Category: drawing

Today we’re joined by Fish-Heads. Fish-Heads is a wonderful visual artist who does a little bit of everything. He does drawing, painting, large scale installations, and has recently been dabbling in digital art. He enjoys drawing monsters in particular and his drawings are vivid and unique. It’s clear he loves what he does, 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 try not to limit myself to one particular medium over
another, so I consider myself a ‘jack of all trade’ kind of artist. Painting,
sculpture, large-scale installation, drawing; whatever feels natural to that
particular piece at the time is what I roll with. Recently, however, I have
started dabbling in digital art for the first time, and have quickly fallen in
love with it.

What inspires you?

I enjoy working within the realm of monsters. Inner demons,
monsters living under your bed, tricksters and lonely souls; depicting monsters
has become a quick and cathartic method for me to cope with my own struggles
throughout life.

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

I have been interested in art since I was a little kid. As I
got older though, art making became a way for me to escape reality and the
tribulations of mental illness. Depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
have been a part of my existence for most of my life, so art making gave me
those few moments of solace in the day to get away from it. Even after
receiving my BFA and MFA, art continues to pull me away from life and steer my
mind toward calmer places.

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?

Mouths and teeth have been a consistent staple throughout
most of my work. I like to think there is a strange and disgusting beauty to
mouths; they showcase so much of our internal and external emotions. A smile
can depict happiness and willingness, but it can also express fear and
uncertainty. Likewise, frowns can express sadness, illness, and pain. I use
mouths as my primary focal point because they are so malleable and squishy, and
have been an effective outlet for depicting my own emotions to the viewer.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Try not to get caught up in finding your niche style or
medium; always allow for experimenting and exploration in oneself. Do not fall
prey to comparing your art with other artist. If you are not having fun making your
art, then what is the point?

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as a Demibisexual.

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

I would say the number one type of ignorance that I
experience, not only within my field, but in general, is the assumption that
aces, of any kind, do not exist. Since I do live within a fairly touchy ‘red’
area, confronting such ignorance is a relatively fruitless endeavor, so I tend
to ignore it. However, despite being afloat in a red sea, I am comforted
knowing that I am far from the only one out there; and have made a number of
friendships with others just like me.

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

Sexual relationships = happiness, therefore aces are not
happy. This misconception has plagued me for so long, and only continues to be
more prevalent the older I get. The notion that one must be in a
sexually-active relationship in order to achieve happiness has always rubbed me
the wrong way. I have been walking through my life knowing many fantastic and
brilliant people, people that have brought me significant amounts of joy, and
never once did I ever want to sleep with them.

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

You are not alone, there are others out there just like you.
Even when things get tough, remember to turn toward that which brings you
happiness, and run with it.

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

Website – www.fish-heads-monsters.com
Twitter – at LoneFishMonger
Teespring – https://teespring.com/stores/fish-heads-inc

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

Today we’re joined by Megan Hustmyer. Megan is a phenomenal visual artist and author who does a bit of everything. They paint, sculpt, and do illustrations. On the writing side, they write poetry and prose. Megan is currently working on a novel featuring an asexual succubus. It’s clear they’re a very dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I am an artist and a writer. I draw, I sculpt, I paint, and
I write prose and poetry. My work has undertones concerning self-love and
acceptance, which is especially potent for me personally as a queer creator. I
really love imagining queer creatures, aliens, monsters, realms and the like.

I’m working on my first magical realism novel, which focuses
on an asexual, non-binary succubus living in contemporary America. So they’re
pretty much screwed, but they make their best go at it.

What inspires you?

I’ve always loved fantasy, science-fiction, magic, mythology
and folklore. More recently I’ve been attracted to queer theory, particularly
the academic work of Ela Pryzbolo, an asexual scholar who writes theory on
asexuality. I’m heavily inspired by her mission to expand and fuck with the
limitations of asexuality/sexuality. I believe that a narrow definition of
queerness isn’t queer at all. Which is why I want to write about an asexual
succubus, it’s a great way for me personally to explore the identity of gray-sexuality
and be able to look at sexuality through an asexual lens.

I also love ‘We Were Witches’ by Ariel Gore, trees, and
affirming that nature is gay.

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

I didn’t actually start to think of myself as an artist
until I was in my sophomore year of college, majoring in fine arts. I knew
there wasn’t a way I could just not have art in my life. Before that, I
considered it a hobby. I also daydreamed a lot, and for a long time I thought
that it was unhealthy, but now I’ve come to terms with my imaginative
sight-seeing and I use it as a processor for my art, my stories, emotions, and
anything else I need it for.
Art itself is a fantastic processor. I’ll always be thinking about a lot of
things at once and it can be overwhelming, so the artistic process is very
helpful for me. I’ve always felt there was a link for me in particular between
art and healing. Especially when drawing or painting, I’m able to think in ways
on paper that would be too confusing in my brain. There’s a link to be made
between art therapy and tarot readings… hmmm.

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?

An underlying fondness for grossness.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Fuck shit up.

They’re gonna tell you that it’s hopeless, that it’ll waste
of time and you’ll just be a starving artist. Fuck that shit up. They’ll say
that the art market won’t have you. Fuck it up. They’ll say there’s nothing to
be done.
Fuck.
It.
Up.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Gray-asexual or as I’ve grown fond of, ‘grace’.

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

For the most part, I encounter ignorance. Whenever you’re
open about being something ‘abnormal’, you kind of also become a spokesman for
that identity, which has its positives and negatives. With asexuality, I’m
still learning about it myself, similar to my gender identity.

I met someone who considered even acts of flirting or
‘feeling sexy’ to be sexual in nature, which is an arguable stance, and yet
also admitted that the act of sex itself wasn’t always inherently sexual. By
his definition of sexuality, which also included dancing and finding people
attractive, I was sexual. By mine though, which is influenced by my conception
of sexuality in contemporary America, I was gray-asexual. He had also been born
in an earlier time in another culture. In that situation I was with someone I
trusted and I valued his opinion, so it was a little hurtful to hear that he
just didn’t understand my identity, but I’m glad we were able to talk about it
openly.

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

That asking whether or not someone masturbates is an
appropriate response to learning that someone is asexual.

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

Sexuality is confusing. It could be argued that asexuality
confuses it even more. Is asexuality a lack of something? Or is it a presence?
If it’s not a presence, then what is that feeling that completed me when I
first identified as ace? Even if you’re unsure (I still am most days), if you
know that feeling, you don’t have anything to prove. You’re not naive. You’re
not broken. You have the courage to claim a name that fits you, and you wear it
because you feel good when you do. That’s all you need.

And once again, fuck it up. Whatever that means for you.
Maybe it means taking a rad bubble bath and reading manga. Maybe it means doing
drag. Maybe it’s creating a loud sign and going to a protest. Maybe it’s
singing as loud as you can. Maybe it’s listening to your favorite album. It’s whatever
gives you strength. It’s doing what you need to do. It’s taking care of
yourself.

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

The novel I’m working on is still under the radar for the
most part, but I’ll be sure to post updates on it via social media and my main
website.

My fine art, sculpture, social practice work, can be found
here: meganhustmyer.carbonmade.com

My graphic design an illustration portfolio can be found
here: meginetdesignsthings.myportfolio.com

My Instagram:  m.g.aoh or _meginet

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

Today we’re joined by Eva I. Eva is a phenomenal South Asian visual artist and author. She draws portraits and character concepts, using a variety of mediums. As far as writing, Eva is currently working on two fantasy novels, both of which feature asexual protagonists. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist with an incredibly bright future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m one of those artists who likes to dabble in, well, everything. Over the years, I’ve tried
out typography and hand lettering, crafts, music (I still play the ukulele
occasionally), writing, and drawing. Out of all those things, I suppose the ones
that have stuck with me would be the latter two.

Even with drawing, I can’t make up my mind. My style
fluctuates with my mood, the weather, every time I sneeze… This is evident if
you scroll through my Instagram feed; it’s like one of those repost accounts
featuring different artists. However, I am
consistent in the sense that I mainly draw portraits and character concepts,
and my preferred medium is digital art – although I do work traditionally,
using ink and sometimes watercolours, whenever the fancy strikes me. I’m hoping
to branch out and try illustrating more environments in the future.

As for my writing… I’m currently working on two fantasy
novels, both of them featuring ace protagonists, because I want to see more ace
characters (particularly those of colour) in SFF. I’m a slow writer, especially
as my mental and physical health are never that great, but I think I’ve made
good progress with both novels. I’m almost done with a passable draft for one
of them, which I hope to send out to trusted readers soon. I’m not sure if I
want to publish these stories or not – at least, not at this point in my life.

What inspires you?

I draw inspiration (haha) by consuming all kinds of art by
all kinds of artists. In fact, I’ve found it pretty inspiring to go through
some of the interviews on this blog! Whenever I need to recharge my creative
battery, I just read a book, study the works of my favourite artists, watch a
movie/show, read/watch interviews, and listen to some music. In addition to
that, I also like sleeping? I’m a permanently exhausted pigeon (aka I have a
chronic illness) so I tend to sleep a lot; I end up having a ton of cool
dreams, which I sometimes weave into my writing.

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

Creativity runs in the family, so I picked up art as a
matter of course when I was very young. I have vague memories of throwing
tantrums at the age of five when I couldn’t draw things the way I wanted;
thankfully, I’ve since managed to improve my skills (and my temper). I opened
my first art account on Facebook when I was fifteen-ish. I deleted that one a
few years ago, and started my current accounts on Twitter and Instagram under a
pseudonym so I can be more out about myself.

More recently, I started accepting freelance commissions via
social media, which has helped expand my reach (and my wallet). I wouldn’t
consider this as a career, yet, though. I don’t receive enough commissions to
depend upon it as a main source of income, so I have a day job of sorts, and
I’m trying to figure out how to get myself yeeted into college.

Writing has also been a huge interest for me since I was a
toddler; my earliest memories are of my father telling me stories. I was quick
to develop my reading skills, and you would rarely find me without a book to
read. From there, it felt natural to me that I would eventually write my own
stories. I’m a big fan of fantasy, so I read and write those for the most part.
I used to post my writing on Wattpad, but I’m a little more private about my
writing at the moment.

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 almost always sign my art, either with ‘EVA’ or
‘evadrawssometimes’. I don’t really hide anything special in my artwork, but there
is one thing about them that I can
confess to: I sometimes forget to draw eyelashes. I’m not very good at drawing
them either. I’m working on it.

In contrast, I think my writing contains many elements that
I feel are personal to me; I include puns (multilingual ones, too) and
references to real-life events that I’ve experienced personally, or have taken
place in my hometown. Those who know, will know.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Your art is a luxury, so if you’re offering commissions,
price them as such! You deserve to be compensated for your time and efforts.
(Still working on this one myself).

Breaks are good! Don’t burn yourself out just for the sake
of updating your social media. Your most dedicated fans will still stick around
even if you miss a post or ten. Maintaining a social media presence is not
worth the risk of burnout, injury, or even losing passion for your art.

If you’re offering commissions, try to include your contact
information on your profiles. Make it easier, not harder, for potential clients
to reach you.

Don’t feel obligated to post all your art on social media.

Don’t forget to make art just for yourself sometimes! Even
if capitalism says otherwise, you don’t have to monetise all your work/hobbies,
particularly when it comes to art.

It is acceptable – and good, even – to use references. It’ll
save time, and ultimately it will help you improve.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m ace, I guess. I’m still figuring it out, though I’ve gotten
more comfortable with my identity over time. I experience little to no sexual
attraction, aesthetic attraction to people of all genders, and romantic
attraction mainly towards people who are not of the same gender as myself (I
think??).

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

In my field? Not directly, I would say. I choose my audience
very carefully, and so far people have been largely accepting. I have come
across some misconceptions from others, but thankfully, most people have been
receptive to being corrected. I block those who are not interested in changing
their minds, and honestly? Best decision I ever made.

I’m not out in other circles except for a select few family
members, friends, and my current partner. I only come out to and explain my
identity to those who I think will be understanding. I don’t really mind
explaining, but it can get exhausting, especially when you’re dealing with
people who don’t listen in good faith.

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

One of the major ones I’ve come across is the conflation of
asexuality with aromanticisim, and asexuality with lack of desire for sex; the
Venn diagram of those experiences is often seen as a circle, when in reality
there are an intersection of various experiences, some of which may or may not
overlap depending on the individual.

In addition to that, there are people who believe that the
‘A’ in LGBTQIAP+ stands for ally and not
asexual, aromantic, and agender. I’ve also had someone suggest that asexuality
was a phase I would outgrow, or that I was simply nervous or afraid. There have
been other extremely harmful hot takes I’ve come across on Twitter by trolls, but
they’re too numerous and unpleasant to recount.

All of these misconceptions seem to multiply during Pride
month, which is disappointing but not surprising.

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

I would say… be open to the possibilities, and don’t be too
worried about taking your time figuring yourself out. It’s also okay to decide
on another label in the future; it does not negate the label itself nor your experience
while using it. Ultimately, it’s your identity and you are in control of
deciding who you are. Even if you’re not comfortable with/able to come out to
certain people, I hope you get to feel confident about your own sense of self.

I’ve also managed to connect with a lot of aces during my
time on Twitter, which has been a big help in affirming and discovering more
about my identity – and, incidentally, picking up on quality ace puns (and
pins. Gotta love well-designed merch by ace/LGBTQIAP+ artists).

Finally, I highly recommend checking out The Asexual (http://theasexual.com), an online journal
about asexuality run by Michael Paramo. The site includes content like essays,
artwork, and personal pieces, contributed by ace people of various backgrounds.
The Asexual has helped me pick apart many of my own misconceptions and find joy
in being who I am. You can find The Asexual on Twitter as asexualjournal (https://twitter.com/asexualjournal).

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

You can find me on Twitter as isthispigeon (https://twitter.com/isthispigeon),
where I sometimes post my art and accept art commissions, but mostly tweet
about art-related shenanigans. If you want to get to know me, or commission me
in a more informal setting, that’s the place to go!

I’m also on Instagram as evadrawssometimes (http://instagram.com/evadrawssometimes),
if you want to see all my art in one place without getting distracted by random
thoughts and terrible puns (though they sometimes work their way into the
captions). I accept commissions there as well.

I have a few phone wallpapers available on my Buy Me A
Coffee account (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/isthispigeon),
if that’s something you might be interested in.

Finally, if social media is not for you or if you wish to
contact/commission me in a more professional setting, you can reach me via
email: eva (dot) isq4 (at) gmail (dot) com. Currently, my writing is not
available anywhere.

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

Today we’re joined by Ria, who also goes by rainbowbarfeverywhere. Ria is a phenomenal character animator and digital illustrator. She has worked on a TV show and does animation for a living. On her free time, Ria loves to draw. She does a lot of fanart and enjoys focusing on friendships between characters. It’s clear she loves what she does, 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 part time as a character animator in an outsourcing
studio, Toon City Animation. I’ve only been working there for a year and I’ve
worked on the television series Big Hero
6
. Though I’ve been animating for a while now, I haven’t really made any
personal animations though I hope to do some someday.

I mostly draw fanart in my free time. I’m a digital artist
and I mostly use Clip Studio Paint and Adobe Photoshop. I love drawing for
anime and other animated series or films. I’m not as active as the average fanartist
but I love drawing for fan events like fandom weeks or big bangs. Although I
used to be a big shipper and drew my pairings all the time, now I like to focus
on individual characters and friendships.

What inspires you?

When I fall in love with a work, a character, or a
relationship, I want to convey my love for it through art. When I appreciate
something, I want others to appreciate it too and I can do that either by
exchanging ideas or thoughts, or by making fanart of that something. It’s my
little way of giving more love to the series.

I also get inspired by other fanartists. Their skills become
a goal I want to work towards. When I see an artwork that stops me at my feet,
I become driven to also touch someone like that.

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

I’ve been drawing forever. I don’t remember a time when I
didn’t draw. Even as far back as preschool, I already remember when I drew my
favorite cartoons. Art is a part of me and I can’t imagine myself without it.
When I thought about what I wanted to do in life, it seemed like a no-brainer
to be an artist of some kind.

Becoming an animator came later in my life. I, at one point
in my childhood, wanted to be an animator since that was the only field I
thought I could work in as an artist. But I let go of that dream pretty early
on. I had to be practical and while I liked my drawings, I didn’t think they
were exceptional.

The opportunity to learn animation and become an animator
only came late into my university life. I had taken a leave of absence and my
cousin told me about an animation workshop that happened near me. I fell in
love with animation instantly.

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 used to have a special cat symbol that I always included
in my drawings when I was young. I used it as a sort of artist signature. I did
realize later on that it would be hard to identify whose signature it was unless
you were already familiar with me. In the end, I just use my artist handle when
I want to sign my work. It makes things easier for my audience.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Love both yourself and your work. It will be hard to get far
and stay far in life if you don’t.

You will never be satisfied if you don’t love your work and
people can feel the emotion you put into your work. Without love, it will be
hard to touch other people’s hearts. You also need to take care of yourself. So
many artists have fallen sick or died because they didn’t care for themselves.
There can be no art if there are no artists. Be kind to yourself.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as aromantic asexual.

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

I don’t share my sexuality to a lot of people. Only a
handful of people in real life know that I’m ace and none of them are people I
know from work.

On the other hand, I’m open about my sexuality online. I
have it in my description and I occasionally talk about it in my posts or
tweets. Still, I only interact with an intimate amount of people online. While
I don’t hide my asexuality, only the people I interact with would know. And I
make sure that the people in my internet circle are accepting.

I’ve never been outright attacked or singled out, but I’ve
seen hate for my sexuality in different parts of the internet. I simply choose
not to engage in them because I feel they won’t listen to me either way.

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

The two most common misconceptions about asexuality is that
it’s only temporary (that it’s a phase or asexual people just haven’t found the
right person yet) and that there’s something wrong with us for us to feel this
way. People think that we’re just misguided and need to be taken to the right
path.

But asexuality is just a part of us. Just because we’re not
attracted to other people that way doesn’t mean that we’re broken. It just
means that we care more about our friendships and families. There’s nothing
missing in our lives just because we don’t have a significant other.

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

No matter what anyone says, you and what you’re feeling are
valid. There’s nothing wrong with you and you’re not broken just because you
don’t feel that kind of attraction for other people. There’s more to life than
romantic love or sex. It can be just as fulfilling with the people you have in
your life.

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

My primary account is at Twitter and you can find me here: https://twitter.com/rainbowbarf_/

I’m also at Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rainbowbarfeverywhere/

You can support me through Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/rainbowbarfeverywhere

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

Today we’re joined by Kiowa. Kiowa is a phenomenal visual artist and jewelry maker. She also makes a few odds and ends with yarn, mostly ropes. For visual art, Kiowa uses traditional mediums, favoring chalk pastels and chalk pencils. Aside from jewelry, Kiowa has also made some cool things for her horses. It’s clear she’s a passionate and creative individual who loves making things, 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 dabble in a few different artistic pursuits – drawing,
writing, and making jewelry, primarily. I also make all sorts of things with
yarn, mostly by braiding it into ropes. I draw the old school way, on paper and
board with usually chalk pastel or chalk pencil; I have no idea about all this
new-fangled electronic stuff. I mostly work with beads for jewelry, though I’m
branching out into working with horsehair a bit; I’ll try whatever I can get my
hands on. My yarn crafts began out of boredom; I would braid long chains of
yarn to keep my hands busy and keep awake during boring classes in college, and
then I had all this yarn, so I used some of it to reinforce a rope halter and
then realized I could make all sorts of cool shit for the horses. I’ve made
fancy Arabian necklaces, a tie down, some little bits and bobs to adjust tack
to fit my weird horses…

What inspires you?

Horses, mostly. Horses are definitely the focus of my drawing,
and a lot of my miscellaneous crafts tend to be making things for the horses.
My jewelry making tends to be more “on a whim,” just making whatever strikes me
when I look at the beads. Sometimes my ideas are really vague and other times
they’re super specific. You just never know!

As for my writing, I have always had some sort of story or
another that’s playing out in my imagination. I tend towards fantasy, and just
about anything might inspire me. I’ve dabbled in fanfiction more than a bit
over the years but always like to come back to my characters and my stories to
see what I might put to paper. I am also quite good at non-fiction and
persuasive writing, particularly short form. I can write a mean email.

When I’m creating anything, I have to have some kind of
auditory input. It’s usually music, though I will watch/listen to movies or TV
when I’m making jewelry. And it has to be the right input – if I’m going to be
drawing Kalarime, I have to play the songs of his people (Bastille). If I’m
writing particular characters, I want to listen to their favorite music.

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

When I was four, I was asked what I’d like to do when I grew
up. I said “artist, writer, horse trainer, and one of the people at the airport
that directs planes to the gates with glow sticks.” I have since aimed for
slightly different employment but I’ve never lost my interest in creation. I
have no earthly idea how I arrived at that but here I am, twenty-three years
later, still doing my first three goals. I got to wave glow sticks somewhere
else so I can check that off the bucket list.

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

Well, most of my drawings are horses. This is not surprising
to anyone who has ever met me. For both drawing and jewelry, I naturally
gravitate towards cool colors because I like them and I think yellow and orange
are ugly colors and I can do whatever I want so there. My stories are often
very dark and bloody and someone dies. But we’ll all die one day so there’s
that. I really just do whatever I like.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Whatever it is you like to do, do it. No one will do it the
way you can do it. You will get better over time – but first, you have to be
bad at it. It’s okay to hate what you’ve made, because the act of making
something bad is part of learning how to be good. You don’t have to share every
single thing you make with the world – art can be just for you. Listen to your
teachers, but they don’t know everything either. Work from left to right (if
you’re right handed) with chalk pastels and charcoal, and don’t touch anything
until you’ve washed your hands; you will have pastel all over you. Don’t drop
your bead containers, because cleaning beads up off the floor sucks.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Aroflux asexual and genderqueer to boot

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

I have not yet and I am grateful. I hope that if I ever do,
it comes not to my face but in written form so I can dismantle that ignorance
with my words. I am much more eloquent and composed in text than in speech.

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

I’ve been extremely fortunate not to encounter out-and-out
acephobia. Most people that I’ve spoken to IRL about asexuality have assumed
that asexuality and aromanticism go hand in hand (and they don’t usually have a
word for aromanticism). Since I’m just a hair shy of being fully aromantic
myself, that hasn’t caused me many issues but it’s also a lack of education
that can be confusing to people.

I have had people (including my mom) wonder what made me this way. I’ve always been this
way. There was no event or trauma. I’m just… me. I think it’s really
disheartening for all queer folk, regardless of identity, to have a piece of
our selves be questioned and assumed
to be a result of some action or event. No one is ever asked what made them cis
or het, yet we all have to explain that our identity is just… part of us. It’s
also so hard to say how much of an identity is innate and how much comes to the
environment we grew up in and the things we internalized – the gender
stereotypes that one person internalizes and performs can cause another person
to develop dysphoria and be a part of their trans identity. So who is to say
why we have the identities we have or what made us a certain way? That’s not
the point. The point is that this is who
we are
.

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

I’ve never struggled with it, even before I had a word, I
just always assumed that since this is how I am, that’s okay. So, to anyone
lost or confused or unhappy – you are how you are, and that’s okay. Even if it
doesn’t feel okay now, it will be okay. Your sexuality is a part of you, as
much as your eyes and your fingernails and every other bit of you. Don’t fight
with yourself – learn about yourself. Seek acceptance and understanding both
internally and externally. You cannot and should not force yourself to be
anything you are not. Authenticity is the best trait, so be authentically
asexual and authentically you.

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

I have a Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/littlehorsedesigns,
where I post all the stuff I’m making and offer jewelry for sale. I also take
art commissions (particularly if you have horses). Little Horse Designs pretty
much just goes straight into paying for my three horses, Kalarime, Geronimo,
and Gabe. You can also find me at nolivingunderstarlight.tumblr.com
and message me either place.

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

Today we’re joined by Kaylee Schuler. Kaylee is a phenomenal author and visual artist. She writes a number of different things, including short stories and poetry. She’s currently working on a novel with an aro-ace protagonist. When she’s not writing, Kaylee enjoys drawing. She frequently draws characters from her stories. It’s clear she’s a passionate 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 am an author and an artist. I usually write short stories,
but I’ve dabbled in poetry, spoken word, and am currently working on a novel
that happens to feature an aro-ace protagonist. I’ve self-published a
children’s book and plan to self-publish its companion once my edits are done.
One of my short stories just won 10th place in a Reader’s Digest competition,
so I’m very excited about that!

What I value most in writing is emotion, so I try to write
things that make people feel. I try to tell stories that I think are important,
that I know no one else can tell. I strive to write pieces that are powerful,
influential, and cathartic. Even though it’s a lofty goal, I want to write
something that will change the world.

As for art, I started out with sketches and drawings, but I
currently work with a variety of mediums, some of my favorites being watercolor
and digital. Good old graphite never fails me, though.

I create art about pretty much anything — I draw a lot of
people, often characters within the stories that I write. Drawing for me is
somewhere between a hobby and a potential career. I’m currently studying it in
college, but I still draw mainly for myself and create things that I want to
create.

What inspires you?

I get inspiration for my work in everything I experience.
The villain in my novel is based on a character who showed up in just one
episode of a TV show from the ‘90s that I used to watch reruns of. Another
character is named after a friend who was super supportive of my writing. I
write the books I want to read, so I often take inspiration from a lack of
content. I don’t see enough diversity in the media I consume, so I want to add
that to my work. My visual artwork is often inspired by my writing or other
people’s work that I enjoy. The main thing that inspires me is the hope that
someone out there will encounter my work and be inspired to create something of
their own. Art is such an incredible force for change, and my desire to be a
part of that drives me to create.

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

I’ve been writing for my entire life. It’s something that
comes naturally to me, but even beyond that, I feel like a part of me is
missing if I’m not writing something. It’s a huge part of who I am. I started
writing my self-published book when I was 8 years old and haven’t stopped
since.

I’ve also been creating visual art as far back as I can
remember. Just like my writing, my artwork feels like an extension of my very
being. Because art, be it written, visual, or otherwise, can be a catalyst for
social change, and because I’ve always wanted to use my talents to better the
world, I figure that the best way for me to make an impact is to combine those
two things. My desire to improve this world and my desire to create go hand in
hand.

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 one of those artists who’s never been able to pin down a
style. I suppose that’s a blessing because it gives me greater freedom and
versatility in the content I create, but it’s also a curse because most of my
pieces aren’t recognizable as belonging to the same artist. One thing I aim to
do is include as much diversity in my work as I can. I think everyone deserves
to see someone in media who they can relate to. I’m still learning how to
improve my art and my representation, but I feel like making an effort to be
inclusive and diverse is crucial to being a good artist and a good person.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Art is something so incredibly personal to each individual.
My advice is, first, to not be afraid to pour your soul into your work, and
only share it when it’s ready. Share it first with people you trust. This
especially applies to writing, though also to visual art you’ve worked
particularly hard on. Find people who will build you up, not tear you down. And
a note on criticism—at the end of the day, this is your work. Create for you.
When people tell you what to do with your craft, that’s what they want. I’m not saying to never
listen to criticism. Feedback can be very useful and it will help you grow as
an artist. But make sure you put what you want first and remember that, at the
end of the day, what you do with your work is up to you. And try to remember
that critiques are about the work itself, not the part of you that you put into
it. On a different note, something I want to stress is that artists have to
support each other! We all face challenges in art and in life and I believe
that we can never spread too much compassion and positivity. And finally, never
give up on your dreams. One of my creative writing professors once shared something
with us that his friend told him—the reason successful artists become
successful is that they’re the ones who don’t give up. If you want to create,
create. Keep at it, you’ve got this!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m aromantic and asexual. I always knew there was something
different about me, and finding labels for my feelings was an incredible
relief. I’ve never felt romantic or sexual attraction, and I’m also sex-and romance-repulsed.
This definitely affects my work, especially my written work, because you create
what you know. It’s hard for me to imagine being anyone other than myself,
holding any identity other than aroace. As a result, much of my work features
characters who are asexual and/or aromantic.

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

Specifically related to my art, I haven’t come across much
negativity. I think this is largely because most of my work concerning
asexuality hasn’t made it very far out into the world yet. I worry that readers
won’t understand the way my characters feel and interact with the world, and I
worry that artwork about my asexuality will result in negativity directed at me.
I think it’s likely that I will encounter prejudice or ignorance when my work
spreads around a little more, and when faced with it, I think I’ll have to
remember that all of us are ignorant to something and that the only way to
educate is through understanding. I’ve been uninformed and misinformed about
countless topics, and I was able to learn more about them when people treated
me with respect and open-mindedness. I will strive to do the same. If that
fails, though, if I run into someone who can’t see my point of view and won’t
make an effort to do so (as I have frequently encountered outside the art
world), I’ll need to remember a mantra my therapist once gave me: “They’re
doing the best they can.” Sometimes, other people’s “best” isn’t enough for us.
But we have to remember that we all have our limits and that, sometimes, our
knowledge is beyond the limits of someone else. At that point, I’ll have to
take a step back from my stubbornness and abandon the argument. It’s not always
worth it.

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

I commonly see this both outside and within the LGBTQ
community, and the latter can be particularly frustrating. Many people think
that asexuality is synonymous or similar to abstinence, which isn’t true. They
believe that asexuality is simply a lack of desire for sex, and that’s not
quite true. Asexuality is a lack of attraction
(and even beyond that, it comes on a spectrum). Not all asexuals are
sex-repulsed or sex-averse, and some asexuals engage in sexual acts for a
variety of reasons. Furthermore, many people seem to think that being asexual
is the same as being aromantic. I often find it difficult to explain that
there’s a difference between romantic and sexual attraction and that some
asexuals do, in fact, feel romantic attraction.

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

The main thing that’s often said but can never be said
enough is never be said enough is you are
NOT broken.
I spent years of my life thinking I was and became resigned to
the idea that one day I would have to
have a relationship, even though I didn’t want one. Here’s what I have to say
about that: you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You don’t have
to try to force yourself to feel something you don’t. Wherever you lie on the
spectrum, you are valid, you are seen, you are whole, and you are not alone.
You may feel guilty sometimes for not reciprocating someone’s feelings. You may
feel empty sometimes, or alone, or angry. And all of that is valid—your
feelings are always valid—but you
don’t have to feel any of that. Teach yourself that you don’t need to be
ashamed of your orientation. It’s a part of you, you can’t get rid of it, so
you might as well learn to love it. And you can. I have.

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

I don’t yet have a proper website, but you can find me on
social media. My art Tumblr is https://www.deepspaceart.tumblr.com
and my main Tumblr is https://www.deepspaceace.tumblr.com.
I’m also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/deep.space.ace.
You can find my art on Redbubble at https://www.redbubble.com/people/deepspaceace.
You can read some of my written work at https://www.wattpad.com/user/CelestialFalcon.
You can buy my children’s book at https://app.thebookpatch.com/BookStore/midnight-a-wolfs-tale/ce878c14-8bd6-44ad-bb38-93b585c582e9?isbn=9780984719808
.

Have a great day! 🙂

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

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.

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.

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.

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.