Interview: Alie Schnabel

Today we’re joined by Alie Schnabel, who goes by Astringent online. Alie is a wonderful up and coming visual artist who does a bit of everything. Her favorite mediums are printmaking and sculpture, though she has also done painting, weaving, sewing, ceramics, and book making. Alie hopes to open a community art center and she is clearly a dedicated and passionate 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.

Oh geez. My work is kind of all over the place, I’ve done painting, printmaking, ceramics, weaving, sewing, I made a book recently, as well as a myriad of other things. My favourite mediums are sculpture and printmaking, although I still have a lot to learn. I’m still in college so I’ve been pretty busy with assignments I haven’t had the time to just create what I want to. The end goal is to run my own community art center where I’ll have a studio for myself.

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What inspires you?

The deadline? For real though I try to make my art personal. A lot of what I’ve been doing lately has been on a prompt since I am currently in school, but I try to make it relevant to my experiences, and to have a deeper meaning. Some of my favourite recent work has actually been about asexuality, most of it is craftier in nature as it comes from my Activism and Textiles class (although, if you ask me ‘crafty’ art like sewing and weaving doesn’t get enough recognition as an art form). A lot of my paintings take a fairly heavy topic and use a childlike style to make it seem almost fun while retaining that somber theme (like Time is Running out for Jeff, my piece with the balloon dog)

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

I’ve always loved art and I think deep down I always knew that it was what I wanted to do, but of course, people told me that it was impractical. In grade school there were so many things that I wanted to do; forensic scientist, veterinarian, anthropologist, psychologist, and even a pilot for a while, but I kept coming back to what I loved most. I think what really solidified my decision was my art teacher my senior year, he was always there for me and was always so inspiring (even during his amazing feminist rants about how awful and degrading the Carl’s Jr. commercials were). I guess I just realised that I wanted to inspire people the way he inspired me.

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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 have a tag that I leave places, usually with chalk or sharpie, I got to use spray paint once on a boulder on the side of the freeway (chill. the rock is a local landmark because everyone spray paints it) Anyway, the tag is a little bird, sometimes I’ll give him a little crown and he becomes bird king. It doesn’t show up in my actual work though, at least not yet.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I don’t know if I’m the best person to give advice, since, I, myself am an aspiring artist. I guess what I would say is; “don’t listen to those who degrade you or your work, even if that person is yourself”. I know that I am my own worst critic and I usually hate what I create. However, I know that’s not healthy and I’m working to overcome that (yay counseling) seriously though, as long as you are creating for the right reasons, you are making a difference and that’s what matters in the end.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aromantic Asexual. But I do deeply love those who are close to me and I’ll fight anyone who says platonic love can’t be as strong as romantic love.

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

Not yet, I’ve been lucky, especially in such a conservative college town. Although I don’t really put myself out there other than in-class critiques when my pieces directly correlate with asexuality. I usually start out by saying something like “I’m happy to answer any questions, but if you’re just going to be a jerk you can just shove it” I tend to be pretty blunt and without much of a filter, so it usually comes out a bit more ‘colourful’ than that, though my teachers so far have thought my little disclaimer is funny.

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

I haven’t noticed one more than the others at this point, since I only recently came out, a memorable one is my mum asking “So do you like girls then?” that’s about is as far as asexuality goes. I get a lot more crap for my aromanticism though, mostly people assuming I don’t love others, or that I’m cold and distant. I like to think I’m a pretty friendly person, and I genuinely love the people close to me.

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

Stop it. I know the world can suck sometimes, but people are inherently good, and you will find people who accept you for who you are. There is nothing wrong with you, but there is also no shame in reaching out for guidance if that’s what will help. Also, if anyone gives you crap tell them I’ll beat them up.

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

Oof. My Tumblr is a bit of a mess, but I might post some work on there, it should be ada-refractor. I do post some stuff on my Instagram, that one is agentastringent.

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

Interview: Lawton Braun

Today we’re joined by Lawton Braun. Lawton is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in a unique form of self-portraiture: he works with fiber and makes fabrics. He has a degree in fabric design and uses bold colors to create self-portraits. Lawton also does quite a lot of digital illustration, which range from digital fabric repeats to text based designs and artwork. His artwork is gorgeous and he’s incredibly passionate, 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.

I work mainly in fiber and digital art, have graduated from the Lamar Dodd School of Art, and am currently working a full time teaching job. My art is inspired by different interpretations of what it means to experience self-portraits. I remember being in the first years of art school when we were told to draw self-portraits and I would feel so bummed because I’m not a very photorealistic type of artist, but as I started to figure out what I enjoyed and what I was interested in I came to understand that a self-portrait can be anything that you want it to be. Capturing a person’s image can be a literal picture of the person, or a stylistic work that describes them through different aesthetics.

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What inspires you?

I take a lot of time to look at the intersectionality of my race, gender, sexuality, and my privileges in many ways and how they interact with the world. I am also really into skate culture and looking at the way that I feel and experience love. I navigate towards bold colours and high contrasting situations because I’m colour blind, and bold and neons are the colours I see the best.

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

I always enjoyed art when I was growing up and I love building things. I was originally concentrating in ceramics with a focus on sculpture when I sort of got invested in cartoons and drawing funny things. I decided to branch out and see where I could put my cartoons in places other than just on pots or cups or slabs of clay. Because of this I ended up falling in love with fiber arts and how it can be both industry focused and fine art driven; it was basically the best of all the things I wanted. When I got into weaving I fell in love with the skills and having to take the time to work at mastering the process to make fabric. Then it became all about, “how do I work to make fabric unique and tell the story of who I am using materials that I find interesting.”

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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?

Not really a signature, but most people that know me and are familiar with my art recognize the colors that I use. They are bold and vibrant and not combinations that many would pick. I love neons and mixing them with neutrals along with blacks and dark tones.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just make a lot, honestly art is just a skill like anything else, it does not come down to talent, it’s just about how much time and practice and effort you put into it. If you don’t think you’re good at it, fucking welcome it and live in the fact that you’re not good at it and just find the small things that make you laugh or smile about what you are making. You can make it for a certain audience or just for yourself, just make a lot and think about what you make a lot.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual and demiromantic. I am sexually active, but I only have or enjoy sex under very specific conditions. BDSM allows me to have sex within strictly defined parameters outlining what will and will not happen. This allows me to have sex in a way that lets me set the limits and feel relaxed while being able to enjoy the pleasure and fun of the session without having to get into a debate about me not feeling sexual attraction.

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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’ve had plenty of partners and people tell me that I can’t be ace because I have had sex and do enjoy sex in the right environment. Most recently this came from a past partner breaking up with me because I refused to say that I wasn’t ace.

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

I’ve honestly heard people compare asexual people to sponges. Asexuality is a spectrum and it’s fluid for some people just like any identity.

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

Believe in yourself and just do you. Try your best to find other people to talk to, learn more, and take the time to experiment with the label that fits you best.

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

You can find my Tumblr at middleboi.tumblr.com and find me on Facebook here and my Redbubble shop for some stickers if you want HERE

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