Interview: Kaj

Today we’re joined by Kaj. Kaj is an awesome up-and-coming writer and a former actor. They’re writing blends a number of different genres, though they write quite a bit of fantasy. Kaj used to perform as an actor in the theater and hopes to return at some point in the future. They’re clearly and enthusiastic and dedicated artist, 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 a writer and used to be an actor.

Acting was fun, my favourite parts so far (I’m hoping to get back into it one day) were Horatio in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Mrs. Erlynne in Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan. It was just my school’s drama club, but we had the reputation of doing a pretty decent job.

Writing is mostly an outlet for a lot of feelings, for things I think about, and sometimes just plain stress relief. I write basically everything. I started out with Harry Potter-ish fantasy, then crime stories, urban fantasy, and my most recent project is some kind of Fight Club inspired tragedy. -Ish. Actually, I just start writing whatever comes to my mind and see where it takes me from there. I never know what’s going to happen in a story until it happens. Party because of that (and because I keep getting distracted) I never finished one of my “big” projects. I do fine with short stories, but actual novels are usually abandoned somewhere along the way. But maybe my current idea will work out. Being almost ten chapters deep is quite a step forward for me.

What inspires you?

I started writing at a young age (I hardly remember a time where I haven’t been writing), so I have no idea anymore why I started writing in the first place.

And for the individual stories, it depends. My first big project was obviously inspired by Harry Potter. In general, it often happens that I read a book (or fic or watch a movie etc.) and get an idea about what might happen if you took /that/ element and spun it another way.

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

As I said, I don’t remember when and why I started writing. But I think it’s safe to say that my love for books might have something to do with it. As soon as I could read I was hardly ever seen without a book. I think we sometimes got assignments in school to do some creative writing and I kinda noticed how much fun that is.

As long as I’ve been writing stories I also wanted to be an author – as in, a published author. And I still hope that one day I might be able to finish one of my bigger project and actually get it published. But since I have a “real” job, writing is and will always be a hobby.

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?

There are definitely a lot of queer characters in all my stories, but I don’t think that counts. Another constant, I think, is that my protagonists tend to be thrown into some kind of trouble so I can just watch them react. They hardly ever make the first step in the stories, it’s usually something that happens /to/ them. Reactions interest me, because there are so many ways to react to the same situation and every character behaves differently.

Also, many – if not most – of my stories /don’t end well/. Idk why, but tragedy always intrigued me. So, death and violence could probably be counted as “recurring themes”.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

1. Don’t stop. No matter what kind of art you produce, keep doing it. Write short-short-short stories in the notebook on your phone. Write some sentences on the back of your homework and see if it takes you anywhere. It will get messy, you will have loose ends /everywhere/ and the amount of abandoned stories will grow daily, but that’s okay as long as you keep writing. And if you have an idea for a novel, try and work on it whenever you can. You can write the first chapter on your computer. Maybe you get an idea for the next chapter at work – scribble it down on whatever piece of paper you can find. Try to outline the plot in your head when you’re in the supermarket.

2. Don’t beat yourself up about it. It doesn’t matter if it’s not Shakespeare. It doesn’t have to become a novel. It’s okay if you can’t write on your wanna-be novel every day. It’s okay to let stories sit on the shelf for weeks. And it’s okay to abandon stories.

3. Don’t let the muggles get you down. Don’t let anyone talk shit about what you write. Or about the fact /that/ you’re writing. You do you.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual. I didn’t realize until a couple of months ago, because I never gave much thought to it. I experience very strong sensual attraction, which is probably why I never thought about being ace. Only when Tumblr made me realise that sexual attraction actually means looking at someone thinking “I want sex with you” it dawned on me that I might not experience that.

I’m also pretty sure I’m aromantic. This one’s a bit tricky though, because I’m also hella romance-repulsed and I can’t quite tell if I’m not interested in romance with anyone or averse to the thought of a romantic relationship itself.

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. But that’s mostly because I’m not out in RL, and I usually don’t connect much with other writers on the internet. The only people who know about me being aroace /and/ me being a writer are close friends, most of them queer. So, I’m in a pretty good place when it comes to that.

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

Being asexual = not liking/having sex. I mean, it’s kinda true for me, since I’m also trans/nonbinary/agender and dysphoria makes it kinda impossible for me to undress in front of anyone, let alone have sex with them. But there are many aces out there who enjoy sex, and the orientation isn’t defined by the behavior.

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

It’s going to be okay. You’re not broken. You’re not alone. And no matter what exclusionists say, you DO belong in the LGBTQIA/Queer Community.

There are many people out there who feel like you do, and just because society tries to tell us we must always want sex with basically anyone, that doesn’t make them right and you wrong.

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

On my http://daughterofhecata.tumblr.com/ blog there’s a page where you can find http://daughterofhecata.tumblr.com/stories my stories. It’s just a tiny bit of my work, because most of it is in German (my first language). Maybe I’ll add some of the German short stories as well, I’m not sure yet. I also have accounts at ff.net and AO3, but I rather not link them with my Tumblr because I’m honestly not too proud of that stuff.

(In shameless self-promoting: Janus is my favourite story so far; it’s actually the longest story I ever finished. Also, once in a lifetime I did plan ahead and outlined the story before jumping into writing.)

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

Interview: Jade

Today we’re joined by Jade. Jade is a phenomenal writer who has one of the most adorable dogs ever. She writes mostly poetry and fantasy. When she’s not working on original work, Jade writes fanfiction as well. It’s very apparent that she’s incredibly dedicated to the art of writing, as you’ll soon read. 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 a writer who works mostly with poetry and fantasy works. I’m only just starting out publishing my work to my blog but it makes me really happy to share something that means so much to me with others. The last few years I have been big into writing fanfiction for Supernatural but recently I’ve wanted to start working on original works more so I’ve started doing daily couplets and taking poetry requests from my followers. I also did a little challenge for a few days where I would have one of my friends pick out a dialog prompt and I would write a few paragraphs of a story based on it. Writing is one of my favorite things and it has always been a very empowering and relaxing process for me so I’m happy to be expanding on things and doing more of it.

What inspires you?

My dog Duke is a huge inspiration to me since he survived going to the pound twice and having to be there so long but has come out a super loving and amazing dog despite it. Besides that, I’m mostly inspired by the progress I see every time I post something new and can see how much I’m improving and getting better and the knowledge that if I keep going then that trend will continue. My religion also is a big inspiration for me as I’m encouraged to create new works to honor my deities all the time and knowing they appreciate my art helps me want to make more.

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

When I was little I actually wanted to be a scientist and get to study rocks. However I soon realized that doing things that required set steps that were always the same bored me. However since the moment I could read books have always been my escape and eventually I realized that I could write stories too and my heart was set. I’ve dabbled in all sorts of prose but the freedom offered by poetry has brought me back there time and time again.

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?

Well all of my works are their own thing so there’s not really anything I purposely add into them to connect them, however many things that I personally like do get carried over to some of my characters (Like a love of cheesecake or the color blue). I also work a lot with mythology and exploring diversity. Another thing that’s often featured in my works is mental illness and having the characters learn to accept and work with their limits to reach their goal since it’s something that’s important to me since I have had major depression and anxiety since I was really young.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do what you love and love what you do. No matter what you do there will be people who put you down or don’t like your work but when you create you should do it for yourself because its something YOU love, not for them. That and try to hold onto old works. Looking back and seeing how much you’ve grown can be such a rewarding and empowering feeling.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a non-binary poly panromantic sex repulsed asexual. Try saying that ten times fast XD

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

Most of the prejudice I’ve encountered has actually been from family and people outside of my online fanbase. My father and brother both believed my identity was just because of my time on Tumblr and I was just being a “Special snowflake” However after wasting my breath in many arguments I realized they’d never change their minds and I instead just moved on with my life. I know my body and my life better than them and I wasn’t going to waste more time or energy fighting with them just to be seen as something I already knew was a real part of me. In the few works I’ve written that has Ace characters I’ve mostly gotten support from others who were happy for the representation. I have no tolerance for people who want to insult or mock others so they get deleted, banned, and ignored. I don’t give them the time of day.

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

That it’s just a phase or it’s for attention. It’s not natural. People can’t be sure about it unless they’ve had sex and even then they probably just had bad sex and it’d change if they were with someone who “knew the ropes”. No one seems to take asexuality seriously and it can be really frustrating at times because defending yourself is like talking to a wall but if we don’t stand up for ourselves then we’ll never be able to earn the respect we deserve.

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

You are valid. You don’t have to feel like any label you choose is cemented in stone. You don’t have to have sex to know what you are and your sexuality is as natural as any of the others. It’s okay to not know for certain at the moment and it’s okay to take as long as you need deciding even if you change later. Asexuals exist and are just as important as anyone else.

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

My work is being posted on InkStainedWings.tumblr.com currently. I take poem requests there and post story shards as well as reblogging writing tips and tricks. I hope to see you there 😀

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

Interview: Wilfre

Today we’re joined by Wilfre. Wilfre is a wonderful writer who writes both fanfiction and is working on an original series. Wilfre is incredibly passionate about writing and dedicated to the craft of the written word. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

credit for art is @carcinocreator
Art Created by Carcinocreator on Tumblr

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Most of the art I do is fanfiction. I write for a lot of fanbases! Some of the ones I’ve done the most writing for are Hatoful Boyfriend, Artekao, Professor Layton, Tokyo Ghoul, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, and currently, Boku no Hero Academia.

Recently, though, my writing has taken a turn and I’ve been starting an original series called A Million Years, which about two men and their allies trying to avert the end of the world and rewrite fate.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by images and text posts I see on Tumblr a lot. I also look for inspiration in things I overhear or odd things I see when I’m out. I also look for inspiration in motivational quotes and the like.

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

I first got interested in writing in fourth grade, when my teacher anonymously read the first paragraph of a short story I wrote to the class. I remember I had so much fun writing that piece, and she said that it was a perfect example of description and foreshadowing. It really motivated me, and from that point on, I knew I wanted to write more!

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?

You bet! I’ve sort of developed a gem stone language that you’ll be able to spot a bunch of in A Million Years. Sort of like how bouquets being arranged a certain way gives a special meaning in the language of flowers, gemstones have their own unique meanings, and arranging them in a certain order (typically seen on jewelry or clothing) can either send a message or tell a story. The language is a work in progress, but I look forward to one day seeing people work out the meanings!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Honestly? Don’t panic. It can be easy to break down or compare yourself to other artists, but that’s the worst thing you can do for yourself as an artist. Critique and praise your work on its own, not in comparison with other pieces.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Strongly sex-repulsed asexual!

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

So far? No. I don’t really have a “field” per se, since my writing is very niche and not well known. I have encountered prejudice from school and my family, though. In fact, when I first came out as asexual, people in my class literally convinced me I wasn’t and that asexuality isn’t real. My mom said much the same. Same for me being aromantic. I didn’t handle it well at all. I didn’t have the information to back myself up at the time, and honestly, now that I do have the information, I’m still too scared to come out again.

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

That asexual is only a term for plans, probably. I’ve heard a lot of people claiming asexuality can’t be real because humans can’t reproduce by themselves. Wild.

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

Stick to your guns. I promise, you’re not what someone else claims you are. If you believe you’re ace, don’t let some stooge tell you otherwise. Only you can define yourself for sure. Even if the whole world tells you that you aren’t ace, so long as you stick to it, you’re in control. I believe in you!

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

I post about it on my Tumblr, at acchidekocchide. My fanworks are all published on my AO3 account, at ahumblescientist. My original work has its own sideblog dedicated to it where I RP my characters and post character, world, and plot development. You can find all that good stuff at wilfres-ocs.

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

Interview: Allyzah Allene

Today we’re joined by Allyzah Allene, who also goes by Ani or Ani Fangor. Allyzah is a phenomenal visual artist who works with in digital and traditional mediums. They haven’t met a material they didn’t like and work with just about everything. Their work is brimming with detail and a masterful use of lines and colors. They’re incredibly dedicated, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Self 2017

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an artist that likes to dabble in just about everything I can afford. I have worked with traditional mediums like pencils (graphites, colored pencils), charcoals, markers, paints (acrylic, watercolor, oil) and digital mediums (limited photoediting, mostly digital art). My goal is to be able to learn as many mediums as I can because I want to teach art. I also occasionally write, and recently began posting my comic on Tapas.

While many other artists have a “deeper meaning” behind their artworks, or a consistent theme, I find art to be most enjoyable when it is “whatever I feel like.” I don’t like stressing over incorporating hidden meanings and “how it may be interpreted,” but rather getting the idea out of my head. My art blog and my art tag ends up being full of random half done pieces and concepts because it’s not always about finishing, but expressing my ideas. (Perhaps not the best rule to live by, but as a student, it’s enough for me.)

What inspires you?

Most of the time, the deadline. Otherwise it’s usually whatever I find aesthetically appealing enough to draw!

For my writing and my comic, though, that was inspired by the lack of diversity in the media I consumed. I got tired of the same old “boy meets girl” plot/subplot found in most things I read, and especially, the lack of characters who even vaguely looked like me. Growing up, the books I read often degraded characters that shared my race or ethnicity, and I struggled with my identity until I was 16 (a mere four years ago). I hated who I was because I wasn’t white, and I thought that I would only be successful if I were like the white characters in my books—even then, that could be a stretch, as there were very few books with girls as the lead. I didn’t find out that I wasn’t cishet until I was about 15, and by then I barely read outside of the class readings, so I wasn’t as bothered by the lack of LGBT+ positive books just yet. In my junior year, I had my “if no one else is going to do it, I will” moment and decided I would make a comic featuring a diverse cast in both ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual/romantic orientation. It took a while, but I finally decided I had put it off long enough and started publishing pages early July 2017 as my 20th birthday gift to myself.

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

When I was in the second grade, my school’s art teacher brought a guest artist to speak to everyone. I don’t remember the name of the artist, but I remember being so intrigued—it was one thing to learn about Van Gogh and Picasso in class, and a completely different thing to see someone live at work that wasn’t my teacher. The way he worked was by covering a canvas with black charcoal, and slowly erasing it away to create an image. My art teacher later caught me trying to do the same thing while waiting for my dad to pick me up, and asked me if I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. It wasn’t something I had thought of before, but I remember being so happy that she thought I could, and I said yes. Since then, I have been on a quest to learn as much as I can about art so that I can help as many people as possible when I become a teacher.

As for writing, we have a rocky relationship. During elementary school, I had a pattern: I would love writing one year, and hate it the next. I didn’t really take it seriously for a while, even when I started writing and posting fanfiction. I found out about NaNoWriMo in middle school, and became serious about writing original work, although the passion and motivation is not nearly as consistent as with art.

Death Lingers_Allyzah Cabugao
Death Lingers

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 know if I’ve been consistent enough with anything to have one of those! The closest thing is the stamp I use to sign my artwork (when I have it). I visited China two years ago as part of an exchange program, and the Chinese students gave me an approximate phonetic translation of my name so that I could have a “Chinese name.” I bought a stamp with that name on it to remember them and the trip, and I use it as half of my artist signature.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Besides the ever present “keep practicing,” I’d say “if you can’t figure out what’s wrong with it, put it on pause and work on something different; it’ll come to you sooner than if you keep focusing on it.” If it’s art, that one part will still be waiting for you to come back, and if it’s writing, you can always just type in something like “akdguhos” or “[COME BACK TO THIS]” and continue. (Just make sure that you go back to it before you publish it or turn it in!) You don’t have to finish everything in one go. Take a break, let your creative juices recharge.

Something specifically for visual art: we tend to hyperfixate on the small area that we’re currently working on. Every now and then, remember to step back (or, if digitally, zoom out) and look at the piece as a whole. Something might look okay while zoomed in… and then you look at the whole picture and realize that it’s completely misaligned or maybe the color palette doesn’t match the rest. I’ve worked on several semi-realistic pieces and realized that the “perfect nose” was too far right, or that it looked like the neck didn’t come from the same body as the head, because I didn’t look at the whole picture as much as I should have.

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Lumos

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual sex-repulsed, and demi-panromantic. (As well as agender/non-binary.)

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

I’ve been lucky enough not to encounter any prejudice in my major related classes yet, but that’s partially because I don’t know anyone well enough to actually care what they say, partly because I have headphones in during class almost all the time. I have had people try to get “creative” with their flirting though, automatically assuming that because I’m an artist, I draw nude people, and that I’d want to draw them … How I respond to them depends on how rude they’re being.

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

Ohh boy, there’s so many that I spent three years researching asexuality in order to academically debunk misconceptions and presented speeches about asexuality to just about any academic platform I could reach. (I’m no longer doing competitive speech as I switch to the coaching side of things, but I’m still ready to spread asexual awareness.)

The one that I hate the most is when people think asexuals are being childish if they state that they have no sexual attraction, especially if they say that they’re a sex-repulsed ace. I’ve had people say that I’ll eventually “grow up and want sex,” and when I literally had an anxiety attack due to a class assigned movie (marked UnRated and with no CW/TW in the film description, nor from the professor) that featured multiple explicit sex scenes and nudity, I was told to grow up and realize that “sex is an art form. You’re an artist, why can’t you appreciate that?” It’s frustrating that sex is seen as a major turning point in your life, the time you’ve “finally reached adulthood,” when there’s plenty of us who can live without it.

Southern Belle_Allyzah Cabugao
Southern Belle

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

Most importantly: you are not broken. Your orientation doesn’t make you any less valid than anyone else! Remember, for every person that takes you down, there’ll be many ready to help lift you back up again.

Also, it doesn’t matter if you fit some of the stereotypes or misconceptions of asexuality or not, you can still identify as ace. Things like “you can’t know if you’re ace if you’re a virgin,” “it’s just a hormonal imbalance,” “it’s because of PTSD/similar,” it doesn’t matter if these are true or not for you. If you feel like asexuality is the best label for your orientation, then you’re ace.

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

I post my work on Tumblr with the tag “#ani amount of art” on both aniamountofart.tumblr.com and aniamountofsketches.tumblr.com; on Instagram/Twitter tagged #aniamountofart on artisticAllyzah; and my comic can be found at tapas.io/series/OMNI!

Marco the Mallard
Marco the Mallard

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

Interview: Jessica Suphan

Today we’re joined by Jessica Suphan. Jessica is a phenomenal author who has recently published her debut novel, a psychological thriller entitled Perfect World. Jessica hasn’t met a genre she doesn’t like and writes in a variety of them. She’s an incredibly passionate and dedicated writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Gladly! I’m an author, I write psychologically based stories, romance, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, any genre that pops into my mind. I write novellas and novels and short stories; just like I write whatever genre is needed for the story, I write whatever length is needed for the story I’m telling. Though most of them tend to be really long. It was very recent that I became a published author instead of an unpublished writer; my psychological thriller Perfect World came out in June. In a sentence, it’s about a young government agent who shoulders the burden of his utopia’s secret origins and has to struggle against psychosis because of those secrets. Just like all my other work, it’s extremely diverse. Perfect World features LGBT+ and ethnic as well as racial diversity. But I give all forms of diversity to my stories; it’s something that’s very important to me, and something I’ll never stop.

What inspires you?

It’s a dumb answer, but I’d have to say everything. I adore worldbuilding so cool tidbits from various cultures get tucked away into my mind along with science facts (mostly space) and psychological phenomenons. I’m a counseling psychology student so I learn a lot in the latter most’s area. Tumblr’s a great place too. I’ve gotten ideas of things to add to stories, ideas for characters, phrases that leap out. Perfect World actually has a scene inspired by a Tumblr post that asked why we never learn about other cultures in dystopian stories, and a character inspired by another post about how we never see a man sleep his way to the top. My friends do too, along with nature. Have you ever walked outside when it’s raining? Not a downpour, just raining. If you look at flowers and leaves then, it feels like the world is a fuzzier and gentler place. That’s a feeling that really sticks with me. And injustice.

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

I’ve been a writer as far back as I can remember. My first finished story happened when I was in fourth grade. It’s the first story I recall writing, but my parents assure me that it went on beforehand, and I’m not surprised. Like many writers I was a voracious reader; how could I not want to add to the number of worlds in the universe, even as a young child?

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?

Hm. I’m not sure if it falls under it, but I do love putting exact onomatopoeia in. Exact though. It’s such a delightful yet challenging thing to write if you want to get the true sound of what just happened. A metal fan’s blades don’t go rrrrrr, they go brrirrrr, a rock doesn’t grind sssssss against another rock, it grinds ssszzzzzt!, but you have to stop and listen and focus only on the sound in order to get it. I’ll spend easily an hour trying to figure out the spelling of something that isn’t even a word.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just write. A lot of advice will tell you to copy how great authors write, and you totally can if you want. But I’ve never seen the point of it. Write like you. That’s how you find your voice, something else writing advice frets about, because your voice is how you naturally tell a story. Not only that, but write what you know doesn’t mean you’re stuck writing high school stories until you graduate. Good heavens, can you imagine how awful that’d be? You can write anything you want because, for me at least, that phrase is about emotion. I will hopefully never experience what it’s like to have my child go missing. But I’ve experienced the emotions of panic and dread and frustration at my own helplessness. I haven’t gone to another planet (yet). Still, I know the thrill of exploring, that tight stomach and fizzy head that comes from embarking out into something I couldn’t possibly know. And don’t write for word counts. I’ve found that sitting down to write a scene gives you a lot more success than sitting down to write ______ words. In the latter you’re pausing to count words, focused on those instead of the story. When you sit down with the intent to write a scene you’re honed in on the story and moving it forward, and we all know scenes can be very long. So if you write one you can look back on pages instead of a paragraph that leaves you wanting more.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m homoromantic asexual! A girl who has romantic interest in other girls but no sexual attraction or urges whatsoever.

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

Everything I’ve experienced has been ignorance. Since I hang out with other writers who also know the importance of diversity that’s slightly less common than it otherwise might be, but it’s still very much present. I personally really enjoy teaching people things. So if something comes up, I take pleasure in patiently but (if needed) firm explanations. The vast majority of the time, people just need to be treated with respect and not attacked for their ignorance, and they’re happy to learn and respect. Of course you have to be more aggressive with some people though, it can’t be helped. I do experience compassion fatigue though with all the activism I do (where your brain is so overloaded and so tired from caring so much about everything you could read the most heinous article title and be unable to feel anything about it), so sometimes I let a comment pass. With those though, they have to be both ignorant and not harmful in a large way.

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

That asexuality = aromantic pops up, but the most common one is absolutely that asexuals don’t have sex ever. Some don’t. But some, myself included, have. Asexuals might like it on an intellectual level, because they crave physical contact that much, because they enjoy the emotional intimacy that comes from it, or any number of other reasons. It’s very common for me to get nothing but crickets when someone says that I just need to try sex and I tell them I’ve had it several times and am still asexual. That’s my truth, it’s the truth of many people, and there’s nothing wrong or “lying” about it.

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

You exist. You’re okay. I promise you are, you’re not broken and you’re not wrong. There hasn’t been a term for us until now because there wasn’t a safe space for us to be heard, talking about sex was taboo, and the expectation was that it was a necessity not a pleasure. That’s why it’s “new”, not because it’s made up. We’re real.

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

Right here on Tumblr! My blog is scripturient-manipulator, and you can find Perfect World as a print book, as an ebook, or for your kindle. Feel free to message me to talk as well!

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

Interview: Brittany Granville

Today we’re joined by Brittany Granville. Brittany is a phenomenal visual artist and writer from Kentucky. She’s currently working on a webcomic entitled Cirque du Royale, which she both writes and draws. Cirque du Royale is all about a family of circus performers and it looks so amazing. Brittany’s work is incredibly unique and her characters are so expressive they practically pop off the screen. It’s clear that she’s a passionate and amazingly talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Art v. Artist

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw cartoons, comics, do graphic design and write. I’ve been drawing my whole life and have a Bachelors of Arts in visual communication design. I do freelance when it’s offered, but I’m still looking for a full-time job. I spend most of my time writing and drawing my own comic called Cirque Du Royale. It’s a slice-of-life comic about a family of circus performers. I love cartoony styles and silly expressions.

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Callaloo Event

What inspires you?

Hahaha! Depression and money! I need to feed my dog and keep myself in clearance nail polish, so that’s a big motivator when it comes to freelance. When it comes to my own work, I just need to have something to focus on other than sadness and crying. That’s actually why I started Cirque Du Royale. It was a distraction from job hunting and all the rejection. Basically, I could worry about the last interview or I could write about a health-nut strongman and draw funny expressions!

On a less cynical note: I like stories and I like making up my own stories. It’s all an effort to try and communicate. Growing up, I had a hard time making friends and really communicating with people, but I’d make up characters and found that I liked spending time in their world rather than mine.

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Bearded Cupcake Circus Poster

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

I grew up watching a lot of TV and reading a lot of books. Cartoons were big for me. I watched a lot of The Simpsons, The Flintstones, Rugrats, Looney Tunes, Powerpuff Girls, and Dexter’s Lab, and would copy the styles of those shows. I was fascinated by cartoons and the way they worked. When I was really little, I wore out our VHS copy of Bambi because I would pause and start it over and over to look at each frame of a scene.

I also read a lot of comic strips as a kid. At about 8 or 9, I started drawing my own comic strips. I shared them with friends and classmates, and they liked them, so I kept drawing them!

When I was older, I got more interested in illustration and graphic commercial art. I’m still nowhere near where I thought I would be at this point in my life.

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Cast 2017

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?

Both my art and design work tend to be very colorful and rounded, but I can’t see any real style signatures. :/

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“Cirque Du Royale,” episode 3

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Like a lot of artists say, practice a lot, it’s very important to build skills. Draw from life and practice realistic anatomy. I see many young artists get annoyed that their teachers want them to draw still-lifes or models rather than anime or cartoons. But it’s good to know how to draw the real thing, that way it looks more believable when it’s simplified (for example hands). If you’re in school and want to draw anime or cartoons, just get a separate sketchbook for your own personal work and one for studies!

In addition, try different things, when it comes to art and life. It’s good to find a hobby outside of art; it keeps you well rounded and to gives you something to do when you don’t feel like or can’t drawing. For example, I write, cook, read, make jewelry and stuffed animals from time to time, and am in a local civil rights organization.

Furthermore, art is great but your physical and mental health is more important. Try to at least get a walk in everyday, so that your body doesn’t break down on you. And take breaks at least every 2 hours.

itme_mod
It’s Me

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and aromantic. I know that people can have different romantic and sexual attractions simultaneously, but I can’t split mine. If you want to get more specific, I’m also sex repulsed. Like, I think consenting adults should have sex if they want. Cool. Good for them. But anyone touching or kissing me in a sexual way makes me want to barf!

I found out about asexuality when I was 18 after a dude at college kissed me. I was so disgusted, I googled to see what was wrong with me. Cause everyone likes kissing, right? This was in 2010, a little before Tumblr and more widely available material on asexuality, but I managed to find Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) and videos by Julie Sondra Decker (aka Swankivy) on YouTube. I was so happy to find out that what I was feeling was a real thing with a name. I’m so glad I’m aroace. Because, honesty, romantic/sexual relationships have always seemed really annoying to me…

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Tomato Bisque (Twitter)

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

No, but I’m not really out to people IRL, but I’m also not hiding it. The only problem is when men try to flirt with me or when my older relatives try to talk to me about dating. Bleh!

I have had a comment or 2 on my comic that an ace character couldn’t be ace because he’s 13 and that it’s just a phase. Like, bruh, that was literally a joke in the comic. I just ignore it. I think it’s funny. :p

claudette poser
Claudette Poster

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

Ha! I might be people’s idea of what an asexual is. I’m asexual, aromantic, and sex-repulsed. I’m also autistic, and asexuality is commonly seen as a trait of autism…:/ The perfect storm. But some people, especially people new to asexuality, don’t realize that not all aces are like me. Aces can be hetero, homo, pan, bi, etc. romantic. And guess what, some aces actually have sex and like it! I help moderate the asexual blog, Asexual-Society, and one of the most common questions we get is “Am I still asexual if I have sex or if porn or something sexual turns me on?” Like, yes baby. You’re still a human person with a libido, it’s just not directed at anyone in particular. There’s no wrong way to be ace, kids.

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Fish Fryday (Facebook)

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

You’re not too young to know your sexual orientation. You also don’t have to rush to figure it out. There’s no hurry. Just don’t do anything that you’re not comfortable with. No one knows you better than you do.

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

My art Tumblr: http://bgranville.tumblr.com/
My portfolio website: http://www.brittanygranville.com/

Cirque Du Royale:

Tumblr: http://cirqueduroyale.tumblr.com/
Tapas: https://tapas.io/series/Cirque-Du-Royale
Smackjeeves: http://www.smackjeeves.com/comicprofile.php?id=167570

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Pride ’17

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

Interview: Alyssa

Today we’re joined by Alyssa. Alyssa is a wonderful writer who writes both fanfiction and original poetry. She’s currently working on a fic based on the US version of The Office. When she’s not writing, Alyssa enjoys knitting and knits plenty of things for friends and family. Alyssa is an enthusiastic and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a fan fiction writer, poet, and knitter. I am currently writing fan fiction for The Office (US). My poetry has been published in a few books by the American Library of Poetry. Knitting is more of a Hobby, I make almost anything mostly for friends and family.

What inspires you?

I honestly don’t know what inspired me to start writing fan fiction, maybe out of boredom, but I am really enjoying it. In poetry it is nature and my life experience.

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

These 3 things are not my ultimate goal, which is to be a costume designer, which I have wanted since I was 12, and I consider that a type of artist so in short, yes.

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.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t think that working in some other field will not help you reach your ultimate goal, other experience may come in handy.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual Panromantic

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

I haven’t really, and I hope not to in the future.

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

That Asexuals can’t have a dirty mind/make sexual jokes. (This may not be the most common one I hear, but I don’t see it mentioned a lot.)

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

Find someone to help you talk through it, find an ace chat etc.

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

You can read my fan fiction on AO3: http://archiveofourown.org/users/Pan_Cake_Cats/works

My poetry is here: https://poetryonpancakes.blogspot.com/

My knitting isn’t really anywhere, but if you would like to order a custom handknit hat or handwarmers visit my Etsy shop here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/KnitknacksByAlyssa?ref=seller-platform-mcnav

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