Interview: Raven Jay

Today we’re joined by Raven Jay. Raven Jay is a phenomenal visual artist who is currently studying at uni. They mostly draw fanart and original characters. They currently have a fascinating webcomic entitled Anthrel, which is summarized as follows:
“A comic series following the lives of the
Anthreligions; immortal personifications of the world’s religions,
sects, and other spiritualities.”
(It updates on Fridays). It’s clear Raven is a very creative and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m a visual artist and illustrator, and most of my work is
cartoonish. I draw a lot of both fanart and my own original characters and
ideas. I have a few webcomic ideas in the works, and my current one is named Anthrel!

What inspires you?

My current favourite shows to draw from are Voltron: Legendary Defender and Boueibu, but most of my inspiration
comes from religion, magic, and art history!

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

I’ve wanted to be an artist since primary school! I remember
spending most of my time ignoring chances to socialize so I could sit and draw.
My drive to draw – especially comics and illustration – became a lot bigger in
high school because of friends I made and my supportive art teacher.

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?

A lot of my original work centres around religion and
mythology and the beauty I see in it, and my webcomic is about personified
religions, so I guess that’s a recurring theme I have?

My physical artist signature comes from a messy stylisation
of my deadname; I just kept it because I’ve been using it for so long and it
doesn’t really look like a word anymore. That being said, I forget to sign half
of my art anyway.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

It might sound cliché but don’t give up on art because some
people think it won’t amount to anything; instead, keep making art because they
think that. My father used to tell me I’d never make a living out of art, and
his girlfriend’s friend once laughed at me for wanting to be an artist as a job.
But now I’m at uni studying a creative industries degree and building art into
a career, so the joke’s on them!

Also, don’t forget how important art theory is. Not only
does art history tell you where you came from, it can inspire you too.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m just asexual. I’m also sex-repulsed but don’t mind
talking about/drawing sexual themes within certain boundaries.

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

Though I’ve experienced ignorance from peers, I haven’t
experienced much prejudice, as most of my network is my university cohort and
close friends. Normally I deal with ignorance by just politely explaining what
asexuality is! Most people understand after that.

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

The most common misconception that I’ve encountered, I
think, is that all asexuals are by default sex-repulsed. Though I am, I know
not every ace is, and we all have different comfort boundaries for any sort of
physical affection.

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

Always remember you’re valid in your asexuality. Maybe
you’re questioning where you sit on that spectrum, and that’s okay, and maybe
you’ll wake up tomorrow and realise you don’t identify as ace at all! We learn
more about ourselves and about sexuality all the time; what matters is knowing
that identifying as ace or aspec right now is a valid thing to do, and you
don’t need to prove yourself to everyone.

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

You can find my art at draweththeraven on both Tumblr and Instagram! I also have a
website, draweththeraven.com, which I try to update regularly (aka, I never
update it). My webcomic Anthrel is at https://tapas.io/series/Anthreligion.

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