Category: visual art

Interview: Ashleigh Nicole

Today we’re joined by Ashleigh Nicole. Ashleigh is a wonderful young up and coming visual artist who is currently studying illustration at uni. She specializes in character, concept, and storyboard artist. Her work is beautiful, showing an amazing use of color and line. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist with an incredibly 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’m a second year Illustration student and my work focuses
on concept, character and storyboard art, but I also like to create random
illustrations of my own. I also want to move into comics at some point!

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by plants, superheroes and fantasy- they
feature a lot in my work. But I also watch other people’s work on Instagram and
twitter and I enjoy getting inspiration from their work too whether its colour
pallets that I didn’t think of exploring or a brush technique.

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

I have always drawn, but I was actually set on becoming a
fashion designer since year 7. I changed degrees before I started because I was
filling sketchbooks more than I made clothes in my gap year and thinking about
selling my art. I still like fashion so maybe I’ll go back to it at some point.

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! I feel like I should though!

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Learn anatomy, perspective and colour theory. I still
haven’t done that to be honest but I’m on my way!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I just go by asexual- sometimes demisexual but very rarely.

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

I have encountered people (not in the creative sector just
in general.) that think it’s a choice…I have no words. Asexuality is still a
bit unknown in the wider world so it’s mostly a general prejudice towards
LGBTIA+ people that I’ve seen.

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

Many people don’t seem to understand asexuality as a
spectrum. People have different levels, if’s buts and whys and don’t experience
things the same as another person.

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

Find people like you! Whether that’s online or in person,
speaking to people who share similar experiences is great!

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

I’m on Tumblr, Instagram, and YouTube under the username
mashmato!
My portfolio is http://ashleighnicole.myportfolio.com

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

Interview: Ellison

Today we’re joined by Ellison. Ellison is a phenomenal actress and an aspiring writer. She writes mainly poetry and short stories and hopes to be published one day. When she’s not acting or writing, Ellison enjoys to work on her visual art. She draws and sketches frequently. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist who really loves to create. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I dabble in lots of art forms, but mainly pursue theater,
writing (poetry and short stories), and drawing. I’ve been in multiple
productions, most recently A Midsummer
Night’s Dream
and will be playing Penny in You Can’t Take It With You this fall. If you’d like to contact me
about doodles, sketches, poems, or stories, please contact me directly on my
Tumblr:   wellnoduhofcourceimafangirl.

What inspires you?

I get a lot of my inspiration from my past and experiences
I’ve had, a lot of which were bad. I also take motivation from close friends
and one that not many people seem to talk about, but the media I consume. I
read all the time, almost always fiction. In a well written book there might be
a storyline that inspires me or the way something is described, I just have to
sketch it out.

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

I’ve always loved art, in some form or another and I’ve been
a performer, or depending on who you ask, a drama queen, as long as I can
remember. I wanted to be an artist but not until high school did I actually
think about making a career out of it. Little kid me would’ve been okay with
princess, but really wanted to be a spy. Currently I’d go for taking deep
breaths and making it through the day because the future is big and loud. As a
career, I think I’d be most likely to pursue my writing.

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, I’m pretty boring. Though, now that I’m thinking
about it, I should totally come up with one. I’m always willing to listen to
suggestions.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

No matter your art form, never stop. Ever. If you practice
your art every day, you’re an artist. If you only practice one a year, you’re
still an artist. I’ve been at an art school for over two years and I still
invalidate myself as an artist. You’re not an imposter, you are good enough. And if anyone tells you
otherwise, contact me for a hug plus I’ll fight them.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Currently I identify as asexual but I’m still trying to
figure myself out. One of the biggest problems I’ve had is feeling like it is
just a phase, or maybe I am just doing for attention. I still struggle with
that. It’s okay if you try on labels to see what fits you. It doesn’t make you
a liar or an imposter. All I really have to do now is figure out how to take my
own advice.

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

I haven’t. I hear the stories about acephobia and I haven’t
experienced any yet and I have to remind myself that everyone’s experiences are
different, and that doesn’t make you wrong.

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

That Aces can’t have or don’t like sex. It’s not about
whether we enjoy, or even have sex. It’s not about sex drive, nor about whether
we think someone is beautiful or hot. We just don’t experience sexual
attraction. That’s it.

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

Talk to people that understand. Talk to people who love you
regardless of how you identify. Try as hard as you can to love yourself and
remember that it isn’t anyways easy. Remember you aren’t alone. You will find
love as you are, whether it’s physical or romantic or platonic or familial or
self-love. You’re amazing.

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

To see my work or ask about commissions, contact me at my
Tumblr:    wellnoduhofcourceimafangirl.

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

Interview: Raven Jay

Today we’re joined by Raven Jay. Raven Jay is a phenomenal visual artist who is currently studying at uni. They mostly draw fanart and original characters. They currently have a fascinating webcomic entitled Anthrel, which is summarized as follows:
“A comic series following the lives of the
Anthreligions; immortal personifications of the world’s religions,
sects, and other spiritualities.”
(It updates on Fridays). It’s clear Raven is a very creative and dedicated 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 a visual artist and illustrator, and most of my work is
cartoonish. I draw a lot of both fanart and my own original characters and
ideas. I have a few webcomic ideas in the works, and my current one is named Anthrel!

What inspires you?

My current favourite shows to draw from are Voltron: Legendary Defender and Boueibu, but most of my inspiration
comes from religion, magic, and art history!

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

I’ve wanted to be an artist since primary school! I remember
spending most of my time ignoring chances to socialize so I could sit and draw.
My drive to draw – especially comics and illustration – became a lot bigger in
high school because of friends I made and my supportive art teacher.

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?

A lot of my original work centres around religion and
mythology and the beauty I see in it, and my webcomic is about personified
religions, so I guess that’s a recurring theme I have?

My physical artist signature comes from a messy stylisation
of my deadname; I just kept it because I’ve been using it for so long and it
doesn’t really look like a word anymore. That being said, I forget to sign half
of my art anyway.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

It might sound cliché but don’t give up on art because some
people think it won’t amount to anything; instead, keep making art because they
think that. My father used to tell me I’d never make a living out of art, and
his girlfriend’s friend once laughed at me for wanting to be an artist as a job.
But now I’m at uni studying a creative industries degree and building art into
a career, so the joke’s on them!

Also, don’t forget how important art theory is. Not only
does art history tell you where you came from, it can inspire you too.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m just asexual. I’m also sex-repulsed but don’t mind
talking about/drawing sexual themes within certain boundaries.

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

Though I’ve experienced ignorance from peers, I haven’t
experienced much prejudice, as most of my network is my university cohort and
close friends. Normally I deal with ignorance by just politely explaining what
asexuality is! Most people understand after that.

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

The most common misconception that I’ve encountered, I
think, is that all asexuals are by default sex-repulsed. Though I am, I know
not every ace is, and we all have different comfort boundaries for any sort of
physical affection.

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

Always remember you’re valid in your asexuality. Maybe
you’re questioning where you sit on that spectrum, and that’s okay, and maybe
you’ll wake up tomorrow and realise you don’t identify as ace at all! We learn
more about ourselves and about sexuality all the time; what matters is knowing
that identifying as ace or aspec right now is a valid thing to do, and you
don’t need to prove yourself to everyone.

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

You can find my art at draweththeraven on both Tumblr and Instagram! I also have a
website, draweththeraven.com, which I try to update regularly (aka, I never
update it). My webcomic Anthrel is at https://tapas.io/series/Anthreligion.

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

Interview: Scott Pete

Today we’re joined by Scott Pete. Scott is a phenomenal photographer who is just starting out and already displays a remarkable amount of talent. Aside from photography, Scott also runs an
asexual meetup and discussion group, in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, called ‘A Space for Aces’ (Twitter & Meetup). His photography shows an incredible eye for beauty in nature. It’s clear he’s a passionate artist who loves what he does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My
photography (as art, rather than play) is still somewhat in its early stages
but I’m developing the idea that photography is inherently surreal; a facsimile
of reality, copied under a certain set of conditions and translated into the
photographer’s visual language.

What inspires you?

The
effortless, self-unaware beauty of nature. The play of water, moss, and plant
life. Light and motion.

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

I used to
buy disposable cameras and try to get as many good photos on a roll as I could.
When you’re 9-years-old, 24 exposures usually isn’t enough. I was given a 1.2
megapixel digital camera at 15 started playing with Photoshop and editing
techniques.

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?

A common
theme in much of my photography is a long exposure, resulting in any moving
objects leaving a trail. For example, when I’m shooting a waterfall, I’ll set
the camera to expose for 3 to 4 seconds to give the water a soft texture and
make a still image look like it’s in motion.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do what
you want to do, but look to other artists to help you develop your craft. The
study of art is just as important as your raw talent and the moods, concepts
and images you convey through your art. I’ve been reading books on photography
theory but, also, studying paintings and their painters, trying to see the
images conveyed by the music I listen to and, (if this makes any sense) trying
to feel the emotional texture of what other photographers are putting out. Do
whatever you can to mindfully develop your style, your technique and the
personal language of your art.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify
as Asexual, Biromantic.

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

Not in my
field, but the prejudice and ignorance I encounter in my daily life, I face
head-on. I don’t worry about seeming pedantic because the only way to combat
ignorance is with education. I try not to use the word “actually” and
I have a kind of script that I follow.

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

That
asexuality means having nothing, as if it’s void that speaks of an emptiness of
being. That “you seem so normal, though” and implying there’s
something broken or abnormal about being Ace.

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

Those who
are uncomfortable with the idea of asexuality are probably uncomfortable with
themselves. If a person is ignorant, you can choose to educate them or not to
do so. It is your choice and you don’t owe anyone an explanation for who you
are. Everyone has questions about their identity at some point in their life.
You are valid and no one can ever take your identity away from you.

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

I’m on
Instagram at scottpete_photography and on Twitter at scottpetephoto. I’ll be starting on Zenfolio in the next couple of years,
too.

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

Interview: Naomi Clements Gettman

Today we’re joined by Naomi Clements Gettman. Naomi is a phenomenal visual artist and writer. The visual art is digital and mostly for fun. She does fanart, collages, and sometimes collaborates with her sister. When she’s not creating visual art, Naomi also writes a lot of poetry. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist who loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

My art encompasses a few things. I dabble in
Photoshop and making digital collaborations with my sister. Most of the time
this means I will create a reference for her, she will draw line work, and then
I will scan and color. Other times I make simple collages, fan-art for bands I
love, or illustrate random jokes.

I also enjoy writing and have written lots of poetry,
although none of it is published anywhere. I am currently in the process of
collecting it all and will probably self-publish sometime soon, just to have a
physical collection to share with whoever would like to read it. I am also in
the process of writing a book, which is from an idea I developed in several of
my screenwriting classes.

What inspires you?

I think for my graphic design things, there are
certain things I create regularly, and other things I only create occasionally.
For instance, I may decide I need a new Twitter or Facebook banner and I whip
together a themed collage of things/characters I like. These are easy to do,
and I don’t spend much time thinking about it. Other times a band may host a
fan-art contest, or I may feel inspired by a line in a song, and I create a
single piece I am proud of after a few weeks of mulling it over. Once I am
finished with a bigger project like this, it takes a while to create something
again.

For my poetry, I am inspired by the sound of
things as much as the meaning. I enjoy rhyme and often write a whole poem
around a single phrase that I think sounds good. Sometimes my poems are
fictional stories, sometimes they are about self-doubt, sometimes they are
about growing up. There really is no uniting theme, which is why I find it so
hard to determine what is good and what is trash.

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

To say “field” is probably a bit of a
misdirection. I am currently in the awkward techinically-last-semester-but-done-with-credits-and-looking-for-anyone-who-will-hire-me
phase of life. My chosen field of study is in film/media, and I have a few
different experiences under my belt; from film digitization to advertising.
However, whether it is in the form of an essay, a video, a PowerPoint, or
whatever else, I love being creative and even enjoy working on a team to
research and complete a project. I have never wanted to be an artist in any
traditional sense of the word (like being an illustrator or a musician), but I
do believe that creativity and fun can be a part of almost everything you do.

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?

Nope! I suppose I should start signing things, but
I haven’t yet.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

My advice would be to just have fun with whatever
you are doing. Lots of ‘serious’ jobs require creativity, and lots of
‘creative’ jobs require business skills like budgeting or scheduling. Your best
bet is to approach whatever it is with a good attitude, and even if you don’t
love the whole job or the assignment or whatever, you can at least find an
aspect of it to enjoy.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I have happily identified as aro/ace for about 5
years now (since I was 17). The aro part of my identity came a little later, but
so far everything fits. I am fulfilled with the close friendships I’ve managed
to maintain, although I think I would like a QPR.  

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

I have never encountered any type of prejudice in
my workplace, but mostly I think that has to do with the fact that I have no
idea how to be out at work. I never actively hide my aro/ace identity, but also
it never actually comes up. Do people think I’m straight?? Maybe. Although it’s
more likely they think I’m gay since I talk about going to pride and what not. However,
whenever I do mention it, there is never any push-back from the person. Sure,
there’s the usual “what is that?” if they don’t already know, but there is a
never a follow-up “don’t worry, you’ll meet the right person.”

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

I have been very lucky to have an accepting family
and friend group. My whole “coming out” experience is not typical, I think.  I never tried to be anything I wasn’t or even
realized there was something different about me.  Even within the first years of knowing my
sexuality I was on an NPR segment talking about my experience. (Check it out if
you’d like, but be warned it is a few years old now https://www.scpr.org/programs/take-two/2016/08/11/51199/asexuality-and-the-internet-s-key-role-in-the-ace/)

However, one thing that breaks my heart (even
though it isn’t a misconception per se) is when I tell someone I am aro/ace,
and they say they have never met anyone else like me. It happens quite a lot,
and it feels horribly isolating.

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

I wish I had novel advice that could be applicable
to any type of person. Sometimes the “love yourself” mantra is easier said than
done, especially when you battle with anxieties and insecurities that others do
not. But I’m afraid I am not that person, and the only advice I can offer is to
find the connections that allow you to love yourself. Put all your energy into
cultivating a small network of love, and support will be there when you need
it.

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

If you would like to see my work or check out my
socials, please go to https://sncgportfolio.weebly.com/

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

Interview: Jaem

Today we’re joined by Jaem. Jaem is a phenomenal visual artist who works in traditional mediums. She does a lot of painting and a little crocheting. Their paintings are large vibrant pieces, which often fit together. It’s clear she’s a very passionate artist who loves to create. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I paint on paper or canvas using mainly acrylic paint in
select shades for each piece

What inspires you?

Horror movies are great inspiration, and using subtle ways
of that, such as cables, skeletons, syringes, or just background images and
motifs is very interesting

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

I took art as a subject in high school, general at first
then moved on to painting, and just enjoyed it and loved it so much I continue
to do it

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 use arrows and mountains a lot, whether in the background
or as a focal point, I also use three (give or take one or two) shades in a
series of work so they all have a good link and you can see how the story
develops

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Just continue with it, spend as much time as you can working
at it, and if you don’t want to spend time on it find a medium that you do want
to spend time on.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Currently as Demi, but I have previously identified as fully
asexual

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

I am not out as such to anybody in my field, but I have been
told/overheard people talking about sexuality and how “having sex/sexual
thoughts is intrinsic to being an artist” I usually say something about how
ignorant the person who said that must be or just ignore it

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

That people who identify as asexual are prudes/don’t like to
talk or mention anything vaguely sexual – there are probably people who this
applies too, but there are many others that it doesn’t apply too

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

Read up on it, do some research, and see how you are going
to let it affect or change your life, you don’t have to let it become a major
part of you and effect your everyday life, but if you ignore it or try to shove
it away, it will negatively affect your self-perception and how you feel about
life

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

I am not currently displaying or selling any of my work, but
in future I am hoping to sell on Etsy or a similar website, and maybe if I can,
have my art displayed in a gallery.

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

Interview: Jacob

Today we’re joined by Jacob, who is known on social media as Jacob’s Jottings. Jacob is a phenomenal author who writes both original fiction, nonfiction, and fanfiction. For nonfiction, he writes about autism and mental health for the site “The Mighty.” For fiction, he has mostly written fanfiction and original short stories, but has recently taken on two large projects. One involves a detective in post-war Britain and the other is about an autistic wizard (which is something i would absolutely love to read because it sounds fantastic). It’s clear he’s a dedicated and passionate writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m a writer, and I’ve really started to come out of my
shell in the last few years. I’ve always written short stories and never shown
them to anyone before, but that changed when my friends started writing
fan-fiction, and my English teacher at college told me to attend a creative
writing club.

Though I’m still very private about my larger projects, I
started publishing articles for mental health site The Mighty, one of those
articles received 32,000 hearts on the site, and got shared a lot on social media,
so I started to say to myself ‘what if people would like my creative work too?’
and here I am now, writing two large scale projects, one about an autistic
wizard, the other about a detective in post-war Britain. Not just that, but I
published some fan-fiction of my own, and I found once that was out there, I
found it a lot easier to write without much self-doubt.

I’ve recently finished college, and I’ve been accepted onto
the Creative Writing BA course at a university I’ve dreamed about going to for
years. I’m hoping this will really make my dream of being a full-time writer a
reality, even if it takes years to take off.

As well as writing, I also do a bit of photography, and some
digital design. I make all my own covers for my projects, as well as posters
for events, and I love going out and taking pictures. I often use the pictures
for reference for my writing, and it’s a great skill to have alongside.

What inspires you?

I find inspiration in many things, mainly everyday life. But
I often find myself looking into what I loved as a child, certainly what
comforted me. Sometimes this is in the form of stories by other authors, such
as J. K Rowling, or Terry Pratchett, but other times its films and music, or
most importantly to me: knowledge. Plants, animals, and space particularly
always have heavy presence in my stories, and that’s because I love to learn
new things.

I’ve always written to escape the real world, so I suppose
it is natural that my other methods of escape blend well with this, I often
find that going to a museum or exhibition particularly fuels my writing, it
often ends in me trying to fit a lot into one box- my wizarding story contains
as much knowledge of the natural world as it does fictional magic for example.  

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

I’ve always been creative, and I was sure I wanted to
utilise that in some way, but could never find an exact form that suited me. I
tried art, and drama, and found myself not ever truly comfortable. I mainly
thank books, films, and television, for getting me into writing. The idea of
making my own stories was irresistible! I cannot pinpoint when it exactly
started happening, probably about five years ago, but I finally found that
writing (alongside reading and watching) was the most enjoyable thing to do. Then
it all fell into place, and I find myself writing all the time, even if it
never gets added to again- it’s fun.

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?

Oh definitely! The infinity symbol finds its way into most
of the stuff I write, not just because of its use by the autistic rights
movement, but because of my fascination with the concept behind the symbol. I
also always incorporate types of birds as symbolism- usually owls, or penguins,
as they’re my favourite, penguins especially.

Playing with colour is something I’ve recently moved into, I
don’t have a single character that does not heavily associate themselves with
colours and their meanings, even if it is just a subtle inclusion. Blue for my
protagonists usually, a colour I use not only to create a cold atmosphere, but
also to show the presence of intelligence, imagination, and peace. Reds and
oranges meanwhile shows up my more passionate and instinctual characters, with
purple showing a combination of the two.

I also love playing with imagery, with many of my characters
having ‘hair the colour of fertile soil’ or the ‘great spurts of an ancient
wine, hemorrhaging profusely’- it can feel a bit forced sometimes, but it often
pays off, and I find it a great way of illustrating the worlds I’ve made.

I’m also told I tell stories in a unique way, my friend
recently commented that when she reads my writing, I am clearly telling the
story, rather than just creating it. I’ve never quite understood this
evaluation, but I’ve heard it quite a few times in several forms.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

It sounds cliché- but I would say just do whatever you love!
I spent far too long worrying about what others think, and though that matters
if you want to make a career out of it, the initial starting of a new art is a
solo-activity. If painting makes you happy- paint! Everyone I know who does
something creative for a living started off doing it to just kill time, or to
help them with another activity, and it grew from there.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I use the label asexual as standard, to me, this means not
feeling sexual attraction. I’m confident in identifying as a sex positive
asexual, but I’m yet to 100% settle on my romantic orientation.

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

I think one of the strangest encounters in my life was when
I first explained asexuality to someone, without attaching the label to myself.
I was told its ‘unnatural’- for this reason, in my private life, I don’t talk
about my sexuality until prompted.

I also find that some in my age group is often sex-obsessed,
I’ve often been labelled prudish just for not wanting to talk about sex, and I
find it very hard to try and express my frustration with that. I am not at all
prudish, I just think about it completely differently to they do!

I incorporate it into my work- I actually find it harder to
write allosexual characters, and therefore many of my characters are asexual by
accident! And I do worry that some people won’t understand the representation
if they haven’t experienced it first-hand, but I do my best to write characters
that educate as well as represent now.

Outside of my field, I see prejudice and ignorance
regularly, insults such as ‘frigid’ and so on, I also see the constant
discourse present on sites such as Tumblr, and though I do my best to keep out,
I sometimes worry for our community, I hate the idea that anyone who identifies
as asexual will feel like it isn’t valid or can’t talk about it in case they’re
verbally attacked.

As an autistic person, I also find that some people think my
asexuality is part of that. I don’t think it is- and it’s quite insulting to
assume that someone’s sexuality is part of their sensory issues for example.
The two often overlap for me, and I also know autistics that do feel sexual
attraction and have those sensory issues anyway. Some people in both
communities would even say their sensory difficulties enhance their sexual
experiences.

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

Personally, I find that the definition of asexual is often mis-identified.
It means lacking sexual attraction. But I know people who are completely
convinced it simply means ‘won’t have sex, or won’t masturbate’- it is often a
pain to try and debate it with them, and I find myself bringing up articles
from the community to back my side up.

I don’t like discussing the personal details of my own
asexuality in too much depth with people who might not understand, and therefore
I think the extra labels of ‘sex positive’ are really useful when discussing
asexuality, as well as the other identities within the spectrum.

At the end of the day though, the only person other than me
who has a right to that deeper information is a partner, and I don’t think
asexuals should ever feel pressured to dissect their identities for another
person’s curiosity or because of an ignorant person’s misconceptions.

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

Firstly, it is okay to struggle! I found it incredibly hard
to find the orientation that best described me. I still think sexual
orientation is a fluid concept, and I think people who are struggling should
remember that. If something doesn’t feel right, find the label that does feel
right, and don’t feel guilty if that changes. Some asexuals might not find that
identity for a long time.

I myself often find myself wondering if I might be aromantic
as well as asexual, or demisexual instead of asexual, this is a natural part of
development. Just as sexuality in all its forms is natural. A lot of people go
through that internal debate. And nobody should ever be afraid of using the
label that best suits them.

I would also repeat that the only person who needs to be
happy is you. Come out at your own pace. Experience your sexuality at your own
pace. Some people don’t find the identity they’re most comfortable with until
they’re halfway through life, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

There’s a thriving asexual and LGBT+ community waiting to
help you through it all, and the right people within it are not going to judge
you for struggling.

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

People can find my work in several places. For a more personal
touch, there’s my own Tumblr blog which is at jacobs-jottings, or my AO3 under the
same name (but without a hyphen).

As well as this there’s my new Facebook page, also called
Jacob’s Jottings, and my user page on The Mighty, under my full name-
Jacob Durn. If anyone is curious, my photography can be found easily on Instagram, where my
username is identical to my AO3 one.

My blog has a bit of everything (including personal posts,
and lots of reblogs), my AO3 some fanfiction, and soon some original works, whilst
the last two focus on my non-creative work.

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

Interview: Kika

Today we’re joined by Kika. Kika is a phenomenal writer and visual artist who is best known for their webcomics. They currently have two webcomics posted: Adventure Inc. (a story about a shapeshifter and their employee) and Toss of Fate (a romantic coming-of-age story). Their webcomics have a lot of LGBTQ+ subject matter and they put a lot of themself in their work (through character, situation, or story). It’s clear they’re a talented and dedicated artist 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.

Well, I work as a self-publishing webcomic artist. I’m only a
couple years into it, but I currently have two ongoing webcomics free to read
online. The first is Anything Inc.
an odd business with a shapeshifting owner and an employee who was dragged into
this crazy random job. It’s humorous, but does reveal its dark side. The other,
and probably more well known, is Toss of
Fate
– a romantic coming of age comic of two boys in their high school
color guard. If you like color guard, cinnamon roll characters, deep sad
stories, and dorks in love- you’ll enjoy this.

I hope to eventually break into more comics, zines, and
animation/storyboarding whether it be with a company or building it up on my
own.

What inspires you?

I think my drive to get myself out there. I want to entertain one
way or another and I live to please honestly. So I work hard for the readers of
my comics and my friends who support me. Not only that, but my story and
characters. I grow close to them and I get excited with every new page I can
put out because I see them grow, my art style grow, and the story continue
further. It’s very fulfilling.

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

I love cartoons and comics. I always wanted to make my own
cartoons and stories since I was little. I made horribly drawn comics of my
friends and I in high school doing stupid random things and would draw stupid
things to make others laugh. I love to make other laugh. Thank goodness for
webcomics and for enjoying them once I got to college. It gave me a starting
point and a way to work on growing as 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?

I wish. I should have like something hidden within each page.
Only thing I put on each piece of art is my signature in the corner. And I
don’t know if it counts but my style. That stands out in itself. It’s
very….derpy? LOL, but I love it.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Never give up and keep drawing. I wasn’t able to draw a decent
looking character/figure until AFTER college. But with practicing more and more
I’m now able to be proud of the characters I draw and they seem relatively
proportional. Not everything happens at once, so be patient and give it time.
Also, references are your best friend! They really make things look SOOO much
better.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as a Non-binary Demisexual.

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

I recently went to our city’s pride parade and was kind of bummed
of lack of not only Ace/ Non-binary People represented, but lack of mercy
vendors were sending. I was with my Pan friends and they were over joyed they
had pansexual things and they were all selling out and it was Pan city. But I’d
ask vendors if they had anything Ace/Demi/Non-binary and luckily ONE vendor had
a Demi flag. And thus I was super Demi, wearing that flag as a cape to
represent.

Other than that light thing, nothing really thank fully.

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

Growing up I never had interest in dating or anything sexually.
However, literally everyone would be like “Oh, well someday you will.” And that
was very toxic to say because once I did get into a relationship, I was so
scared for people to know and to be like “I told you so!” Even though it’s not
like that at all. Not everything is about sex or things that typical
relationships entitle.

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

Don’t be ashamed of yourself. Especially if you are Ace. It’s
scary having everyone around growing up talking about relationships, sex, and
being really into it, but then it’s you in the corner not into it and suddenly
you’re “Peter Pan”. You don’t have to be into anything. Just be you and
enjoy/love who you are because only you can make yourself happy. <3

And if you ever do end up in a relationship, it’s okay. Don’t be
ashamed. Things happen sometimes. That’s how I knew I was Demi.

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

To find the main source of link to my work, you can go here: https://kikaescoolio.wordpress.com/

There I have all sorts of art that I do as well as links to my
webcomics and social media. My comics can also be found on SmackJeeves, Tapas, and Webtoons.
Just look for Anything Inc., Toss of Fate, or the author name-
Kikaescoolio.

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

Regular

Interview: Reimena Yee

Today we’re joined by Reimena Yee. Reimena is a phenomenal visual artist and writer whose graphic novel, The Carpet Merchant of Konstantiniyya, was recently nominated for an Eisner Award. Reimena has done a bit of everything, but webcomics are where her focus is at the moment. Much of her work is rooted in an ace POV and many of the characters she writes are asexual, including the main character of The Carpet Merchant. How cool is that!? Reimena is a talented 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.

Heylo! I’m an artist, writer and designer. I’ve worked on all kinds of projects, from game design, clothing collaborations and editorial illustration, but I spend most of my time developing comics. I’m the creator of two webcomics, The World in Deeper Inspection, and The Carpet Merchant of Konstantiniyya, which recently was nominated for the Eisner Awards.

I’d consider myself a visual problem solver – I provide artwork that my clients want, whether it’s something personal like a wedding card or a commercial thing like a game. If I’m not occupied working on solutions, I’m telling stories.

What inspires you?

I’ve a deep passion for the world’s history, art and cultures. Learning is what inspires me. It’s fascinating to think about the lives and stories of people back then, and how they expressed themselves through artwork and literature.

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

I’ve always been doing some form of art and storytelling throughout my life; if not a dominant pursuit, it was something that occurred at the periphery. It was only recently that I decided to commit to it as a career, after half a life of pursuing science and academia.

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 really. My work is all over the place, in the sense that you can see what is my latest obsession at the time. Lately, it’s tapestry and florals, but I want to progress to something with a more Malaysian flavour.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’d recommend finding a passion, interest or even side gig that isn’t art-related, or as removed from your art specialisation as possible. For example, sports, knitting, cooking, reading, etc. Having something separate, especially if you don’t monetise it, helps in establishing balance and perspective in your life, as doing only one thing for the rest of your time can affect you mentally and emotionally.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Probably closer to demi, but if asexuality was a black-white spectrum, I’m a dark grey.

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

Personally I haven’t had any issue. I rarely ever talk about asexuality or sexuality. I only speak about myself as ‘queer’, which is true due to being non-binary, and my biromantic interests (disclaimer: more complex than this).

BUT there has been some feeling in the field that asexuality, along with bi/pansexuality, and other so-called smaller identities, have been looked down upon as identities that don’t experience the same kind of trauma or oppression as the more prominent identities. This logic (which needs to be unpacked for its problematic implications) skews the community’s ability to be a safe space.

How I handle that is to just to do good work. Hopefully, by being myself and making work I believe in that also happens to include aces, it normalises asexuality as an identity that can just exist.

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

There’s just a general misunderstanding of what asexuality is, and how it is a nuanced and complicated experience that differs even between aces. It doesn’t help that there are parts of the ace community that adopt puritan, conservative language to control other people’s expression of queerness. Having such a voice be the dominant one narrows other’s view of what asexuality can be.

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

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but it helps to think of your asexuality (however it expresses itself) as part of the large, varied, diverse, individualised experiences of being human. The bigger your conception of what being a person is, the easier it is to accept your unique brand of asexuality, alongside others’, as a normal, human thing. And you don’t have to be asexual, or strictly a particular kind of asexual, forever either – things can change, morph, shift, be more complicated – but you’re still a valued human with talents to contribute to society.

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

My website is reimenayee.com

I post a lot of my art, and talk aplenty on Twitter (at reimenayee)

A more curated experience is blog.reimenayee.com

You can read my webcomics at alcottgrimsley.com

At the moment, The Carpet Merchant has a crowdfunder to publish a hardcover copy of Vol I. If you want to buy a book, head on here: https://unbound.com/books/the-carpet-merchant-voli

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

Interview: Graham Allen

Today we’re joined by Graham Allen. Graham is an extraordinary visual artist who does amazing things in a very minimalist style. He specializes in drawing landscapes and spaceships. There’s an incredible amount of detail in his work, reflecting the simple beauty of nature. He’s an amazingly talented and passionate artist, 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.

Lately, I’ve been drawing in black pen in a moleskine
notebook that I got when I moved across the country. Some drawings are just pen
and paper, while others include a neutral gray copic marker for shading or
other tones.

What I choose to draw varies based on the day, but the
majority of it lately can be classified into landscapes or spaceships,
sometimes both. When I’m drawing, I find that I will keep adding detail until I
run up against the lower limits of the details my pen can distinguish. Because
of this, I try not to draw large pictures, for fear of how long it would take
to fill up the page. This has led me to do a series of what I call “Tiny
Landscapes” which are generally around 6 square inches in size.

When I draw landscapes or spaceships, it’s usually without
any reference. References are extremely helpful and can teach you a lot about a
whole manner of things, but I personally find it most rewarding when I am able
to draw something that I enjoy without using any references.

What inspires you?

Personally, my friends are a constant source of inspiration
for me, and I try to let them know that as often as it naturally fits into our
conversations. They make me want to be a better person, a better artist, and a
better friend every day.

Artistically, I find inspiration in many places. To name a
few: my immediate surroundings, art from people I follow online, and art I
imagine as I’m reading, watching, or otherwise consuming fiction. I live in a
city, and it’s easy to spend every bus ride staring at Twitter and listening to
a podcast on my phone. When I first starting using Twitter, I followed a bunch
of artists whose work I liked and gradually have added more and more thanks to
various promotional hashtags. Between fanart, concept art, and sketches, my
timeline is full of really inspiring work that I am constantly learning from.
That said, I sometimes make the conscious effort to keep social media in my
pocket and just zone out during my commute. As I stare out the bus window at
the distant skyline, I often find inspiration in observing the ways that the
silhouettes of the buildings overlap. My city isn’t built on a perfect grid,
and the buildings themselves aren’t always rectangular, so the perspective
lines can sometimes become really interesting in places. Finally, I am someone
who imagines storyboards unfolding as I listen to podcasts or read books. When
I find a new favorite storyteller, the act of enjoying their work – even on
the second or third time through – inspires me to the point where I want to
pick up a pen.

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

I’ve been drawing since as long as I can remember.

In first grade, my art teacher taught us a formula for
making branching trees: extend each outside part of a given branch outward like
a Y and then in between the two
outer edges, draw a V for the inner
edges of the branches. In doing so, you’ll go from having one big branch to two
smaller branches. I must have followed that formula as many times as I could
until the branches were too small to draw anymore, at which point I boxed them
off because I didn’t know what else to do. This following the rule got my
artwork featured in our elementary school art show, and ever since, my family
and friends have been supporting me and telling me that I’m an artist.

Later in elementary school, when prompted to explain what I
wanted to be when I grew up, I would regularly answer, “A video game art
designer.” To this day, my family doesn’t know where that answer came from.
Sure, I played video games as a kid and I was told I was an artist, but I
didn’t know or know of any art designers, and Google didn’t exist back then, so
it’s still a bit of a mystery as to how I found out that that job title even
existed.

In middle school, I discovered flash animation on Newgrounds.
I joined the Brackenwood forums, hosted by Adam Phillips, and was in awe of
some aspiring artists and animators there. People like Rubberninja and
Egoraptor before they became the Game Grumps, among others in the community
were hugely supportive of everyone, regardless of skill level. It made me
believe for a brief number of years that I wanted to do digital art and
animation. Having never done animation before, I did not understand just how
difficult and time consuming it was until I had access to flash animation later
in middle school. I spent hours trying to animate stick figures and sandbags,
but eventually gave up on the whole thing because “art takes too long and I
don’t like how it comes out.”

In high-school, I took a couple elective drawing classes
because I had artistic friends and the courses sounded fun and interesting.
Around the same time, I began doodling in non-art classes as a way to keep
myself focused. Usually, the drawings would be of dumb puns or
misinterpretations of what the teacher had said during class.

This sort of cartoon doodling kept up throughout college,
and then I moved out West for a software engineering job after graduating.
Having unpacked and built my bed – the only piece of furniture in the
apartment – and having no internet for the week following that, my first
purchase with my own money in the new city was a moleskine notebook to draw in
as a way to pass the time.

These days, I draw when I have free time and want to relax.
I find the act of drawing to be a deeply meditative one, and I find that I like
the drawings that I do while in a meditative flow state a lot more than the
alternative.

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?

None at the moment

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Draw often, and be willing to accept feedback from teachers,
mentors, artists, etc. Learn about how your ability to draw and your ability to
critique work oscillate and how that affects the lens through which you view
your work. There are so many free resources online that can help, and so many
artists that want you to succeed and have compiled these into helpful threads
or lists on social media. Also, draw often. Even a five-minutes-a-day prompt
every day for a month can make a huge improvement because it trains you to make
time to make art, which is often where I personally fall short as an artist.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

On the asexuality spectrum, I identify as demi-ace.

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

I’m extremely privileged as a creator. I went to a pretty
well-off suburban public school that had enough money to fund multiple art
elective classes each year. I went to a private liberal arts college that had
art studios whose opportunities I squandered. Now I live in one of the most
progressive cities in the US and have more queer friends than straight friends,
especially among friends who also do art. I have been straight-passing all my
life and didn’t even consider introspecting queer parts of my identity until
after college. Because of all of this, almost everyone who I have come out to
is extraordinarily supportive and inclusive of my identity, and I can’t say
that I’ve experienced any prejudice or ignorance in my field.

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

In my experience, the most common misconception people make
is when they think asexual means “against sex” or “zero sex”. It’s ok to
identify as asexual and enjoy sex, have sexual thoughts, and like sexy things.
As with many other parts of identity expression, asexuality is an umbrella
term, and there’s no one way to define every asexual person in terms of their
asexual identity. In addition to the spectra for “is not interested in sex” to
“is very interested in sex” and “is not interested in romance” to “is very
interested in romance”, asexuality can define the speed and manner in which you
progress through stages of sexual relationships, and I’m constantly learning,
so I’m sure there’s more than just what I’ve said, too.

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

It’s OK not to know how you identify, and it’s OK for your
identity to change over time. You’re constantly growing and changing and
learning and adapting. There are other people out there that are asexual, and
there are other people out there that aren’t. You’re valid, no matter how you
identify. There’s no right or wrong way to be asexual. It’s a word that people
use to express an idea about part of their identity.

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

You can follow me on Twitter at iamgrahamallen or on behance at https://behance.net/iamgrahamallen.

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