bookworm when I was little, and all those books made me want to write some of my own. I thought, if these characters can have these adventures, what adventures can my characters have?

I’ve also always loved music and singing, but I was never very good at anything but keyboard until my music teacher introduced me to the bass guitar. It’s my favorite instrument as it’s simple yet really effective, and can serve as both melody and percussion. Plus, I can play the bassline to Dance Dance, which is one of my favourite basslines ever.

My interest in knitting and cross-stitching came from, as with many others, my grandmother teaching me how. Since she got arthritis and can’t do it anymore, I feel like I should carry on her legacy, so to speak. Plus, it comes back again to challenging stereotypes. Whoever hears of a teenager knitting?

And cooking, of course, comes from loving food.

I always loved writing and wanted to be an author, but I never thought the other three would become so important in my life.

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 think everyone who has read my writing knows that I use ‘though’ in every other sentence.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Make some art. And then make some more. And if you have art block in one area, try another. Things like drawing, painting and writing can take up a lot of mental energy because your creativity is being pushed to its limits. If you’re struggling with a particular piece, find something new to create that has a set of instructions to follow, like my personal favourite, knitting. Once you get into the hang of whatever you’re making, your mind wanders and maybe you can have an idea that can help you! Remember that all art is good art and you don’t have to be amazing at everything straight away. Be patient with yourselves.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am currently questioning my position on the spectrum, but I believe I am most likely to be completely asexual. I’m not rushing to get to an answer, though. I’m also questioning my position on the romantic spectrum, though as I am currently in a lovely relationship I think it’s safe to say I’m not aromantic.

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

Luckily I am quite sheltered from a lot of prejudice and ignorance as most of my friends are very well educated and/or on the asexual spectrum themselves. I haven’t experienced any as of yet.

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

Again, most of my friends are well educated on asexuality, but I do find that people tend to go straight down the path of ‘not finding the right person yet’. It’s a bit like telling someone with a nut allergy that they haven’t found the right nut yet.

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

If I’m honest I’d say I’m one of those people who are struggling with their orientation, but I think that being patient with yourself is one of the most important things you can do when it comes to identity. There’s nothing wrong with identifying as anything as long as you’re not harming anyone.

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

I have posted one of my covers on my YouTube channel anomalee, and more will probably be up there soon.

My AO3 account is heyitslee, though I would advise you stay away from the old stuff.

I have a blog that occasionally posts tips for brit-picking, called its-not-block-its-street, that you can check out.

I also recently started a writing blog called thescientificterm. I am yet to post on it, but I will be posting some pieces I have already done on there soon, and any new pieces will be going up there. I am currently working on a horror piece for my creative writing coursework, so keep your eyes out for that! I might make it into a crafty blog and post some other stuff up there too.

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

Interview: Jonah S

Today we’re joined by Jonah S. Jonah is a wonderful artist who specializes in film and music. As a dedicated filmmaker, they enjoy making short films and do a lot of editing and directing. When they’re not working on film, Jonah also enjoys creating music and plays a variety of instruments. They have an admirable amount of enthusiasm and love for art, as you’ll read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

a4144288080_10

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My favorite medium to work in is film. I love editing and writing, but I have also directed a few short films. I’m still working to develop a distinct style of film, but I pay a lot of attention to the color palettes of my work, as I feel they are just as important as the story itself to the work as one cohesive unit.

I have played classical piano for quite some time, but I have recently gotten into writing electronic songs in Ableton Live. This past summer I released my first album, Songs For Summer Days, in which I sampled sounds from commonplace objects and made a song out of them every day. I also play ukulele for the band Maniac Foxy, but we’re still working on writing songs to perform.

What inspires you?

As a current environmental science major, I’d have to say that nature is a big inspiration for everything I do, from film to music to (the very occasional) visual art.

For each film project I work on, I seek out usually one or two specific genres or artists to sort of guide the visual development of the film. I usually end up using this music to score the film in the end! For example, my first film “La Vie En Rose,” is inspired by French new wave films, so I scored it with some avant-garde jazz, which I thought is pretty much the musical equivalent of the new wave’s freeform-ness. Another project I directed, “Run For Your Life,” has politics at the center of the narrative, so it draws heavily from anarchist folk-punk music like Defiance, Ohio.

cliche
Cliche

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

I work in film because it’s an intersection of basically every art form, so I don’t have to choose one to work in! There’s really no more to that, I’ve just always been interested in film.

My interest in music is more complicated than that, but I think that it stems from the fact that my grandmother is an extremely talented soprano singer who used to perform in operas and the Houston equivalent of Broadway. As a result, I’ve grown up surrounded by quite a lot of music.

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’ve tried to have an extra wear my red hoodie that says “Vampire Weekend” in the background of every film I’ve made. I haven’t kept up with it but it’s there sometimes!

tumblr_o6ua17q9vw1s6us8do2_1280

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you’re entering film, don’t compromise your vision to accommodate the limiting standards that the film industry has put in place. Retain a clear divide between the art that you do for yourself and any professional film experience (internships, PA jobs, etc.). That way, you’ll gain a lot of experience while not succumbing to the limitations of mainstream film.

mercury-bob
Mercury Bob

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and I prefer not to specify a romantic orientation (I’m like almost aro though).

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

I haven’t encountered any in the film or music scenes, but that would be because I’m just not that involved publicly. I do know that there’s a lot of pressure on writers to introduce romantic subplots into their screenplays, and I tried that a few times, but eventually I was like “I am never doing this again”.

Additionally, there is a severe lack of asexual representation in mainstream media (along with nonbinary representation), so I hope to help remedy that.

screen-shot-2016-10-09-at-12-31-22-am

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

I’ve heard a lot of really nasty rhetoric coming from aphobic people on Tumblr who post about “ace discourse” but I don’t really want to go into that.

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

Someone once told me that if you think you aren’t cis then you probably aren’t to some degree and I think this definitely applies to the asexual and aromantic spectrums as well (and to some extent pretty much any LGBTQ identity). There’s nothing wrong with “questioning” and there’s nothing wrong with deciding not to identify as anything in particular.

tumblr_od7y4htkiu1s6us8do1_1280

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

I have put together a film portfolio here: jonahshaukatfilm.weebly.com
The good ones are at the top and they get progressively worse as you scroll down.

Also, here is a link to the album I released this past summer: https://maniacfoxy.bandcamp.com/

Should any of y’all wish to drop by and say hi, my Tumblr is http://topitmunkeydog.tumblr.com/.

tumblr_nx0aagrrgs1s6us8do1_1280

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

Interview: Jordan

Today we’re joined by Jordan. Jordan is a wonderful and versatile artist who does a bit of everything. Her main passion is visual art and she specializes in digital mediums. She does both original work and fanart. Aside from visual art, Jordan is also interested in theater and music. She’s got an amazing amount of enthusiasm, as you’ll soon see, and her work is beautiful. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

IMG_9514

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a visual artist. I mainly work digitally but I do a lot of sketches traditionally. My program of choice is Paint Tool SAI. I do a lot of fanart and pieces of my original characters. My favorite thing to draw is people & characters.

Besides visual art, I also participate in community theatre, I act and also have an interest in costume design. I also love music and I sing, and play the ukulele. I’ve also started to write songs. I don’t do it very often, but I write poetry and sometimes, rarely, short stories. I’m currently trying to put together a script for a webcomic based around my original characters.

I have a lot of hobbies, but visual art is the one thing that has been a constant throughout my entire life.

What inspires you?

A lot of stuff inspires me. I follow a lot of artists on Tumblr and Instagram who influence me a lot. Some webcomics such as Ava’s Demon and Lackadaisy Cats, as well as mainstream Marvel & DC comics offer me a lot of inspiration as well. The movies and TV shows I like to watch offer a lot of inspiration, especially Star Wars. Music inspires me in all art forms. I have an eclectic music taste, but I would say the most inspirational music for drawing and writing is classical, movie soundtracks or instrumental, and for acting it would have to be musical soundtracks.

I have a lot of friends who also draw, write or act and they offer me a lot of inspiration. For example, my best friend who I met in an acting class actually, her older sister who has a webcomic of her own, and another friend who has lately been furiously writing a novel. They inspire me to keep working at my craft and to pursue new interests.

Telling stories is probably the reason I would say I do most things. Stories are really important to me and I love to read and see and listen to them. Visual art, writing, music and theatre are all different ways to tell a story and portray emotion.

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

Well, when I was around 8 years old I was really into neopets. I feel a little silly admitting that but I used that site for years. I was fascinated by the art people would create for their virtual pets. They took the time to create characters and character designs that were completely different from the source material. And their styles were almost always influenced by anime/manga which I didn’t really get into until much later. But I picked up lots of books on how to draw in that style, and sifted through lots of tutorials artists put up on DeviantArt. About visual art, it’s something I’ve definitely always loved to do and I don’t think I’d want to ever stop.

I didn’t develop a particularly deep interest in music until I was older, but I grew up singing in church and school choirs. Once I got older, and I guess, a little sadder, I began to really relate to and rely on and love music more than when I was younger. Acting wasn’t even something I considered until my junior year of high school, I’d always thought it was frightening. I took an acting class, the one where I met my best friend, and it turns out that it was something I really enjoyed. I’ve always said I wanted to publish a novel ever since I was younger, my love of visual art comes from a love of stories and characters and so I was also interested in writing. I always felt my visual art and writing went hand in hand.

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

My signature on my art has changed a lot since I was younger. It used to be more definitive but now it’s simply my name and a year. I really like to use interstellar objects as symbolism or features in my art.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Love what you do. So many people will tell young visual artists that they have to draw every single day to get better. Acting in general is stressful and requires a lot of hard work, and certain people you interact with can be less-than-pleasant with personalities that don’t quite jive with your own. Writing can be extremely stressful for me personally and so I don’t do it often, but once in a while I’ll find the inspiration to pursue it again. I’ll find the joy I found in it once more.

What I’m saying is, if you want to explore an art, make sure you like it. Don’t force yourself into it. Take a break if it’s causing you stress. It should be fun and you should enjoy what you do, everyone deserves that from life.

IMG_0179

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as biromantic demisexual

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

I haven’t seen anything specifically in any art specific communities or settings but I’m also not particularly public about my sexuality outside of my personal Tumblr.

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

I’ve seen a lot of crazy things on this website recently. A lot of bad stuff going around. Besides that, I’ve always seen people claim demisexuality is made up, so that’s never fun to encounter.

I think a lot of people just don’t realize how diverse asexuality is as a spectrum, and how people experience it in so many different ways.

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

You’ll figure out what labels best fit you over time, don’t be afraid to change them as you come to know yourself better. Your identity is your own, and no one else can tell you how to identify. Discovering your sexuality and using a label should be for yourself and no one else.

You’re valid. You can count yourself as a member of the LGBT+ community if you want that, and no one should tell you that you can’t. If a romantic or sexual relationship is something that you want, your identity will not prevent you from finding that. The right person (or people) will be able to respect your boundaries. And if it’s not something you want, you aren’t weird or broken because of it. As well, the right friends and people in your life will respect your identity, and if they don’t, you’re not obligated to keep them in your life.

Do what’s best for yourself, you’re amazing. Go live life to the fullest.

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

I have about a million places where people can find me, I’m kind of ridiculous.

Art Website: http://joniha.weebly.com/
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/junebugjo
Art Blog: http://junebugjo.tumblr.com/
DeviantArt: http://joniha.deviantart.com/
Personal Blog: http://aahsoka.tumblr.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/forgivenessiscompassion/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jordieha

IMG_9856

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

Interview: Philomena

Today we’re joined by Philomena. Philomena is a wonderfully talented and versatile artist, who does both music and writing. For music, she performs solo on piano, flute, and vocal. She’s currently studying at the Royal Conservatory of Music. For writing, she is working on a queer-centric romance involving mer-people, which sounds fascinating. Philomena is definitely an enthusiastic and dedicated artist. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do quite a bit artistically, but I generally fluctuate between music and writing. I’ve even bound my own books before, actually! What I currently do can be sort of condensed into those two main things, though. The big thing that I’m currently working on with my music is getting all of my Royal Conservatory of Music certificates for Grade 8 Piano and Voice, Grade 5 Flute, and my Advanced Theory. I’m doing my exams for everything except Piano in June. Instruments that I just play for fun are sort of just variations on the theme. Other strings I play include pixie harp and ukulele, and I also play piccolo and alto saxophone in woodwinds. I’ve got my sights set on learning violin and guitar in the future.

With regards to my writing, I’m working on a novel called A Tale of Tails, that I’ve entered in NaNoWriMo, which is a month-long writing challenge that involves setting a word-count goal, and hitting a certain amount of written words each day to achieve it. The novel is going to be a queer-centric romance involving a girl n amed Calliope, who gets dragged into a crisis amongst nations of merpeople. It’s actually been in the works for a little under three years at this point. Oops.

What inspires you?

I’ve been really inspired by mainstream writers, Neil Gaiman being a major player, but I also owe a lot of my inspiration to a friend of mine named Kathleen. She’s a marvel of talent and skill, and I definitely wouldn’t be writing without the constant barrage of well-meaning texts. I can say without a doubt that she is amazing, and deserves a world of success and good fortune.

In music, I was really inspired by my choir director, Dr. Heather Eyerly. She’s also amazing, and she was the first music teacher I had that actually made me love it. I just realized, while writing this, that 40% of my music teachers have been WLW. The universe works in mysterious ways, I guess! Anyway, back on track. Dr. Eyerly was a huge influence in the way my vocal music flourished, and I don’t think I would have kept up with Vocal if not for her.

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

As a child, I was very interested in learning useful skills. I took a pottery course, I learned how to knit and crochet, and I learned how to play piano. My brother was also learning how to play, but he quit after two lessons. I kept with it because of the sense of pride it gave me in my abilities as an artist, and because of how fun it was for me.

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?

The Nordic rune for M is something that I used as a signature back when I was really into Flipnote Studio, standing for the first letter of my nickname “Mena”, but I’ve yet to integrate it properly into any of my current artistic ventures. Nowadays I’ve taken up witchcraft, so it would be even more poignant, I guess–what with the Elder Futhark rune alphabet being used as a divination tool.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice! It doesn’t matter what you do, you just have to practice. You need to practice to get better, and you need to practice so you can commit your skills to memory. I still remember how to play songs I memorized years ago, because I practiced them! If you do traditional or digital art, look up references and practice drawing the poses or elements in them. If you sculpt, practice!!! Buy cheap clay and sculpt things with it. Knit? Thrift some wool and learn how to make socks! Dance? Learn the choreography to Single Ladies! Play an instrument? Learn all the songs from Ocarina of Time on your instrument! Have fun with your practice, but always practice your craft!!!! You won’t improve otherwise, and then you’ll be sad when you lose a skill you enjoyed. Like me when I forgot how to center pottery on a wheel. It’s devastating! PRACTICE AND YOU WILL NOT REPEAT MY FAILINGS.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a Panromantic Asexual. I’m currently in this sort of nebulous ‘gender-conscious’ place, where if someone asks, I’ll say I’m a cis girl, but I know that could change.

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

I’m from a fairly liberal part of eastern Ontario, so there’s not much more than the occasional ‘Oh, yeah, I heard about that. Can you explain further?’ There are the few times every once in a while where I have to explain that ace people exist, or I have to ask my mom not to constantly out me to people who don’t know me, but other than that I’ve had a pretty safe run of things.

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

A lot of people seem to assume that aces don’t understand attraction, or that we’re all prudish wallflowers who don’t want anything to do with any sort of relationship. Not to say that it’s a bad thing if that’s how one feels, I just don’t really enjoy when people around me say things along the lines of, “Not like you’d know” when they talk about pretty people.

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

Make an account on a social media platform that works for you. You can meet other people who identify in the same way you do, and who experience the same types of attraction as you, and this can really help you to make decisions about yourself. It can take a while to completely find where you fit in the mould, and you may decide that you don’t want to identify as anything. That’s perfectly fine too!

When I originally came out, I thought very much that I was heteromantic because I loved the boy I was dating. I still think very highly of him, even though we eventually stopped talking. What I needed to figure out, though, was that my romantic attraction to one person didn’t need to dictate my attraction to everyone else on this giant planet.

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

I’m on Wattpad and AO3 for my writing as TheMenasaur, and I’m on YouTube and Soundcloud for my music at the same username.

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