Today we’re joined by Hampermarketplace, who also goes by Sophie. Sophie is a phenomenal visual artist and fanartist. For visual art, they mostly do digital illustration, both original work and fanart, They also do some photography as a hobby. Aside from that, Sophie also cosplays and writes fanfiction. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and passionate artist as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about
Sure thing! I’m mostly a digital artist, though I don’t know
if “drawing” or “painting” describes best what I do, but in any case, I have a
lot of fun doing it. I draw a lot of Homestuck,
(I’m unfortunately rather obsessed with it—and it’s easy to share online), but
I also do original work, when the inspiration strikes. Since, when it comes to
hobbies, I’m very much a jack of all trades, I’ve done writing (I once wrote a
40k fanfic, several one-shots, and began some original stories I’m probably
never going to finish, I’ve got a word doc somewhere full of cringy poetry),
cosplay (once again Homestuck—so
basically, I’m just really good at putting on grey facepaint), and photography
(I take my iPhone and try to take pretty pictures I then post on Instagram so
it’s not just all filled with selfies).
Basically, I just like to create stuff, no matter the
What inspires you?
You mean, apart from Homestuck? I’d say my life. Ok, I know
that’s vague, but I haven’t quite got a more specific muse. There is a lot to
show and tell about the subtleties of everyday life, the things I see, hear, or
feel. I’m ADHD, so perhaps trying to put my constant zoning out to good use is
my main inspiration after all. I think sunsets are good, too. They’ve got lots
of pretty colors, there’s nothing like a rainy autumn sunset to get a good
photoshoot full of pinks. The city inspires me, too. The sort of aesthetics
born of the layered lives of so many people, written in the concrete and the
weed peeking through it, the graffiti’s, the decaying factories and the shiny
skyscrapers. In painting, I draw people a lot, too. I think it’s because the
figure is so evocative. I like the humanity, the feelings, the fleeting joys
and pains of life, and so I try to capture them whenever I’m bored enough. It’s
cheesy, but it’s true.
What got you
interested in your field? Have you
always wanted to be an artist?
Oh boy. Well, I’ve always hung around people who drew, and
the envy that I felt at their cool talents pushed me to try my hand at it.
Around maybe 11 or 12, I got into manga and anime, and the thing with those, is
that they make the human figure very appealing, and yet very simple-looking to
draw, for someone who is just starting out. I’ve been a casual artist ever
since my early teens, and recently, when I graduated high school and all my
friends entered art programs, I started to realize just how much I didn’t know
about art, and that’s really what helped me get much better really fast. Just a
year ago, I didn’t draw half as well as I do now, because now I draw almost
every day, pay attention to the world and put a lot more effort in studying the
theory of art than I ever did in any of my school classes, ever.
I’m still in college, and I’m not planning on making a
career out of my art, but I’ve still got some ambitions to reach a point where
I can paint and draw at a professional level, for myself.
Maybe one day I’ll write an actual book or make money from
my art—I’ve been offered to be an assistant photographer once, when I showed my
Instagram feed to the woman whom we had hired to take our family portraits, but
it didn’t work out. In the end, I take opportunities as they go. Art is just
one of the things for which I have potential and interest, it’s a refuge, and I
don’t want to ruin that by forcing it into a business perspective.
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, I’m known on most platforms (Instagram, deviantart,
tumblr—although only for Homestuck in
the last one) as hampermarketplace, and I sign my digital paintings (some of
them—I often forget) as HMP. By now, it’s how I sign pretty much all of my artwork.
Often, I won’t put it in the lower corner, but try to include it within the
drawing, if there is writing somewhere, graffiti or posters in the background.
It’s my thing.
What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?
You’re going to feel bad sometimes, like you can’t quite
illustrate what you want, or like everyone is better than you. It’s important
to learn to use that dissatisfaction as motivation, not as a deterrent. The
process of improving is an adventure, to be taken one step at a time, so awaken
your inner Moana or whatever, and sing about wanting to know how far you’ll go.
When you’re stalling, and nothing works, push through by going back to your
basics, and putting less pressure on yourself. Take a chill pill. Go watch some
Bob Ross. It’s ok to just doodle for 15 minutes sometimes, you’ve got to make
art time a time to meditate, to enjoy yourself. If you do it right, it won’t
feel like a chore (too much—I can’t make any promises if you decide to make a
living out of it). One day you’ll look back and be amazed by how far you’ve
Where on the spectrum
do you identify?
I’m asexual, low libido but not sex repulsed per se, and
somewhere in the grey areas of romance, probably demi, although I still think
of myself as a lesbian because I’ve always had a strong aesthetic attraction to
women, and if I were to fall in love, I feel like it would be with a woman, or
someone woman-aligned. I identify *mostly* as a woman, although I won’t deny to
some gender fluidity as well.
Usually, the womanlier I feel, the gayer I get, then on some
days I’m just what is gender and what is love, I want to blog about cats. My
main on Tumblr is like 75% cats, 20% beautiful women and 5% ace positivity. I
think that sums it up pretty well.
Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
The most kind of ace prejudice or ignorance I’ve personally
encountered is from myself. I’m usually quite down-low about it, I’ve come out
a couple of times, but not to everyone, and I’m pretty sure most people going
through my art aren’t even aware of my sexuality—I come off quite gay in real
life. Since I don’t do commercial work, I can easily surround myself with
people who are OK with my orientation, and anyway, I live in some of the most
progressive places, where no one would openly challenge you on stuff like that,
even if they disagreed with it. I’m lucky in that regard. I’m always afraid
that people will still hold subconscious prejudice towards me, though, I don’t
think I’m paranoid, but I need to get over it if I want to be myself, and work
towards deconstructing those prejudices. When I’ve actually come out, I’ve been
met mostly with love and acceptance—just once a bit of confusion. Also, once I
came out to a sex-loving vegan by saying “I don’t like sex, but I do like ice
cream” and she just told me “You go girl! Live your best life!” and anyway, she
What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
I think this one is not an explicit, but an implicit
misconception that even well-meaning people will hold, and that is this idea
that aces don’t like to talk about sex, or be exposed to sexuality, and that
the goal of asexual activism is to make a world where it’s possible to ignore
the fact that sex and romance exists. I mean, some aces may be uncomfortable
with discussions about sex, or don’t want to be exposed to explicit sexual
content, but truly, anyone may have these holdups regardless of sexuality. The
basics principles of consent, human decency and content warnings should be
plenty to cover that. In my experience, most aces I’ve met are more than eager
to talk about sex and the different types of attractions, so long as they are allowed
to openly share their experiences without feeling like outcasts or weirdos. Unless
they tell you otherwise, it should be perfectly fine to share your latest
thirst with your friend who came out to you as ace. You don’t have to stop
being yourself, and most asexuals don’t want to be treated like little kids
with bleeding hearts that can’t handle the sexiness, neither do they want you
to stop being yourself: they just want to be allowed to be themselves as well.
This is pretty abstract, I’m not sure if I’m making sense,
but I feel like this needs to be said more. Asexuality doesn’t exist within
queerness as a form of “Don’t force sex on me”, because, honestly, sex
shouldn’t be forced on anyone, but rather as a force of “It’s OK to live in
accordance to how you feel, regardless of social norms or whether or not it
aligns with the majority around you,” because that represents much better the
aroace community as I’ve known it: diverse, open, with a wide range of
worldviews and experiences, just wanting to live their truth.
What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
It’s not easy to find out who you are. Being asexual is
challenging, because it’s probably even only one part of the identities you’re
going to have to cope with—asexuality doesn’t mean you won’t have to deal with
the prejudice of being gay, bi or trans—but it’s also challenging in and of
itself. You’re going to have to deal with conflicting cultural ideals about
chastity, lust, marriage and family, with a world that you’ll never quite
understand despite your best efforts to do so, and which probably won’t even
try to understand you. You’ll fidget in your psychology or sexuality class, not
quite capable of explaining how you know for a fact the textbook is wrong
without sounding like you’ve spent way too much time on Tumblr. You’ll smile,
glad, at queer representation in the media, not quite daring to ask for some
yourself—afraid it’ll take away some gay or trans kid’s chance to see
themselves on screen. You’ll feel like you don’t exist, like there are no
historical figures or public personalities who can bear your flag in your name,
you’ll doubt yourself.
Don’t. There is nothing to doubt about it, there is nothing
to be ashamed about. You’re on the frontline of progress, of our growing
understanding of love and sexuality, as a society. Asexual people have always
been there—the world just didn’t have a box to place them in until recently.
Before that, we erred like bohemians among dandies and spinsters, bisexuals, pilgrims
and nuns. But today, there are words for it, for asexuality, for aromanticism,
for all the maybes and in-betweens. We are many, more than you would think, and
we are solidary—to one another, and to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans
people, and to all other minorities, and it is our strength. Through sharing
our experiences, through creating new words to define how we feel, we help
people from all walks of life define themselves. So maybe, really, we’re
something like great.
You can be proud.
Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?
My main blog on Tumblr is chaoticintellectual, though,
like mentioned previously, it’s mostly filled with cats and pretty women.
I have a Homestuck
blog where I post art frequently, called Hampermarketplace, for all the
filthy Homestucks out there
I write on AO3 under the name miki_and_company
is also my DeviantArt, though I don’t post much on there, but I do show my
original art there more,
And finally, my Instagram, still hampermarketplace,
where I post a lot of my photography.
My inboxes are open to talk, I’m quite friendly and impishly
verbose, however I’ll be gone and inactive for most of the summer, sadly, but
I’ll be back without question next fall.
Thank you, Sophie, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.