Category: visual artist

Interview: Rochyne

Today we’re joined by Rochyne. Rochyne is a phenomenal visual artist whose art almost defies definition. It’s a fascinating combination of physical objects, performance, and stories. It’s almost abstract in its presentation. It’s clear Rochyne is a dedicated and imaginative individual with a unique vision. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

My art used to be on paper, and then it became objects, now
it seems to live in the place between stories, performance and interactions.

A little bit of my website blurb:

My work is about sharing knowledge; expanding expectations;
uncovering what has been there all along; providing a moment where nothing else
is important; testing boundaries and learning what can be done with what
happens to be there.

It involves imagination, participation, movement, journeys,
interaction, perspective, a contrast of soft and hard. Usually made on my own,
I give my pieces to the world and the people, and let them discover what both
the object and themselves can achieve. I want to open eyes; initiate freedom;
spark a new way of thinking.

What inspires you?

People, places, sounds, words, stories, feelings. Anything
really.

Recently the outdoors, climbing, birds, the sky, falling,
failing have all been in the forefront of my mind.

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

I have always had an interest in art, I just find it hard to
fully commit. I stumbled upon the sort of in-between field I find myself in.
having a performative aspect in my art, I found the MA course I am just
finishing (Performance Design) and from that, what I consider my art, or art in
general, to be has broadened massively.

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 think rather than a unique signature, my work mostly
always includes some type of conversation or invitation.

I also like cubes.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Don’t talk yourself down. Your art is worth it, and your
time is not being wasted.

Work hard, be honest and find people who inspire you.

Don’t be afraid to get a ‘real job’ on the side, as long as
it doesn’t sap all of your energy.

Talk, reach out, value others art.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

This is a difficult question as I am not really sure. I
think I identify as asexual some days and maybe less so on others. But mostly I
quietly think of myself as asexual.

It’s a process I am still working through, so I sometimes
find it awkward to speak about, and this, in my mind, means I may not have
fully realised whereabouts my identity sits. As a general rule, I don’t enjoy
assigning fixed labels; I believe most things exist in a fluid notion. So I
guess to sum up; asexual-ish.  

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

Ignorance for sure, I think I just try to handle it by
opening a dialogue inviting the ideas of identities all existing on a spectrum,
if they can’t get their head around that I think I try to accept that they
might not be open to those ideas. I haven’t experienced any openly
aggressive/abusive responses, and I hope to never have to deal with these.

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

That they don’t exist. This is frustrating, and I think just
a sign of the times and that we don’t talk enough. More dialogue around so many
topics would help people hiding away and feeling that they are alone.

I find it frustrating when people associate asexuality and
aromatic incorrectly, its an assumption that people shouldn’t have the freedom
to express.  

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

As hard as it may be, accepting and talking can be helpful.

Also just to tell them that they are not broken.

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

Ohh amazing.

People can find me here: https://www.instagram.com/rochyne/
or here https://rochynedm.wixsite.com/portfolio
or here: https://rochyne.wordpress.com/
Tumblr: https://rochyne.tumblr.com/

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

Interview: Sarah Neila Elkins

Today we’re joined by Sarah Neila Elkins. Sarah is a phenomenal writer and visual artist who specializes in novels and comics. She enjoys writing the speculative genres and her work features asexual protagonists. It’s clear she’s a talented artist who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I make fantasy, horror, and sci-fi novels and comics
featuring asexual protagonists. Since 2015 I have been more active writing
novels than creating comics due to having angio fibro dysplasia, a type of
chronic ossifying tennis elbow that kept me from using my right hand for almost
a year. I had to relearn how to draw as a result.

What inspires you?

I want to make stories that I want to read. I’m asexual but
didn’t know that was a thing until I was an adult and I have tons of queer
friends but, although it is more common to see LGBTQIA+ characters in stories
it’s less common to see them in fantasy and horror. I want to write the kinds
of tense, action-filled books and comics I like to read but with queer
characters.

I also really like Nikola Tesla, so working him or things
related to him in stories is fun. I guess it’s like writing fanfiction though
I’ve never been good about sticking with anything else for that. Every time I
tried writing proper fanfiction whatever I wrote turned into something original
without any characters or worlds from whatever the fanfic was supposed to be
based on.

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

I’ve been writing and drawing since I was a kid. I
daydreamed, a lot. Probably more than was healthy to be honest. Eventually I
started writing those daydreams down as a film script because I wanted to make
movies. Then I did research on the screenwriter’s guild and realized that would
never happen. Granted, that was before indie films got bigger. I decided that I
could just draw whatever story I wanted to make so I got into making comics.
When my elbow tendons essentially turned to bone I had to give up my comic
flatting job, my comic inking job, and comics altogether for a while. It broke
my heart but I was able to use a keyboard with my left hand and wrote a novel
to deal with the stress and depression I was feeling from losing my only source
of income and the only real job I had ever known. That book, Psychic Underground: The Facility is
available now from Ninestar Press. Thankfully, I have recovered enough to draw
again and even want to make a graphic novel. I’m still writing prose novels and
the second book in the Psychic
Underground
series should come out later this year (2019.)

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?

Nikola Tesla. If he’s not mentioned out-right he or
something related to him is in there be it a street name or invention. It’s
like ‘Where’s Waldo’ except sometimes I make it very obvious. I also like to
put my favorite number in things, 8, as well as Tesla’s favorite numbers 3, 6,
and 9.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Be mindful of your body and health. If your arms or hands
start hurting try to skip ahead and see an orthopedic surgeon instead of a
general doctor. If I had done that I would have skipped about six months of terrible
pain and one ER visit. Also, remember that just because someone gets a job or
opportunity you wanted that comics and prose writing isn’t Highlander. There’s
plenty of room. If you get knocked down, get back up.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am alloromantic asexual.

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

In my field? Years ago a friend who helped me get a big
flatting job said something to the effect of “asexuals aren’t queer”
but then she worked with another friend of mine who is asexual on
a queer anthology that the ace friend told me was welcoming to aces, so maybe
her view changed. To be honest she kinda hasn’t talked to me much since the
whole incident where she said she thought ace’s weren’t queer and that bothers
me. I don’t like not having closure if a friendship is over, you know?

Otherwise I dated an artist for years and when I tried to
explain to them I’m asexual and sex-repulsed/genophobic they didn’t take it
well. I thought they’d take it better since the main character of their then
pretty popular webcomic was aromantic asexual. We wound up breaking up and
tried to stay friends but the friendship imploded when my arm trouble got bad.
They said some things to me during the relationship that made me doubt myself
and they continued to do that when my arm was causing me excruciating pain. I
know I wish they would apologize someday but I’ll never get that closure
either. I’m not sure if that counts but they were a colleague I looked
up to a lot.

Beyond those two instances I have been out of the creative
game for a few years due to my arm so I’m just now getting back where I can
pursue jobs in both writing and comics. I have little doubt I’ll run across
more pronounced cases of ace prejudice and ignorance in the future.

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

The most common misconception about asexuality I’ve
encountered is that all asexuals are aromantic, celibate, and sex repulsed or
that they want to prevent someone else from having sex. I am celibate but no
aromantic. I am sex repulsed and genophobic but I don’t want to prevent others
from having sex. I just can’t talk about or see sex for long without having an
anxiety attack.

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

You are not alone. You are not broken. Asexuality is a vast
spectrum within the queer spectrum. You don’t have to be anything but ace to be
queer, either. There’s no real rule that says “you must be asexual AND
anything else also queer to qualify as queer.” You can just be asexual and
qualify as queer. Anyone who’s not cis heterosexual qualifies as queer. If
you’re asexual then by definition you’re not heterosexual. Don’t listen to
anyone who claims you’re faking your identity. You are the only
person who gets to define who you are.

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

I just launched a personal website: https://www.sarahneilaelkins.com/
I still haunt the hell out of Twitter: https://twitter.com/NeilaK20
I mirror posts on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SarahNeilaElkins/
And on Mastodon: https://mastodon.social/@NeilaK20
And I’m trying to use Instagram more: https://www.instagram.com/neilak20/

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

Announcement: Ace Art Show

Hi all!

I know this is short notice, but I’ve been swamped with work. I still have interviews that need to be scheduled and posted, apologies for that.

One thing that has been occupying the majority of my time has been the Asexual Conference in Vancouver, which I’m co-curating an art show for. I’m hoping some followers of the site might be interested in attending (more information about the conference can be found at the following link: https://asexuality.wixsite.com/conference)

We’ve recently gotten a flyer for the art exhibit:

Aside from co-curating the art exhibit, I shall also be speaking on a panel about being an asexual author. I will probably speak on what it’s like to be an asexual fiction author who also happens to be from a non-traditional family. Copies of my books will be available for sale and I will be more than happy to personalize them for anyone who is interested.

Here’s the flyer for that event:

I’m hoping to get back in the swing of things soon, but traveling kind of eats up all my time. I’ll figure out a balancing act eventually.

Anyhow, I hope to see some followers of the site at the show!

Thanks everyone!

Interview: Kiowa

Today we’re joined by Kiowa. Kiowa is a phenomenal visual artist and jewelry maker. She also makes a few odds and ends with yarn, mostly ropes. For visual art, Kiowa uses traditional mediums, favoring chalk pastels and chalk pencils. Aside from jewelry, Kiowa has also made some cool things for her horses. It’s clear she’s a passionate and creative individual who loves making things, 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 dabble in a few different artistic pursuits – drawing,
writing, and making jewelry, primarily. I also make all sorts of things with
yarn, mostly by braiding it into ropes. I draw the old school way, on paper and
board with usually chalk pastel or chalk pencil; I have no idea about all this
new-fangled electronic stuff. I mostly work with beads for jewelry, though I’m
branching out into working with horsehair a bit; I’ll try whatever I can get my
hands on. My yarn crafts began out of boredom; I would braid long chains of
yarn to keep my hands busy and keep awake during boring classes in college, and
then I had all this yarn, so I used some of it to reinforce a rope halter and
then realized I could make all sorts of cool shit for the horses. I’ve made
fancy Arabian necklaces, a tie down, some little bits and bobs to adjust tack
to fit my weird horses…

What inspires you?

Horses, mostly. Horses are definitely the focus of my drawing,
and a lot of my miscellaneous crafts tend to be making things for the horses.
My jewelry making tends to be more “on a whim,” just making whatever strikes me
when I look at the beads. Sometimes my ideas are really vague and other times
they’re super specific. You just never know!

As for my writing, I have always had some sort of story or
another that’s playing out in my imagination. I tend towards fantasy, and just
about anything might inspire me. I’ve dabbled in fanfiction more than a bit
over the years but always like to come back to my characters and my stories to
see what I might put to paper. I am also quite good at non-fiction and
persuasive writing, particularly short form. I can write a mean email.

When I’m creating anything, I have to have some kind of
auditory input. It’s usually music, though I will watch/listen to movies or TV
when I’m making jewelry. And it has to be the right input – if I’m going to be
drawing Kalarime, I have to play the songs of his people (Bastille). If I’m
writing particular characters, I want to listen to their favorite music.

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

When I was four, I was asked what I’d like to do when I grew
up. I said “artist, writer, horse trainer, and one of the people at the airport
that directs planes to the gates with glow sticks.” I have since aimed for
slightly different employment but I’ve never lost my interest in creation. I
have no earthly idea how I arrived at that but here I am, twenty-three years
later, still doing my first three goals. I got to wave glow sticks somewhere
else so I can check that off the bucket list.

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, most of my drawings are horses. This is not surprising
to anyone who has ever met me. For both drawing and jewelry, I naturally
gravitate towards cool colors because I like them and I think yellow and orange
are ugly colors and I can do whatever I want so there. My stories are often
very dark and bloody and someone dies. But we’ll all die one day so there’s
that. I really just do whatever I like.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Whatever it is you like to do, do it. No one will do it the
way you can do it. You will get better over time – but first, you have to be
bad at it. It’s okay to hate what you’ve made, because the act of making
something bad is part of learning how to be good. You don’t have to share every
single thing you make with the world – art can be just for you. Listen to your
teachers, but they don’t know everything either. Work from left to right (if
you’re right handed) with chalk pastels and charcoal, and don’t touch anything
until you’ve washed your hands; you will have pastel all over you. Don’t drop
your bead containers, because cleaning beads up off the floor sucks.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Aroflux asexual and genderqueer to boot

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

I have not yet and I am grateful. I hope that if I ever do,
it comes not to my face but in written form so I can dismantle that ignorance
with my words. I am much more eloquent and composed in text than in speech.

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

I’ve been extremely fortunate not to encounter out-and-out
acephobia. Most people that I’ve spoken to IRL about asexuality have assumed
that asexuality and aromanticism go hand in hand (and they don’t usually have a
word for aromanticism). Since I’m just a hair shy of being fully aromantic
myself, that hasn’t caused me many issues but it’s also a lack of education
that can be confusing to people.

I have had people (including my mom) wonder what made me this way. I’ve always been this
way. There was no event or trauma. I’m just… me. I think it’s really
disheartening for all queer folk, regardless of identity, to have a piece of
our selves be questioned and assumed
to be a result of some action or event. No one is ever asked what made them cis
or het, yet we all have to explain that our identity is just… part of us. It’s
also so hard to say how much of an identity is innate and how much comes to the
environment we grew up in and the things we internalized – the gender
stereotypes that one person internalizes and performs can cause another person
to develop dysphoria and be a part of their trans identity. So who is to say
why we have the identities we have or what made us a certain way? That’s not
the point. The point is that this is who
we are
.

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

I’ve never struggled with it, even before I had a word, I
just always assumed that since this is how I am, that’s okay. So, to anyone
lost or confused or unhappy – you are how you are, and that’s okay. Even if it
doesn’t feel okay now, it will be okay. Your sexuality is a part of you, as
much as your eyes and your fingernails and every other bit of you. Don’t fight
with yourself – learn about yourself. Seek acceptance and understanding both
internally and externally. You cannot and should not force yourself to be
anything you are not. Authenticity is the best trait, so be authentically
asexual and authentically you.

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

I have a Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/littlehorsedesigns,
where I post all the stuff I’m making and offer jewelry for sale. I also take
art commissions (particularly if you have horses). Little Horse Designs pretty
much just goes straight into paying for my three horses, Kalarime, Geronimo,
and Gabe. You can also find me at nolivingunderstarlight.tumblr.com
and message me either place.

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

Regular

Interview: Mushki

Today we’re joined by Mushki. Mushki is a wonderful visual artist who specializes in comics. She has recently finished a comic specifically about asexuality. She has a running manga-style comic entitled Peripety. Aside from that, she also does mini comics, random illustrations, and fanart. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make comics! I got one long manga-style comic called Peripety that I hope will reach about FMA length. And many mini comics and random illustrations/fanart.

What inspires you?

Stories that are about found families, adventure, brotherhood…psychology, compassion, human depravity mixed with human beauty…etc.

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

Reading stories or playing video games with compelling stories – that’s the language I understand, and I guess I just couldn’t help it when I started speaking that language as well. So yeah. I’ve kind of always wanted to do it in some way, though at first I thought I wanted to be a novelist instead.

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?

Ummm… When it comes to stories, I guess, I’m always putting secret symbols in my stuff. Flowers, motifs, animal parts, etc. Things that represent certain things or mean something to a certain culture.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Make LOTS of stuff, make lots of BAD stuff, keep good posture, and have FUN.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Ace / Aro

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

Not so much about my work. But when people want to show me their work, and it has sexual content in it, some berate me and tease me about me being ace. I really just ignore that? And give them a solid critique anyway. I find kindness is the best way to make people feel bad.

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

That I just haven’t found the right person. That I need to try it. Many people who express this have good intentions, but seem unable to understand that not desiring sex or romance is even possible.  

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

Don’t be pressured into things. There’s a difference between getting out of your comfort zone, and doing things you don’t want to. When people tell you to try things, ask yourself if you actually WANT what they’re suggesting. If you don’t, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean your denying an opportunity for growth.  

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

I post my comics on Tapastic, (https://tapas.io/MushkiKizou) and I sell my art on Etsy! (https://www.etsy.com/shop/MushkikizouArt) Still working on a good way to sell my comics online, but you can bet it’ll be on Etsy someday.

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

Interview: Kaylee Schuler

Today we’re joined by Kaylee Schuler. Kaylee is a phenomenal author and visual artist. She writes a number of different things, including short stories and poetry. She’s currently working on a novel with an aro-ace protagonist. When she’s not writing, Kaylee enjoys drawing. She frequently draws characters from her stories. 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.

I am an author and an artist. I usually write short stories,
but I’ve dabbled in poetry, spoken word, and am currently working on a novel
that happens to feature an aro-ace protagonist. I’ve self-published a
children’s book and plan to self-publish its companion once my edits are done.
One of my short stories just won 10th place in a Reader’s Digest competition,
so I’m very excited about that!

What I value most in writing is emotion, so I try to write
things that make people feel. I try to tell stories that I think are important,
that I know no one else can tell. I strive to write pieces that are powerful,
influential, and cathartic. Even though it’s a lofty goal, I want to write
something that will change the world.

As for art, I started out with sketches and drawings, but I
currently work with a variety of mediums, some of my favorites being watercolor
and digital. Good old graphite never fails me, though.

I create art about pretty much anything — I draw a lot of
people, often characters within the stories that I write. Drawing for me is
somewhere between a hobby and a potential career. I’m currently studying it in
college, but I still draw mainly for myself and create things that I want to
create.

What inspires you?

I get inspiration for my work in everything I experience.
The villain in my novel is based on a character who showed up in just one
episode of a TV show from the ‘90s that I used to watch reruns of. Another
character is named after a friend who was super supportive of my writing. I
write the books I want to read, so I often take inspiration from a lack of
content. I don’t see enough diversity in the media I consume, so I want to add
that to my work. My visual artwork is often inspired by my writing or other
people’s work that I enjoy. The main thing that inspires me is the hope that
someone out there will encounter my work and be inspired to create something of
their own. Art is such an incredible force for change, and my desire to be a
part of that drives me to create.

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

I’ve been writing for my entire life. It’s something that
comes naturally to me, but even beyond that, I feel like a part of me is
missing if I’m not writing something. It’s a huge part of who I am. I started
writing my self-published book when I was 8 years old and haven’t stopped
since.

I’ve also been creating visual art as far back as I can
remember. Just like my writing, my artwork feels like an extension of my very
being. Because art, be it written, visual, or otherwise, can be a catalyst for
social change, and because I’ve always wanted to use my talents to better the
world, I figure that the best way for me to make an impact is to combine those
two things. My desire to improve this world and my desire to create go hand in
hand.

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’m one of those artists who’s never been able to pin down a
style. I suppose that’s a blessing because it gives me greater freedom and
versatility in the content I create, but it’s also a curse because most of my
pieces aren’t recognizable as belonging to the same artist. One thing I aim to
do is include as much diversity in my work as I can. I think everyone deserves
to see someone in media who they can relate to. I’m still learning how to
improve my art and my representation, but I feel like making an effort to be
inclusive and diverse is crucial to being a good artist and a good person.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Art is something so incredibly personal to each individual.
My advice is, first, to not be afraid to pour your soul into your work, and
only share it when it’s ready. Share it first with people you trust. This
especially applies to writing, though also to visual art you’ve worked
particularly hard on. Find people who will build you up, not tear you down. And
a note on criticism—at the end of the day, this is your work. Create for you.
When people tell you what to do with your craft, that’s what they want. I’m not saying to never
listen to criticism. Feedback can be very useful and it will help you grow as
an artist. But make sure you put what you want first and remember that, at the
end of the day, what you do with your work is up to you. And try to remember
that critiques are about the work itself, not the part of you that you put into
it. On a different note, something I want to stress is that artists have to
support each other! We all face challenges in art and in life and I believe
that we can never spread too much compassion and positivity. And finally, never
give up on your dreams. One of my creative writing professors once shared something
with us that his friend told him—the reason successful artists become
successful is that they’re the ones who don’t give up. If you want to create,
create. Keep at it, you’ve got this!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m aromantic and asexual. I always knew there was something
different about me, and finding labels for my feelings was an incredible
relief. I’ve never felt romantic or sexual attraction, and I’m also sex-and romance-repulsed.
This definitely affects my work, especially my written work, because you create
what you know. It’s hard for me to imagine being anyone other than myself,
holding any identity other than aroace. As a result, much of my work features
characters who are asexual and/or aromantic.

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

Specifically related to my art, I haven’t come across much
negativity. I think this is largely because most of my work concerning
asexuality hasn’t made it very far out into the world yet. I worry that readers
won’t understand the way my characters feel and interact with the world, and I
worry that artwork about my asexuality will result in negativity directed at me.
I think it’s likely that I will encounter prejudice or ignorance when my work
spreads around a little more, and when faced with it, I think I’ll have to
remember that all of us are ignorant to something and that the only way to
educate is through understanding. I’ve been uninformed and misinformed about
countless topics, and I was able to learn more about them when people treated
me with respect and open-mindedness. I will strive to do the same. If that
fails, though, if I run into someone who can’t see my point of view and won’t
make an effort to do so (as I have frequently encountered outside the art
world), I’ll need to remember a mantra my therapist once gave me: “They’re
doing the best they can.” Sometimes, other people’s “best” isn’t enough for us.
But we have to remember that we all have our limits and that, sometimes, our
knowledge is beyond the limits of someone else. At that point, I’ll have to
take a step back from my stubbornness and abandon the argument. It’s not always
worth it.

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

I commonly see this both outside and within the LGBTQ
community, and the latter can be particularly frustrating. Many people think
that asexuality is synonymous or similar to abstinence, which isn’t true. They
believe that asexuality is simply a lack of desire for sex, and that’s not
quite true. Asexuality is a lack of attraction
(and even beyond that, it comes on a spectrum). Not all asexuals are
sex-repulsed or sex-averse, and some asexuals engage in sexual acts for a
variety of reasons. Furthermore, many people seem to think that being asexual
is the same as being aromantic. I often find it difficult to explain that
there’s a difference between romantic and sexual attraction and that some
asexuals do, in fact, feel romantic attraction.

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

The main thing that’s often said but can never be said
enough is never be said enough is you are
NOT broken.
I spent years of my life thinking I was and became resigned to
the idea that one day I would have to
have a relationship, even though I didn’t want one. Here’s what I have to say
about that: you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You don’t have
to try to force yourself to feel something you don’t. Wherever you lie on the
spectrum, you are valid, you are seen, you are whole, and you are not alone.
You may feel guilty sometimes for not reciprocating someone’s feelings. You may
feel empty sometimes, or alone, or angry. And all of that is valid—your
feelings are always valid—but you
don’t have to feel any of that. Teach yourself that you don’t need to be
ashamed of your orientation. It’s a part of you, you can’t get rid of it, so
you might as well learn to love it. And you can. I have.

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

I don’t yet have a proper website, but you can find me on
social media. My art Tumblr is https://www.deepspaceart.tumblr.com
and my main Tumblr is https://www.deepspaceace.tumblr.com.
I’m also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/deep.space.ace.
You can find my art on Redbubble at https://www.redbubble.com/people/deepspaceace.
You can read some of my written work at https://www.wattpad.com/user/CelestialFalcon.
You can buy my children’s book at https://app.thebookpatch.com/BookStore/midnight-a-wolfs-tale/ce878c14-8bd6-44ad-bb38-93b585c582e9?isbn=9780984719808
.

Have a great day! 🙂

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

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.