Category: artist

Small Signal Boost

Hi everyone!

I have another personal signal boost (which is also a kind of a site update). In the past, I’ve had some people express interest in supporting the work I do on Asexual Artists. I have been researching ways for people to do so, off and on. Patreon kind of goes over my head, so I was looking into alternatives. Ko-Fi seems to best option for me at the moment.

So yesterday I started a Ko-Fi page: https://ko-fi.com/laurenjankowski

I also posted a link with all the others in the links section on this site as well as with my own links in the Writers section.

I know money is super tight at the moment, so please don’t feel obligated. I won’t ever stop running this site or advocating for asexual artists.

Any small amount you can give is greatly, greatly appreciated. Really, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.


In other news, I’m going to be starting a monthly newsletter. Something I’ve been neglecting for far too long. The first newsletter is going to be going out at the end of the month. It’s going to take me a bit to get into a rhythm (I’m terrified of doing this). The newsletter is just going to be writing news and I’ll probably give a shout-out to other ace authors every now and again.

Anyhow, I don’t really have a lot of subscribers at the moment, so if you’re interested in receiving updates on me and my writing, please sign up for the newsletter on my personal website: https://laurenjankowski.com/

Thanks, everybody! 🙂

Signal Boost: The Blood Prince

Hi everyone!

I have a very exciting signal boost today. An ace author has just released her first novel and it sounds fantastic! Marie Blanchet was interviewed on this site a while back (WordPress & Tumblr) has just released The Blood Prince, the first in a fantasy trilogy entitled the Scale Hearts trilogy. It has an aro-ace main character and dragons! What more could you want? 🙂

Here’s what Marie has to say about it:

“Until two years ago, Rainbow was ruled by dragumens. Now,
there’s a human Empress on the throne, and she rules with an iron fist.
Breaking promises after promises, she controls the people with lies, taxes, and
murder. Everywhere in the land, rebellion is brewing. Gangav, the fallen
dragumen prince who wants nothing more than revenge, rallies humans and
dragumens to his cause. Sasha, his best friend and fiercest supporter, is eager
to help him and is spoiling for a fight. Alexander on the other hand never
wanted to be a part of it, but finds himself with no other choice when tragedy
strikes home, bringing the cruelty of the empress to his doorstep. When news of
a spy amongst their ranks turns everything on its head and the sudden outbreak
of a new illness threatens the safety of the rebels, the three of them must
find a way to relocate their camp before they are discovered, or the rebellion
may very well end before it even begins. The first book in the “Scale Hearts” trilogy, “The Blood Prince” is a story about
dragons and rebellions, but also about inner strength and figuring out your
place in the world.

It might interest readers of you blog to know that the main
character Sasha is aromantic in the book, and has somewhat of a journey of
self-discovery while working for the rebellion. Being ace but not aro myself, I
have consulted with several aromantic betas to make sure that Sasha and her
storyline was handled with care. 

The book can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Prince-Scale-Hearts/dp/177511970X/

And here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/760868

I designed everything in the book, from the cover to several
character illustrations inside to the page layout and the map.”

Seriously, Blanchet’s artwork is absolutely beautiful:

So if you love fantasy and ace characters, this is definitely a book you want to pick up (and review and recommend).

Thanks, everybody!

Interview: Liv

Today we’re joined by Liv. Liv is a fantastic visual artist who specializes in illustration and character design. She draws in a variety of styles and illustrates various subjects. Her work is amazing in its attention to detail and color. She’s a remarkably talented artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

My work is mainly illustrations. I do a lot of character
designs, backgrounds … story boards ‘n such. I like working in pastel shades
and bright colors, but I also like making more low-key stuff. Dark blues …
greens … Color and design are usually the main focus in my work, even if I’m
drawing portraits I try to pay very close attention to color. I don’t know
though; my stuff is pretty varied. I make a lot of different types of art. I
make semi-realistic work, characters, portraits, landscapes, buildings … I do
whatever I can to improve myself as an artist.

What inspires you?

Music. For sure music. I need to right song before I start.
The usual music consists of James Blake, Joji, Tyler the Creator … A lot of low
key music. Oh! I also love Tame Impala. I’m also inspired by studio Ghibli
movies and other artists. Other artists online really push my work to be
better.

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

My mom gave me this fairytale book when I was six. It had
her doodles in it when she was my age, and I was really taken by them. (They
weren’t great, they were made by six-year-old mom) but at the time it was crazy
to me that anyone could just … make stuff. I passively drew for a few
more years, then got really serious about it when I was 12.

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?

Umm haha I have one thing. I don’t sign my work very often,
(which I should do) but when I do, I make it look like a rose. I noticed my
initials naturally made this curve that looked like a flower, so I added a
little flare for the stem.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

I have a few things actually. I’ll bullet them so they’re
easier to read.

  • Don’t immediately shut down advice. It
    can feel like people are attacking your work, your baby, but they aren’t trying
    to. It helps to hear them out. (if they are trying to put it down though just
    remember it isn’t about you, it’s about that person trying to be entertaining
    or whatever) You will get critiques, some harsher than others, always remember
    that it isn’t meant to be personal.
  • Don’t immediately accept it either. Trust
    your gut. If someone suggests something, and your first instinct is “that’s a
    terrible idea” then maybe listen to
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself. I know it’s
    difficult, but sometimes it’s best to try to ignore that small voice in your
    head that constantly puts you down. Analyze your work, learn from it. But do
    not put it down too much.
  • Let yourself make bad art. It’s still
    practice!! Even if you don’t like it, you’re using those low moments to
    improve! And that’s always good. Even if you hate making it the whole time
    because you hate the piece so much, just finish it and learn from it. It helps,
    I swear.
  • Take time to do things you enjoy.
    Sometimes you need a break from art. DO NOT feel guilty for needing a break.
    Drink some water, play a videogame. You’ve earned it.
  • Don’t let anyone say you can’t make a job out
    of it.
    Not even your family. I mean there’s a huge industry for the arts,
    if you care enough and are dedicated to it, you can make a job out of it. Even
    if your friends or family say you can’t.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I don’t feel any sexual attraction to any gender. So, I
guess just asexual.

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

I’ve only come out to my friends, who are all “SJWs” haha.
They’ve been super accepting. I did, however, come out to someone I was
interested in. They replied with “then how do you know you like me? Like more
than friends?” the question was annoying in my opinion, but I knew it was just
his insecurities speaking and not really him. Well… I would mean that if he
hadn’t led me on then dated one of my best friends behind my back. I haven’t
experienced anything other than that. Almost everyone in my school is pretty
cool with that stuff. I just haven’t come out yet because I don’t think it’s
that big of a deal. If people wanna know I’ll tell ‘em, but I don’t think
advertising it is very… me.

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

Biggest one I’ve encountered is media portraying asexuals as
cold, psychopaths. People seem to go along with that portrayal.  That’s why it’s nice seeing characters like
Todd from Bojack Horseman. It’s great to see a funny, generous, insightful
person in a TV show be asexual.

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

Lay low. It’s OK. I
swear you’ll get through it. Take some time to figure your crap out… Just slow
down a little. Remember you aren’t alone, and take some time to yourself to
relax and think over things. Thinking does wonders sometimes.

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

I have an art Instagram account called “living.in.yellow” I post
a lot of my work there, though the posting gets pretty infrequent every now and
then.

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

Interview: Angelique Nguyen

Today we’re joined by

Angélique Nguyễn. Angélique is a wonderful visual artist and writer. She writes a lot of poetry and short stories, mostly in English and she’s soon going to start writing in French as well. When she’s not writing,
Angélique

does some visual art, mostly drawing and painting. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I will draw and paint visuals from time to time, but my
current works mostly consist of writing.
I like writing poetry and short stories, and I’m currently working one
long-term piece of work.

My mother language is English but French is my up-and-coming
second language; I have plenty of poetry written in either language.

What inspires you?

There are many things out there and within that inspire me.
Often times it is a mix of my current/remembered emotions, my life experiences
or other’s life experiences, the aesthetics of my world, and the lessons I’ve
learned from life and others. I like taking in what happened in my world and
taking it apart, mixing it up, and reconstructing it again to tell stories. The
influences can be big or small. Such influences can be as large as my mother’s
presence in life or as small as the way the white markings fall on my rabbits
coat. Culture is also a very grand influence in my life. I always loved
learning something about my own culture’s or another culture’s stories and
imagining how they would fit together in the grand scheme of storytelling and
human life.

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

Throughout my life, I always knew I wanted to do something
to express my artsy heart, even when society seems to demand me to focus more
on mathematics and science. I’m pretty good at math and science but I find I
will always be more appealed by art and emotion. At the beginning of sophomore
year of high school, my English teacher assigned everyone to write a short
story. As I was writing my short story, I realized that not every good story
needed to be long like a novel. Before, I always had this idea that good
writing takes a very long time and needed to fill a lot of pages. But now I
know that this is not always true.

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 relatively new to my creative writing so I still need to
explore what makes my writing unique from others. However, I find myself
attempting to just the pen or fingers write and type away without thinking too
much. Sometimes, it just makes sense to follow your gut feeling and see what
comes out of it. This is especially true for my poetry.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

If you find there are no big themes or events you want to
base your writing off of, then look for the small things. Even the small things
could have a story behind it. You could make the story behind it. Write what
you want to write and write how you want to write it. Inspiration always
exists; it is up to you to find it. That will lead to you finding your comfort
in writing.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

For the most part, I identify as a demi-sexual and bi.
However, the truth is that my actual identity is very complicated. Even I don’t
know all the answers to who I am.

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

So far, there is no aphobia I have encountered in my field.
If I do encounter it, then I would simply continue living my peaceful a-spec
existence.

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

The most common misconception about asexuality that I have
encountered is that asexuality is all out being repulsed by sex, which is
simply not true. When I first heard of asexuality, even I thought I qualified
because I was repulsed by sexual activity. Now I know it is simply about
lacking full attraction to any particular person, which is also true of me.
Also, my *favorite* misconception of demi-sexuality is that it is “practical”-
therefore, not a separate orientation. That is also not true because a
demi-sexual actually lacks any attraction to a particular person until they get
to know and bond with them as much as it takes. Whereas a typical allosexual
may instantly feel attraction to this person but still take their time to get
to know them before jumping into any sexual activities. That is the main
difference.

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

It is okay to be or not to be asexual. Sometimes, asexuality
may be permanent for one individual, but not for others. That is okay and
totally valid. Maybe you know your reason to identify as asexual but maybe you
don’t. That’s all right! Exploring my orientation has been a struggle for me,
and it might be one for you too. However, you are never alone. All I suggest is
that you simply move forward and embrace whatever identity you feel is best for
you. If you don’t want any labels then that is okay, too.

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

My work is currently all over the place. But here are some
common spots for posting my work:

Tumblr: 17angelsprings.tumblr.com
(search “my post” or “my poems” and you will certainly find some of my poems
and other works posted there)

DeviantArt: 17angelsprings.deviantart.com
(you can find some written works as well as some visual art stuff)

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/17angelsprings
(my current long-term writing project, Speaking
My Language
, is posted there, and that is where I’m compiling poems into
anthologies)

Instagram: 17angelsprings (mainly
reserved for my visual art)

I also hope I can eventually start a YouTube channel about
mainly centered around my writing and being a writer.

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

Interview: Holly

Today we’re joined by Holly. Holly is a wonderful writer who is currently working towards a biochem degree. In her free time, she runs a D&D campaign that involves a lot of writing and worldbuilding. They’re also working on a story podcast project, which she hopes to bring to fruition in the future. Holly is clearly a dedicated and talented hobbyist, 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.

It’s something I use to distract a little bit from the real
world, nothing too professional. I’m mostly interested in writing short
stories, and I’m currently working on a fictional podcast series with one of my
favourite people, and while we do have some scripts written up, it is going to
take a while to put into production. While I’m making my way through university
for a biochemistry B.Sc, most of my creative energy goes towards a lore-rich
D&D campaign in a homebrew setting that I run for my very best friends.
It’s difficult and long-form but it’s increased my social confidence, I’ve
created some wonderful characters that I feel able to apply to different forms
of writing, and it’s definitely given me more experience with storybuilding.

What inspires you?

Generally, looking at fictional stories and seeing what hasn’t been included, rather than what
has. It’s satisfying to fill a gap and tell the stories of people who aren’t
often looked at in popular media, i.e. neurodivergent characters, people with underrepresented
gender identities and sexualities, people with disabilities, people of varying
ethnic backgrounds. I’m aware that I can’t personally relate to some of the
characters I write, so I do try and stay respectful and do a ton of research,
ask people who know better than me, etc. Sometimes I do make characters that
correspond to my own experiences with depression and severe social anxiety, and
even the speech impediment I still have to manage – and the personal catharsis
I get from that can be reward enough, even if I don’t do anything with the
characters or works I create.

For the most part though, I tend to like interspersing
mundane reality with absurd high fantasy or scifi concepts. Like a time
traveler who uses their ability to cut in line before it forms, or a
particularly finicky pit fiend who wants you to remove your shoes before
entering its lair.

On another level, I’d say my friends inspire me on a day to
day basis. Especially the person I’m working on this project with, whom I’ll
call T. T has a fascinating mind and boundless creativity, and with her and K’s
support, I can have days where I feel indestructible. My mum also tends to
listen to whatever crazy plotlines I’ve come up with that day too, so I’d say
she also plays a big part in my support network.

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

I always wanted to be an actress when I was growing up, but
did a big ol’ switcharoo around college (not university, the British meaning of
college), where I found an interest in biochemistry. I’d begun to feel
directing and writing was more my thing by that point anyway, but didn’t have
enough belief in myself to do it. I think what drew me back to creative writing
alongside my STEM studies was the freedom I felt when I began this D&D
campaign. Building the world, building the story, adapting to the unexpected
antics of my players, it felt like when I was a kid throwing blankets and
pretending they were fireballs, or picking up a stick and pretending it was a
greatsword, having intricate sociopolitical plotlines with my Barbies, and all
that grand stuff. I’d been doubting for a while the value of that kind of
imagination, but gradually it became necessary to keep me sane during
university. Now I appreciate silliness and the Rule of Cool way more than I do
grimdark, gritty, realistic scenarios.

I write more often than not to just have fun. Sometimes it’s
a scenario that I can’t stop thinking about and I have to write it down or
it’ll keep bouncing around in my head, and other times it’s building a
character that can help me feel less alone when I’m winding myself into a
spiral about the simplest social situation. I write so that any potential
readers can have fun too – and, if I’m lucky, find a character that they can
carry about with them like I do.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

I usually include at least one of my NPCs from my campaign
in almost everything I write – with a different name and/or species. This isn’t
obvious unless you’re part of that group, though.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

I have struggled with finding my voice because I thought I
needed someone to address – like an audience or someone who wouldn’t reject me.
But to hell with it. This isn’t a marketing strategy meeting, go ahead and
shout into the void with your art until someone shouts back, if that’s what
you’re after. Make the art for yourself. What’s actually stopping you?

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am ace demi-aro. I think. The ace part I’m certain about,
but I’m still figuring out my romantic orientation. Demi fits for now.

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

Not in my field particularly, but I’ve been given the
‘you’re young’ and ‘you’ll find someone’ or ‘how can you not be attracted to
anyone, is there something wrong with you?’ talk quite a few times by
well-meaning friends or relatives. Usually this is met with an eyeroll, but it
hasn’t held me back anywhere. I’ve experienced some anxiety about going to
LGBTQIA events because of the whole ace inclusion debate I saw floating around
at the time, but I’m fairly confident aces are more universally accepted than
not, these days.

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

The idea that it means having no sex drive. Even people who
are familiar with asexuality seem to fall into this trap a lot. Many non-ace
people seem to have trouble separating the idea of having a libido or enjoying
sex with sexual attraction. I guess I can understand where they’re coming from,
but I don’t know how many times I’ve said the sentence: “Asexuality is
literally just a lack of sexual attraction. It means I don’t look at a person
and want to have sex with them. That’s it.”

Some people seem to get it after that explanation. Others
don’t. Whaddya gonna do except raise awareness?

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

Finding out that you’re ace can be a confusing and deceptive
road, simply because it’s harder to characterize a lack of something than it is to characterize a different something. I thought I was bi or pan for a long time in
high school because I felt the same way about all genders (turns out? Not an
uncommon experience for ace/aros), and many people still don’t even believe
being ace is a thing. Protip: don’t listen to those people.

What I would say? If you don’t feel you fit neatly into the
ace label, firstly remember that there is a wide spectrum of asexuality, and
includes identities such as gray-ace or demi-ace, but secondly remember that
you don’t have to assume it. Same goes for knowing your romantic orientation.
This is not required of you. Honestly, this applies to any LGBTQIA identities –
you are not required to know what label you are. Just listen to yourself and
trust what yourself is saying, because you know better than everyone who you
are.

You are still a ‘proper ace’ if you’re not sure what labels
fit you, and you’re still a ‘proper ace’ if your orientation was due to past
events, or if you think it might be temporary. It is not a life sentence. It is
simply what fits you the most at the time, and sexuality can be fluid as heck.

Most importantly – you are welcome here. You are welcome in
LGBTQIA. You’re always free to find one of us in the ace community and ask
questions if you’re not sure where you fit or how you feel about your
orientation.

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

Nowhere yet as I’ve still gotta get this degree under my
belt before I take on any projects, but soon. Soon.

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

Interview: Alexa Baird

Today we’re joined by Alexa Baird. Alexa is a phenomenal visual artist and writer who is so ridiculously creative. They’re a fellow indie author who has self-published a number of novels and novelettes, which can be found on Amazon (look them up and supported a fellow ace). They also has a wonderful webcomic entitled Selfinsertale, which looks absolutely fascinating. Also, they’re a fellow Star Trek fan, which is awesome. Alexa is so passionate and dedicated, 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 main art is writing. I write and self-publish novels and
novelettes about a wide cast of characters including humans, robots, and
magical beings, sometimes all in the same book. I’ve even taken to illustrating
some of my more recent novels though I’ve been creating visual art since
childhood. I also like to create comics and started my current webcomic series
in 2016.

What inspires you?

I always like to say that tea helps with my creative-tea,
but a lot of my inspiration comes from conversations with my friends and the
ideas we spark together about our characters, how various characters would
interact, etc. A lot of my ideas come from the desire to see a specific audience
reaction that I test run by sharing these ideas with my friends.

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

Starting in elementary school, my family and some of my
teachers encouraged my artistic pursuits, though growing up I would jump from
visual arts, to crafts, to music, to visual arts again, and also to writing. I
used to hate writing as a result of the standardized tests I had to take when
younger, but after being introduced to the concept of fan fiction and original
characters I started to spend a lot of time in middle school creating my own
stories as a coping mechanism. Over time I stuck with it and created more and
more stories and characters until I got to where I am today with my novels and
comics.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

It’s subtle and not always consistent, but in a lot of my
novels or series I try to fit in the word “trek” at some point in it as a
nerdy, small reference to Star Trek.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to try new types of art and don’t be afraid
to change your mind on what sort of artist you are. Maybe you start out as a
writer but you want to try making crafts and find you have more fun with crafts
and don’t want to write any more. That’s fine! Do what makes you happier in the
end. Or maybe you’re a musician who tries painting a few times but end up not
liking it. That’s fine too! You gained experience just from trying something
you don’t normally do. Or maybe you try all sorts of things and have several
different types of art you like and want to pursue. More power to you then,
buddy. Trying new things always gives you more insight, and if you find
something you prefer to do over what you had been doing before then the insight
you gained is one of exploring more about yourself and your desires.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m ace and aro.

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

I’ve mainly seen prejudice remarks said to others rather
than to me directly but it’s always hurtful to see. I find the best way to
handle it is to support those who deal with this ignorance to let them know
they aren’t alone in their identity and to understand that while those who are
hateful may be the loudest, they are not the majority and there are ultimately
more kind people in the world than there are bad.

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

That asexual people don’t belong in the LGBT+ community,
usually due to people insisting that asexual people are actually straight. The
most common misconception I see is that a lack of sexual attraction can let a
person pass as straight, or that it means they actually are straight, and
therefore that we aren’t queer enough to be part this community.

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

Asexuality is a normal and valid thing, and there are more
people out there who are also asexual than you can count. Though the common
statistic is only one percent of the world is asexual, that would still mean 76 million people in this world are also
asexual, and I don’t think this takes into account those who due to societal
norms don’t realize they are asexual as well. There is a large community here
that can help and support you, and even if you can’t reach out to them personally
they are still here if you ever need them and will be willing to help you as
well.

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

You can find my books on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/author/alexabaird
and my webcomic at http://selfinsertale.smackjeeves.com/
and bonus content at my Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/alexabaird

My main Tumblr
and my Instagram username
is allislaughter. And my Twitter is allislaughterEX.

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

Interview: Riley

Today we’re joined by Riley. Riley is a phenomenal performance artist who does a bit of everything. She dances, acts, sings, and even does public speaking. Riley is a fascinating artist with an incredible presence, as you’ll soon read. She’s an artist to watch and definitely has a very bright future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I dance, act, and sing, and do public speaking! I’ve also
dabbled in expanding those specific interests of mine by choreographing,
playwriting, songwriting, and I’ve started a YouTube channel where I can focus
my speechwriting.

What inspires you?

I always find myself so inspired by other people who can
break the mold of their art forms and selves. I’m also inspired by the idea
that I could fill that same role for another person.

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

My mother was a dancer, but how I found a love for acting,
singing, and otherwise performing, I haven’t got a clue where the passion
originated. I do think that I’ve always wanted to be an artist- performing was,
is, and will always be a part of my life.

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 bring my knowledge of acting into each of the art
forms I am involved in. I think that understanding character, role, and the
ability to outwardly perform that in any artistic production is an integral
piece that I hope to bring to all of my work.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Know why you’re doing what you’re doing, and never ever
stop. I know how cliché it sounds, but it’s so true! If you love it, keep at
it, and keep reminding yourself that you love it, even if it gets tough (and it
will get tough).

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as aro-ace, but really my sexuality is just one
big shrug emoji ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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

Grade 11 was my first onstage kiss… Or it was supposed to be, anyways. It ended up
more as some weird mashing of lip corners, cheeks, and chins. My inability to
properly articulate my odium and quasi-fear of romantic interactions led to an
angry director and a hurt castmate, and my attempts at explanations only led to
anger and confusion.

Every child has heard the “advice”: if you break a plate
while washing dishes, you’ll never be asked to do the dishes again. That’s
seemed to work for me- I haven’t had a PDA role in the three years since
performing that scene.

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

“Asexuality is biologically impossible, humans were made to
copulate and procreate”, to which I eye roll so hard I strain a muscle. I just
don’t like the idea of sex- and romanticism is a man-made and societal
enforced idea. Nothing in the animal kingdom are holding hands and bringing
each other flowers. If you like it, you do it. It’s just not really my style.

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

If you want to adopt a label, do it! If you don’t, that’s
cool too! Orientation is about comfortability for yourself. Don’t be afraid to
chuck a label you’ve found for yourself and pick up a new one if it’s a better
fit. Life is too short for constrictions you’ve set for yourself.

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

You can find my dance videos and some of my rants on YouTube,
and I have some more videos and updates on my Instagram and Tumblr! Come and chat!

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

Interview: Lauren King

Today we’re joined by Lauren King. Lauren is a fantastic indie author who is working on self-publishing some visual novels. She has also dabbled in some fanart and vocal covers of music. Writing is where her heart lies and Lauren is incredibly passionate about the art of writing, 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 main form of art is my writing, it always has been. I
love to pick apart the English language, finding different forms of expression
through writing. It’s always been fascinating to me.

For my writing specifically, I’ve always had an interest in
character-focused stories, or stories that play with genre or base plots.
Generally my stories will focus more on the tension between people, even those
who are on the same ‘side’ in a conflict. Villains are more there to set off a
story, while most of the conflict comes from human error and all the ways communication
can break down. It’s not always a cheery ride, especially when I deconstruct
story types like the Hero’s Journey, but I’ll always try to bring it to a
cheerier outcome!

My presentation of my writing has changed a lot over the
years. Right now I’m putting my stories into visual novel format, with the
possibility of drawing the images for it myself if I can get my art to the same
standard as my writing.

What inspires you?

Other art, usually. Life is a great place to draw
inspiration for some people, but I don’t really get out enough. Instead, I try
to watch and read as much as I can! When I’m writing I’m almost always watching
something in the background or listening to music in order to get inspired.

Something I don’t usually admit is that a lot of my
inspiration comes from myself, especially when it comes to characters. If you
were to point out any character from any story that I’ve written then I would
be able to tell you what part of myself I see in them. That isn’t always a good
thing, obviously, since I like to write about stressed and depressed people,
but at least it helps make the characters seem more real, even when they’re
pushed to their breaking point (as they often are in my stories).

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

I’ve wanted to be an artist since I saw my first movie, The Wizard of Oz. At first, I wanted to
be a singer. I can vividly remember singing Somewhere
Over the Rainbow
with my mother as we did the dishes. Singing gradually
drifted to acting in musicals, where I became interested in the scripts,
specifically the characters. Wanting to become a writer was a gradual thing,
and deciding on visual novels was even more so. Until this year I was wavering
between writing scripts for musicals, writing books, or just keeping my writing
as a hobby on the internet. I’m glad to have found a way that agrees with me
and my writing style.

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?

This isn’t an intentional thing, but I have a habit of
‘getting meta’. Characters regularly realize that they’re in stories, and that
fact is actually used by some characters in order to manipulate the outcome. It
doesn’t happen in every story that I write, but since almost all of them are
linked into the same story it is always something that could come up.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

People are going to tell you that art isn’t going to pan
out, that only a few people ever ‘get noticed’. That isn’t true. With the
internet, there’s more opportunities for artists at any stage of their lives to
get themselves out there. Find your niche, do something you actually want to
do. Don’t feel bad for wanting to be popular, everyone wants to be noticed for
their art. Just make sure that your love of art is stronger than your need for
attention. And no matter what stage your art is at, whether it’s a published
novel or a few work-in-progress drawings that you haven’t shown anyone yet, you are an artist. Never let anyone say
otherwise.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Poly/pan aro/ace. Sorry for the word-salad label, but it’s
the best way to describe me! I’d just love a big house full of QPRs with no
pressure for sex or romance, but still a close bond.

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

Thankfully, no, though I think that may be because I’m not
very established in my field yet.

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

That asexuals can’t have sex or relationships with anyone.
It’s a stupid assumption, and I plan to write something someday specifically
going against this.

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

Never go into the ace discourse tag. Negativity is
addictive, don’t let youself get pulled in. You are LGBT+, but you don’t have to put yourself in the community if
you feel unsafe. Don’t try to avoid stereotypes, because specifically going
against them is letting them control you just as much as specifically following
them.

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

I have several blogs where I put my work. I have an
Undertale fan-blog at http://undertalebrothertale.tumblr.com/,
a personal blog with general art and music covers at http://lkwriting.tumblr.com/, and a
professional blog and twitter for my visual novel development at https://freefallgames.tumblr.com/
and https://twitter.com/FreefallGames.

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

Interview: Fiona

Today we’re joined by Fiona. Fiona is a wonderful visual artist and writer. For writing, Fiona is working on a number of stories at the moment and enjoys writing a variety of genres. She’s no less versatile when it comes to visual art, doing both traditional and digital art. Her work demonstrates a keen eye and an amazing attention to detail, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I both write and do visual art. Both vary quite a bit as I
am currently working on 3 extended stories/novels and all three are vastly
different genres. As for visual art, I used to do a lot of traditional art in
varying media (acrylics, graphite, pen, etc.) and most of it was as realistic
as I could get it. Now I do mainly digital art mainly because it’s hard to get
materials for other forms and Photoshop has an undo button… My style in digital
art is still fairly realistic but more comic book like with lines and kind of
soft cell shading.

What inspires you?

I have never been able to give this question a good answer. I
guess I’ll do ‘who’ inspires me because I’m honestly coming up with a blank for
‘what’ inspires me. Currently I am working on a Sci Fi story/novel and that was
really inspired by The Martian by
Andy Weir because I really like the more realistic type of Sci Fi where it
could conceivably happen. In my digital art, my style was inspired a lot by
Fiona Staples’ art (Fionas are generally gr8) though my style has evolved a bit
and is far from just copying what she does. (Hopefully.)

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

When I was a little kid I drew so much it was ridiculous.
Whales mainly for some reason. I kind of lived in the middle of nowhere and the
only thing to do was draw or read so I did that 24/7. I blame that for why I
like to write, read, and draw to this day. I never really wanted to do art as a
job, I’m more science minded, but since I could remember I’ve loved to draw and
I started writing extended stories in probably 6th grade.

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 particularly… my stuff is way too all over the place to
have a connected symbol of some sort.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

I know young artists have heard this time and time again but
Practice. When I was younger I always was told I was good at art and it was
just because that’s all I did. I never really took any formal art classes that
would teach me how to draw (I did take some classes but they were more ‘studio
time’ kind of things where the teacher didn’t actually teach anything.) I only
started digital art the summer before last and already my stuff has vastly
improved as I’ve gotten used to the media and practiced with it. Scrolling
through my art blog you can see my improvement in digital stuff from my early
posts to my more recent ones. Other than that I would just have advice for
people who want to improve with anatomy which is take a life drawing class. If
you can’t do that, watch a dance video or something and pause at different
times to do drawings of different lengths. (10 seconds, 30 seconds, 5 minutes
etc.) it really helped me a lot.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am sex repulsed and bi romantic (if you really want to get
into it, demi romantic as well) basically I’m a massive amalgam of ‘hard to
explain’ so I usually don’t go into it lol.

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

Well, as far as my art goes, I just work in my room and post
stuff online so I haven’t experienced much in that regards. I’ve encountered it
a bit with just people I tell I’m ace (which honestly, hasn’t been that many people)
but mainly it’s just along the lines of ‘wait that’s a thing?’. Ignorance as
opposed to being outright mean basically.

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

Mitosis? Lol. No seriously I’d say the most common is that
ace people are just people who ‘can’t get any’. Like, honey no. I just don’t
want any.

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

I’m really bad at giving advice like this lol but maybe just
that a lot of people feel the same way you do and those who say it’s fake are
just as ignorant as someone who looks at some characters in a language they
don’t speak and insist that therefor, it isn’t a language. (Basically, those
people are just ignorant and you should ignore them). Don’t ask me advice about
coming out because I am just as lost about that.

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

My main blog is kvothe-kingkiller, my art blog
is cork-run and I’m uploading one of
my stories chapter by chapter as I finish them, both on my fictionpress account
(cork-run) and AO3 (cork_run)

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

Interview: Isa C.

Today we’re joined by Isa C. Isa is a phenomenal photographer from Costa Rica. She specializes in photographing people, exploring the stories that can be told through a person’s face. Her work is fascinating, showing a fantastic eye and an incredible amount of uniqueness. Isa is so passionate and dedicated, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

image

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

Well I’m a photographer from Costa Rica. I’m still learning,
but always put out my best work. Currently I’m really into portraits, mainly
because I’m interested by people and how much their faces can tell. I love
exploring with different styles and get weird with it. I have the most fun when
the shoots end up being confusing even to me.

The other part of my art is the editing, this is the part in
which I spend most of the time. It’s a long process, but color grading and
making things look magical is what I’ve come to love the most.

image

What inspires you?

I find it incredibly hard to narrow down the things that
inspire me. The more I think about it, the more sources of inspiration pop up
in my head. I guess I’ve always been a person that spends more time inside her
own head than anything else so, in a way, I inspire myself. I know that might
sound a bit arrogant, but I’m not too sure it actually is.

The thing is, most of my ideas come out of, like, odd
feelings that a song, melody or phrase may give me. I cling on to that emotion
and freeze it in an image because otherwise, it’d be gone. Sometimes I end up
shooting self-portraits out of sheer impulse, and the inspiration comes out of
my need to constantly create.

On the other hand, my friend’s inspire me when I shoot them.
Sometimes I star sessions with close to no premeditated ideas because I want to
capture the essence of the person I’m shooting that specific day. So if they
walk in with an air of curiosity, I’ll try to make that the theme. Same goes
with any other emotion.

I guess, I get my inspiration out of the world I’ve built
around myself, and use its unpredictable fluidity to my advantage.

image

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

My dad has always been a lover of the arts, not an artist at
all though. I grew up in a house so completely covered in painting, drawings
photos, and sculptures that it was weird to me when I went to other’s houses
and they had close to non. As a consequence of his love of it, but lack of
ability for it, I was enrolled in plastic arts classes at a very young age. As
thing usually do, it evolved into different interests. I hovered all over the
arts, but kinda just landed on photography when my dad bought me a point and
shoot camera for me to use on a trip and I fell in love with it.

I don’t think so, probably still completely don’t. I like what
my art communicates, and I hope to never stop creating, but I’ll always be a
part time artist. My photos are part of me, but there’s other sides to me too.

image

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 necessarily, but one thing I know is that every photo I
put out is most definitely a product of my passion and something I am proud of.
There must be tons of edited pictures in my hard drive that will never see the
light of day.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Hustle, but with passion. There’s no way you’ll get anywhere
if you don’t put in hours and hours of hard work, but if you stop loving what
you do it’s not really worth it to me. I’m honestly still a young aspiring
artist, so my best advice is to get yourself out there and kick some serious
butt.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

That THE QUESTION. I’m not big on labels, that’s just my
personal way of thinking. Why limit myself? It took me a long time to land on
asexual, and even a longer time to acknowledge it as part of my identity.

I do like boys, girls and whatever falls in the middle. If I
like you, I just do. Regardless of your gender.

When it comes to sex, I’m not repulsed by it, but instead
have a certain aversion to it. I find pleasure in it, which is undeniable, but
I never want to really do it with anyone. I acknowledge it feels good, I know I
enjoy the feeling, I just don’t want to do it. It’s quite complicated to
explain, but I do hope I’m making myself clear enough.

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

Not really, artists have a tendency to be open-minded. I’m
really thankful for that. That being said, I’m somewhat of a private person. If
it doesn’t come up, I will not mention it.

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

That it means I hate sex, or won’t have sex. The fact that I
am not sexually attracted to people doesn’t mean that I won’t do it, or won’t
enjoy it, if the situation arises.

Another matter is that it’s some kind of defect. As if my
aversion to is a reaction to trauma. No one touched me when I was little, no
one forced me to do things I didn’t want to do… I just never felt that
attraction.

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

Take your time, there is no rush. No one gets to tell you
who you are, but yourself. There’s no need to stress about it because
regardless of who you mingle with, or don’t, is your own personal business.
Labels give people comfort, but can also bring distress. If saying you are
asexual makes you feel comfortable, then that’s all you really need.

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

My Tumblr is: itsleatherweather
(but its personal so there’s a lot of random stuff aside from my photos)

My Instagram is: _isacastillo_ (purely my
photography)

My Snapchat: isacastillo90 (I post behind the scenes of
shoots and before and afters a lot. Plus, my life if you are interested. FYI I
don’t add back people I don’t know.)

My Webpage: https://isacastillophoto.wixsite.com/photography
(Includes my portfolio and contact info)

If you came from here and want to talk to me feel free to do
so through any medium you find most comfortable! I love talking to fellow
artists, and art lovers so don’t be shy!

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