Category: aromantic asexual

Interview: Eliza

Today we’re joined by Eliza. Eliza is a phenomenal visual artist who also writes and does some performance art. Most of what she does is writing and fanart, including cosplay. Eliza also does some dancing and acting too. 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.

I work in multiple genres of art. I do visual art, fan art,
cosplay, writing, dancing, and acting. Specifically
I do fanart and writing.

What inspires you?

What inspires me is seeing other artists my age doing
amazing things, which gives me the hope to be like them.

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

I actually got interested in art by accident, but it still
happened. I’ve been an artist since I was 7 years old.

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?

Sometimes I put DS in my art

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Criticism is necessary, but don’t take it if it doesn’t help
you. No matter what people say, you will get better in art.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as an asexual aromantic

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

I actually haven’t yet. Except for the occasional
‘asexuality isn’t real’ comment. I usually just ignore the comment or delete
it.

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

The most common misconception I see is that asexuality is
just an excuse for not getting laid.

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

Don’t let other people tell you what you can and cannot be.

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

Other than Tumblr, where my art is at either at Unis-Trash-Stash or at xthe-space-rebels,
I am also on IFunny as Uniway.

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

Interview: Shelby Eileen

Today we’re joined by Shelby Eileen. Shelby is a phenomenal poet who has recently released a book of poetry entitled Soft in the Middle. She uses poetry to express herself and has an amazing dedication to her art. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist with an incredibly 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 art, currently, is poetry. I have one self-published
poetry collection titled Soft in the Middle
and almost all of my WIPs are also poetry. Writing is something I’ve always,
always done and poetry has long been my preferred way to express myself in
writing. I think my art has always had a lot to do with communication even if I
didn’t always know it; trying to communicate better not only with others but
also with myself. Picking the right words and putting them together in such a
way that I feel I’ve finally made sense of something is the best thing about
what I do.

What inspires you?

The thought that there is really nothing that has already
been created that is exactly like what I have the potential to create. I don’t
know if it’s naïve or self-centered to think, but my own individuality inspires
me. Other asexual artists inspire me. Self-published poets inspire the absolute
heck out of me. There’s something so pure and immeasurable about their success-
they are literally the embodiment of that “she believed she could so she did”
sentiment and I think that’s so badass.

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

Yep, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Even before that
though, I’ve always wanted to be an editor. Reading got me into this whole
world and I’ve never felt like I was meant to do anything else but work with
authors and be an author myself.

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 do, or at least, not yet. I haven’t been at
this long enough to figure that out. I would almost prefer to have readers pick
up on a “unique signature” on their own, whatever that could be, without me
actively trying to tie all of my works together. I find myself focusing a lot
more on the differences between my projects than on the similarities anyway.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Make friends with people who are already doing what you want
to do! Social media is a great way to do that.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m asexual. Since figuring out that I’m ace I’ve grown to
absolutely love that part of myself. The label brings me a lot of comfort and
peace. I also identify as queer, bi, and somewhere on the aromantic spectrum.

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

Online and in the poetry/writing community, no. I have yet
to see anyone criticize my work specifically for reflecting my asexuality. My
family and many of my irl friends haven’t ever commented on my asexuality
though, and seeing as I explicitly state that I am asexual in my work, it
definitely feels like they avoid it because they’re confused or made
uncomfortable by it. Silence and passivity on the matter can hurt just as much
as outright objection or disapproval. That doesn’t feel nice but it’s not the
absolute worst reaction I could get, I suppose. I handle it by constantly
reminding myself that my work is first and foremost for me and no one else.
Even if I don’t show it or admit to it often, no one is more proud of me than
me for what I’ve accomplished so far- as long as I feel pride in what I do,
negative reception is easier to deal with.

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

Oh god. That asexuality and the mere concepts of sex and
intimacy can’t overlap at all. That
asexuals are just straight people weaseling their way into the LGBTQIAP+
community. Asexuality as a sexual/mental health issue. Asexuals are broken. Asexuality
isn’t real. Everyone is demisexual. Asexuals can’t have relationships. It’s
disgusting how common it all is.  

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

It’s REALLY okay to question stuff and be unsure or even
unhappy with where you’re at in regards to your orientation. You’ve come this
far on your own and that’s something to be proud of. You should never hesitate
to investigate, dissect, confront, and share all of the feelings you have. I
dealt with orientation struggles/ general unhappiness by seeking out a bunch of
books with asexual characters. A lot of them made me feel so much better about
myself- quite frankly, it made me feel like less of a freak. Getting swept up
in stories with characters that you can relate to that get a happy ending is
great medicine.

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

Amazon buy link for soft in the middle! http://a.co/fLDIzIw

Goodreads page! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36812982-soft-in-the-middle

My Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr are all at briseisbooks. My
social medias are not exclusively for my writing, they do contain a good amount
of personal content as well!

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

Interview: Sierra Sonora

Today we’re joined by Sierra Sonora. Sierra is a wonderful visual artist and fanartist. She specializes in nature photography, taking pictures of local flora and fauna, showing the beauty of life in vivid color and detail. When she’s not taking picture, Sierra dabbles in fanfiction and fanart. She’s also currently endeavoring to write a novel. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist with a 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.

My art consists of a variety of mediums. One includes the
photography of natural landscapes as well as nature, such as local Flora/Fauna.
It also includes writing of both original work and Fanfiction. I also draw in
what can be considered an Anime/Cartoon style of me, my friends, pets, and
Fanart on mostly regular sketchbook paper with pencil/pen and colored pencils,
or I will digitally upload my art and work on it with a paint program. I
thoroughly enjoy singing, and write poetry, but have yet to compose any
original songs-although I have written at least 3 parodies that revolve around
different favorite pairings of characters from TV shows I watch.

What inspires you?

The need to create and channel my emotions inspire me to do
all of the above. I often struggle with verbally expressing my emotions, but
through art I can slow down and think things through-especially when I draw. The
joy of others also inspires me, as I find happiness in making other people
happy with my art. I find that when I share my art, whatever the medium, I feel
a meaningful and spiritual connection with the ones I am sharing with and that
connectivity is vital to me.

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

Ever since I was little, I enjoyed watching cartoons,
reading books, and drawing. It’s hard for me to say that I’ve always wanted to
be an artist, because what I do doesn’t really feel like “art” to me; I see it
as a coping mechanism and a way to make others feel happy. Put simply, I view
my art as a tool, and that prevents me from seeing it as what I feel “art”
actually is.

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 do have one thing in my art that I include; it’s a simple
necklace of mine that I’ve had for about 8 years now; a simple black nylon
string with a silver eagle talon pendant holding within its three claws a white
marble. This necklace is a special possession I hold, and I like to include it
when I draw myself or a main character from one of my original works.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

As cliché as it sounds, I am going to say it anyway because
it’s true: Don’t give up. Don’t give up on your art, whether it is photography,
mixed medium, paintings, writings, drawings, fandom related, etc. Don’t give
up. You, as a unique individual with your own perspective on life, your own
unseen and secret views, have so much to offer to the art world. Whatever it
is, it may not turn out quite the way you want it to the first time-this is
only reasonable; you are new at things, and with novelty comes practice.

It may even take a long time to feel comfortable where you
are on your journey in creation. I still have 10-year-old art lying around that
makes me cringe every time I see them, but I keep them to remind myself of the
journey it took to get where I am, and to propel me to work hard and push myself
further. I highly recommend you do the same-keep your art, every scrap. You’ll
be glad you did so later on down the road.

Another piece of advice that is repeated over and over again
for good reason is this: Don’t compare yourself to other artists if it is only
going to result in self-loathing or any form of negativity. It’s not worth it,
and it won’t help you become better at your passion. Trust me, I know. I’ve
done it, and it only made me want to quit art altogether and it would make me
feel inferior/jealous. How terrible is that- to want to give up on something
that brings you joy because you feel you are not adequate? To feel negative,
nasty feelings towards others because I was not secure enough in who I was as
an artist? It’s terrible, and unfair to yourself and the other person.

So I say this: don’t compare. Just create. If you must
compare, try to do so with humility- recognize that you aren’t where you want
to be yet and have patience with yourself.

My last piece of advice is this: Be kind to yourself and be
kind to others; you’re not the only one struggling. Reach out to one another
with love, offer emotional support when possible, and practice constructive
criticism on yourself and others. You, as an honorary member of the art world,
are here to uplift, inspire, create, and comfort through your works-whatever
they may be. We need you, and you belong here. My sincerest hope is that this
advice has been useful/helpful and uplifting to those who read it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as an Aromantic Asexual. Personally, I find that
when I am in a relationship, I can adapt to the other person and provide
physical intimacy such as hand-holding, kissing, cuddling, even if I don’t
necessarily feel a desire to do so, and when/if I marry, I am willing to
provide them with the sexual intimacy that I know my partner will deserve if
they are not Asexual themselves.

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

I’ve encountered, blessedly, a little amount of ace
prejudice/ignorance. Generally, it was from people asking me how I could not
want sex, and I generally would deal with it as such; I’d tell them I just
didn’t find sex interesting, or I’d tell them I found things to enjoy out of
life that was more fitting for gaining pleasure than sex, such as books, or
video games, or eating. I was never called a freak, or anything of that nature,
which is a blessing and I hope my experience helps others. Mostly the people
who I have talked to were rather open-minded and just curious, but I know this
isn’t the case for everyone. For those of you who have experienced ace
prejudice, my heart goes out to you.

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

The most common misconception about asexuality that I’ve
encountered is the notion that Asexuals just don’t want sex. Which isn’t true
as we know- our orientation is about sexual attraction, not the actual desire
for sex. Like other orientations, it varies for everyone. Personally, I don’t
want it, but that doesn’t make me any more Asexual than someone who does.

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

You’re not broken. That is the most heartfelt advice I can
give. You are not broken, and you’re not alone. The love songs will say you’re
incomplete without that “special person”. It’s a lie. If you can find someone
who is whole and spend the rest of your life happily with them, then wonderful.
But you are not broken and you are not incomplete. You are you, and you are not
alone- we’re here with you, flying under the same purple, grey, white, and
black flag and we’re proud to stand with you.

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

You can find out more about my work through my Tumblr
account, my username is “Willchild”.
I don’t post much art or works there, to be honest, but I think after this
interview I will if it can help bring joy to other artists and help them feel
more secure about posting their own art. Please feel free to tag me in your
art, I would be ecstatic to see it; or message me/ask me, from one artistic Ace
to another.

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

Interview: Janice Worthen

Today we’re joined by Janice Worthen. Janice is a phenomenal poet and writer from Idaho. They’ve been published by The Rectangle, on a shirt for Backwords Press, and had a poem included in bags of coffee for Nomadic Grounds. Janice also edits Night Music Journal and is always looking to publish work by asexual writers (if any of you out there are interested). When they’re not writing or editing, Janice also does photography. They’re clearly a very dedicated artist. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

My work is a way to share my internal world, my thinking
through the internal and external, in a format that is more comfortable to me
than speech. It’s my way of communing, of sharing things that move me, shatter
me, anger me, transform me. It’s me extending a hand—a vulnerable act, a
gesture of trust. I spend a lot of time with my head in the clouds—thinking
about systems, webs of connection, history and its repercussions, the future,
the present, the joy and agony of the moment as it’s passing, and myself in
relation to all these things—and my work is my way of grounding those thoughts.
With each poem, each photo, each sketch, I think I’m really just asking, “Are
you there?” I think my work is waiting for an echo. I guess I’m twanging a
thread, waiting for the vibration of return.

What inspires you?

Hands down, the underdog. Anyone (or anything) who looks
into the face of their own destruction and doesn’t give in. Anyone who, even in
defeat, holds on to who or what they are, their joy, their right to be. It’s so
easy to give in to fear, to sell out, to back down. But it’s so beautiful when
someone stands their ground, turns the tide, shakes the foundation of the
powerful. I hope that, in the face of all I fear, I rise.

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

I’ve always wanted to be a writer because writing made me
feel real, feel valid. I was a shy, quiet, fat kid who spent most of their time
in the library. A kid who clearly didn’t fit the gender binary. I think because
of these things it was easy for others to dismiss me, and because difference is
so often seen as threatening, to bully and try to break me. But when my voice
was a whisper and easy to ignore or speak over, I found my writing was harder
to dismiss. My self was harder to ignore and deny. My writing forced others to
see me as human. Through my writing, I existed.

But writing was also a way for me to have a conversation, to
become a part of all those books that gave me comfort, that fueled my
imagination. It sounds weird, but writing felt like a way to give back, to say
I hear you. I hear you.

Only recently have I focused more time on photography. I
wouldn’t call myself a photographer. I don’t have any fancy equipment. My
degrees are in writing, not photography. But capturing a moment and sharing
that moment with those I care about is something that gives me great joy.

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’ve noticed that mirrors pop up often in my work.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Sometimes the work that you get the most pushback on will
make the most difference. Seek out and listen to feedback but always ask
yourself what the motivation behind that feedback is. Sometimes people will
criticize/dismiss/mock your work when they really want to
criticize/dismiss/mock you. And sometimes the work you feel like throwing away
will be treasured by someone else who might live in the same moment, the same
thought, and the same place as you, even if they come after you. You can be a
friend, ally, or even hero to that person. Be open, but also be assertive and
bold and confident in your work, your experience, your perspective. Even when
it’s hard, keep making your art.

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?

Oh, yes. I’m an asexual in a very sexual field. I’m
constantly aware of this. I’m constantly reminded of this. Many in my field
consider sex or desire as essential to art, liberation, and even revolution. They
simply can’t comprehend and are sometimes hostile towards someone who doesn’t
feel or think the same way they do about something they’ve put at the center of
their art.

As an asexual, I often feel like I exist outside my own
field. Since I’m not willing to participate in the secret handshake, I’m not
allowed in the club, a club that is often abuzz and fueled by gossip
surrounding sex and desire. Because I’m an asexual, I feel like I’m not allowed
to have an opinion on work or artists in my field, and any opinion I voice is invalid.
Not only that, but anything I say that goes against the dominant narrative of
sex and desire is seen as an attack, not only on the writers and work that
value sex and desire, but an attack against liberal or progressive values or
even the sexual liberation movement itself. I find this odd because I’ve been
accused of being too progressive and consider myself more progressive than many
of the liberal people I know. And I see the growing acceptance of asexuality as
a victory of sexual liberation, not something at odds with it.

My orientation is virtually invisible in my field. I was
once excited to come across a published poem about asexuality for only the
second time in my life only to learn the writer is not asexual but felt at
liberty to write with authority about my orientation. The 2016 VIDA Count found
that The Times Literary Supplement was
“one of the few publications to publish asexual people this year.”

Prejudice and ignorance are often expressed through microaggressions,
which are common and remind me how invisible my orientation is. A poet I know once
said that a way to express disapproval of certain voters is for “us” to stop
sleeping with them, as if “we” as writers are sexual gatekeepers, a single
unified sexual force that rewards or punishes behavior with our shared sexual
prowess, the primary implication being that everyone is allosexual. With each
casual comment like this I become unwelcome, not part of the community,
invisible.

I came out because I realized it was important to counter the
all-too-common assumption that people like me don’t exist in my field. After I
came out, it felt like I’d actually been erased (no pun intended) completely. Perhaps
this is just perception, perhaps it’s a reflection of my work, but it seemed
like people suddenly weren’t interested in reading anything by me, published or
not, or having discussions with me about others’ work, etc. I had placed myself
on the outside. I could observe but not participate. I often feel like I’m
throwing my work at a wall now, but I don’t regret my decision to come out.
Others will find me, and I will find others, and we’ll make new, more inclusive
communities. That’s how I handle all this: reaching out, standing up, speaking
out.

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

Phew, the most common. I guess in my field, among members of
my community, the misconception I most encounter about asexuality is that all asexuals
are hostile towards, afraid of, or somehow consider themselves above sex or allosexuals.
I myself am sex positive. Sex is great for other people who want and get
fulfillment from it, and I think sexual freedom is vital. Sex just doesn’t
interest me in the slightest, and I wish others felt as positive toward my
orientation as I do toward theirs. It’s funny because many of the people who
are afraid I’m judging their orientations and lifestyles don’t realize they’re
actually the ones judging and afraid of mine.

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

Find or plug in to your community. Even if you’re an
introvert like me, it helps to see other asexuals being their asexy selves and
to know you aren’t alone. Join asexual groups and follow asexual artists on
social media. Read and watch anything by and about asexual people. Don’t be
afraid to find a support system and to cut toxic people out of your life that
break you down instead of build you up. Embrace the struggle. You don’t have to
have all the answers right now. You don’t have to be certain of anything right
now. Don’t be afraid of the present or the future. Just by existing, you are
shaping that future. Don’t be afraid of you. This might be easier said than
done, but repeat it like a mantra: I am not alone, I am part of a community, I
am valid, my experience is valid, my voice is important, I matter, my art
matters, I am paving the way for others like me.

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

I’m on Instagram (at impossibleblossom). I’m
also on Tumblr (janiceworthen.tumblr.com),
and you can find links to some of my poetry there. I’m also the editor of Night
Music Journal (nightmusicjournal.com),
and I’m always accepting submissions of poetry, essays, and hybrid work. I
really encourage fellow asexuals to send me work and pass along the invite to
your LGBTQIA friends!

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

Interview: Bob Josef

Today we’re joined by Bob Josef. Bob is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in Zen doodles, which he puts his own spin on. He draws a number of fandom related things as well. His works show an interesting use of space and lines, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I think I’m kind of all over the place, and what I do is for
my own satisfaction, but in the last like 2 years I’ve been doing a very simple
version of what is called “Zen doodles” I say it’s simple because if you Google
it what comes up looks nothing like what I do. I also do this squiggly thing
that fills up a page and you don’t know where it begins or ends, what part is
the object and which is just empty space…I do these the most because coming up
with ideas of what to actually draw.

What inspires you?

Way too many things honestly. Probably my biggest
inspirations are the internet (other people’s fanart), books, movies, Podcasts
(Welcome to Night Vale), just looking
at cool things gets me going. I LOVE taking pictures of sunsets because they
are absolutely stunning pieces of natural art.

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

Um…I don’t really know what got me interested in drawing, it
kinda just happened when I was in school, and it happened all over my homework
and notebooks. Freshman year of HS I specifically dedicated the left side of my
notebook pages to just doodling while taking notes. I haven’t always wanted to
be an artist but at the moment I really enjoy spending time to create
something…actually I hate the process, drawing is super tedious but the result
is always worth the work.

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, it’s not something I put in my drawings but I like
it’s my style for drawing faces, it’s an ever slightly modified version of the
Epic Face. It’s just so simple to draw that I use it for like signatures on cards
and things like that and my sketch/notebooks are filled with them.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Let people compliment what you’ve created, you may
absolutely hate it because it doesn’t compare to the work of pros on Tumblr or Deviant
Art. But to your friends and family it might as well be just as good, so accept
their compliments and use them to motivate you to improve and impress them more
with the next thing you make.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

At the moment I am Aromantic Asexual, I am totally open to
the possibility that it can change should I meet a special person. Or maybe it
doesn’t and I’m alone forever…that’s OK too.

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

In relation to art? No not really, I’ve just started posting
anything on a dedicated account outside of my personal one, and it’s not really
ace-centric. I do however reblog ace positive things in-between my doodles. In
real life, when I came out I had a cousin say I was going to hell with the
“gays” because instead of liking the same gender, I like none (attraction wise,
I’m sure all genders are nice people), and that means I won’t make the babies
to “replenish” the earth. It was a real punch in the gut that anyone,
especially one of my relatives, could say something so ignorant and (insert
sexuality)-phobic.

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

Probably the “you just haven’t met the right person yet,”
which may be true, but in my experience I don’t want none of that sexy-time
mess. And I don’t feel the need to date people. (Not that I don’t want a
partner, cuz I do, I just don’t feel the need to seek it out.)

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

Give yourself time to come to terms with it, there is no
rush to figure everything out and then come out, and get all the things ace (or
any other orientation) pride. Just slow down, breathe, research, and when you
are comfortable with what fits you, feel free to come out. Just be prepared
that people won’t understand and you will most likely have to explain yourself
over and over. If you ever feel like it’s all too much, search Ace Positivity
on Tumblr and just scroll through all the cool things people make and say
for/about us.

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

Well like I said before I just started out so I’m only on
Instagram and Tumblr. On Insta; I’m at gandalftheace42 and gandalf-the-ace on Tumblr so
it’s easy to find me! I don’t post things terribly often but I am in a painting
class at my college so I will be posting updates on my projects that we are
working on there. But yeah perhaps later down the road I will be super cool and
make art and make them into shirts like all the cool people on tumblr.com do!
Thanks for checking out my stuff if you do and I’m always open to talk to
anyone if you want (desperate for human interaction) okay BYEEEEEE!!

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

Interview: schattenmitternacht

Today we’re joined by schattenmitternacht. schattenmitternacht is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in ink drawings and watercolors. They have recently started working with gouache as well. schattenmitternacht draws inspiration from many different places and are clearly very passionate about art, 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 do simple ink drawings and occasionally paint with
acrylics and watercolors. Recently, I have started to use gouache as well.
Subject to my art can be anything; people, animals, things. I love to
illustrate feelings and emotions as metaphors.

What inspires you?

The world around me. I believe that beauty is everywhere and
I try to capture it for me and for others in my drawings and paintings. The
works of fellow artists are also very inspiring.

I do create things inspired be my personal experiences (my
diary is mostly drawings) but those are things I’m not always fond to share
with people.

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

I remember spending a lot of time at the drawing desk in
kindergarten and going to exhibitions with my best friend’s grandmother. But
only in middle school did I start to take art more seriously, when I got into
manga thanks to a classmate. That’s when I wanted to get better at it.

To be honest, I never wanted to be a professional artist. It
was always other people suggesting it to me and at one point in my life I
thought it’s the only option available. I mean, I am an artist and I love being
one and creating things but there are some aspects of being a professional
artist that leave me uncomfortable with pursuing this career path. I’m afraid I
won’t like drawing anymore when it’s what I have to do for a living.

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 is a set of symbols that I use in my more personal
artworks. Arrows for example. But you don’t really get to see a lot of them.
Because personal.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Challenge yourself and set yourself a goal. I for example
want to create more “finished” works this year and not just elaborate sketches.

I love to do challenges or make lists of projects I want to
realize because when I don’t know what to draw, I already have some to work on
and don’t have to spend time thinking of something.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m aro ace.

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

Not much actually.

My boyfriend asked me once if I was sure I am ace as he
couldn’t understand that even though I like physical intimacy, I am still
asexual. I explained to him that even if I don’t feel sexual attraction, I still
like how it feels and that I think it’s fun.

I myself have never actually experienced prejudice or
ignorance against aromanticism, but my friend has. Their mother keeps
pressuring them to find a romantic relationship. So that’s something.

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

That

  1. I don’t have,
  2. don’t want or enjoy and
  3. am not able to have sex.

A lot of people don’t have sex. This doesn’t make them
automatically ace though.

Second, I can understand how someone could think that this
is what it means being asexual, as it was something that kept me from calling
myself ace for some time. I don’t really know how to put this in words but you
can still want to or enjoy it to sleep with someone without finding them
sexually attractive. Sex is something very intimate and wanting to share this
intimacy with someone does not in any way conflict with being ace.

The last one… What has my lack of sexual attraction to do
with my body? It’s just another way to say that we are “broken”.

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

You are not broken. Your needs are as valid as those of
allosexual people and your boundaries are to be respected, don’t ever think
they are not.

If you have a hard time telling different attractions apart,
look up their definitions or people describing them.

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

I am the most active on Instagram. Then of
course on Tumblr and on Amino.
Actually, you can find me everywhere under schattenmitternacht.

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

Interview: Noreen Quadir

Today we’re joined by Noreen Quadir. Noreen is a phenomenal filmmaker, actress, and writer. She has acted in stage productions and short films. Noreen also writes screenplays and has written a feature length script about an asexual character. When she’s not working on film or stage, Noreen also writes in other forms too. She has written a children’s book, which she plans to self-publish soon. Noreen is an exciting artist and definitely someone to watch in the future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m an actress, writer and filmmaker with a background in
theater and media studies. Aside from having acted in stage productions, I have
also acted in short films and did background work on TV. I have also written
and produced my own projects. I wrote a feature length script which is still in
works, but I’ve produced a short scene from the script. The film is about a
high school girl who is discovering that she’s asexual. And as she is realizing
this, she is struggling with feeling like an outsider, especially when no one
around her believes that she is asexual or that asexuality is even real. In
addition to screenplays, I write in other forms and have written a children’s
book which I intend to self-publish soon.

What inspires you?

I get inspired by so many things. I certainly get inspired
by bits and pieces of my own life, but I have never really written or produced
anything that exactly mirrors my life and experiences. It’s a little too
intimate for me and I value my privacy. The feature length screenplay I wrote
has certainly been inspired by my experience as an asexual, but it is still a
very different story. The character is a bit different and how she discovers,
processes, and handles her self-discovery is extremely different than my own
story. That of course made it more fun to write because I got to invent stuff
and had to look for inspiration from other places. I do get inspired by other
artistic works including music, books and other movies. Inspiration is
something that just happens organically for me. I can’t force it, which can
sometimes be frustrating because when I want to write something, I am out of
ideas. But when I do get inspired, I am able to put the words down which is
always a great feeling!

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

I suppose it all started when I took dance classes around
the age of 5. I loved performing and being up on stage. And then as I got a
little older, I developed an interest in singing and music. I sang in my
school’s choir and I also played the flute. Sadly, I cannot play the flute
anymore. But, I remember it was a lot of fun. I also learned a little bit of
piano. So, I had a huge appreciation for the arts at a very young age. And
eventually, I got interested in acting and performed in plays in high school
and then decided to study theatre in college. And then from there, I wanted to
create my own projects. I was also a writer from a young age. I remember I used
to write a lot of short stories and poems in elementary school and my teachers
would compliment me on my works. I was not getting high marks in math, but I
found my skill in writing. And in fifth grade, my teacher encouraged me to
become a children’s author and that always stayed with 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?

I don’t think I have any special symbol, but I love the
color pink. It’s my favorite color and it is what I wear in my headshot. My
room back at my family’s home is also pink. And it is often that you will see
me in that color. 🙂

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

I would say to really invest in yourself and in your dreams.
Whatever it is that you want to do – be it writing, filmmaking, performing,
drawing, singing, etc., make sure you’re really committed to it and spend time
each day on your craft. If you want it to be more than a hobby, then you have
to do more than just dabbling in it here and there. It’s good to invest in adequate
training, be open to feedback and learning, and exercise your artistic muscles
daily.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m an aromantic ace.

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

A little bit, but not any more than I’ve encountered in
other areas of life or in general. Since most of the people I meet in my field
are professional contacts, my personal life isn’t much of a topic anyway.
Occasionally, people have said ignorant things because sex is a big part of the
film industry and it has been kind of implied that if you don’t fit in with
that, you don’t fit within the industry. I suppose the only way I handle stuff
like that is by calling people out on their ignorance and letting them know
that despite the sexual liberation, there is still hypocritical
close-mindedness when it comes to sex.

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

It’s really hard to pinpoint one, because there have been
many. I think probably one of the most common ones is that asexuality is
impossible or that if you claim to be asexual, you either have experienced
abuse or trauma, you have a medical disorder that is causing you to feel that
way or you’re repressed. Some people think it’s just a phase and that you
haven’t met the right person yet. I used to get a lot of comments like that
when I was a teenager and when I was in college. There’s also this view that if
you dress and act very feminine, wear makeup and perfume, etc., that you can’t
be an asexual. I think some people equate asexuality with unattractiveness and
a neutral gender expression.

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

I would say to know that asexuality is not abnormal and that
they are not the only ones in the world with this orientation. And even though
it is still not widely acknowledged, it really will take people being confident
with their orientation to make the difference and to change how people view
asexuality. So I would say to embrace yourself and that your orientation is
just one aspect of you. It doesn’t define your entire self and there are so
many other interesting aspects of a person. I tend to define myself and other
people by choices and how you treat and interact with others. That’s what
really matters at the end of the day.

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

Here’s my YouTube channel: 
https://www.youtube.com/user/ZizzyNQ

And this is my actor’s website: https://www.noreen-quadir.com/

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

Interview: Skye

Today we’re joined by Skye. Sky is a fantastic visual artist who specializes in drawing heads with colored pencils. She’s starting to work on drawing landscapes and nature. Skye is also planning to branch out into digital art as well. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and talented 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
use Prismacolor Colored pencils currently, but I just got a Huion tablet so I’m
hoping to begin digital art soon. I’m best at drawing people (mainly headshots)
but I’m trying to do more landscapes and animals.

What inspires you?

I
get inspired by aesthetics and moodboards, as well as random people I see on
the street and other artists’ work.

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

I
honestly don’t remember. I just remember always loving to draw and it’s always
been a big part of my life.

I’ve
always wanted to draw, but I’ve only just began to have the confidence to begin
sharing about a year ago.

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’m
still developing my style, so I definitely do not have and special features
yet, but I have a few ideas in mind.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Accept
that you probably won’t like everything you make, but that doesn’t mean it’s
not amazing, because it is.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I
don’t know the exact label, but I am definitely on the sex-repulsed side of the
asexual spectrum and somewhere on the aromantic spectrum. I’m currently doing
research to find my exact place.

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, but I have with family and other people. I usually
just say that they can’t change who I am and that if they have that big of a
problem with it then they have a problem with me and should just leave me alone
then.

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

That
people on the asexual/aromantic spectrum are that way due to a mental illness
or traumatic past experience and that we should see a therapist to be “fixed”
like we’re broken.

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

You are not broken. All throughout life until I
learned about asexuality I would hear people talk about who they had a crush on
and who they wanted to date or have sex with and I never felt that. I never had
a crush or a desire for a relationship and I felt so broken and different until
I learned there were more people like me and I was normal.

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

I
post WIPs on my Snapchat (skyberson4) and completed works on my Instagram (skyberson). But I do post other
stuff on both, not just my art. 

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

cake-and-spades: Some crappy aromantic and as…

cake-and-spades:

Some crappy aromantic and asexual Valentine’s Day cards, for all your anti-Valentine’s Day needs

Interview: Jessica

Today we’re joined by Jessica, who also goes by stormleviosa online. Jessica is a wonderful up and coming writer who recently had a short story published in an anthology. She’s currently a student studying English and writes in her free time. Jessica hopes to write longer narrative forms, such as novels and novellas, in the future. She’s clearly a dedicated artist 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’m a writer when I have time but mostly I’m a student
because education is important. I’ve written a few short stories and I’m
currently working on longer pieces (novellas or eventually a full-length
novel). I also write a lot for my college newspaper which I am also an editor
of.

What inspires you?

I don’t really have a specific inspiration for my work. Some
of what I write is heavily based on current affairs, particularly those I have
an invested interest in such as the refugee crisis. I also write from prompts
or based on other author’s works which includes dabbling in fanfiction. For my
most recent piece of coursework, I wrote a short story based on 1984 with heavily implied connections to
the Brexit situation in the UK.

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

It sounds cliché but I’ve been writing since I was a young
child. I read a lot of books (and still do) which helped develop my skills and
it escalated from there. I’m also useless at art so being able to express
myself with words rather than images was important.

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 like to write about things I am passionate about and
problems that need to be resolved. Often, I try to include characters that are
marginalized or misrepresented by the media to spread the issue to a wider
range of people. It is something that challenges my writing but is very
rewarding for me.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop writing! If you truly feel passionate about it,
write about it and don’t let anyone convince you it’s worthless. If you hit a
writer’s block, work around it by writing something else. But at the same time,
it’s OK to take a break if you need to. Your writing will only suffer if you
work yourself into the ground.

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?

I haven’t encountered any yet although this may be because
I’m not out to many people. My sexuality does make it difficult to write
romantic subplots between characters because I don’t experience those kinds of
feelings.

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

Mainly that asexuality is something you will grow out of. My
parents don’t know I’m asexual but whenever I mention that I don’t want a
relationship they tell me I’ll change my mind. It’s not a phase to grow out of
and that’s perfectly alright.

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

Don’t worry about figuring it all out right this second. You
have all the time in the world to sort out what you feel and if you never find
a label that fits that fine too. Any feeling you have is valid so don’t worry
about categorizing them all right away.

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

I don’t have much published work but my most recent is in
the DoveTales anthology (published
later this year) which is compiled by Writing
for Peace
. There is more information on their website or you can ask me
questions directly via my blog (stormleviosa.tumblr.com).
I sometimes write fan fiction on AO3 under an account with the same name (StormLeviosa).

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