Interview: Victoria Jeon

Today we’re joined by Victoria Jeon. Victoria is a phenomenally talented writer and visual artist who specializes in webcomics. Most of her work falls under dark fantasy, though she explores many themes and ideas through her art. Victoria currently has a webcomic entitled Perfection Engine, which has just the most fascinating premise. She’s clearly a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read and see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Lucifer
Lucifer

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a digital illustrator and a webcomic artist. I mostly draw original character art, although I’ve drawn and sold some fanart in the past and recently started to participate in fanzines. My art often involves dark fantasy, symbolism and wordplay, philosophical subjects, and I strive to make works that look like traditional, oil paintings.

My current webcomic project is “Perfection Engine,” a fantasy webcomic that involves an angelic race in a seemingly perfect society, devoted to bringing back their beloved Maker. It is meant to be a shorter webcomic before I start some of my longer stories, but it’s a dark satire that hopefully comes across with a lot of insight and symbolism.

I am actually also a first year law student, meaning I am effectively living a double life with the beginnings of my legal career and my art. My art, whether I am painting illustrations or making webcomic pages definitely is a source of joy and comfort when I’m burnt out from law school work. It’s a huge challenge keeping up with both, but when both are in balance, I get fulfillment from both sides of my life.

2. Perfection Engine Cast
Perfection Engine Cast

What inspires you?

As far as my art style goes, I primarily draw inspiration from Blaze Wu, Yoshitaka Amano, Ayami Kojima, and Minori. I also tend to draw inspiration from baroque paintings, rococo paintings, and impressionist paintings, although it’s really hard to pinpoint a favorite or several from there!

Fashion also is a huge inspiration for me as well. I’ve been involved with Japanese fashion styles (i.e. Lolita fashion, Shironuri, and Mori fashion) for quite some time, so some of my characters naturally have designs similar to those fashion styles. I’ve been looking a bit more towards Haute Couture and up and coming fashion designers for inspiration too. Lately, I’ve been looking towards Comme de Garçons, Alice Auaa, Alexander McQueen, Linda Friesen, and more.

Subject matter for my stories is a lot darker, haha. I take from fairy tales, world history, philosophy, real life events, my life, and general observations about human nature and society. For example, one of my future projects brings a question, “What would it be like to search for truths people have taken to the grave?” Another explores the question, “What’s the point of all that power in your hands if you cannot reach for help?” Perfection Engine, my current webcomic, explores, in part, the question, “What if a God does not want to be worshipped?” and is very loosely based on a toxic relationship I’ve had in my past. A lot of my stories thus tend to lean to a tragic atmosphere, although I do hope people get some food for thought in the process of exploring them! It’d be good if some people got good out of what spite or anger I may feel against real life.

Aside from fairy tales, history, philosophy, and just reality in general, video games, movies and TV shows inspire me greatly as well. I take great amount of inspiration from Yoko Taro (Drakengard/Nier series), Final Fantasy 10, Dark Souls, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Pan’s Labyrinth, Project Itoh (Empire of Corpses, Harmony), and more.

Lastly, close friends are always an inspiration, even if we have very different philosophies and inspirations for our respective works. They help provide the drive and the food and drinks when all the visual and material inspirations cannot. Literally.

3. Golden - Self Portrait
Golden – Self Portrait

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

It’s a bit embarrassing to say, but I got into drawing a while after writing terrible fanfiction of video games when I was ten. At first, it was drawing fanart and self-inserts. Then it was a bunch of RP characters. I eventually got introduced to DeviantArt when I was 14, at which point I started to devote serious time and effort into drawing, writing stories, making characters, and improving my craft. I think I always enjoyed drawing, but it wasn’t up until this point that I seriously considered a path in art.

Due to a variety of personal reasons, circumstances and other interests in my life, I’ve ended up going to law school instead. I definitely was not going to give up art just because I was going into an entirely different field altogether though. I still have some stories I want to tell and endless things I want to illustrate.

4. Conjoined Souls
Conjoined Souls

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?

The penname “Alberloze” is a word in a fictional language that spans across almost all of my current stories. It means “White Rose,” but it colloquially means “True Love.” This is not restricted to romantic love either; it could be true love between friends, family, and so on. As for certain symbols and features, I tend to use a lot of flower, animal, and divine symbolisms. I also adore wordplay (namely palindromes, dual-meanings, and anagrams), and use them where I can.

It’s probably worth noting that a lot of my stories involve the soul in some form or another. I can’t exactly divulge how so as some of these stories are not published yet, but the human soul has always fascinated me. So many people define the soul in vastly different ways. Some do not believe in souls or anything spiritual, that it is a fictional concept. Some believe humanity and souls are the same thing. Some believe the soul is made of our thoughts and feelings. Some believe it is our will. Some believe souls straight-up cannot be comprehended.

My stories also tend to revolve around a theme. For my current project, Perfection Engine, for example, the theme is “Obsession.” Another story’s is “Truth.” Another story’s is “Vengeance.” And the last in that sequence of stories is “Karma.” I’m aiming to make stories with the theme of “Hope” or “Dreams” eventually too — something a lot happier and lighthearted. I’m contemplating on a magical girl series or a series of fairy tale retellings.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Take some time to figure out who you are. Your artwork will seem a lot more genuine and interesting when you take time to figure out what you like, what stories you have to tell, and who you are as a person. Think of it like going to an isolated mountain and meditating to become stronger like in kung-fu movies.

Always be open to experimenting. I found that experimenting is a sure way to get out of your comfort zone and discover art styles and work styles that you wouldn’t have discovered for yourself otherwise.

And lastly, do not be discouraged by other people. This ranges from societal expectations, to disapproving family members, to perhaps artists that you think are above and beyond where you are currently. It could be hard, that drawing in and of itself in those circumstances could feel like rebellion, but if you fight the good fight, I promise you will be satisfied with yourself in the long run.

5. Deficient Heaven
Deficient Heaven

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a cisgender woman (she/her), although sometimes I do question whether I really am cisgender as opposed to say, being genderfluid or genderless; I am also totally fine with they/them pronouns and allow people to use she/they interchangeably.

I am also biromantic asexual. I’d say I sit somewhere between sex-neutral to sex-negative asexuality, meaning I’d likely only volunteer to sexual activity under very narrow circumstances (with a significant other and after much deliberation and communication probably).

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

I have not experienced ace prejudice in my field yet —in law school and in art—, although I’ve seen quite a lot of people become confused about it. I am a part of the executive board in my law school’s OUTlaw group (LGBTQ+ lawyers group), and I’ve simply been doing what I can to accept any and all orientations that come in. As far as in the art field, I try to add more ace/aro representation with my characters. Many of them fall into the ace/aro spectrum, whether they are ace, aro, both, gray, or demi.

The one notable “prejudice” I’ve had was outside my field, in my personal life. After I’ve decided to come out as ace, I’ve had a conversation as to how my allosexual significant other (at the time) and I were going to “work something out” in light of me coming out as ace. Was it an attempt to “fix” my orientation, or was it trying to open up communication? I could not quite tell from the tone and facial expression. In the worst-case scenario, it was certainly prejudice of sorts. Other than that, I’ve been fortunate since my family and friends have been general accepting after I’ve explained how asexuality works.

6. Starkest Contrast
Starkest Contrast

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

There’s two in my case. The first is that asexual individuals are cold or antisocial. The second is that because we are ace, we are suddenly for some reason not allowed to enjoy certain aesthetics.

On the first count, asexual individuals are not abstaining because they haven’t found the right person or otherwise have committed to celibacy! They just simply don’t experience sexual attraction. Just because they don’t experience sexual attraction doesn’t mean that they don’t also want to avoid human interaction.

On the second count, aesthetic attraction/appreciation are very different from being sexual attraction. I’ve had a couple times in which I was looking at some risqué fashion (i.e. corsetry and lingerie) for designing and inspiration, and someone else asking me,

“Wait, aren’t you ace?”

“Yes but do you see the quality of that design?!”

7. Full Bloom
Full Bloom

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

Just remember that your identity is valid and you are not alone. It’s also worth remembering that a part of why a lot of asexuals are insecure of their own identity is because society really loves emphasizing sex and advertising it where they can. That is society’s inclination, and you can stand on your own against it to live out your own life. Better yet, you can find other asexual individuals, which can give you a sense of solidarity too!

8. Perfection Engine 2-3
Perfection Engine 2-3

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

You can find my current webcomic, Perfection Engine, on Tapas (https://tapas.io/series/Perfection-Engine). You can also find me on Twitter, Tumblr, Artstation, Redbubble, and Instagram under “Alberloze.” Tumblr and Artstation are the best places to find my best works, although I post doodles and completed works first on Twitter.

9. Blood Oath - 5
Blood Oath – 5

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

Interview: Fishtanks

Today we’re joined by Fishtanks. Fishtanks is a wonderful visual artist who also does some writing. They mostly do fanart, but also do original work. When they’re not drawing, Fishtanks is working on a webcomic and also does zines. They’re very enthusiastic, as you’ll soon read. 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 am mostly a fan artist of a company called Rooster Teeth, but I also do Original pieces, Zines, animatics, and you heard it here first, I’m working on creating a webcomic right now!

What inspires you?

My inspiration for a majority of what I do is a mix of determination and stubbornness. If I want to do something someone tells me I can’t I work ten times as hard to do it! I have people watching me every day, and I want everyone who does watch me to know they can do whatever their heart desires.

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

I actually never thought that I would be an artist in any capacity as a child. I was interested in engineering and medicine! What got me interested was in my sophomore year of high school, I started talking to my now best friend. He was always by himself drawing, so to get closer to him, I started drawing! Once I started, and my best friend encouraged me, I was hooked!

tumblr_or0glrqzLj1urxn9fo1_400

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 sign all my works of course, but nothing particularly special!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If someone says you can’t do something, do it anyway. Prove them wrong. Work harder to get there. Know you can do anything you want when you work harder and look at things from a new perspective.

tumblr_orbp6mDH0Q1urxn9fo1_400

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Regular ol’ asexual

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

I have had a few times I have had to stop talking to people I enjoyed messaging because they either said aces aren’t real, or they don’t belong in the LGBT+ community, as well as left group chats.

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

Me complimenting a person or saying “She’s cute” and someone responding “But you’re ace.” Ace people can think someone is cute or attractive

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

It’s totally okay to be confused and questioning, and I even encourage it! Do not worry about saying you are something and then change it if you think it is wrong. Also, it is okay to not have a label for who you are, you are you, not a sum of labels!

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

I post most on my Tumblr: http://emptyfishtanks.tumblr.com/
And YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClB2m2taU60U_br8hQ7P4og
But I also have Twitter: https://twitter.com/emptyfishtanks
And Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fishtanksart/

tumblr_oqzzkfT2FX1urxn9fo1_400

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

Interview: Pierre

Today we’re joined by Pierre. Pierre is a wonderful artist who does both visual art and writing. They mostly make digital art, though they also dabble in photography on occasion. They have written a book, which they’re currently making into a webcomic. They’re a very enthusiastic artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

interview1

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make drawings and write some books. I don’t really post the books I write, and normally I make digital art

What inspires you?

There isn’t something specific than inspire me, sometimes is the sky, sometimes are people, but I just do what comes into my mind, the place and stuff than are around me don’t matter anymore when I get into my own world and the random creativity never ends!

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

Writing, well every time I see something I want to do it, so I saw a character who write books and I wanted to write about it too! I wanted to write books for a veeery long time, and started studying about them, how they were made, the number of chapters, the number of pages and etc., than I made my first official (I made more than one history but this was official, it was actually a book and I actually study for that, so I put more effort and professionalism on it) book. (It’s called Sleep on life, I never posted it, but I made a comic about it.)It felt so great, finally writing a book, one of my biggest wishes! But I never really wanted to become a writer or something

Drawing, well, I grow up with my mother and sister, and both wanted to be art teachers, so it didn’t take too many time to I get interested in drawing too. For a long time I wanted to be an artist, then an animator, then nothing else related to art…but, to be honest, I feel very happy drawing original comics and fanarts on Tumblr, even if it takes a very very veeeery long time to make those, I feel happy and sometimes proud to still being able to draw the stuff I like

interview2

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?

No, not really, just do random things and improve them to become big and good projects. I don’t work with a special feature, at least not than I know or remember

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Well here are some short texts than when I was starting to become an artist I needed to listen:

Just cause people tell you your art is bad, it doesn’t mean it’s really bad; Just cause you tried it for the first time, second time or fifty time and didn’t end like you wanted, it doesn’t mean you should give up; Still trying and trying until it gets satisfying to you; You don’t need to make this perfect, just do the way you want, not the way other people want, okay?

interview4

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as panromantic asexual at the moment, but life is full of surprises, right?

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

Not really, I don’t really tell everyone I’m ace. I put on my bio, where normally nobody cares to read, actually this interview is the only place I am telling in an actual post I am Asexual

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

I read a lot of people talking “ace people aren’t from LGBT community!” “Ace people are straight girls trying to get on LGBT community!” “Ace people don’t exist!” and like…this is wrong in so many ways…Ace people are from LGBT+ community, ace people are ACE not straight dude, and Ace people DO exist. Ace people just don’t feel comfortable doing sex or just don’t like it, after all sex isn’t the only thing then can let a human happy, and humans aren’t just “sex and reproducing!”, nose and reproduction isn’t the biggest talent of the human being! Remember that time he discovered a way to make humans fly? Or that time he discovered how to make images have life? Or that time he discovered a way to talk to someone when they are far away, so when you miss that person or when you are feeling bad and need to talk to someone you can talk with a person you trust in the moment even if that person is far away from you? Or that time he discovered then not every woman/man liked each other, what means every person is different, what just make them more special? Human beings have a lot of talent and you can’t say sex and reproduction are the biggest talent of the human being so ace people are wrong or not human for don’t have this “big talent”. We are amazing with or without sex, with or without romance and being or not being just like you; and on my opinion the human being biggest talent is just the fact then every human being is different.

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

It’s okay to not like sex mon ami, it’s okay being different. Don’t like sex doesn’t make you least good or special, actually is something you should be proud of, because don’t like sex is just a part of you, and you should be proud of being the amazing human being you are!

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

It’s sad the interview ended so I guess I have to put some links to my comic than was a book than I never posted here?

Anyway here is the link of my webcomic than were a book https://tapas.io/series/Sleep-on-life

And here is more of my art: https://aliens-on-neptune.tumblr.com/tagged/my-art or you can go to this blog I made recently https://aliens-on-neptune-art.tumblr.com/

and sometimes I post some draws on my Twitter, some are on Tumblr, other I just post on Twitter so if you want see a little https://twitter.com/_cursedGhost_/media (just don’t see the videos please or my sis will kill me, she is in them..)

interview5

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

Interview: Sylvia Odhner

Today we’re joined by Sylvia Odhner. Sylvia is a fantastic visual artist and writer. Her visual art mostly consists of comics, fanart, and illustrations. She also has a few webcomics. It’s very apparent that she’s incredibly passionate about art. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I mostly create comics. I have one webcomic that I’ve been creating for over 7 years, Think Before You Think. It’s a romance/comedy/drama about a mind-reader. I’ve also done various fan comics and fan art, as well as illustrations for specific projects. My latest project is a blog I co-write and illustrate, Averting the Flame Wars, about online communication.

What inspires you?

Probably the thing that inspires me the most is whatever fandom I happen to be obsessed with at the moment. A large portion of my art and comics has been fan art of bands, TV shows, etc. I currently have a Tumblr blog dedicated to Vlogbrothers fan art and comics.

When I’m not doing fan art, I’m usually doing something for a specific purpose, and I get my inspiration from different places, depending on what it is. For my webcomic, I get a lot of inspiration from the TV shows and books that I like. I also get inspiration from TV shows and books that I don’t like, because I think to myself “this is so frustrating, I could do this better,” and then I create the thing that I wanted to see instead.

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

I’ve always been interested in art, as long as I can remember, and people always told me I was good at it when I was younger, so I just kept doing it. I always enjoyed the satisfaction of being able to picture something in my head and then bring it to life on paper.

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 think I have anything like that.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m not sure what advice to give because I think every artist needs different advice. I think my general advice would be to keep trying new things. Ride on the waves of your inspiration but also try being disciplined and sticking to a schedule. Try learning new skills by taking advantage of online tutorials. Nowadays it’s possible to learn practically anything you want to for free, so don’t let the limits of your knowledge or skill hold you back.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I currently identify as asexual and hetero-romantic, although I’m not totally sure about either of those things. If I’m not completely asexual, I know I’m somewhere on the spectrum.

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

I haven’t, maybe because I haven’t ever really dealt with the topic of asexuality in my art (at least not yet), so the subject doesn’t usually come up.

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

I don’t think I’ve encountered people explicitly voicing misconceptions about asexuality. But I do hear people talking in general with the assumption that everyone experiences sexual attraction, or everyone wants sex, and is either in or looking for some kind of sexual relationship.

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

You don’t have to have everything figured out. You don’t even have to have a label for your orientation. And if you do adopt a label, you don’t have to be sure about it. I’m not even sure whether or not I really am asexual, but I call myself asexual because so far, I don’t have any reason to believe I’m not. Asexuality is probably harder to figure out than other orientations, because you’re trying to identify something that you may have never experienced yourself.

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

All my projects are listed at http://sylviaodhner.com/
Think Before You Think: http://thinkbeforeyouthink.net/
Averting the Flame Wars: http://avertingtheflamewars.tumblr.com/

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

Signal Boost: Victory Witch

Hello everyone!

Rebecca Mann’s comic Victory Witch is going to be released tomorrow! There was a signal boost on this site a short time ago, but if you forgot, this is your reminder. According to the site, victorywitch.tumblr.com, the webcomic is about the adventures of an asexual witch. “Like sorcery, conspiracy, and gay monsters. Well come on and join the fun.”

Judging from this artwork, it’s going to be a spectacular and fun comic.

Signal Boost: Victory Witch

Hello everyone!

It’s a special signal boost for Saturday. An artist I interviewed for the blog some time ago, Rebecca Mann (interview found here: Tumblr & WordPress) has a webcomic coming out soon!

Here’s what she has to say about it: I am starting a web comic called Victory Witch and it stars an asexual girl. I plan on starting it on October 10th on victorywitch.tumblr.com and I am doing weekly promos for it until release day (on my art blog acerunaway.tumblr.com and on the victory witch blog)

According to the website, the webcomic is about the adventures of an asexual witch. “Like sorcery, conspiracy, and gay monsters. Well come on and join the fun.”

It sounds fantastic. So head on over to her site and give her a follow. It sounds like it’s going to be a ridiculously fun ride 🙂

Signal Boost: Lanterns of Arcadia

Hello all!

I was contacted yesterday by an artist I interviewed some time ago. Beth has recently started a webcomic entitled Lanterns of Arcadia and it looks amazing. Fantasy fans, this is one that will probably interest you.

LoA17sm

According to the site, this is a webcomic about “monsters, magic, and mad science.” According to Beth, the main character is also ace. There are currently nine pages online and it updates daily until July 1st, after which it will update weekly.

It’s a webcomic that definitely is worth a look: http://lanternsofarcadia.com/

If you like what you see and you want to support this super cool webcomic, Beth also has a Patreaon page.

So please, give the webcomic a look and help support an awesome ace creator.

LoA1sm