Category: asexuality

Interview: Dreachie

Today we’re joined by Dreachie. Dreachie is a phenomenal visual artist who works with digital mediums. She’s an illustrator and her work has a very dreamy appearance and feel to it. Most of her drawings fall into the fantasy genre. There’s an amazing attention to detail that pulls the viewer in and holds their attention, as you’ll soon see. It’s clear Dreachie is an incredibly talented and dedicated artist. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m a digital artist and I focus into creating dreamy &
fantasy illustrations but I also love to draw original characters, girls and
try to evoke some sort of feeling to people through my art.

Now I’m trying to work on my own project about things that make people happy even
though I still don’t have a name for it.

It’s basically a collection of things my followers and
people have told me that make them happy and that I want to transform from
words into illustrations, as a reminder to people that even in bad days or how
bad things seem to be, there are always things that make us happy, even the
smallest thing can bring a smile to someone.

What inspires you?

Ahh, I’m mostly inspired by things that happen in dreams.
When you wake up from a dream and the first thing you do is write them down, or
well draw them… But I don’t know how many people do that but I like to write
down my dreams even as weird they might be, they are very inspiring and you are
creating worlds in those dreams as well.

But of course, being inspired by other simple things such as
the colours of the sky, aesthetic boards and that book you read not long time
ago, as long as they seem… unusual!

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

Since I was a little kid and my parents gave me my first
paper and crayons, I’ve always enjoyed drawing, oh and paint the walls of the
kitchen with my brother!

But you know when you get the common question at school of “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
and as a kid saying you wanted to be an artist, people wouldn’t actually take
you serious haha.

Way back when I was 10 years I discovered, like many,
Deviantart and the many amazing artists and art but it wasn’t until I was 16
that I actually started to take art more serious, to actually become an artist
and after having to drop school at my senior year that I had more time to
practice my art and things actually started to change and improve! So yeah,
I’ve always wanted to be an artist!

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 include to all my drawings, no matter the
character’s race, colour, alien or human, or rock… some sparkling/starry
freckles, plus some details in the eyelashes. But it’s not just that, I love to
play with vibrant colours, sparkles and add a lot of “dreamy vibes” in my art!

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

1. Don’t
be afraid about drawing and calling yourself an artist, even if you feel your
art isn’t good enough, you are creating things! You are an artist!

2. It’s
alright to make mistakes, I don’t mean just in the art field but in general and
in life. We all learn from mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes help us to
improve and get better at something or be a better person with someone. We are
all here to learn but still to be kind!

3. Young
aspiring artists; please learn the fundamentals of art if you want to make art
as a living one day! Trust me, fundamentals are the bases for you to develop an
art style and will make your art-life much easier.

4. Making
art that people can relate to. Helps you create a connection and bond with your
audience. Either something personal or an advice, which happened to me during
my Timeskip drawing, I didn’t expect many people to actually relate to it!

And basically; have fun! Even if
you feel like worrying about the numbers in your followers, likes, reblogs,
etc. You are here to have fun and enjoy art.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am asexual ♥   I’m
sex-repulsed and actually not interested in that at all. And kids? I have my
cats already haha

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

I have, mostly within my family and two friends I don’t talk
to anymore irl. I told them about me being asexual, and they answer with the
common thing of;

“You just haven’t
found the right person yet”, “You’ll change your mind when you meet someone”,
“Its only time what you need”
etc.

Mostly it’s my mom and my older brother in the family whom
says that, talk about “how much I’m
missing in life”,
but life isn’t all about sex! And tbh I gave up trying to
explain things to them because they simply wouldn’t understand or try to.

I decided to let them think whatever they want, what matters
is how I feel and what I know; and I know I’m asexual and that there is nothing
wrong with it, it’s how I feel.

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

OHH boi, I once in a conversation got told: Do you reproduce by asexual reproduction?? Is that normal?
That isn’t real!”

But really, there’s a lot of misconception about asexuality.
Being asexual doesn’t mean that you
are repulsed or hate to be touched, like a hug or a poke, etc. It’s… it’s not…
I really don’t know where that came from and people think asexuals are that.

That “You can’t find love-a partner while being
asexual”,
this whole statement is wrong, being asexual doesn’t make it
impossible for someone to find love, and it’s not a disability.

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

There’s no rush for you to find your orientation or label
yourself. Take your time, make your research and just know how you feel. I’m
really not the best to ask this I think, but just know how you feel. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are wrong, you are
never alone.

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

These are some places where you can find my art / some
helpful art tips and tutorials, or even supporting my art:
Instagram: https://instagram.com/dreachie
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/dreachie
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dreachie
Also to find the rest of my art and links, they are all listed here! https://linktr.ee/dreachie

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

huffpost: Watch the full video here for more questions and…

huffpost:

Watch the full video here for more questions and answers with asexual individuals and learn about the struggles and discriminations they face.

(Source: Everything’s A-Okay)

Signal Boost: Interview for a Book

Hello everyone!

I have a very special signal boost today.

A while back, I was interviewed by an ace-identifying journalist named Angela Chen. I was very impressed with her work and followed her after our interview. Angela is an incredibly important voice in the ace community. She recently emailed me and mentioned she was working on a book. Not an ace 101 book, but one that would explore media portrayals of asexuality and activism among other things. It would explore ace issues from an ace perspective without rehashing old ground.

I was incredibly excited to hear this and kept my fingers crossed for her.

Angela contacted me a couple days ago to give me some even more exciting news: she found a publisher and her book is going to be published in 2019! This is incredibly exciting news and this book will undoubtedly be important for the asexual community.

Angela asked if I wouldn’t mind posting a signal boost for her and I obviously enthusiastically said yes!

Here’s some info she provided:

“I’m ace and a woman of color looking for ace artists who want to speak
with me about their experience (with art or anything else). I’m
especially looking for women/trans/non-binary/PoC/people in unorthodox relationships, pseudonyms are fine. My website is here if they’re curious: http://www.angelachen.org/.“

If you’re interested in speaking with Angela, she can be reached at the following email: a7chen@gmail.com

I really cannot say enough good things about Angela and I just know this book is going to be really amazing. So please, contact her!

Thanks everyone!

Hey Amelia! I’ve been watching your videos since I found out I was ace and I want to thank you for being so helpful:) I also have a question, because I’ve seen this a lot but it’s always been confusing to me. How is virginity a social construct? Is it just the idea that it’s a big deal is a social construct? Or is it that you’re “pure” until you lose it? Something else entirely? Thanks!:)

There are several reasons that virginity is a social construct, and why we should therefore disregard it. This might be a more in-depth explanation than you were looking for, anon, but let me tell you a few.

1. The myth that virginity is when a hymen is broken is wrong.
There is no physical or medical change that takes place when you “loose” your virginity. I mean, I could end it here, but I’ll go on.

Hymens are not a cellophane seal inside the vagina that a penis must pierce through the first time a vagina-having person has penetrative sex. They’re a membrane on the vaginal opening that can stretch or tear due to sex, yoga, inserting a tampon, etc, etc. There is no “cherry popping” or “deflowering” going on.

As loosing your virginity is not an act which enacts physical change on your body, then it must be a construct, right? Like, we as a society have to have made it up and given it meaning.

2. Sex is more than penetration.
Reducing sex to penetration makes it incredibly tricky for anyone who isn’t heterosexual and cis to define when they loose their virginity. You fall into uncomfortable questions like “do (cis) lesbians ever loose their virginity is there’s no penis involved?”

3. What counts as loosing one’s virginity is different for everyone.
Which of these acts would result in virginity being lost?

Making out
Letting somebody touch your boobs/touching somebody’s boobs
Letting somebody touch your genitals/touching somebody’s genitals
Clothed rutting/grinding that results in an orgasm
Masturbating
Fingering somebody/being fingered
Receiving/giving a hand job
Receiving/giving oral sex
Anal sex
Penis-in-vagina sex

I bet that whatever you picked, there’s somebody who picked differently. So you might say you’re a virgin because you’ve never had penis-in-vagina sex but have given many blowjobs, where as somebody else might think they’re no longer a virgin because they masturbate. It’s all subjective.

4. The value we place on virginity is all a construct, as well.

This is what you were talking about – that we make a big deal about it and think about it in regards to “purity.” If loosing virginity is subjective, then when is “purity” lost? When do we celebrate/cry over loosing it? Basically, the whole thing falls apart under scrutiny.

5 (bonus!) Virginity as a concept is wrapped up in so much sexism and heteronormativity, we might as well give it up for good.

Like, think about it. The cherry-popping myth implies that only cis women can be virgins. The purity thing implies that sex is dirtying, which isn’t great as far as the sex positivity movement is concerned. The idea that virginity is about penetrative sex is heteronormative. Let’s just move on from talking about loosing our virginity, and celebrate our right to engage in (or not engage in) sex acts without shame.

This is a longer answer than you probably wanted. But I hope that explains some things – feel free to ask me to clarify anything if needed. I’ll try my best!

lunasspecto: lunasspecto: Here’s the cover of my new book of…

lunasspecto:

lunasspecto:

Here’s the cover of my new book of poetry, Dead Monochrome Doggerel available now on Amazon and the Internet Archive at archive.org.

“so here we are / cutting the crap / and i promise you / i mean every word”

In a series of terse, direct poems, Dominique Cyprès guides readers through a meditation on the tensions between the unaddressed injustices of history and the untapped potential of the future, between unresolved conflicts of youth and diminishing possibilities of modern adulthood, between the inescapable fragility of life and the hope of new parenthood. Occupying a space that borders on the personal and the political, Dead Monochrome Doggerel places the poet’s life, and the contemporary social moment, along the long, murky arc of history.

Reading the book on the Internet Archive is free. If you read it, please consider leaving an honest review on Amazon. The list price for the print edition is US $6. I’ll reblog this post with links.

Here’s the Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1979211345/

And here’s where you can read it via the Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/dead_monochrome_doggerel

Interview: Battle Korbi

Today we’re joined by Battle Korbi. Battle Korbi is a wonderful young writer and visual artist from Croatia. He does a lot of writing in both English and Croatian, though not as much is posted just yet. When he’s not writing, Battle Korbi enjoys drawing and takes a lot of inspiration from anime. His work is brimming with color and an impressive use of lines, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to him for taking time to participate in this interview.

image

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

First of all, hiya. My art… I am a hobby writer, and a
really “sketchy” sketcher, so to say. When I want to talk about my literal
skills, I like to point out that I am having a bit of a tough time writing on
both English and my native language. I love to write stuff on English, purely
because there is a chance of posting it online in the far grimdark future, and
I could let total strangers see it and rate me according to my skills, and not
who I am. Yet I also like to doodle with Croatian (my mother tongue), because,
my works then actually get seen by who-I-know are real people, but as always,
some people don’t like to criticize their good friends, so I might not get to
see if I am really that great in the first place.

About my drawing skills? Yeah, I guess that is interesting.
I like to take inspiration from anime, cartoons, more serious stuff, you name
it. Few of my drawings here are random and don’t have a thematic that joins them.
I don’t focus on a specific thing when drawing in general, but I guess my
speciality is “caricatures” and making animesque characters out of… everything.
I often go overboard with detailing, as I simply cannot stop adding those itsy
little bits that make my scratchings look more complete than ever. Sometimes
the amount of details would end up excessive, and to anybody who is not me what
started as several lines ended up as mashed potatoes. I like to experiment with
every type of visual media, and can safely say that I have made at least one of
every type. Are they good though? Unsure. Are they mine and by default awesome?
Totally. (Am I over-confident? I guess…)

Point is, I am a absolute noobface who is kinda good at
everything, but not really a meister of anything. What is good that almost
everybody I know draw for shit so by default I have amazing skills and flattery
fuels me 😀

What inspires you?

Depends on what has been happening, what had my eyes touched
when wandering, what thoughts had been cycling through my dreams or inside my
very lucid mind. I don’t have a stationary muse I could always refer to, I most
likely harvest a single “sensation” and make stuff out of it, and then plant
another seed and go on to another “sensation”. I remember that something flared
up in my this summer when I decided to start doing a bunch of yaoi/yuri art.
Stories and drawings keep pumping out of me, even though I had no “usage” of
them. I had to remove all the art though, because… well, how would you feel if
you find out your sibling has been drawing gay/lesbian softcore porn for quite
some time? I reckon, not good. That is just a example though, one of many.

Currently I am leeching of WH40k, drawing Dreadnoughts and
Space Marines whenever I get to it. I am also trying to imitate Jojo’s Bizzare
Adventure, and I have a good knack of it, I may say. With regards to writing,
currently I am trying out comedy, lashing out hurricanes of puns and silly
jokes. My favorite “Airplane!”-esque joke to use is: “It sprawled all over the
floor. Carpet, of course.” Or “He was soaked from tip to toe. From rain of
course.”. Basically, rev up the situation like something dramatic was going on,
then dispel it by playing Captain Obvious. This works with some context though.

image

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

Lemme see… When I got a connection to the internet somewhere
in my first year of high school, and a bit before, I started writing. I had
been reading a lot of books before I “went online”, and was writing a bit too
on paper. This single, quite slow and unrealiable thread of kilobites (yes,
kilobites) where my only connection to the world out there. I found some
creepypasta groups on Facebook, and I hit it off from there, writing incredibly
bad stories filled with Mary Sues, miracles, and explosions. They sucked. Be it
grammar (from bad English), the way story unfolded, or the way I told the
stories. They never got much attention, but I kept on writing and posting every
day, till I got better and better. I still dream of being a successful writer,
but not really a full-time novelist, because such dreams are a bit unrealistic
with my caliber.

About drawing? Yeah, I guess I picked up a pencil as a kid
and just… did stuff? I guess I got complimented for my amount of details and
whatevs. Out of boredom I gave my pencil, later my ink pen, a revisit during my
later years of middle school, and just drew stuff every day til I learned to be
a bit better than before. I might not have a soul of a artist, but damn whoever
tells me I haven’t worked hard enough. I guess I want to be a proud author of a
good comic someday… or a cartoon, or manga, or anime. I have not decided yet,
but that doesn’t mean I should not warm up and exercise every day.

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?

Eh, not really. Depends on the mood and the piece though. I
might feel mystic sometimes and put “out-of-sight” details that don’t mean anything
but a pat on the back for those who find them. I do like to pull references a
lot. Like, it is easy to pull references to some anime/manga/games/shows/movies
when you are living in a environment filled with people who cannot tell.
Whenever I am writing on Croatian, and whenever I know that whatever I am
writing will be read by someone. I make sure to pop as many references as
possible, and try and pick up any reaction that implies that someone understood
a reference. There had been a few people who got them. We became friends soon
enough (my other friends became friends for other reasons, no worries).

Anything beside my basic signature (The weird number 8 with
a K, two guesses to who it refers to) is quite rare to find in my works. Even I
cannot find them. I reckon because I don’t do them too much. Sometimes when
sharing my work I might get over-excited and spill the secret stuff almost
immediately.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

First of all, create. Like, don’t take a break unless you
have a important exam coming up, or if you have a big project to complete, or
if you are crushed underneath work, or if you are getting ready to repel a
siege attempt on your fortress, or if you are worrying about looting that store
without being seen by zombies… Point is, create. Not every artpiece can be
shown at a gallery or in a bookstore, they might be stored somewhere moldy and
dusty, or incinerated, but the point is, if you won’t bother creating big
stuff, take some time to practice your technique.

Also, if you are having issues with your creativity, try and
tapping into your inner kid who considered Transformers to be super duper cool.
If not Transformers, some other cartoon. Either way, you don’t have to make
mind-boggling, ground-breaking or any other way “deep” art all the time. Take
some time to relax, draw a super cool robot with flamethrowers and chainguns,
or write a cheesy action scene with a hammy protagonist, or play a piece that
could be used as a background music for a intense wizard duel. Make a sculpture
of a space marine goring a alien. Alternatively, if you don’t like exciting and
explosive stuff, then draw/write/play about/whatever something calm and simple,
like flowers, animals, friends hanging out, sunrise, sunsets… Not every piece
you make has to have a deep meaning behind it, nor does it have to trigger
philosophical thoughts, breakthroughs or inspiration.

Last bit, learn to find, capture, tame and calibrate your
intrusive thoughts and emotions. How many times a day you cross the road
imagining yourself getting hit by a airplane (okay, maybe you don’t)? Just
about how many times did you see a funny-looking person walking down the same
road as you? And just about how many times did you imagine “Gee, what would I
do if a terrorist came here and started shooting?”. Simply put, everyone
daydreams. Once you learn to find these thoughts, you capture them, down on the
paper or keyboard, or under a pencil. Then, you have to tame those nasty
buggers, make them feel natural. This in itself is a process different for
everyone. You might find it super easy, or tougher than a nail. Then calibrate
those thoughts, make them a centerpiece of your new artwork, or implement them
in your existing projects. It takes a while for all of this to happen, but
remember, you are the one doing your art. No one is telling you that you should
not bother doing anything else related to art. If they do, screw them.
Caterpillars become butterflies, so do new artists become good artists, once
you get enough time, sunshine, water, protein and whatever else.

image

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Asexual… Bit gray I guess? I like shipping people and I find
some people hella cute, but it never advances from there. I would like to throw
in the “romantic” word here, but dunno where…

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

As in environment itself or the art community? Since I dunno
anything about the second, I might give a rundown of things going on here
around here. I had grown up in a religious environment, if not religious, then
surely quite conservative. I myself am a Christian man, a Catholic to be more
specific, and I cannot see any blame within my brothers and sisters when they
become confused about my orientation. Specifically, I only told my classmates
in high school that I am asexual. Reactions were different. Technically, I was
the same as everyone else, as long as I did not like other guys, I was fine.
There were some confusing moments, but high school kids can be accepting of
that. And I still chuckle a bit from the time one of my friends said “Stop
being asexual! That isn’t good!” in a tone of voice similar to the one given to
people that text-and-drive.

I still have not told my family about it, though. Seeing how
my (a)sexuality might impose a great deal on the dynasty (honestly, just a few
huffs and puffs), I decided to keep that bit of info for myself. I would still
like to have a wife and have a family, but I guess it would be tough when sex
is virtually non-exist to me and physical attraction is a thing worth swapping for
cake.

image

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

None other than a confused look and a “So… you like dudes?”
or “So… your wiener is wrong?”. Seeing that I made a wise choice of hiding my
orientation from people who don’t need to know, I have not got many troubles. I
can still pour out some gold nuggets:

“So you don’t want kids?”: No, I would actually love to have
kids. That are mine as well! No one is going to be a genetic father to my
kids but me! I just don’t like the sex thing :3

“You sure you are not straight and pretending?” I guess I am
sure. I mean, why waste time getting excited over people just because of their
genders? Also, since when became all about sex? There is life beyond bed,
people, and it is beautiful!

“I am sure you won’t be when you…” Nah. Thanks for
considering though, but still, I have to refuse your kind gesture.

“You should stop watching anime, see what is happening to
you! Next day you might decide to be a dragon or something.” Nah, if given a
choice of what I would become, I would rather become a Aztec god of fitness
thank you.

But these lines above are just what my closest friends
asked. Everyone else just shrug their heads.

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

There will be people who will try and “convert” you,
especially if you are a good friend to them and if you live in a conservative
setting like me. Don’t let them confuse you though. Unless they are actively
using drugs on you, remember that only you are in control of your willpower.
Brace through, and be ready to hug the sunshine first thing in the morning!

I also like this line: “There is life beyond bed”. I like it
a lot. Why? Because it implies a lot of things. Like, if you decide to head out
and explore, you would see all those little things that matter in life, details
that make a bigger picture more beautiful. The social media and the internet
tries to make it all about sex. If you get laid enough, you are cool. Remain a
virgin, and you are useless mess of tears. But that is just depresso propaganda
limiting people from their inner lights, just to bring them down and break
them. Depressos are trying to get through everyone, me, you, your friends and
family. They want to blame you for things out of your reach, and use this guilt
to claim superiority. They want to take your passion, and break it, so you can
become like them.

The world needs passionate people to keep moving around the
sun without trouble. The happiest people are the ones who keep with the world’s
currents, the way the water moves, the way the rocks remain still in face of
trouble, and the way fire heats. That doesn’t mean you should watch news 24/7.
No. Just be passionate about you do. Be happy about what you do. Take criticism
where its due, and discard the bad things. My father says; “It isn’t about
doing what makes you happy, but being happy with what you are doing”, and my
“There is life beyond bed” applies perfectly.

Anywho, check yourself for your asexuality. If all the
conditions apply for you to fit on a spectrum, then you are fine! Asexual
people are still people, people who can love others all right. It is just that
we had been blessed with a opportunity to see daily life without sex, and to
see where the true beauty lies. If you are a artist, a total noobface or a pro,
you should be able to see what makes beauty beauty, and what makes sex sex, and
how to capture each.

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

Uhh, I surely like to write a lot, hope I didn’t bore ya,
fellow aces! Either way, you guys can check my lousy FB page here: https://www.facebook.com/battlekorbiart/
(Be warned, I don’t upload everything I make here, only when I remember it)

I guess, I would appreciate it if you people
checked out my absolutely empty Tumblr blog: https://thy-battle-korbi.tumblr.com/

image

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

Interview: Cipher

Today we’re joined by Cipher. Cipher is a wonderful writer and digital artist who specializes in fantasy and supernatural stories. She’s currently working on a couple different stories at the moment, all of which sound absolutely fascinating. When she’s not writing, Cipher does some digital art, mostly character design. It’s very obvious that she’s a very dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m primarily a hobbyist writer, but I draw stuff on
occasion, usually when I have an exam coming up or an assignment due. I tend to
write stuff geared more towards fantasy or supernatural, as I love a story with
something magical in it.

My current WIP is about a pretty gold merman, pirates, and
fairies (in the background). The main character is of Middle-Eastern ethnicity,
and is asexual! His merman boyfriend is whatever the merman equivalent of
pansexual is, and one of two primary antagonists specifically a sex-repulsed
asexual man. The story features characters of many different nationalities (as
far as I can make that happen with a fantasy world) such as African, British
(Scottish and English), Irish, Indian, Middle-Eastern, Caribbean, and French!
It deals with some potentially triggering themes at times, but it’s also a
story about accepting people for who they are, and accepting that your first
impression of someone may not be that accurate. Also pirates!

I also have a vampire story planned, which will contain a
single father main character with a tiny child because why not! I have a secret
“other account” that I use to write self-indulgent fanfiction because I have to
entertain myself SOMEHOW. My niche tends to be more in writing gay romantic
relationships or very close platonic friendships with a kind of found-family
vibe.

Any art I draw tends to be really ridiculous and silly, or
it’ll be art for my own stories or someone else’s.

What inspires you?

Everything inspires me. My own experiences and emotions,
music, my friends, other content I view. Sometimes I just really want to
indulge in a particular thing, and if I can’t find it out there, I write it
myself! With the merman story, I kind of inspired myself? I had originally
written a short series of novels which I wanted to do a spin-off for. And I was
getting really into merpeople at the time, so I wanted to include one in this
spin-off. The merman character I created and his human boyfriend wound up being
way more interesting than what I was already writing, so I scrapped the
spin-off and started telling their story instead! I have specific songs I
listen to for this story, and I also tend to watch YouTube videos (check out
Stella the Siren!) of people in costumes swimming around as merpeople.

One of the big themes in this story is being trapped
somewhere and not being able to leave, even though logically, it should be
easy. Another theme is prejudice, another is acceptance (or the lack thereof,
in some cases). I drew these themes heavily from my own life, and I feel that
in some roundabout way, some of the themes in this story are an accurate
metaphor for the experiences some people have with their asexuality. This
wasn’t my intention when writing it, but this has wound up being the result.

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

I can remember wanting to be a writer when I was younger. I
had big dreams of wanting to be a best-selling author like J. K. Rowling, I
wanted to be famous for it, I wanted to earn lots of money! And it was
primarily the Harry Potter books that
got me interested in that. My first story ever was a (badly) illustrated
retelling of Disney’s The Little Mermaid
(ha, I’ve come full circle!). As I grew up, I made friends with similar interests.
We all wanted to be writers, we all liked to draw. Since then, I’ve decided I
actually NEVER want to be published as I’m content with sharing my works for
free online where I can interact with readers on a more personal level. And my
digital art is really just a hobby. I’d love to develop my skill enough to do
graphic novels or webcomics, maybe open up a Patreon. But again, it’s nothing I
want to pursue professionally.

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 that I know of? I guess when I write, I throw a lot of
myself and my own emotions into the writing, and I NEVER intend for this to
happen. It can sometimes make me feel very exposed when posting a new chapter,
as I realise (though readers may not) that some of my deepest emotions and
thoughts are out there for everyone to see.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Of course it’s important to improve your craft, whatever it
may be. But NEVER let anyone tell you that your work is “cliché” or
“unoriginal”. Guess what? NOTHING is original. Everything has been done before
in some way at some point. What matters is that you have fun creating it, is
that you enjoy what you do. You should have fun coming up with plots or ideas
for drawings, you should have fun creating characters and giving them tragic
backstories or smart mouths or the perfect physique, or whatever else it is
that people like to make fun of others for. Indulge in yourself. When people
constantly criticize you, and make you feel like you aren’t good enough to the
point where you no longer want to create your art, THEY are in the wrong. You
can’t please everyone. I once had someone complain that my 18-year-old
Middle-Easter male character’s facial hair made him look less cute, and she
would rather he didn’t have it. Like, I’m sorry my boy doesn’t fit your ideal
“uke” aesthetic. My best friend drew a picture of him with a full giant beard
and moustache as retaliation for me 😀

So first and foremost, make sure YOU are happy with what you
create. Create primarily for yourself and not for others. Constructive or
polite criticism, take it with a polite smile and a “thank you”, but learn to
recognize when someone is genuinely just being mean. Remember that everyone
advances at different speeds, and not everyone is perfect at everything.

Never let anyone, not even yourself, make your art less fun
for you.

Some more writing-specific advice! In my opinion, a story is
made up of three components. Writing, characters, and plot. Ideally, you want
at least two of these things to be good to make for a story people will like!
But in my experience, good characters are what work! They could be walking down
the stairs for breakfast in the morning, but if your characterization is strong
and done well, people will care about it. Pay special attention to your
characters and creating them, and showing who they are in your writing, and
giving them reasons for doing the things they do. Plot can be whatever you want
it to be. Writing improves with time. Read a lot (professionally published
works, really terribly-written fanfictions, the works!). Learn what you like in
another’s style and what you don’t like. Utilize and borrow these things in
order to refine your own craft.

Be kind to yourself! You’re creating art!

Cover art drawn by limey-art, text by shirokaneki

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as asexual, panromantic.

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

Not that I can think of. A fellow writer did once tell me
that she really “didn’t get all that crap”, however given her own upbringing
and where she’s from, it didn’t bother me too much. I also had a rather rude
person leave a comment on my story about sex in the story’s future, and when I
explained there would be none because my main character is asexual (and his
love interest is half FISH), she became very blasé, laughed about asexuality,
kind of implied she didn’t think it was a real thing. I offered to explain it
in more depth to her, and how it specifically affects this main character
versus the sex-repulsed villain, but she never responded xD

Most of the ignorance tends to stem from people simply not
knowing what asexuality is – they’ve either never heard of it, or they have
misconceptions about what it is. And that’s fine, because I myself knew nothing
about it until only a year or two ago. The best way I deal with THAT is to tell
them that it’s okay if they don’t know or understand. I give a little
explanation, and offer to go more in depth with them if they want, or I offer
to point them to resources. Most people I’ve encountered have been very
pleasant about it. Those who aren’t, just don’t talk to them. And remember to
use that block button if necessary!

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

The most common one I’ve personally encountered is that
people assume I’m afraid of sex. They assume this is the case, and they think I
say I’m asexual so I either won’t have to have sex, or it’s an excuse so I
don’t have to admit I’m afraid. Generally speaking, this is not the case at
all. I’ve also had people think I don’t want sex, or “there must be something
wrong” with me because “everyone wants sex!”. And finally, my number one
FAVOURITE – “you just haven’t met the right person yet! That will change when
you meet The One!” You know what, maybe it WILL change if I meet The One. Maybe
I’m specifically demi-sexual. Maybe I just haven’t met my type yet. But for
someone to try to invalidate my current sexuality like that is NOT okay. I
never have felt, nor do I think I ever WILL feel sexual attraction. This,
however, does NOT prevent me from having relationships, from having sex
(physically, thoughts, “alone time”, etc) or from living a perfectly fulfilling
life.

Drawn by fairygodpiggy

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

That honestly depends on why they are struggling. The main
thing to remember, I think, is that you know yourself best. If you think you’re
asexual, call yourself asexual. If it’s dangerous for you to “come out” you are
under NO obligation to do so. Ace positivity is everywhere on the internet,
which is fantastic! However, you are no less ace if you choose not to
participate or contribute, or if you choose never to talk about it. Your pride
doesn’t have to be loud. You are no less ace if you only SOMETIMES feel ace, or
if you used to not be, but now you are. There are resources out there where you
can find a more specific term for your sexuality if you wish, but if you think
you are ace, then that is what you are and no one can tell you any differently.
There is nothing WRONG with you. Hundreds of thousands of us have thought the
same thing. “I must be straight by default” or “I don’t understand why she’d
cheat on him” or “sex isn’t that great”.

Asexuality is such a broad spectrum that of course everybody
has different experiences. Different circumstances, different emotions,
different actions, etc. Just because you’re not like another asexual person,
that doesn’t mean you are less asexual. You can absolutely know if you’re ace
whether you’ve had sex or not. I knew from about age 11 or 12 that I was ace, I
just didn’t know the term for it at the time.

And for those of you who, like me for a while, wished you
WEREN’T asexual, I have this to say: you are who you are. You feel what you
feel. I hope you can come to accept yourself and realise that there is nothing
wrong with being asexual. There are people out there who love and support you,
and fellow ace people like myself are always here to chat should you need it
<3 Remember, the world in general still doesn’t understand a lot about
asexuality. We’re still trying to get them to figure out that being gay is a
real and normal thing! For many of us, being ace isn’t always easy. But we’ll
get there. Just have pride in who you are, avoid Ace Discourse, and live your
life!

Drawn by limey-art

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

You can find my writing here on Wattpad as well as an
artbook that I update sometimes: https://www.wattpad.com/user/Ciphertext

I’m also on Tumblr where I sometimes post art, but mostly I
reblog fandom stuff, memes, and Vine compilations: https://ciphertext-x.tumblr.com/

Drawn by Roboticspacecase

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

Just wanted to let my lovely followers know that I have arrived…

Just wanted to let my lovely followers know that I have arrived safely in Baltimore and am currently at the NWSA conference. The roundtable discussion is tomorrow and I’m incredibly nervous but I’ll do my best.

Also, I brought a ton of Asexual Artists business cards.

Interview: Ryan Meier

Today we’re joined by Ryan Meier. Ryan is a phenomenal podcaster who hosts a podcast focusing on videogames, geek and popular culture. When he’s not working on his podcast, Ryan also acts as a dungeon master for a 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons. He writes the stories and paints miniatures. He’s incredibly dedicated and passionate, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

My main outlet is my podcast, The Bear vs. Man Cast. My co-host and I discuss video games and
other geek/pop culture goings on. We have casual conversation about things
we’re interested in in the realm of games and try to be funny about it. We were
attempting to get into streaming last year but we’ve pulled back from that
because finding time for everything we want to do is rough.

I also run a Dungeons & Dragons game for a small group
of friends, so I do some story writing for that. We play D&D on a grid, so
we use miniatures, which I’ve started painting and 3D printing for. Very
hobbyist; I haven’t been painting minis for very long, but you learn something
new with each one you do.

What inspires you?

I get a lot of inspiration from the things I look at, the
things I play, what I watch etc. just like everyone else. It’s hard not to.
When you like something, it ends up in your work in some shape or form. For
podcasts we both came from listening to things like Giant Bomb and Idle Thumbs,
and that round table discussion that’s free form and fun. When I’m writing
stories I try to pull from personal experience that’s reformatted to fit the
context of the story. Characters are based on people I know or observe, same
with conflicts etc. There’s that idea that there are only seven stories, and
it’s all about how you tell them. I am not a professional writer by any means,
so I say paint the wheel a cool color instead of trying to reinvent it.

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

We started our podcast almost three years ago now (!), and
we were both listening to a lot of podcasts at the time. One thing lead to
another and we started doing one. It’s very much something we do for ourselves,
and if people like it great, come along for the ride we’d love to have you, but
becoming a huge success in podcasting has never been our aim.

I’ve dabbled in art for my whole life. Coloring outside the
lines in kindergarten. I played a lot of music in grade school. Brass
instruments, drum line, guitar. I was composing for a while in high school but
that dropped off. And now I podcast and I write stories for the games I play
with my friends and paint some miniatures. Always the dabbler, and never the
master, but I’m working on finding focus.

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!

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Just make the thing. Just do the thing. If anyone is like me
(and they probably are) they always feel like what they’re doing is not enough,
always room for improvement, always that one thing you wanted to change. So just
make it. Don’t feel like you can’t start, or can’t show it to anyone. Be proud
of what you make and improve as you go.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am asexual and aromantic.

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

I try to up play my aceness on my Twitter as often as I can.
I think it’s important for people in the wild to see ace people being ace in
all sorts of situations. I’ve gotten some slack for it, but I try not to
engage, and just let those moments pass.

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

For me it’s a lot of unawareness. A lot of people don’t know
the first thing about folks on the spectrum as I’m sure a lot of your readers
know. What does it mean to be ace? What do you do with all your free time and
money? (Spoilers I have neither.) If I had one thing I wish could be made more
apparent is that the ace spectrum is a spectrum, full of individuals with a wide
variety of experience. No two ace folks will approach the same situation the
same way, no two ace people will have the same previous sexual experience. So
take the time to hear their stories.

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

A) if you’re not sure, it’s totally fine. Questioning
anything as important as your sexuality is so incredibly valid. It impacts the
way you see the world, and how the world interacts with you. You should spend
some time wondering, if that’s what you need to feel comfortable.

B) If it feels right to call yourself ace, then call
yourself ace. Or whatever orientation really, I feel like this applies to every
sexuality. On your own, in your own personal space, just try it out. You don’t
have to come out right away. You don’t have to be sure. But just, be ace with
yourself. Be ace with those you trust, even if you don’t tell them. Just
telling yourself you are something is a good way to see if it fits. Only time
will tell if being ace is who you really are.

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

You can find my podcast, The Bear Vs Man Cast, on iTunes or
on the web:
https://bearvsman.simplecast.fm/

I’m on Twitter, at ace_phd

(I keep my DMs open if you ever have ace related questions. I try to help when
I can)

I’m on Tumblr: https://ace-phd.tumblr.com/
(Same: message me anytime about ace stuff.)

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

Interview: Teloka Berry

Today we’re joined by Teloka Berry. Teloka is a phenomenally talented visual artist from Australia. She’s a digital artist and specializes in comics. She also does portraits, original characters, and fanart. Aside from that, Teloka also does crafts. It’s very clear that she’s an incredibly dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m a digital artist, and primarily a character illustrator
and story-teller. I do stuff like portraits, comics, original characters and
fan-art, and sell crafts and merch like stickers.

My very favourite things to do are comics, both short ones
and long form ones! I like stories with a strong focus on acearo, queer and
neuroatypical characters who are just having adventures in various genres, and
my personal schtick leans heavily towards acearo girls who want to form lasting
commitments and have relationships with other girls.

I have two long-haul projects. Let’s Celebrate!, my queer magical girl themed webcomic has been
live for almost three years now, and features an acearo lead and a bunch of
silly festive super powers. It’s very lighthearted but still explores various
celebrations from around the world, mental illness and communication, and
features a bunch of monsters that the girls/guys/nb-pals fight with improbable
weapons like giant candy canes. You can see it here: http://letscelebrate-comic.tumblr.com/

My second long haul project is collaborative with my
girlfriend which we’re hoping to release early next year, and it will be an
online graphic novel in installments. It’s a supernatural, Lovecraftian kind of
adventure-thriller, structured around the Great Australian Road-Trip in rural
Queensland. It follows an established acearo f/f couple, who accidentally enter
an outback region they can’t leave filled with frightening “Locals” and those
long roads that go on “forever”.

What inspires you?

I’m going to sound super cheesy when I say this but… my
girlfriend? Haha, I’m pretty inspired by personal experiences and personal
interests, I suppose. I spend a lot of time drawing and illustrating stuff
based on things we’ve done together or concepts we talked about and came up
with together.

Maybe also like … spite, to be honest. I’m kind of tired of
heteronormative stories and the same straight white male leads who fight the
Big Bad and get the girl with very little actual effort. I love to write and
see stories about girls, especially queer and neurodivergent girls, doing cool
stuff and saving the day and being in genres they’re generally sidelined in,
like action stuff or zombies.

That aside I find music and bright cheerful colour palettes
quite inspiring, and use both of them a lot in my work. And the work of other
artists who I look up to, of course! I’m pretty visual so if I see something
that is just aesthetically pleasing to me (like some architecture, a posing
angle, fairy lights in a shop window) I’ll probably think about how to
incorporate it into an art piece sooner or later.

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

I’ve always been really crafty and drawn or scribbled stuff,
so I guess so? I got serious about artwork at about 13, when I entered high
school and fell in with fellow artsy-sorts who enabled the habit. I started out
like most teens on DeviantArt back then with an anthro fursona, and made more
friends online that encouraged me, and so I just… persisted with it. I don’t
think I ever had particular plans to
be an artist, or to be anything for that matter, but it’s probably my stand out
skill now. I draw every day and love my stories and characters a lot!

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?

Probably like I mentioned in that first long ramble I did, I
have a really strong narrative interest in queer stories, and especially a
focus on acearo mentally ill girls and healthy relationships.
Artistically/Stylistically though… no, haha, I have absolutely zero consistency
in my work, I’m so bad at that!

Usually when I pitch it to other people they’ll say stuff
like “sparkles!” or “colours!” or “same face syndrome!”, so maybe that’s the
answer here? I like colours a lot and playing around with harsh lighting. I
also draw a lot of birds, because… birb.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

1. Give it a go! If you want to do it, just do it. It’s
worthwhile, even if all it ever does is bring you happiness or relaxation to
create; that’s super important and you deserve it.

2. Quite difficult, but don’t compare your creation to other
peoples work negatively. Be critical of your own work, sure, and always, always
strive to improve. But your work is not anyone else’s but your own, so try not
to be disheartened if it doesn’t look like something else you wanted it to look
like. It looks like it’s yours, and that’s the best thing it could be.

3. This one is for minority groups in storytelling
especially (I figure relevant here on an ace positive blog), and something I’ve
struggled with a lot but: Tell that
story about your own experiences/preferences if you want to tell it.
Create
your own representation if you can and want to.

It’s not self-centered, it’s not “too much”, it’s not
unpalatable, it’s not boring, and it’s not cheesy. Don’t feel like you can only
put one character from a minority group in your story, and don’t feel like you
can’t have characters who you relate to or have traits like you in your story.
You do not have to write in something for “someone else” to relate to or have
straight white men in your story for it to be “acceptable”, regardless of what
popular media seems to be trying to say.

For example, when we started on the roadtrip story I
mentioned earlier, we thought “is two
whole acearo girls in a story… too many? should one of them at least… be bi?”
and
while scripting I’ve often wondered ”is
this chronically anxious character having too many anxiety attacks…? should I
just have them handle this thing better so that their mental illness is showing
less?”
. And the answer to those things is obviously no. Show that mental
illness. Have only acearo leads. Have a whole cast of POC. There’s no such
thing as “too much” representation of your minority characters and stories, and
if they’re based on your personal experiences or desires- great. Because nobody
else can tell that for you; it’s yours.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m a cis girl (she/hers) and I identify as asexual and
aromantic, though I might more accurately be quoiromantic as I don’t really
understand the difference between platonic and romantic relationships, though I
absolutely don’t experience attraction regardless. I previously considered
myself panromantic because I “want to be emotionally intimate” with friends
quite intensely and have close relationships, but I later realized that I don’t
experience romantic attraction so… aromantic-spec it is.

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

I’ve actually experienced very little ace prejudice. I’ve
found straight people to be confused and commit some naïve-microaggressions at
best, and mostly they just want me to explain what it meant and expressed
general confusion about how I could not feel sexual attraction. (except for those dudes, you know, the: “well you
just haven’t been with ­me yet” narcissists.)

I also had an abuser who ID’d on the ace spectrum, who would
constantly guilt me about my orientation and say I would be a disappointment to
my partner/s, that I was “broken”, or that I was just “trying to be holier than
thou” and all kinds of toxic shit. So it really can come from anywhere.

The absolute worst
ongoing prejudice I’ve seen has been from gatekeepers in the gay and lesbian
communities. No surprises there. So many “sapphic safe place” blogs will reblog
artwork of my girlfriend and I, which is clearly f/f and I get the lovely gift
of seeing their acephobic descriptions on how ace people don’t belong in the
queer community and queer is a slur, while they profit from artwork literally
featuring two acearo girls.

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

Lately there’s plenty of stuff going around tumblr
especially about how asexuality doesn’t equal celibacy, and that it’s not a
choice. True, absolutely! But I still very
often
see asexuality conflated with sex repulsion, or a lack of libido (and
aromance with a lack of interest in close intimate relationships at all).

Sure, it can be
that way, but it’s not universal for all aces or aros. Just like any
orientation, asexual people can sit anywhere on the libido and/or repulsed
spectrums. They are not the same at all, and it’s super toxic that it has
become popularly interchangeable, because I’m often seeing ace characters who
“hate to be touched” and it just…

Ace people can be sex positive and interested in intimacy.

Allosexual people can be sex repulsed or simply
disinterested.

And sex repulsed people of any orientation can also still be
highly sensual and have a libido and still really want to have sex (that’s
me!).

All these things are separate experiences. Neither drive nor
repulsion are intrinsically tied to each other or to asexuality, which is the
lack of sexual attraction, and not the lack of desire for touch.

I think that’s a super important distinction that’s often
lost. My stories focus on this a lot,
and almost all of my comics and stories feature acearo characters who still
actively seek close emotional intimacy- because aro people are not unfeeling
robots- and who also like to experiment or be close to their partners
physically- because ace doesn’t necessarily mean no libido or interest.

And it’s super alienating to sensual or libido aces to see
the narrative that “to be ace means you can’t ever want to have sex with
someone else” perpetuated. It feels like something that, in years to come, is
going to segue into Ace-Gatekeeping-v2.0, and I’d like to see communication and
compassion stop that before it happens.

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

Auuhhh… uhmmm I’m really not an ideal person to put in like…
advice giving roles. I’m still learning stuff myself; the Living Experience is
pretty enormous! But perhaps the best thing I found (for me) was to have close
friends who I could talk to about being ace and aro. If you have other friends
who are already knowledgeable or confident in their own sexuality and ID on the
acearo spec then that is probably the safest way, and they can explain things
to you and answer questions.

There are also a variety of previously linked ace-help blogs
and websites, and probably honestly… a lot of the artists featured on this blog
would probably be happy to answer anon-questions and stuff about their
experiences if you get in touch? I’d be happy to, for sure. That might be good
for anyone who feels isolated or confused and doesn’t want to have a name
attached to their questions!

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

You can find my artblog, where I post most of my art and
links and updates on the above mentioned projects here: http://berryartistic.tumblr.com. I
should warn that there are some suggestive works on there and it’s pretty heavy
on the f/f content. There’s nothing graphic and no actual nudity, mostly just
implications of intimacy and some power dynamics, but it might be a bit much
for some minors or anyone intimacy-repulsed, so take it with a grain of salt.

Let’s Celebrate!
is completely PG and can be found here: http://letscelebrate-comic.tumblr.com/
which has links offsite to places like Tapastic.

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