Interview: Ainsel

Today we’re joined by Ainsel.  Ainsel is an incredibly talented artist from France who wrote me an incredibly kind email.  When I saw her work, I was excited to be able to feature her on Asexual Artists.  She uses mostly traditional mediums and her artwork is incredibly beautiful.  She has a fondness for the feminine form, which is apparent in her work.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Aenor at l'autre
Aenor at l’autre

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw in traditional media. I use a lot black lines and sometimes some watercolor.  My dream is to create a comic one day. I started to touch painting (in an abstract and impulsive way).

I am also sculpting a BJD doll (an articulate doll). I want to cast it and continue making artist dolls, because it fascinates me! Moreover, I am learning the engraving technical.

What inspires you?

My subjects are most of the time young feminine characters. I just can’t stop to draw about femininity. I naturally draw with my feelings, the goods like the saddest.

Things like nature and magic universe also inspire me.

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

Yeah, I think I always wanted to follow this way. I’ve always drawn as far as I can remember.

I tried other way in studies, I tried to think about a “more serious” work, but I just can’t do anything else. It is so strong you know, something that is part of me, that helps me and sometimes save me. It’s like there is things I feel and see, things I can’t explain. So I draw, and then the drawing helps me understand. Actually, it materializes the world in my head.

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

Sure, but maybe it’s something that escapes me…

A friend of mine told me there is something with the eyes in my work.

I can say I like fairies and jellyfish.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t listen to the “it’s not a work”. World needs artists. Be ambitious.

And be yourself in your work, if you create what is really you, you will enjoy it and people will see it in your art. There is not one way to create, so it’s useless to compare.

fée araignée petite
fée araignée petite

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I think I identify as a cis homoromantic grey-ace girl.

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

Actually, the kind of prejudice I can see is on Internet. Things like “grey-ace doesn’t exist” because people always see in a binary way… You have to be either totally asexual or totally sexual.

But I think world is full of different shades! When I discovered asexuality, I realized there was something to describe what I am. But I felt guilty because I didn’t know if I was “enough asexual”, and then it was like there was no place for me because to see me as allosexual is like… No.

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

I identified myself very recently, so I haven’t really encountered misconceptions (because I don’t really come out with a lot of people). My close friends are very open-minded and, yeah they know Tumblr and all that stuff so … For the moment, I am very lucky!

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

It’s only words. It’s not “what you are”. But that can help to know there is a community around you, and don’t feel lonely.  Just don’t try to “do a diagnostic” because obviously it’s not a pathology. And it’s never the others, or something written on the Internet that defines you. YOU choose your words, and YOU know. It’s about how you feel, what kind of identification that makes you feel comfortable. And if what you feel seems to not exist anywhere else, if it’s written nowhere, then congratulation, you are the first!

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

Here is my actual tumblr art stuff: http://ainsel-art.tumblr.com/
My old blog: http://mori-no-kurage.blogspot.fr/
Online Book: http://kurage.ultra-book.com/portfolio
My deviantart: http://momoko0o.deviantart.com/
Pinterset: https://www.pinterest.com/morifairy/ainsel/

Spider
Spider

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

Interview: Alyssa

Today we’re joined by Alyssa.  Alyssa is an amazingly talented visual artist and writer.  She sent along some of the most breathtaking images to go with her interview, which left me awestruck.  Just wow.  Alyssa does graphic design and she also writes fantasy.  She is definitely an artist to watch.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Crumbling
Crumbling

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a graphic designer and writer, having delved into both when I was in eight grade (I’m a freshman in college now). I write fantasy fiction, my main interest being angels and shape-shifters that have to face destiny. In graphic design, I vary from my personal interests of photomanipulation to creating logos for small and large businesses. My portfolio (not to brag but hey, ambition is good to have) has won small scholarships and contests. I have created a logo for my career center, which they use on a daily basis, as well as a mailer for a large company that caters all over North America.

Fire Deer
Fire Deer

What inspires you?

I take inspiration from daily things turned magical. I’m a sucker for other young, aspiring artists; I’m on Tumblr, and I see just a simple drawing and yet I’m struck with the movement or the colors, and I’m severely tempted to create something with that flair with my own spin in my own way. I’m inspired by so many wonderful people from all over the world, and my own imagination, and my hopes for the future. I really like Cassandra Jean’s art, too, who (I hope I’m not overstepping my boundaries), is also ace. I keep track of my inspiration here: http://hh42references.tumblr.com/tagged/art

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

Destiny, I think. I’m an introvert, I’ve a few medical issues, etc. Everything points to me doing the things that let me be in a quiet place, do my own thing, and express myself in ways I’m totally comfortable with as well as meeting so many wonderful people and experiencing amazing things. Initially, however, it was my mom. I owe my mom so much. She’s a writer as well, and the online community she was involved with drew me in as much as her. I saw all these people (mostly women, which was also cool) creating stories (yes, Twilight fanfiction) and connecting with others who made banners and covers to match. The combo kickstarted me, and I began graphic design as a measly amateur with good ol’ Picnik. As a writer, it started in 5th/6th grade when my teachers gave creative writing assignments. From there, I always got simple praise from my awesome English teachers, who inspired me to keep going with it. Have I always wanted to be an artist? Maybe in my subconscious. When you’re a kid, you don’t think too much on what you want to be, or don’t take it seriously (I wanted to be a vet; yuck). But I was always drawing or coloring and doing puzzles – again, I think it was destiny. We’re all built to do something; graphic design and writing is my thing.

Growing
Growing

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

Not particularly. I’ve noticed a lot of artists put their personal logos in the corners, or have a specific color palette, or always put a particular piece of stock in each and every single work. Me? I’m still finding mine. Right now, I’m super into stone textures (which you can see haha).

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My advice is to be strong, be brave, and smile a lot. There’s going to be times where life is too much, and all you want to do is lay down and cry. Crying is good, but after, pick yourself up and keep going. For the love of whatever god(s) you believe in, keep going. People are going to doubt you – you are going to doubt you – and your ability, your sensibility, and who knows what else. But if it’s your dream, if you want to do it above all else, then DO IT. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you. Make something amazing and show everyone. Do it grinning your face off, and you’ll see yourself grow. And when you look back at it all – the struggle, the bad first attempts, the hours spent laboring over something that might’ve not worked out – you’ll be so proud of yourself. Also, don’t forgot the people who helped you out, good and bad.

Jungle Deer
Jungle Deer

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

As I’m still discovering myself, I’m pretty gray. I’ve never been interested in sex except for the fluffy romantic parts. I’m aesthetically pleased with things like nice collarbones and chiseled jaws, and that’s about it. Still might discover demisexuality, but I’d have to stay set in a relationship for that generally.

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

In my field, not really/yet. I work in a small place, so… With my parents and family, yes. When I first told my mom, I was sobbing my eyes out because I didn’t fully understand any different sexualities. She told me the stereotypical stuff: “You’ll find the right man,” etc. A while later, however, I learned much more and became more set and fully embraced accepting everyone (especially others accepting themselves). Now I’m more open in voicing my opinions when people shame different sexualities. I still get eyerolls and curled lips, however. When I casually told my mom again, she got irritated and told me to not label myself. I had mixed feelings about that. I understand her reasoning, and I’m still mulling it over. Either way, I’m not interested in seeing anyone getting undressed in front of me with an entirely different idea in their mind than me.

Must Know Life to See Decay
Must Know Life to See Decay

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

That asexuality isn’t considered straight/heterosexual!

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

Take things slow and be open. The ace spectrum is pretty broad, and don’t be afraid of moving around it. And don’t feel you need to label yourself.

Queen Fin
Queen Fin

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

You can visit my many sites!

DeviantArt: http://wolfryder42.deviantart.com/gallery/
Tumblr: http://herondalehearts.tumblr.com/
Inspiration Tumblr: http://hh42references.tumblr.com/
Writing: https://www.wattpad.com/user/MoonThief

Stone Lady
Stone Lady

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

Interview: Emily K

Today we’re joined by Emily K.  Emily is an up and coming writer who has mostly written fanfiction but is also dedicated to writing original work as well.  Her excitement is absolutely wonderful and I expect we’ll be seeing a lot more stories from her in the future.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write fantasy-ish things, and a lot of fanfiction. I’m currently writing a book though, one I’m hoping to publish.

What inspires you?

I get inspiration from wacky places. Tumblr prompts always get me thinking, and seeing people interacting make me think about how I want my characters to interact.

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

I think I have, honestly. All through elementary school, creative writing was my favourite time and I enjoyed using my imagination.

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

Not really. I mean, it is writing soo…yeah.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

PRACTICE. I cannot stress this enough. Practice honestly makes perfect, even if you’re just writing fanfics or drabbles, it’s important.

Screenshot_2015-08-17-08-11-02

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m biromantic demisexual.

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

“That means you like Demi Lovato, right?” once or twice and “You’re only a kid, of course you feel like that”

I ignore the kid part because that’s my parents and it would take three years to explain, and I send the definition of demisexual when people assume it’s about Demi.

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

“That’s how you’re supposed to feel. That’s normal.” (its not btw)

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

It’s not that important to have a label. It’s nice, but it’s not worth stressing over. Relax, and just go with it. If you find a label along the way, kudos to you 🙂

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

So this is sort of embarrassing, heh, I’m currently only on Wattpad, my username is AddictedToTheMadness. I have some old trashy fanfics on there, but I’m working on some better things to publish soon 🙂

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

Interview: Carlie Forsythe

Today we’re joined by Carlie Forsythe.  Carlie is an amazingly talented writer who I had the pleasure of meeting at WisCon.  She attended my “Where are the Asexual Voices” panel and asked a really wonderful, insightful question about the tendency allosexuals have to automatically link asexuality with disabilities.  I was incredibly happy to find out she was also an artist on the ace-spectrum.  Carlie is a semi-professional writer mainly of speculative science fiction and Wisconsin-related lyrical prose and poetry.  Personally, I can’t wait to check out some of her work.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

At the moment, I’m a crowdfunded writer; most of my work is funded by donations from the audience.  Anything that treads too close to fanfiction is posted in exchange with other authors or artists, writing for writing or drawing, instead of for monetary donation.  My writing is mostly original fiction, although I’ve attempted free verse poetry once or twice (and may again, who knows).  Right now, my main universe is part of a shared world project called Schrodinger’s Heroes.  Much of what isn’t connected to that particular sheaf of universes is linked to my being a Wisconsin author, or trying to be one.  That is to say, very state-specific and lyrical.

What inspires you?

For me, inspiration can be just about anything, from a song lyric to that random person who was jumping off the bus as I was getting on, to a news story or an object.  From there, my mind has a tendency to leap in unusual directions and start spinning, and before most other people know it–boom!  Story!

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

There’s always been creativity and creative expression in my life.  At first, and for quite a while as I was growing up, my first outlet was vocal music.  That’s still important to me now, but writing slowly but surely started gaining an importance of its own as I went through school.  I may have had one or two daydreams of making a living singing, but they were never very realistic.  Writing is, or hopefully will be, a livelihood for me.  It’s crucial to me in a way that singing never was, somehow.

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 haven’t got any specific symbol or signature in my work that I can think of, aside from a few turns of phrase that people can probably pin on me after a while.  My background is part academic (I was a journalism major in college), part lyrical prose and poetry and part towering science fiction and fantasy nerd, and sometimes it shows.  Also, quite a few of my characters end up bilingual or more, and often they’re very comfortable switching rapidly between their given languages.  I suppose that’s a tell rather than a symbol… unless it symbolizes me being a giant language geek!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My best advice would be to find a community, online, offline or both, of supportive and similarly creative friends.  At least for me, connections like those are extremely helpful, especially when writerly brainweasels come calling.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as very charcoal grey grey-bisexual, probably biromantic but possibly panromantic (I’m not entirely sure yet), and demisensual.  I know that last is a comparatively rare one.  Essentially, I need to form some sort of emotional connection with a person, in my case usually a woman, before I can be sensually close i.e. cuddles, other nonsexual physical intimacy with them.  Then whoops! down come the inhibitions.  I’ve had it compared to demisexual before, only… well, no sex.

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

Thankfully, I haven’t run into any ace prejudice in the writing world.  I’m grateful I landed in a writerly community of wonderfully supportive folks, to be sure!

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

For me, the most common misconception about asexuality connects to ability.  I have a very obvious disability if you meet me in person: I’m totally blind, and I use a white cane.  I generally hate playing the disability card in wider discussions, but this does need saying.  Often, the assumption is that anyone with as significant a disability as mine is automatically asexual, or maybe that’s more accurately phrased as untouchable.  Once while growing up, I had it assumed that my disability and the attendant lack of social interaction (small town + openly eccentric blind girl = not very popular at all) left me unable to determine attraction from friendship.  That one hurts, even today.

Essentially, what I’m saying is that disabled folks are individuals too.  Disability, awareness of emotions and emotional meanings, and interest in sex are not all mutually exclusive.  I happen to be an ace, but the vast majority of the wider disabled community are not.  Not to be unnecessarily harsh or militant, but assuming that we all are frankly makes a person look as though they’re afraid we’ll faint if someone mentions sex, which is humorous at best, infantalizing at worst.  That, or it makes that person look afraid they’re going to catch X disability if they get near us, which is arguably worse than assuming we’re all sexless from the off.

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

I’ll mention something that would have been extremely helpful to me when I was first starting to figure out just what in the world my orientation variables were.  Asexuality really is a spectrum rather than a coin with two strictly-defined sides, as are romanticism and sensual orientation.  If one end of any particular spectrum doesn’t fit for you, maybe something somewhere in between will, or will at least be closer to right.

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

My list of currently sponsorable works is here, though the actual donation button is on my Dreamwidth account’s profile page (from any entry, click the profile link and scroll down a little ways):
http://chanter-greenie.dreamwidth.org/236144.html

A timeline for my main writing project (the out of character name for that universe is the orange!verse) is here:
http://chanter-greenie.dreamwidth.org/240606.html

And finally, the larger Schrodinger’s Heroes project, linked with permission of its main originator, is here:
http://ysabetwordsmith.dreamwidth.org/1752525.html

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

Signal Boost: Dreamlords

Hey everyone!

I’ve got super exciting signal boost: a short film directed by a ridiculously talented asexual filmmaker.  I interviewed Britty Lea for the site a while back and was incredibly impressed with her enthusiasm and passion.  When she contacted me about a signal boost, I was like, “Oh hell yes!”

“Dreamlords” has a fantastically original premise and the cast is compromised mostly of women.  A movie directed by an asexual woman, starring mostly women.  And it’s a genre movie!?

Here’s a synopsis:

In a world where dreams are sold as drugs, Theo wants to be a Dreamlord and goes up against the woman who runs it all.

Britty is currently raising funds to get this movie made.  If you could donate anything, it would be very much appreciated.  Seriously, we need more asexual voices in filmmaking.  Please, consider supporting this film.  It’s going to be amazing.

Here are some links where you can get some more information (and donate)

The Indiegogo page: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dreamlords#/story

Tumblr: http://dreamlordsfilm.tumblr.com/

The Tumblr also has links to the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.  Come on, aces and ace allies!  Donate, signal boost, tell everyone you know.  Let’s help this ace get her film made!

Interview: Rose Titus

Today we’re joined by Rose Titus.  Rose is an author whose novella, “Night Home,” was released by Bathory Gate Press and is available through Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble online.  Rose tends to write mostly horror and has a regular feature in Blood Moon Rising, an online horror magazine.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Author Photo

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a writer, but not a full time writer, I have a day job to support myself since I don’t make much from writing … like most writers and artists!  Anyway, I’ve had short stories published in literary magazines such as Lost Worlds, Lynx Eye, Bog Gob, Wicked Wheels, Weird Terrain, Blood Moon Rising, The Dead River Review, Mausoleum, and many others…  I have a regular feature in Blood Moon Rising called “The Rose Files,” which is basically “True Scary Stories From Life.”  My novella “Night Home” has recently been published with Bathory Gate Press and is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble .com, and Smash Words.  I write mainly fantasy and horror fiction, but also since I’ve had the experience of restoring a classic car I’ve had articles published in antique car magazines as well.  I also consider the old car project sort of a creative endeavor, by the way.

What inspires you?

Everything … every small thing that occurs in life is an inspiration.  Every little thing in life has significance, even if most people fail to notice.

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

I’ve always loved to read, but while reading someone else’s story or book, I often found myself saying, ‘I could have done this better.’

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

Not really, but perhaps you would like to refer to my Author Rose Titus Facebook page.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It sound like a cliché, but, “don’t quit your day job, kid.”  Work all day, do creative stuff at night.  Stay sober, don’t get into drugs.  Too many creative people go down that path.  It leads to nowhere.  And just because you’re talented is no guarantee you’ll be famous overnight.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aromantic Asexual.

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

I am aware that there is so much horrible ignorance out there, and the stories I have heard from others, threats of rape, threats of death … I just don’t tell very many people.  I let people believe I’m nothing but a tragic spinster … with a cat.  I’d rather they simply just pity me than waste my time trying to explain.   I don’t anticipate many people of my personal acquaintance will be aware of the “Asexual Artist” project since very few people (in real life) that I associate with are even aware that asexuality exists, and probably won’t see this online anyway … 🙂  That is, I don’t anticipate many people of my acquaintance will even notice this, so go ahead and put it on your website, girl … (Oh heck, most people in my life don’t even know I had a book published because they will say, ‘you write about vampires!  Eeek!’ and wave crosses at me!)

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

That we don’t exist, that we have no emotions, that we can’t be creative because of the myth that creativity “comes from the sex drive” – maybe for some people it does, but creativity can exist on its own, also … plus the usual stupid stuff, ‘you just need a good rape to straighten you out,’ etc.  People are terribly uneducated, so this is why these projects are important.

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

Just be yourself, don’t worry about trying to be like everyone else.  And be careful who you tell.  People can be a lot stupider and more vicious than a lot of young people realize.

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

Please look up Blood Moon Rising magazine online (http://bloodmoonrisingmagazine.com/index.html) to see some of my work – it’s a great online horror magazine that’s been around for about ten years with a lot of good writing.  Please look for my book on Amazon.  And if you would like, please visit my author Facebook page.

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

Interview: Emily Griggs

Today we’re joined by Emily Griggs.  Emily is a fantastically talented and versatile visual artist and writer.  She has a thoroughly entertaining webcomic entitled “Heartless,” which has been signal boosted on this site before.  She has an incredibly bright future ahead of her and I cannot wait to see more of her work.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

allcards1

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My business card reads “author, illustrator, maker, nerd” because I’ve never been able to pick just one thing to focus on, but everything I do tends to be geeky. I make fannish cards and prints on Etsy, I run a webcomic, and I write and illustrate tabletop role-playing games and genre fiction. I also dabble in jewelry and sewing, but much less seriously.

What inspires you?

Mostly, stories. Comics, games, movies, TV, podcasts… whenever there’s characters and a narrative, I tend to fixate on bits and think “wow, I want to do that… but with this change and that change and this other thing” and before you know it I’ve got something original. That’s one of my favourite things about tabletop RPGs, you always get to make the story your own as you go.

My visual art also revolves around storytelling. If you leave me alone for five minutes with a pen and paper, I’ll probably start drawing my tabletop RPG characters or someone from my webcomic.

c09_besties

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

When I was quite young, my mother quit her reliable day job to become a professional knitting designer, so I learned early on that it was okay to make your creative passions your professional ones too. Exactly what type of art I wanted to do for a living has changed dozens of times over my life, as my passions and opportunities changed.

I got into my exact field through a series of coincidences: a spur-of-the-moment idea, a blind submission, a forum post I happened to see. I’ve kept my eggs in quite a few different baskets, and the ones that have worked out are the ones I’ve continued to focus on. Fortunately, I’ve always been pretty flexible about my art, and working on several different projects at once suits me very well.

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

I’ve never really settled into one specific style or set of symbolism, and I don’t usually sign my work unless asked. Somehow adding a signature always feels too fancy, and I’m really not a fancy kind of person most of the time 😛

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you’re interested in becoming an artist professionally, remember that creative jobs are still JOBS. There will be parts of being a professional artist you hate, and you’ll need to get good at those too. Practice your art as often as possible, but learn about networking and marketing and customer service too, they are equally important to being skilled at whatever it is you do. Be open to new paths, and try to support your fellow artists wherever you can – nine times out of ten they’re more like coworkers than competition, and if you work together you can all prosper.

Also, never be afraid to apply for an opportunity, even if you feel under-qualified. It’s good advice in general, but it can be extra hard when you’re part of some marginalized group. When the world keeps telling you you’ll never make it, it isn’t easy to work up the courage to try for something that seems out of reach. But be brave if you can, and send in that story proposal or that creative job application or that illustration idea anyways. Put yourself out there: the worst they can do is say no, and maybe they’ll surprise you by saying yes! I’ve had both happen, and the few times I’ve been accepted been so, so worth all the nervousness and frustration around applying to opportunities that haven’t worked out.

charcreation_csm

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m biromantic grey-asexual, though I often shorten that to just biromantic asexual. For me, the ace part of my identity is far more important to understanding who I am and what I have experienced than the occasional mild exceptions that make it “grey”.

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

A little over a year ago, I attended a panel on queer comics at a major comic event. One of the panelists began their answer to a question with the phrase that was something like “the queer experience is about the moment of sexual attraction.” The other panelists and the audience nodded along, and I was far too shy to raise my hand to disagree.

I’ve never experienced overt aggression or belittlement for being ace, but that passive erasure was deeply painful. I was just starting to get back into comics, I was trying to write a script for one myself, and here a room of people who should have been my greatest allies were telling me that I didn’t belong without even noticing what they were doing. And it’s a kind of microaggression that’s happened again and again to me in all areas of life: this passive assumption that sexual attraction is universal.

I handled the incident at the comic panel by being utterly miserable about it for a few weeks, then doubling down on my efforts to complete a comic script with an asexual protagonist. Stories are what I do, and I can’t think of a better way for me to combat casual ignorance than by filling the world with stories about people like me.

clara_cover_sm

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

In person, aside from the misconception that we don’t exist, it’s been the idea that asexual people don’t enjoy sex or have low/nonexistant libidos by definition. It’s hard to make people understand exactly what not experiencing sexual attraction feels like, and how it’s different from the above.

In media, it’s the ever-lovely trope that asexual people are heartless. More than once I’ve had to stop and cringe when a show I’ve otherwise been enjoying uses “asexual” as an insult, or to show how bad a bad guy is. It’s pretty frustrating, but I try to use that frustration as fuel for writing more ace-positive media.

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

For a long time, I was terrified to admit to myself that I was asexual because I wanted to be normal. I made excuses for how I was feeling, convinced myself that if I just tried harder I could experience sexuality in the same way other people did. I was sure that if I was asexual, it meant I’d be miserable forever.

But after accepting my orientation, I have never been happier. I’m more confident in myself, and my relationship with my (allosexual) partner has improved because I have the language to explain my needs and preferences without lies or half-truths. Sure there are still moments when I wish I could just be allo, but for the most part I feel so happy to have figured out an important part of who I am. Despite what the media is going to keep telling you, you can live an amazingly happy life without experiencing sexual attraction.

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

My art portfolio, publication credits, and other nonsense:
http://www.sweetingenuity.com/

My Etsy shop:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/SweetIngenuity

My RPG company, Supernatural 20 (which I run with my roommate, who’s also ace!):
http://supernatural-20.com/ or
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/8405/Supernatural-20-Games

My webcomic, Heartless:
http://heartless-comic.com/

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