Category: aromantic asexual

Interview: Naomi Clements Gettman

Today we’re joined by Naomi Clements Gettman. Naomi is a phenomenal visual artist and writer. The visual art is digital and mostly for fun. She does fanart, collages, and sometimes collaborates with her sister. When she’s not creating visual art, Naomi also writes a lot of poetry. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist who loves to create, 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.

My art encompasses a few things. I dabble in
Photoshop and making digital collaborations with my sister. Most of the time
this means I will create a reference for her, she will draw line work, and then
I will scan and color. Other times I make simple collages, fan-art for bands I
love, or illustrate random jokes.

I also enjoy writing and have written lots of poetry,
although none of it is published anywhere. I am currently in the process of
collecting it all and will probably self-publish sometime soon, just to have a
physical collection to share with whoever would like to read it. I am also in
the process of writing a book, which is from an idea I developed in several of
my screenwriting classes.

What inspires you?

I think for my graphic design things, there are
certain things I create regularly, and other things I only create occasionally.
For instance, I may decide I need a new Twitter or Facebook banner and I whip
together a themed collage of things/characters I like. These are easy to do,
and I don’t spend much time thinking about it. Other times a band may host a
fan-art contest, or I may feel inspired by a line in a song, and I create a
single piece I am proud of after a few weeks of mulling it over. Once I am
finished with a bigger project like this, it takes a while to create something
again.

For my poetry, I am inspired by the sound of
things as much as the meaning. I enjoy rhyme and often write a whole poem
around a single phrase that I think sounds good. Sometimes my poems are
fictional stories, sometimes they are about self-doubt, sometimes they are
about growing up. There really is no uniting theme, which is why I find it so
hard to determine what is good and what is trash.

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

To say “field” is probably a bit of a
misdirection. I am currently in the awkward techinically-last-semester-but-done-with-credits-and-looking-for-anyone-who-will-hire-me
phase of life. My chosen field of study is in film/media, and I have a few
different experiences under my belt; from film digitization to advertising.
However, whether it is in the form of an essay, a video, a PowerPoint, or
whatever else, I love being creative and even enjoy working on a team to
research and complete a project. I have never wanted to be an artist in any
traditional sense of the word (like being an illustrator or a musician), but I
do believe that creativity and fun can be a part of almost everything you do.

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?

Nope! I suppose I should start signing things, but
I haven’t yet.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

My advice would be to just have fun with whatever
you are doing. Lots of ‘serious’ jobs require creativity, and lots of
‘creative’ jobs require business skills like budgeting or scheduling. Your best
bet is to approach whatever it is with a good attitude, and even if you don’t
love the whole job or the assignment or whatever, you can at least find an
aspect of it to enjoy.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I have happily identified as aro/ace for about 5
years now (since I was 17). The aro part of my identity came a little later, but
so far everything fits. I am fulfilled with the close friendships I’ve managed
to maintain, although I think I would like a QPR.  

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

I have never encountered any type of prejudice in
my workplace, but mostly I think that has to do with the fact that I have no
idea how to be out at work. I never actively hide my aro/ace identity, but also
it never actually comes up. Do people think I’m straight?? Maybe. Although it’s
more likely they think I’m gay since I talk about going to pride and what not. However,
whenever I do mention it, there is never any push-back from the person. Sure,
there’s the usual “what is that?” if they don’t already know, but there is a
never a follow-up “don’t worry, you’ll meet the right person.”

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

I have been very lucky to have an accepting family
and friend group. My whole “coming out” experience is not typical, I think.  I never tried to be anything I wasn’t or even
realized there was something different about me.  Even within the first years of knowing my
sexuality I was on an NPR segment talking about my experience. (Check it out if
you’d like, but be warned it is a few years old now https://www.scpr.org/programs/take-two/2016/08/11/51199/asexuality-and-the-internet-s-key-role-in-the-ace/)

However, one thing that breaks my heart (even
though it isn’t a misconception per se) is when I tell someone I am aro/ace,
and they say they have never met anyone else like me. It happens quite a lot,
and it feels horribly isolating.

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

I wish I had novel advice that could be applicable
to any type of person. Sometimes the “love yourself” mantra is easier said than
done, especially when you battle with anxieties and insecurities that others do
not. But I’m afraid I am not that person, and the only advice I can offer is to
find the connections that allow you to love yourself. Put all your energy into
cultivating a small network of love, and support will be there when you need
it.

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

If you would like to see my work or check out my
socials, please go to https://sncgportfolio.weebly.com/

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

Interview: Zoe

Today we’re joined by Zoe. Zoe is a wonderful young up and coming author who writes YA and middle grade fiction. She has drafted three novels, all are in the genres of supernatural and magical realism. They feature a diverse cast of characters, most of them are LGBTQIA+, the kind of characters Zoe has often wanted to see in the books she was reading. It’s clear she’s a very passionate and dedicated writer with an incredibly bright future ahead of her, 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 write young adult/middle grade books that could
also count as magical realism or supernatural. My current project centres on
different supernatural/paranormal beings such as angels, demons, vampires,
sirens etc. It is pretty diverse compared to a lot of books I’ve read recently,
and includes a gender fluid vampire, a pansexual warlock, an aroace demon in a
queer-platonic relationship, a bisexual demon, a biromantic angel, a lesbian
werewolf, an aroace fae who is sex and romance repulsed (There are others, as well
as heterosexual characters.) It also includes all the struggles they have to
deal with because of their sexualities and genders, as well as their
supernatural race. (While also trying to stop a very evil woman from taking her
revenge out on the whole world)

I thought it should be a bit more diverse than the
other young adult/middle grade books I have read because to me, having two or
three LGBTQIA+ characters in an entire 16 book world seems very unrealistic. At
school, I had at least three or four LGBTQIA+ kids in each class I went to for
every lesson.

What inspires you?

Usually, books I’ve read. I didn’t really know
what to write about to be honest, before I started. But then I read a few young
adult books of the same type I wanted to write and something clicked. With
every book I read, I had a new idea for something that could happen. Of course,
I didn’t steal from the books. What I mean, is that I could picture how old
spell books looked, and realised a King would probably care more about having a
son for an heir than a daughter. This helped me picture a possible scene for an
argument between a father and daughter, in which this point could have been
brought up.

Also, music inspires me a lot. I always listen to
music. Classical pieces, soundtracks from movies, actual songs even musicals.
Whatever it takes to give me some inspiration, I even sleep while listening to
music to help me better picture what might be giving me trouble when writing.
Think of it like writing fanfiction in my head, of my own stories, while I try
to sleep.

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

I have always loved reading, and throughout
primary school (ages 3-11) we had a lot of opportunities to write our own short
stories in class. I loved it, and thought it was fun. I didn’t know I wanted to
be a writer until a few years ago when I discovered NaNoWriMo (I won) and
realised how fun writing could be and got back into it.

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 done the math, but there’s roughly the
same amount of LGBTQIA+ characters as there are heterosexual characters (not
counting small children). In any book I will ever write, I will always try to
keep it as close to 50/50 as I can, because that is the most realistic figure.
There’s also hardly ever any angst revolving around romance, or any explicit
stuff because I strongly dislike it and have no time for that nonsense of “he
loves me, he loves me not.”

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop writing. If someone says you write too
much, or you should spend more time doing something that benefits them, don’t
listen and keep writing. I was told that I spend too much time reading and
writing, the only two things I do for fun, by my family who wanted me to
essentially become a third parent to my brother who is only 2 years younger
than me. It upset me, and I stopped both. I didn’t read anything for ages, and
eventually forgot about my writing for a few months. It’s good to take a break,
but on your terms, or as close as you can get.

I still struggle trying to get into writing again,
because I feel like it will be hard. Because I don’t remember what I was going
to do with this sentence, or because I can’t remember what that character looked
like or if they are even in this book. Don’t let anyone – and I mean anyone –
tell you that it isn’t worth it. Write for you.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as a sex and romance repulsed aroace,
and I experience aesthetic attraction. I also identify as pan because my
aesthetic attraction can be to anyone of any gender.

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

I haven’t experienced any. However, when I was
talking to my best friend and fellow Asexual about some of the characters,
trying to work out a scene, I mentioned they were both Aroace. I also have an
ace-biromantic character not in that scene. She asked “That makes three on the
Ace Spectrum, right? Isn’t that a bit much?” No. it is not “a bit much” because
I know several asexual people online, and together we make two. In real life,
in a world with billions of people, at least 1% of which (7 million I think
total) asexuals, it makes sense to have a few who know each other. She knew
this, it was just more of shock at seeing more than one Ace character in a
single book, and she wasn’t being mean or anything.

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

I have several, and they are all from my best
friend’s ex-boyfriend, although I have heard other people say stuff along these
lines too.

  • (asexual refusing to have sex with her boyfriend because
    she’s a sex repulsed asexual) “But biologically speaking everyone needs sex.” –
    This isn’t true. I’ve heard it can be fun, great, stress-relieving, and a bunch
    of other positive things from people who continuously talk to me about it even
    when I tell them not to. But biologically, you don’t crave it. You don’t die
    without it. Biologically speaking, it is how babies are made. Nothing more.
  • “You’re not asexual because you don’t need to
    photosynthesize” – hahaha, no. he said this sincerely, and he meant this to
    hurt. It isn’t a joke. There are multiple meanings for different words in the
    English language. “My nose is running” does not mean you’re nose is in fact
    running down your face and about to make an escape to go join the party next
    door.
  • “Asexuality isn’t a thing. It’s just an excuse. You’re a
    lesbian” – yeah she’s an Aroace lesbian, but she didn’t know it at the time.
    She’s still aroace. It doesn’t matter what else you identify as, if you think
    you are on the spectrum, no one can invalidate you like this. Asexuality is a
    thing. It is also annoying to hear this several times in the same conversation.

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

Asexuality, and the whole spectrum, is a thing.
Aromanticism is a thing. Aroace is a thing. You can be both, you can be one or
the other. You can be in a qpr, you can be single forever. You can have a
partner, or not. You can be a third sexuality on top of this. You can hate
sex/romance with a fiery passion or you can still enjoy it. Don’t let
uninformed people try to tell you how you feel, because the person who knows
you best is you. And if this means having your aroace-pan awakening at 2am and
grinning like a fool for three days then so be it. Because you deserve to be
happy. If someone you love says the words “but biologically-“or “you aren’t
ace/aro” or any variation of “it’s a fad/you just want attention.” Even after
you’ve explained it to them? Even after you’ve given them a chance to learn
about your orientation? Get rid of them because you can do better. Any loved
one who forces you to ignore how you feel, or invalidates you, or pressures you
into things you don’t want to do, is not worth your time.

When you come out to people, be ready for the
inevitable vocab lesson, but don’t be upset about it and if they ask a lot of
questions, try not to be offended. In all likelihood, they have no idea what
any of this means because when they were growing up it wasn’t as widely known.
Take a few minutes to explain. They might get it, they might not. They might be
supportive, they might not. But at least they know. And if they get confused
somehow and think you just came out as a lesbian, please, for the sake of your
sanity, correct them. Do not let them think you and your best friend are
lesbian lovers unless you, for some reason, want them to think that. It is
about what you are comfortable with.

Tell the person you are dating what your
boundaries are, or what you are uncomfortable with. For example, I personally
despise all physical contact with all but 2 people. Maybe they can work their
way in, but for now, tell them. Don’t let yourself be uncomfortable just so you
don’t have to have the awkward conversation where you tell them you don’t want
to be kissed or you don’t want to have sex. And if they don’t respect your boundaries,
get rid of them. A person who is willing to just be platonic cuddle buddies
with no pressure on either side is much better than a person who refuses to
understand your orientation and the things you don’t want to do.

Also, don’t listen to aphobes, at all.

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

I haven’t published anything anywhere, but I’m
always up for questions about my work in progress, or anything to do with
writing (or my orientation really). My Tumblr is at solangelo3088.

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

Interview: Jo Troll

Today we’re joined by Jo Troll. Jo is a phenomenal dancer who has recently branched out into what they term artistic intervention. They do a lot of Irish dancing and they have danced contemporary styles in the past. They’re currently focused on tackling cisnormativity in dance. It’s clear they’re a passionate and dedicated artist with an important message, 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 dancer/choreographer that’s branched out into
installation art and other methods of “artistic intervention”. I’m originally
an Irish step dancer who strayed from the path and got really interested in
contemporary dance. After a year at a conservatoire, I got really fed up with
the value system in a lot of contemporary dance worlds and have been moving
back towards Irish dance. I say Irish dance because that includes contemporary
(but not competition) Irish step, older styles of step dancing, and sean-nos,
an improvisational percussive dance form. Recently, a lot of my work has
centered around my trans identity and trans visibility, and I’m currently at a
point of transition where I’m trying to figure out how to tackle other concepts
while continuing to challenge cisnormativity in dance.

What inspires you?

Anger. Anything that makes me even the slightest bit angry.
I even made a whole piece about anger
inspired by the respectability politics I was managing at my school at the time
(I’m also super petty and may have built an installation based on how to most
inconvenience someone that was being transphobic). It’s hard to exist in the
world without being angry and it’s even harder as someone with multiple
invisible identities (nonbinary, trans, asexual, aromantic…) who is usually
read as female because anger is so much more likely to be invalidated by people
in power. Performing is my chance to express my anger and make people listen.
If you pay to go see someone, you’re a lot more likely to listen to them than
if they try to challenge you in the middle of a conversation. Even if you
should probably listen in both circumstances (this is a very general you).

Jane 3: Photo taken by
audience member

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

So, when I was ten, my mom was really sick of driving me to
soccer games and bribed me out of soccer with Irish dance lessons. That’s the
main story. I’ve had a lot of beginnings in dance, but I’ve probably known
since I was eight or so that I was going to be a dancer. Since ten is actually
a late start for dance, I’ve had a lot of insecurities which kept me from
voicing that for a long time and gotten in my own way a lot of the time, but
it’s always been knowledge that this was what I was going to do, not a wish or
a desire.  

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, everyone that knows my work (i.e. the wonderful
friends that help me workshop things) claim that it’s distinct. I’d say that’s
more because there’s not a lot of non-competitive dancers doing work around
queer identity than because there’s anything particular to me. The most
signature thing that stays true between pieces is costume – I always wear a hat
and I almost always wear a skirt. The hat is just because I like hats and feel
vaguely naked without one. The skirt is a very specific form of protest –
people struggle to see feminine FAAB nonbinary people as nonbinary because we
don’t fit the standard “androgynous” look deemed acceptable for FAAB folks. So,
when I do have all the power to make people listen, I want to look as feminine
as possible while I do it.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

If a system isn’t working for you, that’s not your fault.
It’s always fine to leave, say “no”, or even make your own system. This is very
true for dance – it took me a long time to learn that if a ballet teacher made
me feel icky, I didn’t have to go to their class – but I feel like it is
probably true for other forms of art too. There are infinite ways to make
things. If something doesn’t work for you, there’s always another way.

Also, surround yourself with people that care about your
work. I have a great list of people I trust to give me both encouragement and
constructive feedback. It is impossible to make work in a complete vacuum
(there are artists who have tried, I know), so be picky about who you work
with, and find the people who truly want to make your art as strong as it
can possibly be, because that is how you will find support and growth.

Photo by Olivia
Blaisdell Photography / halfasianlens, courtesy of Dancing Queerly, 2018

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Aroace. Probably.

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

Hehe. Quite recently, I was speaking on a panel on queer
dance and I was responding to a question about asexual dance when I was
interrupted mid-thought by another panelist who went on to talk about how they
would never apologize for putting sex into their work. There’s a habit in
dance, especially in queer dance, to focus on the sexual and see the nonsexual
and the asexual as restrictive, backwards, and uninteresting. I can make work
about transness and be brave. If I make work about asexuality, I’m regressive
and “hurting the cause”.

I haven’t found my answer yet, but I’m working to really
figure out what it means to dance asexually. I can make statements and comments
as much as I’d like, but the most important thing is to keep owning the work
that I make and who I am. If someone feels the need to go on
the defensive about it, that’s their problem.

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

Heh. I think the biggest thing I see in dance, especially in
queer art circles, is that somehow or other, asexuality threatens or denies the
ability to claim and own other sexualities. Or, in other terms, that asexuality
desexualizes other sexualities. I understand the threat for queer artists queer
sexuality of all forms has been under attack for a long time, but it becomes a
problem when this is used as an excuse to silence asexual voices. The
possibility of asexuality does not negate the possibility of other queer
sexualities, it is simply an expansion of what queer sexuality can be, which I
find super exciting. I don’t have as much patience or understanding when allo,
cis, straight dancers get up in arms about this too, but it does tell me that
sexuality brings up lots of feelings for everyone. We just have to slowly
untangle them. I would prefer it if
all allo dancers would bother to look up the definition of asexuality before
getting defensive though.

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

It’s OK to struggle. These things aren’t always easy. All
you can do is own where you are right now.

Surround yourself with things that make you feel good. Books with characters you relate to. Music that
speaks to your heart. People that make you smile and feel like you are worth
something. There are loads of recommendations out there for the young acespec
and that can be helpful if you don’t know where to start, but don’t feel guilty
if the thing that’s right for you isn’t in the ace community hivemind, or even
explicitly ace-related. Take what’s right for you.

And make art. Art is a powerful tool for self-care and
self-expression. Find the way it works for you and use it.

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

I’ve got a website: jotroll.wordpress.com

And I blog a lot: jotdancing.wordpress.com

You can also find me on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/jotrolldance/

And on Tumblr at: https://jotrolldance.tumblr.com/

Photo by Ray Bernoff

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

Interview: R.M.K.

Today we’re joined by R.M.K.. R.M.K. is a phenomenal poet who has just released their first poetry collection recently. It delves into topics like mental illness and recovery. They’re currently working on another collection about enbies, aces, and aros, which will be out this October. R.M.K. writes modern poetry and is extraordinarily talented. It’s clear they’re dedicated to their craft, 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 write what I refer to as “modern poetry.” It is in the
same style as Rupi Kaur’s. It isn’t like “classical poetry” which I see as
sometimes really dense and hard to comprehend. My poetry focuses less on
imagery and more on just getting your thoughts down on paper. Sometimes on Tumblr
you see it looking like “is this poetry if I just write prose and put a bunch
of spaces?” Yes!

My poetry ranges from mental illness, recovery, letters,
nonbinary, asexual, and aromantic themes. I talk about a lot of different stuff
in my work. My first collection focuses on mental illness and recovery, while
my upcoming collection will focus on enbies, asexuals, and aromantics.

The goal of my poetry collections is to inspire people to
share their own stories.

What inspires you?

Rupi Kaur inspired my first book. She is the author of Milk And Honey and The Sun and Her Flowers. I am also inspired by Courtney Peppernell,
who writes lesbian poetry, and r.h. Sin, who writes about various subjects.

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

I got interested in poetry only about two years ago. Before
then I was an aspiring novelist, and still am, but poetry is a lot easier for
me to write. I’m not really sure what got me interested in poetry. It might’ve
been when I found Rupi’s first book. Since then I’ve bought around fifteen
different poetry books and have consumed them with fervor.

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?

In my poetry I never use capitalization and show speaking or
quotes as italics. It’s part of my style but is in no way unique. Anyone out
there could use this style if they so wanted.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Write boldly and unapologetically and also, don’t turn your
nose up at self-publishing. This is the route I am going by now. If you want to
write about a nonbinary character who uses they/them pronouns, do it! Write
about whatever subject you want in whatever format you feel suits it best and
don’t pull any punches! Tell the story you want to tell and don’t compromise on
a thing!

If anyone is looking for self-publishing, look no further
than CreateSpace, an Amazon company, which will print-per-order your books and
also stock in stores. You can do everything you need to with the site, even
make a cover.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as asexual and also aromantic and nonbinary. I
use they/them pronouns.

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

When I submitted to publishers I used my pronouns and chosen
name on all my correspondences and never heard anything back. I don’t know if
this is just a coincidence or if it was directly related, but I have since gone
forward with self-publishing.

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

That it’s the same as celibacy, which it definitely isn’t.
People are celibate for religious reasons, usually. We are asexual because we
are born that way, or because of trauma. Both are valid.

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

If you find the label no longer fits, then you can drop it!
There’s no shame in that! Before this I thought I was just a skittish
pansexual. Before that I was totally convinced I was homosexual. It’s okay to
explore.

Also, you don’t really owe anyone an explanation. If you’re
asexual, you’re asexual. That’s it. They should be responsible for educating
themselves if they can’t understand you.

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

On my Tumblr at rmk-poetry
and my Instagram r.m.k.poetry!

The first book, entitled Days,
will be available by the time you read this. The second collection, entitled Queer, (I’m on the side of reclaiming
this slur, I’m sorry if you are not and I have offended you), will be coming
out October 11th to coincide with National Coming Out Day.

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

Interview: Jainai Jeffries

Today we’re joined by Jainai Jeffries, who also goes by

fydbac, llc. Jainai specializes in creating violent and erotic imagery to break through mediocrity. They specialize in concept design, tattooing, and violent webcomics. It’s clear they’re a dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for participating in this interview.


Warning: potentially triggering material in this interview and the images included. Views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this interview don’t reflect those of Asexual Artists.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

Its aim is to murder off the mediocre and cliché.

What inspires you?

Exploring the unseen and untold. The countless unexplored
(or rarely explored) ideas and concepts.

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

I always loved fantasy and hearing stories I never heard
before.

Where does “always” start for you? Let’s just say, yes; if
we don’t count the half day I considered being a Veterinarian, or the month or
so I reached out to the FBI about being a sniper/assassin.  

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 change it periodically: For the past year or so, I’ve been
stamping my work with “©fydbac,llc”.

I hope that’s what you meant. Is it what you meant? …We’ll
just say that’s what you meant.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Undercharging yourself (anything under $20 for line art) is
a sign of an amature, and makes you look unprofessional (like you have no
respect for yourself).

Don’t half ass shit: like relying on only social media. Work
on your presentation and business as hard as you work on your craft.

But then again, there are folk out there who are half assing
it, but still making $2k+ on Patreon, so da fuck do I know?

Point is…there are countless paths to maintain an art
career. There is no “correct” one. But they ALL share one thing: Luck. [Don’t
obsess over it.]

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Sex: Ace [thought not ruling out demi, cause I think I have
the capacity, but never had such a connection]. Romantically: Aromatic (my idea
of “romance” doesn’t fit into the general category of this era I think).

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

No. I actually still don’t understand how prejudice against
ace is possible: The lengths folk go to infringe upon someone’s existence over
something that ain’t they fucking business is just utterly ridiculous to me in
general.

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

Probably, “you just haven’t found the right person yet”.
That was mostly just before I realized I was Ace, or just as I was realizing
it. Cause I have yet to share that I was Ace to those people, (no reason why I
haven’t, I’m just not one to share myself unsolicitedly).

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

I don’t think I can give “advice”, as I never “struggled”
about it. I guess I can share my personal attitude about things pertaining to
myself? What other people think have no relation on what I think about myself
and how I view the world. They have their world, and I have mine. Sometimes
they brush against each other to learn from each other, but…yeah, my
orientation has never been a “struggle”, so don’t think I can help

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

Official: http://fydbac.com
Webcomic: http://ipity.me
Tattoo boutique: http://fydmi.ink

My current primary social medias:
http://twitter.com/fydbac
http://instagram.com/fydbac

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

Interview: Anne Hawley

Today we’re joined by Anne Hawley. Anne is a phenomenal novelist and editor who writes queer-themed historical fiction. She has a novel entitled Restraint, which features an ace secondary character. Anne is currently working on a new historical novel that features an ace protagonist, which is exciting (we need more historical fiction featuring aces). It’s clear she’s a talented and passionate writer who loves what she does, 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 write novels featuring queer characters in historical
settings, exploring issues of identity and acceptance. I’m also a Story Grid
Certified fiction editor, helping other writers shape their novels and
screenplays.

What inspires you?

People’s individual search for wholeness and
self-acceptance. The search for meaning. My stories revolve around people on
spiritual journeys, and my editing work is focused on helping writers find and
tell the story that’s in their heart to tell.

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

I’ve been writing since I could read. I started my first
novel when I was nine. I was inspired by fantasy novels and wanted to create my
own worlds.

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 always name something after a notable feature in my
hometown of Portland, Oregon USA

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

If you’ll permit me to change the question, I’d like to say
something to aspiring artists who may not have started young, or aren’t young
anymore. Ageism is real and insidious in our culture, and it has a huge
silencing power. Just as the dominant culture would still prefer it if you were
allosexual and cisgendered (though thank goodness that’s changing), it would
like you to be silent and invisible if you’re not young. If you have a story to
tell, tell it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Aromantic asexual. I think “autochor” is probably a term
that applies to me.

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

There’s not much ace representation yet in fiction, and as a
person who came to the identity late in life, I’m still working to change my
own ingrained belief that “nobody” wants to read stories without sexual
tension, or about individuals who are fulfilled without romance.

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

That asexual people don’t really exist, and that people in
my age group who claim that sexual identity are simply resigned to being “too
old” for love or sex–or that we’re some sort of holdover from an earlier and
more prudish, sex-negative era. We aren’t.

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

Many, many people in older age groups like mine have never
even heard of asexuality. If you’re like me, hearing about it at a late age
might create a real internal struggle, especially if you’ve given a lot of
energy over the years trying to conform to old cultural standards of “normal”
sexuality.

It helps to read as much as you can about all the nuances in
the spectrum of asexuality, and realize that it’s okay to try on different
names and labels. It might take a while to feel at home with one or another of
them. But you might also find, as I did, that little by little embracing
asexuality solves so many mysteries of your life.

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

https://annehawley.net

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

Interview: Melissa

Today we’re joined by Melissa, who also goes by Wolfish Arts online. Melissa is a phenomenal artist who does cross stitch. She creates beautiful works using needlework. She’s currently working on a large project and updates can be seen on her Facebook page and Tumblr. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist who loves what she does, 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 do cross stitching, which is a type of needlework. I
started stitching in September 2017 or so.

What inspires you?

My friends to be honest. Most of my friends are very artistic
and talented, and seeing all the hard work they put into their art makes me
want to do better with mine as well.

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

Cross stitching is something I’ve always been fascinated by.
When I was really little, I saw someone cross stitching and thought it looked
interesting and wanted to try it myself. My family was super poor though, so it
never happened. I finally picked it up last year after talking to my grandma
about it.

I’ve always been surrounded by artists. My grandmother does
pastels on sandpaper, and she always encouraged my desire for art. I’ve been a
writer since I learned how to write – I wrote my first book in 1st
grade and haven’t stopped since. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I’ve always
wanted to do something to bring my characters to life. Unfortunately my drawing
skills are terrible. So I suppose the long answer is 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?

I actually don’t. Cross stitching is such an interesting
craft. I don’t know if it would be compatible with such a thing.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Keep trying and practicing. If you find you’re not good at
one kind of art or craft, then don’t be afraid to try another kind. I was so
set as a kid on writing and drawing as the only art forms available, I never
bothered trying anything else. Cross stitching never even crossed my mind as a
possibility until my grandmother mentioned the needlework that HER mother did
when she was a girl. If you find something or see something that sounds even
remotely interesting, don’t be afraid to try it. You never know what you’ll be
good at or passionate about until you try.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Asexual and Aromantic

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

I have, yes. Unfortunately some members of my family have
shown some ignorance towards it. My father doesn’t understand it and thinks its
just a phase or something, and my brother thinks I shouldn’t label myself and
we should all just be ourselves. I don’t know how the rest of them see it since
they never really give a reaction. I have friends as well who, while they
accept it, they tend to ask a lot of very personal questions about it.

For my family, I try educating them on it when I can, or I
just ignore it. My father doesn’t understand and doesn’t want to understand.
He’s too dead set on convincing me to give him grandchildren. (Note: Its not
happening Dad.) I love my family, but my family is more than a little
disjointed and I’ve learned to pick my battles with them.

As for my friends, I know they come from a good place. They
want to understand at least, and they accept me for who I am and don’t try to
change it. The questions do get personal very quick. I’m sure anyone on the ace
spectrum already knows what I’m talking about.

I don’t tell strangers about my orientation to avoid issues
so for the most part the only ones who do know have been accepting or just
don’t acknowledge it.

For the most part, if it’s someone I know showing prejudice
or ignorance I either try to educate them or just ignore it.

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

Oooh boy. That’s a tricky question. The most common one I’ve
encountered is usually related to actual sex itself. Can we climax, or do we
even have sex ever? I usually try to answer for my own experiences then throw
in a “not every ace is the same” sorta thing.

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

Find someone who supports you. My best friend is also on the
spectrum and she’s the one who first brought it to my attention. Without her,
it would have taken me a lot longer to discover the ace spectrum. Knowing that
I can talk to her about my concerns and questions and whatnot relating to
asexuality helps me feel better about myself because I know at least she’ll
accept me no matter what. And she understands. Finding someone that understands
you or at least supports you and is willing to listen when you need it is
amazing.

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

I’m on Facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/wolfisharts/

And Tumblr: https://wolfish-arts.tumblr.com/

Feel free to follow me on either one or both of them. I’m
always happy to answer questions or help out!

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

Interview: Lauren Hemphill

Today we’re joined by Lauren Hemphill. Lauren is a wonderful author whose novel, Viridis, is available for pre-order. She has created a sci-fi narrative revolving around an aromantic asexual character, who is supported by numerous LGBT+ characters. Lauren has written the characters that she wished she had growing up. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate author with a bright future, 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.

My work is primarily fiction writing, specifically sci-fi
and fantasy. I focus on themes such as gray morality, loyalty, and friendship.
I also tend to write LGBT+ characters, with a focus on aro-ace orientations.

What inspires you?

Music tends to be what inspires me most, with instrumental
songs from various soundtracks being what I write to most. Excellent
storytelling by fellow writers also pushes me to do better, be it T.V. shows or
other novels. Seraphina, Orleans, and The Uglies being some of the novels that have inspired me
throughout my writing career.

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

Since I was a child, I have always been telling stories.
Originally, I sought to be a painter, where I could tell stories through the
canvas. As I grew, though, I found myself drawn to writing, and amazed by the
use of words and style to make a world come to life. The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld was the first novel that ever hooked
me, and is what ended up inspiring my road down writing.

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 common theme in most of my written work is the graying of
morality. I tend to enjoy playing with the idea that not everything is black
and white, that good people do bad things, and vice versa. I seek to show the
world as complex in my writing as it is in real life.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Advice I would give fellow artists is this: not everyone
will believe in you. Throughout my time as a writer, I have had many people
doubt my ability to be published and be successful. In those times, remember
how far you’ve come, remember that you need to be your biggest fan. All the
best things in life are hard to achieve, but I would encourage all of you to
continue your art, because there are people out there that need it more than
you could ever know.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m an aromantic asexual.

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

Luckily, I have seemed to dodge most prejudice within the
writing field. I’ve found a good group of friends and writers who support what
I’m doing, and haven’t had to face writers being ignorant of the orientation. I
have encountered people in the outside world who have disliked my inclusion of LGBT+
characters and believed asexuality to be a phase, but writers themselves have
come across as inclusive and kind in my experience.

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

I’ve heard most often that asexuality is a phase, or
something that will pass when I get older. As I have held no interest in any
gender in either a romantic or sexual sense for over twenty-four years now,
however, I don’t see legitimacy in the claim.

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

I would tell my fellow aces that it’s okay to not be sure,
and it’s okay to take things slow. You should also know that you’re not broken.
I know that’s common rhetoric within the community, but please believe all of
us that you’re truly not broken. It can be hard accepting your orientation when
it’s different than what the world would like to accept, but there’s a
community where you belong, and there’s a community that will support you as
you figure yourself out. Take your time.

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

My first novel, Viridis,
featuring an aro-ace lead and a cast of LGBT+ characters in a sci-fi universe
is for preorder now on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble! Searching my name on
either website will bring up my novel, or you can follow this link:

http://a.co/6fHcDAC

My website, winter-publishing.com,
is occasionally updated with writing WIPs and various other projects, and my
YouTube channel, TheKnightmare,
is a place where I review indie animated series. You can also follow me on
Twitter at knightmarelair and
DeviantArt at knightmarekm.

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

Interview: Tanya Lisle

Today we’re joined by Tanya Lisle. Tanya is a phenomenal author who writes mainly supernatural YA fiction. She has a number of books available and is currently hard at work on a couple series. She loves the horror genre and there’s brushes of that in most of her work. It’s clear she’s an incredibly passionate artist who loves the written word, 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 tell stories, largely with a supernatural bent (Urban
fantasy, superheroes, general supernatural elements) and with a horror edge to
it, usually with some queer content as well.

Currently I’m working on two sequels to White Noise, which is an older YA series, and The Looking Glass Saga, which started as middle grade, but has
gotten older as the characters age. I’m also looking at writing one more book
for Tales from the Twisted Eden Sector,
which is for an older audience, as well as the next book in Cloned Evil, which is more in the New
Adult range.

What inspires you?

A lot of things inspire me. I tend to get the majority of my
ideas when my mind wanders during stressful periods of my life looking for that
escape. Coming up with interesting concepts to explore always seems to happen
when I’m neck-deep in the middle of another project, so I end up jotting the
ideas down and come back to them later when I have more time to flesh them out.

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

I have been writing since I was little. Originally, it was
asking teachers if I could write an essay or do a project as a story instead,
or adding a narrative to the project in a way that still got the requirements
across. When I got into high school, a friend of mine wanted to do a comic with
a bunch of us in it and asked me for a backstory for my character, which she
ended up really liking. After that, I just kept writing stories without needing
the excuse of doing it for I have been writing since I was little. Originally,
it was asking teachers if I could write an essay or do a project as a story
instead, or adding a narrative to the project in a way that still got the
requirements across. When I got into high school, a friend of mine wanted to do
a comic with a bunch of us in it and asked me for a backstory for my character,
which she ended up really liking. After that, I just kept writing stories
without needing the excuse of doing it for homework!

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?

It doesn’t always make it into the final version, but every
draft has a scene where a fridge is thrown. It’s a long standing joke and, if
you know me, you know that I cannot let a joke die. And sometimes it ends up
being necessary to the plot, so it’s not all bad! A little ridiculous,
admittedly…

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

There’s already been a lot of great advice, so I’ll stick
with this one: Know why you’re doing it and what success means to you. Your
success might look different from other people’s and you don’t need to compare
yourself to other people in order to determine if you’re on the right track for
your artistic journey.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m asexual aromantic. It took me a very long time (Until I
was 26!) to figure out that was even an option, but once I did I was so happy I
found something that fit!

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

It’s less prejudiced than it is a lack of representation.
Like in other places, some people don’t think of it as legitimate, but I’ve
also heard that it’s boring to have a story without romance. I’ve seen more
books with asexual characters, but less on the aromantic side. There’s a sense
that without that romantic subplot, a book won’t sell and therefore you must include some romance.

I’ve admittedly fallen into this trap as well. More
recently, now that I’m getting more comfortable talking about my own
asexuality, I’m starting to make it more of a point to make various character’s
sexualities more explicit and to not walk so carefully around it in fear of not
gaining that larger audience. The Looking
Glass Saga
is a series with an aro/ace lead that I’m going to be making
more explicit, and I’m working to include more characters on the spectrum in upcoming
projects.

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

It’s either that I just haven’t find the right man yet
(Because really you’re straight dontcha know?) or that it’s just that I don’t
like sex.

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

It’s okay to not know exactly what words fit you, and
sometimes it takes a while to figure those out. It’s a spectrum and you might
not fall neatly into one box or another. And, of course, you may find out later
that one word doesn’t fit you as well as you thought it did, and that’s fine
too!

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

You can check out this link, which has all my books and will
redirect you to the store of your preference: https://www.books2read.com/ap/nlzBXx/Tanya-Lisle

And if you would like a sampler of books, you can check out
the mailing list here: https://mailchi.mp/506eec46f344/get-your-free-book-now

And, of course, the blog and social media links:

http://tanyalisle.com/

https://twitter.com/TanyaLisle
https://www.facebook.com/ScrapPaperEntertainment
https://www.instagram.com/tanyalisle/
http://tanyalisle.tumblr.com/

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

Interview: Shannen Michaelsen

Today we’re joined by Shannen Michaelsen. Shannen is a phenomenal filmmaker and podcaster who has a number of projects. As a filmmaker, they specialize in webseries, which are produced through RSC, an affiliate of ParaFable. As a co-founder of RSC, Shannen has been able to produce four webseries and two podcasts. They have a few podcasts that they participate in, including a Dungeons & Dragons one. It’s clear they’re a passionate and talented artist who loves what they do, 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 co-founder of Remarkable, Singular, Curious
Productions
, and an affiliate of the collective ParaFable. Through RSC and
ParaFable, I have produced four webseries and two podcasts.

My first webseries was “The Adventures
of Jamie Watson (and Sherlock Holmes)
”, a literary-inspired webseries based
on Sherlock Holmes. I co-wrote the series and played our aroace Sherlock
Holmes, and was therefore the first Holmes in film to be canonically aroace.
After two years of “TAJWASH”, I decided to work on a few short-form shows. I
wrote, produced, and starred in “Hamlet the Dame.”
I then co-wrote and co-produced “Eddy
Rex
” (Oedipus Rex) and “Dear
Natalie
” (A Christmas Carol).

With ParaFable, I produce and DM the dungeons & dragons
podcast, Daring Fables. And with RSC, my sister and I occasionally host Pop
Culture Pie. I’m also a host of MuggleNet.com’s Fantastic Beasts podcast,
SpeakBeasty.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by classic literature, obviously. Sherlock
Holmes has always been a particularly important character to me. I’ve
identified with him as both an asexual and autistic person, and that’s why making
“TAJWASH” was so important to me. In Daring Fables, I take a lot of inspiration
from old fairytales and myths. I’m also inspired by all the music I listen to,
and like to create playlists for different stories and characters.

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

I have always been creative. My dad has worked in TV news my
entire life, so I was always interested in filming. My friends and I made music
videos and vlogs when I was a kid. I’ve been writing stories since elementary
school. Webseries have been a great way to combine both art-forms. I got
interested in literary-inspired webseries specifically after watching “The
Lizzie Bennet Diaries”, and then working on “Notes By Christine.” As for
podcasts, I joined SpeakBeasty when it first started and never looked back.
Podcasts are an entirely different kind of art, but I’ve found them to be a
great way to just talk to friends every couple weeks.

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, almost all of my main characters are asexual, and most
of my stories are about friendship. Most of my webseries have a reference to
another one of my shows or one of my friends’ shows, either with a line of
dialogue or some kind of imagery.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Keep consuming the kind of art that you want to create. Keep
reading, watching, listening, and admiring. The more you understand how other
people create their art, the better you’ll understand how you can create your
own. And just remember that everybody’s process is different, so don’t worry if
you’re going about it in a different way.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as aromantic and asexual.

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

I haven’t encountered prejudice, but I have encountered a
lack of representation. That is part of the reason it has been so important for
me to create shows with ace characters. Not only am I creating representation
for myself and others, but I’m showing other creators that ace characters can
have great, engaging stories.

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

The most common misconception I’ve encountered is that
asexuality means not having sex. Of course many ace people have sex or want
sex, and many ace people don’t. Many ace people are uncomfortable hearing about
sex, many ace people aren’t. We’re just like everybody else, with our own
individual needs and desires!

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

Ignore the discourse. Remember that there are people who
accept you. Don’t feel the need to come out if you don’t want to. Focus on
yourself and not everybody else.

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

They can visit remarkablesingularcurious.tumblr.com,
theadventuresofjamiewatson.tumblr.com,
or parafable.tumblr.com. Or they can
search on YouTube for my various webseries, and iTunes for my podcasts.

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