Category: aromantic asexual

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.

Interview: Taylor

Today we’re joined by Taylor. Taylor is a fantastic visual artist who works mainly in graphite, ink, and colored pencils. She mostly does portraits, but has recently started branching out into creative space type drawings. Her work is absolutely beautiful, drawing the viewer in with her attention to detail and use of space. It’s clear she’s a dedicated 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.

Hello! So, my art has always been
all over the place, but I have stuck with drawing since childhood. I’ve only
been a hobbyist, taking some drawing classes throughout school, but my goal is
to work part time and run an art studio on the side.

My work is usually black and
white, either graphite or ink, or colored pencil on black paper. I love working
with high contrast and, specifically with portraits, minimalistic shading. I
like working with realism, but I’ve recently branched out into some more
creative, space-y pieces.

What inspires you?

Music has been a huge influence
for me. Despite lacking any musical ability whatsoever, music has been a huge
part of my life. Listening to storytelling in the lyrics, along with themes and
feelings that can only be portrayed through instrumentals, is such a creativity
boost for me and helps me branch out of my artistic comfort zone.

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

Art, as a kid, was the only thing
I really engaged in. I was the type that naturally did well in school, so I
never really had to try or care. However, with art, I could really experiment
and improve my skills, so I devoted all of my time to drawings. As I got into
high school, I began studying fields I saw as potential careers, yet I didn’t
stop drawing.

My overbearing logical side
always stopped me from seeing myself as a professional artist. However, I
realized that, even if I don’t do it professionally, I can still be an artist
and devote myself to my artwork.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop! You’ll see really, really good artists, and you’ll meet
people who will look down on your art, but you shouldn’t let that get in the
way of your creativity. I completely stopped art for a full year because I felt
I was inadequate and that art would never get me anywhere in life. It was hard
to get out of that funk, but getting back into art was the best decision of my
life.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as an aromantic
asexual.

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

I have gotten some weird backlash
for creating LGBTQ pride art, because I’m not “really a part of the community.”
Honestly, I just ignored it and kept doing what I was doing. Asexuality is a
part of the LGBTQ community, regardless of what anyone else tells you.

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

Since I have divorced parents, no
one believes I am really asexual,
especially aro/ace. They all tell me that it’s because I didn’t grow up seeing
a loving relationship. However, my backstory isn’t traumatic and my situation
doesn’t define my sexuality.

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

Don’t worry about labels in the
beginning. I was so freaked out about whether or I was straight or gay or bi or
anything. If you’re struggling, just be yourself. You may find a label that
perfectly fits, and that can give you a wonderful sense of community and not
being alone, or you might not. Even if you don’t have a perfect label, you are
still valid.

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

I use my Instagram page the most:
at sketchingpencils. I also have a DeviantArt page that I recently started: sketchingpencils.

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

Interview: Wolfberry Studio

Today we’re joined by Jay at Wolfberry Studio. Jay is a phenomenal visual artist who works in digital illustration. Their work is mostly in the science fiction and fantasy genres and features people of color, who are underrepresented in such genres. Jay’s work shows extraordinary attention to detail and the images evoke such an amazing sense of imagination and beauty. It’s clear they’re a very dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

image

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I am a digital illustrator who works mostly in vector. My
fantasy and sci-fi illustrations focus on people of color who are
under-represented in these genres.  

What inspires you?

I am inspired by legends and myths from around the world. I
enjoy exploring the differences and similarities between stories from different
cultures. Stylistic influences include Chinese classical painting and Japanese
animation.

In addition to visiting museums and galleries regularly to
gain exposure to a wide range of styles, I do live drawing outdoors. Nature can
inspire, even if you are not a nature painter.

image

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

I’ve always enjoyed drawing. I was one of those kids who got
reprimanded for doodling in class in elementary school. I saw drawing as a way
to tell stories. I drew comics about my classmates.

As I grew older, I became increasingly aware of the role of
visual art in disseminating social messages. I had observed the lack of
diversity in certain genres. One day, I realized that instead of complaining
about other artists not drawing what I want to see, maybe I should draw what I
want to see. That was when I decided to pursue formal artistic training.

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?

My studio signature is consists of the Chinese characters
for Wolfberry Studio.  Wolfberry is
another name for goji berry.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

It is OK to feel disappointed with your work sometimes.  The fact that you are self-critical is a good
thing. It shows that you are ready and willing to improve. In art school, I saw
that the artists who improved their skills most quickly were the ones who were
the most open to critique.

Regarding how to deal with the gap between where we are as
creatives and where we want to be, Ira Glass of This American Life says it best
in a 2009 interview:  (http://www.mcwade.com/DesignTalk/2011/04/nobody-tells-this-to-beginners/)

He was talking about video producers, but his comments can
apply to just about any field.

We are all on a journey to getting better. It never ends.

image

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Gray-A. Aromantic.

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

Not in professional relationships, since the subject has
never come up with clients.

I do want to say that I am pleased by the presence of out
asexual artists of all levels in online communities. Their visibility paves the
way for the rest of us.  

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

Some people think that asexuality is pathological, and that aces
would be happier if they weren’t asexual.

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

There is no need to fit yourself into someone else’s concept
of a happy, fulfilling life.  What’s right
for others might not be right for you. You are the only one who knows what’s
right for you.

People shouldn’t be giving you a hard time for being asexual
any more than you should be giving than a hard time for being allosexual, or
for being a football fan, or liking ice cream, or being into whatever else
they’re into but you’re not into.

You’re the only one who has to live your life. You’re not
living it for anyone else. Seek out people who respect you and accept you the
way you are.

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

https://wolfberry-j.deviantart.com/
https://wolfberrystudio.blogspot.com/
https://www.instagram.com/wolfberrystudio/
https://www.redbubble.com/people/WolfberryStudio/portfolio.

image

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

Interview: Sara

Today we’re joined by Sara. Sara is a phenomenal visual artist who I met at this year’s Indy PopCon. I was so excited when I realized she was ace and made sure to hand her a business card for the blogs, because good heavens she had such beautiful art. She draws mostly fantasy and original work, favoring a stylized look rather than realism. The result is her work has a wonderful dream-like feel with vibrant colors and soft lines. It’s clear she’s 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 draw a lot of fantasy pieces, whether it’s sketching or
digital paintings. I like painting/sketching in a stylized style instead of
realistic one. I mostly paint my own characters but I love to do fanart of
characters in my own style just to see what they’ll look like.

What inspires you?

My biggest inspiration is music. I love listening to
classical or instrumental music when I draw/paint. Music helps art flow and it
opens up new ideas for me. I hear a melody playing and think I can turn that
into something. I paint a lot of fantasy pieces and nature also helps add to my
inspiration especially flowers.

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

When I was little I wanted to go into animation.
Traditionally animated Disney movies were some of my favorite things to watch
as a child and I always wanted to know how they made everything move. Now that
I’ve gone to school for animation I’ve gravitated more towards concept art and
illustrations.

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?

As of right now, no I don’t have a special signature. But
maybe some day I will.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

I know this has been said and done many times but Practice,
practice, practice. Having raw talent is the start of being a good artist but
honing that skill and perfecting it will make you an even better one. That
there are gonna be days where you second guess your art, style or your skill
but always remember there are ups and downs in all aspects of life even art.
Many talented artist out there still have those ups and downs. So don’t quit and
don’t lose hope in your abilities.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as asexual/aromantic.

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

Towards me, personally, no I haven’t. But one of the things
that does irk me is that there is barely any representation in media. Sure
sometimes they have hints that a character is Ace but then they sweep it under
the rug as if it wasn’t an important part of a character or that Asexuality is
a disease that needs to be cured (I’m talking about the House episode
that centered around that).

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

“How do you know if you’re Asexual if you haven’t had sex
yet?” or “You haven’t met the right person yet.” These questions drive me up a
wall and make me feel uncomfortable since I don’t necessarily wanna be in a
romantic/sexual relationship with people. So when these questions are directed
at me I feel a bright glaring spotlight put on me and it absolutely embarrasses
me.

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

Take your time with your orientation it’s not a race to
figure everything out in one night. It took me maybe 3 years to final except
what my orientation was. Talk it out with people you trust and do research
(it’s what I did). You are not broken because you don’t want to have sex or be
in a relationship.

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

I have a two Tumblrs and an Instagram. You can find them
both here:

http://the-lady-saron.tumblr.com/
https://sarahartart.tumblr.com/
https://www.instagram.com/sara_hart_art/.

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

Interview: Chesh

Today we’re joined by Chesh. Chesh is part of the duo behind

Lani and Chesh; Only Confused About Taxes, a podcast that covers a wide variety of topics. I’ll leave the explaining to her, since she’ll do a much better job. Her description had me intrigued and I’ve already subscribed. It’s clear she’s a talented 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 co-host a podcast with my QPR (queer
platonic relationship) called Lani and
Chesh; Only Confused About Taxes
(or OCAT for short.) The title comes from
a Tumblr post about bisexuality that talks about how bisexuals are not confused
and it’s not a phase, etc. Someone responded that well, yes actually; they are
a little confused about things like taxes. And it goes on from there. Since
Lani is bi and I’m acearo, both “invisible” orientations often accused of just
“being too young” or “being confused,” we decided it was the perfect tag-line.

OCAT is in constant transition as
we figure out what works best for us, but basically it’s a show about two
friends talking about the world. We want to highlight media that has great
representation, honor religious traditions that are in the minority in the US,
talk about current events, and discuss how to change the world for the better.
There are personal anecdotes, political opinions, and plenty of laughs.

What inspires you?

My co-host inspires me a lot. For
one, she has a number of neurodivergencies and physical ailments that can make
it difficult for her to function in a so called “normal” fashion and despite
that she marches on. She has so much passion and belief in the idea that we can
change the world. I’ve always been more of a “well, guess we’re all fucked
anyway, why bother?” kind of person. She takes “be the change you want to see
in the world” (Gandhi I think?) to a phenomenal level. It’s due to her that we
are starting Shatter Entertainment, a media company devoted to equal
representation of race, gender, sexualities, and more. We want to create things
like an all-female cast recording of Newsies,
write children’s books about the some of the amazing women of the past that
history as we know it ignores, and create tv shows and movies that have strong women,
LGBTQPIA, POC, Disabled, and everyone else that current media often ignores or
lets down. Changing the world requires changing what the world sees. She truly
believes she can make that happen. I want to help.

I’m also pretty inspired by the
change we are currently seeing in the
world, right now. Movies like the new Ghostbusters
and Ocean’s Eight. Shows like Shadowhunters and B99. There are openly trans individuals in government and more and
more people are willing to stand up and say “this is me.” Yeah, we have a
REALLY long way to go, but at least we’re going. If I can contribute to that,
even peripherally, I’d be honored.

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

Lani walked up to me (virtually;
I think it was a text message) about a year ago and said “hey, would you
co-host a show with me. It’s gonna be the starting point for my new company.”
That’s it. That’s what got me interested in the field. We’re pretty funny
together and as queer individuals on the millennial/gen z divide, we have a
unique perspective on life and society. Podcasting as an art doesn’t interest
me specifically. I’m an organizer by nature. I schedule and edit; I’m a fixer
(in a non-mafia kinda way.) OCAT, and anything that follows, gives me a way to
influence society as a whole, to maybe make it better. Lani’s the creative
half. That being said, there is so much more to podcasting then I ever
realized. There is a ton to learn and plenty of room to grow. Editing,
marketing, planning; it never ends!!

I’ve always wanted to do art on
some level. I’ve dabbled in poetry, fiction, painting, origami, piano, guitar,
recorder, etc. I’m actually not too bad at the poetry and basic origami. But, because
of my depression, I’ve never followed through on much of anything. OCAT is an
amazing opportunity for another chance. I have Lani supporting me, a larger
goal to dream of and focus on, and there are so many options and opportunities
that the podcast does, or potentially may, link me to.

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?

We’re a bit too new to have
developed anything like that, really. Mostly, we just try to be honest,
optimistic, and grateful towards all the amazing people who have helped and
inspired us.

What advice would you give young aspiring
artists?

It’s super cliché, but practice
and don’t give up. You are probably going to suck when you first start at
whatever it is you’re doing. There will probably be people who are assholes
about that fact. But we can’t all be Mozart’s. And, most of all, YOU HAVE
TIME!!! So many of us in the millennial/gen z generations have had it
indoctrinated into us that we have to have it all figured out by the time we’re
18. That is bullshit!! Pick a subject you enjoy for your undergraduate, instead
of a profitable career path that you don’t really even like. Pursue a new skill
even though you suck and there doesn’t appear to be any money in it. Jump from
field to field for a while; become a jack of all trades, master of none. Study
Buddhism or Paganism or Christianity or investigate a new religious movement.
Some of the most well-known people of our time didn’t “figure it out” until
their 40’s or 50’s or 60’s. Yes you probably could be like that teenager who
started a successful shampoo empire or that musical protégé everyone knows of,
but you probably aren’t and that’s OKAY!  Take your time, experiment, and realize that you
and life can and will get better!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I typically use AceAro (asexual,
aromantic) as my chosen identity terms. Sexuality wise, while I certainly
experience aesthetic appreciation, I’ve never looked at someone and gone “I’d
like to fuck that.” The idea of being in a relationship/having sex with a
celebrity or some random on the street, which the allos in my life assure me is
normal, has never made sense. I don’t know them and they’re probably WAY older
then I am. And they don’t know me, so it’s always seemed kinda creepy. Plus,
I’ve never been turned on just by someone’s appearance which made ace the best
descriptor for me. Confidence is attractive. A certain face or body? Nah, not
so much.

Romantically speaking, while I
usually use aromantic for simplicity’s sake, I identify more as quoiromantic,
which basically means I don’t understand what romance is. What makes something romantic
rather than platonic? There’s a difference? It’s hard to look at someone and
think “I’d like to be in a romantic relationship with that person” when you
don’t really know what romance is. The term comes for the French world for
“what,” which is, really, just spot on!  

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

Not specifically in my
fields/professions, no. OCAT is too new to have made any sort of waves in the
podcast/communication community, so it’s never really come up. In my 9-5 job,
it just hasn’t been worth discussing. I’m the youngest person in my office by
over 20 years in a conservative part of the country. My coworkers would simply
be confused if I tried to tell them I was this new-fangled thing called
“asexual/aromantic”, and I haven’t deemed it worth trying to explain to a bunch
of grandmothers who still struggle to understand that people can be gay. They
try, but they struggle. So I just don’t say anything.

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

The idea that it’s a “phase.”
When I came out to my step-father, he told me that it just wasn’t believable
because I was “too young.” Maybe he’d believe me if I was in my 40’s or
something. (That’s a direct quote and this from a man who’s known he was gay
since he was FIVE.) My mother thinks that I’m only ace because of my
depression. Which 1)even if that’s true, it doesn’t make me any less ace; identity
is still valid even if its influenced by outside factors and 2) has more to do
with her discomfort with labels then with me. My step-father still tries to set
me up with any male who happens to interact with my social media or that I talk
about even briefly (it’s really kinda creepy. Helped me realize I was being
stalked on social media once). Because allos experience sexual attraction and
it’s so consistently reinforced in society, people have trouble conceptualizing
that some of us just…don’t.

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

Take a second, breath. You don’t
have to have this all figured out. Identity is fluid and there are so many
terms and labels out there, ranging from the general to the specific. Do some
research, follow some Tumblr blogs, join a chat room or 12 on Discord. AVEN is
a great starting point. The Invisible
Orientation
is a really good book on sexual and romantic identity in
general, although it does focus on asexuality. I defaulted as straight until my
sophomore year of college when I saw a presentation put on by the university’s
sexual and gender diversity club. I didn’t find the aromantic label until a
year later and didn’t use it until I got three months into a relationship and
realized I wanted nothing to do with romance or relationships. It was another
year or two after that that I found quoi and realized that’s what had happened
between me and my ex-girlfriend; I’d taken a platonic friendship too far. Talk
with someone you trust; I can’t count the number of conversations and
freak-outs Lani has walked me through and vice-versa. Try a term for a while.
If it doesn’t fit, try another. We are the children and grandchildren of people
who thought gay could be cured and gender is binary. We are all figuring this
out as we go along with barely a foot path to follow, if that. It’s okay to be
uncertain.

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

OCAT can be found on GooglePlay
and iTunes as well as on the company website www.shattertheentertainment.com. If you like
us, remember to like, subscribe, and comment. We can also be found on Twitter
(at LaniandChesh and at yerawizardlani) Tumblr (at foiblefoldandflail and at yerawizardlani) and feel free
to email us at laniandchesh@gmail.com. We would love
to hear from you!

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

Interview: Monica Stuffle

Today we’re joined by Monica Stuffle. Monica is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in realistic drawing and portraiture. She has also dabbled in sculpture. While she prefers realistic drawings, Monica also draws in a cartoon style on occasion. It’s clear she’s a dedicated 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.

My art ranges from digital to traditional, and even
occasionally sculptural. I usually draw as realistically as I can, but my
people-pleasers tend to be more simple and cartoonish. My art is almost always
portraiture, and my strongest portraits are in plain old graphite.

What inspires you?

People around me, both on and off the internet. I’m drawn to
aesthetics, so I’ll be inspired my a pretty face, a lovely themed blog, or
another artist’s work.

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

I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember. I never
really considered my talent and important thing until recently. I’ve been
trying to incorporate my passion into my life more and more, including doing
commissions (open 😉 ) and
posting my work to try and build a career out of 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 wish! Maybe I should come up with one. Like a tiny ace
flag in the corner or something.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Young or new artists should always remember to breathe,
taking a step back and looking at where they are. I know I struggled a lot with
not living up to my own expectations, so I had to learn to sit back and
remember how far I’ve come already in my artistic journey. There will always be
someone better than you, and that’s okay. My advice is to take what you can
from your experiences. Learn from other artists, acknowledge your mistakes and
fix them, and never give in to frustration.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m aromantic asexual as far as I know! Still unsure of my romantic
orientation but very set on the asexuality.

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

Very little. There’ll always be someone who just doesn’t
understand when you come out, but for me they have always grown either
accepting or quietly confused yet still loving. I’m very lucky in that sense.

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

That aroaces have no soul! Honestly, there are different
kinds of love. We aren’t all apathetic!

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

Take your time. There’s no pressure to find a label, soon or
ever. If you feel that you’re asexual or aromantic, that’s your own business
and no one else’s. If you figure that you don’t identify on the ace spectrum
even if you thought you did, no worries! The LGBT+ community is one of self
discovery.

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

I have a Redbubble and an art Tumblr, both at monic-artt. (Again,
commissions are open!! It’s dirt cheap!)

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

Interview: Sierra

Today we’re joined by Sierra. Sierra is a phenomenal poet and dancer. She uses art as an outlet. When she’s not choreographing dances, Sierra enjoys writing poetry. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist with a great amount of enthusiasm, 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 dancer and poet. I write or choreograph what I am
feeling and use my art as an outlet for my emotions. I try to address issues
and subjects many people deal with such as mental health, grief, etc. I think
it is important for everyone to express themselves, and if my art can be used
to help someone express themselves, I feel I have reached my goal.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by everything, but my main inspiration is people.
When I see someone being purely themselves, I can see the art in them and want
to be able to express that to others. I also get a lot of my inspiration from
music of all kinds.

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

I have always loved the arts, specifically dancing. I grew
up dancing and felt like it was the only thing I could relate to others
through. As I got into high school I discovered a love for poetry and began to
write. I have not published any of my work, but it is a goal I have for the
future. Art has always been something very close to me.

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 isn’t anything special about my work. I just try to
capture raw humanity and convey it to others.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Do what you love and don’t worry about what others think.
You will grow into a uniquely beautiful artist no matter what you do. Not
everyone will love your work, but if you reach just one person and help them
feel something, you have done the best you can as an artist. Push yourself to
your artistic limits and allow your creativity to flow freely.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as aromantic-asexual. I consider myself
sex-repulsed and between romance-neutral and romance repulsed.

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

Not specifically in my field have I encountered prejudice or
ignorance, but in life in general I find a lot of ignorance. So many people
can’t understand how something so engrained in their minds can be non-existent
in ours, and therefore ridicule us for it. I think as long as you can stand
tall and ignore that hate that comes towards you, you can be whoever you want
to be. Anyone and everyone is valid.

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

I’ve found the most common misconception of asexuality is
what it actually means and that it is different for everyone. Many people don’t
understand asexuality and try to decide for themselves what it is. They then
have an incorrect idea and/or opinion of asexual people which can be hard to
change.

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

If you embrace who you are, you will feel amazing. Its okay
if you don’t know what that is yet, you will figure it all out in due time. If
you don’t feel like coming out yet, then don’t. Just know that the ace
community is such a loving family that is always looking for new members.

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

You can find out more about my work on my Tumblr, at poeticaceinspace. P.S. I’m
pretty bad about keeping up with my blog but I’m trying to get better.

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

Interview: FurvaNoctua

Today we’re joined by FurvaNoctua. FurvaNoctua is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in drawing characters and party members from RPGs and Dungeons and Dragons campaigns. Aside from character art, FurvaNoctua draws things from cartoons and games. They draw both in a cartoon style and a semi-realistic style. It’s clear they’re a passionate and enthusiastic 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 really
enjoy drawing my characters and other party members from the DnD and Pathfinder
RPGs I participate in as well as fun scenarios that happen in the sessions. I
have also started to sometimes draw animal mash-ups, I’ve drawn a lot of
stylised owls, occasionally do some small comics and sometimes draw things from
games and cartoons. I enjoy drawing with my girlfriend and draw stuff for her
sometimes.

I do a lot
of traditional drawing as well as digital. I often fluctuate between mostly
drawing traditionally or mostly drawing digitally. I most often draw in a
cartoony – I guess also semi-realistic – style. Sometimes I do some more
realistic stuff.

What inspires you?

Cartoons,
webcomics and video games I like, and just a lot of art I come across.

I often get
motivated to draw by watching Doodle Date from YouTube. It’s a couple who draw
together and it’s just really relaxing and uplifting to watch!

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

I have
always loved drawing and been fascinated with the process of creating animated
movies/cartoons, comics and video games. Since I was a kid I wanted to make
video games, but I thought that couldn’t be a possibility.

I’m not
currently actively pursuing making video games, but I plan on trying in the
near future. Even if I’m just going to make a small game on my own, for myself,
I’m definitely going to do something with video games!

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 have made
signature that looks like a small owl with an F and N for wings (to stand for
FurvaNoctua) that I often forget to sign my work with. Otherwise I don’t think
so.

What advice would you give young aspiring
artists?

As someone
with depression and ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder, so ADHD without the
hyperactivity) I have struggled a lot with actually getting around to draw when
starting any task feels impossible and overwhelming, especially a few years
ago. What I found helped was to not beat myself up for not drawing and instead
just soak up any information about art that came my way. Even if I wasn’t
drawing often I could still learn a lot about drawing while being too low on
energy. I watch drawing tutorials on YouTube, read any drawing tutorial I come
across, examine the colours/lines/light of any drawings I like and look at how they
are build. Besides learning a lot, it might also give you
inspiration/motivation/energy to get drawing yourself! But either way you
learnt something and probably had some relaxing time for yourself in the
process.

I felt this
helped my art grow a lot after I got out of (my equivalent of) high school and
got more time and energy to focus on drawing. I had gotten a lot of knowledge
about drawing and now I could really try it out in practice, which was really
nice.

So, focus
on getting to a better place, passively take in any art tips you come across,
do art if you can, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t. You will have
plenty of time to improve.

Another
thing I have struggled with which is tied to what I have already talked about,
is feeling like I’ve fallen behind and not being where I could have been if I could
have just drawn regularly. What I feel has helped me feel happy with where I’m
at (but still excited about improving of course) is imagining showing a recent
piece to my younger self. Who hasn’t wondered how much their skills will have
grown in a few years? If you could actually answer your younger self and show
where you are now, they would flip out (for many reasons, but let’s focus on
the art)! “Those hands look so good!” “I love this character, they are so cool!!”
“I can’t believe I will get this far!” “I’m so glad to see I’ll get better at
poses.” You might wish that you were further than you, but I’m positive your
younger self would already be very impressed. Knowing my younger me would be
happy with where I am helps me be happier with where I am too.

I focused
on drawing, but I think both things can apply to about all art and I hope it
helps someone.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aroace
and feel zero percent sexual attraction and romantic attraction.

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

Not
specifically in regard to being asexual, but being sex-repulsed certainly creates
some struggles. I’m not very good with nudity, so learning to draw proper
anatomy still feels difficult to me as most common ways to improve is to do
things like croquis. A lot of artists I have asked about good ways to learn
anatomy that isn’t croquis have almost all told me that croquis is really just
the way to go and everyone can be uncomfortable at first, but you quickly get
absorbed by the drawing. They don’t tend to get that I wouldn’t just be
uncomfortable, but most likely will have a panic attack before I get the chance
to draw… I have however gotten some nice resources from a nice fellow ace
artist recently (who doesn’t share this problem, but can understand how it’s
difficult), and I’m excited to look at them further!

I find it
difficult to find good resources on my own. Having something like croquis, but
have the models be in underwear so the anatomy is still very clear, would be
nice, but I don’t quite dare to search for people in underwear on the internet.

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

Probably
that aces don’t have sex or that aces and allos can’t be in any lasting
relationships because the allos would leave at some point because they would
eventually want something the aces can’t give.

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

Take your
time and don’t do anything you don’t want to do. The expectations and pressure
of society might make it feel like you should just go do some stuff you don’t
want to in order to be normal and happy, but that’s not true and it won’t help.
So just listen to yourself and take your time.

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

Anything
that I post goes on my Tumblr: https://furvanoctua.tumblr.com/
My Instagram, where I post anything that isn’t digital art: furvanoctua
My Redbubble shop: www.redbubble.com/people/furvanoctua.

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

Interview: Dave

Today we’re joined by Dave. Dave is a wonderful writer and visual artist. For visual art, they enjoy clear shapes, preferring more functional design. When it comes to writing, Dave focuses on small details. They’re obviously a passionate 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.

My visual art tends to be… ‘functional’. I prioritize Clear
shapes over polished details, to try and make it as easy as possible to tell
what is what at a moment’s glance. I am often reminded of that one picture of
the Kirby Developers holding up their sketches of Kirby, & how the drawing
done by the Programmer is… not like the others.

I know that it isn’t anywhere near as good as other works
that use shading, color, & more, but it makes me happy to draw it, &
that’s what matters.

Writing is a whole other Story; I try to spare not a single
overlooked detail when trying to design something.

What inspires you?

All kinds of things! Songs, Games, Books… I look at some of
the seemingly most random of details, wonder, ‘what if’, & follow the train
of thought to its destination.

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

It’s hard to remember what exactly got me into Art. In
kindergarten, I used to think that reading was silly, & spent all my time
not-reading. Then, I agreed to read ‘Mr. Popper’s Penguins’ for something
silly; I think it was for a pizza reward…

And then I spent all my time not, not-reading.

Sometime between Elementary & Middle school, I started
to slowly draw more, & read less-

And the rest is history.

On some level, I think I’ve always wanted to be an artist;
when I was younger, I wanted to be a ‘genetic scientist’, because I thought it
would be as easy to mix genes as it would be to mix colors. I knew what I
wanted to do, I just was looking in the wrong place & gave it the wrong
name.

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?

Not anything completely consistent as far as I can think of.

If I was to add a symbol to everything I draw though, it’d
probably be a Segno, a musical symbol that shows where to begin again. The idea
of a continuous cycle appeals to me.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Go ahead and draw whatever it is you want to draw, &
write whatever it is you want to write.

If you are afraid that it’ll seem crude and/or embarrassing
in the future, well that’s ok!

All that matters is that you enjoy making it. And if in the
process of making it, you start to figure out ways to refine your craft, that’s
just a Bonus!

Also, sharing your Art with others may seem frightening, but
it can help you to line things up in your mind. Writing something and
explaining something can be two very different things, & one can fuel the
other.

Just be careful of ‘Hate’. Sometimes, people can be jerks,
and while it’d take a whole lot more time to explain all of the exacts about
the differences between constructive criticism, and someone just trying to hurt
you by belittling your efforts, there is one little trick I found that tends to
help figure it out…

If what someone said makes you want to make More art, then
it was most likely positive, & should likely be listened to.

If what someone said makes you want to make less art, then
it was most likely intended to try and get you to make less art, with no
motivation for trying to help you involved. It no longer counts as ‘Art advice’
by this point, and should not affect your will to Create. Maybe show someone
else next time.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Aro-Ace.

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

I have been incredibly blessed to have encountered very few
‘situations’.

The ‘worst’ I’ve encountered was with an Art Teacher
misunderstanding me, but I handled it by carefully explaining the details, and they
(at least on the surface and through their actions,) understood what I was
trying to say.

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

That ‘Ace people don’t love/are totally unfeeling’. This is
not true. ‘love’ is not defined as, ‘wanting to get in someone’s pants’. And if
the things I experience while reading a good book, or hearing a good song
aren’t feelings, then I have no idea what they are, but I’m glad to have them!

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

It would depend on what kind of struggle they are dealing
with, but mostly to not fight yourself to try and fit a label that just,
doesn’t fit.

You are You; not a string of descriptors that have been
written in ink.

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

I mostly have been posting stuff that pops up into my head Here.

Anything from drawings, to text blurbs, worldbuilding bits,
game idea stuff, & more.

If you come to visit, I hope you can find something you
like!

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

Interview: n.a.

Today we’re joined by n.a.. n.a. is a wonderful poet from Canada who publishes his work on his Tumblr blog. His poems play with language and use strong visuals. It’s clear he’s a talented and dedicated poet, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

My art is poetry, so I guess you could say that I’m a poet –
though I would never admit it in public. Currently I post one poem a day to my
Tumblr blog, but I have hopes to publish a poetry collection in the future.
There isn’t really any set theme of my poems and I’m a firm believer in
subjectivity, so every poem means something different.

What inspires you?

This will sound cheesy, but everything inspires me. I would
say music and books are what inspires me the most – I didn’t have a lot of
friends growing up so, they became my friends at an early age and ever since
then I think they’ve always been there to guide me as I progress with writing.
Other aspec artists inspire me as well – especially Roanna Sylver whose books
I’ve recently fallen in love with!!

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

Yeah, I’ve always wanted to be a writer, even before I knew
how hard writing actually is. I remember when I was younger I used to write
little stories and poems that didn’t really make sense, but I found myself
loving them and dreaming about what I would do if they were published. Reading
sparked my interest a lot as well, I’ve always enjoyed analyzing characters and
I think poetry has allowed me to do that a little bit.

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 think I have one, unless my alias counts. I think
having one would be super cool though, I just haven’t put much thought into one
yet.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to create your art, even if you don’t think
it’s good enough. Everyone starts somewhere and everyone lives a different
life, but not everyone can create what you can.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m an aromantic asexual, I also like to describe myself as
queer. I first found out about asexuality after an ex-boyfriend of mine came
out to me, I had heard about asexuality before (from prior experience with
queer Instagram pages), but didn’t know much about it. When I read up on it I
realized that I was, and always had been, very aroace. Funnily enough, he broke
up with me the day after I figured it out – for reasons that didn’t have
anything to do with my recent discovery.

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

I’m lucky enough to say that I haven’t had any encountered
any ignorance based on my asexuality, but I have seen many people outside of
the poetry community and on twitter get a fair bit of hatred. I’m very grateful
that my friends outside the internet are accepting individuals and always let
me know that I’m important and valid, even if I don’t always feel it.

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

There are so many that I could talk about, but the one that
bothers me the most is that asexuals are straight and don’t belong in the
community. Being a trans asexual guy, I often don’t fall into that category
because I am trans, but I know that if I wasn’t trans that I would probably be
shunned from the community in the blink of an eye. Another misconception that I
really hate is that asexuality is a medical or health issue, I think I hate
this one specifically because it could lead to a misdiagnosis if an asexual person
is accessing healthcare.

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

I believe the biggest advice I could give, and the advice I
wish I had gotten, is that it’s 100% okay to be confused or unhappy about your
orientation – just like it’s 100% okay to be content or happy with your
orientation. If an asexual individual is feeling unhappy or just generally down
about their asexuality I recommend they read some books or comics with asexual
characters like themselves, it always helps me when I am feeling down and
reaffirms that representation really is important!!

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

As of right now my work can only be viewed on my Tumblr,
which is apollota

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