Interview: Schi-Lee A. Smith

Today we’re joined by Schi-Lee A. Smith. Schi-Lee is a phenomenal artist who is incredibly versatile. She does a lot of visual art and even teaches painting classes. When she’s not doing visual art, Schi-Lee enjoys writing and writes both original work and fanfiction. Schi-Lee also has a passion for singing and even has some karaoke fans. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist with an impressive amount of passion, 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.

Well, I paint quite often, I actually teach painting classes sometimes.  I sing, a lot; I have some fans at karaoke.  I draw with pen or pencil, too, and I write, both fanfiction and original works.  My writing is usually like what I read, sci-fi ish, and I pride myself on making realistic dialogue.  I like to paint and draw realistically, haven’t quite gotten abstract down.  My singing can be just about anything, I can sing Creep by Postmodern Jukebox and Highway to Hell just as easily.

What inspires you?

When I was a child, it was my Dad.  I still have his drawings and poems around my house, and when I was very young, he would record us singing on a giant cassette tape recorder thing and let me do skits in between songs.  He was very artistic, and just about all my artistic tendencies stem from him.  Now, it’s still that in a way, but also I just want to see the beauty in the world, and add to it if I can.  Lots of people love hearing me sing, and love my writing, and love my artwork.  If I can make someone else happy, then I’ve succeeded.

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

Technically my field is Biology, that’s what I’m majoring in in University, but I’ll always consider myself a musician, artist, and writer.  My Dad never put me down for any art I did, so I was never afraid to get into something I wanted to do, and it’s always been with me since childhood so even if I never get any recognition for any of it, I’ll always be an artist. Therefore it’s not as much something I want to do, as something I’m doing, even if I stay obscure.

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 do, actually.  My Dad’s signature was a heart with ‘LAB’, his initials, in the center, all interconnected, it’s really neat.  I made one for myself when my initials were still SAB, but it looked really weird, so when I got married, I changed it to a kind of horns, or something, to match SAS.  It’s hard to draw with a mouse, but it’s basically this.

Signature

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t worry about what others say is art, art is what you want it to be.  I have friend who play metal that people say isn’t music, but it is to them, and it makes them happy.  Draw/sing/write/do whatever to make you happy, or to get it out of your head, don’t do it for others.

And don’t be put down if it sucks at first, most everyone’s first drawing of a person is a stick figure, just practice, and practice a lot.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a biromantic asexual.  I suppose if one goes for this part, I’m sex-positive.

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

I have encountered some people that didn’t really know what it was, but my friends were very supportive and defended me before I could.  I have awesome friends.  Thankfully I have yet to encounter any prejudice or ignorance that scared me like I know plenty have, so I thank God every day for where I am in life.

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

That we hate sex, or we never have sex.

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

You aren’t alone, that feeling that you don’t understand what all the fuss is about?  Other people feel it.  It’s not weird to think that a ‘hot’ person isn’t hot, according to your body. You don’t have to pretend.

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

Well, I have a YouTube channel, youtube.com/schihigh, where I’m attempting to post my singing and music videos I make on.  I also have a Tumblr and a specific tag with my art on it.  You can just search ‘schi’s art’ on schi-walker-locked.tumblr.com.  If someone were to want commissions, they could message me on Tumblr, or email me at schihigh@yahoo.com.  Just put commission in the subject.

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

Interview: Ashleigh Nicole

Today we’re joined by Ashleigh Nicole. Ashleigh is a wonderful young up and coming visual artist who is currently studying illustration at uni. She specializes in character, concept, and storyboard artist. Her work is beautiful, showing an amazing use of color and line. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist with an incredibly bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a second year Illustration student and my work focuses on concept, character and storyboard art, but I also like to create random illustrations of my own. I also want to move into comics at some point!

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by plants, superheroes and fantasy- they feature a lot in my work. But I also watch other people’s work on Instagram and twitter and I enjoy getting inspiration from their work too whether its colour pallets that I didn’t think of exploring or a brush technique.

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

I have always drawn, but I was actually set on becoming a fashion designer since year 7. I changed degrees before I started because I was filling sketchbooks more than I made clothes in my gap year and thinking about selling my art. I still like fashion so maybe I’ll go back to it at some point.

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Friends Girls

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! I feel like I should though!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Learn anatomy, perspective and colour theory. I still haven’t done that to be honest but I’m on my way!

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Rosa Signature Version

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I just go by asexual- sometimes demisexual but very rarely.

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

I have encountered people (not in the creative sector just in general.) that think it’s a choice…I have no words. Asexuality is still a bit unknown in the wider world so it’s mostly a general prejudice towards LGBTIA+ people that I’ve seen.

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

Many people don’t seem to understand asexuality as a spectrum. People have different levels, if’s buts and whys and don’t experience things the same as another person.

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

Find people like you! Whether that’s online or in person, speaking to people who share similar experiences is great!

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

I’m on Tumblr, Instagram, and YouTube under the username mashmato!
My portfolio is http://ashleighnicole.myportfolio.com

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

Interview: Ellison

Today we’re joined by Ellison. Ellison is a phenomenal actress and an aspiring writer. She writes mainly poetry and short stories and hopes to be published one day. When she’s not acting or writing, Ellison enjoys to work on her visual art. She draws and sketches frequently. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist who really loves to create. 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 dabble in lots of art forms, but mainly pursue theater, writing (poetry and short stories), and drawing. I’ve been in multiple productions, most recently A Midsummer Night’s Dream and will be playing Penny in You Can’t Take It With You this fall. If you’d like to contact me about doodles, sketches, poems, or stories, please contact me directly on my Tumblr:   wellnoduhofcourceimafangirl.

What inspires you?

I get a lot of my inspiration from my past and experiences I’ve had, a lot of which were bad. I also take motivation from close friends and one that not many people seem to talk about, but the media I consume. I read all the time, almost always fiction. In a well written book there might be a storyline that inspires me or the way something is described, I just have to sketch it out.

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

I’ve always loved art, in some form or another and I’ve been a performer, or depending on who you ask, a drama queen, as long as I can remember. I wanted to be an artist but not until high school did I actually think about making a career out of it. Little kid me would’ve been okay with princess, but really wanted to be a spy. Currently I’d go for taking deep breaths and making it through the day because the future is big and loud. As a career, I think I’d be most likely to pursue my writing.

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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, I’m pretty boring. Though, now that I’m thinking about it, I should totally come up with one. I’m always willing to listen to suggestions.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

No matter your art form, never stop. Ever. If you practice your art every day, you’re an artist. If you only practice one a year, you’re still an artist. I’ve been at an art school for over two years and I still invalidate myself as an artist. You’re not an imposter, you are good enough. And if anyone tells you otherwise, contact me for a hug plus I’ll fight them.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Currently I identify as asexual but I’m still trying to figure myself out. One of the biggest problems I’ve had is feeling like it is just a phase, or maybe I am just doing for attention. I still struggle with that. It’s okay if you try on labels to see what fits you. It doesn’t make you a liar or an imposter. All I really have to do now is figure out how to take my own advice.

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

I haven’t. I hear the stories about acephobia and I haven’t experienced any yet and I have to remind myself that everyone’s experiences are different, and that doesn’t make you wrong.

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

That Aces can’t have or don’t like sex. It’s not about whether we enjoy, or even have sex. It’s not about sex drive, nor about whether we think someone is beautiful or hot. We just don’t experience sexual attraction. That’s it.

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

Talk to people that understand. Talk to people who love you regardless of how you identify. Try as hard as you can to love yourself and remember that it isn’t anyways easy. Remember you aren’t alone. You will find love as you are, whether it’s physical or romantic or platonic or familial or self-love. You’re amazing.

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

To see my work or ask about commissions, contact me at my Tumblr:    wellnoduhofcourceimafangirl.

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

Interview: Raven Jay

Today we’re joined by Raven Jay. Raven Jay is a phenomenal visual artist who is currently studying at uni. They mostly draw fanart and original characters. They currently have a fascinating webcomic entitled Anthrel, which is summarized as follows: “A comic series following the lives of the Anthreligions; immortal personifications of the world’s religions, sects, and other spiritualities.” (It updates on Fridays). It’s clear Raven is a very creative and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Cover

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a visual artist and illustrator, and most of my work is cartoonish. I draw a lot of both fanart and my own original characters and ideas. I have a few webcomic ideas in the works, and my current one is named Anthrel!

What inspires you?

My current favourite shows to draw from are Voltron: Legendary Defender and Boueibu, but most of my inspiration comes from religion, magic, and art history!

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

I’ve wanted to be an artist since primary school! I remember spending most of my time ignoring chances to socialize so I could sit and draw. My drive to draw – especially comics and illustration – became a lot bigger in high school because of friends I made and my supportive art teacher.

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?

A lot of my original work centres around religion and mythology and the beauty I see in it, and my webcomic is about personified religions, so I guess that’s a recurring theme I have?

My physical artist signature comes from a messy stylisation of my deadname; I just kept it because I’ve been using it for so long and it doesn’t really look like a word anymore. That being said, I forget to sign half of my art anyway.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It might sound cliché but don’t give up on art because some people think it won’t amount to anything; instead, keep making art because they think that. My father used to tell me I’d never make a living out of art, and his girlfriend’s friend once laughed at me for wanting to be an artist as a job. But now I’m at uni studying a creative industries degree and building art into a career, so the joke’s on them!

Also, don’t forget how important art theory is. Not only does art history tell you where you came from, it can inspire you too.

roman standoff
Roman Standoff

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m just asexual. I’m also sex-repulsed but don’t mind talking about/drawing sexual themes within certain boundaries.

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

Though I’ve experienced ignorance from peers, I haven’t experienced much prejudice, as most of my network is my university cohort and close friends. Normally I deal with ignorance by just politely explaining what asexuality is! Most people understand after that.

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

The most common misconception that I’ve encountered, I think, is that all asexuals are by default sex-repulsed. Though I am, I know not every ace is, and we all have different comfort boundaries for any sort of physical affection.

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

Always remember you’re valid in your asexuality. Maybe you’re questioning where you sit on that spectrum, and that’s okay, and maybe you’ll wake up tomorrow and realise you don’t identify as ace at all! We learn more about ourselves and about sexuality all the time; what matters is knowing that identifying as ace or aspec right now is a valid thing to do, and you don’t need to prove yourself to everyone.

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

You can find my art at draweththeraven on both Tumblr and Instagram! I also have a website, draweththeraven.com, which I try to update regularly (aka, I never update it). My webcomic Anthrel is at https://tapas.io/series/Anthreligion.

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

Interview: Scott Pete

Today we’re joined by Scott Pete. Scott is a phenomenal photographer who is just starting out and already displays a remarkable amount of talent. Aside from photography, Scott also runs an asexual meetup and discussion group, in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, called ‘A Space for Aces’ (Twitter & Meetup). His photography shows an incredible eye for beauty in nature. It’s clear he’s a passionate artist who loves what he does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My photography (as art, rather than play) is still somewhat in its early stages but I’m developing the idea that photography is inherently surreal; a facsimile of reality, copied under a certain set of conditions and translated into the photographer’s visual language.

What inspires you?

The effortless, self-unaware beauty of nature. The play of water, moss, and plant life. Light and motion.

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

I used to buy disposable cameras and try to get as many good photos on a roll as I could. When you’re 9-years-old, 24 exposures usually isn’t enough. I was given a 1.2 megapixel digital camera at 15 started playing with Photoshop and editing techniques.

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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?

A common theme in much of my photography is a long exposure, resulting in any moving objects leaving a trail. For example, when I’m shooting a waterfall, I’ll set the camera to expose for 3 to 4 seconds to give the water a soft texture and make a still image look like it’s in motion.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do what you want to do, but look to other artists to help you develop your craft. The study of art is just as important as your raw talent and the moods, concepts and images you convey through your art. I’ve been reading books on photography theory but, also, studying paintings and their painters, trying to see the images conveyed by the music I listen to and, (if this makes any sense) trying to feel the emotional texture of what other photographers are putting out. Do whatever you can to mindfully develop your style, your technique and the personal language of your art.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual, Biromantic.

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

Not in my field, but the prejudice and ignorance I encounter in my daily life, I face head-on. I don’t worry about seeming pedantic because the only way to combat ignorance is with education. I try not to use the word “actually” and I have a kind of script that I follow.

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

That asexuality means having nothing, as if it’s void that speaks of an emptiness of being. That “you seem so normal, though” and implying there’s something broken or abnormal about being Ace.

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

Those who are uncomfortable with the idea of asexuality are probably uncomfortable with themselves. If a person is ignorant, you can choose to educate them or not to do so. It is your choice and you don’t owe anyone an explanation for who you are. Everyone has questions about their identity at some point in their life. You are valid and no one can ever take your identity away from you.

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

I’m on Instagram at scottpete_photography and on Twitter at scottpetephoto. I’ll be starting on Zenfolio in the next couple of years, too.

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

Interview: Naomi Clements Gettman

Today we’re joined by Naomi Clements Gettman. Naomi is a phenomenal visual artist and writer. The visual art is digital and mostly for fun. She does fanart, collages, and sometimes collaborates with her sister. When she’s not creating visual art, Naomi also writes a lot of poetry. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist who loves to create, 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.

My art encompasses a few things. I dabble in Photoshop and making digital collaborations with my sister. Most of the time this means I will create a reference for her, she will draw line work, and then I will scan and color. Other times I make simple collages, fan-art for bands I love, or illustrate random jokes.

I also enjoy writing and have written lots of poetry, although none of it is published anywhere. I am currently in the process of collecting it all and will probably self-publish sometime soon, just to have a physical collection to share with whoever would like to read it. I am also in the process of writing a book, which is from an idea I developed in several of my screenwriting classes.

What inspires you?

I think for my graphic design things, there are certain things I create regularly, and other things I only create occasionally. For instance, I may decide I need a new Twitter or Facebook banner and I whip together a themed collage of things/characters I like. These are easy to do, and I don’t spend much time thinking about it. Other times a band may host a fan-art contest, or I may feel inspired by a line in a song, and I create a single piece I am proud of after a few weeks of mulling it over. Once I am finished with a bigger project like this, it takes a while to create something again.

For my poetry, I am inspired by the sound of things as much as the meaning. I enjoy rhyme and often write a whole poem around a single phrase that I think sounds good. Sometimes my poems are fictional stories, sometimes they are about self-doubt, sometimes they are about growing up. There really is no uniting theme, which is why I find it so hard to determine what is good and what is trash.

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

To say “field” is probably a bit of a misdirection. I am currently in the awkward techinically-last-semester-but-done-with-credits-and-looking-for-anyone-who-will-hire-me phase of life. My chosen field of study is in film/media, and I have a few different experiences under my belt; from film digitization to advertising. However, whether it is in the form of an essay, a video, a PowerPoint, or whatever else, I love being creative and even enjoy working on a team to research and complete a project. I have never wanted to be an artist in any traditional sense of the word (like being an illustrator or a musician), but I do believe that creativity and fun can be a part of almost everything you do.

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?

Nope! I suppose I should start signing things, but I haven’t yet.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My advice would be to just have fun with whatever you are doing. Lots of ‘serious’ jobs require creativity, and lots of ‘creative’ jobs require business skills like budgeting or scheduling. Your best bet is to approach whatever it is with a good attitude, and even if you don’t love the whole job or the assignment or whatever, you can at least find an aspect of it to enjoy.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I have happily identified as aro/ace for about 5 years now (since I was 17). The aro part of my identity came a little later, but so far everything fits. I am fulfilled with the close friendships I’ve managed to maintain, although I think I would like a QPR.

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

I have never encountered any type of prejudice in my workplace, but mostly I think that has to do with the fact that I have no idea how to be out at work. I never actively hide my aro/ace identity, but also it never actually comes up. Do people think I’m straight?? Maybe. Although it’s more likely they think I’m gay since I talk about going to pride and what not. However, whenever I do mention it, there is never any push-back from the person. Sure, there’s the usual “what is that?” if they don’t already know, but there is a never a follow-up “don’t worry, you’ll meet the right person.”

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

I have been very lucky to have an accepting family and friend group. My whole “coming out” experience is not typical, I think.  I never tried to be anything I wasn’t or even realized there was something different about me.  Even within the first years of knowing my sexuality I was on an NPR segment talking about my experience. (Check it out if you’d like, but be warned it is a few years old now https://www.scpr.org/programs/take-two/2016/08/11/51199/asexuality-and-the-internet-s-key-role-in-the-ace/)

However, one thing that breaks my heart (even though it isn’t a misconception per se) is when I tell someone I am aro/ace, and they say they have never met anyone else like me. It happens quite a lot, and it feels horribly isolating.

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

I wish I had novel advice that could be applicable to any type of person. Sometimes the “love yourself” mantra is easier said than done, especially when you battle with anxieties and insecurities that others do not. But I’m afraid I am not that person, and the only advice I can offer is to find the connections that allow you to love yourself. Put all your energy into cultivating a small network of love, and support will be there when you need it.

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

If you would like to see my work or check out my socials, please go to https://sncgportfolio.weebly.com/

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

Interview: Jaem

Today we’re joined by Jaem. Jaem is a phenomenal visual artist who works in traditional mediums. She does a lot of painting and a little crocheting. Their paintings are large vibrant pieces, which often fit together. It’s clear she’s a very passionate artist who loves to create. 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 paint on paper or canvas using mainly acrylic paint in select shades for each piece

What inspires you?

Horror movies are great inspiration, and using subtle ways of that, such as cables, skeletons, syringes, or just background images and motifs is very interesting

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

I took art as a subject in high school, general at first then moved on to painting, and just enjoyed it and loved it so much I continue to do it

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 use arrows and mountains a lot, whether in the background or as a focal point, I also use three (give or take one or two) shades in a series of work so they all have a good link and you can see how the story develops

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just continue with it, spend as much time as you can working at it, and if you don’t want to spend time on it find a medium that you do want to spend time on.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Currently as Demi, but I have previously identified as fully asexual

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

I am not out as such to anybody in my field, but I have been told/overheard people talking about sexuality and how “having sex/sexual thoughts is intrinsic to being an artist” I usually say something about how ignorant the person who said that must be or just ignore it

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

That people who identify as asexual are prudes/don’t like to talk or mention anything vaguely sexual – there are probably people who this applies too, but there are many others that it doesn’t apply too

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

Read up on it, do some research, and see how you are going to let it affect or change your life, you don’t have to let it become a major part of you and effect your everyday life, but if you ignore it or try to shove it away, it will negatively affect your self-perception and how you feel about life

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

I am not currently displaying or selling any of my work, but in future I am hoping to sell on etsy or a similar website, and maybe if I can, have my art displayed in a gallery.

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