Category: asexuality

Call for Interviewees

asexualartists:

asexualartists:

asexualartists:

Hello all!

Once again, I’m low on interviewees. Since I don’t have the time to constantly post calls every single time I’m running low, I’m hoping to use this post as a kind of a reminder:

ASEXUAL ARTISTS IS OPEN FOR INTERVIEWS YEAR-ROUND!

I’m always looking for artists who are on the spectrum to interview. Any and all kinds of artists are welcome.

This is including but not limited to:

WRITERS: all genres and forms are welcome (novelists, short stories, poetry, flash fiction, etc). It doesn’t matter if you’re unpublished, just starting out, a student, a hobbyist, or established. Traditionally published, self-published, small press, etc. You’re all welcome and you all have something to offer.

VISUAL ARTISTS: Self explanatory, any kind of visual art you can imagine (photography, painting, sketching, drawing, sculpture, installation, etc.).

FANARTISTS: Another self-explanatory category. Cosplay, visual, fanfiction, etc. Whatever you do in your fandom (any and all fandoms welcome), you’re an artist.

FILMMAKERS: YouTubers, directors, cinematographers, anything that has to do with making films (short, features, documentaries, etc).

PERFORMANCE ARTS: actors, theater arts, singers, mimes, any sort of performers.

DANCERS: Any kind of dance style you can imagine is welcome here (ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, burlesque, belly-dancing, ballroom, etc.)

MUSICIANS: playing instruments, composing, singing, anything involving music

CULINARY: maybe your medium of choice is food. If so, you’re welcome here.

CRAFTS: any sort of craft you can think of (sewing, knitting, crocheting, candle making, jewelry making, etc.)

All levels of artists are welcome: whether you’re a student or a professional, just starting out or already established. If you create, you have something to offer and therefore I want to interview you 🙂

If you’re still unsure whether or not your art qualifies (there’s a 97.9% chance it will), and your question isn’t answered in the F.A.Q., please contact me at laurenjankowski27@gmail.com

If you want to be interviewed, please email me at the same address (laurenjankowski27@gmail.com)

This site continues because I get requests for interviews. If the interviews run out, this site will remain as a resource 🙂 Updates will continue as long as there are aces out there willing to be interviewed.

Thank you, everybody.

Hey everyone!

Still open for interviews. And I just want all you amazing, talented, wonderful artists who have already been interviewed: you are making such a difference. Giving an interview may seem like a small thing, perhaps even insignificant, but believe me when I say that so many aces have found comfort and inspiration in your words. I have received numerous messages about how much this blog means to people, especially to aces still coming to terms with their identity. That’s a truly wonderful thing 😃

So please, keep those interview requests coming!

Hey everyone!

Still need more interviews, but just a reminder: I don’t respond to interview requests via reblogs or comments. If you are interested in being featured on this blog, please email me: laurenjankowski27@gmail.com

All ages, races, religions, genders are welcome. If you’re on the ace spectrum and you create, I would love to interview you for this blog.

ALL aces are welcome on this blog! It doesn’t matter if you’re a hobbyist, a professional, a dabbler, a student, aspiring or experienced. Your art is important. Your voice is important.

So please, keep those interview requests coming 😀 <3

Interview: Gemma Irene

Today we’re joined by Gemma Irene. Gemma is a phenomenal writer who writes a variety of things. She’s written a few novels and hundreds of poems, as well as some fanfiction. When she’s not writing, she enjoys visual art. Gemma draws, paints, sews, and takes photographs. She even plays the violin. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate individual who loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m primarily a writer, though I’ve been known to draw,
paint, sew, take pictures, and play violin. Anything to keep my hands busy! As
far as writing goes, I stick to fiction, with occasional detours for poetry,
and a song on the very rare occasion. I haven’t published anything yet, but
I’ve got about three original novels and around a hundred poems under my belt.
I’ve also been pretty immersed in fan fiction the past few years, writing for The Phantom of the Opera, The Boondock
Saints, The Walking Dead
, and Supernatural.

What inspires you?

I hate to say it, it sounds cliché, but inspiration comes
from anywhere and everywhere. I wrote my first novel after a daydream I had
when I was bored at the mall and trying to entertain myself. I’ve drawn things
I’ve seen in dreams. I’ve photographed things that happened to catch my eye.
One of my favorite poems I ever wrote came about while I was sitting outside
listening to the creek flow. I try to stay alert to anything that feeds the
muse, which means either living very much in the moment, or hiding out in my
own little world.

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

I’ve always loved stories and storytelling. One of my
earliest memories is of sitting in my grandpa’s lap with a book, with me
reading to him as much as he read to me. I remember telling stories to my
mother and her writing them down in a blank journal. I relate a lot to Anne
Shirley, or Sara Crewe in A Little Princess like that; my stories always
started as a game of pretend, and realizing I could share them with people was
a game changer. With the Internet, I could share with even more people. And in
the case of fan fiction, connecting with people who were as passionate about
the same characters as I was helped me get even more joy out of it. So, long
answer to a short question, I’ve always wanted to do this!

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

In my writing, I notice a lot of alliteration, and a lot of fire imagery. I like getting down
into the deep, personal aspects of storytelling, so I’m very concerned with the
soulful and intimate. I don’t know if there’s any specific thing that
watermarks my writing as mine…if any readers would like to point something
out?

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Experiment. Let yourself suck. That first novel I wrote? As
is, nobody is reading that, if I have
anything to say about it. There’s a lot of hang-ups about being trite or
cringey, but that’s the only way you grow and evolve. And it’s cool if you want
to pursue more interests than one, or if you’re only so-so at something else
but do it for the joy of it. I’ve worked for years at my writing, but only ever
turned to drawing when I needed the release it gave me. Consequently, it’s not
one of my strongest skills. Same deal with the violin. I’ll never be the next
Van Gogh, or play in an orchestra, but that’s fine. I draw and play for love of
both, and that’s enough for me.

The inverse is true, as well. If you’re passionate about
your art, don’t be afraid to invest yourself in it. Any way you feel called to.
I’m going to go off on a tangent for a second and say how glad I am that fan
fic is slowly getting positive traction, because if I hadn’t started writing
fic, I would never have found an audience, much less one willing to give
feedback and help me grow as a writer. That’s the thing about finding someone
genuinely interested in what you’re sharing, they want more, and they’ll often help you in the process. Whether it’s
encouragement, advice, or simple enthusiasm, it’s out there. Hold it up to your
ear and give it a listen, then decide if it will help you develop your art.
Keep what does, discard what doesn’t. That’s what fan fiction did for me, is
help me find my voice a lot sooner than I might have without it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m a panromantic demisexual, which is at once very broad
and very specific. To me, they go hand-in-hand. I don’t develop sexual
attraction without an emotional bond, and if I’ve gotten close enough to
someone to form that bond, I’m unlikely to care about gender. It’s the person I’ve developed feelings for.

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

In my field? No. In my life? A bit. I was discussing
sexuality and orientation with a group of ordinarily open-minded individuals
and casually mentioned I identify as demi. I explained it was similar to being
asexual, and they were on board with the ace part but casually dismissed the
demi part. “Some people just want to be special.” It took a while to get past
that, and I’ve presented myself since then a little differently. On social
media, I proudly post all the ace, aro, demi, bi, pan, gay, trans, nb, everything, supporting positivity that I
want to see in the world. In person, I’ll comment on my aesthetic attractions,
regardless of gender, I’ll express support of representation, and shut down
discourse when I hear it. I do what I can to be an ally and a safe space, and
hopefully send a message that I won’t stand for any prejudice.

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

That we’re prudes, afraid of sex, damaged, or “waiting for
the right person.” Yeah, some of us are, but so are some allosexuals. Sexuality
is such a complex, complicated subject, and I don’t understand the aphobia and
ace discourse I’ve seen. The thing is, we’ve always been here, it’s just that
now we’re willing to claim our space, and hopefully we can spread more
knowledge to put an end to the misconceptions.

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

Hang in there. It’s a process. I remember that I was elated
at first to realize I was demi, then I had to process what that meant to me,
evaluate my relationships with people in light of my new understanding of my
identity, decide whether this was something I wanted to keep to myself or make
known to others. Then on down the line, after I felt reasonably secure in my
identity, I realized I was panromantic and had to start all over again. I’ve
found my writing is a very good way to explore my sexuality and my orientation,
and I’m working on more aspec characters to reflect how I feel about my
identity.

My biggest ongoing struggle is feeling ace enough to
identify on the spectrum. I’m very sex positive, and I lean towards the, let’s
say, colorful side of sexual expression, which is far removed from the
misconception about asexuals and how we’re all prudes afraid of sex. That’s
where the ignorance hurts us the most, in my opinion. We measure ourselves by
the stereotypes and assumptions, which are often incorrect, and we cut
ourselves down when we don’t fit. Thing is, I’m still aspec whether I like sex
or hate it, whether I’m kinky or vanilla, because it’s about attraction, not
action.

Aces, grays, and demis, you do you. Own your identity. Share
it if you want, or keep it secret. It’s who you are, and it’s as much about
discovery as the rest of you.

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

Tumblr is my primary hang out. My URL is at risingphoenix761, and my blog
is a giant mess of fandom, writing, music, humor, and positivity. I’m also on
Fanfiction.Net as AngelxPhoenix,
and Archive of Our Own as RisingPhoenix761.
For anyone interested in my visual art (I consider myself a passionate
amateur), my Instagram is at risingphoenix_761. Come
say hi to me!

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

Interview: Atraxura

Today we’re joined by Atraxura. Atraxura is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in drawing. She also paints, takes pictures, and makes jewelry, but she’s focused mostly on her drawing. Atraxura enjoys using limited color and it results in very striking imagery. It’s clear she loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participating in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I experiment with many different styles and media. I draw,
paint, take photographs, make jewelry and write personal essays. In the past
year, I have been focusing on drawing, and I have begun to evolve a style in my
recent work with limited use of color, usually a vibrant, highly saturated red.
I prefer the warm end of the color spectrum, from yellow to red-violet, and
color psychology is integral to my work. I pay attention to geometry, ratios
and perspective. You don’t necessarily notice it in my work, but I am
fascinated with how important numbers are in aesthetics.

While I strive for realism, none of my subjects are merely
representational. Everything illustrates a concept: animals are symbolic, as
they were in ancient cultures. Skulls are the exoskeleton of the mind. A red
eye in a pale background represents the will rising above apathy.

What inspires you?

Horror inspires me on the aesthetic level. I am drawn to the
intense feelings it can evoke. I love high-energy excitement and intensity, not
calm or complacent “happiness”, which feel toxic and antithetical to
me. I want everything I do to reflect powerful, high-octave intensity.

I am a type-A person of a purely choleric temperament; ENTJ
on the MBTI. I have a very angry and hostile nature, and I like to explore and
defend this in my art. I also like to attack concepts I despise, e.g.,
conformity, complacency and all agents of passivity and inertia. I don’t do
this to “calm down” – I detest calm – or to get rid of anger. I do
it to communicate in a more powerful, profound way which reaches more people.

Collaboration with my soulmate, who is a musician and of
very similar views and vision, also inspires both of us. I hate working alone.

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

Art has always been instinctive for me. Inert matter, such
as a blank paper, exists to be acted upon. I want to change it to reflect my
ideas and vision. I want to communicate with others on the most profound level
possible. Art is naturally an ideal means for this, and for generating dialogue
with like minds. That said, I have never wanted to “be” any one
thing, but I always had a clear and exact vision of the lifestyle I wanted. It
has always been imperative that I live on my own terms in every aspect;
autonomous, being my own boss, keeping my own council.

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 initial every drawing and painting. The “A”,
along with being the initial of both my artist name and my legal name,
represents my highest values: ambition, high standards, and to be forever
striving upward. I strive to be the “alpha” in everything I do. If I
were perfect, I would want to push the boundaries of perfection. I am changing
the look of my initial now, to be more angular and volcanic.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Erase words like “can’t” and “hard” from
your vocabulary. I’ve destroyed innumerable paintings and drawings in rage when
things don’t go exactly the way I want, but I start over with a better
strategy. If something is difficult, it obsesses me. I persist until I get what
I want. I refuse to be defeated by my own art.

Also, learn the basics of your craft, and dedicate regular
time to work on improving your skills and becoming proficient with your
tools/media. Develop an honest perspective on your abilities, so you can see
your strengths and your areas which need improvement.

Finally, take yourself, your time, effort and ideas, very
seriously. Others won’t until you do.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am a sex repulsed libidoist. Perhaps I am demi-hetero-sapio-romantic.
I met my soulmate on DeviantArt at the age of 23 and very quickly formed a deep
and intense obsession, but I had never had an interest in anyone else. It was
important to me that we have similar values and could interact on a profound
level. I emigrated to France from the United States at 25 so we could live
together. I don’t know if I would describe my feelings as merely romantic. I
feel like the word doesn’t convey enough intensity, and this intensity has only
increased with time.

Power in its multiple forms, especially knowledge, ignites
my libido, but even the thought of sexual activity disgusts me and extinguishes
the feeling. I find it revolting on the physical level (even with someone
hygienic and physically attractive) and deeply disturbing and traumatizing on
the emotional level (even with someone I love). For me, it threatens bonds
rather than building them. I also have an extremely low tolerance for boredom,
and despite the hype it gets, sex is the most tedious, banal activity which
ever existed – not to mention an enormous liability with no inherent benefits.

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

I have read a lot about other aces experiencing prejudice,
but I have not experienced any myself – not in the arts, anyway. If I did
experience prejudice or ignorance, depending on the situation, I would try to
clarify my experience and perspective. It is important for us to speak out
about our own experiences and to be obstinate about this, so as not to let
“reality” be defined by others, especially if they are hostile to us.
After all, truth and wisdom are not usually found in numbers, even if strength
and volume are.

I am fortunate enough to have read an article about
asexuality in the (now extinct) magazine ElleGirl when I was 12 or 13 years
old, so I knew that asexuality existed and that it seemed to fit with how I
felt. If I hadn’t known about asexuality then, I would have probably
experienced a lot of distressing confusion about myself throughout my life.

Later, I read about “sublimating” the libido into
art or other activities, in The Satanic Bible, by Anton LaVey. (Napoleon
Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich also speaks of sublimating the libido.)
This in particular resonated with me deeply, as it described something which I
had always been doing. “Sublimation” of the libido has always been
natural for me, long before I knew what “sex” or
“masturbation” meant – whereas having sex, or even thinking about it,
still seems bizarre and unnatural to me. As I see it, sexual activity is only
one outlet for the libido and definitely not the driving force behind
it. I also realize that non-libidoist asexuals experience things differently
from me, so this may be a prejudice which they encounter.

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

Almost every time I have told anyone I was asexual, they ask
if I had been molested as a child. I have not experienced any kind of sexual
trauma at any point in my life – though I know that some asexuals have – and
I’m quite certain that I wouldn’t want to tell them if I had. This assumption
can annoy me, as I feel like they are implying that the notion of someone not
liking something “natural” is inconceivable unless the person had
experienced something terrible which turned them against it. I realize they may
not intend to imply anything.

I have had two different people try to use the fact that I
didn’t date as “evidence” that I was insane, though I had not
explicitly told these people I was asexual. I’m glad I didn’t waste my time and
efforts dating people I had zero interest in.

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

Above all, don’t settle for a life or a lifestyle you don’t
want, because someone –or society – pushes the idea that you “have
to” live a certain way. There is no “have to” in life, beyond
breathing. Seeking out positive and supportive people and choosing to spend
your time with them can help to not feel alienated and marginalized; it can
alleviate the pressure to behave a certain way to fit in.

I have always had a very exact vision of the life I wanted
from as long as I could remember, with no compromises. I’ve always felt the
need to live alone with a life partner or soulmate, with absolutely no children
or family, but possibly a pet. Someone accepting of my asexuality. Someone I
could be myself with and collaborate with. Someone who doesn’t smoke. Someone
with a unique fashion sense, as shallow as that may seem. For so long, it
seemed like no such person existed for me, yet “compromising” or
settling for anyone else would have been intolerable. Now, I am so grateful to
myself that I never did.

I know that there are people now, even among sexuals, who
are in the same place I was, fearing that they will be alone forever, and being
asexual can statistically narrow your options. I am skeptical about everything,
so I was very aware that the odds were against me. All I can say now is that my
dreams came true in this regard, so there’s hope for everyone. I feel a little
awkward saying it, as it seems cliché, but it happened for me.

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

I have a website,
and I am on most social media platforms; Instagram, Twitter, and DeviantArt. I also have a
blog on WordPress
– and I usually follow back (with sincere interest). Most of my work is
available as prints and merchandise on RedBubble.

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

Interview: Imogen

Today we’re joined by Imogen. Imogen is a phenomenal performance artist from New Zealand. She does a bit of everything: acting, singing, dancing, and was even in orchestra for a bit. When she’s not performing, Imogen loves to write. She’s currently writing a novel and recently, a play that she wrote and directed was performed. It’s clear she’s a talented and dedicated artist who loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I suppose
that my art is in storytelling, or presenting. I am a performer, in all areas.
I did ballet for 12 years, did singing, was involved with the school choirs and
orchestra and I am currently writing a novel.

I act
whenever possible, and often say that ‘I am most myself when I am on the stage,
pretending to be someone else.’

Recently I
wrote and directed an original play called “Evil Con!” It was fun play about a
bunch of villains hanging out, and a henchman (Bob) who ruined their time.

What inspires you?

Death.  Both the character (mainly the Discworld
version) for his … belief in humanity for lack of a better description, and the
act itself. We are all going to die eventually, and this life is all we have,
so we should try and make it to our deaths alive.

It sounds
contradictory, but that is what inspires me. The fact that we will one day die
inspires me to live, and to do what I love – Reading, Writing, Shopping, Dancing,
Singing, Acting.

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


Everything I suppose.

I’ve always
loved performing, and when I started dancing; I fell in love with the
discipline it requires and the freedom and emotions it allows you to express.
The same with writing. You have to be disciplined to keep writing, and writing
allows you to explore and understand everything that there could possibly be.

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 not
sure if anything I do is unique or special, but I suppose that there are
constants of my works. My writing is very character driven with simple
plot-lines. My movements are infused naturally with the twelve years of ballet,
I find it very challenging to NOT have perfect posture.

I also like
to use and mock clichés. A friend once said “Clichés are cliché for a reason;
it’s because they work.” She was right. I like using clichés because they do
work, but I also like to mock clichés … because they are cliché. It makes for
an interesting balance within my work.

I don’t
want to mock too much to make my art into a parody, but nor do I wish o be too
serious in my use of clichés as that could take away from the worlds I’m trying
to create.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

The same
advice that any artist gives. “Don’t give up” and “Create the Art you want”.
Write the stories that you want to read, draw the images you want to look at,
make the music that you want to hear, produce the shows that you want to see.
And whatever else you do; don’t give up. This is the advice given by any
successful artist, and it is true.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Greysexual.
I think of it as – on a scale of 1-10 (0 being absolutely Asexual and also
Sex-Repulsed, and 11 being Nymphomaniac/Sex Addict) I am a 2; occasionally a 3.

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

I am quite
lucky in that I haven’t personally had ace prejudice directed towards me. I
actually believe that everyone should be involved with community theatre at
some point in their lives; yes, there are a couple of divas, but most people
are really awesome, open-minded and accepting of everyone else. It’s definitely
a place where you can be free to be yourself.

I have felt
prejudice in life though.

Whenever I
see those arguments online about “Girls do actually only wear make-up and
form-fitting clothes because they do actually want attention – even if it’s
only subconsciously.”

Those
arguments are completely frustrating. They infuriate me – not just as a girl
who likes to wear makeup, but also as someone on the ace spectrum. It
completely disregards the fact that some of us have no interest in finding a
‘sexual partner’ but like to look nice – I don’t wear makeup and formfitting
clothes because I’m “trying to find a mate”, but because I’m Vain, and I like
looking at myself in the mirror! I don’t need to be interested in sex to be
pretty.

I usually
deal with it by trying to ignore it, and by remembering that there are
intelligent people in the world who don’t share the above opinion.

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

Possibly
the whole ‘just need the right person’ thing.

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

The same
advice I’ve seen on these awesome interviews. That you’re not alone and that
you are definitely not broken. You are you, and as long as you are okay with
that, then that is the only thing you need to be.

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

Unless in
NZ people probably won’t be able to find my work, but I do have a couple of
fanfictions written under the name ‘Aslansphoenix’.

Although if
you give me a couple of years and hopefully my novel will get published and
enjoyed.

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

Interview: Hanna

Today we’re joined by Hanna. Hanna is a wonderful artist who mostly crochets. She also writes and does photography as a hobby. Hanna loves to crochet and has crocheted a bit of everything, including fandom-inspired plushies. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as  you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I do a little of a lot of things. I love to write and am an
English major at UC Davis. I love taking photographs, though that’s mostly a
hobby right now, and I love tinkering in the kitchen and making spoonie
friendly or food restriction friendly recipes. My main focus tends to be
crochet though. I started teaching myself to crochet something like 7 years ago
give or take a year. I started with the standard terrible scarf and moved on to
plushies and blankets mainly. I work with free designs from various internet
sources or create my own. I’ve made a lot of fandom inspired plushies, a few
headbands, some wall hangings and even a bag.

What inspires you?

A lot of things inspire me. I started tinkering with baking
and cooking because I have a lot of food allergies and a lot of my family
members are diabetic. I started to love photography because it lets me capture
a moment or show my point of view on things. I started writing because I’ve
always wanted to tell stories. My mom says that when I was a toddler she’d try
and put me down for a nap, but I’d insist on telling my own stories and she
would be the one to fall asleep instead. I started crocheting as a way to cope
with a lot of new pain (I have several chronic illnesses that only started
showing up around that time in my life.) It also helped me cope with anxiety
and depression, I could put all my feelings into the crochet and disappear into
it for hours at a time. A lot of my fandom-based projects were created in bed
or on the couch while I binge watched shows or listened to podcasts and
audiobooks because I couldn’t really do anything else.

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

I have to give credit to Diane Duane, specifically her Young
Wizards books. They are all about fighting entropy and doing your best to
improve the universe. That’s what I try to do with all my art. I write to make
people happy, sometimes it’s just me, other times it’s a friend who’s had a bad
day, etc. I create safe foods so that I and those I love can experience a
little extra pleasure and it always makes me happy to feed people I care about.
And I crochet because a- it lets me create new things in the world rather than
destroying anything (as a teenager I was a little too destructive in my worst
moments.) and b- I can give things to people, tangible things, that make them
happy. I’ve always wanted to be a writer or a creator of some sort, I’ve always
wanted to make the world a better place and that has always been closely linked
to being creative for me.

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

I can’t say that I do have anything quite so specific. A lot
of my photographs end up featuring my pets though. I often use one of them as a
model or background when I’m photographing new crochet designs too. I guess you
could call that my unique signature!

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Keep trying. It is always, always, always hard to start. It
does get easier. But here’s the thing, I’ve been writing for 20 years now, I’ve
been cooking since I was 3, I’ve taken photographs probably for nearly the same
amount of time, and I have been crocheting for almost a decade. I still
struggle with all of those things. Mistakes happen, failures happen. My best
advice is go ahead, take a moment to mourn the failures, then learn from them
and move forward. I take breaks from various things when I have to for health
reasons, but I never give up on them.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am asexual. I can find people aesthetically pleasing sure,
but I do not experience sexual attraction to anyone, never have. Maybe one day
I will, and at that point I may change how I identify, and that’s fine,
sexuality is fluid, but right now, I am ace.

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

Yes. As an English Major I have taken a lot of English
classes, both literature and creative writing. So many of these classes have
had a lot of sexual content and a very heteronormative focus. It gets tiring
and it gets uncomfortable, and there have been classes where I just had to
leave the room because the discussion was too much for me. I try and take a
read of the professor, I always try to approach all of these professors and
explain asexuality at least once, but some of them refuse to listen and I have
to back down in order to continue to feel safe in the class. My favorite
professors are always the ones who start things off with offering pronouns at
the start of the term and have an open-door policy to discuss any issues with
the way they teach the class. Unfortunately, those professors are not as common
as I’d like, but I have a feeling that might change as the next few generations
step up to the playing field.

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

I think it is ‘so that means you can’t ever have a real
relationship’ which is incredibly inaccurate and hurtful. I am in a
relationship with another ace person, we have been together for 4 and a half
years now and we are very happy together.

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

I know it can be strange and painful to not fit in with so
many of your peers. It can feel like you are broken or sick or like something
else is wrong and if only that one thing would change about you, you would be
Normal. You are not broken, you are not wrong. I highly recommend reaching out
to other ace people and talking. You are not alone.

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

Well, I have a Tumblr (Devieklutz
and Deviecrochet), though I do
not use it very often these days. I am frequently on the Slack for the Young
Wizards fandom (youngwizards.slack.com)
and we have an incredible ace community there. This fandom is the most
supportive group of people I’ve ever encountered, and we have an unusually high
percentage of ace members (I think it was nearly 50% as of the last survey!) I
also help run a convention for the fandom: CrossingsCon (crossingscon.org) our next convention
is in Montreal in June of 2019, we have plenty of badges available if anyone
wants to come and hang out and meet a lot of very cool, very supportive people.

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

Interview: Paola

Today we’re joined by Paola. Paola is a phenomenal musician from Sweden who has recently joined a new punk band called Psykonauterna. The band formed last September and doesn’t have an album out yet, but have recorded and played covers of punk and grunge songs. They’re planning on playing some gigs in the summer. Paola is incredibly dedicated and excited about music. She obviously loves music, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I am the guitarist, lead singer, and songwriter in a recently
formed punk band called Psykonauterna (Swedish for “the Psychonauts”).  We formed in September 2018 and so far, have
been playing covers of punk and grunge songs in small gigs, though we hopefully
will soon begin working on our first songs and album.  My inspirations, specifically, come primarily
from the Manchester music scene of the 70s/80s/90s—things like the Smiths, Joy
Division, the Sex Pistols, etc. — but I also endeavor to find my own path when
I consider the kind of songs I want to write.
I have been playing guitar for less than two years and spend most of my
time learning songs written by musicians I admire.

What inspires you?

What inspires me the most, musically, is the punk movement
and attitude.  Nearly every punk
musician, especially during the early punk years of the late ‘70s, came from
poor and/or inexperienced backgrounds.
After being inspired by their contemporaries, people would just pick up
a guitar or bass for the first time, gather some friends, and weeks later they
would be playing gigs together and eventually writing songs.  As someone who has been playing guitar less
than two years at this point, this “anyone can do it” attitude of punk is
alluring to me and helps me to realize that I do not have to be Jimi Hendrix or
Jimmy Page or any of the legendary guitarists of the past 100 years to make it
as a musician.  If Peter Hook [bassist to
my favorite band] can go from hardly knowing what a bass guitar is to writing
amazing songs within a couple years, then I think I may not be in such a bad
position.  I feel captivated by learning
the stories of these musicians because they make me think, “Hey, this could
work!”.

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

Yes and no.  Perhaps
everyone has experienced this, but I have always been fascinated by the
guitar.  As a child I would daydream
about playing the songs on the radio or my iPod that had cool riffs, and from
the age of about 15 I remember telling people that I wanted to someday learn
guitar (I specifically remember saying I would learn Stairway to Heaven first, which I have yet to do, shame on
me).  However, it was not until the past
year or so that I seriously decided that I wanted to write my own songs, be in
a band, and have a career within music.

As for what got me interested in my field, the short answer
is all the music that I love.  I’ve
always been passionate about listening to music—everything from punk to new
wave to synthpop to grunge—and learning about the musicians behind the music
that means so much to me.  I connect
better to music than I do to novels and films, despite also being a hungry consumer
of those types of media.  When I listen
to a song, I often pay attention to every part: the lyrics, the bassline, the
guitar, etc., and how they fit together, often getting moved by more than just
the lyrics of the song. The right bassline or guitar riff or synth sound can
energize me and make me feel things just as well as a well-written lyric.
Shortly after picking up my first guitar and learning some of the simpler songs
that I enjoy I began to hunger for more.
It probably wasn’t a specific moment that this happened, but I
eventually began to think, “you know, I want to do this. I want to be like all
the musicians I love and admire, going up there on stage and both playing and
singing my heart out.” So, I began to write lyrics.  Simple things inspired by my favorite
lyricists, Ian Curtis and Morrissey, as well as my own experiences.  By September 2018, this dream started to
become a reality when I grouped with several people as a band and prepared for
my first gig.

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

I haven’t finished any of my self-written songs yet, but
when writing lyrics, I keep in mind the thought of writing songs that can touch
a variety of audiences.  Of course, I
endeavor to “write from my heart”, as in lyrics that mean something to me since
good lyrics often come from the author’s experiences and feelings.  However, most of my songs so far have been
neutral in that they talk more about the feelings aspect and don’t focus
specifically on a certain gender in either the perspective or the subject of
the song.  Most are not even explicitly
or implicitly about romantic relationships.
I have these half-written song lyrics that are about different painful
experiences I have gone through—mental illness, losing friends—that have
nothing to do with going through a breakup, which is contrary to what many
songs of varying genres are about.  Like
the late Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks said, “I enjoy writing songs that do not
exclude anyone.  The only people they
exclude are people who don’t know anything about love.” In my case, I consider
the broad definition of the word love.  Though it may not be as direct a signature as
other artists include, it is my way to let my identity shine through and to
include people of varying genders and sexualities, much in the way Pete Shelley
did.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

My advice? Dare to try.
I know it is cliché, but I never would have made it half this far if I
didn’t just dare to try.  Emphasis on the
dare.  If I didn’t for example dare to
attend that club for musicians who wanted to be in a band, instead of listening
to the voice in my head saying that the others would be much better than me,
then I would still be playing chords by myself in my bedroom. Not only were we
all at a similar level, but we also developed and learned so much
together—things I never would have learned and experienced if I didn’t take
that step.  I think this applies to any
artistic field.  Maybe you want to be a
cartoonist but don’t feel good enough at drawing to do the pieces in a local
newsletter. Well, you never know until you ask.  Or maybe you want to a publish a novel but
feel insignificant, unskilled compared to the authors on the bestseller lists.  Sure, they may have experiences, skills, and
techniques that you feel you lack, but their skills do not take away from
yours.  Dare to send in that art
portfolio.  Dare to contact that
publisher.  Dare to answer that “band
members needed ad”.  I can’t promise you
would achieve everything directly, but I also won’t suggest you would
“fail”.  When you ignore that nagging
voice in your head that says you are not as good as everyone you admire and
that you therefore won’t succeed, impressive things can happen. 

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

It is all a bit hazy for me, but I have been calling myself
demisexual/romantic because I’ve only felt those kinds of attractions toward
one person (a friend), though since it has been over a year and seems unlikely
I will experience it for a blue moon or several, I sometimes consider myself
more on the aro/ace side of the spectrum. This doesn’t much have to do with the
ace spectrum, but I also like to think I could be pan.

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

Fortunately, not, though that could be in part to the fact
that I am not completely out to the “real world”.  Only a few close friends and some LGBT+
friends/peers that I have met in real life know my identity, and with my
friends/peers/contemporaries/etc in the music industry the topic of dating or
sex has never come up, so I haven’t had the opportunity or necessity to share.
However, the people I associate with seem welcoming to LBGT+ people and I would
expect them to be understanding of me.

I will perhaps face more difficulties as I gain more
experience in this field, considering how sex is typically seen as an essential
part of music industry.  It is almost
expected that musicians would have sex with their “groupies” and indeed I jest
about wanting a “rock n roll” life first when faced with questions from friends
I am out to about marriage/dating.  But
so far, most ignorance has come from coworkers pressuring me about having a
boyfriend and have had nothing to do with the music industry.  I will just continue being unapologetically
myself no matter what prejudice or ignorance I may someday face.  In a way, it will feel truly punk, standing
up to the stereotype of musicians being male and getting with their groupies,
solely by being myself.  

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

Gosh I come across so many all the time I scroll through the
internet, more so when it comes to being demi specifically, but I think by far
the most common is that asexual is a label used by people who want to feel
special for being celibate and/or for not being interested in having sex.  It frustrates me to no end! We are not just
people who are celibates, or prudes, or uninterested in sex who want to be
“holier than thou” because of that.  We
do not feel sexual attraction or feel it rarely in some cases.  Some aces are even the opposite of those
labels and have sex with their partners as an act of intimacy, even if they do
not feel attraction.  

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

Take your time and don’t be afraid to try different labels
that may or may not fit.  It is okay to
not be sure of your exact identity and to change from different labels if you
realize one does not fit anymore. It is also okay to not have a label or not
want one and to just consider yourself aspec, because that is a catchall term
that will always be there for you.
Remember also that you are not lesser or immature for not feeling sexual
attraction or for feeling it less than your peers, no matter what they say to
the contrary.  You are a loved and
precious individual.

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

My band does not have an Instagram account or anything yet,
but if you want mini updates you are welcome to follow either of my personal
Tumblr blogs, at winterknightdragon
and at thequeenisstilldead
where I sometimes post my cover songs and will eventually share the link to our
band Instagram.  You are also welcome to
dm me if you want a link to something. My work is all over the place now so
that is the easiest way.  You don’t have
to be shy! I’m not scary just because I am in a band.

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

Interview: Senta

Today we’re joined by Senta. Senta is a phenomenal illustrator who works mostly in digital mediums. He does enjoy using ballpoint pen on occasion. He has his own style, but can also adapt to a variety of other styles. It’s clear he’s an incredibly passionate artist who loves to create, 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.

I
draw, mostly digitally but sometimes I like drawing with ballpoint pen. My
personal style is kind of muted colors and darker settings, but I do lots of
other stuff depending on the vibe I’m trying to show. I take a bit of pride on
the fact that I can cater to people’s interests, that’s especially useful in my
line of work, I’m an illustrator 😉

What inspires you?

People
inspire me, mostly fictional characters to be honest, but I love to draw
people, I love to create characters and create stories for them. I do a lot of
fan art of whatever I’m interested in the moment, or whatever catches my eye.
Sometimes it’s just a photo or something that gives me a vibe for a character
and then I have to draw them.

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

I
honestly don’t know how I started drawing, but I’ve been doing in since I can
remember. I used to draw with chalk on paper when I was a kid cause my
kindergarten didn’t have pencils for all of us. I’ve always wanted to work in
the field, yes, but I wasn’t sure what would I do exactly, I wanted to be a
graphic designer for a long time until I realized what that was and that I
couldn’t really draw much, then I went and studied to be an Illustrator 🙂

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
sign all my work as Senta, but someday I will come up with a tiny character or
something to hide in all my work, I really want to do that, but I’m not sure
what. I follow at least 3 artists that do that and I loooove it, I love to
search for the little Easter egg in all their art.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

I’m
not great with advice, but I would say PRACTICE! Practice a lot, and surround
yourself with people and things that inspire you to create. Nice supporting
friends that share your passion for art are truly special, whether is online or
IRL. Also, really practice! Nobody is born knowing how to so stuff, all those
awesome artists that you love? Those people busted their butts off to get
there.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I
identify as ace and quasiromantic bi (that label is pretty recent 😉 ) but I
usually go with queer, it’s shorter.

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

Not
necessarily on my field. I’ve encountered it online, where I post my art, or in
fandoms I make art of, but it’s never about the art itself (thankfully). Either
way I try to let it go and not let it affect me too much. People are ignorant,
a lot of people are, and if I offer some education and they deny it by being
close minded then there’s nothing I can do about it… That said, it does
affect me sometimes, and then I just go and talk to supportive people, I vent a
little and then I usually forget why I was upset in the first place.

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

I’ve had a lot of “being asexual is basically being
straight”, some “you have to be attracted to someone”, and a few people
invalidating queerplatonic relationships and saying they’re “basically just
friendships”… As I said, ignorant people ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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

Look,
I’m the kind of person who loves labels, I looove having a word to explain how
I feel, to know that there’s someone out there who feels the same, so I hate it
when people say “you don’t have to label yourself, just be you”. But as much as
I hate it, they do have a point… cause even if you don’t find a label, it
doesn’t mean you’re alone, there’s so many people in the world I’m 100% sure
there’s at least 50 more people who feel the same.

Specially
in the asexual community, we talk more openly about it being a spectrum, so
it’s hard to find your place in it, and it might even move around, but it’s ok,
take your time. I’d say don’t rush anything, don’t pressure yourself to know
everything, it’s ok not to know. And don’t be afraid to change your mind, that
doesn’t mean you’re fake, you’re just figuring things out, and to be honest, we
all are… Be patient with yourself, be kind, and don’t let anyone define you,
only you can decide your labels (if you decide they’re for you 😉 )

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

I’m
on Tumblr: sentaart (and the-doctor-is-ace is my personal blog) and
Instagram: senta_art

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

Interview: Celine Chin

Today we’re joined by Celine Chin, who also goes by

Rururinchan. Celine is a phenomenal fanartist from Singapore. She loves to draw her favorite characters and write fics as well. Celine also creates YouTube videos. She also does a bit of original work on the side. Her work is beautiful, brimming with emotion and detail. It’s clear she’s a passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

My art primarily focuses on things that spark emotion in
both myself and others. I am a fan-artist most of the time, and I love just
drawing my favourite characters, putting them into stories in fanfiction, and
making videos to express how much I love the shows/books/movies etc. I also use
art/writing especially to express myself, often during the more stressful times
as it helps me get through those times a little easier.

What inspires you?

Inspiration and I have a weird relationship. I tend to get
random bursts of inspiration at any given time, sometimes for ideas that are
simple enough, and sometimes the ideas are just so ridiculous and wild it’s hard
to figure out what to do with them. I write most of it down as soon as I can
though, and these little lists I keep are what I would go to first if I need an
idea for content. If not, I like to go on YouTube, and pick videos and music to
watch/listen to based on my artistic mood of the day. Music tends to give me
more inspirational vibes though.

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

Art has been a hobby to me for literally all my life. My
parents tell me that I learned to draw in colourful crayons before I could
speak. I remember being a child and drawing whatever made me happy or sad, and
I was always so proud of them even though my art was not of average kid-quality
back then. I was proud of the fact that I created something myself, and it
never went away, only growing more and more over the years.

Drawing was my primary art form as a kid, then when I got to
my teens, I started trying out more creative art forms, like sewing, baking,
singing and dancing, etc. The one that stuck was writing, as book had become a
major part of my life around then too. Again, that pride of being able to
create something with my own hands was no less than a wonderful feeling. Also,
it was the first time I was creating full stories. It was amazing.

I took media and animation studies in polytechnic after
secondary school, and there my love for video work and photography took off.
Now, I could put my art and my stories to good use in video format. It’s
ridiculously tedious half the time, but the satisfaction at literally watching
all your hard work pay off at the end? It’s the best.

So yes, I’ve always wanted to be in artist, but really, I’ve
been one all along haven’t I? Career or not, art is what brings the most joy to
my life, aside from those close to me of course!

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 at the moment. I’m working on my name as an artist, and
would love to create my own signature symbol but I’m a little stumped on that
for now as I’m still figuring out what defining feature I would like to
highlight about myself.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

The best advice I can give is: Please never try to hold
yourself back by making your own expectations too high. I’ve seen many, many
people give up on creativity despite loving it simply because they felt like
their content was never “good enough”, and it’s only harder when they compare
themselves to people around them.

On that note, I’d also like to say that you should never
assume art is something that strictly requires “talent”. Would having a natural
affinity for being creative and good with your hands be useful as an artist? No
doubt it would, I can’t deny that. However, once you firmly decide that
“talent” is a strict requirement and that you may not have that “talent”, it’s
over for you, because once you get into this mindset, everything you do will
never feel “good enough” to you, as you’ll keep feeling that you simply don’t
have the “talent”. It harms your creative self more than you may think, I knew
someone who hated their own art and gave up because they taught they were the
only one in their family without the “natural born artistic talent”, and
despite being fairly decent at their craft, they ultimately gave up because
they resigned themself to believing that they would never do as well as they
didn’t have the “talent”. Also, by believing “talent” is necessary, you
undermine all the hard work artists put into their work. Many spend years and
years and years working on their craft, and trust me when I say that most of
them still think their work isn’t as good as they would’ve liked. But they post
it anyway, because it’s at least “good enough”.

Don’t weigh yourself down with invisible chains. Let
yourself be “okay” instead of “perfect”. You’re only human, let your art
reflect that. Study the art form you want to learn, look up references and helpful
tips, practice and practice.

All artists will hate their art sometimes. Even I stopped
for a while during some darker times in my life, but if you feel that art is
truly something you love, never give up on it, even if nothing BIG ever comes
out of it. If you love it, if it makes you happy in any way, it’s already doing
it’s job for you right.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m asexual! Still working on the romantic side, but it’s
somewhere on the aro-spectrum. I do find girls at least aesthetically
attractive a lot, so I overall identify as a a sapphic aro-ace person.

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

Unfortunately yes. I live in Singapore, where anyone that
isn’t gay/lesbian/trans is considered a “weird normal person” (“normal” as in
cishet, it sucks). I’ve tried to include asexuality in my works in school, and
have often received comments about how it was childish, misinformation, or
simply something that didn’t exist. Explanations don’t work when people don’t
want to listen. I’m not free from the prejudice online either. Sometime ago on
Tumblr, I made asexual headcanons for characters that were popularly seen as
gay and pan respectively within the fandom (but were not confirmed in canon)
and got quite a bit of anon hate for it, the comments ranging from how I was
homophobic or how I shouldn’t be “forcing a ace headcanon on young teens since
they aren’t sexual anyway”.

It’s hard to handle, that’s for sure, but in the end it’s
not my job to educate the ignorant. I will support those who do and help to
bring up fellow aces in my community when I can, but the bigoted don’t deserve
my attention as far as I’m concerned. I block them when I can, and move right
on to making more asexual headcanon posts out of spite. As far as I’m
concerned, I’m just here to live my life and exist as a person, not be an
informant for people who refuse to take in any information they’re given
anyway.

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

Definitely the misconception that we hate sex. I myself am a
sex-repulsed ace with a very low sex drive, but it irks me when people assume
we’re all exactly like that. Let asexuals who are open to sex be sexual without
calling them fake aces. Like damn.

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

You might hate it sometimes at first, especially if you’re
younger and/or on the aro-spectrum. With how our society focuses so much on
romance and sex as a requirement of love and happiness, it’s sometimes easy to
fall into a trap that no one will ever love you and that you won’t ever be
happy. Even after you get more comfortable with your sexuality, you still might
feel like that every now and again, even if you’re an allo-romantic ace who’s
fine with sexual intimacy. Just remember that who you’re attracted to, or lack
thereof, doesn’t define who you are. There’s nothing “broken” or “unnatural”
about you for being ace, and I want you to know you’re valid and you and your
sexuality deserve to be respected. There are so many types of love out there,
not just romantic and sexual. Keep those you see as your family close and
treasure them, and don’t let go of your passions and things that bring you joy.
Don’t forget that self-love is important too. If you’re like me, who took a
long time figuring out how to love myself, don’t try to force things, but also
give yourself chances to be proud of the things you’ve done. If you’re an
artist like I am, take pride in your artwork (within reason), and let yourself
be confident in your skills in yourself. You’ll get there. 🙂

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

Tumblr: http://rururincreative.tumblr.com/
(Art Blog)
AO3: https://archiveofourown.org/users/Rururinchan
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCE_pHKt0IeMJVwbjdWtvA0A
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rururinchan/

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

Interview: Hope

Today we’re joined by Hope. Hope is an amazing special effects artist who does incredible work with makeup. She also creates moodboards. Her SFX is eerie and graphic, something straight out of a horror movie. She’s a self-taught artist and is clearly very talented. It’s obvious that she’s an incredibly passionate and creative 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 am a self-taught special effects artist. I learned what I
know mostly through YouTube videos but I’m constantly learning more and always
improving. I really love special effects because it’s a medium to express
myself in a unique cool way. I think that special effects has really helped me
to embrace my creativity and my uniqueness because I think that society has a
little box that they want girls especially to fit in and that’s just not me.

What inspires you?

I think the things that inspire me most are the amazing
creations of other people and often things I read about in books. Special
effects is such a rare but amazing hobby and it’s so cool to meet others that
share that love that I have. Often I will see a really cool look on Pinterest
and then recreate it with my own special twist. I also really like imagining
what a wound would look like in a book and then bringing it to life.

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

I first started finding out about special effects when i
found this YouTube channel called glam and gore. Before this I had seen SFX in
movies and pictures of Halloween costumes but I never really never thought of
it as something that was accessible to me.
When I started watching this channel it was like a whole new world was
opened to me. I thought it was crazy how someone could make a wound so
realistically out of cotton, latex and paint.
Halloween was right around the corner so I figured “why not it looks
like fun” and bought some basic supplies. That why not was the beginning of my
new found passion for SFX makeup and an amazing hobby that allows me to be
myself.

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

No

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

The biggest piece of advice I can give is not just to be
yourself but to do it for yourself. Because the moment you do things for other
people is the moment that you lose a piece of yourself. If it makes you happy
do it! If it doesn’t or makes you feel bad stop and figure out why. If you can
fix the problem and continue in a healthy way do it. If you can’t then stop.
Your health is your first priority. Your happiness is the first priority. Your
art is for you. If you love it and other people love it amazing. If it makes
you happy even though others hate it continue. There are always going to be
haters in the world so that’s why you have to be your biggest fan.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I proudly identify as biromantic. This means that I don’t
have sexual attraction to anyone but I have romantic attraction to both males
and females. More on the male side lol.

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

Not really in my field but a lot in general. In my personal
life my parents are well meaning but they keep telling me that I’m too young to
know that I’m ace and I might change when I’m older.

In general there is a lot of stigma about bisexuals and
asexuals and whether they are LGBTQIA+ (It’s literally in the name) so being
both means double the amount. I think all sexualities are equally important and
shouldn’t get hate. I believe the best thing to do is to make your point once
calmly and if they don’t listen let them look like the jerk and idiot. Don’t
bring yourself to their level.

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

That asexuals will change or need to be changed.

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

You are valid. You are loved and amazing. Don’t listen to
anyone who says that you are too old or young or too anything. The only
qualification for being ace is not having sexual attraction. That’s it! Having
sex doesn’t make you less ace. Masturbating doesn’t make you less ace.
Fantasizing doesn’t make you less ace. Having romantic attraction doesn’t make
you less ace. There is no such thing as a fake ace. You be you and don’t let
anyone tell you otherwise.  

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

My main blog is at thefightingfangirl but if you
just want to see my SFX work my side blog is at monsters-gore-andmore.

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

Interview: Jaime Hawkins

Today we’re joined by Jaime Hawkins. Jaime is a phenomenal visual artist who has a company called Queen Cheetah Designs, which sells enamel pins that she designs. Aside from making enamel pins, Jaime also does quite a lot of fine art. She’s heavily inspired by nature, which shows in her work. It’s clear she’s a driven and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I graduated with a degree in Graphic Design and Printmaking.
I’ve always loved learning any type of art I could get my hands on – drawing,
painting, digital art – you name it! When I have the time, I enjoy drawing on
my tablet and taking on small freelance design jobs. My biggest endeavor,
however, is my merchandise company Queen Cheetah Designs. Last year the trend
of “Enamel Pins” came back around full force, and I decided to try my hand at
designing some! I started out with moths, and have since branched out to
beetles, spiders, and other nature inspired pins. It makes me really happy to
see my designs come to life as physical merchandise that people like to wear,
and it makes me feel like an accomplished artist! My designs did so well that I
kept making them, and now I have a pretty successful side job running Queen
Cheetah Designs. I hope to branch out in the future to apparel and other merch!

What inspires you?

I think animals and nature have served to be my most
important source of inspiration for my drawing and my merchandise design. It’s
a subject I have always loved, and there is endless beauty and creativity that
can be found in creatures, plants, and our other surroundings. From striking
color palettes to unique patterns, as an artist I feel like I can learn so much
from what already exists in nature, and apply it to my fine art and design
work.

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

From a very young age, I was interested in art. I would
doodle on my homework and draw mash ups of animals to play as during recess. I
took art lessons with another girl at a local framing shop for a few years,
where I learned most of the basics of fine art.

I can’t quite remember how, but “design” specifically caught
my eye around middle school. Packaging design, logo design – I found it all
really fascinating how much thought went into a design and the finished result.
It’s been my driving passion ever since.

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

I wish I could say I had a signature style, but that is
something I still struggle with as an artist. I do tend to enjoy drawing
somewhere in between realistic with a fantasy flair thrown in. I’d like to
refine this over the next few years, but developing anything in art takes time
and practice!

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Drawing – Most of what you create will not be for profit, or
even for other people. There is a lot of pressure nowadays to instantly start
creating and making money, but it’s important to take the time to draw for
yourself. Learn what you like to draw and how you want to draw it. It should be
fun, not something you feel pressured to do. And no matter what level you are
now – just keep going. Practice as often as you can. (DRAW THOSE BACKGROUNDS).
Think of how proud younger you would be of your talent now, and strive to make
them proud.

Making Merchandise/ Pins – It takes more than an idea to be
successful at selling merchandise. It is a tough and tiring job. You have to be
your own manager, designer, PR person, and salesman. Kickstarters are a great
way to fund a potential design, but be careful that you are prepared to handle
the responsibility of ordering your merchandise and fulfilling orders. Don’t
jump into it – take time to plan. But if you feel prepared, it can be a very
rewarding endeavor!

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?

Relating to the art/ design field specifically? I would say
not really, but then again my art usually doesn’t relate to my sexuality. But
there are plenty of individuals you interact with online who are outspoken with
the fact that they think it’s “not real” or that “we’ve just had bad
experiences”. I try to educate where I can, and when it seems like the people
might be receptive. A lot of ideas about asexuality spring from ignorance. Some
folks just don’t want to understand though, and sometimes you just have to
brush it off and move on. Find solace with others who share your experiences.

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

That all asexual people are sex repulsed, and hate all types
of physical contact. I’m what you would call a sex apathetic asexual. I have no
interest in it, and have no desire to seek it out, but it doesn’t bother me.
It’s a light switch that stays off.

It does become a problem when I desire other attention from
partners that traditionally leads to sex. Like making out, or cuddling – it’s
either all or nothing. This leads to a very frustrated ace that doesn’t feel
cherished but feels hypocritical asking for more physical contact “as an ace
person”.

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

Asexuality is a spectrum, and everyone experiences it in
their own way. Being Ace is really hard at times, especially when it comes to
finding a partner. It is important to find someone who respects your comfort
levels and communicates with you to find out how to approach that part of your
relationship. It’s tempting to push your own comfort levels aside to make them
happy, because it may make you feel desired – but it will breed resentment in
time if there is no respect for your likes and dislikes as well. For people
like us it is especially important to make friends and not rely entirely on
having a partner to feel fulfilled.

If you find someone, make sure they love you AS someone who
is asexual, not DESPITE the fact you are asexual.

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

You can find all my enamel pins and current merchandise on
my Etsy shop -> https://www.etsy.com/shop/QueenCheetahDesigns.
You can also follow me on Twitter at Jaime_Hawkins
or on Instagram under Jaime_Hawkins_Design
to stay up to date on my art and any upcoming designs.

Thank you so much!

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