Interview: Joey

Today we’re joined by Joey. Joey is a wonderful visual artist and singer who does both drawing and painting. He uses art as a kind of catharsis and his pictures are filled with gorgeous colors. When he’s not creating visual art, Joey enjoys singing. He has a particular fondness for showtunes and opera. It’s very clear he’s a passionate artist, 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.

This is a complicated question because I’m involved in many forms of art. As far as visual arts are concerned, I enjoy drawing and painting. I use these as ways to express my emotions and interests when others are unwilling to listen. The other artform that I am heavily into is singing. I prefer singing showtunes or opera, but any singing makes me happy. Sometimes I go busking with my friends, and my voice alone can make a lot of money. I’m currently training to become an actor, and I dream of being famous one day for my talent.

What inspires you?

As an aroace people might think that I’m cold or uncaring(not to throw “cold or uncaring” aces under the bus of course!), but my inspiration for much of my art comes from my love of life! Some of my art is from a darker time in my life where I had to use my art to vent, but I’ve always tried to use my art to make sense of the world. This carries over into my singing as well when I pick songs to sing. I naturally feel connected to the music, and songs have always been a great way for me to communicate feelings.

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

I have always been an artist. When I was younger I would create houses out of paper for my stuffed animals until I had a whole village. Eventually I started to take drawing more seriously, and that evolved into a love of painting. Within the last 2 years I gained an interest in musical theatre, particularly singing. Although singing and drawing are my two main creative outlets, I’m a lover of all forms of art. I’ve always been a thoughtful person, and art helps me to feel calm and joyful.

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?

In my visual art I often end up sneaking pride flags into my work! Admittedly I more often put in the trans flag than the aro or ace flag into my work though. This is because being trans, while being a tough journey, is something I often feel more validated in. Recently I’ve been on a kick to feel more confident in my aroace-ness, and I know I’m gonna use my art to accomplish this. Time to make all of my art in purple, white, grey, and black!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

One mistake in my thinking as an artist has been that there’s an age where it’s too late to try. I was so nervous to get into serious singing, because I thought it was only something I could do if I already had experience since childhood. When you’re an artist you will see people who have more skill than you, but the best way to prove yourself is to keep trying anyway. If it takes until you’re old to master your skill then so be it!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identified as aroace for years up until about 1 year ago when I kind of broke and gave up on identifying as such. Being aroace, but receiving no validation or help other than through the internet coupled with my other emotional issues made me internalize it, and for almost a year I identified as straight. I’m not sure why I choose that out of any identities (awfully heteronormative), but I was so tired of constantly questioning my own identity that I wanted an easy lie. This lead to almost dating one of my friends that I really cared about, which lead to me panicking and breaking up before it even started. A few months ago I got myself in a good enough place where I was finally able to realize again that I was aroace! Trying to forget my identity did a lot of damage, so now I’m just trying to get comfy with the label for good.

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

To me, I feel like artist spaces are usually more open to queerness in general, but I often feel disconnected to these communities. It was one of my friends that happened to collaborate on lots of my art that refused to understand why I didn’t want to date my friend I cared so much about. Other than rude/ignorant comments, the rest of the prejudice is more implied. In theatre, almost every single has romance. As a soprano, almost any role I could possibly be assigned is the love interest! Of course this is what acting is for, but I think there’s an idea that romance is put into stories because it’s relatable to all. As an aromantic, singing songs over and over again about the inevitability of love can be heartbreaking.

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

I think a lot of people assume that alterous love has to be accompanied by romance and sexual attraction. The thing is, I think allo people experience alterous attraction too, but they can’t tell because it’s mixed in with those other feelings. We may not experience more alterous attraction, but I think perhaps it’s easier to identify something if it’s not mixed in with other feelings. All my theory aside, people really do misunderstand when I want a platonic life partner. It might be what has made me so anxious to identify as aroace too!

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

I would say that accepting yourself can be hard, but all of us aces are in it together. Sometimes it can feel like you’re going in circles with your identity, but I believe that your value is great no matter whether you find the right identity immediately or not. I would also say to not be afraid to go outside the box. Sexuality is a strange thing, but I can promise that having a strange or unidentifiable identity is a-ok! If you wanna use a rare label, or maybe step outside the SAM model? I say go for what makes you feel at ease.

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

I do not use the internet as much as I should to get myself out there, but I do have an Instagram (smallbirdboy) that is mostly my art!

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

Interview: Emmy

Today we’re joined by Emmy. Emmy is a wonderful writer, fanartist, and visual artist. She writes a lot of fanfiction, but she’s also currently working on an original novel with a fascinating premise. When she’s not writing, Emmy does a lot of digital drawing. She hopes to one day to write and draw a graphic novel. It’s clear Emmy’s both a passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. lionfishrhett
Lion Fishrhett

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write mostly fan fiction, however I’m working on writing an original novel! It’s a story about a salty, magicless witch named Felix, who lives with his aunts and older sister – powerful witches who keep the peace between all of the magical creatures in their coastal town of Hagstone Grove. When an obnoxious vampire named Rhett comes along, Felix tries to ignore his flirtatious advances while dealing with all the other vampires that seem to have followed him into town.

Other than writing, I enjoy doing digital art to relax. I draw most anything that’s suggested to me and more often than not I draw silly things for friends. I would love to develop my art enough to do a graphic novel someday as well so that my writing and art can come together to make something amazing!

2. birbboiwifhimbigwings
Birb Boi with his Big Wings

What inspires you?

My inspiration comes from life in general. My friends and family, music, other content, etc. I’m inspired most when I talk to people who read my stuff because sharing my stories with them is a lot of fun!

Doing fan fiction helped inspire me a lot in the beginning too, because there’s usually a community behind it and you’ll often get feedback soon after posting. Plus, it’s easy to bounce ideas of your own off of the original content to get you started and spark up some creativity!

3. blacksea
Black Sea

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

I first started writing when I was about eleven. I had a cool dream I wanted to share with people, so I wrote it and other things that came to mind. I didn’t think of it as my calling then and it took me a few years of writing on and off before I realized that I really love it. I went through a quite few career choices during that time, jumping from psychologist to baker and everything in between.

5. TEETH
TEETH

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 put a lot of myself into everything I do. Whether it’s a large trait I share with a main character or a similar problem we face in our lives, I do what I can to connect myself with the story and people in it. To me, it helps make them feel more like real people, which in turn makes them easier to write.

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Hawkward Felix

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

This is going to sound cheesy, but never give up! You’ll hear it a million times, probably to a point where you think it’s stupid advice, but it’s true! There will be many –many– times you feel like giving up, or even times people will tell you to give up, but getting through those is unfortunately part of the process. If you truly want to be an artist those are things you have to power through. Just find the parts about it you love the most, hold onto them like your life depends on it, and you’ll make it through all the other crap just fine.

7. mudblood
Mudblood

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m demisexual biromantic

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

Not personally, whoever I’ve heard some people suggest that Asexuals can’t properly write anything on the…E-rated side of things because they, “don’t know how”. I think we all know how it works, even if someone doesn’t want it for themselves, thanks.

Sure, experience can help you write a scene, but I’ve written about demons and magic. I didn’t/can’t have experience with those and I did just fine.

8. wiiitchboi
Wiiitch Boi

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

A lot of people don’t seem to know about the spectrum and how everyone is different. Even though someone identifies as Asexual, that doesn’t mean they’re sex-repulsed or are prudes.

9. Kae
Kae

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

It’s okay not to know. It’s okay to never know for sure. Sometimes in life we never settle, and it’s perfectly okay to never pick a label if you don’t find one that’s right for you.

If you feel like having a specific label will help, then do some self-searching and read up on some to see where you might fit best. Remember, you’re not a puzzle piece designed to fit perfectly in place, you are clay meant to be molded into whatever shape you want. If you don’t 100% fit under a label, just find what’s closest and stick with that until you find something better.

If it’s a matter of wanting to be able to explain it to others, try to narrow it down into a few bullet points. Leave any of the super specific things aside at first and get out the main bits. If they still don’t understand, it may be best to just point them to the internet where they can Google these things for themselves. Don’t stress over other people not understanding because sometimes they just can’t/won’t.

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Hug

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

My fan fictions and original novel can be read in their first-draft forms as I write the chapters on my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/roboticspacecase

For anything else, I often post my art and writing updates on my Tumblr, which is here: http://roboticspacecase.tumblr.com/

4. Felixmagic
Felix Magic

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

Interview: KSAMF

Today we’re joined by KSAMF. KSAMF is a phenomenal illustrator and sculptor from Barcelona. She uses a number of materials to create incredibly unique sculptures. KSAMF draws information from a variety of sources and it makes for intriguing images. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. wo ai ni
Wo Ai Ni

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw and I make sculptures. I like to combine 2D and 3D materials (like clay or paper mâché with cardboard or wood). I use art as a way to express my thoughts and my frustrations.

What inspires you?

Daydreams and nightmares, society and its norms and personal experiences. In terms of art, Primitive arts (prehistoric, African, Aboriginal and American) and medievals arts (Romanic and Illuminated manuscripts) are pretty present in my works.

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Stars and Goals

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

When I was 2 years old I was diagnosed with dyslexia and I wasn’t able to speak for a time. So, instead of writing, I used drawings as a form of communication. After my recovery, my family let me keep on drawing and they still encourage me to do it. I used to wanted to be an artist, but it’s an ideal that has been “falling apart” since I finished Fine Arts. Although I still want to see my artworks in a gallery.

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

I’ve never thought about that.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Focus on your work, accept critiques, some of them are advice. But don’t let others influence you. Show them you’re sure and proud of what you do.

3. dry and alone
Dry and Alone

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify myself as gray-asexual.

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

Yes, especially during Fine Arts. I had to cope with some situations like one time when a classmate told me that asexuals are diseased or when another, after knowing about my identity, nicknamed me as “little starfish”. Nowadays I act naturally, I laugh at spicy jokes (although I don’t find them funny). I’ve never told about my asexuality, but I crossdress and identify myself as female even though some people refers me with male and female pronouns!

4. ningen
Ningen

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

That asexuality is actually celibacy.

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

It’s okay to not feel sexual attraction! There’s nothing wrong with that,

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

You can find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ksamf/
And Behance: https://www.behance.net/saramarf24e6

5. wired deity
Wired Deity

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

Interview: Dreachie

Today we’re joined by Dreachie. Dreachie is a phenomenal visual artist who works with digital mediums. She’s an illustrator and her work has a very dreamy appearance and feel to it. Most of her drawings fall into the fantasy genre. There’s an amazing attention to detail that pulls the viewer in and holds their attention, as you’ll soon see. It’s clear Dreachie is an incredibly talented and dedicated artist. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Meet the artist new
Meet the Artist

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a digital artist and I focus into creating dreamy & fantasy illustrations but I also love to draw original characters, girls and try to evoke some sort of feeling to people through my art.

Now I’m trying to work on my own project about things that make people happy even though I still don’t have a name for it.

It’s basically a collection of things my followers and people have told me that make them happy and that I want to transform from words into illustrations, as a reminder to people that even in bad days or how bad things seem to be, there are always things that make us happy, even the smallest thing can bring a smile to someone.

2. Heavenly 2
Heavenly

What inspires you?

Ahh, I’m mostly inspired by things that happen in dreams. When you wake up from a dream and the first thing you do is write them down, or well draw them… But I don’t know how many people do that but I like to write down my dreams even as weird they might be, they are very inspiring and you are creating worlds in those dreams as well.

But of course, being inspired by other simple things such as the colours of the sky, aesthetic boards and that book you read not long time ago, as long as they seem… unusual!

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Star Sketch Girl

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

Since I was a little kid and my parents gave me my first paper and crayons, I’ve always enjoyed drawing, oh and paint the walls of the kitchen with my brother!

But you know when you get the common question at school of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and as a kid saying you wanted to be an artist, people wouldn’t actually take you serious haha.

Way back when I was 10 years I discovered, like many, Deviantart and the many amazing artists and art but it wasn’t until I was 16 that I actually started to take art more serious, to actually become an artist and after having to drop school at my senior year that I had more time to practice my art and things actually started to change and improve! So yeah, I’ve always wanted to be an artist!

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Maybe Tears

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 like to include to all my drawings, no matter the character’s race, colour, alien or human, or rock… some sparkling/starry freckles, plus some details in the eyelashes. But it’s not just that, I love to play with vibrant colours, sparkles and add a lot of “dreamy vibes” in my art!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

1. Don’t be afraid about drawing and calling yourself an artist, even if you feel your art isn’t good enough, you are creating things! You are an artist!

2. It’s alright to make mistakes, I don’t mean just in the art field but in general and in life. We all learn from mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes help us to improve and get better at something or be a better person with someone. We are all here to learn but still to be kind!

3. Young aspiring artists; please learn the fundamentals of art if you want to make art as a living one day! Trust me, fundamentals are the bases for you to develop an art style and will make your art-life much easier.

4. Making art that people can relate to. Helps you create a connection and bond with your audience. Either something personal or an advice, which happened to me during my Timeskip drawing, I didn’t expect many people to actually relate to it!

And basically; have fun! Even if you feel like worrying about the numbers in your followers, likes, reblogs, etc. You are here to have fun and enjoy art.

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Time Skip

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual ♥   I’m sex-repulsed and actually not interested in that at all. And kids? I have my cats already haha

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

I have, mostly within my family and two friends I don’t talk to anymore irl. I told them about me being asexual, and they answer with the common thing of;

“You just haven’t found the right person yet”, “You’ll change your mind when you meet someone”, “Its only time what you need” etc.

Mostly it’s my mom and my older brother in the family whom says that, talk about “how much I’m missing in life”, but life isn’t all about sex! And tbh I gave up trying to explain things to them because they simply wouldn’t understand or try to.

I decided to let them think whatever they want, what matters is how I feel and what I know; and I know I’m asexual and that there is nothing wrong with it, it’s how I feel.

7. Garden
Garden

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

OHH boi, I once in a conversation got told: Do you reproduce by asexual reproduction?? Is that normal? That isn’t real!”

But really, there’s a lot of misconception about asexuality. Being asexual doesn’t mean that you are repulsed or hate to be touched, like a hug or a poke, etc. It’s… it’s not… I really don’t know where that came from and people think asexuals are that.

That “You can’t find love-a partner while being asexual”, this whole statement is wrong, being asexual doesn’t make it impossible for someone to find love, and it’s not a disability.

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Red Girluuhh

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

There’s no rush for you to find your orientation or label yourself. Take your time, make your research and just know how you feel. I’m really not the best to ask this I think, but just know how you feel. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are wrong, you are never alone.

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

These are some places where you can find my art / some helpful art tips and tutorials, or even supporting my art:
Instagram: https://instagram.com/dreachie
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/dreachie
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dreachie
Also to find the rest of my art and links, they are all listed here! https://linktr.ee/dreachie

5. Fairy
Fairy

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

Interview: Battle Korbi

Today we’re joined by Battle Korbi. Battle Korbi is a wonderful young writer and visual artist from Croatia. He does a lot of writing in both English and Croatian, though not as much is posted just yet. When he’s not writing, Battle Korbi enjoys drawing and takes a lot of inspiration from anime. His work is brimming with color and an impressive use of lines, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to him for taking time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

First of all, hiya. My art… I am a hobby writer, and a really “sketchy” sketcher, so to say. When I want to talk about my literal skills, I like to point out that I am having a bit of a tough time writing on both English and my native language. I love to write stuff on English, purely because there is a chance of posting it online in the far grimdark future, and I could let total strangers see it and rate me according to my skills, and not who I am. Yet I also like to doodle with Croatian (my mother tongue), because, my works then actually get seen by who-I-know are real people, but as always, some people don’t like to criticize their good friends, so I might not get to see if I am really that great in the first place.

About my drawing skills? Yeah, I guess that is interesting. I like to take inspiration from anime, cartoons, more serious stuff, you name it. Few of my drawings here are random and don’t have a thematic that joins them. I don’t focus on a specific thing when drawing in general, but I guess my speciality is “caricatures” and making animesque characters out of… everything. I often go overboard with detailing, as I simply cannot stop adding those itsy little bits that make my scratchings look more complete than ever. Sometimes the amount of details would end up excessive, and to anybody who is not me what started as several lines ended up as mashed potatoes. I like to experiment with every type of visual media, and can safely say that I have made at least one of every type. Are they good though? Unsure. Are they mine and by default awesome? Totally. (Am I over-confident? I guess…)

Point is, I am a absolute noobface who is kinda good at everything, but not really a meister of anything. What is good that almost everybody I know draw for shit so by default I have amazing skills and flattery fuels me 😀

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What inspires you?

Depends on what has been happening, what had my eyes touched when wandering, what thoughts had been cycling through my dreams or inside my very lucid mind. I don’t have a stationary muse I could always refer to, I most likely harvest a single “sensation” and make stuff out of it, and then plant another seed and go on to another “sensation”. I remember that something flared up in my this summer when I decided to start doing a bunch of yaoi/yuri art. Stories and drawings keep pumping out of me, even though I had no “usage” of them. I had to remove all the art though, because… well, how would you feel if you find out your sibling has been drawing gay/lesbian softcore porn for quite some time? I reckon, not good. That is just a example though, one of many.

Currently I am leeching of WH40k, drawing Dreadnoughts and Space Marines whenever I get to it. I am also trying to imitate Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure, and I have a good knack of it, I may say. With regards to writing, currently I am trying out comedy, lashing out hurricanes of puns and silly jokes. My favorite “Airplane!”-esque joke to use is: “It sprawled all over the floor. Carpet, of course.” Or “He was soaked from tip to toe. From rain of course.”. Basically, rev up the situation like something dramatic was going on, then dispel it by playing Captain Obvious. This works with some context though.

 

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

Lemme see… When I got a connection to the internet somewhere in my first year of high school, and a bit before, I started writing. I had been reading a lot of books before I “went online”, and was writing a bit too on paper. This single, quite slow and unrealiable thread of kilobites (yes, kilobites) where my only connection to the world out there. I found some creepypasta groups on Facebook, and I hit it off from there, writing incredibly bad stories filled with Mary Sues, miracles, and explosions. They sucked. Be it grammar (from bad English), the way story unfolded, or the way I told the stories. They never got much attention, but I kept on writing and posting every day, till I got better and better. I still dream of being a successful writer, but not really a full-time novelist, because such dreams are a bit unrealistic with my caliber.

About drawing? Yeah, I guess I picked up a pencil as a kid and just… did stuff? I guess I got complimented for my amount of details and whatevs. Out of boredom I gave my pencil, later my ink pen, a revisit during my later years of middle school, and just drew stuff every day til I learned to be a bit better than before. I might not have a soul of a artist, but damn whoever tells me I haven’t worked hard enough. I guess I want to be a proud author of a good comic someday… or a cartoon, or manga, or anime. I have not decided yet, but that doesn’t mean I should not warm up and exercise every day.

6. dip software1

 

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?

Eh, not really. Depends on the mood and the piece though. I might feel mystic sometimes and put “out-of-sight” details that don’t mean anything but a pat on the back for those who find them. I do like to pull references a lot. Like, it is easy to pull references to some anime/manga/games/shows/movies when you are living in a environment filled with people who cannot tell. Whenever I am writing on Croatian, and whenever I know that whatever I am writing will be read by someone. I make sure to pop as many references as possible, and try and pick up any reaction that implies that someone understood a reference. There had been a few people who got them. We became friends soon enough (my other friends became friends for other reasons, no worries).

Anything beside my basic signature (The weird number 8 with a K, two guesses to who it refers to) is quite rare to find in my works. Even I cannot find them. I reckon because I don’t do them too much. Sometimes when sharing my work I might get over-excited and spill the secret stuff almost immediately.

7. IMG_20171116_211958

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

First of all, create. Like, don’t take a break unless you have a important exam coming up, or if you have a big project to complete, or if you are crushed underneath work, or if you are getting ready to repel a siege attempt on your fortress, or if you are worrying about looting that store without being seen by zombies… Point is, create. Not every artpiece can be shown at a gallery or in a bookstore, they might be stored somewhere moldy and dusty, or incinerated, but the point is, if you won’t bother creating big stuff, take some time to practice your technique.

Also, if you are having issues with your creativity, try and tapping into your inner kid who considered Transformers to be super duper cool. If not Transformers, some other cartoon. Either way, you don’t have to make mind-boggling, ground-breaking or any other way “deep” art all the time. Take some time to relax, draw a super cool robot with flamethrowers and chainguns, or write a cheesy action scene with a hammy protagonist, or play a piece that could be used as a background music for a intense wizard duel. Make a sculpture of a space marine goring a alien. Alternatively, if you don’t like exciting and explosive stuff, then draw/write/play about/whatever something calm and simple, like flowers, animals, friends hanging out, sunrise, sunsets… Not every piece you make has to have a deep meaning behind it, nor does it have to trigger philosophical thoughts, breakthroughs or inspiration.

Last bit, learn to find, capture, tame and calibrate your intrusive thoughts and emotions. How many times a day you cross the road imagining yourself getting hit by a airplane (okay, maybe you don’t)? Just about how many times did you see a funny-looking person walking down the same road as you? And just about how many times did you imagine “Gee, what would I do if a terrorist came here and started shooting?”. Simply put, everyone daydreams. Once you learn to find these thoughts, you capture them, down on the paper or keyboard, or under a pencil. Then, you have to tame those nasty buggers, make them feel natural. This in itself is a process different for everyone. You might find it super easy, or tougher than a nail. Then calibrate those thoughts, make them a centerpiece of your new artwork, or implement them in your existing projects. It takes a while for all of this to happen, but remember, you are the one doing your art. No one is telling you that you should not bother doing anything else related to art. If they do, screw them. Caterpillars become butterflies, so do new artists become good artists, once you get enough time, sunshine, water, protein and whatever else.

redesign

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual… Bit gray I guess? I like shipping people and I find some people hella cute, but it never advances from there. I would like to throw in the “romantic” word here, but dunno where…

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

 

As in environment itself or the art community? Since I dunno anything about the second, I might give a rundown of things going on here around here. I had grown up in a religious environment, if not religious, then surely quite conservative. I myself am a Christian man, a Catholic to be more specific, and I cannot see any blame within my brothers and sisters when they become confused about my orientation. Specifically, I only told my classmates in high school that I am asexual. Reactions were different. Technically, I was the same as everyone else, as long as I did not like other guys, I was fine. There were some confusing moments, but high school kids can be accepting of that. And I still chuckle a bit from the time one of my friends said “Stop being asexual! That isn’t good!” in a tone of voice similar to the one given to people that text-and-drive.

I still have not told my family about it, though. Seeing how my (a)sexuality might impose a great deal on the dynasty (honestly, just a few huffs and puffs), I decided to keep that bit of info for myself. I would still like to have a wife and have a family, but I guess it would be tough when sex is virtually non-exist to me and physical attraction is a thing worth swapping for cake.

skeletoninquisitor

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

None other than a confused look and a “So… you like dudes?” or “So… your wiener is wrong?”. Seeing that I made a wise choice of hiding my orientation from people who don’t need to know, I have not got many troubles. I can still pour out some gold nuggets:

“So you don’t want kids?”: No, I would actually love to have kids. That are mine as well! No one is going to be a genetic father to my kids but me! I just don’t like the sex thing :3

“You sure you are not straight and pretending?” I guess I am sure. I mean, why waste time getting excited over people just because of their genders? Also, since when became all about sex? There is life beyond bed, people, and it is beautiful!

“I am sure you won’t be when you…” Nah. Thanks for considering though, but still, I have to refuse your kind gesture.

“You should stop watching anime, see what is happening to you! Next day you might decide to be a dragon or something.” Nah, if given a choice of what I would become, I would rather become a Aztec god of fitness thank you.

But these lines above are just what my closest friends asked. Everyone else just shrug their heads.

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

There will be people who will try and “convert” you, especially if you are a good friend to them and if you live in a conservative setting like me. Don’t let them confuse you though. Unless they are actively using drugs on you, remember that only you are in control of your willpower. Brace through, and be ready to hug the sunshine first thing in the morning!

I also like this line: “There is life beyond bed”. I like it a lot. Why? Because it implies a lot of things. Like, if you decide to head out and explore, you would see all those little things that matter in life, details that make a bigger picture more beautiful. The social media and the internet tries to make it all about sex. If you get laid enough, you are cool. Remain a virgin, and you are useless mess of tears. But that is just depresso propaganda limiting people from their inner lights, just to bring them down and break them. Depressos are trying to get through everyone, me, you, your friends and family. They want to blame you for things out of your reach, and use this guilt to claim superiority. They want to take your passion, and break it, so you can become like them.

The world needs passionate people to keep moving around the sun without trouble. The happiest people are the ones who keep with the world’s currents, the way the water moves, the way the rocks remain still in face of trouble, and the way fire heats. That doesn’t mean you should watch news 24/7. No. Just be passionate about you do. Be happy about what you do. Take criticism where its due, and discard the bad things. My father says; “It isn’t about doing what makes you happy, but being happy with what you are doing”, and my “There is life beyond bed” applies perfectly.

Anywho, check yourself for your asexuality. If all the conditions apply for you to fit on a spectrum, then you are fine! Asexual people are still people, people who can love others all right. It is just that we had been blessed with a opportunity to see daily life without sex, and to see where the true beauty lies. If you are a artist, a total noobface or a pro, you should be able to see what makes beauty beauty, and what makes sex sex, and how to capture each.

9. witchgirl

 

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

Uhh, I surely like to write a lot, hope I didn’t bore ya, fellow aces! Either way, you guys can check my lousy FB page here: https://www.facebook.com/battlekorbiart/ (Be warned, I don’t upload everything I make here, only when I remember it)

I guess, I would appreciate it if you people checked out my absolutely empty Tumblr blog: https://thy-battle-korbi.tumblr.com/

yeyy2

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

Interview: Cipher

Today we’re joined by Cipher. Cipher is a wonderful writer and digital artist who specializes in fantasy and supernatural stories. She’s currently working on a couple different stories at the moment, all of which sound absolutely fascinating. When she’s not writing, Cipher does some digital art, mostly character design. It’s very obvious that she’s a very dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. rheet1ttt
Rheet

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m primarily a hobbyist writer, but I draw stuff on occasion, usually when I have an exam coming up or an assignment due. I tend to write stuff geared more towards fantasy or supernatural, as I love a story with something magical in it.

My current WIP is about a pretty gold merman, pirates, and fairies (in the background). The main character is of Middle-Eastern ethnicity, and is asexual! His merman boyfriend is whatever the merman equivalent of pansexual is, and one of two primary antagonists specifically a sex-repulsed asexual man. The story features characters of many different nationalities (as far as I can make that happen with a fantasy world) such as African, British (Scottish and English), Irish, Indian, Middle-Eastern, Caribbean, and French! It deals with some potentially triggering themes at times, but it’s also a story about accepting people for who they are, and accepting that your first impression of someone may not be that accurate. Also pirates!

I also have a vampire story planned, which will contain a single father main character with a tiny child because why not! I have a secret “other account” that I use to write self-indulgent fanfiction because I have to entertain myself SOMEHOW. My niche tends to be more in writing gay romantic relationships or very close platonic friendships with a kind of found-family vibe.

Any art I draw tends to be really ridiculous and silly, or it’ll be art for my own stories or someone else’s.

2. Felix2
Felix

What inspires you?

Everything inspires me. My own experiences and emotions, music, my friends, other content I view. Sometimes I just really want to indulge in a particular thing, and if I can’t find it out there, I write it myself! With the merman story, I kind of inspired myself? I had originally written a short series of novels which I wanted to do a spin-off for. And I was getting really into merpeople at the time, so I wanted to include one in this spin-off. The merman character I created and his human boyfriend wound up being way more interesting than what I was already writing, so I scrapped the spin-off and started telling their story instead! I have specific songs I listen to for this story, and I also tend to watch YouTube videos (check out Stella the Siren!) of people in costumes swimming around as merpeople.

One of the big themes in this story is being trapped somewhere and not being able to leave, even though logically, it should be easy. Another theme is prejudice, another is acceptance (or the lack thereof, in some cases). I drew these themes heavily from my own life, and I feel that in some roundabout way, some of the themes in this story are an accurate metaphor for the experiences some people have with their asexuality. This wasn’t my intention when writing it, but this has wound up being the result.

3. Iris
Iris

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

I can remember wanting to be a writer when I was younger. I had big dreams of wanting to be a best-selling author like J. K. Rowling, I wanted to be famous for it, I wanted to earn lots of money! And it was primarily the Harry Potter books that got me interested in that. My first story ever was a (badly) illustrated retelling of Disney’s The Little Mermaid (ha, I’ve come full circle!). As I grew up, I made friends with similar interests. We all wanted to be writers, we all liked to draw. Since then, I’ve decided I actually NEVER want to be published as I’m content with sharing my works for free online where I can interact with readers on a more personal level. And my digital art is really just a hobby. I’d love to develop my skill enough to do graphic novels or webcomics, maybe open up a Patreon. But again, it’s nothing I want to pursue professionally.

4. Penelope1
Penelope

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

Not that I know of? I guess when I write, I throw a lot of myself and my own emotions into the writing, and I NEVER intend for this to happen. It can sometimes make me feel very exposed when posting a new chapter, as I realise (though readers may not) that some of my deepest emotions and thoughts are out there for everyone to see.

5. azandkaensfinal1222
Az and Kaens

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Of course it’s important to improve your craft, whatever it may be. But NEVER let anyone tell you that your work is “cliché” or “unoriginal”. Guess what? NOTHING is original. Everything has been done before in some way at some point. What matters is that you have fun creating it, is that you enjoy what you do. You should have fun coming up with plots or ideas for drawings, you should have fun creating characters and giving them tragic backstories or smart mouths or the perfect physique, or whatever else it is that people like to make fun of others for. Indulge in yourself. When people constantly criticize you, and make you feel like you aren’t good enough to the point where you no longer want to create your art, THEY are in the wrong. You can’t please everyone. I once had someone complain that my 18-year-old Middle-Easter male character’s facial hair made him look less cute, and she would rather he didn’t have it. Like, I’m sorry my boy doesn’t fit your ideal “uke” aesthetic. My best friend drew a picture of him with a full giant beard and moustache as retaliation for me 😀

So first and foremost, make sure YOU are happy with what you create. Create primarily for yourself and not for others. Constructive or polite criticism, take it with a polite smile and a “thank you”, but learn to recognize when someone is genuinely just being mean. Remember that everyone advances at different speeds, and not everyone is perfect at everything.

Never let anyone, not even yourself, make your art less fun for you.

Some more writing-specific advice! In my opinion, a story is made up of three components. Writing, characters, and plot. Ideally, you want at least two of these things to be good to make for a story people will like! But in my experience, good characters are what work! They could be walking down the stairs for breakfast in the morning, but if your characterization is strong and done well, people will care about it. Pay special attention to your characters and creating them, and showing who they are in your writing, and giving them reasons for doing the things they do. Plot can be whatever you want it to be. Writing improves with time. Read a lot (professionally published works, really terribly-written fanfictions, the works!). Learn what you like in another’s style and what you don’t like. Utilize and borrow these things in order to refine your own craft.

Be kind to yourself! You’re creating art!

8. 64287995-256-k202908
Book Cover drawn by limey-art (on Tumblr), text added by shirokaneki (on Tumblr)

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual, panromantic.

6. azzwefgth
Az

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

Not that I can think of. A fellow writer did once tell me that she really “didn’t get all that crap”, however given her own upbringing and where she’s from, it didn’t bother me too much. I also had a rather rude person leave a comment on my story about sex in the story’s future, and when I explained there would be none because my main character is asexual (and his love interest is half FISH), she became very blasé, laughed about asexuality, kind of implied she didn’t think it was a real thing. I offered to explain it in more depth to her, and how it specifically affects this main character versus the sex-repulsed villain, but she never responded xD

Most of the ignorance tends to stem from people simply not knowing what asexuality is – they’ve either never heard of it, or they have misconceptions about what it is. And that’s fine, because I myself knew nothing about it until only a year or two ago. The best way I deal with THAT is to tell them that it’s okay if they don’t know or understand. I give a little explanation, and offer to go more in depth with them if they want, or I offer to point them to resources. Most people I’ve encountered have been very pleasant about it. Those who aren’t, just don’t talk to them. And remember to use that block button if necessary!

7. Slade
Slade

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

The most common one I’ve personally encountered is that people assume I’m afraid of sex. They assume this is the case, and they think I say I’m asexual so I either won’t have to have sex, or it’s an excuse so I don’t have to admit I’m afraid. Generally speaking, this is not the case at all. I’ve also had people think I don’t want sex, or “there must be something wrong” with me because “everyone wants sex!”. And finally, my number one FAVOURITE – “you just haven’t met the right person yet! That will change when you meet The One!” You know what, maybe it WILL change if I meet The One. Maybe I’m specifically demi-sexual. Maybe I just haven’t met my type yet. But for someone to try to invalidate my current sexuality like that is NOT okay. I never have felt, nor do I think I ever WILL feel sexual attraction. This, however, does NOT prevent me from having relationships, from having sex (physically, thoughts, “alone time”, etc) or from living a perfectly fulfilling life.

9. Az & Kae (Anni)
Az and Kae (drawn by fairygodpiggy on Tumblr)

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

That honestly depends on why they are struggling. The main thing to remember, I think, is that you know yourself best. If you think you’re asexual, call yourself asexual. If it’s dangerous for you to “come out” you are under NO obligation to do so. Ace positivity is everywhere on the internet, which is fantastic! However, you are no less ace if you choose not to participate or contribute, or if you choose never to talk about it. Your pride doesn’t have to be loud. You are no less ace if you only SOMETIMES feel ace, or if you used to not be, but now you are. There are resources out there where you can find a more specific term for your sexuality if you wish, but if you think you are ace, then that is what you are and no one can tell you any differently. There is nothing WRONG with you. Hundreds of thousands of us have thought the same thing. “I must be straight by default” or “I don’t understand why she’d cheat on him” or “sex isn’t that great”.

Asexuality is such a broad spectrum that of course everybody has different experiences. Different circumstances, different emotions, different actions, etc. Just because you’re not like another asexual person, that doesn’t mean you are less asexual. You can absolutely know if you’re ace whether you’ve had sex or not. I knew from about age 11 or 12 that I was ace, I just didn’t know the term for it at the time.

And for those of you who, like me for a while, wished you WEREN’T asexual, I have this to say: you are who you are. You feel what you feel. I hope you can come to accept yourself and realise that there is nothing wrong with being asexual. There are people out there who love and support you, and fellow ace people like myself are always here to chat should you need it ❤ Remember, the world in general still doesn’t understand a lot about asexuality. We’re still trying to get them to figure out that being gay is a real and normal thing! For many of us, being ace isn’t always easy. But we’ll get there. Just have pride in who you are, avoid Ace Discourse, and live your life!

10. Az (Limey)
Az drawn by limey-art (on Tumblr)

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

You can find my writing here on Wattpad as well as an artbook that I update sometimes: https://www.wattpad.com/user/Ciphertext

I’m also on Tumblr where I sometimes post art, but mostly I reblog fandom stuff, memes, and Vine compilations: https://ciphertext-x.tumblr.com/

11. the future
The Future, drawn by roboticspacecase (on Tumblr)

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

Interview: Teloka Berry

Today we’re joined by Teloka Berry. Teloka is a phenomenally talented visual artist from Australia. She’s a digital artist and specializes in comics. She also does portraits, original characters, and fanart. Aside from that, Teloka also does crafts. It’s very clear that she’s an incredibly dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

aceinterview_01

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a digital artist, and primarily a character illustrator and story-teller. I do stuff like portraits, comics, original characters and fan-art, and sell crafts and merch like stickers.

aceinterview_02

My very favourite things to do are comics, both short ones and long form ones! I like stories with a strong focus on acearo, queer and neuroatypical characters who are just having adventures in various genres, and my personal schtick leans heavily towards acearo girls who want to form lasting commitments and have relationships with other girls.

I have two long-haul projects. Let’s Celebrate!, my queer magical girl themed webcomic has been live for almost three years now, and features an acearo lead and a bunch of silly festive super powers. It’s very lighthearted but still explores various celebrations from around the world, mental illness and communication, and features a bunch of monsters that the girls/guys/nb-pals fight with improbable weapons like giant candy canes. You can see it here: http://letscelebrate-comic.tumblr.com/

My second long haul project is collaborative with my girlfriend which we’re hoping to release early next year, and it will be an online graphic novel in installments. It’s a supernatural, Lovecraftian kind of adventure-thriller, structured around the Great Australian Road-Trip in rural Queensland. It follows an established acearo f/f couple, who accidentally enter an outback region they can’t leave filled with frightening “Locals” and those long roads that go on “forever”.

aceinterview_03

What inspires you?

I’m going to sound super cheesy when I say this but… my girlfriend? Haha, I’m pretty inspired by personal experiences and personal interests, I suppose. I spend a lot of time drawing and illustrating stuff based on things we’ve done together or concepts we talked about and came up with together.

Maybe also like … spite, to be honest. I’m kind of tired of heteronormative stories and the same straight white male leads who fight the Big Bad and get the girl with very little actual effort. I love to write and see stories about girls, especially queer and neurodivergent girls, doing cool stuff and saving the day and being in genres they’re generally sidelined in, like action stuff or zombies.

aceinterview_04

That aside I find music and bright cheerful colour palettes quite inspiring, and use both of them a lot in my work. And the work of other artists who I look up to, of course! I’m pretty visual so if I see something that is just aesthetically pleasing to me (like some architecture, a posing angle, fairy lights in a shop window) I’ll probably think about how to incorporate it into an art piece sooner or later.

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

I’ve always been really crafty and drawn or scribbled stuff, so I guess so? I got serious about artwork at about 13, when I entered high school and fell in with fellow artsy-sorts who enabled the habit. I started out like most teens on DeviantArt back then with an anthro fursona, and made more friends online that encouraged me, and so I just… persisted with it. I don’t think I ever had particular plans to be an artist, or to be anything for that matter, but it’s probably my stand out skill now. I draw every day and love my stories and characters a lot!

aceinterview_05

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?

Probably like I mentioned in that first long ramble I did, I have a really strong narrative interest in queer stories, and especially a focus on acearo mentally ill girls and healthy relationships. Artistically/Stylistically though… no, haha, I have absolutely zero consistency in my work, I’m so bad at that!

Usually when I pitch it to other people they’ll say stuff like “sparkles!” or “colours!” or “same face syndrome!”, so maybe that’s the answer here? I like colours a lot and playing around with harsh lighting. I also draw a lot of birds, because… birb.

aceinterview_06a

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

1. Give it a go! If you want to do it, just do it. It’s worthwhile, even if all it ever does is bring you happiness or relaxation to create; that’s super important and you deserve it.

2. Quite difficult, but don’t compare your creation to other peoples work negatively. Be critical of your own work, sure, and always, always strive to improve. But your work is not anyone else’s but your own, so try not to be disheartened if it doesn’t look like something else you wanted it to look like. It looks like it’s yours, and that’s the best thing it could be.

3. This one is for minority groups in storytelling especially (I figure relevant here on an ace positive blog), and something I’ve struggled with a lot but: Tell that story about your own experiences/preferences if you want to tell it. Create your own representation if you can and want to.

It’s not self-centered, it’s not “too much”, it’s not unpalatable, it’s not boring, and it’s not cheesy. Don’t feel like you can only put one character from a minority group in your story, and don’t feel like you can’t have characters who you relate to or have traits like you in your story. You do not have to write in something for “someone else” to relate to or have straight white men in your story for it to be “acceptable”, regardless of what popular media seems to be trying to say.

For example, when we started on the roadtrip story I mentioned earlier, we thought “is two whole acearo girls in a story… too many? should one of them at least… be bi?” and while scripting I’ve often wondered ”is this chronically anxious character having too many anxiety attacks…? should I just have them handle this thing better so that their mental illness is showing less?”. And the answer to those things is obviously no. Show that mental illness. Have only acearo leads. Have a whole cast of POC. There’s no such thing as “too much” representation of your minority characters and stories, and if they’re based on your personal experiences or desires- great. Because nobody else can tell that for you; it’s yours.

aceinterview_07

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a cis girl (she/hers) and I identify as asexual and aromantic, though I might more accurately be quoiromantic as I don’t really understand the difference between platonic and romantic relationships, though I absolutely don’t experience attraction regardless. I previously considered myself panromantic because I “want to be emotionally intimate” with friends quite intensely and have close relationships, but I later realized that I don’t experience romantic attraction so… aromantic-spec it is.

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

I’ve actually experienced very little ace prejudice. I’ve found straight people to be confused and commit some naïve-microaggressions at best, and mostly they just want me to explain what it meant and expressed general confusion about how I could not feel sexual attraction. (except for those dudes, you know, the: “well you just haven’t been with ­me yet” narcissists.)

I also had an abuser who ID’d on the ace spectrum, who would constantly guilt me about my orientation and say I would be a disappointment to my partner/s, that I was “broken”, or that I was just “trying to be holier than thou” and all kinds of toxic shit. So it really can come from anywhere.

The absolute worst ongoing prejudice I’ve seen has been from gatekeepers in the gay and lesbian communities. No surprises there. So many “sapphic safe place” blogs will reblog artwork of my girlfriend and I, which is clearly f/f and I get the lovely gift of seeing their acephobic descriptions on how ace people don’t belong in the queer community and queer is a slur, while they profit from artwork literally featuring two acearo girls.

aceinterview_08

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

Lately there’s plenty of stuff going around tumblr especially about how asexuality doesn’t equal celibacy, and that it’s not a choice. True, absolutely! But I still very often see asexuality conflated with sex repulsion, or a lack of libido (and aromance with a lack of interest in close intimate relationships at all).

Sure, it can be that way, but it’s not universal for all aces or aros. Just like any orientation, asexual people can sit anywhere on the libido and/or repulsed spectrums. They are not the same at all, and it’s super toxic that it has become popularly interchangeable, because I’m often seeing ace characters who “hate to be touched” and it just…

Ace people can be sex positive and interested in intimacy.

Allosexual people can be sex repulsed or simply disinterested.

And sex repulsed people of any orientation can also still be highly sensual and have a libido and still really want to have sex (that’s me!).

All these things are separate experiences. Neither drive nor repulsion are intrinsically tied to each other or to asexuality, which is the lack of sexual attraction, and not the lack of desire for touch.

I think that’s a super important distinction that’s often lost. My stories focus on this a lot, and almost all of my comics and stories feature acearo characters who still actively seek close emotional intimacy- because aro people are not unfeeling robots- and who also like to experiment or be close to their partners physically- because ace doesn’t necessarily mean no libido or interest.

And it’s super alienating to sensual or libido aces to see the narrative that “to be ace means you can’t ever want to have sex with someone else” perpetuated. It feels like something that, in years to come, is going to segue into Ace-Gatekeeping-v2.0, and I’d like to see communication and compassion stop that before it happens.

aceinterview_09

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

Auuhhh… uhmmm I’m really not an ideal person to put in like… advice giving roles. I’m still learning stuff myself; the Living Experience is pretty enormous! But perhaps the best thing I found (for me) was to have close friends who I could talk to about being ace and aro. If you have other friends who are already knowledgeable or confident in their own sexuality and ID on the acearo spec then that is probably the safest way, and they can explain things to you and answer questions.

There are also a variety of previously linked ace-help blogs and websites, and probably honestly… a lot of the artists featured on this blog would probably be happy to answer anon-questions and stuff about their experiences if you get in touch? I’d be happy to, for sure. That might be good for anyone who feels isolated or confused and doesn’t want to have a name attached to their questions!

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

You can find my artblog, where I post most of my art and links and updates on the above mentioned projects here: http://berryartistic.tumblr.com. I should warn that there are some suggestive works on there and it’s pretty heavy on the f/f content. There’s nothing graphic and no actual nudity, mostly just implications of intimacy and some power dynamics, but it might be a bit much for some minors or anyone intimacy-repulsed, so take it with a grain of salt.

Let’s Celebrate! is completely PG and can be found here: http://letscelebrate-comic.tumblr.com/ which has links offsite to places like Tapastic.

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