Category: panromantic asexual

Interview: Martha J Allard

Today we’re joined by Martha J Allard. Martha is a phenomenal author who writes various kinds of fantasy. She writes both short stories and novels. Her work is mostly dark and contemporary fantasy. Her novel is entitled Black Light and it sounds fascinating. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate writer, 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 write fiction, mostly dark and contemporary fantasy. I
write both short stories and novels. My first one of those came out a two years
ago called Black Light. It’s about
rock and roll and finding yourself in what you want.

What inspires you?

I always try to look for the magic hidden in normal life. I
believe it’s always there, but we can’t always see it. I try to put that in my
writing.

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

Yes, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I grew up with a
book in my hand. I traded Laura Ingles Wilder for Anne of Green Gables, for the
Nine Princes in Amber and on. I loved all those stories and more, but there
were no characters that I could identify with.

I grew up in a small town in Michigan, in the late 70’s. It
was miles and miles away from any queer culture. I didn’t know it existed, much
less that I could be a part of it.

One night I waited until my parents were asleep and snuck
back downstairs to the TV to watch videos. This was pre-MTV. They played a
video by David Bowie called I Am A DJ. I was riveted, never having seen him
before. In the video, a man comes up to Bowie on the street to kiss him. This
opened my small-town brain up to the possibilities that lay beyond my tiny
borders. Somehow those possibilities got my pen moving.  

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, yes. Or I think of them as Easter eggs, really.
Because of my connection to Bowie, I always put something of him in my work.
Sometimes it’s small, something nobody but me will notice, and sometimes it’s
bigger, for example the entire plot of Black Light started out with one of his
songs.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Don’t write what you know. Write what you want to discover.
Write the things that scare you and let your words be wild.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I came to asexuality late in life. In the past I’ve also
identified as Bi and Lesbian. I feel that I can only speak for right now, and
right now I feel Panromantic.

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

I write queer fiction, and so I rub shoulders with other
queer writers. When I first came out as Ace, some of them advised against it. I
was surprised, because I had already identified as queer, and had for years.
I’ve found that some people think of Asexual as “damaged,” and I didn’t want to
be thought of like that, did I?

No. I didn’t. So when I came out to people, I armed myself
with explanations, reasons for my sexuality. But finally, I stopped myself. Now
I deal with push back by not apologizing, but it took a while.  

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

As I mentioned above, it’s that somehow, I became asexual
because of damaged I’ve suffered.  Also
that I’m wasting myself? That one always makes me laugh. It feels just the
opposite to me.

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

I would say, it’s a journey, not a destination. For me, each
day is different, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, and as David Bowie
famously said once, “All I can tell you is what I feel right now.”

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

My website: https://www.marthajallard.com/
My Facebook page: marthajallard
Amazon link to Black Light: http://a.co/d/bT1PCsp

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

Interview: Emily Jane

Today we’re joined by Emily Jane. Emily is a phenomenal artist who does a bit of everything. She enjoys singing, writing, and drawing, but her main passion is photography. Emily has a great passion for creating and is incredibly enthusiastic, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m a sort of jack of all trades artist to be honest. I love
to sing, write, draw, photograph…I love many things, and try not to limit
myself to just one. When I sing, I often sing about my personal experiences,
but when I’m writing, I try to immerse myself in my characters. To me, art
should express something about the artist or the subject that he or she has not
or cannot share with the world. I try to capture that in my photography as
well- to find a secret and exploit it on camera- though the person seeing the
photo won’t see the secret, they might catch a hint of emotion tagging along
the end of it.

What inspires you?

Oh, gosh, the list is endless. A current inspiration is just
the existence of people. People, as a whole, are so miraculous. They live, they
breath, they exist and one of my favorite things is catching them doing that. I
also try to find myself in my work. I try to ask myself, who am I? What person
do I show to others, and is that person really me?

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

Unfortunately enough, I think the person that got me into my
field was my mother, though I really don’t want to credit her with anything
that I love. She was a graphic designer in college, and just frankly an
extremely creative person… Without her influence, I doubt I would have found
myself as deeply entrenched in the artistic world as I do.

Ever since I’ve remembered, I’ve wanted to be an artist, but
I often wonder about the differences between nature and nurture. Had my father,
who is an engineer, had more to do with my growing into myself, would I be
leaning more into the STEM fields? Or had I grown up in a family that didn’t focus
me on anything, would I have begun to lean towards a completely different
field? The world may never know.

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

I don’t know if I have a specific symbol in my work… I often
draw young women. I think that might be because of my sexuality, me trying to
draw potential girlfriends haha!

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

I would encourage them to never give up! I have received so
much backlash from my work- being labeled the weird emo girl (because
apparently only emo people draw??), people yelling at me for drawing different
body types… it’s not ideal, that’s for sure. But never give up on your art. And
remember, while it’s not wrong to want praise for your work, the person you
most need to accept your work is yourself.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

As of now, I identify as a panromantic asexual. I’m
attracted to people, not what’s in their pants- probably because I never want
to touch what’s in their pants haha.

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

Not so much relating to my field as to me as a person. As of
now, I am only halfway out of the closet with one person, which means that she
knows I’m asexual, but not that I’m panromantic. I have experience aphobic
things in my dating life, unfortunately. Guys seem to be under the impression
that everybody loves kissing and sex, and they get angry when you say you
aren’t into either of those things. Since I’m not out of the closet, I’ve never
dated a female, so I’ve no idea how they would react to being told that I do
not like sex.

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

The most common misconception I see about asexuality is the
idea that people who identify as asexual also do not have romantic
relationships, or that all ace people are also aromantic. Not only is this
patently false, but it harms people who are asexual by promoting the idea that
we don’t want romance. It also harms people who are not on the asexual scale by
promoting the idea that all romantic relationships must involve sex or it’s not
really a romantic relationship, which can be INCREDIBLY toxic.

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

Sure! Just remember that no matter how many people turn you
down or scoff at you for your sexuality, you are VALID!! You may be more on the
graysexual scale, and that’s totally fine. Humanity is filled with so many
people of so many types- it only makes sense that you won’t fit in a box
completely perfectly. And remember also- you don’t have to figure it all out
yet! People change- you may change as well, and that’s totally okay and valid.

Sure! Just remember that no matter how many people turn you
down or scoff at you for your sexuality, you are VALID!! You may be more on the
graysexual scale, and that’s totally fine. Humanity is filled with so many
people of so many types- it only makes sense that you won’t fit in a box
completely perfectly. And remember also- you don’t have to figure it all out
yet! People change- you may change as well, and that’s totally okay and valid.

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

I’m not really online at all except for my Tumblr account.
Feel free to stop by and say hi to me at uppercase-ace 😉

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

Interview: Maeve Forde

Today we’re joined by Maeve Forde. Maeve is a phenomenal actress and writer. Her main passion is acting and she acts in sketch comedy, plays, short films, and television. Recently she has written and acted in a webseries entitled, “Suddenly Super?” which is now available on YouTube. When she’s not acting, Maeve enjoys writing and currently has a novel in the works. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m an actor and a writer.
I list actor first, because that’s my primary job right now (even though
I’m still starting out and I have other jobs to pay the bills) but I’m also a
writer.  I’ll write just about anything –
I’ve got a novel in the works, I’ve written a web series that is out now on
YouTube, I’ve written fanfiction for years.
I’ll act in just about anything too – so far I’ve done sketch comedy,
plays, web series, short films, and television.

What inspires you?

A lot of times when I start to write, I have a specific
scene, line, or emotion in mind that I’ll come up with that I really want to
nail, so I’ll fill in everything else around that.  Ultimately, the scenes and lines come from an
emotional basis anyway for the characters, so I’m inspired by the idea that I
can make these characters feel something and make it honest and earned.  I know that art can have an impact so I use
my writing a lot to explore different emotions and different power dynamics,
but I always want to make sure that it all makes sense and doesn’t feel forced
or like I’m trying to force an audience to feel something that’s not there.

I have a similar approach to acting.  I’m inspired by what’s in the script
primarily, but while taking into account that emotional impact.  So, I guess I’m inspired by that impact; I’m
inspired by the idea that when someone is taking in the art I’ve made, I’m
trying to make sure they get something out of it, so my job is to ensure they
do.

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

I’ve been writing creatively for pretty much as long as I
could write at all.  I remember being in
grade school and having like special notebooks to write stories in when we had
downtime in class. I always dreamed of being a published author.  I wrote a lot of original stuff until high
school, when I wrote almost exclusively fanfiction.  I’m 22 now, and in the past three or four
years or so I’ve been getting back into writing original stories in various
forms.  

I acted in school plays growing up, but it wasn’t something
I wanted to do until high school.  High
school was when I started getting really into fandom and writing fanfiction and
I started getting connected to characters rather than to stories, because it
was individual characters that brought me into fandom rather than overarching
plots and mythologies.  And since I got
so into characters and how they interacted, it got into my head that I could
play characters one day, and that’s how I got serious about acting.  I didn’t really tell anyone for a while that
I was interested in acting seriously but I’d act out the stories I wrote, and
then once I got to college (to study History) I took acting more seriously and
auditioned for student projects 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?

I have a rule for myself now that I always include queer
characters and that none of them die.
It’s not really a signature and it’s not something I can really control
when I’m acting in someone else’s piece, but for my own writing, it’s a
definite rule.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

It is okay to take time to figure out what you want!  And it is okay to want multiple things!  I studied history in college and right out of
school, I had a job in a history museum because that was a dream of mine, too.  There’s this myth that in order to be a ~real
artist~ you have to go for it entirely.
There’s this romanticized idea especially regarding actors but really in
probably every facet of artistry, that says you shouldn’t have a safety net and
that romanticizes the idea of being on your last few dollars but being so
committed to ~the art~.  There is nothing
wrong with doing it halfway until you can do it fully.  There’s nothing wrong with doing it halfway,
or 70% of the way, or 12% of the way, or whatever if that’s what you want.  Whether you act professionally or you act
once a year in your local community theater, you’re still an actor.

You can have a day job in an office or a restaurant or a
library or whatever and still be an artist.
Your level of commitment is up to you, and no part of it needs to be
performative.  If you’re comfortable
going all in, good for you!  Do it!  If you aren’t, you don’t have to!  You don’t have to be one thing, you don’t
have to struggle and suffer for your art if it can be avoided, and you can
change your mind about all of that at any time.
Commitment is good, but it’s also flexible.  Let it bend so it doesn’t break.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as asexual panromantic.

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

To be honest, I’m pretty closeted professionally, especially
in acting circles.  I’ve yet to do
anything that required any sex scenes or anything like that, though I am
generally open to it.  Right now, I feel
like as an actor starting out, it’s in my best interest to keep it quiet.  Even in roles that don’t include sex scenes,
there is still a lot of expectation on female characters, and in turn their
actors, to be seen as sexual beings.  We
still see actors struggle to get work after coming out as gay, so there’s still
an atmosphere, especially among actors starting out, to keep it quiet, because
no matter how good our acting may be, there are still people who, when they
know we are out and see our work, will still refuse to see our character as
anything other than what we are out as.
I’ve had conversations along those lines with people in and out of the
industry, who just love to mention that when an actor is out, they “just can’t
see their character as straight.”  Bonus
points if the actor comes out while their tv show/movie series is still in
progress, and the person just outright adds an “anymore” to the end.  There’s a definite, accepted attitude that
queer actors don’t need to be believed when they play straight and that it’s
a-okay to just admit that.  There are
pretty famous actors who are out as ace like Janeane Garofalo and other famous
people who are out and it doesn’t seem to have affected their work, but many
came out after they were already solidly in their field.  So, I think I have a ways to go until I can
be more comfortably openly out, though I am out with one actor I worked with on
a play.

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

That something can ~turn~ us at some point.  I’m open about my asexuality with romantic
partners pretty much from the start, especially on dating apps.  I’ve had quite a few encounters on apps along
the lines of “well you haven’t found the right person.”

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

I would tell that it whatever they are feeling is okay.  It’s tough to find a label that fits, it’s
tough to accept that orientations are on a spectrum and they may move around on
that spectrum or they may not, it’s tough to know that there are people who
won’t understand and won’t bother to try.
But the most important thing is that you feel what you feel. You can’t
run from what you feel, and what you feel is okay.  It’s good.
I live in the US, so I know the culture around sex here can be really,
really tricky to navigate but it is easier when you know where you’re
going.  There are a lot of great
resources to make you feel more comfortable in the ace community; I know that
when I first figured out I was ace I panicked but then I looked around on the
internet and found a whole community of people like me.  It helped to see people of all ages, of all
backgrounds so comfortable with who they were.
So, if you’re struggling, reach out.
You don’t even need to talk to anyone; just seeing someone be
comfortable in their skin to can be enough to make everyone else a little more
comfortable.

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

My Instagram is at maeve.forde and my web series
“Suddenly Super?” is on YouTube now at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCL-prcEKVIVCY5Zoz3rXDCQ.

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

Interview: Leah

Today we’re joined by Leah. Leah is a wonderful and talented artist who does a bit of everything. She does visual art and works with a variety of mediums. When she’s not doing visual art, she also plays a number of musical instruments. The main instrument she plays is the clarinet and she’s started learning the mandolin. As if that weren’t impressive enough, she also writes poetry. It’s clear Leah is 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.

I
am a visual artist, as well as a musician and a poet. For my visual art I tend
to work with whatever medium seems to fit my topic the best, and I enjoy
creating things intuitively. Music wise, my main instrument is the clarinet,
but I also know how to play the piano, flute, tenor saxophone, and ukulele, and
I am learning the mandolin. My poetry is more random and for myself. I like
writing whatever comes to mind and using poetry as a way to funnel my emotions.

What inspires you?

What
inspires me is nature and other works of art. A lot of times I’ll see something
in nature and my first thought is “I’d love to paint that” so I like doing a
lot of nature based pieces. The work of other artists is also inspiring to me
because it gives me the inspiration to work more on honing my own craft so I
can someday reach the level of skill and expertise I see in the works of
others. Musically I am inspired by my friends who are also musicians. Watching
them and their love of music, and passion for their instruments inspires me to
spend more time with my own instrument.

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

What
got me interested in my field was probably my grandmother. She was an
elementary school art teacher, so when I was little she always did lots of
crafts and art projects with me. She would also take me to art museums and show
me famous works of art which really helped me fall in love with art. When I was
little I really wanted to be an artist, but then I got older and realized I was
not good enough to be able to make a living off of my artwork, and I’m always
too attached to my pieces to give them away to someone else. Now I want to be an
art teacher, so hopefully that’s where my life will take me. My mom was the one
who helped encourage my interest in music. She played the clarinet in middle
school and high school, which is what inspired me to play the clarinet. And she
has always supported me and my musical talents.

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

I
don’t think I really have a specific thing included in all my works. Because I
love exploring different mediums, I don’t really have something specific that’s
included in all my works.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Keep
practicing your art. The more you do it, the better at it you’ll become. It’s
okay if art is just something you do for fun, you need things to enjoy in life
so don’t worry about trying to make a career out of your art if you don’t want
to. If you do want to make a career out of your art, I know you might hit some
low points, but don’t give up and keep creating things, inspiration will come
and you will be successful.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I
identify as a panromantic asexual.

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

I
haven’t really encountered much prejudice or ignorance in my field just because
that’s not really anything that’s come up yet, but I’ve experienced plenty of
it in general everyday life. Mostly I handle it by either ignoring it, or
trying to explain my sexuality, it depends on the situation.

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

The
most common misconception I’ve heard is that we’re emotionless, or that we just
don’t feel anything.

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

Don’t
worry about feeling out of place or broken. I thought for the longest time that
I was perfectly normal and that there was no way the rest of the world just
thought about sex all the time, and that’s still a really strange concept to
me. If you’re struggling to figure out your sexuality, don’t discredit that you
might be ace, because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being ace and there
are people who will have no problem accepting you for who you are.

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

I
don’t really have a specific place where I post all my work, but I will
sometimes sporadically post on my Instagram at hpandthegobletofsass or on my Tumblr at wxtchmxbxrn.tumblr.com or if you want to find any of my Harry Potter fanart
whenever I feel like getting around to it you can find it at hpandthegobletofsass.tumblr.com.

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

Interview: Linz Vandermeer

Today we’re joined by Linz Vandermeer. Linz is a phenomenal writer who has recently gotten into cosplay. They mostly write fanfiction, but they started out writing poetry and stories. For the cosplay, they’ve only recently started dabbling in it and enjoys it. It’s clear they’re a 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 have been writing for as long as I can remember, it’s
almost a compulsion with me. I started with poetry, some bad, some even worse,
and then branched out into stories. Eventually, through my love of comics and
movies, I ended up in the realm of fanfiction, and that’s where I’ve focused
most of my attention for the last 3 or 4 years. The other thing I have really
started to get into is cosplay, and though my sewing skills are not the
greatest, I have a great group of friends to turn to where my abilities are
lacking.

What inspires you?

I get a lot of my inspiration from daily life. I take a
situation that I’ve encountered, and wondered ‘what would such-and-such a
character do in my place’, and ‘how could this have gone worse’? It’s like a
little mental exercise, and then before I know it I have 1200 words on a page.
When I am cosplaying, I try to find a character that really calls out to me,
someone that I can see a bit of myself in.

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

Even from a very young age I wanted to be a writer. I used
to write stories with my friends about the adventures we would go on if we
didn’t have to be in school, or if our parents were actually super spies, and
things like that. As I got older I realized that I didn’t want writing to be my
job, it was my mental escape from life and to put pressure or deadlines killed
my creativity. Cosplay naturally evolved from my love of roleplaying games like
D&D. I took part in a LARP (live action role play) for almost a decade
before health issues made it too difficult, and that’s where I really started
to learn to build costumes.

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

I like to use British cuss words, they’ve always entertained
me and I grew up watching shows like Monty
Python
and Red Dwarf, so that
coloured my view of humour. More than that I like to take one scene and add
more description than necessary, really make it the centerpiece of my work. I
also rarely have sexual content in my fanfiction, which makes it a bit of an
oddity.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

When you are writing, write for you. That way any person who
likes what you have done, that’s just a bonus. Art should come from inside of
us, and serve us, the rest of the world is a distant second. Do it to make
yourself happy, that’s where the best art comes form.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am a panromantic asexual and agender individual.

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

There’s a lot of pressure towards sexualization and
romanticism in writing, and fanfiction in particular. I occasionally get
pressure to add sex scenes, and I will the odd time concede and add them, but
it always feels wrong to me. I have no interest in sexual actions, so I’m not
certain that I can really build them appropriately or accurately.

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

I find that for the most part I encounter a lot of confusion
over the fact that my partner and I have been together for almost six years.
We’re both asexual, and though we live together we have separate bedrooms
because I am an extremely restless sleeper. When people hear that we have never
even kissed (I’m touch-averse), they assume we are more like friends that live
together, but it’s not that at all. I love and adore my partner, and being with
her is very different than being with even my best friend.

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

Struggle is natural. I grew up in a world where asexuality
didn’t exist, and where even more standard queer identities like gay and
lesbian were barely discussed. I tried on a lot of hats when I was trying to
figure out who I was, but it wasn’t until I found asexuality that I felt
comfortable and that it was ‘just right’. Don’t be afraid to change your
identifiers when they don’t suit you anymore. Sexuality is not only a spectrum,
but it flows and changes as your identity and personality develop.

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

I have some of my old poetry up on Deviantart at https://www.deviantart.com/cavannarose
and my fanfiction is up on AO3 at https://archiveofourown.org/users/CavannaRose

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

Interview: Sabrina

Today we’re joined by Sabrina, who also goes by
how-to-sit-gay. Sabrina is a phenomenal writer and dancer from Germany. She has recently picked up fanfiction again after a five year hiatus. She started writing fanfiction over ten years ago and wrote in a variety of fandoms. When she isn’t writing fic, Sabrina writes a lot of original work, mostly short fiction and poetry. Aside from writing, Sabrina also danced quite a lot. She danced in a
Gardetanzgruppe, which is part of carnival culture in Western and Southern Germany (for an example, here’s a video). My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please,
tell us about your art.

It feels like I’ve been writing stories since I
was able to spell my name, even though this might be far from true. I wrote my
first proper fanfiction back in 2005, but I started writing poems and original
stories before that, way back to when I was in elementary school. Since then I
have written more short stories and poems than I can count, apart from
fanfiction.

Gardetanz is a very special dancing style that is
deeply rooted in the carnival culture of Western and Southern Germany. I
started dancing when I was a wee little 7 year old and only stopped 17 years
later when I moved away to a federal state that has no carnival traditions
whatsoever and hence no dance group for me to join. I still miss it so much.
Luckily, any kind of dancing or working with my body still comes naturally to
me.

What
inspires you?

Usually it is my latest obsession, which I think
is not uncommon for fanfiction writers. I’m quite often inspired by songs –
some lyrics fragment that just makes me immediately develop a scene in my head.

When it comes to original stories or poems I draw
a lot from personal experience, especially when it’s about struggle or going
into the dark places of one’s mind. I’ve only ever written two “happy” poems in
my whole life, and that just to prove myself that I can.

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

Looking back, it seems like I was born with a
pencil in my hand. Always either drawing or writing. And when I was not holding
a pencil, I was running and dancing around. Little Me didn’t care for her 39.5
°C fever, she just needed to relentlessly jump and flail.

How and why I started dancing I is a simple story.
Our across the street neighbour told my mother about starting a children’s
dancing group in our local carnival club, and she thought this would be a nice
way to have me use my pent up energy. It was one of her best decisions.

I never wanted to be any kind of artist, or at least
I hadn’t planned to. In the end I just became Me with a raving passion to
create stories, and to move my body.

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

I don’t, except you count the main characters
having a snarky and sarcastic kind of banter going on. This just happens
naturally. But I’m actually thinking about implementing something like this
now, like in Bones where there’s always a clock showing 4:47 in key scenes.

What advice
would you give young aspiring artists?

Go for it. And of course practice makes (almost)
perfect. It’s actually a good sign when you look at your old work and cringe a
little (or a lot in my case), because it shows that you’ve grown and improved
yourself. This counts for works both of the mind and the body.

ASEXUALITY

Where on
the spectrum do you identify?

It’s really hard to tell, the safest bet would be
grey-asexual, but there are times when I go “full ace” for different lengths of
time. As I have figured out thanks to my last relationship, if there is any
sexual attraction to happen it definitely isn’t towards male identifying
persons. Romantically I’m pan, though.

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

Not personally, so far. I think when it comes to
writing fanfiction where people try to live out their own fantasies (not
necessarily sex-wise), there are a lot of misconceptions about ace writers.
Yes, I am ace. Yes, I can enjoy reading smutty scenes. Yes, I am also capable
of writing them myself and have already done so. No, I’m not an innocent child
who squeals ‘ewwww’ as soon as the characters kiss.

I don’t know how it is with dancing. Luckily for
me, Gardetanz isn’t a dancing style loaded with sexual undertones, even though
the skirts are so short and your panties are visible most of the time. In my
group there was never any other sexuality discussed than heterosexuality, so I
don’t even know if my fellow dancers realised I was and still am utterly queer.
In the end, probably the same common misconceptions apply there as in most
other cases.

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

First and foremost of course, that it doesn’t
exist and I just haven’t had good sex yet. That it’s not natural. That I must
have lived through some trauma but maybe can be ‘repaired’.

When I was looking for a therapist for my
depression and anxiety, one said to me that I probably don’t want to have sex
because I’m such a closed off person. That woman never saw me again.

And being on Tumblr for quite some time now, I
noticed the astounding misconception that ace people don’t belong to the
LGBTQIA+ community, that we’re basically just prude/virgin hets-to-happen. The
first ones I can shrug off, the latter one really riles me up.

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

Don’t doubt yourself and your feelings (or lack
thereof), everything you experience and feel is valid. You don’t need to put a
tag on yourself if you can’t or don’t want to. There are times it feels like
the world just wants to spit in your face, but there will be a time all that
sh*t will go away to make room for all the good things.

I basically try to live by some wise words by
Charlie Chaplin: “Nothing is permanent in this wicked world – not even our
troubles.”

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

After a very long writing hiatus, I finally
published a fanfiction again. It can be found on AO3 under my username how_to_sit_gay. I’m
thinking about uploading my old (English) RP fanfiction after re-reading and
editing it as well, but this might take some time.

Said old tennis RPF can be found at poetry-of-dance.livejournal.com/tag/fic
but I probably really have to revise them as they are more than 8 years old.
Last but not least, a lot of my German short stories and (revised) fanfics
(2006-2009) are on fanfiktion.de/u/AngelOfFreedom

Unfortunately there are no videos from our Garde
performances online. You have to search YouTube for “Gardetanz” to get an
impression of it.

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

Interview: Ash Kleczka

Today we’re joined by Ash Kleczka, who also goes by Umber online. Ash is a phenomenal visual artist, an all-around fantasy enthusiast. They love using visual art to tell a story and highlight beauty. Their images show a unique style and a very vivid imagination. It’s clear Ash loves to create, 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 a fantasy illustrator, a painter, concept artist, and
all around enthusiast… I was going to add more to that statement, but
honestly I think ‘enthusiast’ about covers it. I get really excited about
concepts that are self-reflective in some way, or that highlight an unexpected
beauty.

I really try to create art that tells a story.  

What inspires you?

Nature, mythology, the occult. Things that are taboo or
archaic. I’m also deeply inspired by role-playing games like D&D and the
character building process.

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

The simple, inelegant answer is that I got into visual arts
because I was dissatisfied with the attractiveness of some characters from a
video game I was into at the time – and I wanted to make characters that would
appeal to me.

It’s an ongoing struggle haha.

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 super-secret naming convention for pretty much any
character I’ve ever created ever is to try to match their
personality/appearance/some interesting feature to a bird or other natural
flora or fauna and then I build their name around the scientific binomial of
that thing.

So for example, one character named Cyril Alcyon is based
around the belted kingfisher megaceryle
alcyon
. Another is named Melia Edarach which is taken from the chinaberry
tree, or Melia azedarach.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

My advice is to just keep going. It’s OK for things to not
look exactly as they do in your head, or to be dissatisfied with where you are
with your art. It means that you have room to grow! Stay open to new ideas and
roll with the punches. Art, like life, is full of happy accidents.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Grey-Ace/Pansexual

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

I’m not particularly open about my sexuality in the
workplace, but the few times it’s come up typically end with the person I’m
talking to feeling sorry for me. It’s not hateful – just a lack of
understanding. So I try my best to explain that it’s not a negative part of my
life experience. It’s just an orientation in the same way that being gay, or
bisexual is.

I have encountered prejudice
in my personal life however. One instance was in my last D&D
campaign. I played an ace/aro character, and was met with some questionably in-character commentary from
another player. That was really the first time I’d encountered something like
that in the wild before, and honestly…I’m open to advice myself.

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

That it’s something to be fixed.

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

Find people you trust that you can talk to, and be patient
with yourself. Sometimes it’s not as simple as just being one piece of the big
sex/gender pie. Sometimes you’re a triple decker slice of pie with whipped
cream and cherries.

I’ve found it really helpful to talk to my husband (who’s
allo) to see where we differ. Sometimes the answers you’re looking for are in
the empty spaces between two truths.

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

I have a website umbertheprussianblue.com!

You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter at ThePrussianBlue

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

Interview: Sean Shannon

Today we’re joined by Sean Shannon. Sean is a phenomenal artist whose a bit of an artist-of-all-trades. She has two main focuses at the moment: writing and creating webseries. She has written a novel entitled The Prostitutes of Lake Wiishkoban that was up for an international award. Sean has also written two ebooks of classroom exercises for humanities instructors, several poems, some short stories, and a seventeen-year-old blog. As if that’s not impressive enough, Sean has also created a couple webseries. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist who 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 am the author of the novel The
Prostitutes of Lake Wiishkoban
, which was shortlisted for the Dundee
International Book Prize and a quarterfinalist for the Amazon Breakthrough
Novel Award. In addition, I’m the creator and host of the teaching webseries Socratic Sense, which explores
current issues in teaching, and the intersection of education with politics and
popular culture, as well as a personal webseries called Musecast. Those are my (current)
major efforts, but I call myself an “artist-of-many-trades” because I work in
all kinds of mediums, from writing to the visual arts.

What inspires you?

I could name specific artists whose influences I can see in
my work, but what inspires me more than anything is the desire to leave the
world a better place than I found it. That’s a drive that influences all my
work, across all mediums.

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

My parents were both artists, so I kind of come by it
naturally. I also had a very difficult childhood, and while I’ve never had
formal sessions in art therapy, my art has always been a refuge for me, and a
place for me to work out the problems I’m having (then and now). I’ve always
wanted to be an artist on some level, but I’ve always wanted to be everything. I still haven’t decided what
I want to be when I grow up.

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?

Whenever I’ve tried to include something like that in my
work, it always feels forced to me. Other artists don’t seem to have that
problem, so I guess I’m just not very good at that sort of thing.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Absorb everything you can. Consume art far and wide, even if
it’s not in a medium or genre you want to work with. Everything you experience
will fill your artistic well, and could inspire your art five minutes or fifty
years in the future.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am a panromantic asexual.

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

The biggest problem I’ve come across is people who assume
that I can’t write a novel about sex work, or a novel with sex scenes, because
I’m asexual. (Never mind that I fit some people’s definition of the term “sex
worker” because I’ve taught safer sex practices before.)

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

That asexuality is synonymous with celibacy, and that
asexuals can’t have (or enjoy) sex.

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

Above all, you are not alone. I don’t believe in making
promises like “it gets better,” because I’m not in a position to be able to
keep that promise to anyone else (or even myself), but know that some of us out
here are at least trying to make things better for asexuals. We would very much
like your help if you can provide it, but it’s okay if you need to stay private
about your asexuality for now, regardless of the reason.

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

My blog, seanshannon.org,
has links to my books and videos, examples of my photography, and short written
pieces about everything on my mind these last couple of decades, ranging from
political essays to narrative non-fiction.

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

Interview: Sark

Today we’re joined by Sark, who is the 800th artist interviewed on Asexual Artists. Sark is a phenomenal fanartist and writer. He mostly draws, focusing on drawing characters in fandoms he enjoys. Occasionally, he draws people’s original characters. When he’s not drawing, Sark enjoys writing. It’s clear he’s an incredibly passionate and dedicated artist who loves creating, 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.

Well, I’ve been
drawing for about four years now, and I’ve been writing since, well, actually
since I can remember! I usually focus my work on creating fan content as a
method to express my enjoyment of things, but sometimes I draw people’s
characters because I like seeing people get happy, honestly.

What inspires you?

A lot of things.
One of my main inspirations is the works other people have created, especially
music. I have playlists for all of my characters to get my writing and art in
character for them. And sometimes I just go outside and see something
beautiful. Most of the time I see someone do stupid things and it reminds me
how great people are, and why I enjoy writing and drawing in the first place.

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

Well, I know it’s
probably the tale of everyone ever, but really it was people. When I was
younger- I think maybe eleven- I used to watch a lot of YouTube. It was a lot
of gaming, all these wildly popular channels that were popular a couple years
ago. I enjoyed them a lot, but the idea of making fan content didn’t occur to
me until I met someone who became my role model. They made a lot of animations
and art of these people, and they wrote stories about them. I thought it was
really cool, so I imitated them. I was really bad at drawing and writing, but
they were always really nice. They also were my introduction to the LGBT
community, which obviously is really important to me now. I don’t know where
they are nowadays, I lost track of them along the way, but they’re still my
inspiration.

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 art is about as
consistent as my memory, which is to say not at all, but my signature is
usually a stylized S- I’ll see if I can show an example, I’m really mosh at
description. Which is probably bad, considering I’m a writer.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I still consider
myself an aspiring artist myself, but if I could look back at some of the
worries I used to have about my content not being good enough, or my writing
being cliche, I think I’d only say one thing. And that is that it doesn’t
matter. If you’re just starting out, you probably think your art, or your
music, or your writing sucks. And I won’t lie to you, it probably does. But it
doesn’t matter. Anyone who looks down at people who aren’t as practiced as you
yet aren’t worth your time. Because we were all beginners. Most of us still
are, really. Just keep pushing the boundaries of what you can do until they
grow. And then push harder. That’s what I’m doing.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual
Panromantic. I’m seriously mulling over my romantic identity right now, so I’m
not sure about being pan, which I think is okay, but I’m confident in my
sexuality.

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

Really no one in
real life that I’ve worked with that are in the LGBT community has treated me
any different than they would treat a gay man, or a lesbian, which is to say
I’ve been treated really well offline. My works are, for better or worse, not
really well known online, which I don’t really mind that much. It means I
haven’t had anyone here really target me for my identity, though from other
cases I’m well aware how nasty people can be when they can be anonymous. I’m
trying to keep my hopes high that I’ll be able to make it in the art and
writing world without too much backlash right now. I think as long as I keep
thick skin, I should be able to do it.

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

Really that we’re
all one flavor. People really don’t seem to realize how a diverse of a group we
are. Aces come from all walks of life, and we have all kinds of identities. I’m
a trans man that lives in the suburban south, but I’m far from the only ace
experience. It’s cool. Aces are a cool group of a lot of people, and I really
like it. I wish more people thought about that before talking about us the way
they do.

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

Really, whether or
not you’re Ace is something only you can discover. But if you stay away from
people who will try and influence you and just explore your identity, it can
help you get into touch with how you feel about people. Don’t let people tell
you who you are; only you get a say in that.

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

My writing is over
at Sarkshine on Wattpad,
and my artwork can be found at sarkiesark
and at fantrolbs as well as Sarkshine on DA.

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

Interview: Brit

Today we’re joined by Brit. Brit is a wonderful fanartist who is mostly active in a few different fandoms. She enjoys writing fanfiction as well as drawing her characters from her favorite fandoms. Brit is most active in the Undertale, Homestuck, and Hiveswap fandoms. It’s clear that she’s an incredibly dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I am mostly a fanartist, be it with drawn fanart or with
written works (fanfiction). I’ve been mostly active in the Undertale fandom, but lately I’ve been on a bit of a Homestuck/Hiveswap kick. I also do a lot
with original characters (OCs). The biggest project I’ve had going on for a
long while now is a fanfiction titled With
and Without
, a Sans/OC fanfiction that now has 59 chapters.

What inspires you?

It’s difficult to say what inspires me…but I think, more
often than not, anything that gives me an idea of an emotion, or makes me
experience that emotion, then I get inspired. That’s part of what I always aim
for in my written work, too, to make people feel something.

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

I’ve always had an interest in being an artist. I’ve always
done well with creative writing in school, and that’s what really got me
started with writing 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?

I don’t necessarily have a special signature…but this has
made me think about it, and I might start making one from now on!

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

My advice would be to keep going. I know that sounds cliché,
but no matter what, you’ve got to keep going. That doesn’t mean go nonstop,
though! Sometimes I’m just not in the right mood to write or draw, so I don’t. I
take a break, play a game, or do something else. I feel that it helps me be
able to come back to it with a fresh mind and renewed motivation. But you can’t
give up on it. I used to draw using bases off of DeviantArt and tracing, and
with all the effort I’ve put in, I’ve gotten to the place where I am now.
(Which isn’t that far, compared to other people, but that’s the other thing.
You can’t compare your journeys to one another because each one is unique.)

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as a mostly sex-repulsed pan-romantic asexual.
It’s difficult, and I say mostly sex-repulsed, because on some days I’m
repulsed and suddenly on others I’m not. It can even change by the hour. It’s
very frustrating at times, but I’ve come to accept that that’s just how I am.

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

I don’t know about prejudice, but I have been asked how I
can write NSFW content if I’m asexual (especially being mostly sex repulsed). I
just explain that the two aren’t really related, and that usually clears it up.

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

The most common misconception I’ve encountered personally is
that all asexuals don’t like sex, which just isn’t true! Even though I
personally don’t always like it, I’ve met others who have a high libido.

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

I would say to definitely surround yourself with people who
are accepting, and have patience with the people who have been in your life if
you’ve only just now come out. To those who aren’t asexual, it can be difficult
to understand. But yeah, keeping away the people who are negative or
unsupportive will definitely help with accepting your orientation. If someone
who’s unsupportive is someone you can’t avoid (i.e. family) then you can always
try limiting your contact with them if at all possible. But seriously, surround
yourself with support and love and kindness. It’ll help more than you’ll ever
know.

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

I mostly post on Tumblr these days, so you can find me here
(https://life-sans-sin.tumblr.com),
but I also post on DeviantArt (https://life-sans-sin.deviantart.com).
I have an archive account here on Tumblr as well, where more of my older stuff is
posted. You can find that here (https://life-sans-sin-archive.tumblr.com).
For Tumblr, my tags are #brit writes and #brit arts.

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