Category: visual art

Interview: Gemma Irene

Today we’re joined by Gemma Irene. Gemma is a phenomenal writer who writes a variety of things. She’s written a few novels and hundreds of poems, as well as some fanfiction. When she’s not writing, she enjoys visual art. Gemma draws, paints, sews, and takes photographs. She even plays the violin. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate individual who loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m primarily a writer, though I’ve been known to draw,
paint, sew, take pictures, and play violin. Anything to keep my hands busy! As
far as writing goes, I stick to fiction, with occasional detours for poetry,
and a song on the very rare occasion. I haven’t published anything yet, but
I’ve got about three original novels and around a hundred poems under my belt.
I’ve also been pretty immersed in fan fiction the past few years, writing for The Phantom of the Opera, The Boondock
Saints, The Walking Dead
, and Supernatural.

What inspires you?

I hate to say it, it sounds cliché, but inspiration comes
from anywhere and everywhere. I wrote my first novel after a daydream I had
when I was bored at the mall and trying to entertain myself. I’ve drawn things
I’ve seen in dreams. I’ve photographed things that happened to catch my eye.
One of my favorite poems I ever wrote came about while I was sitting outside
listening to the creek flow. I try to stay alert to anything that feeds the
muse, which means either living very much in the moment, or hiding out in my
own little world.

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

I’ve always loved stories and storytelling. One of my
earliest memories is of sitting in my grandpa’s lap with a book, with me
reading to him as much as he read to me. I remember telling stories to my
mother and her writing them down in a blank journal. I relate a lot to Anne
Shirley, or Sara Crewe in A Little Princess like that; my stories always
started as a game of pretend, and realizing I could share them with people was
a game changer. With the Internet, I could share with even more people. And in
the case of fan fiction, connecting with people who were as passionate about
the same characters as I was helped me get even more joy out of it. So, long
answer to a short question, I’ve always wanted to do this!

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

In my writing, I notice a lot of alliteration, and a lot of fire imagery. I like getting down
into the deep, personal aspects of storytelling, so I’m very concerned with the
soulful and intimate. I don’t know if there’s any specific thing that
watermarks my writing as mine…if any readers would like to point something
out?

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Experiment. Let yourself suck. That first novel I wrote? As
is, nobody is reading that, if I have
anything to say about it. There’s a lot of hang-ups about being trite or
cringey, but that’s the only way you grow and evolve. And it’s cool if you want
to pursue more interests than one, or if you’re only so-so at something else
but do it for the joy of it. I’ve worked for years at my writing, but only ever
turned to drawing when I needed the release it gave me. Consequently, it’s not
one of my strongest skills. Same deal with the violin. I’ll never be the next
Van Gogh, or play in an orchestra, but that’s fine. I draw and play for love of
both, and that’s enough for me.

The inverse is true, as well. If you’re passionate about
your art, don’t be afraid to invest yourself in it. Any way you feel called to.
I’m going to go off on a tangent for a second and say how glad I am that fan
fic is slowly getting positive traction, because if I hadn’t started writing
fic, I would never have found an audience, much less one willing to give
feedback and help me grow as a writer. That’s the thing about finding someone
genuinely interested in what you’re sharing, they want more, and they’ll often help you in the process. Whether it’s
encouragement, advice, or simple enthusiasm, it’s out there. Hold it up to your
ear and give it a listen, then decide if it will help you develop your art.
Keep what does, discard what doesn’t. That’s what fan fiction did for me, is
help me find my voice a lot sooner than I might have without it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m a panromantic demisexual, which is at once very broad
and very specific. To me, they go hand-in-hand. I don’t develop sexual
attraction without an emotional bond, and if I’ve gotten close enough to
someone to form that bond, I’m unlikely to care about gender. It’s the person I’ve developed feelings for.

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

In my field? No. In my life? A bit. I was discussing
sexuality and orientation with a group of ordinarily open-minded individuals
and casually mentioned I identify as demi. I explained it was similar to being
asexual, and they were on board with the ace part but casually dismissed the
demi part. “Some people just want to be special.” It took a while to get past
that, and I’ve presented myself since then a little differently. On social
media, I proudly post all the ace, aro, demi, bi, pan, gay, trans, nb, everything, supporting positivity that I
want to see in the world. In person, I’ll comment on my aesthetic attractions,
regardless of gender, I’ll express support of representation, and shut down
discourse when I hear it. I do what I can to be an ally and a safe space, and
hopefully send a message that I won’t stand for any prejudice.

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

That we’re prudes, afraid of sex, damaged, or “waiting for
the right person.” Yeah, some of us are, but so are some allosexuals. Sexuality
is such a complex, complicated subject, and I don’t understand the aphobia and
ace discourse I’ve seen. The thing is, we’ve always been here, it’s just that
now we’re willing to claim our space, and hopefully we can spread more
knowledge to put an end to the misconceptions.

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

Hang in there. It’s a process. I remember that I was elated
at first to realize I was demi, then I had to process what that meant to me,
evaluate my relationships with people in light of my new understanding of my
identity, decide whether this was something I wanted to keep to myself or make
known to others. Then on down the line, after I felt reasonably secure in my
identity, I realized I was panromantic and had to start all over again. I’ve
found my writing is a very good way to explore my sexuality and my orientation,
and I’m working on more aspec characters to reflect how I feel about my
identity.

My biggest ongoing struggle is feeling ace enough to
identify on the spectrum. I’m very sex positive, and I lean towards the, let’s
say, colorful side of sexual expression, which is far removed from the
misconception about asexuals and how we’re all prudes afraid of sex. That’s
where the ignorance hurts us the most, in my opinion. We measure ourselves by
the stereotypes and assumptions, which are often incorrect, and we cut
ourselves down when we don’t fit. Thing is, I’m still aspec whether I like sex
or hate it, whether I’m kinky or vanilla, because it’s about attraction, not
action.

Aces, grays, and demis, you do you. Own your identity. Share
it if you want, or keep it secret. It’s who you are, and it’s as much about
discovery as the rest of you.

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

Tumblr is my primary hang out. My URL is at risingphoenix761, and my blog
is a giant mess of fandom, writing, music, humor, and positivity. I’m also on
Fanfiction.Net as AngelxPhoenix,
and Archive of Our Own as RisingPhoenix761.
For anyone interested in my visual art (I consider myself a passionate
amateur), my Instagram is at risingphoenix_761. Come
say hi to me!

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

Interview: Atraxura

Today we’re joined by Atraxura. Atraxura is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in drawing. She also paints, takes pictures, and makes jewelry, but she’s focused mostly on her drawing. Atraxura enjoys using limited color and it results in very striking imagery. It’s clear she loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participating in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I experiment with many different styles and media. I draw,
paint, take photographs, make jewelry and write personal essays. In the past
year, I have been focusing on drawing, and I have begun to evolve a style in my
recent work with limited use of color, usually a vibrant, highly saturated red.
I prefer the warm end of the color spectrum, from yellow to red-violet, and
color psychology is integral to my work. I pay attention to geometry, ratios
and perspective. You don’t necessarily notice it in my work, but I am
fascinated with how important numbers are in aesthetics.

While I strive for realism, none of my subjects are merely
representational. Everything illustrates a concept: animals are symbolic, as
they were in ancient cultures. Skulls are the exoskeleton of the mind. A red
eye in a pale background represents the will rising above apathy.

What inspires you?

Horror inspires me on the aesthetic level. I am drawn to the
intense feelings it can evoke. I love high-energy excitement and intensity, not
calm or complacent “happiness”, which feel toxic and antithetical to
me. I want everything I do to reflect powerful, high-octave intensity.

I am a type-A person of a purely choleric temperament; ENTJ
on the MBTI. I have a very angry and hostile nature, and I like to explore and
defend this in my art. I also like to attack concepts I despise, e.g.,
conformity, complacency and all agents of passivity and inertia. I don’t do
this to “calm down” – I detest calm – or to get rid of anger. I do
it to communicate in a more powerful, profound way which reaches more people.

Collaboration with my soulmate, who is a musician and of
very similar views and vision, also inspires both of us. I hate working alone.

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

Art has always been instinctive for me. Inert matter, such
as a blank paper, exists to be acted upon. I want to change it to reflect my
ideas and vision. I want to communicate with others on the most profound level
possible. Art is naturally an ideal means for this, and for generating dialogue
with like minds. That said, I have never wanted to “be” any one
thing, but I always had a clear and exact vision of the lifestyle I wanted. It
has always been imperative that I live on my own terms in every aspect;
autonomous, being my own boss, keeping my own council.

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

I initial every drawing and painting. The “A”,
along with being the initial of both my artist name and my legal name,
represents my highest values: ambition, high standards, and to be forever
striving upward. I strive to be the “alpha” in everything I do. If I
were perfect, I would want to push the boundaries of perfection. I am changing
the look of my initial now, to be more angular and volcanic.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Erase words like “can’t” and “hard” from
your vocabulary. I’ve destroyed innumerable paintings and drawings in rage when
things don’t go exactly the way I want, but I start over with a better
strategy. If something is difficult, it obsesses me. I persist until I get what
I want. I refuse to be defeated by my own art.

Also, learn the basics of your craft, and dedicate regular
time to work on improving your skills and becoming proficient with your
tools/media. Develop an honest perspective on your abilities, so you can see
your strengths and your areas which need improvement.

Finally, take yourself, your time, effort and ideas, very
seriously. Others won’t until you do.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am a sex repulsed libidoist. Perhaps I am demi-hetero-sapio-romantic.
I met my soulmate on DeviantArt at the age of 23 and very quickly formed a deep
and intense obsession, but I had never had an interest in anyone else. It was
important to me that we have similar values and could interact on a profound
level. I emigrated to France from the United States at 25 so we could live
together. I don’t know if I would describe my feelings as merely romantic. I
feel like the word doesn’t convey enough intensity, and this intensity has only
increased with time.

Power in its multiple forms, especially knowledge, ignites
my libido, but even the thought of sexual activity disgusts me and extinguishes
the feeling. I find it revolting on the physical level (even with someone
hygienic and physically attractive) and deeply disturbing and traumatizing on
the emotional level (even with someone I love). For me, it threatens bonds
rather than building them. I also have an extremely low tolerance for boredom,
and despite the hype it gets, sex is the most tedious, banal activity which
ever existed – not to mention an enormous liability with no inherent benefits.

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

I have read a lot about other aces experiencing prejudice,
but I have not experienced any myself – not in the arts, anyway. If I did
experience prejudice or ignorance, depending on the situation, I would try to
clarify my experience and perspective. It is important for us to speak out
about our own experiences and to be obstinate about this, so as not to let
“reality” be defined by others, especially if they are hostile to us.
After all, truth and wisdom are not usually found in numbers, even if strength
and volume are.

I am fortunate enough to have read an article about
asexuality in the (now extinct) magazine ElleGirl when I was 12 or 13 years
old, so I knew that asexuality existed and that it seemed to fit with how I
felt. If I hadn’t known about asexuality then, I would have probably
experienced a lot of distressing confusion about myself throughout my life.

Later, I read about “sublimating” the libido into
art or other activities, in The Satanic Bible, by Anton LaVey. (Napoleon
Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich also speaks of sublimating the libido.)
This in particular resonated with me deeply, as it described something which I
had always been doing. “Sublimation” of the libido has always been
natural for me, long before I knew what “sex” or
“masturbation” meant – whereas having sex, or even thinking about it,
still seems bizarre and unnatural to me. As I see it, sexual activity is only
one outlet for the libido and definitely not the driving force behind
it. I also realize that non-libidoist asexuals experience things differently
from me, so this may be a prejudice which they encounter.

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

Almost every time I have told anyone I was asexual, they ask
if I had been molested as a child. I have not experienced any kind of sexual
trauma at any point in my life – though I know that some asexuals have – and
I’m quite certain that I wouldn’t want to tell them if I had. This assumption
can annoy me, as I feel like they are implying that the notion of someone not
liking something “natural” is inconceivable unless the person had
experienced something terrible which turned them against it. I realize they may
not intend to imply anything.

I have had two different people try to use the fact that I
didn’t date as “evidence” that I was insane, though I had not
explicitly told these people I was asexual. I’m glad I didn’t waste my time and
efforts dating people I had zero interest in.

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

Above all, don’t settle for a life or a lifestyle you don’t
want, because someone –or society – pushes the idea that you “have
to” live a certain way. There is no “have to” in life, beyond
breathing. Seeking out positive and supportive people and choosing to spend
your time with them can help to not feel alienated and marginalized; it can
alleviate the pressure to behave a certain way to fit in.

I have always had a very exact vision of the life I wanted
from as long as I could remember, with no compromises. I’ve always felt the
need to live alone with a life partner or soulmate, with absolutely no children
or family, but possibly a pet. Someone accepting of my asexuality. Someone I
could be myself with and collaborate with. Someone who doesn’t smoke. Someone
with a unique fashion sense, as shallow as that may seem. For so long, it
seemed like no such person existed for me, yet “compromising” or
settling for anyone else would have been intolerable. Now, I am so grateful to
myself that I never did.

I know that there are people now, even among sexuals, who
are in the same place I was, fearing that they will be alone forever, and being
asexual can statistically narrow your options. I am skeptical about everything,
so I was very aware that the odds were against me. All I can say now is that my
dreams came true in this regard, so there’s hope for everyone. I feel a little
awkward saying it, as it seems cliché, but it happened for me.

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

I have a website,
and I am on most social media platforms; Instagram, Twitter, and DeviantArt. I also have a
blog on WordPress
– and I usually follow back (with sincere interest). Most of my work is
available as prints and merchandise on RedBubble.

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

Interview: Senta

Today we’re joined by Senta. Senta is a phenomenal illustrator who works mostly in digital mediums. He does enjoy using ballpoint pen on occasion. He has his own style, but can also adapt to a variety of other styles. It’s clear he’s an incredibly passionate artist who loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I
draw, mostly digitally but sometimes I like drawing with ballpoint pen. My
personal style is kind of muted colors and darker settings, but I do lots of
other stuff depending on the vibe I’m trying to show. I take a bit of pride on
the fact that I can cater to people’s interests, that’s especially useful in my
line of work, I’m an illustrator 😉

What inspires you?

People
inspire me, mostly fictional characters to be honest, but I love to draw
people, I love to create characters and create stories for them. I do a lot of
fan art of whatever I’m interested in the moment, or whatever catches my eye.
Sometimes it’s just a photo or something that gives me a vibe for a character
and then I have to draw them.

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

I
honestly don’t know how I started drawing, but I’ve been doing in since I can
remember. I used to draw with chalk on paper when I was a kid cause my
kindergarten didn’t have pencils for all of us. I’ve always wanted to work in
the field, yes, but I wasn’t sure what would I do exactly, I wanted to be a
graphic designer for a long time until I realized what that was and that I
couldn’t really draw much, then I went and studied to be an Illustrator 🙂

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

I
sign all my work as Senta, but someday I will come up with a tiny character or
something to hide in all my work, I really want to do that, but I’m not sure
what. I follow at least 3 artists that do that and I loooove it, I love to
search for the little Easter egg in all their art.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

I’m
not great with advice, but I would say PRACTICE! Practice a lot, and surround
yourself with people and things that inspire you to create. Nice supporting
friends that share your passion for art are truly special, whether is online or
IRL. Also, really practice! Nobody is born knowing how to so stuff, all those
awesome artists that you love? Those people busted their butts off to get
there.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I
identify as ace and quasiromantic bi (that label is pretty recent 😉 ) but I
usually go with queer, it’s shorter.

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

Not
necessarily on my field. I’ve encountered it online, where I post my art, or in
fandoms I make art of, but it’s never about the art itself (thankfully). Either
way I try to let it go and not let it affect me too much. People are ignorant,
a lot of people are, and if I offer some education and they deny it by being
close minded then there’s nothing I can do about it… That said, it does
affect me sometimes, and then I just go and talk to supportive people, I vent a
little and then I usually forget why I was upset in the first place.

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

I’ve had a lot of “being asexual is basically being
straight”, some “you have to be attracted to someone”, and a few people
invalidating queerplatonic relationships and saying they’re “basically just
friendships”… As I said, ignorant people ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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

Look,
I’m the kind of person who loves labels, I looove having a word to explain how
I feel, to know that there’s someone out there who feels the same, so I hate it
when people say “you don’t have to label yourself, just be you”. But as much as
I hate it, they do have a point… cause even if you don’t find a label, it
doesn’t mean you’re alone, there’s so many people in the world I’m 100% sure
there’s at least 50 more people who feel the same.

Specially
in the asexual community, we talk more openly about it being a spectrum, so
it’s hard to find your place in it, and it might even move around, but it’s ok,
take your time. I’d say don’t rush anything, don’t pressure yourself to know
everything, it’s ok not to know. And don’t be afraid to change your mind, that
doesn’t mean you’re fake, you’re just figuring things out, and to be honest, we
all are… Be patient with yourself, be kind, and don’t let anyone define you,
only you can decide your labels (if you decide they’re for you 😉 )

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

I’m
on Tumblr: sentaart (and the-doctor-is-ace is my personal blog) and
Instagram: senta_art

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

Interview: Jaime Hawkins

Today we’re joined by Jaime Hawkins. Jaime is a phenomenal visual artist who has a company called Queen Cheetah Designs, which sells enamel pins that she designs. Aside from making enamel pins, Jaime also does quite a lot of fine art. She’s heavily inspired by nature, which shows in her work. It’s clear she’s a driven 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 graduated with a degree in Graphic Design and Printmaking.
I’ve always loved learning any type of art I could get my hands on – drawing,
painting, digital art – you name it! When I have the time, I enjoy drawing on
my tablet and taking on small freelance design jobs. My biggest endeavor,
however, is my merchandise company Queen Cheetah Designs. Last year the trend
of “Enamel Pins” came back around full force, and I decided to try my hand at
designing some! I started out with moths, and have since branched out to
beetles, spiders, and other nature inspired pins. It makes me really happy to
see my designs come to life as physical merchandise that people like to wear,
and it makes me feel like an accomplished artist! My designs did so well that I
kept making them, and now I have a pretty successful side job running Queen
Cheetah Designs. I hope to branch out in the future to apparel and other merch!

What inspires you?

I think animals and nature have served to be my most
important source of inspiration for my drawing and my merchandise design. It’s
a subject I have always loved, and there is endless beauty and creativity that
can be found in creatures, plants, and our other surroundings. From striking
color palettes to unique patterns, as an artist I feel like I can learn so much
from what already exists in nature, and apply it to my fine art and design
work.

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

From a very young age, I was interested in art. I would
doodle on my homework and draw mash ups of animals to play as during recess. I
took art lessons with another girl at a local framing shop for a few years,
where I learned most of the basics of fine art.

I can’t quite remember how, but “design” specifically caught
my eye around middle school. Packaging design, logo design – I found it all
really fascinating how much thought went into a design and the finished result.
It’s been my driving passion ever since.

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 could say I had a signature style, but that is
something I still struggle with as an artist. I do tend to enjoy drawing
somewhere in between realistic with a fantasy flair thrown in. I’d like to
refine this over the next few years, but developing anything in art takes time
and practice!

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Drawing – Most of what you create will not be for profit, or
even for other people. There is a lot of pressure nowadays to instantly start
creating and making money, but it’s important to take the time to draw for
yourself. Learn what you like to draw and how you want to draw it. It should be
fun, not something you feel pressured to do. And no matter what level you are
now – just keep going. Practice as often as you can. (DRAW THOSE BACKGROUNDS).
Think of how proud younger you would be of your talent now, and strive to make
them proud.

Making Merchandise/ Pins – It takes more than an idea to be
successful at selling merchandise. It is a tough and tiring job. You have to be
your own manager, designer, PR person, and salesman. Kickstarters are a great
way to fund a potential design, but be careful that you are prepared to handle
the responsibility of ordering your merchandise and fulfilling orders. Don’t
jump into it – take time to plan. But if you feel prepared, it can be a very
rewarding endeavor!

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?

Relating to the art/ design field specifically? I would say
not really, but then again my art usually doesn’t relate to my sexuality. But
there are plenty of individuals you interact with online who are outspoken with
the fact that they think it’s “not real” or that “we’ve just had bad
experiences”. I try to educate where I can, and when it seems like the people
might be receptive. A lot of ideas about asexuality spring from ignorance. Some
folks just don’t want to understand though, and sometimes you just have to
brush it off and move on. Find solace with others who share your experiences.

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

That all asexual people are sex repulsed, and hate all types
of physical contact. I’m what you would call a sex apathetic asexual. I have no
interest in it, and have no desire to seek it out, but it doesn’t bother me.
It’s a light switch that stays off.

It does become a problem when I desire other attention from
partners that traditionally leads to sex. Like making out, or cuddling – it’s
either all or nothing. This leads to a very frustrated ace that doesn’t feel
cherished but feels hypocritical asking for more physical contact “as an ace
person”.

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

Asexuality is a spectrum, and everyone experiences it in
their own way. Being Ace is really hard at times, especially when it comes to
finding a partner. It is important to find someone who respects your comfort
levels and communicates with you to find out how to approach that part of your
relationship. It’s tempting to push your own comfort levels aside to make them
happy, because it may make you feel desired – but it will breed resentment in
time if there is no respect for your likes and dislikes as well. For people
like us it is especially important to make friends and not rely entirely on
having a partner to feel fulfilled.

If you find someone, make sure they love you AS someone who
is asexual, not DESPITE the fact you are asexual.

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

You can find all my enamel pins and current merchandise on
my Etsy shop -> https://www.etsy.com/shop/QueenCheetahDesigns.
You can also follow me on Twitter at Jaime_Hawkins
or on Instagram under Jaime_Hawkins_Design
to stay up to date on my art and any upcoming designs.

Thank you so much!

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

Interview: Rachel

Today we’re joined by Rachel. Rachel is a phenomenal artist who does a bit of everything. She writes both fanfiction and original work. She does a fair amount of visual art, mostly drawing using a variety of mediums. As if that’s not impressive enough, Rachel has also done quite a lot of work in theater, both on stage and behind the scenes. It’s clear she’s an extraordinarily talented and passionate individual, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I do a ton of art! I write original stories and fanfiction
for a variety of genres. I draw, mostly in the traditional sense, and I have a
background in theater where I performed, directed, stage managed, was a set
designer and constructor for anywhere around 12 productions.

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

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

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

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh! Look me up! On…

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

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

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

Interview: Chloe

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

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

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

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Faith

Today we’re joined by Faith. Faith is a wonderful artist who does a bit of everything. She paints, writes, sings, plays instruments, and draws. She’s most passionate about dancing. Faith loves to dance. It’s clear she’s a passionate and talented 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 do a large variety of different art forms such as dance,
singing, acting, instruments, drawing, painting, and more. I think the one that
I’ve focused on the most would be dance. Dance has been one of those things
that I started super young, 5 years old, and I have continued to do for so many
years. It is like a safe haven for me.
It is a way for me to let go of the world around me and just let my
emotions out. I honestly can’t imagine my life without it.

What inspires you?

Nature and emotions inspire me mostly. I guess some
combination of the two. I always feel so at peace outside in nature, as cheesy
as it sounds, watching a cloud roll by or the rays of the sun through the
trees. A lot of my movement comes from watching a river flow or a leaf caught
in the wind. Surprisingly or not so surprisingly rain and puddles are where I
find some of my most interesting ideas. Nature is never stagnate, and there is
a lot to be found in the ever changing world.

As for emotions, there are such hidden depths to every
single person out there. The raw emotions people don’t normally see are such an
interesting thing to experience or choreograph with. Music choice works
extremely well with this too, as music is supposed to evoke feelings. A slow
dramatic piece could work with feelings of longing or sorrow while an uplifting
song could focus on joy or peace.

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

Kind of embarrassing but the Barbie movie the Nutcracker is
what got me started dancing. I realize now that the dancing on there is very
bad but hey, I was 5. At the time I thought it was the best thing I had ever
seen and I have been hooked on art ever since. This obviously snowballed into
so many different types of arts like music, visual, performing, to the point of
I can’t imagine my life without art. It is so integral to who I am that I have
never imagined being anything other than an artist.

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

I don’t have one specific thing that occurs in all of my
dances. I guess one of the most common things that occurs would be using music
from movie, TV, or video game soundtracks but I wouldn’t really call that a
unique signature. I’m just a huge geek!

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Don’t let anyone bring you down. You don’t become a prima
ballerina overnight and you will fall down. Nobody is perfect and we have to
accept that. One of the biggest things I see when people start dancing is being
constantly being discouraged by corrections or criticism. The best thing you
can do is take the corrections and learn from them. You will grow as a dancer,
an artist, and a person. You have to remember that everyone started where you
are now, and they used hard work and dedication to achieve their dreams. “Life
isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the
rain.”

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I believe I am asexual and heteroromantic. I’m not entirely
sure about the romantic side of me, I may be demiromantic, but I am definitely
positive that I am asexual. I haven’t been in many situations where I can
explore my sexuality further but that may just be because I generally avoid
situations where people can give me romantic interest.

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

I haven’t really found that much prejudice is my field
mainly because it is rarely talked about. That and most people I talk to don’t
really know that much about asexuality. The main issue I have found is just the
heteronormality and hypersexualized nature in the world. There are many dances
that I have been in where the dance is fun until the choreographer decides to
add in a sexualized section in order to draw the crowd in. It makes me
uncomfortable to watch or perform and it is normally unnecessary.

I will say that where I perform, homosexual relationships
are represented and choreographed which is quite refreshing. But there is no
asexual representation.

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

That either we don’t exist or that people automatically
assume that asexual people are all sex repulsed. I know that many of us don’t
want sex, don’t like sex, or are even repulsed by it but there is a large
amount of us who don’t mind sex. I don’t know where I fall on the whole sex
spectrum but I do have an asexual friend who rants to me about the topic. She
says that she enjoys the act of sex even if she isn’t sexually attracted to
someone.

I guess another misconception that I have seen is that
people would think that asexuality is just a low sex drive. An imbalance in
chemicals. That it can be “fixed.” Asexuality is an orientation just like any
other sexuality. There is nothing wrong with it nor is there anything wrong
with an asexual person.

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

Have a good support system. One of the things that has
helped me the most with my sexuality would be having people who understand and
respect me. It has helped cure my insecurities and accept who I am.

Just remember that you
are not alone.
There are so many of us out there in the world who have been
exactly where you are now. You are not broken. You are not weird or wrong or
even a freak. There are people out there that can support you and that do
accept you. There is more love for asexuals than hate. Focus on that.

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

I don’t post a lot of my work online but I do have some on
my Instagram account. It is a private account so if you want to see anything
just DM me and tell me you saw this post and I’ll let you follow me! At kitten0981.

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

Interview: KelbremDusk

Today we’re joined by KelbremDusk. KelbremDusk is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in digital art. She does a bit of everything, including webcomics. Her work is eerie and interesting to look at. It’s clear she’s a passionate individual who loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m a digital artist, I’ve been working
with a tablet for about 11 years now. I was never big on traditional art, even
when I didn’t have access to a tablet but recently I’ve been trying to get into
oil painting and so far it’s been kinda fun.

I draw everything from original to fanart
and even in comics. I have a webcomic which is unfortunately in hiatus right
now but I also make short comics for my various characters and worlds.

On the side I’m currently working on a
novel, which I hope to finish this year (or at least early next year) called Black Sun Rising. Four friends on a post
apocalypse roadtrip with no main character romance.

What inspires you?

I get inspiration from everything.
Stories, movies, illustrations, photographs, everyday objects. It’s wild. The
more abstract I can make something that would normally be mundane and boring,
the more fun it is to work with.

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

This was never really a plan of mine. I
just kinda started drawing around 2004, I drew a lot before that but something
just made me keep going. Boredom, the need for a creative outlet. I didn’t have
a lot of friends, didn’t go out much. Mostly stayed at home in front of the TV.
So I needed something to do.

I guess Anime was the thing that really
made me keep going. Especially Inuyasha
and Wedding Peach and Doremi.

And the new novel writing stuff, that also
just kinda happened. I’ve been working on that story in my head for about 4
years at that point and I wanted to make it into a comic first but that would
have taken ages and it got really demotivating. So one day at work, while my
boss was out, I just opened up word and kept writing and writing. By the end of
the day I had the prologue done.

Sometimes things just happen I guess???

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 boy, if I were to reveal more of my
stories, you’d certainly see a pattern in them. Especially when it comes to
family. Lots of single parents … or no parents at all.

Another thing would be about two
characters which show up in every story in some way. Either as an actual
character, a background character, the name of a cafe, a street name etc. Look
out for that.

And my unique signature you might even be
able to see on the pictures featured in this interview. The winged skull
wearing a crown. No real symbolism behind it other than 1. Skulls are cool, 2.
Crowns are dope and 3. I only added the wings to make the logo rectangular.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Find a medium that suits you and go nuts
with it. If you suck at watercolor, even after countless hours and desperately
trying, watercolor might not be your thing and that’s ok! “Practice makes
perfect” but sometimes you just gotta acknowledge that you can’t be the best in
every medium.

Look at references! Poses, faces,
buildings, plants. You are not obligated to draw everything from memory. Nobody
is going to come for you for drawing from a reference. The old masters did it,
so you’re allowed do it as well!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am an Aromantic Asexual. I dabbled in
many different identities in my search to find the right one and about 4 years
ago, after lots of back and forth and self-reflection, I settled on this.

It was a long journey to come to this
conclusion. I spent my entire school life thinking something is wrong with me
for never falling in love with anyone, while my friends and classmates had
boyfriends and girlfriends. This continues into my time at trade school. Where
I even had people telling me that they’re interested in me romantically but for
me it was just … never an option. I don’t know how to behave around such
people. I’d have to let them touch me and they’d want to be around me and my
social battery is just not capable for that amount of affection.

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

Most prejudice and ignorance I get is not
at work cuz my coworkers or boss doesn’t care. It was from classmates and trade
school and my own family (mostly my dad).

“What do you mean you don’t want to have
children?” and “Oh you just haven’t found the right one yet” are the most
common. I never outright day that I’m asexual, to avoid awkward conversations,
but I say “I don’t date” and for some reason that really grinds people’s gears???

Like I said, my dad is the worst one. He’d
constantly ask me when I’d bring my boyfriend over and it made me so
uncomfortable. Or whenever I had a good announcement he’s ask “Are you
pregnant?” He thankfully stopped doing that for now thanks to his new wife (who
is super lovely and really understanding). Whenever he brought up the topic I’d
just roll my eyes and tell him to shut up.

I was never able to tell my mom about my
asexuality before she died, but I’m positive that she would be understanding as
well. She already accepted that I never brought home any boyfriends and didn’t
even ask or pester me about it. So I feel like she knew.

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

According to some, all asexuals are just
plants and have no libido. Wrong, there’s different types of aces just like
there’s different types of gays and lesbians and bi people. Some aces are sex
repulsed, but not all. Some aces enjoy a good wank at the end of the day and
some don’t. People are different and you can’t throw them all in the same
drawer.

“Oh you’re just saying you’re asexual
because you can’t find anyone to date you!”

Fam, no, that is the complete opposite of
what I’m telling you. I don’t want to “find anyone to date” I don’t date. It’s
simple as that.

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

You will feel alone, you’ll feel pain,
you’ll feel like there’s nobody in the world who feels like you but I will tell
you now that that’s not true. Don’t force yourself to do things you don’t want
to do just because you think you might be broken. You’re not broken, you never
were.

Go into yourself, find yourself,
acknowledge and cherish the things that make you happy.

I still feel extremely alone, I haven’t
found many people who feel like me yet but I’m hoping that through this I can
reach out to some of them.

I can always lend an ear for anything.

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

Here’s a bunch of links you can find me on
and look through more of my work.

Tumblr: http://kelbremdusk.tumblr.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1NaDNqgbf5SN5HnfYiOR-A
Twitter (although there’s barely anything): https://twitter.com/eatshitdr0pdead
My webcomic: https://tapas.io/Kelbremdusk
and my NSFW discord server (you can pm me for that one)

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

Regular

Interview: Tina Speece

Today we’re joined by Tina Speece, who also goes by tinadrawsstuff. Tina is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in pinups and portraits. She mostly does black and white and grayscale. Her work is beautiful and has an extraordinary amount of detail. It’s clear she’s a talented 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.

My name is Tina, and I’m multimedia artist-illustrator with a deep love of stories and storytelling. I love color, but I wind up working in black and white and grayscale a lot for reasons I still haven’t figured out. Pinups and portraits are my bread-and-butter and I take a lot of pride in making things “cute”.

What inspires you?

Stories!  Especially the way themes cycle and recycle and how we relate to those themes.  Cautionary tales disguised as kids’ bedtime stories, campfire scare stories that you know by heart but still a net a scream in the right atmosphere, stories “you think you know BUT” with some aspect changed [anything sympathetic to the monstrous is my favorite in this category]–there are patterns and beats that are older than time, but they still draw us in and we still keep going to those themes no matter what the world is like, and that’s so amazing to me!

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

Funny story: my 4th grade art teacher told me I had no talent for art and needed to pick a new elective, which as a highly impressionable child pretty much destroyed any confidence I could’ve had at any point as a kid.  I switched to vocal music and theater and didn’t really make any art for a long time after that.  I was still fascinated by visual arts but since I “had no talent” for it, I settled for watching tons of movies and cartoons and writing fanfiction, and telling myself “This is good, this is fine”.  

Then I got to college, and was planning to go on as an English major.  My first semester (like most everybody’s first semester) was a hodgepodge of “required” Gen. Ed classes that didn’t have anything to do with what I wanted to be doing but I had to do it.  I had some really good friends in my Japanese class, and to practice both the writing and our vocab, we started making silly little comics with the characters in our book (the illustrations in GENKI! were really easy to copy). Because we were all doing little comics and we were all friends, there wasn’t pressure to be “great” at it? They were just silly little things that we made, that I enjoyed making–that I drew during other lectures because I have always needed to do something while listening to something else so I could focus.

So I was sitting in Philosophy one day, doodling the ongoing love-triangle between Mary, Susan, and Takashi and listening to the lecture when it hit me [we’re talking a metaphorical punch to the face]: I like language, I don’t like it enough to sit and analyse it to this kind of depth for the next four years.  I called my mom, told her I didn’t want to study English, I wanted to study art, no I don’t know what I’m going to do, but it’s more right than anything I’ve thought about studying.

Fortunately for me, my mom was (and still is) super supportive.  

I graduated with a BFA in 2013 and after a year of not being sure what to do (because freelancing is hard and art-focused opportunities in my area wanted more degree than I had), I applied and got into the Masters program at Columbus College of Art & Design in Ohio, finished THAT in 2017 and am still freelancing but now with a much better idea of what I’m doing. I honestly can’t imagine having gone in any other direction at this point in my life, and I only regret not drawing for so long between 4th grade and college.

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 try to remember to sign everything, but I like a small unobtrusive signature, so I tuck a TS somewhere in just about everything.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

1. You are going to make some really, really, really ugly things.  Sometimes you’ll be proud of those ugly things for a while, but they’re still gonna be ugly.  And that’s a good thing: you have to make ugly to understand what it is and whether you want to use it actively.

2. Do your best to purge the pop-culture expectation of an artist from your brain.  That way lies the path of disappointment and being really freaking annoying, not to mention it takes a lot of energy to namedrop and fake ennui.

3. Don’t fear the “art block”.  It’s your friend in the long run, because it lets you know something’s not working–either your mental health needs some attention and that’s why you’re not making, or you’ve stopped actively trying to hone your skills and have gotten lazy and your brain is bored and that means you need to get out of your comfort zone for a while, or that you need to take a break from the thing you’re currently doing and go do something else; even if that “something else” has nothing to do with art–everyone needs a break regularly.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a demisexual bi!

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

Oh yeah–I get it two-fold for being both demi and multi-attracted.  I usually get asked if the figures and character I’m drawing are ideal sexual partners or if my conflict and discomfort with another person in my field is because deep down I just want “bang them”.  

The subject question is easy to displace, I just start ranting about the lack of variation in character design and that kills almost all follow-up.  The second question I usually just shut down with a face-melting stare because sometimes it’s not a judicious moment to ask someone if they’re a friggin idiot.

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

That it’s something that can be “fixed” by an encounter with “the right person” and you’ll know in an instant

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

1. How you feel does have a name, and there are other people who feel the way you do.  

2. You’re not alone, and that’s important.

3. You’re not broken, you’re not stupid, and you can’t just “pretend to be normal” because there’s nothing abnormal about you.

4. Most of the people you try to explain this to probably won’t get it, and they’ll say things that hurt because they mean well.  You have every right to correct them, you have every right to defend yourself; don’t feel bad when you do, because you deserve that respect, even from people who generally mean well.

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

My portfolio

My studio Instagram

The Facebook page

Ownable, hard copies of work here, here, or here!

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

Interview: Jasmine Aguirre

Today we’re joined by Jasmine Aguirre. Jasmine is a wonderful fanartist, who also does a little original work. Her art has a very dreamy and surreal look to it with quite a lot of bright and vibrant colors. Jasmine is a very dedicated and driven artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

My art mainly consists of like 95% fanart and the other 5%
is some original art, which I don’t make a lot of. I usually get much more
enjoyment working with already existing characters and worlds, whatever holds
my obsessive interest at the time.

The art I create has a lot of hours and passion put into it.
I dabble often with pairings, I love the inspiration they give me after a small
artist’s block. I draw a lot of romantic pieces as well, it’s what adore doing.
I love drawing details of the clothing and hair and expressions and actions in
my own art style. I go for very semi-realistic vibes and bright, fun colors.
Colors are my favorite part of any piece, pink and purples are my go to!

What inspires you?

Music, day dreaming and other artists, so much really, but
what towers over those is self-improvement. I struggle with still needing
practice on different aspects of drawing. But, with every frustration that
emerges from me when I can’t get something right, I tend to reverse that and
use it as optimism that I’m still learning. It might not look right now, but in
the future I will get way more better and get less stressed. Looking at a piece
from 2012 until now causes a huge boost of confidence and satisfaction, knowing
you heavily improved on drawing eyes the way you wanted to or getting better at
legs, etc.

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

I have always wanted to be an artist (more specific an
Illustrator), since I was super young. I remember how obsessed I was with
Disney’s The Little Mermaid and loved
Ariel so much, I tore out a piece of notebook paper and opened my Little Mermaid illustration book and
drew Ariel on the paper on one side of the book while her image was on the
opposite end.

Since then, I was enthusiastic about drawing at school and
even my art teachers supported it and wanted me to thrive, knowing I had this
creative ability. I did especially well in high school where my final year
there I won an art contest and got a medal. My biggest art related
accomplishment goes to having my illustration design as one of my local
libraries new library card designs while I worked there, it was the most
popular and it was flattering seeing everyone adore my card.

There isn’t anything I see myself being but an artist for
the rest of my life! There isn’t a day I go without drawing something,
anything.

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 suppose my art style is quite unique, it’s a mix
semi-realism, yet it’s still got cartoon vibes to it. At the moment, I don’t
have anything special to reveal.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Never compare yourself to anyone, you’re never a step
behind. Never say to anyone that you can’t draw and what’s the point in trying.
Drawing does take loads of time and patience, but it’s honestly extremely
rewarding. Go above and beyond with drawing, with the whole media of art. The
best things about the art field is that its big, so you can try your might with
animation, painting, cartooning, watercolors, markers, even sculpting. It’s all
about creativity and we all have a great deal of creativity to find within us
and use and show.

Always be proud of what you make. Make mistakes. Learn from
them. Let yourself thrive.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

It’s slightly complicated, but let me break it down.

My sexuality was fluid for years. It wasn’t easy, I was
actually scared to find out I was a-spec and worried about what I should label
myself, but once I did research and found out it was normal and I wasn’t alone,
I felt more comfortable.

Since I was 20, I generally identified myself as being
Asexual to anyone that’s curious to know. In a nutshell I would say, “Im Ace,
I’m not interested in sex or anything sexual.” I have asexual merch, like the
ace flag, pin, shirt and popsocket. However, if you want a more detailed look
into who I am, I’m on the a-spectrum, I am autochorissexual.

Autochorissexual is “Predominantly or entirely
fantasize about fictional characters or celebrities, rather than people in real
life they know. Identify as asexual and feel no sexual attraction to people,
but enjoy masturbating, are aroused by sexually explicit content, and/or have
sexual fantasies”
(Quote from
Asexual’s Wikia).

Now this isn’t 100% believed to be a real sexuality. But,
personally as someone who knows themselves and has experienced such strong and
similar feelings, I know I am.

As for romantic, I still have yet to fully figure out what
I’m comfortable with, or if I want to ever put a label on it. All I know is
that it’s on the aro-spectrum at the moment while I do.

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

Luckily, I have not at this time. Everyone I have
encountered and that know I am on the a-spectrum are quite positive and
supportive.

For pride month last year, while I worked at the library at
the front desk with my co-worker (who I also found out was queer and was ace as
well, very happy revelation,) we put the flags on the window. The one people
asked about respectively was the asexual flag. I would nervously but proudly
tell them about it and they would nod and understand. It was nice to know that
others were genuinely willing to know.

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

That it’s a phase, we’re doing it for attention, we wanna be
unique and quirky, or we have yet to find the right person; also, that every
asexual person is sex-repulsed. Or the worst one, we don’t really exist, so to
say. But, none of those are true.

We’re entering a new generation of people who identify more
as asexual than ever before and we’ve always
been here. It’s even more incredible to see older folk learn about what
asexuality is and finally come to a conclusion that they’ve felt that way all
their life and never knew why, or that it had a name, and that they were not
alone.

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

It’s okay to keep questioning what you like and don’t like,
your sexuality is fluid, there’s an entire spectrum for you to discover. It
took me my entire life until I was 20 and a few relationships to figure it out
completely.

You’re not broken at all and you’re not alone. It does get
so much better, I promise. Don’t give into pressure either. If you feel like
you have to be in a relationship of any kind like your peers, don’t push
yourself to that degree. Trust yourself and your feelings.

All in all, it’s your label if you want one or not. No one
knows you better than you! You know who you are, you are valid and you are
real.

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

I’m almost all over the place, but here’s where you can
easily find me!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/supernovajazzy
Art Blog: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/supernovajazzy-art
Twitter: https://twitter.com/supernova_jazzy

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