Category: fanfiction

Today we’re joined by Juju. Juju is a wonderful writer who is mostly known for their fanfiction. Aside from fanfiction, they also write some original fiction and are currently working on a novel. Juju includes aspec characters in everything they write. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and passionate writer who loves what they do, 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 write things! Most of my readers know me for fanfiction,
but I also write short stories and I’m working on a novel! I also like to share
stories through little video games made in RPG Maker, although I don’t often
share them as much as I probably should.

What inspires you?

At the risk of sounding like an overenthusiastic alien,
humanity itself is my greatest inspiration. Humans are utterly fascinating.

We have the power to wage war, and also help each other in
times of need. We spend years learning each other’s languages just to
communicate with people outside of our own circle. We all share the same range
of emotions. We can communicate through looks without saying a word to each
other; even a smile is something we can share, if we have nothing else in
common.  

Our experiences are diverse and universal at the same time.
The relationships we have with each other—parents, lovers, siblings, friends,
workmates, etc.—are varied, but when you put it all together you have the story
of a life. It’s my privilege as an author to take a slice of a life, any
character’s life, and portray it for the world.

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

I’ve been writing stories ever since I learned what letters
were. I used to write little stories for my younger brother on notebook paper,
lying on the floor in my bedroom. It didn’t matter that he couldn’t read them;
I read them to him! In elementary school when they taught us the writing
assessment, I used to pray that I’d get a narrative prompt (sadly, I never
did).

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?

Unique feature? That’s a hard one… I have a terrible time
recognizing themes in my work; usually other people point them out to me and I
just accept that they must be right, haha.

I guess I can say I do enjoy writing about belonging; I like
to do character analyses in my work in the form of introspection. I also really
enjoy writing sibling relationships, especially if it’s found family and siblings.
I love ships as much as the next fan, but there’s something about “they’re like
a brother/sister to me”. That’s a deep platonic love that never gets as much
recognition as it deserves.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Make the content you want to see in the world. Who cares if
it’s entirely self-indulgent? If it makes you happy, do it! Do it, do it again,
read it and enjoy it; the best part is that sometimes, other people will like
it too!

Practice doesn’t have to be boring. How do I practice
writing? I read books. I watch movies.. I look at screenplays. I go to the
theatre, if I can. I play video games. I study the plot, the dialogue. Look at
your favorite stories—why do you like them? What’s your favorite part? How do
the character interact? Of course, grammar is important and the fundamentals
are there for a reason, but no one said practice had to be all textbooks and
essays.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m asexual! I find men and women both aesthetically
pleasing, but I don’t experience sexual attraction to them.

When I first learned the terminology I thought I might be
gray-ace or demi, but I realized that I was only tying into some of the myths
surrounding asexuality. I was letting people who didn’t know me tell me who I
was, based on generalizations. It wasn’t until I asked myself who I thought
I was that I was able to come to terms with my own sexuality.

I also identify as heteroromantic, or at least gray-romantic
to some extent.

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

Oh, for sure!

I think what I’ve heard the most is that I’m “faking” being
an asexual because I write nsfw content. That’s also the most laughable, since
I never realized you could only write about your own experience and nothing
else! I’m openly sex-positive; sex is a beautiful, intimate thing… it’s just
not for me.

I’ve also gotten anon hate on social media from people who
don’t like my headcanons, especially if they’re on the ace spectrum. If it’s a
LGBT ship it’s homophobic to have them as ace, if it’s a straight ship it’s too
pandering. Can’t win for losing, right? Beyond that, it’s usually the same old
“asexuality isn’t LGBT, you aren’t oppressed, make your own community” garbáge
that exists all over social media (mostly Tumblr).

It always hurts the worst when it comes from mutuals that I
trusted; sometimes people I considered my friends share or say aphobic things
and I want to shout “Don’t reblog those lies! Ask me, I’m right here, I’m
always willing to talk about my own experience with you!” But, if I said those
things, 9/10 times I’m accused of stirring up discourse or being too defensive.

I learned long ago to keep my mouth shut, write what I want,
and freely use the Block feature. Life’s too short to worry about what some
faceless person on the internet thinks about me, and besides: probably they’d
be too cowardly to say those hurtful comments if we were in the same room
together.

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

“Asexuals hate sex and look down on people who don’t.”

I know aces who are sex-repulsed. I know aces who are
married with kids. I know aces who are fine with giving, not receiving. I know
aces who only dislike intercourse. I know aces who have sex because, for them,
it’s a way to be close to their partner.

Sex positive, negative, neutral— we all share one important
thing: we don’t experience sexual attraction. That is what makes us asexual…
not our opinions.

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

It’s okay to be asexual.

If you think you’re 1% ace today and 99% ace tomorrow, you
can say you’re ace. If you’re not sure yet, you can say you’re ace. If you
think you might change your mind, or you’re using this label until you figure
yourself out, you can say you’re ace.

Sexuality is fluid and confusing, and it’s even more
confusing if you don’t experience it at all. We’ve been there. We are there.
We know. The people with the loudest voices and biggest hatred are often the
minority. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

Remember to love, and allow yourself to be loved.
Love isn’t binary, it’s not limited to intimacy or romance. Love your friends,
your family, your pets, and (most importantly) yourself. Love is so many
shades, a thousand thousand nuances that we can experience together as humans.
Don’t lose hope by focusing on one color when you’re surrounded by a
rainbow.  

Having sex doesn’t make you less ace. Being in a
relationship doesn’t make you less ace. Wanting to be closer to your partner
doesn’t make you less ace. Wanting children doesn’t make you less ace. You are
allowed to ask for physical affection without it having to lead to sex. You are
allowed to want to kiss, to cuddle, even to make out or pet your partner
without it having to lead to sex. You do not have to do anything you are
uncomfortable with. You don’t owe the world, or anyone in it, anything that
will bring you harm.  

You are not broken. You are valid. You are loved.

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

You can find my work at https://archiveofourown.org/users/Jubalii!
Just look for the sheep, haha! I’m also on Tumblr at https://heyheyitsjuju.tumblr.com/.
On Tumblr I post fanfiction as well as more about my original stories, OCs,
etc.

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

Today we’re joined by RK. RK is a phenomenal writer who writes a variety of things. Xi writes mostly fanfiction, though xi also writes a fair amount on Tumblr as well. It’s clear xi loves what xi do and is incredibly passionate about writing. My thanks to xi for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I have a variety of art, from knitting and jewelry-making to
writing songs and stories, to the more “traditional” artforms of
drawing and painting. I tend to consider myself a writer first and foremost,
feeling that writing is my vocation if anything could be considered such, but I
spend a lot of time knitting and creating colored pencil or watercolor
anime-esque portraits.

What inspires you?

Everything. Random thoughts, TV shows and books and movies
(for the fan creations), my kids, my cat, my partner, the sunlight pouring down
through the tree canopy in the backyard…. Inspiration is everywhere.

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

Always. I’ve been writing since the first time I could hold
a crayon, or so my mother tells me, and drawing for almost as long. I love
telling stories, whether it’s written or illustrated or even just making up a
story on the fly to tell my kids at night.

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?

Nothing so consistently across the board, I’m afraid.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Everyone begins as an artist at their own place and advances
at their own pace. It’s inevitable to find yourself measured against other
artists, fairly or unfairly, and it’s important not to let those measurements
discourage you from producing your art. Trends come and go, fads fade, but as
long as YOU are happy with what you’re creating, that’s all that matters in the
end.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I tend to identify as Asexual/Gray-Asexual Demiromantic.

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

In the regular world of art and writing, very little, which
may change if/when my work gets a broader recognition. Online? Occasionally.
I’m fortunate enough to have found a niche that allows me to surround myself
with people who also tend to be on the Ace/Aro spectrums. I see the
prejudiced/ignorant commentary on occasion, but very rarely has anyone directed
it towards me. Mostly, people who question me about asexuality/aromanticism are
honestly seeking knowledge, which I’m pleased to provide for them to better
their understanding.

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

Probably that being asexual supposedly means not liking sex.
Most of the people who question me about my being asexual express confusion
over how my partner, a cis man who used to identify as het and now identifies
as “RK-sexual”, can be in a happy and stable monogamous relationship
with me, an asexual, or how we have two kids if I “don’t have sex”.
This is usually cleared up by reminding people that asexuality doesn’t have to
include sex-repulsion or celibacy.

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

There is no right or wrong way to be asexual, only what is
right for you. You can ask other people for advice or assistance in navigating
how you feel, but ultimately YOU are the only one who can decide what label or
labels do or do not fit you.

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

You can find my fan works easily enough on AO3 (under the
pen name LadyShadowphyre)
or on Tumblr (“ladylilithprime” and “rkdoesartthings”), and I
have a Patreon as “RK Hart
(with the profile picture of a white tiger).

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

Today we’re joined by Desdemona. Desdemona is a wonderful writer who specializes in fanfiction, mostly involving m/m erotica. When she’s not writing m/m erotica, Desdeomona collaborates with her father to write fantastic queer sci-fi stories and she also enjoys writing tales involving strong women saving the world. It’s clear she’s a passionate author with a wonderful creativity, 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 most known for my m/m erotica of the fanfiction
variety. I like to write a whole range of genres, from comedy to angst to smut
to action/adventure. I like it best when I can mix more than one, which is most
evidenced by my current story, in which a vampire king of an imaginary country
tricks a feisty little prince from a neighboring country into marrying him.

When I’m not writing fanfiction, I collab with my dad to
write what I like to call “queers in space” and then I also dabble in stories
on my own that usually feature things like girls with swords saving the world
and badass witches getting revenge on well-deserving men.

What inspires you?

You know when white cishet men cry about women invading
their spaces? I really like that. Also, I’m a slut for a good cliché.

If I were to give an answer that wasn’t chalked full of
feminist rage and flippant sarcasm, though, I would probably say music. I can
really focus on unfolding plots when I have the right music.

But, really, anything’s inspiration if you’re spiteful
enough.

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

When I was a kid, my dad taught me how to play chess. When
he didn’t have time for a match and I couldn’t convince one of my siblings to
play with me, I’d set up the board and then use the pieces to create very
detailed stories that had absolutely nothing to do with chess. Or, y’know, I’d
play against myself, but the point of this story is to showcase that sometimes,
there isn’t a beginning. Some people are just born that way. (Heh.)

Basically: yes, I’ve always wanted to a writer. Words are a
deep comfort to me and making stories has been a part of my life for as long as
I can remember. I didn’t really have friends growing up, so books were the
things that kept me occupied, and then eventually, I started writing down the
stories I would tell myself.

The thing that drove me for a long time was a total lack of
media featuring main characters like me. I was a teeny-bopper asexual girl who
didn’t actually know she was asexual and I couldn’t understand why all these
female characters were so worried about what the boys in their life thought. I
wanted to read about girls with swords going on adventures, kicking ass and
taking names. The ideas of “damsels in distress” and “love interests” were
pretty much eye-roll worthy to my younger counterpart.

When I got older and started questioning my sexuality, it
became about more than just Girls Do It Better. I got to explore sexuality in a
very nuanced way that was still comfortable to me thanks to the popularity of
erotica in fanfiction.

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?

Have I told you the good word about our Lady & Savior,
“Girl With Sword” yet? No? Would you be interested in taking this informational
pamphlet that outlines how very much she is my sexuality?

I also seem to have a serious kink for women who want
revenge. It’s possible I’m continually working through some stuff that never
truly gets resolved.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Create selfishly. Create that thing that feels like it’s
pure self-indulgence. The best thing you can ever do as an artist–any kind of
artist–is to create the things that you, as a consumer, want to see. It
translates better than what you create when you’re writing for someone else.
Always write for yourself and let anyone else’s enjoyment of your creation be a
bonus, not the sole purpose.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

So, when people ask me about it, I generally say that I know
I’m somewhere on the asexual spectrum, but I’m not sure where. I generally lean
toward the idea that I’m demisexual, but my party line is that I don’t have
enough evidence to fully support this hypothesis.

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

I’ve been lucky in the way that the only asexual prejudices
I’ve seen or heard were random posts on the internet. Nobody’s ever come to my
door, so to speak, to spout their ignorance directly to me. I still expect it
to happen one day, but so far, it hasn’t.

And really, handling it would depend on the prejudice or
ignorance itself and who it’s coming from. Some instances can be a good
teaching moment, but other times, life is too short to argue with people who
won’t see reason.

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

The thing that really fucked me up when I was questioning my
sexuality was this widespread idea that asexuality is only a complete lack of
sexual desire–that asexual people don’t have a sex drive at all.

That idea was pretty rampant for a while and it made me
think, “oh, well, that’s not me.” I do have a sex drive, but I have a distinct
lack of desire to share that sexual drive with…well, I would say most people. I can think of exactly one
person I’ve met in my almost-29 years of existence on this planet that I wanted
to fuck. That seems, to me, like a fluke more than anything.

The fact that that misconception was so common caused me
some undue angst for a number of years before I found out it wasn’t actually
the case. I found my way eventually, but I’d like to save other people said
angst if I can.

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

Listen. Your truth is not going to be someone else’s truth.
Someone else’s truth is not going to be your truth.

Figuring out your sexuality–especially when it’s messy and
complicated the way sexualities often are–is a bit like one of those treasure
hunts where people leave little clues/notes in random places and you have to
decipher the riddle to figure out where to go next. You have to sift through
someone else’s dirty laundry in hopes that you’re going to find something
useful. You might find a scrap of paper in a pair of jeans, but it’s up to you
to figure out whether or not it’s the clue you needed to unlock the next step
or if it’s just a faded receipt from Walmart because someone doesn’t know how
to clean out their pockets before they wash laundry.

Take the stories of other experiences with a grain of salt.
Your experience doesn’t have to fit perfectly, it only has to fit enough that
you can find some comfort in the fact that you’re not broken like you thought
you were. (I’m projecting with that last bit, in case you hadn’t noticed.)

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

I am both greenbergsays
and greenbergwrites on Tumblr
and greenbergsays
on AO3.

Thank you, Desdemona, 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 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.

Today we’re joined by Rachel. Rachel is a phenomenal artist who does a bit of everything. She writes both fanfiction and original work. She does a fair amount of visual art, mostly drawing using a variety of mediums. As if that’s not impressive enough, Rachel has also done quite a lot of work in theater, both on stage and behind the scenes. It’s clear she’s an extraordinarily talented and passionate individual, 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 ton of art! I write original stories and fanfiction
for a variety of genres. I draw, mostly in the traditional sense, and I have a
background in theater where I performed, directed, stage managed, was a set
designer and constructor for anywhere around 12 productions.

What inspires you?

I am inspires by many things. My drawings are often spur of
the moment. They could be inspired by fandom and I’ll create fan art, or be
very whimsical and I’ll create some sort of abstract painting.

My writing is often angsty or very light and touching (there’s
not much in between most of the time, haha). Fanfiction is inspired by the
movie Rise of the Guardians, Spider-Man and Deadpool and occasionally Supernatural!
I hope to have more content for these fandoms in the future, and maybe other
fandoms, but I have been focusing a little bit more on my original content. I
write short stories that are fiction or real-life event inspired. I also have
some poem(ish) writing and I’m working on developing my voice. I never want to
stick to just one genre because I find so much expression in several forms of
writing.

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

I’ve been drawing since I’ve learned to hold a crayon.
Writing I’ve always loved and have wanted to create more of. I love reading and
when I discovered fanfic, it was an instant attraction. In recent years, I’ve
decided I’d like to make publishing a novel one of my life goals.

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?

Honestly no, because my style is always changing and taking
on new forms. From paint to markers to pencils to charcoal to fiction to poems
I’m always shaking it up.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Do it! Do it over and over again and take pictures of the
work you draw because one day you can look at an old picture and compare it to
your growth and see where you’ve come from and where you are now!

And write of course! Write anything. Your thoughts, your
dreams, your observations, your ideas, write it all! Drown in your words. And
remember you don’t have to write in order. Sometimes, writing the beginning is
so hard, so write that middle part! Write down that action scene and big plot
twist and get it out of your head to clear the clutter. Fill in the holes later
after you get that burning inspiration to write that one scene because the rest
might become easier after doing that.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as a cis gendered female with she/her pronouns
and panromantic asexual.

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

Absolutely, I had a long term relationship end because I
began to ID as ace. My parents don’t fully understand my sexuality and I come
across it in social media a lot. I just remind myself that I am valid, I’m not
alone, I have support from friends, and that I can get through peoples ignorance
because I know who I am.

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

I have been called a plant (as in I will only reproduce with
myself, which never made sense) and that I’m prude. I’ve also been told that I
just “haven’t met the right person” which is to say I’ll feel sexual desire and
attraction when the right person comes into my life.

I’m not a late bloomer. I’m ace, and that’s okay.

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

Don’t let other peoples judgement and opinions weigh you
down. Seek allies. We’re out here and you are a valid, wonderful and a real
person. You are not broken.

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

Oh! Look me up! On…

Tumblr: FrostedDragonHeart
(Eternal Believer) and wrayghtings
(Endless Words)
Fanfiction.net: FrostedDragonHeart
Fictionpress.com: FrostedDragonHeart
Instagram: rachelart_s

I accept DM/PMs on all of these so please feel free to chat
with me!

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

Today we’re joined by Chloe. Chloe is a wonderful young artist who is just starting out. She’s a writer and visual artist. She does both digital and traditional art. For writing, she writes fanfiction, poetry, and occasionally original fiction. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist with a bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I am both a writer and an artist. I do digital and
traditional works as well as writing fanfiction, poems, and the occasional
original fiction piece. I’ve always been pretty creative, finding enjoyment in
expressing myself through the hobbies I love. My artwork and writing certainly
aren’t of any professional quality, but I believe they’re good enough to
qualify me as an artist of sorts, even if no art has any real qualifications.

What inspires you?

Often times, I find inspiration in other works. It might be
an idea, a color, a theme: if it catches my eye, I try to incorporate it in a
creative way. On top of that, I also find inspiration in lyrics and sometimes
even in everyday experiences!

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

When I was younger, I drew occasionally, but I never really
felt like it was something for me. By the time I was 10 years old, though, I
was writing stories often and trying to teach myself to draw! There wasn’t
anything that really brought it on – I just thought that art was cool and I
loved reading stories made by other people. On top of that, I was (and still
am) an anime fan, so the art style inspired me. I just thought it was pretty,
and I went off of that to develop my own artistic style. Well, its not complete
in any means, but it’s something.

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 have a literal signature, which you’ll see on nearly
all of my drawings. Other than that, though, I don’t believe there’s anything
unique in my art or writing that tells it apart from another’s. I wish I could
say it’s unique to me. I excessively use adverbs (a habit I’m trying to break)
and I draw in an anime-influenced style, but my work is hardly the only type of
it’s kind, unfortunately.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Do not give up. If it’s your dream, go for it. Power
through. Learn. Create. Your art is your art, whatever that may be. The world
is cruel – people are cruel! – don’t let that change you. Your life is your
life: pursue it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m demisexual. Sort of in the middle, I guess.

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

Yeah. I’m a part of a lot of communities, but prejudice is
especially present on Tumblr. Asexuals are definitely discriminated against,
but it almost seems worse for demisexuals. I’ve seen many people – artists –
say that demisexuality is not real, that it’s just a preference. It really gets
me upset sometimes because it makes me feel unwelcome and ‘wrong.’ People are
so unaccepting of what they don’t understand. I’m afraid that if I express
myself completely that I’ll only end up hurt. Often, I’m afraid to even mention
that I am demisexual. Most of the time, I just say I’m heterosexual for fear of
backlash.

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

I’ve heard people assume that asexual people do not have a
sex drive and such, but that isn’t always the case. Though, as for
demisexuality, many people assume that we only have intercourse with people we
get to know, or as they describe: “are not a hoe.” They assume that our
sexuality is the norm for everyone, so it must not really exist. However,
that’s a misunderstanding. Demisexuality is the lack of sexual attraction
unless a close emotional bond is formed. In other words, I won’t find an
attractive celebrity ‘hot’ because I don’t know them well or even at all.
People aren’t aware of this.

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

You’re not broken. You’re not wrong. You are who you are and
some people may mock you. Some won’t accept you. It’ll be hard sometimes, but
we’re here. Your identity is valid. Your feelings are valid. People are cruel,
but I promise you that what you’re feeling is so, so okay. What you feel is
your business and it is perfectly okay. You’re doing just fine – amazing, even.
Nothing you feel is wrong. Don’t let people convince you otherwise. They don’t
know how you feel; people can’t understand what they don’t feel. It’s okay. I
promise.

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

You can check my Tumblr or DeviantArt page! I’m more active
on Tumblr, but I still post all complete artwork on DeviantArt. My DeviantArt
username is cofstars, as well
as my Tumblr url. They’re my most
active platforms. Though, my Tumblr page had a lot more info than the latter!

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

Today we’re joined by Amy Valentine. Amy is a phenomenal visual artist who does a lot of art journaling. She uses mostly colored pencils, watercolors, and various markers. She’s also an art student, so she works in a variety of mediums. When she’s not creating visual art, Amy also writes quite a bit of fanfiction. It’s clear she is a dedicated and passionate artist with a very bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

On my free time, I do a lot of art journaling,
which is basically having a sketchbook expect I put more effort in decorating
the pages to fit with my current mood. I also enjoy writing, mostly
fanfictions, but I’m very eager to write something of my own someday.

I’m also an art student, so at school I also do
paintings, photography and whatever else, and hopefully after school I could
practice painting at home, too.

For art journaling, I like to use watercolors,
color pencils and different kind of markers. Sometimes I just glue things in.

What inspires you?

Music is a big inspiration for me, because I’m
almost always wearing headphones. I also get a lot of ideas from movies – When
there is a scene that is just so pretty to look at, I always want to draw my
own version of it.

I also take a lot of inspiration from my own
feelings, since art journaling is kind of something that you do to express your
emotions.

I also draw a lot of women’s nude bodies as a way
to start learning to love my own body, so I guess they also give me
inspiration. Don’t know what to draw? I’ll draw a torso. The headless statue of
a woman is always there to save me from art block.

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

Yes, definitely. As a kid, I loved drawing comics
and other cute things. I was really into manga back then. I would always be
sketching at the edge of the test paper, even if the teacher told me not to.

At school, we also wrote a lot of our own stories,
and I was always told that the stories I wrote were good and unique, so I got
more inspired to write every day. I guess I can safely say I have always wanted
to be an artist/writer. At this moment, I think I’d want to be a writer more
than an artist.

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

At the moment, I don’t think I yet have my own
style or my own unique thing. In art, I’m still figuring out what I want to
create and what kind of a style fits me the most. In writing, I’m trying to
experiment a little to see what kind of stuff I want to write and how. So, for
now, no unique signatures or anything.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Practice, practice and practice. And do not
compare yourself to others. I did that and only felt worse about my skills. The
first 6 months at art school were rough because I kept thinking everyone else
was better than me. But when I learned to just focus on my own work and did my
best, my drawings ended up looking a lot better. So just don’t give up. We’re
all at different skill levels here, so just focus working on your own thing.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’d say I’m somewhere between being a demisexual
and asexual.

I did just find the term ‘aegosexual’ that fits me
quite well, but, I’m still trying to figure myself out. And that’s okay.

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

When I told my parents, both of them were confused
but supportive, thankfully. Before I tried to get into art school, I told my
school nurse that I felt like I was close to an asexual, and they said to me ‘I
WILL find the right one’, and if I wouldn’t, I should seek medical help. I also
told my friends that I was in the ace spectrum, and they said that wasn’t
possible.

I’ve also been in two relationships before and in
both of them I felt like being asexual was wrong. I felt like saying ‘no’ to
sex was wrong, and that was used against me. I’m still healing from that.

I think the best way to handle any kind of
prejudice is to know that you aren’t broken, and that there is nothing wrong
with you. Also, calmly explaining to them what asexuality is can help them
understand it better. And honestly, never, EVER, do something that feels
uncomfortable to you just so you could please someone else. Listen to your own
feelings.

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

Probably the one where they think that if I’m in
the ace spectrum, I can’t feel any kind of sexual pleasure, or that I can’t
have sex, or that I can’t include sex scenes in my writing, and so on. Asexuals
aren’t 100% sexless – some can be, but some asexuals are okay with having sex
for their partner, and some asexuals masturbate. Some people don’t seem to get
that.

The other misconception is people thinking
asexuals can’t experience romantic feelings. And the third one that my school
nurse one suggested – that being asexual meant you were afraid of sex.

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

It’s OK to not be sure where in the ace spectrum
you are, and it’s OK to change labels later on, and it’s OK if you’re still
searching for yourself. Just know that there is no rush. You are what you are,
and even if you aren’t 100% sure what your label is, then that’s alright. You
don’t have to put yourself into a box if you’re not ready yet. Just take your
time with your inner self, love yourself.

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

Tumblr: https://paper-star-fight.tumblr.com/
AO3: https://archiveofourown.org/users/ValentineRunaway

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

Today we’re joined by Inbar. Inbar is a phenomenal visual artist and writer who has been running a webcomic for almost a year and a half. It’s entitled Just a Sidekick and it’s a superhero story that sounds fascinating. Aside from the webcomic, she’s also currently studying animation and is working on her final movie. When she’s not working on the webcomic or animation projects, Inbar also writes fanfiction. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and enthusiastic 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.

The main project I am currently working on right now is a
webcomic called “Just a Sidekick”, it’s a superhero ensemble story
with a large focus on character interactions and character development. I’m
also studying to be an animator, I’m in my last (fourth) year – and although I
currently haven’t done any animation work that isn’t technically school work,
I’m fairly proud in my animations. Currently, I just started work on my final
movie, an urban fantasy called “Shoshi Ben-Abraham: Good Witch (Usually)”
about a soft pastel witch and outgrowing the influence of toxic parents. In
additions, I do some writing. The stories that I have online (and in English)
are mostly fanfiction on AO3 (I’m currently writing for the Ace Attorney
fandom), but I’ve also written original fiction before. Mostly short stories,
but I’ve dabbled in poetry too.  

What inspires you?

That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Sometimes I
feel like I’ve got stories overflowing in my brain all the time and I just need
to grab the not-sucky ones and share those in the best medium possible. But I
guess my biggest source of inspiration is… other works of art and storytelling
media. Not in the sense that I consider myself a rip-off artist or that I steal
ideas, but I just… I look at a work of fiction and find something about it I
like; a particular character, a trope, a relationship, a plot point, a design
aesthetic or even just a feel that the work inspires, and I go “That’s
neat, I wonder what I could do with that. I wonder if I can give this idea a
take of my own. A spin that takes the stuff that I like but makes it unique
enough so it’s mine.” I used to go roaming on the TV Tropes website
all the time, find a trope I think has cool potential and think what I could do
with it. I’m a fan and analyst as much as I am a creator, and I think it
reflects in my artistic process. Also, “Just a Sidekick” started out
a middle-school piece of crossover fanfiction that mutated so much that I was
better off just making it original fiction, so that’s something.

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

I’ve been drawing and making up stories since I can remember
myself. As a kid, I used to draw in any given opportunity, on anything I could
find. On the final first grade, I had to stay after everyone had left to clean
up the desk in my classroom as punishment for all the desks I doodled on. After
that, my parents started buying me blank “drawing notebooks” to draw
on instead. I filled them up, sometimes an entire notebook in one school day,
with illustrations (and sometimes stories) I made up. I also always really
liked animation, cartoon shows were my favorite form of entertainment as a
child (I was always inherently biased against any kid’s show with live-action actors,
they were always less interesting to me.) However, up until middle-school I
didn’t consider animation, comics or art in general as a future career option.
I thought of them as a hobby, my first dream (well, after I outgrew wanting to
be a puppeteer-air hostess-cook-kindergarten teacher-robot scientist-farmer)
was to be a zoologist. I love animals and I love reading facts about them, I
thought I would enjoy becoming a scientist who studies them. But around middle
school I started realizing it wasn’t a very realistic dream, I didn’t have a
head for the sciencey subjects and I only really enjoyed knowing about animals
from a distance and without all the icky stuff. Around that time, as I was
reconsidering what I want to do with my life, I was watching some special
feature about the history of Pixar in one of their DVDs (maybe the
Incredibles?). Someone there said that they got into animation because they
grew up watching Disney animated movies and so they wanted to do so themselves.
That seemed like the right angle to go at, a lot of people answer ‘why did you
decide to become an X’ with “well, I grew up inspired by X and I wanted to
pay it forward to the next generation”. And what was my favorite form of
media as a kid? The one I would like to advance forward to the kids of
tomorrow? Cartoon shows! That’s when I decided that one I day I’ll be the
creator of a cartoon show, or if that can’t happen – I’ll at leas be an
animator. Also around the same time I was suddenly starting to have some
problems with art class in school because it was starting to lean more
‘realistic’ and toward live-drawing – while I, I realized, care more about the
art of telling stories via my drawing. The move to comics and animation is only
logical from there.

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?

My signature is the Hebrew Letter Ayin (the first letter of
my name) stylized and with a dot in the middle to make it look like an eye (another meaning for the word
“Ayin”). Although I don’t use it on a lot of online content. In terms
of recurring storytelling motifs, I guess most of my stories have a
mostly-female cast, and I really like the trope where a character has to face
against a pre-character development representation of themselves.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Find something that you’re both pretty good at and have fun
doing and focus on that. Also, originality is overrated. Having a unique idea
nobody ever thought before is not nearly as important as presenting and
delivering those ideas well.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

The identity I feel most strongly about is “Asexual, period, full stop.” For the sake of communication,
I can say that my identity is “Asexual Aromantic”, and it’s not that
I’m ashamed at my lack of romantic attraction or that I don’t feel
solidarity with other Aro people… but I’ve spent so much time questioning and
second-guessing my own orientation and worrying that I might be ‘faking it’.
But “Asexual” is the one label I’ve always come back to, the one that
feels the most ‘right’, the most like home.

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

I’ve encountered ace prejudice, but not in my ‘field’, so to
speak. I’m not very vocal about my asexuality outside of the internet, and
online (where I am very vocal) I’m just not that well-known as a creator. One
time I made a piece of art as schoolwork about my AroAceness, and the teacher
started out with “Oh that’s very sad that you felt like you have to fake
attraction to a boy” but ended up constantly talking about her husbands
and soulmates and how wonderful relationships were as if me talking about how I
was hurt by heteronormativity is insulting her relationship somehow. That kinda
hurt me, especially since it was such a personal piece. I am very afraid of the
possibility I might be the target of ace prejudice, though. It’s an anxiety
that’s constantly on my mind.

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

That it’s not ‘real’. When I first mentioned Asexuality to
my dad, before I came out, he dismissed it as “what crazy thing they’ll
make up next” and it really hurt me. I’ve seen all sorts of crazy
antagonism and misunderstanding about Ace People online, but the outright
dismissal of our identities is still what hurts me the most.

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

Surround yourself with good friends who respect your
identity. Even if the world can be really crappy sometimes, a good community to
take refuge in can make you feel a lot better. Also, try and not get stressed
about your identity the way that I did, okay? You’re probably not faking it or
lying to yourself, and if asexuality feels like the most ‘right’ label for you
and makes you happy – that’s all you need.

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

My webcomic, Just a Sidekick, is found at http://justasidekickcomics.tumblr.com/
and http://justasidekick.thecomicseries.com/.

My fanfiction is on Archive of Our Own under “Invader
Ham” https://archiveofourown.org/users/InvaderHam

I might upload some animated projects to my YouTube channel
soon, which is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTL3B4o0qQzpyd_cvzHw-jg

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

Today we’re joined by Anila. Anila is a wonderful fanartist and jewelry maker. They write in a variety of fandoms and enjoys writing fanfiction. They aspire to publish some original work some day. When they’re not writing, they enjoy making jewelry. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and enthusiastic 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’m primarily a creative writer – mostly fanfiction but I’m
working hard to finish my original works. It’s a dream to be published someday.

Other than that I make wire jewelry.

What inspires you?

To be honest, it can be anything from a long-forgotten
scribble in the margins of old lecture notes to something a passer-by might be
wearing. On one hand that means I’m lucky because I can draw from most things
but on the other hand all these WIPs can get me down.

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

I’ve always been good at writing – and when I started
showing it to other people they were interested and, more importantly, they
were affected. That made me want to write more.

As for jewelry, my mum bought a jewelry making book when I
was a teenager and it seemed to stick.

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?

My writing tends to have an overabundance of commas, an
abuse of semicolons, and a tendency for things to come in threes. Just like
that previous sentence ;D

It’s hard to have a signature when it comes to wire jewelry,
since it’s so freeform.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Try not to put yourself down too much, though I understand
it’s easy to do so.

Having friends act as cheerleaders is a blessing and can be
one of the few things to keep you out of a slump.

Also, specifically for writers, if you understand the
importance of receiving feedback in your work please be the change you wish to
see the world – when you read online works, leave comments you yourself want to
receive.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m a biromantic grey-ace. Basically I can have feelings for
just about anyone regardless of gender, but wanting to be intimate is not
necessarily included in that.

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

While writing there is a big lack of ace representation. And
of course there are the people who insist that so-and-so character simply cannot
be ace because there’s no evidence that that is so – to which the reply is that
this is fanfic, everything is possible, and ace-spectrum people do exist. There
was also one person who tried to tell me that I couldn’t be grey-ace because of
my smutty works, which… still makes me sigh.

On the outernet, where I’m closeted anyhow, there is very
casual prejudice – the expectation that of course everyone has sex and
you’re some sort of deviant otherwise. I do my best to educate when I can,
though admittedly I tend to get defensive and annoyed very quickly.

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

That people need to have sex to live. Nope, bzzt,
wrong, try again.

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

Take your time. There’s no rush to find out who you are. Do
your research because knowledge is power. And, if you ever decide down the line
that your orientation on the spectrum isn’t exactly what you thought it was,
then that’s okay too.

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

My writing’s on AO3 (http://archiveofourown.org/users/diemarysues),
and I do yell about writing on my personal blog (http://diemarysues.tumblr.com).

Jewelry stuff is on my side blog (http://rustypliers.tumblr.com) though I am currently taking a break
while I take better photos and edit them.

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