Interview: Jaime Hawkins

Today we’re joined by Jaime Hawkins. Jaime is a phenomenal visual artist who has a company called Queen Cheetah Designs, which sells enamel pins that she designs. Aside from making enamel pins, Jaime also does quite a lot of fine art. She’s heavily inspired by nature, which shows in her work. It’s clear she’s a driven and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I graduated with a degree in Graphic Design and Printmaking. I’ve always loved learning any type of art I could get my hands on – drawing, painting, digital art – you name it! When I have the time, I enjoy drawing on my tablet and taking on small freelance design jobs. My biggest endeavor, however, is my merchandise company Queen Cheetah Designs. Last year the trend of “Enamel Pins” came back around full force, and I decided to try my hand at designing some! I started out with moths, and have since branched out to beetles, spiders, and other nature inspired pins. It makes me really happy to see my designs come to life as physical merchandise that people like to wear, and it makes me feel like an accomplished artist! My designs did so well that I kept making them, and now I have a pretty successful side job running Queen Cheetah Designs. I hope to branch out in the future to apparel and other merch!

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Beetle Collage

What inspires you?

I think animals and nature have served to be my most important source of inspiration for my drawing and my merchandise design. It’s a subject I have always loved, and there is endless beauty and creativity that can be found in creatures, plants, and our other surroundings. From striking color palettes to unique patterns, as an artist I feel like I can learn so much from what already exists in nature, and apply it to my fine art and design work.

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

From a very young age, I was interested in art. I would doodle on my homework and draw mash ups of animals to play as during recess. I took art lessons with another girl at a local framing shop for a few years, where I learned most of the basics of fine art.

I can’t quite remember how, but “design” specifically caught my eye around middle school. Packaging design, logo design – I found it all really fascinating how much thought went into a design and the finished result. It’s been my driving passion ever since.

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Atlas Group Photo

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 wish I could say I had a signature style, but that is something I still struggle with as an artist. I do tend to enjoy drawing somewhere in between realistic with a fantasy flair thrown in. I’d like to refine this over the next few years, but developing anything in art takes time and practice!

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Swift

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Drawing – Most of what you create will not be for profit, or even for other people. There is a lot of pressure nowadays to instantly start creating and making money, but it’s important to take the time to draw for yourself. Learn what you like to draw and how you want to draw it. It should be fun, not something you feel pressured to do. And no matter what level you are now – just keep going. Practice as often as you can. (DRAW THOSE BACKGROUNDS). Think of how proud younger you would be of your talent now, and strive to make them proud.

Making Merchandise/ Pins – It takes more than an idea to be successful at selling merchandise. It is a tough and tiring job. You have to be your own manager, designer, PR person, and salesman. Kickstarters are a great way to fund a potential design, but be careful that you are prepared to handle the responsibility of ordering your merchandise and fulfilling orders. Don’t jump into it – take time to plan. But if you feel prepared, it can be a very rewarding endeavor!

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Moth collage

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual, Panromantic.

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

Relating to the art/ design field specifically? I would say not really, but then again my art usually doesn’t relate to my sexuality. But there are plenty of individuals you interact with online who are outspoken with the fact that they think it’s “not real” or that “we’ve just had bad experiences”. I try to educate where I can, and when it seems like the people might be receptive. A lot of ideas about asexuality spring from ignorance. Some folks just don’t want to understand though, and sometimes you just have to brush it off and move on. Find solace with others who share your experiences.

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Divided

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

That all asexual people are sex repulsed, and hate all types of physical contact. I’m what you would call a sex apathetic asexual. I have no interest in it, and have no desire to seek it out, but it doesn’t bother me. It’s a light switch that stays off.

It does become a problem when I desire other attention from partners that traditionally leads to sex. Like making out, or cuddling – it’s either all or nothing. This leads to a very frustrated ace that doesn’t feel cherished but feels hypocritical asking for more physical contact “as an ace person”.

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

Asexuality is a spectrum, and everyone experiences it in their own way. Being Ace is really hard at times, especially when it comes to finding a partner. It is important to find someone who respects your comfort levels and communicates with you to find out how to approach that part of your relationship. It’s tempting to push your own comfort levels aside to make them happy, because it may make you feel desired – but it will breed resentment in time if there is no respect for your likes and dislikes as well. For people like us it is especially important to make friends and not rely entirely on having a partner to feel fulfilled.

If you find someone, make sure they love you AS someone who is asexual, not DESPITE the fact you are asexual.

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

You can find all my enamel pins and current merchandise on my Etsy shop -> https://www.etsy.com/shop/QueenCheetahDesigns. You can also follow me on Twitter at Jaime_Hawkins or on Instagram under Jaime_Hawkins_Design to stay up to date on my art and any upcoming designs.

Thank you so much!

8. Rainbow TVhead
Rainbow TVhead

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

Interview: Rachel

Today we’re joined by Rachel. Rachel is a phenomenal artist who does a bit of everything. She writes both fanfiction and original work. She does a fair amount of visual art, mostly drawing using a variety of mediums. As if that’s not impressive enough, Rachel has also done quite a lot of work in theater, both on stage and behind the scenes. It’s clear she’s an extraordinarily talented and passionate individual, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do a ton of art! I write original stories and fanfiction for a variety of genres. I draw, mostly in the traditional sense, and I have a background in theater where I performed, directed, stage managed, was a set designer and constructor for anywhere around 12 productions.

What inspires you?

I am inspires by many things. My drawings are often spur of the moment. They could be inspired by fandom and I’ll create fan art, or be very whimsical and I’ll create some sort of abstract painting.

My writing is often angsty or very light and touching (there’s not much in between most of the time, haha). Fanfiction is inspired by the movie Rise of the Guardians, Spider-Man and Deadpool and occasionally Supernatural! I hope to have more content for these fandoms in the future, and maybe other fandoms, but I have been focusing a little bit more on my original content. I write short stories that are fiction or real-life event inspired. I also have some poem(ish) writing and I’m working on developing my voice. I never want to stick to just one genre because I find so much expression in several forms of writing.

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

I’ve been drawing since I’ve learned to hold a crayon. Writing I’ve always loved and have wanted to create more of. I love reading and when I discovered fanfic, it was an instant attraction. In recent years, I’ve decided I’d like to make publishing a novel one of my life goals.

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?

Honestly no, because my style is always changing and taking on new forms. From paint to markers to pencils to charcoal to fiction to poems I’m always shaking it up.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do it! Do it over and over again and take pictures of the work you draw because one day you can look at an old picture and compare it to your growth and see where you’ve come from and where you are now!

And write of course! Write anything. Your thoughts, your dreams, your observations, your ideas, write it all! Drown in your words. And remember you don’t have to write in order. Sometimes, writing the beginning is so hard, so write that middle part! Write down that action scene and big plot twist and get it out of your head to clear the clutter. Fill in the holes later after you get that burning inspiration to write that one scene because the rest might become easier after doing that.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a cis gendered female with she/her pronouns and panromantic asexual.

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

Absolutely, I had a long term relationship end because I began to ID as ace. My parents don’t fully understand my sexuality and I come across it in social media a lot. I just remind myself that I am valid, I’m not alone, I have support from friends, and that I can get through peoples ignorance because I know who I am.

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

I have been called a plant (as in I will only reproduce with myself, which never made sense) and that I’m prude. I’ve also been told that I just “haven’t met the right person” which is to say I’ll feel sexual desire and attraction when the right person comes into my life.

I’m not a late bloomer. I’m ace, and that’s okay.

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

Don’t let other peoples judgement and opinions weigh you down. Seek allies. We’re out here and you are a valid, wonderful and a real person. You are not broken.

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

Oh! Look me up! On…

Tumblr: FrostedDragonHeart (Eternal Believer) and wrayghtings (Endless Words)
Fanfiction.net: FrostedDragonHeart
Fictionpress.com: FrostedDragonHeart
Instagram: rachelart_s

I accept DM/PMs on all of these so please feel free to chat with me!

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

Interview: Chloe

Today we’re joined by Chloe. Chloe is a wonderful young artist who is just starting out. She’s a writer and visual artist. She does both digital and traditional art. For writing, she writes fanfiction, poetry, and occasionally original fiction. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist with a bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

eleanor

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am both a writer and an artist. I do digital and traditional works as well as writing fanfiction, poems, and the occasional original fiction piece. I’ve always been pretty creative, finding enjoyment in expressing myself through the hobbies I love. My artwork and writing certainly aren’t of any professional quality, but I believe they’re good enough to qualify me as an artist of sorts, even if no art has any real qualifications.

What inspires you?

Often times, I find inspiration in other works. It might be an idea, a color, a theme: if it catches my eye, I try to incorporate it in a creative way. On top of that, I also find inspiration in lyrics and sometimes even in everyday experiences!

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

When I was younger, I drew occasionally, but I never really felt like it was something for me. By the time I was 10 years old, though, I was writing stories often and trying to teach myself to draw! There wasn’t anything that really brought it on – I just thought that art was cool and I loved reading stories made by other people. On top of that, I was (and still am) an anime fan, so the art style inspired me. I just thought it was pretty, and I went off of that to develop my own artistic style. Well, its not complete in any means, but it’s something.

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?

Well, I have a literal signature, which you’ll see on nearly all of my drawings. Other than that, though, I don’t believe there’s anything unique in my art or writing that tells it apart from another’s. I wish I could say it’s unique to me. I excessively use adverbs (a habit I’m trying to break) and I draw in an anime-influenced style, but my work is hardly the only type of it’s kind, unfortunately.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do not give up. If it’s your dream, go for it. Power through. Learn. Create. Your art is your art, whatever that may be. The world is cruel – people are cruel! – don’t let that change you. Your life is your life: pursue it.

promise

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m demisexual. Sort of in the middle, I guess.

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

Yeah. I’m a part of a lot of communities, but prejudice is especially present on Tumblr. Asexuals are definitely discriminated against, but it almost seems worse for demisexuals. I’ve seen many people – artists – say that demisexuality is not real, that it’s just a preference. It really gets me upset sometimes because it makes me feel unwelcome and ‘wrong.’ People are so unaccepting of what they don’t understand. I’m afraid that if I express myself completely that I’ll only end up hurt. Often, I’m afraid to even mention that I am demisexual. Most of the time, I just say I’m heterosexual for fear of backlash.

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

I’ve heard people assume that asexual people do not have a sex drive and such, but that isn’t always the case. Though, as for demisexuality, many people assume that we only have intercourse with people we get to know, or as they describe: “are not a hoe.” They assume that our sexuality is the norm for everyone, so it must not really exist. However, that’s a misunderstanding. Demisexuality is the lack of sexual attraction unless a close emotional bond is formed. In other words, I won’t find an attractive celebrity ‘hot’ because I don’t know them well or even at all. People aren’t aware of this.

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

You’re not broken. You’re not wrong. You are who you are and some people may mock you. Some won’t accept you. It’ll be hard sometimes, but we’re here. Your identity is valid. Your feelings are valid. People are cruel, but I promise you that what you’re feeling is so, so okay. What you feel is your business and it is perfectly okay. You’re doing just fine – amazing, even. Nothing you feel is wrong. Don’t let people convince you otherwise. They don’t know how you feel; people can’t understand what they don’t feel. It’s okay. I promise.

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

You can check my Tumblr or DeviantArt page! I’m more active on Tumblr, but I still post all complete artwork on DeviantArt. My DeviantArt username is cofstars, as well as my Tumblr url. They’re my most active platforms. Though, my Tumblr page had a lot more info than the latter!

received_243701573168280

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

Interview: Faith

Today we’re joined by Faith. Faith is a wonderful artist who does a bit of everything. She paints, writes, sings, plays instruments, and draws. She’s most passionate about dancing. Faith loves to dance. It’s clear she’s a passionate and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do a large variety of different art forms such as dance, singing, acting, instruments, drawing, painting, and more. I think the one that I’ve focused on the most would be dance. Dance has been one of those things that I started super young, 5 years old, and I have continued to do for so many years. It is like a safe haven for me. It is a way for me to let go of the world around me and just let my emotions out. I honestly can’t imagine my life without it.

What inspires you?

Nature and emotions inspire me mostly. I guess some combination of the two. I always feel so at peace outside in nature, as cheesy as it sounds, watching a cloud roll by or the rays of the sun through the trees. A lot of my movement comes from watching a river flow or a leaf caught in the wind. Surprisingly or not so surprisingly rain and puddles are where I find some of my most interesting ideas. Nature is never stagnate, and there is a lot to be found in the ever changing world.

As for emotions, there are such hidden depths to every single person out there. The raw emotions people don’t normally see are such an interesting thing to experience or choreograph with. Music choice works extremely well with this too, as music is supposed to evoke feelings. A slow dramatic piece could work with feelings of longing or sorrow while an uplifting song could focus on joy or peace.

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

Kind of embarrassing but the Barbie movie the Nutcracker is what got me started dancing. I realize now that the dancing on there is very bad but hey, I was 5. At the time I thought it was the best thing I had ever seen and I have been hooked on art ever since. This obviously snowballed into so many different types of arts like music, visual, performing, to the point of I can’t imagine my life without art. It is so integral to who I am that I have never imagined being anything other than an artist.

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

I don’t have one specific thing that occurs in all of my dances. I guess one of the most common things that occurs would be using music from movie, TV, or video game soundtracks but I wouldn’t really call that a unique signature. I’m just a huge geek!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t let anyone bring you down. You don’t become a prima ballerina overnight and you will fall down. Nobody is perfect and we have to accept that. One of the biggest things I see when people start dancing is being constantly being discouraged by corrections or criticism. The best thing you can do is take the corrections and learn from them. You will grow as a dancer, an artist, and a person. You have to remember that everyone started where you are now, and they used hard work and dedication to achieve their dreams. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I believe I am asexual and heteroromantic. I’m not entirely sure about the romantic side of me, I may be demiromantic, but I am definitely positive that I am asexual. I haven’t been in many situations where I can explore my sexuality further but that may just be because I generally avoid situations where people can give me romantic interest.

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

I haven’t really found that much prejudice is my field mainly because it is rarely talked about. That and most people I talk to don’t really know that much about asexuality. The main issue I have found is just the heteronormality and hypersexualized nature in the world. There are many dances that I have been in where the dance is fun until the choreographer decides to add in a sexualized section in order to draw the crowd in. It makes me uncomfortable to watch or perform and it is normally unnecessary.

I will say that where I perform, homosexual relationships are represented and choreographed which is quite refreshing. But there is no asexual representation.

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

That either we don’t exist or that people automatically assume that asexual people are all sex repulsed. I know that many of us don’t want sex, don’t like sex, or are even repulsed by it but there is a large amount of us who don’t mind sex. I don’t know where I fall on the whole sex spectrum but I do have an asexual friend who rants to me about the topic. She says that she enjoys the act of sex even if she isn’t sexually attracted to someone.

I guess another misconception that I have seen is that people would think that asexuality is just a low sex drive. An imbalance in chemicals. That it can be “fixed.” Asexuality is an orientation just like any other sexuality. There is nothing wrong with it nor is there anything wrong with an asexual person.

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

Have a good support system. One of the things that has helped me the most with my sexuality would be having people who understand and respect me. It has helped cure my insecurities and accept who I am.

Just remember that you are not alone. There are so many of us out there in the world who have been exactly where you are now. You are not broken. You are not weird or wrong or even a freak. There are people out there that can support you and that do accept you. There is more love for asexuals than hate. Focus on that.

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

I don’t post a lot of my work online but I do have some on my Instagram account. It is a private account so if you want to see anything just DM me and tell me you saw this post and I’ll let you follow me! At kitten0981.

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

Interview: KelbremDusk

Today we’re joined by KelbremDusk. KelbremDusk is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in digital art. She does a bit of everything, including webcomics. Her work is eerie and interesting to look at. It’s clear she’s a passionate individual who loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

12-13x

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a digital artist, I’ve been working with a tablet for about 11 years now. I was never big on traditional art, even when I didn’t have access to a tablet but recently I’ve been trying to get into oil painting and so far it’s been kinda fun.

I draw everything from original to fanart and even in comics. I have a webcomic which is unfortunately in hiatus right now but I also make short comics for my various characters and worlds.

On the side I’m currently working on a novel, which I hope to finish this year (or at least early next year) called Black Sun Rising. Four friends on a post apocalypse roadtrip with no main character romance.

What inspires you?

I get inspiration from everything. Stories, movies, illustrations, photographs, everyday objects. It’s wild. The more abstract I can make something that would normally be mundane and boring, the more fun it is to work with.

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

This was never really a plan of mine. I just kinda started drawing around 2004, I drew a lot before that but something just made me keep going. Boredom, the need for a creative outlet. I didn’t have a lot of friends, didn’t go out much. Mostly stayed at home in front of the TV. So I needed something to do.

I guess Anime was the thing that really made me keep going. Especially Inuyasha and Wedding Peach and Doremi.

And the new novel writing stuff, that also just kinda happened. I’ve been working on that story in my head for about 4 years at that point and I wanted to make it into a comic first but that would have taken ages and it got really demotivating. So one day at work, while my boss was out, I just opened up word and kept writing and writing. By the end of the day I had the prologue done.

Sometimes things just happen I guess???

aceincubiclub

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 boy, if I were to reveal more of my stories, you’d certainly see a pattern in them. Especially when it comes to family. Lots of single parents … or no parents at all.

Another thing would be about two characters which show up in every story in some way. Either as an actual character, a background character, the name of a cafe, a street name etc. Look out for that.

And my unique signature you might even be able to see on the pictures featured in this interview. The winged skull wearing a crown. No real symbolism behind it other than 1. Skulls are cool, 2. Crowns are dope and 3. I only added the wings to make the logo rectangular.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Find a medium that suits you and go nuts with it. If you suck at watercolor, even after countless hours and desperately trying, watercolor might not be your thing and that’s ok! “Practice makes perfect” but sometimes you just gotta acknowledge that you can’t be the best in every medium.

Look at references! Poses, faces, buildings, plants. You are not obligated to draw everything from memory. Nobody is going to come for you for drawing from a reference. The old masters did it, so you’re allowed do it as well!

cherubim

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am an Aromantic Asexual. I dabbled in many different identities in my search to find the right one and about 4 years ago, after lots of back and forth and self-reflection, I settled on this.

It was a long journey to come to this conclusion. I spent my entire school life thinking something is wrong with me for never falling in love with anyone, while my friends and classmates had boyfriends and girlfriends. This continues into my time at trade school. Where I even had people telling me that they’re interested in me romantically but for me it was just … never an option. I don’t know how to behave around such people. I’d have to let them touch me and they’d want to be around me and my social battery is just not capable for that amount of affection.

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

Most prejudice and ignorance I get is not at work cuz my coworkers or boss doesn’t care. It was from classmates and trade school and my own family (mostly my dad).

“What do you mean you don’t want to have children?” and “Oh you just haven’t found the right one yet” are the most common. I never outright day that I’m asexual, to avoid awkward conversations, but I say “I don’t date” and for some reason that really grinds people’s gears???

Like I said, my dad is the worst one. He’d constantly ask me when I’d bring my boyfriend over and it made me so uncomfortable. Or whenever I had a good announcement he’s ask “Are you pregnant?” He thankfully stopped doing that for now thanks to his new wife (who is super lovely and really understanding). Whenever he brought up the topic I’d just roll my eyes and tell him to shut up.

I was never able to tell my mom about my asexuality before she died, but I’m positive that she would be understanding as well. She already accepted that I never brought home any boyfriends and didn’t even ask or pester me about it. So I feel like she knew.

persona FC_eulenspiegel

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

According to some, all asexuals are just plants and have no libido. Wrong, there’s different types of aces just like there’s different types of gays and lesbians and bi people. Some aces are sex repulsed, but not all. Some aces enjoy a good wank at the end of the day and some don’t. People are different and you can’t throw them all in the same drawer.

“Oh you’re just saying you’re asexual because you can’t find anyone to date you!”

Fam, no, that is the complete opposite of what I’m telling you. I don’t want to “find anyone to date” I don’t date. It’s simple as that.

True fire obsidian

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

You will feel alone, you’ll feel pain, you’ll feel like there’s nobody in the world who feels like you but I will tell you now that that’s not true. Don’t force yourself to do things you don’t want to do just because you think you might be broken. You’re not broken, you never were.

Go into yourself, find yourself, acknowledge and cherish the things that make you happy.

I still feel extremely alone, I haven’t found many people who feel like me yet but I’m hoping that through this I can reach out to some of them.

I can always lend an ear for anything.

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

Here’s a bunch of links you can find me on and look through more of my work.

Tumblr: http://kelbremdusk.tumblr.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1NaDNqgbf5SN5HnfYiOR-A
Twitter (although there’s barely anything): https://twitter.com/eatshitdr0pdead
My webcomic: https://tapas.io/Kelbremdusk
and my NSFW discord server (you can pm me for that one)

life

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

Interview: Tina Speece

Today we’re joined by Tina Speece, who also goes by tinadrawsstuff. Tina is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in pinups and portraits. She mostly does black and white and grayscale. Her work is beautiful and has an extraordinary amount of detail. It’s clear she’s a talented and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Pink Pop Dress
Pink Pop Dress

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My name is Tina, and I’m multimedia artist-illustrator with a deep love of stories and storytelling. I love color, but I wind up working in black and white and grayscale a lot for reasons I still haven’t figured out. Pinups and portraits are my bread-and-butter and I take a lot of pride in making things “cute”.

What inspires you?

Stories!  Especially the way themes cycle and recycle and how we relate to those themes.  Cautionary tales disguised as kids’ bedtime stories, campfire scare stories that you know by heart but still a net a scream in the right atmosphere, stories “you think you know BUT” with some aspect changed [anything sympathetic to the monstrous is my favorite in this category]–there are patterns and beats that are older than time, but they still draw us in and we still keep going to those themes no matter what the world is like, and that’s so amazing to me!

2. Flapper Carmilla
Flapper Carmilla

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

Funny story: my 4th grade art teacher told me I had no talent for art and needed to pick a new elective, which as a highly impressionable child pretty much destroyed any confidence I could’ve had at any point as a kid.  I switched to vocal music and theater and didn’t really make any art for a long time after that.  I was still fascinated by visual arts but since I “had no talent” for it, I settled for watching tons of movies and cartoons and writing fanfiction, and telling myself “This is good, this is fine”.

Then I got to college, and was planning to go on as an English major.  My first semester (like most everybody’s first semester) was a hodgepodge of “required” Gen. Ed classes that didn’t have anything to do with what I wanted to be doing but I had to do it.  I had some really good friends in my Japanese class, and to practice both the writing and our vocab, we started making silly little comics with the characters in our book (the illustrations in GENKI! were really easy to copy). Because we were all doing little comics and we were all friends, there wasn’t pressure to be “great” at it? They were just silly little things that we made, that I enjoyed making–that I drew during other lectures because I have always needed to do something while listening to something else so I could focus.

So I was sitting in Philosophy one day, doodling the ongoing love-triangle between Mary, Susan, and Takashi and listening to the lecture when it hit me [we’re talking a metaphorical punch to the face]: I like language, I don’t like it enough to sit and analyse it to this kind of depth for the next four years.  I called my mom, told her I didn’t want to study English, I wanted to study art, no I don’t know what I’m going to do, but it’s more right than anything I’ve thought about studying.

Fortunately for me, my mom was (and still is) super supportive.

I graduated with a BFA in 2013 and after a year of not being sure what to do (because freelancing is hard and art-focused opportunities in my area wanted more degree than I had), I applied and got into the Masters program at Columbus College of Art & Design in Ohio, finished THAT in 2017 and am still freelancing but now with a much better idea of what I’m doing. I honestly can’t imagine having gone in any other direction at this point in my life, and I only regret not drawing for so long between 4th grade and college.

4. Deep Sea [3x3, acrylic pour]
Deep Sea (acrylic pour)
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 try to remember to sign everything, but I like a small unobtrusive signature, so I tuck a TS somewhere in just about everything.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

1. You are going to make some really, really, really ugly things.  Sometimes you’ll be proud of those ugly things for a while, but they’re still gonna be ugly.  And that’s a good thing: you have to make ugly to understand what it is and whether you want to use it actively.

2. Do your best to purge the pop-culture expectation of an artist from your brain.  That way lies the path of disappointment and being really freaking annoying, not to mention it takes a lot of energy to namedrop and fake ennui.

3. Don’t fear the “art block”.  It’s your friend in the long run, because it lets you know something’s not working–either your mental health needs some attention and that’s why you’re not making, or you’ve stopped actively trying to hone your skills and have gotten lazy and your brain is bored and that means you need to get out of your comfort zone for a while, or that you need to take a break from the thing you’re currently doing and go do something else; even if that “something else” has nothing to do with art–everyone needs a break regularly.

3. Glow Up 2007-2019
Glow Up 2007-2019

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a demisexual bi!

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

Oh yeah–I get it two-fold for being both demi and multi-attracted.  I usually get asked if the figures and character I’m drawing are ideal sexual partners or if my conflict and discomfort with another person in my field is because deep down I just want “bang them”.

The subject question is easy to displace, I just start ranting about the lack of variation in character design and that kills almost all follow-up.  The second question I usually just shut down with a face-melting stare because sometimes it’s not a judicious moment to ask someone if they’re a friggin idiot.

5. Penguin [3x3, acrylic pour]
Penguin (acrylic pour)
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That it’s something that can be “fixed” by an encounter with “the right person” and you’ll know in an instant

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

1. How you feel does have a name, and there are other people who feel the way you do.

2. You’re not alone, and that’s important.

3. You’re not broken, you’re not stupid, and you can’t just “pretend to be normal” because there’s nothing abnormal about you.

4. Most of the people you try to explain this to probably won’t get it, and they’ll say things that hurt because they mean well.  You have every right to correct them, you have every right to defend yourself; don’t feel bad when you do, because you deserve that respect, even from people who generally mean well.

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

My portfolio
My studio Instagram
The Facebook page
Ownable, hard copies of work here, here, or here!

6. Valentine [Silicone] 9x12
Valentine (silicone)
Thank you, Tina, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Jasmine Aguirre

Today we’re joined by Jasmine Aguirre. Jasmine is a wonderful fanartist, who also does a little original work. Her art has a very dreamy and surreal look to it with quite a lot of bright and vibrant colors. Jasmine is a very dedicated and driven artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. space ace pride
Space Ace Pride

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art mainly consists of like 95% fanart and the other 5% is some original art, which I don’t make a lot of. I usually get much more enjoyment working with already existing characters and worlds, whatever holds my obsessive interest at the time.

The art I create has a lot of hours and passion put into it. I dabble often with pairings, I love the inspiration they give me after a small artist’s block. I draw a lot of romantic pieces as well, it’s what adore doing. I love drawing details of the clothing and hair and expressions and actions in my own art style. I go for very semi-realistic vibes and bright, fun colors. Colors are my favorite part of any piece, pink and purples are my go to!

What inspires you?

Music, day dreaming and other artists, so much really, but what towers over those is self-improvement. I struggle with still needing practice on different aspects of drawing. But, with every frustration that emerges from me when I can’t get something right, I tend to reverse that and use it as optimism that I’m still learning. It might not look right now, but in the future I will get way more better and get less stressed. Looking at a piece from 2012 until now causes a huge boost of confidence and satisfaction, knowing you heavily improved on drawing eyes the way you wanted to or getting better at legs, etc.

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

I have always wanted to be an artist (more specific an Illustrator), since I was super young. I remember how obsessed I was with Disney’s The Little Mermaid and loved Ariel so much, I tore out a piece of notebook paper and opened my Little Mermaid illustration book and drew Ariel on the paper on one side of the book while her image was on the opposite end.

Since then, I was enthusiastic about drawing at school and even my art teachers supported it and wanted me to thrive, knowing I had this creative ability. I did especially well in high school where my final year there I won an art contest and got a medal. My biggest art related accomplishment goes to having my illustration design as one of my local libraries new library card designs while I worked there, it was the most popular and it was flattering seeing everyone adore my card.

There isn’t anything I see myself being but an artist for the rest of my life! There isn’t a day I go without drawing something, anything.

2. jessica rabbit
Jessica Rabbit

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 suppose my art style is quite unique, it’s a mix semi-realism, yet it’s still got cartoon vibes to it. At the moment, I don’t have anything special to reveal.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never compare yourself to anyone, you’re never a step behind. Never say to anyone that you can’t draw and what’s the point in trying. Drawing does take loads of time and patience, but it’s honestly extremely rewarding. Go above and beyond with drawing, with the whole media of art. The best things about the art field is that its big, so you can try your might with animation, painting, cartooning, watercolors, markers, even sculpting. It’s all about creativity and we all have a great deal of creativity to find within us and use and show.

Always be proud of what you make. Make mistakes. Learn from them. Let yourself thrive.

4. heart attack sketch
Heart Attack sketch

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

It’s slightly complicated, but let me break it down.

My sexuality was fluid for years. It wasn’t easy, I was actually scared to find out I was a-spec and worried about what I should label myself, but once I did research and found out it was normal and I wasn’t alone, I felt more comfortable.

Since I was 20, I generally identified myself as being Asexual to anyone that’s curious to know. In a nutshell I would say, “Im Ace, I’m not interested in sex or anything sexual.” I have asexual merch, like the ace flag, pin, shirt and popsocket. However, if you want a more detailed look into who I am, I’m on the a-spectrum, I am autochorissexual.

Autochorissexual is “Predominantly or entirely fantasize about fictional characters or celebrities, rather than people in real life they know. Identify as asexual and feel no sexual attraction to people, but enjoy masturbating, are aroused by sexually explicit content, and/or have sexual fantasies” (Quote from Asexual’s Wikia).

Now this isn’t 100% believed to be a real sexuality. But, personally as someone who knows themselves and has experienced such strong and similar feelings, I know I am.

As for romantic, I still have yet to fully figure out what I’m comfortable with, or if I want to ever put a label on it. All I know is that it’s on the aro-spectrum at the moment while I do.

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

Luckily, I have not at this time. Everyone I have encountered and that know I am on the a-spectrum are quite positive and supportive.

For pride month last year, while I worked at the library at the front desk with my co-worker (who I also found out was queer and was ace as well, very happy revelation,) we put the flags on the window. The one people asked about respectively was the asexual flag. I would nervously but proudly tell them about it and they would nod and understand. It was nice to know that others were genuinely willing to know.

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

That it’s a phase, we’re doing it for attention, we wanna be unique and quirky, or we have yet to find the right person; also, that every asexual person is sex-repulsed. Or the worst one, we don’t really exist, so to say. But, none of those are true.

We’re entering a new generation of people who identify more as asexual than ever before and we’ve always been here. It’s even more incredible to see older folk learn about what asexuality is and finally come to a conclusion that they’ve felt that way all their life and never knew why, or that it had a name, and that they were not alone.

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

It’s okay to keep questioning what you like and don’t like, your sexuality is fluid, there’s an entire spectrum for you to discover. It took me my entire life until I was 20 and a few relationships to figure it out completely.

You’re not broken at all and you’re not alone. It does get so much better, I promise. Don’t give into pressure either. If you feel like you have to be in a relationship of any kind like your peers, don’t push yourself to that degree. Trust yourself and your feelings.

All in all, it’s your label if you want one or not. No one knows you better than you! You know who you are, you are valid and you are real.

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

I’m almost all over the place, but here’s where you can easily find me!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/supernovajazzy
Art Blog: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/supernovajazzy-art
Twitter: https://twitter.com/supernova_jazzy

3. peterwendy
Peter and Wendy

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