Interview: Michelle

Today we’re joined by Michelle. Michelle is the phenomenal artist and creator behind the comic Centralia 2050, a “female-led cyberpunk mystery comic with themes of isolation, oppression, and transhumanism.” The comic has a variety of diverse characters and Michelle puts a lot of importance on creating ace-friendly material. Michelle is soon going to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first volume of the comic, which I’ll post a signal boost for in about a week (so keep an eye out for that). Michelle is an incredibly talented and passionate 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’m a storyboard and comic artist, currently working on my
original cyberpunk mystery comic Centralia
2050
. Right now, the comic is just starting its 4th chapter,
with a volume 1 book in the works. I also work as an artist doing live-action
storyboards for commercials and music videos. Now and then, I like doing
watercolour painting, too.

What inspires you?

Usually the people around me. Each person I get to know
inspires me with their unique life story, their struggles, their aspirations. A
lot of that gets subconsciously channeled into the stories I write and the
characters I create.

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

I’ve always been drawn toward telling stories, and drawing
is the easiest way for me to get my ideas out. I’m not great with words, so
it’s often easier for me to just show what’s in my head. It wasn’t until I was
in middle school that I thought about pursuing art professionally, though I
didn’t know what kind of job I wanted. Eventually comics and storyboarding
became the most natural path to satisfy my love for storytelling.

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?

Nothing I’m aware of! I’m not great at noticing those little
trends in my art, honestly. Like, I couldn’t tell you what my style is or any
direct visual inspirations. I just draw what looks right to me.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Perfection is the enemy of finished. A lot of young artists
hide their work because they feel it’s not good enough to share, but the world
can’t know about you if you hide everything you create. Don’t be afraid of
making mistakes, and have a constructive attitude towards failure. I think
that’s a quality that every successful artist must possess.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m a heteromantic ace.

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

In my field, no. I don’t typically make my orientation
known, largely because it only invites a lot of awkward questions. Of course
there’s going to be ignorant people in the artist community, but I’ve been
fortunate to not have to deal with any of them personally in my career.

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

That I’m ace because my partner is lousy in bed. It sucks,
because I’m inclined to not “out” him as having an ace girlfriend– I don’t
want to potentially embarrass him. When you tell people you’re ace and in a
relationship, they want to know how that works. It’s different for every
couple, and I don’t think it should be anyone else’s business.

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

Find ace-friendly communities online. I didn’t even know
what to call myself until I was in my mid-20s, and it caused me a lot of grief.
I hear a lot of aces say they thought they were “broken”, and I absolutely felt
that way before I realized asexuality was a thing. I felt a lot better when I
started reading about other people’s experiences and having the validation that
I wasn’t a broken person.

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

You can read Centralia
2050
at centralia2050.com. There is
also a Kickstarter for the first volume of the comic, which you can find at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/michelledraws/70043576?ref=355027&token=8e80ddd4. (Kickstarter will be live on October 15th)

I’m Art
of Michelle Stanford
on Facebook, at michellestanfordart
on Instagram, and at Michelledrawz
on Twitter.

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