Interview: Hana Golden

Today we’re joined by Hana Golden. Hana is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in digital art but also works in traditional mediums as well. She does character design, capturing expressions and emotions through a masterful use of detail. Hana also frequently draws canines and her ability to capture dog’s personalities with color and lines is amazing. She’s an incredibly talented artist, as you’ll soon see. 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 mostly a digital artist, but still work with a variety of traditional mediums. I enjoy watercoloring, spraypainting, stippling, and simple illustration work. I like to focus on expression cartooning, character design, and heavily enjoy fanart as well. Canines specifically have also always been a go-to for me and is one of the things I’ve always been known for. I also like to create my own custom Funko Pop figures as another side hobby.

For my art, I’d say that I like to focus heavily on expressions and making you feel what the character is feeling. When someone feels the same emotion I’m drawing by looking at it, that’s the best thing. Either way, I love drawing faces and just sketching in general.

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What inspires you?

Let’s see … kinda tough question cause there’s so much that inspires me. From an early age, my oldest sister was an artist, and my biggest inspiration and drive to improve. Now, I’d say that Disney/DreamWorks is my biggest inspiration. Watching certain films and shorts just make me want to push myself more and more. From the character design to the emotional feelings you get when you look at a scene, that’s what I want to create. I want to capture that one moment that made my heart pound, where I pause the scene and just stare at the characters face for a long time. It was that face that gave me a feeling, and I have to be able to do it too. I can get pretty obsessed about it actually, haha. I’m just super into animation, and hope to animate again. I use to do it a lot as a kid.

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

Like I had stated above, my oldest sister was the one who got me into drawing. I wanted have that one thing in common that we could do together. Watching anything animated/cartoon pushed me to draw those characters constantly. I remember being in my room drawing the covers of old VHS Disney movies, drawing Pokémon cards, really anything I could get my hands on. I was just drawing all the time.

I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil, like most everyone else, but I’m not sure to be honest. It never really occurred to me that I could partake in making these movies, or designing these characters. I’m not sure why, I guess it was never pushed on me or talked about as something I could potentially be a part of, not even by my teachers.  I knew I loved to draw and wanted to do it all the time, but I never pursued it the way I feel like I should have. My mentality about it was all wrong compared to how to feel about it now, and I wish I had pursued it more seriously. For the simple short answer, yes, I have always wanted to be an artist.

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

Honestly, there’s really nothing this deep in anything I do haha. I have a simple signature that if it’s not out in the obvious, then it’s small and hidden in the picture. I’ve never been a fan of putting my signature on my work, but since I had multiple works stolen, I’ve gotten to the habit of hiding it in the picture so it couldn’t be erased haha.

When I work on commissions, I really try to pull the person’s personality (or animals) out on paper. I want people to see their pet, s/o, or themselves in my work. I want them to feel like their personality is right there. That’s really important to me.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Please, just don’t give up. I know it’s what everyone says, but it’s so true. Too many people I know who use to draw and loved it, don’t do it anymore cause they said they were intimidated by other artists, or just got too down on themselves and came to a stop. It takes work, and you just have to push past all that stuff and focus on you. Compare your work to your own, not someone else’s. Look at how far you’ve come and embrace that. Just keep going.

Also, don’t be afraid of referencing/copying when starting out. That’s how you’re going to learn such a variety of things and all the different styles and types of art out there. You’ll develop your own style eventually by dropping things that don’t work for what you visually like, and picking up parts of others that you do and adding it to your own. Drawing from life is important though to learn proper proportions, lighting, color, etc. Don’t rely fully on cartoons or anime to teach you that stuff haha. It’s okay to copy other people’s work as long as you’re not claiming it as your own, just give credit where credit is due. A good rule of thumb I always worked from was if you copied it, keep it to yourself. If you had help from another artist’s work, credit it.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual. I’m not super sure if I lean towards gray or not, but I’m comfortable just using the term Ace. Finding out there was a word for how I was feeling, and that others were like me, was one of the most important parts of my life. I can still remember how I felt the minute I typed that word into Google and discovered its meaning haha.

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

Not really to be honest, at least not to my face. If anything, with some people I just got a feeling that they didn’t truly believe me or fully understand. It’s tough, because I want to have a family someday. I’ve always wanted children, and people who know me, know that. When I told them that I was ace, most of them will point out “You know how to get children, right?” I hate when people say that because I’m not stupid, yes I know about sex, I understand how it works, but I don’t like it, and don’t want it.

I even went to go see an Endocrinologist (a hormone doctor) cause I do actually have an issue with my hormones. I asked her about my libido and stuff like that (before I identified as ace, I thought my hormones were the problem) and she told me that with the way my hormones are, I should have a high sex drive and crazy libido. I laughed and cried the whole way home, because that wasn’t me, and I still got no answers.

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

That we don’t want a family, a significant other, or refuse to have sex in general. That’s not true for many people who identify in this orientation, and for some, it is. There are many asexual people who want their own children, want to be in a relationship, and even like having sex. All of that is okay, being Asexual just means that you don’t feel sexual attraction.

For me personally, I still struggle time to time. I want to be in a relationship, cuddle, hold hands, and I want a family. I just don’t want to have sex so it’s tough when I tell people that cause they don’t understand. Most people just tell me that when the time comes, I just need to “suck it up and do it” if I want kids.

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

Don’t just ignore your own feelings and please teach others. I went to great lengths to get an answer as to why I was afraid to be close with my boyfriend, or why I didn’t feel anything when it came to kissing or avoiding situations that would make the other feel like we could take the next step in our relationship. It was awful, and not fair to either of us. It was hard to admit to people I get more of a love feeling walking into an art store or watching an animated movie, and then I got going on a date. In the end, it wasn’t a doctor that helped me, but a person that I follow online who just happened to use the word asexual in a sentence, and I decided to google it. I wish that I was exposed to the idea that you don’t need to have sex. It can be scary when all of your friends and people you are exposed to daily are all talking about something you just can’t relate too. You look at your own life and see how old you’re getting, and you haven’t had sex yet. It’s normal, and it’s okay to not want that in your life.  Just talk, educate others, and be open about it! It’s important to teach people to listen to your own body, and don’t do something because you feel you have too.

You’re valid and important, talk about it openly, because it will help you to be more comfortable with who you are.

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

Sorry this got lengthy! I like writing. I post my art mostly on my Instagram! You can also follow me on my Facebook page, Sebatticus, and my Tumblr Sebatticus as well 🙂

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

Interview: Kodiak Rain

Today we’re joined by Kodiak Rain, who also goes by Kodi. Kodi is a phenomenal visual artist who does a bit of everything. Ze enjoys colored pencils and watercolors mostly, although ze has worked with clay, acrylics, and oil paints as well. Kodi also illustrated a graphic novel written by zer son entitled Trayvalle Tales (it can be found on Amazon, here). Ze are incredibly passionate about art and zer work shows a remarkable amount of depth and complexity as well as a phenomenal use of color, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to zer for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I work with a variety of mediums from oil paint to acrylic to watercolors, sculpting with clay, drawing in pencil, ink or colored pencil or a combination of those, pastels, charcoal, using a Wacom drawing pad to create digital art, woodcuts and printmaking. Of all those things, I think my current favorites are colored pencils and watercolor paints. I like how those methods are easy to use so that I am able to work quickly without a lot of set up or clean up.

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What inspires you?

Nature is my biggest inspiration. I wish to capture its beauty while also offering a perspective on it that reminds others that we are part of nature and that nature is alive all around us. Even more alive than we tend to give it credit for on a daily basis. Emotions also inspire me. I want my images to evoke feelings although I don’t always want to determine ahead of time what those feelings will be. And finally symbolism inspires me. When working with images, there are so many ways to express different ideas, emotions and messages through symbols both ancient and more modern. It is fun to think about what symbols are universal and what may be very individualistic.

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

My mother was a professional artist all my life so I was exposed to art from the beginning. It wasn’t what I dreamed of being, it was just something I loved to do and found myself doing most, in fact with every opportunity I was creating something. I was fortunate that I had access to so many materials and was encouraged by my mom. I eventually discovered that I simply cannot live without making art. It has been many things for me. It has been my saving grace, my therapy, a way to tell my own story and the stories of others, a way to communicate my character and a way to express things I find hard to say in words.

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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 often include spirals because the spiral is found in the double helix of DNA and also in the vastness of a galaxy. It has mathematical qualities and just seems to be the most magical of symbols to me. I also like to draw eyes in my trees (not always but sometimes) to symbolizes that nature is watching us and judging our actions. I guess I am a bit of an agnostic pagan.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Draw every day! Try every medium! Find what you love and don’t stop. Develop tough skin so that if you are criticized or critiqued, you will hear what is beneficial to you and toss out what hurts. Do it for YOU.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I guess I am somewhere between asexual and demisexual and often sex repulsed.

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

I find more prejudice about being agender than asexual because I think people haven’t wrapped their heads around the idea that someone can be genderless. I think though that my sexuality doesn’t come up often enough for me to experience prejudice, although I know that some people think that it means something is wrong with me. I even had someone take it personally as if it were a judgment about their sexual ability when in fact it has nothing to do with other people and is simply all about me.

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

I guess that being asexual means that there is something wrong with me physically or that I just haven’t been with a good lover or found the right person. Also that I am a prude. I am not a prude and can talk about anything regarding sex with an open mind AND my asexuality is not about other people. It is all about me, what I feel and how I identify.

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

Just be true to yourself and know that you are healthy. What matters most is what makes you happy, what makes you feel good about yourself and your life. Nothing else matters as much as that. Remember that most of the time, people are projecting their own experiences and ideas onto each other so know yourself and don’t worry about what other people think.

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

I used to use Tumblr under a different name but I have forgotten the account info for that so now I have my own blog here on WordPress: kodiakrainblog.wordpress.com. It is fairly new but I plan to share my artwork and my life story there. I hope you check it out and subscribe if you like what you see!

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

Interview: C. Reyes

Today we’re joined by C. Reyes. Cee is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in a lot of mediums. They do both digital and traditional art. They do some fanart and enjoy using pen and ink. Cee also does some mixed media work. They’re obviously very enthusiastic and dedicated to their art, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Stevonnie

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hello! Well, I think my art is varied in the sense that I do both traditional and digital. Most of the pieces I post online are digital (simply for convenience’s sake), but I like to do mixed media —watercolor, gouache, and acrylic — and pen and ink (mostly Prisma and Copic markers, and Micron pens). Lately, I lot of my digital work has been in the Steven Universe and D. Gray-Man fandoms as they are some of my favorite show.

What inspires you?

I have a lot of things that inspire me, and it’s all dependent on my mood, to be honest. Steven Universe can get me in a very artistic mood due to the unique color choices and art style. In addition, I love Gustav Klimt’s work—his pieces introduced me to gold leaf and made me incorporate it into my art work. I’m also a big fan of Leonardo da Vinci, and he inspired me to look more deeply into human anatomy.

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

Ever since I could remember, I’ve always been drawing. Looking back on it now, as a child, I think what made drawing so appealing to me is that fact that I could create something with my own hands. Superhero twins shooting lasers out of their eyes and fighting crime? Done. Doll that had animal best friends and drove a firetruck? Finished. Even now, I look through the stuff I’ve done over the past few years, and I always remember why I loved drawing it.

Awesome warrior amputee queen that rules justly over her land in a castle of bones? Did that a few months ago, haha.

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Blue Diamond

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?

Now this I really have to think on. For my artistic style, I think one thing that people always tell me that helps them identify a work as mine is detailed lineart; they also say my range of colors, too. One thing that I am very conscious of is my signature — first initial, last name, with the date riding on the end of my signature. I always make sure I sign my stuff.

Recently, now that I’ve started selling some of my prints and such online, I’ve been putting a crown with my signature as a play on my last name and store/account name. (Rey = Spanish for ‘king’; crown = king)

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would definitely say keep drawing no matter what. You think your character’s arm looks wonky? Keep practicing on arms and look up references. Having trouble understanding how watercolor paint works? Ask someone for help and practice. Asking for help or looking up reference pictures is not cheating—it’s learning.

Also, do not throw away your old sketches or drawings. As cringe-worthy as you may think they are (I’ve been there and I understand), keep them. You’ll look back and see how much you’ve improved. In fact, I’ve looked back to some of the stuff I made just last year and I can see an improvement. You may not see it as the year progresses, but after that good chunk of time, you will most certainly see it. No matter how small the progress (you’re better at drawing paws, your tree finally doesn’t look weird, you understand how water reflects, you’re progressing at drawing fur), progress it progress. Keep at it! 🙂

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Mersons

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a nonbinary person that identifies as panromantic-asexual.

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

I haven’t encountered any prejudice per se, but I’ve come across people who ask, “How can this character look like this? I thought they were asexual.” They often mean, how can a character look pretty, handsome, or sexy if they are asexual.

I usually just try to explain to them that just because a person is asexual does not mean they cannot dress or look a certain way. Clothes and appearance are just that—clothes and appearance.

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

I think I’ve come across two: 1) Asexual people are boring, confused, and/or broken; and 2) Asexual people cannot enjoy romance or sex/sensation.

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Monster Girl

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

You are not broken, no matter what anyone tells you! You are you, and you are just fine.

Asexuality does not exist stagnantly — it’s different for everyone. One ace person may absolutely hate sex and be sex-repulsed (which is totally okay), and another ace person may only like sex once they get to know the person or persons, or have finally established feelings for them, a grey ace (which is also total okay). In another example, one ace person may just like the sensation of sex because it feels good, while another ace person may not like sex with people but is comfortable taking care of their body’s needs on their own. Both are valid and okay. ❤

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

I actually have a few platforms where I can be found!

Art Blog Tumblr: http://el-c-rey.tumblr.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/el_c_rey/
(Misc. Merchandise) Redbubble: https://www.redbubble.com/people/el-c-rey?asc=u
(Prints) Storenvy: http://elcrey.storenvy.com/

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Person Praying

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

Interview: Andi

Today we’re joined by Andi. Andi is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in a cartoon style. They also do a bit of realism and do both original and fanart. Andi is inspired by many things and has a wonderful amount of enthusiasm, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Aang

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a cartoon style artist first and foremost! I love digital art and watercolor the most, but I’m well versed in graphite, acrylic, colored pencil, pastel, and most recently oil paints. I also have a touch of skill in realism! I do a lot of fan art, but I also make original art.

What inspires you?

Nature and animals most of all! I love plants and animals and natural things. I’ve also been heavily inspired by media about magical characters and fantasy worlds. I usually combine features from whatever I’ve most recently been obsessing over, and different aesthetics I enjoy. Video games and TV have had huge influences on my art.

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

Art has always been a part of me for as long as I can remember. I feel like Pokémon probably had the biggest impact on my early art direction and interest. Both the games and the anime drove me to create and helped fuel my love of art. Art is life.

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

I like to include diverse features and shapes to my art to create variety! I love unique nose shapes a lot and different body types are lovely uwu

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

USE REFERENCES PLEASE! Honestly I’m still taking my own advice here. Learning from life and having patience to do so will take you far. You begin to develop your own shortcuts that you can translate into cartoon styles and simpler designs.

Also sketch! Build up shapes and lines before you solidify details!

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Charconcept

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am Panromantic Asexual! I experience no sexual attraction, though I’m not sex repulsed. I actually find it really fascinating? I have no interest in participating but I’m totally comfortable talking about it. I’m rather frank, actually.

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

Luckily I haven’t. Only people I’m friends with know I’m ace and they’re supportive. It’s pretty easy for me to avoid sharing with others. People I know are open to learning.

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

People thinking that I can’t/won’t/don’t have sex. I have and honestly, not impressed.

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

Please be patient with yourself. Don’t force yourself to do things you don’t want to. It’s hard to recognize a lack of something, and it’s confusing watching other people do and say things that you may not experience the same way, or at all. Be good to yourself!

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

My art Tumblr!
https://ag-art-things.tumblr.com/

My website!
http://andreargraham.wixsite.com/agart

My FB page!
https://www.facebook.com/ANDILION5356/

And my Twitter!
https://twitter.com/Andilion5356

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Panther

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

Interview: Orion

Today we’re joined by Orion. Orion is a wonderful visual artist who does both original and fanart. They’re currently doing a lot of work with ink and watercolors. Their work has a delightful sense of whimsy and playfulness to it. Their characters are so expressive, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I like to try many different types and styles of art, though at the moment I’m focusing on inked and watercolour fanart and original visual art.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by my desire to see more positive representation of LGBT+ people in art and media. And by the desire to continue to develop my artistic skills.

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

My grandfather is an artist. Throughout my childhood I loved to visit him, I’d look through his hobby room at the artworks on the walls, the huge painting station, the sketches and canvas spread throughout and I loved it. I’d draw with the art set (a plastic half oval case filled with pencils, crayons, etc.) he had for his grandkids and a drawing I had done as a child of a girl in a dress (me? I cannot remember) was always proudly displayed in Grandpa’s study.

I’ve been interested in art since childhood thanks to Pa’s influence, and messy drawings with crayons slowly turned into something better.

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

I don’t have any intentional things like that, though at the moment, binders have been featured in a lot of my works.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Be a good consumer of art.

Learn to give reviews to other artist’s works, even a short sentence explaining what you like about it. It helps to encourage a culture of interacting with art and sharing it rather than just letting it go by unnoticed and it’s a nice thing to do for the artist.

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Additionally, if you learn to see what makes an artwork good (e.g. “Hey! This is a great work and I really love the detail put into the hair and freckles!”), you’ll know what to put into your own work to make it better (e.g. Detailed hair/freckles).

And keep practicing, create as often as you can, and, if you feel comfortable with it, show as much of your work as you can to the world.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am an asexual nonbinary person. The romantic part is slightly more complex as I go by many terms, grey-biromantic, aromantic, and cupioromantic.

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

I’ve gotten hate mail and death threats on Tumblr for being openly ace but overall most people are okay with aces and if they’re not (or send hate mail) I block them immediately.

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

That asexuals just don’t like sex or haven’t found ‘the right person’.

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

Understand that if the issue is figuring out where on the asexual/aromantic spectrum you lie there’s no rush. There’s no real reason you need to have that figured out by a set date, just let yourself explore and eventually you’ll figure it out.

And if it’s becoming comfortable with your orientation that is the issue, firstly try to find other aces to talk to about it and then try to remind yourself that there’s absolutely, 100% nothing wrong with being asexual.

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

My Tumblrs: orioart.tumblr.com for original artworks and orionsfanart.tumblr.com for fanart.

Or my Deviantart: amazingacearmy.deviantart.com

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

Interview: Emily

Today we’re joined by Emily. Emily is a fantastic younger artist who enjoys drawing. Using mostly traditional media, Emily draws in ink, colored pencils, and has begun experimenting with watercolors. She also enjoys music and plays the alto saxophone. Her art shows a phenomenal attention to detail and a wonderfully vivid imagination. This artist has a 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 draw a lot. I’ve managed to take 3 art classes so far in school and will be taking another in the upcoming year. Within the past year I’ve been inspired to sketch more than ever and have filled a little over one and a half sketchbooks with drawings of various things. I enjoy drawing dragons and other fantasy-related art. I normally work with ink, whether it be by using ballpoint pen in the margins of my notes, or using nicer pens in my sketchbook. Recently I’ve also started using dip pens and ink which has been an interesting experience. For color I normally prefer colored pencils, although recently I’ve dabbled in watercolor. I normally use colored pencils because they are significantly more portable and cleaner.

I also play alto saxophone in both full and jazz band, and enjoy participating in school plays and musicals as an actress.

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What inspires you?

For visual art, I’m inspired by the books I read and the world around me. I often find myself drawing flowers or things inspired by the curves and colors found in nature, even for fantastical doodles. For music and theatre I’m just inspired by the passion of the people around me. Music and theatre can be filled with so much emotion. I also have been grateful to have such talented musicians/actors as my friends in my school.

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

I’ve always been a doodler and recently decided that if I’m going to keep doodling, I might as well put it to good use and try to improve. I still don’t know if I will pursue art as my only career path, but it will definitely be a constant in my life even if I don’t only make money via art. I’ve always been interested in band and theatre. Both of my parents were involved in both subjects in high school and college and their stories intrigued me. I also have always loved music and singing, so musicals are great fun.

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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 really have a signature object in my art, although I do always sign it with Em.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I know everyone says this, but just keep drawing, or playing, or doing whatever you want to do, even if you’re just doodling a quick BB8 in the margin of your history notes, or learning how to play the Sherlock theme song, or memorizing a dramatic monologue about cheese. Just do what you love and don’t force yourself to fit in with what others think you should do. Even if you don’t want to become a full time artist, actor, or musician you can still do those things casually. They’re meant to be enjoyable.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual and who knows what romantic.

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

I’ve only recently (as in, this summer) started identifying as asexual. I feel like we are generally ignorant of the concept of asexuality as a society, but I haven’t encountered any prejudice.

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

As I’ve only recently identified as ace, I haven’t really encountered many misconceptions other than the general thought that I might someday meet “the one” from my relatives who I have come out too. In all they were pretty accepting of the general idea of asexuality though.

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

Story time- the first time I heard about asexuality was probably around 2 years ago in an online chat with a gay guy who was my age. We had met from an online art app and were generally discussing outlooks on life and religion. Somehow the conversation turned to crushes/sexuality and I mentioned that I’ve never had crushes. He proceeded to try to explain what crushes felt like, and then asked me if I had heard of asexuality. I looked it up and then decided that I was probably demisexual because at that point I thought that announcing that I had no sexual attraction was a bit extreme and weird. Now, a year later, I am very chill with the idea that I don’t experience sexual attraction, and there are others like that, and we’re all pretty cool people. Coming out of that story, my advice is to identify with what you feel fits your feelings. Other people don’t know how you feel or what you experience. Worst thing, you’ll end up changing your label at some point in your life. It’s not the end of the world. Someday I might find that I was right a year ago and I am demi or gray. Or I might be an 80 year old cat lady, or happily married with a great romantic relationship. Who knows? God made you the way you are and loves you like that.

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

All of my reblog stuff can be found (at) ladyknighttime which is where I also post any ace stuff I do beyond art. My art blog is (at) themanyartsofemily.

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

Interview: Stella

Today we’re joined by Stella. Stella is a young artist who displays an incredible amount of skill. She specializes in traditional mediums, favoring watercolor and ink. There’s an eerie dreamlike quality to her work as you’ll soon see. It’s quite interesting visually, demonstrating a wonderful imagination. This artist has such a bright future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Warning: there is some blood and mild body horror in one picture (the 2nd one in the interview)

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After Strawberries

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a primarily self-taught artist, but I have recently finished a foundations art class and will soon be taking an intermediate course. My favourite mediums to work with are watercolour and ink; I typically combine the two together. I enjoy creating phantasmagorical scenes and portraits.

What inspires you?

I often seek inspiration for my artwork from the ocean, music, and literature.

There are also many artists who inspire, most notably Tim Burton. Other artists I admire and find inspiring, even if their styles don’t directly influence my art, are Carson Ellis, Mab Graves, Mark Ryden, and Camilla d’Errico, They are all incredibly talented & kind individuals who are able to make a living doing what they love, which is my ultimate goal as an artist.

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

I have always gravitated towards art, and ever since I was a young child, I hoped my future career would involve art. Unfortunately, I felt discouraged from this dream for many years, as pursuing artistic careers is frowned upon and seen as illogical by much of society. However, this past year I realised the only way I would be happy making a living is by making art. I am now filled with new determination to achieve my goal of becoming a children’s book illustrator. This would allow me to combine two of my loves, books and illustrating, into one!

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’m afraid not! But the things that you will frequently see in my work are octopi and whales.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do not listen to the voice inside your head that tells you your dreams are pointless or useless to pursue. Do not listen to others who tell you those things. Instead, follow your artistic instincts. Never stop creating. If you are young and want to work in an art field, and you are filled with ambition, I really do think you can succeed. Be relentless! Prove everybody who thinks you can’t be successful wrong.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a heteroromantic asexual.

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

I have not encountered discrimination amongst other artists, but I have encountered discrimination amongst other folk. The worst of it was when someone told me my asexuality was a disease. Negative remarks like that can be very disheartening, and sometimes angering, but on the occasion they happen, I always remind myself nothing anyone says can invalidate my asexuality.

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

A lot of people confuse asexuality with the inability to love (typically romantic love). I find this to one of the most unfortunate misconceptions for a whole slew of reasons–first off, aces are completely capable of developing loving relationships, whether they are romantic or platonic; secondly, this helps perpetuates the incorrect idea that sex = love, and therefore sexless relationships are meaningless; and finally, this misconception reinforces aromantic erasure.

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Interpretive Self Portrait

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

Always remember, your feelings are valid, and you are not alone, no matter how much it may feel that way. Know it is okay to be uncertain about your orientation, as sexuality can be very confusing. Also, I know many aces deal with rejection and invalidation from family and friends after coming out, which is no doubt incredibly disheartening. If this is you, I promise you will meet so many others who will love and accept you for who you are, even if this may take time.

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

I have an art Tumblr where I post most of my works (although I’m afraid I don’t post very often). The url is itsalovelydaytoleavemealone.tumblr.com. I hope within the next couple of years to make a professional portfolio website, however.

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Suspension

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