Interview: Civvi

Today we’re joined by Civvi. Civvi is a phenomenal visual artist who mostly does digital art. She does a lot of fanart, but has also done some original work as well. Her work is bright and colorful, making use of vibrant shades to make the drawings pop. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. hell yea fam
Hell yea fam

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do mostly digital art these days, I highly favor drawing cute girls because, well girls are cute! I draw mostly fanart, as it was what first inspired me to draw.

What inspires you?

The media I consume! Most of my urges to draw come from seeing a character in a show and being filled with the desire to create my own rendition of them. Fanart makes me really happy and I love sharing it with other people who like the same things that I do.

2. colorlull
Colorlull

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

I started drawing casually in middle school, 7th grade, because I was so enamored with the Warrior Cats book series. I remember the very first drawing I actually put effort into. I spent the whole school day carefully sketching out a drawing of a cat, laying on her side with several kittens around her, I used my thumb to rub the pencil and smooth the texture, I started scratching through the notebook paper going over the lines too many times. It’s probably been about 10 years since then, but I can still remember the almost foreign feeling of pride I felt looking at what I had done. Until then I had been praised for my intelligence and nothing else. Now I made something, and creating felt good. I did art very casually without trying to improve up through high school, and only got semi-serious about improving my skills about a year or two ago. Since then I’ve made such great progress I’m really proud of how far I’ve come!

3. New Lulu
New Lulu

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 I don’t really think so. Some friends have said that the noses I draw make it easy to recognize my art? But my style is always changing and shifting so I don’t settle on one thing for very long at all.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do what makes you happy! For a long time, it made me happy to draw without thinking critically about what I made and how I could improve, and that’s totally fine! Then when that stopped making me happy, and I wanted to improve, I started doing that. If you just want to draw the same self-indulgent stuff over and over, don’t let anybody tell you that that’s wrong or that you aren’t “allowed” to just draw for yourself. Whatever makes you happy is the right thing to do.

4. LuluIcon Done
Lululcon Done

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual and biromatic.

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

Ah not really, not in real life at least. It’s always very disheartening to learn that artists I admire and aspire to be like are aphobic, but that’s just another one for the block list.

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

That I’m not allowed to make dirty jokes! My sibling called me “a weird asexual” for liking a song with a sexual meaning, and almost everyone I’m out to has made comments about how weird it is that I make dirty jokes “despite” being ace. My sexual orientation does not determine the music, comedy, and media I enjoy! I have the humor of a high school aged boy and I won’t let anyone take that from me.

5. Elf Druid
Elf Druid

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

It’s okay, whatever you’re feeling, it’s okay. You’re not broken, and you’re not alone. I wish I had heard about asexuality in high school, it would have saved me so much self hatred. I thought I was so wrong for not being like everyone else. But I’m not wrong for being me! At first I thought I wasn’t “allowed” to be asexual because I had a partner, and we would have sex, and sometimes I would enjoy it. But that doesn’t make me any less ace! As soon as I learned that, and accepted who I was, I know it sounds cheesy but it really did feel like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. It feels so good to be me! I hope every questioning aspec person out there reaches the point where is just feels good to be themselves.

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

I’m on Tumblr civvi-the-civilian, and civvi-draws-lapidot, and on Instagram civvithecivilian. Those are the best places to reach me.

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/civvithecivilian

6. space elf white lines
Space Elf White Lines

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

Interview: Ruby

Today we’re joined by Ruby. Ruby is a wonderful young artist I met at a recent convention I was at. She is a fanartist who specializes in redrawing screencaps. Ruby really loves to focus on characters, particularly characters she enjoys. It’s clear she’s a talented artist with an admirable amount of passion, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. photo (2)

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art mainly consists of screencap redraws of fictional characters from video games, TV shows, or movies. I have autism and get very obsessive over certain characters. I sometimes draw my own ideas but I am not very imaginative so it is difficult for me to think of an idea.

What inspires you?

Mainly I am inspired by fictional characters that stand out to me or I can relate to. For example I really like Shadow the Hedgehog because he’s quiet, prefers to be alone, and had a major struggle in the past like me. I also like to draw characters that I think have an interesting design.

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

I’m not really sure what got me interested to be honest. I drew Sonic characters as a kid and I didn’t really start drawing until I was 13 and thought it would be fun to draw my friend’s favorite Mortal Kombat characters for her. Mainly I draw now to relieve stress but unfortunately do not have a lot of time for it since I started college.

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?

If I am majorly obsessed with a character, I will put a heart or something to show that I am obsessed.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

A lot of artists compare themselves to other artists saying, “I will never be as good as them” and I don’t want people to do that. There will always be someone better than you. Don’t give up, keep drawing and practicing. You don’t even have to take expensive classes, there are hundreds of videos on the Internet of artists sharing their techniques. Do not rush your artwork, make sure you take your time. I know it’s hard not to rush when you’re almost done with a drawing but it’ll look better if you spend more time. Try and take breaks.

2. photo

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual.

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

I have not had any ace prejudice or ace ignorance in my field.

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

When I first revealed to my family I was ace, my parents were okay with it. But my aunts/uncles/grandparents/etc. all tell me that I will change my mind, I am not ready, or have not met the right person. I am an adult. I have never dated. I do not want to be interested. I love being alone. Sex disgusts me.

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

Finding your sexuality can take time. Do not let others control you. I know there is a forum site called AVEN where you can ask questions. Don’t be afraid to research.

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

Nowhere, really. All I have is Snapchat and Discord and I’m barely on those because I’m either in college or working.

3. photo (1)

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

Interview: Eva I.

Today we’re joined by Eva I. Eva is a phenomenal South Asian visual artist and author. She draws portraits and character concepts, using a variety of mediums. As far as writing, Eva is currently working on two fantasy novels, both of which feature asexual protagonists. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist with an incredibly bright future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Character Concept
Character Concept

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m one of those artists who likes to dabble in, well, everything. Over the years, I’ve tried out typography and hand lettering, crafts, music (I still play the ukulele occasionally), writing, and drawing. Out of all those things, I suppose the ones that have stuck with me would be the latter two.

Even with drawing, I can’t make up my mind. My style fluctuates with my mood, the weather, every time I sneeze… This is evident if you scroll through my Instagram feed; it’s like one of those repost accounts featuring different artists. However, I am consistent in the sense that I mainly draw portraits and character concepts, and my preferred medium is digital art – although I do work traditionally, using ink and sometimes watercolours, whenever the fancy strikes me. I’m hoping to branch out and try illustrating more environments in the future.

As for my writing… I’m currently working on two fantasy novels, both of them featuring ace protagonists, because I want to see more ace characters (particularly those of colour) in SFF. I’m a slow writer, especially as my mental and physical health are never that great, but I think I’ve made good progress with both novels. I’m almost done with a passable draft for one of them, which I hope to send out to trusted readers soon. I’m not sure if I want to publish these stories or not – at least, not at this point in my life.

What inspires you?

I draw inspiration (haha) by consuming all kinds of art by all kinds of artists. In fact, I’ve found it pretty inspiring to go through some of the interviews on this blog! Whenever I need to recharge my creative battery, I just read a book, study the works of my favourite artists, watch a movie/show, read/watch interviews, and listen to some music. In addition to that, I also like sleeping? I’m a permanently exhausted pigeon (aka I have a chronic illness) so I tend to sleep a lot; I end up having a ton of cool dreams, which I sometimes weave into my writing.

fish
Fish

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

Creativity runs in the family, so I picked up art as a matter of course when I was very young. I have vague memories of throwing tantrums at the age of five when I couldn’t draw things the way I wanted; thankfully, I’ve since managed to improve my skills (and my temper). I opened my first art account on Facebook when I was fifteen-ish. I deleted that one a few years ago, and started my current accounts on Twitter and Instagram under a pseudonym so I can be more out about myself.

More recently, I started accepting freelance commissions via social media, which has helped expand my reach (and my wallet). I wouldn’t consider this as a career, yet, though. I don’t receive enough commissions to depend upon it as a main source of income, so I have a day job of sorts, and I’m trying to figure out how to get myself yeeted into college.

Writing has also been a huge interest for me since I was a toddler; my earliest memories are of my father telling me stories. I was quick to develop my reading skills, and you would rarely find me without a book to read. From there, it felt natural to me that I would eventually write my own stories. I’m a big fan of fantasy, so I read and write those for the most part. I used to post my writing on Wattpad, but I’m a little more private about my writing at the moment.

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 almost always sign my art, either with ‘EVA’ or ‘evadrawssometimes’. I don’t really hide anything special in my artwork, but there is one thing about them that I can confess to: I sometimes forget to draw eyelashes. I’m not very good at drawing them either. I’m working on it.

In contrast, I think my writing contains many elements that I feel are personal to me; I include puns (multilingual ones, too) and references to real-life events that I’ve experienced personally, or have taken place in my hometown. Those who know, will know.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Your art is a luxury, so if you’re offering commissions, price them as such! You deserve to be compensated for your time and efforts. (Still working on this one myself).

Breaks are good! Don’t burn yourself out just for the sake of updating your social media. Your most dedicated fans will still stick around even if you miss a post or ten. Maintaining a social media presence is not worth the risk of burnout, injury, or even losing passion for your art.

If you’re offering commissions, try to include your contact information on your profiles. Make it easier, not harder, for potential clients to reach you.

Don’t feel obligated to post all your art on social media.

Don’t forget to make art just for yourself sometimes! Even if capitalism says otherwise, you don’t have to monetise all your work/hobbies, particularly when it comes to art.

It is acceptable – and good, even – to use references. It’ll save time, and ultimately it will help you improve.

ilyas
Ilyas

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m ace, I guess. I’m still figuring it out, though I’ve gotten more comfortable with my identity over time. I experience little to no sexual attraction, aesthetic attraction to people of all genders, and romantic attraction mainly towards people who are not of the same gender as myself (I think??).

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

In my field? Not directly, I would say. I choose my audience very carefully, and so far people have been largely accepting. I have come across some misconceptions from others, but thankfully, most people have been receptive to being corrected. I block those who are not interested in changing their minds, and honestly? Best decision I ever made.

I’m not out in other circles except for a select few family members, friends, and my current partner. I only come out to and explain my identity to those who I think will be understanding. I don’t really mind explaining, but it can get exhausting, especially when you’re dealing with people who don’t listen in good faith.

Lake of Voices
Lake of Voices

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

One of the major ones I’ve come across is the conflation of asexuality with aromanticisim, and asexuality with lack of desire for sex; the Venn diagram of those experiences is often seen as a circle, when in reality there are an intersection of various experiences, some of which may or may not overlap depending on the individual.

In addition to that, there are people who believe that the ‘A’ in LGBTQIAP+ stands for ally and not asexual, aromantic, and agender. I’ve also had someone suggest that asexuality was a phase I would outgrow, or that I was simply nervous or afraid. There have been other extremely harmful hot takes I’ve come across on Twitter by trolls, but they’re too numerous and unpleasant to recount.

All of these misconceptions seem to multiply during Pride month, which is disappointing but not surprising.

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

I would say… be open to the possibilities, and don’t be too worried about taking your time figuring yourself out. It’s also okay to decide on another label in the future; it does not negate the label itself nor your experience while using it. Ultimately, it’s your identity and you are in control of deciding who you are. Even if you’re not comfortable with/able to come out to certain people, I hope you get to feel confident about your own sense of self.

I’ve also managed to connect with a lot of aces during my time on Twitter, which has been a big help in affirming and discovering more about my identity – and, incidentally, picking up on quality ace puns (and pins. Gotta love well-designed merch by ace/LGBTQIAP+ artists).

Finally, I highly recommend checking out The Asexual (http://theasexual.com), an online journal about asexuality run by Michael Paramo. The site includes content like essays, artwork, and personal pieces, contributed by ace people of various backgrounds. The Asexual has helped me pick apart many of my own misconceptions and find joy in being who I am. You can find The Asexual on Twitter as asexualjournal (https://twitter.com/asexualjournal).

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

You can find me on Twitter as isthispigeon (https://twitter.com/isthispigeon), where I sometimes post my art and accept art commissions, but mostly tweet about art-related shenanigans. If you want to get to know me, or commission me in a more informal setting, that’s the place to go!

I’m also on Instagram as evadrawssometimes (http://instagram.com/evadrawssometimes), if you want to see all my art in one place without getting distracted by random thoughts and terrible puns (though they sometimes work their way into the captions). I accept commissions there as well.

I have a few phone wallpapers available on my Buy Me A Coffee account (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/isthispigeon), if that’s something you might be interested in.

Finally, if social media is not for you or if you wish to contact/commission me in a more professional setting, you can reach me via email: eva (dot) isq4 (at) gmail (dot) com. Currently, my writing is not available anywhere.

Shampoo ad Alucard
Shampoo ad Alucard

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

Interview: Ria

Today we’re joined by Ria, who also goes by rainbowbarfeverywhere. Ria is a phenomenal character animator and digital illustrator. She has worked on a TV show and does animation for a living. On her free time, Ria loves to draw. She does a lot of fanart and enjoys focusing on friendships between characters. It’s clear she loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Ace Week 2018
Ace Week 2018

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I part time as a character animator in an outsourcing studio, Toon City Animation. I’ve only been working there for a year and I’ve worked on the television series Big Hero 6. Though I’ve been animating for a while now, I haven’t really made any personal animations though I hope to do some someday.

I mostly draw fanart in my free time. I’m a digital artist and I mostly use Clip Studio Paint and Adobe Photoshop. I love drawing for anime and other animated series or films. I’m not as active as the average fanartist but I love drawing for fan events like fandom weeks or big bangs. Although I used to be a big shipper and drew my pairings all the time, now I like to focus on individual characters and friendships.

What inspires you?

When I fall in love with a work, a character, or a relationship, I want to convey my love for it through art. When I appreciate something, I want others to appreciate it too and I can do that either by exchanging ideas or thoughts, or by making fanart of that something. It’s my little way of giving more love to the series.

I also get inspired by other fanartists. Their skills become a goal I want to work towards. When I see an artwork that stops me at my feet, I become driven to also touch someone like that.

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

I’ve been drawing forever. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t draw. Even as far back as preschool, I already remember when I drew my favorite cartoons. Art is a part of me and I can’t imagine myself without it. When I thought about what I wanted to do in life, it seemed like a no-brainer to be an artist of some kind.

Becoming an animator came later in my life. I, at one point in my childhood, wanted to be an animator since that was the only field I thought I could work in as an artist. But I let go of that dream pretty early on. I had to be practical and while I liked my drawings, I didn’t think they were exceptional.

The opportunity to learn animation and become an animator only came late into my university life. I had taken a leave of absence and my cousin told me about an animation workshop that happened near me. I fell in love with animation instantly.

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 used to have a special cat symbol that I always included in my drawings when I was young. I used it as a sort of artist signature. I did realize later on that it would be hard to identify whose signature it was unless you were already familiar with me. In the end, I just use my artist handle when I want to sign my work. It makes things easier for my audience.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Love both yourself and your work. It will be hard to get far and stay far in life if you don’t.

You will never be satisfied if you don’t love your work and people can feel the emotion you put into your work. Without love, it will be hard to touch other people’s hearts. You also need to take care of yourself. So many artists have fallen sick or died because they didn’t care for themselves. There can be no art if there are no artists. Be kind to yourself.

2. Yamakage (march 13, 2016)
Yamakage

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aromantic asexual.

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

I don’t share my sexuality to a lot of people. Only a handful of people in real life know that I’m ace and none of them are people I know from work.

On the other hand, I’m open about my sexuality online. I have it in my description and I occasionally talk about it in my posts or tweets. Still, I only interact with an intimate amount of people online. While I don’t hide my asexuality, only the people I interact with would know. And I make sure that the people in my internet circle are accepting.

I’ve never been outright attacked or singled out, but I’ve seen hate for my sexuality in different parts of the internet. I simply choose not to engage in them because I feel they won’t listen to me either way.

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

The two most common misconceptions about asexuality is that it’s only temporary (that it’s a phase or asexual people just haven’t found the right person yet) and that there’s something wrong with us for us to feel this way. People think that we’re just misguided and need to be taken to the right path.

But asexuality is just a part of us. Just because we’re not attracted to other people that way doesn’t mean that we’re broken. It just means that we care more about our friendships and families. There’s nothing missing in our lives just because we don’t have a significant other.

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

No matter what anyone says, you and what you’re feeling are valid. There’s nothing wrong with you and you’re not broken just because you don’t feel that kind of attraction for other people. There’s more to life than romantic love or sex. It can be just as fulfilling with the people you have in your life.

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

My primary account is at Twitter and you can find me here: https://twitter.com/rainbowbarf_/

I’m also at Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rainbowbarfeverywhere/

You can support me through Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/rainbowbarfeverywhere

3. Galaxy (april 16, 2016)
Galaxy

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

Interview: Annie O’Quinn

Today we’re joined by Annie O’Quinn. Annie is a phenomenal artist who was previously interviewed for asexual artists. However, she has recently released her first novel and is very eager to speak about it. She writes queer urban fantasy, so you know it’s going to be an awesome read. Annie is a dedicated and 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.

TDR_8x5_cover_front

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an author and concept illustrator, meaning I write books but I also design book covers and other illustrations that are meant to tell a specific story or message. I lean towards urban fantasy in both, along with having a focus on diversity. My recently released book, The Defined Role, is a queer urban fantasy and I was also the artist of the cover!

What inspires you?

Different things at different times! For instance, The Defined Role was inspired by theatre heavily, along with the city of Charleston, South Carolina. There are many books that have inspired me, many pieces of art, and honestly? My friends. With them, I know I can talk freely, and they let me ramble on about my ideas and their excitement fuels me to the point a small rambling idea becomes fully fledged projects easily.

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

I’m pretty sure I knew I wanted to be an artist and author before I knew that’s what I could be. I drew all the time and that was definitely what clicked first as something I knew I wanted to do. It was definitely animation that originally got my attention and everything evolved as I grew up. I still wrote, mostly fanfiction, for a long time before realizing that, oh, I can write, too! Now I would say a part of the reason it interested me, as far as taking it seriously, was the community, too. I wouldn’t have believed I could do it for a living without them.

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?

Oh hmm… I wouldn’t say I have a signature. Although, in writing, my editors can tell you how much I love em dashes. Many of them were edited out, don’t worry! Other than that, I can show the cover of my upcoming novel, The Defined Role! Drawn by yours truly. 🙂 Along with the summary:

It is said that when you die, one of three things happen: You receive an offer to become a demon, an offer to become an Angel, or you receive no offer at all.

Samuel Stewart wants nothing more than to be an Exorcist. Convinced a demon was responsible for his sister’s apparent suicide, he has strived to prevent the same from happening to others. However, he thinks his chances at fighting demons is lost once he’s deemed unqualified to be an Exorcist. It’s only when he learns of Davis Turner – the youngest person to have ever been possessed and survive – that his hope is rekindled.

Davis wants absolutely nothing to do with Exorcists. He’d much rather lose himself to a character on stage than to a demon, but his childhood possession has left him vulnerable to demons, and a risk to those around him.

What starts out as a wary friendship turns into something neither of them want to live without, but when the Charleston Exorcist Squad drafts Davis as their new member, the horrors of being an Exorcist are revealed. Davis must struggle to come out of the draft unscathed, while Samuel must go on a journey within himself to accept the truths of his past ideals and search for something to fill the void left behind.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It’s okay to not be successful right away. It’s okay if you can’t draw or write every day, because the truth is? As an artist, you’re always working on something. Taking care of yourself and experiencing the world is part of the process of being creative. Just make sure it brings you joy first and the results will follow.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m panromantic asexual! I thought I was demisexual before learning it was more about the attraction than the willingness to be sexual.

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

Oh definitely. I’ve definitely been called a prude. Honestly, I just handle it by knowing their wrong and not engaging. I’ve realized that the best way to continue and take care of myself is to just let it go. The arguments I used to have did nothing but give me negativity. I definitely think those arguments should be had, but accepting I’m not one of the people who can really made it much easier.

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

That we’re cishets and can pass as such, honestly. Oh, and that it automatically means I won’t like sex jokes. I mean it’s always good to ask if those type of jokes are okay first, but I was a theatre major, I was surrounded by it. As far as passing, though, it’s hilarious because I am ace… and I have a partner who is a transman. They just aren’t anything close to synonyms, not to mention gender has nothing to do with sexuality.

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

Labels aren’t necessary, but if you think it fits, then explore it. But explore it like you explore what you want to do for a living, just like artists. It can change over the years, you can know when you’re born or discover if extremely late in life. Picking a label now doesn’t mean it’s permanent. People change, but self-awareness also grows. Just let yourself enjoy who you are now.

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

You can find my author blog at annieoquinn.tumblr.com or, if you want to see fanart and mostly just my art in general, my art blog is aoqart.tumblr.com. I have an author website that is annieoquinn.com and you can find my book on GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46117235-the-defined-role

Here’s a link to my Tumblr post with all the different places people can buy it: https://annieoquinn.tumblr.com/post/185942115382/you-can-find-it-internationally-as-an-ebook

But also here’s Amazon for the US for a straight (lol) link: https://tinyurl.com/y5unodag

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

Interview: Ellannra Kingfisher

Today we’re joined by Ellannra Kingfisher. Ellannra is a phenomenal writer and photographer. She writes a lot of poetry and short stories. Ellanra is also currently working on a novel that she hopes to publish one day. It’s clear that she’s a dedicated and passionate writer with a very bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Photo_01

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am, first and foremost, a writer. I write both poetry and stories, and I am currently working on a novel that I hope to get published one day. I am also a photographer, mostly in micro photography, but I also do the occasional landscape or wildlife photo.

What inspires you?

My main inspiration has always been the way real, modern life relates to fantasy, history, and mythology. So much of our day-to-day lives is still dictated by the patterns we learned from our ancestors, both real and not-so-real.

Poem_01

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

I didn’t learn to read until I was almost in Kindergarten. Most kids at least learn the basics long before that, but I just never had anyone try to sit down and teach me. When I finally did learn, though, I couldn’t get enough. By the time I reached second grade, I was reading Harry Potter on the playground at recess. I had pretty much decided by the time I reached middle school that I would be an author one day.

Photo_02

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 have both a signature of my pseudonym and a logo. Right now, they aren’t featured in any of my works, but that’s because they would detract from my photos and I haven’t published any written works yet. They are, however, visible on my Tumblr (which I’ve included below), and when I eventually get either a novel or a book of my photos published, they’ll be in that.

Logo
Logo
Signature
Signature

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Find something you enjoy. If you don’t genuinely enjoy it, you’ll never get anywhere with it. I can’t tell you how many stories I have had to abandon because I started writing with a purpose and got so lost in that purpose that I forgot to have fun. Let yourself be distracted. If you see something shiny, go chase it down. Odds are, that shiny thing is your next piece of inspiration.

Photo_03

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual, sex repulsed, and homoromantic.

Poem_02

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

Whenever I tell people about my stories, a lot of them tend to wonder where the romantic part is. “How can you expect to sell a book with no love story in it?” My response is always the same: “If I am writing about dragons, then why would I include something as distracting as a romance? If I want to read about pirates, then I want to read about pirates, not the hot guy or pretty lady who lives on that one seaside colony.”

Photo_04

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

People, in general, tend to think asexuality is a moral/ethical choice. When I try to say, no, the thought of sex physically disgusts me, they just think I’m adamant about staying chaste and virtuous. The only way I’ve been able to explain it so far where people who do experience sexual attraction understand is this: “Imagine I take a piece of bread, a shallow pan of water, and a sunny place. Those three combined creates moldy bread. Now, you take two people, feelings, and hormones, and you get sex. Factually interesting, on a level of ‘this plus this equal this. Huh. Neat.’ Now imagine eating my moldy bread, and you’ll get the same instinctive ‘nope’ that I get at the thought of having sex.”

Poem_03

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

There are going to be people who tell you asexuality doesn’t exist, that you’re just too young, once you stop focusing on this or that you’ll find someone who’s right for you, etc. Don’t listen to them. Nobody in this entire universe knows you the way you know yourself. They don’t hear the thoughts that run through your head, they don’t feel the emotions you feel, and they certainly can’t dictate what you feel and what you don’t. So just don’t pay attention when they try.

Photo_05

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

You can find me on Tumblr at ellannra-kingfisher.tumblr.com. You can also email me at ellannra.kingfisher@gmail.com. I am always willing to answer questions and share details about my work!

Photo_06

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

Interview: Hannah

Today we’re joined by Hannah. Hannah is a phenomenal visual artist whose current focus is on digital art, though they have worked in traditional mediums as well. Hannah does a fair amount of fanart, but they also have a lot of original work as well. It’s clear they’re a passionate artist who loves what they do. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Asexual Ace
Asexual Ace

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Currently I’m putting most of my focus into digital art and graphic design. I tend to sketch everyday nonetheless. I love acrylic painting, but watercolor definitely happens to be my favorite traditional medium. Most of my art nowadays is done in Photoshop with a Wacom Intuos tablet. My art is mostly about people, bodies, and the mind. I’m hoping to branch out and do more landscapes or animal based drawings, but I haven’t found the inspiration for it. Aside from fanart of video games, musicals, or shows, I like to draw a lot about personal struggles. I have a lot of pride themed art on my account as of this moment. 🙂

What inspires you?

Impressionist and expressionist style paintings have always been a key focal point in my art growing up. I’ve definitely branched out and taken aspects from comic books and even animated movies, though. On top of that, I especially love music. Whenever I’m in a funk, or have art block, music is generally the best way for me to slip out of it.

2. Pan Prince
Pan Prince

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

As a young kid I’ve always just been drawn to painting and art. I’ve always dreamed of being an artist, but that mentality has kinda slipped away over the years. I still love art, but I don’t think I could ever follow it as a full time career. Nonetheless, I am currently studying graphic design to keep my creative juices flowing.

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?

When I did more traditional art I always tried to hide my name in paintings. However, this has gotten harder for me with digital art. I’ll probably start doing it again soon, but as of this moment my main signature is just my first name in Korean.

3. Red & Blue
Red & Blue

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

PRACTICE. I feel like everyone says that, but practice is the best way to improve your art and get better. It can be discouraging seeing amazing artists around, but you have to work hard to improve yourself. I like to take aspects of other artists’ work and see how I can mold it into my own. That’s not to say copy other people, but inspiration from already existing works can really help you take steps to finding your stride. Secondly, for anybody who likes drawing books and how to guides, do yourself a favor and actually read the words. The pictures are pretty and nice to look at, but reading the meat of the books is really helpful.

4. Depression in Blue
Depression in Blue

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I currently identify as demiromantic asexual. For me I personally use the split attraction model. I don’t experience sexual attraction to anybody, but I’d be open to dating someone of any gender assuming I have a decent relationship with them.

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

I’ve met many people who find asexuality stupid or invalid. Some people have changed their minds upon further research, but others aren’t as informed or kind. There are certain situations where I do try to lay down some facts as one would with any other kind of LGBTQ+ style problem, but I have had to learn when to back off. Some people just won’t bother trying to respect aces. It sucks, but sometimes not interacting with toxic people is the best way to go.

5. Anxiety in Red
Anxiety in Red

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

People tend to be inherently confused about asexuality as a whole. Often times people think I’m too young to decide, or I just haven’t met the right person yet. Other people don’t see how you can be asexual and like someone romantically; they assume the two attractions are tightly connected for everyone.

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

Sexuality can be fluid for many; at a younger age you might not have everything quite figured out. BUT DO NOT WORRY! What you’re feeling is valid and OK no matter what others tell you. If you identify as ace now, but don’t feel the same later, you’re still valid, and that’s ok! If you discover your ace and have sex or you feel like something has invalidated you, don’t worry. If you identify as asexual, you are 100% normal and valid even if you don’t feel like it. 🙂

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

As of this moment my social media presence is tiny; I don’t have a huge following. Though if anyone is interested in finding my art I am _conspiracy_of_ravens_ on Instagram.

6. SpiderGwen
SpiderGwen

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

Interview: Rochyne

Today we’re joined by Rochyne. Rochyne is a phenomenal visual artist whose art almost defies definition. It’s a fascinating combination of physical objects, performance, and stories. It’s almost abstract in its presentation. It’s clear Rochyne is a dedicated and imaginative individual with a unique vision. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

spb_0442 copy

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art used to be on paper, and then it became objects, now it seems to live in the place between stories, performance and interactions.

A little bit of my website blurb:

My work is about sharing knowledge; expanding expectations; uncovering what has been there all along; providing a moment where nothing else is important; testing boundaries and learning what can be done with what happens to be there.

It involves imagination, participation, movement, journeys, interaction, perspective, a contrast of soft and hard. Usually made on my own, I give my pieces to the world and the people, and let them discover what both the object and themselves can achieve. I want to open eyes; initiate freedom; spark a new way of thinking.

What inspires you?

People, places, sounds, words, stories, feelings. Anything really.

Recently the outdoors, climbing, birds, the sky, falling, failing have all been in the forefront of my mind.

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

I have always had an interest in art, I just find it hard to fully commit. I stumbled upon the sort of in-between field I find myself in. having a performative aspect in my art, I found the MA course I am just finishing (Performance Design) and from that, what I consider my art, or art in general, to be has broadened massively.

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 rather than a unique signature, my work mostly always includes some type of conversation or invitation.

I also like cubes.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t talk yourself down. Your art is worth it, and your time is not being wasted.

Work hard, be honest and find people who inspire you.

Don’t be afraid to get a ‘real job’ on the side, as long as it doesn’t sap all of your energy.

Talk, reach out, value others art.

19247842_10210507403581177_7800485706382590778_n

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

This is a difficult question as I am not really sure. I think I identify as asexual some days and maybe less so on others. But mostly I quietly think of myself as asexual.

It’s a process I am still working through, so I sometimes find it awkward to speak about, and this, in my mind, means I may not have fully realised whereabouts my identity sits. As a general rule, I don’t enjoy assigning fixed labels; I believe most things exist in a fluid notion. So I guess to sum up; asexual-ish.

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

Ignorance for sure, I think I just try to handle it by opening a dialogue inviting the ideas of identities all existing on a spectrum, if they can’t get their head around that I think I try to accept that they might not be open to those ideas. I haven’t experienced any openly aggressive/abusive responses, and I hope to never have to deal with these.

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

That they don’t exist. This is frustrating, and I think just a sign of the times and that we don’t talk enough. More dialogue around so many topics would help people hiding away and feeling that they are alone.

I find it frustrating when people associate asexuality and aromatic incorrectly, its an assumption that people shouldn’t have the freedom to express.

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

As hard as it may be, accepting and talking can be helpful.

Also just to tell them that they are not broken.

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

Ohh amazing.

People can find me here: https://www.instagram.com/rochyne/
or here https://rochynedm.wixsite.com/portfolio
or here: https://rochyne.wordpress.com/
Tumblr: https://rochyne.tumblr.com/

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

Interview: Sarah Neila Elkins

Today we’re joined by Sarah Neila Elkins. Sarah is a phenomenal writer and visual artist who specializes in novels and comics. She enjoys writing the speculative genres and her work features asexual protagonists. It’s clear she’s a talented artist who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

 

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make fantasy, horror, and sci-fi novels and comics featuring asexual protagonists. Since 2015 I have been more active writing novels than creating comics due to having angio fibro dysplasia, a type of chronic ossifying tennis elbow that kept me from using my right hand for almost a year. I had to relearn how to draw as a result.

What inspires you?

I want to make stories that I want to read. I’m asexual but didn’t know that was a thing until I was an adult and I have tons of queer friends but, although it is more common to see LGBTQIA+ characters in stories it’s less common to see them in fantasy and horror. I want to write the kinds of tense, action-filled books and comics I like to read but with queer characters.

I also really like Nikola Tesla, so working him or things related to him in stories is fun. I guess it’s like writing fanfiction though I’ve never been good about sticking with anything else for that. Every time I tried writing proper fanfiction whatever I wrote turned into something original without any characters or worlds from whatever the fanfic was supposed to be based on.

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

I’ve been writing and drawing since I was a kid. I daydreamed, a lot. Probably more than was healthy to be honest. Eventually I started writing those daydreams down as a film script because I wanted to make movies. Then I did research on the screenwriter’s guild and realized that would never happen. Granted, that was before indie films got bigger. I decided that I could just draw whatever story I wanted to make so I got into making comics. When my elbow tendons essentially turned to bone I had to give up my comic flatting job, my comic inking job, and comics altogether for a while. It broke my heart but I was able to use a keyboard with my left hand and wrote a novel to deal with the stress and depression I was feeling from losing my only source of income and the only real job I had ever known. That book, Psychic Underground: The Facility is available now from Ninestar Press. Thankfully, I have recovered enough to draw again and even want to make a graphic novel. I’m still writing prose novels and the second book in the Psychic Underground series should come out later this year (2019.)

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?

Nikola Tesla. If he’s not mentioned out-right he or something related to him is in there be it a street name or invention. It’s like ‘Where’s Waldo’ except sometimes I make it very obvious. I also like to put my favorite number in things, 8, as well as Tesla’s favorite numbers 3, 6, and 9.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Be mindful of your body and health. If your arms or hands start hurting try to skip ahead and see an orthopedic surgeon instead of a general doctor. If I had done that I would have skipped about six months of terrible pain and one ER visit. Also, remember that just because someone gets a job or opportunity you wanted that comics and prose writing isn’t Highlander. There’s plenty of room. If you get knocked down, get back up.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am alloromantic asexual.

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

In my field? Years ago a friend who helped me get a big flatting job said something to the effect of “asexuals aren’t queer” but then she worked with another friend of mine who is asexual on a queer anthology that the ace friend told me was welcoming to aces, so maybe her view changed. To be honest she kinda hasn’t talked to me much since the whole incident where she said she thought ace’s weren’t queer and that bothers me. I don’t like not having closure if a friendship is over, you know?

Otherwise I dated an artist for years and when I tried to explain to them I’m asexual and sex-repulsed/genophobic they didn’t take it well. I thought they’d take it better since the main character of their then pretty popular webcomic was aromantic asexual. We wound up breaking up and tried to stay friends but the friendship imploded when my arm trouble got bad. They said some things to me during the relationship that made me doubt myself and they continued to do that when my arm was causing me excruciating pain. I know I wish they would apologize someday but I’ll never get that closure either. I’m not sure if that counts but they were a colleague I looked up to a lot.

Beyond those two instances I have been out of the creative game for a few years due to my arm so I’m just now getting back where I can pursue jobs in both writing and comics. I have little doubt I’ll run across more pronounced cases of ace prejudice and ignorance in the future.

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

The most common misconception about asexuality I’ve encountered is that all asexuals are aromantic, celibate, and sex repulsed or that they want to prevent someone else from having sex. I am celibate but not aromantic. I am sex repulsed and genophobic but I don’t want to prevent others from having sex. I just can’t talk about or see sex for long without having an anxiety attack.

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

You are not alone. You are not broken. Asexuality is a vast spectrum within the queer spectrum. You don’t have to be anything but ace to be queer, either. There’s no real rule that says “you must be asexual AND anything else also queer to qualify as queer.” You can just be asexual and qualify as queer. Anyone who’s not cis heterosexual qualifies as queer. If you’re asexual then by definition you’re not heterosexual. Don’t listen to anyone who claims you’re faking your identity. You are the only person who gets to define who you are.

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

I just launched a personal website: https://www.sarahneilaelkins.com/
I still haunt the hell out of Twitter: https://twitter.com/NeilaK20
I mirror posts on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SarahNeilaElkins/
And on Mastodon: https://mastodon.social/@NeilaK20
And I’m trying to use Instagram more: https://www.instagram.com/neilak20/

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

Announcement: Ace Art Show

Hi all!

I know this is short notice, but I’ve been swamped with work. I still have interviews that need to be scheduled and posted, apologies for that.

One thing that has been occupying the majority of my time has been the Asexual Conference in Vancouver, which I’m co-curating an art show for. I’m hoping some followers of the site might be interested in attending (more information about the conference can be found at the following link: https://asexuality.wixsite.com/conference)

We’ve recently gotten a flyer for the art exhibit:

art exhibit

Aside from co-curating the art exhibit, I shall also be speaking on a panel about being an asexual author. I will probably speak on what it’s like to be an asexual fiction author who also happens to be from a non-traditional family. Copies of my books will be available for sale and I will be more than happy to personalize them for anyone who is interested.

Here’s the flyer for that event:

book launch

I’m hoping to get back in the swing of things soon, but traveling kind of eats up all my time. I’ll figure out a balancing act eventually.

Anyhow, I hope to see some followers of the site at the show!

Thanks everyone!