Category: writer

Interview: Lisa Dawn

Today we’re joined by Lisa Dawn. Lisa is a phenomenal author and blogger who writes about a number of things. She loves fairy tales and focuses on it. Lisa also enjoys analyzing princess movies, books, and TV shows on her amazing blog. It’s clear she’s a passionate and creative individual, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m a self-published author, blogger, and screenwriter. I
love stories, especially fairy tales. The Disney Princess movies were
everything to me when I was growing up. I’ve written several fairy tale adaptations
and original fairy tale novellas at www.amazon.com/author/lisadawn
and regularly review and analyze princess movies, books, TV shows, and more on
my blog at www.theprincessblog.org.
I studied screenwriting in college and am about to complete the UCLA
Professional Program in Screenwriting Online. My latest screenplay is an
original princess story that draws inspiration from one of the hardest times in
my life.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by beauty, but not just the visual kind. I love
musicals with songs that tug at the heartstrings, stories that are cathartic
and empowering, and of course beautiful artwork of mermaids, faeries, and
magical princesses in lacey flowing gowns. My love of animation has been a
driving force for my creativity even though I can’t even draw a circle. I was
devastated when traditional animation got replaced by CGI, but I attended a
visual effects school in Florida to learn how to animate on a computer, which
landed me a job in Los Angeles.

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

Yes, I have always wanted to write. I can’t remember ever not
wanting to write, even when I was a very tiny Little Mermaid-obsessed preschooler. I love stories and the effect
that they have on people’s psyche. A good story will simultaneously bring
someone to tears and allow them to accept something in their life that they were
struggling with. When I graduated college and had to deal with the hardships of
being an adult for the first time, I wanted to tell my own stories even more
because there’s a comfort in viewing life through the lens of a magical fairy
tale instead of facing the harsh reality head-on.

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?

You’ve probably noticed the princess theme by now. Not all
of my stories are about princesses, but I focus on them because princesses are
the most magical and empowering female characters in any given fantasy story. I
love how princesses have evolved over time from damsels in distress to strong
warriors. I analyze the dichotomy between these archetypes in The Princess Blog
and try to find a healthy balance between them in my own writing. For me, Ariel
from Disney’s The Little Mermaid is
the perfect combination of vulnerability and inner strength.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

It has never been easier than it is today to promote
yourself through technology. Everyone is connected through social media, so if
you’re willing to share your art, people will find you. You can also easily
reach out to the people you admire via Twitter, which is something that used to
be much harder. Unfortunately, that also means there’s a lot more competition out
there. In that respect, I would say to work even harder than you think is
necessary. Write, draw, sing, and create every single day, even on the days
when you don’t feel like it. I thought I would never make it as a screenwriter,
but now I feel like I’m closer than ever because I’ve learned how to make
connections and get valuable feedback from my peers. Yes, I do occasionally
take breaks, sometimes even year-long ones, but I know now that the more time I
take off, the longer it will take me to accomplish my goals. Promote yourself
and keep it up!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am a heteroromantic repulsed asexual. I’m also married, which
still surprises me sometimes, so for those of you lonely romantic aces out
there, there is hope!

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

I write independently, but I’ve experienced ignorance in the
workplace a few times. I once had a job converting movies to 3D, and some of my
co-workers there were a little immature. There was one man in particular who
would not stop harassing me after I blurted out that I was asexual. He kept
naming all sorts of different scenarios and asking me if I would have sex under
those circumstances (not with him). I probably should have reported him to HR,
but he was part of a large company layoff shortly after that, so I never saw
him again. A few years later, I did an interview about asexuality for a famous
magazine right after my wedding that promoted my husband and myself in a
humiliating way on several Facebook pages with millions of subscribers. A
co-worker I had at that time tagged several fellow employees, including a
supervisor, on one posts and didn’t tell me. I only found out about it after
going through all the comments. I did
report that to HR and got an apology out of her. If this happens to you, do not
tolerate it sitting down! That’s what Human Resources are for.

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

“You’re not capable of love?” is always a classic.

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

The world is a very different place today than it was when I
came out as asexual in 2005. Hollywood is pushing for more diversity in the
media. Uncommon sexual orientations are becoming more commonplace. Social media
is all about expressing yourself. You are living in one of the best eras to be
different. Embrace it. Know that there are more people willing to accept you
today than there would have been fifty, thirty, or even ten years ago.

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

I have a subscribe link on www.theprincessblog.org, but most
people find out about new posts through my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/theprincessblogger.
I’m also on Instagram at www.instagram.com/theprincessblogger
and Twitter at www.twitter.com/PrincessOfBlogs.
I have a YouTube channel where an animated version of myself reads my blog
posts at http://yt.vu/+theprincessvlog,
and of course you can find my books on Amazon at www.amazon.com/author/lisadawn.

Lisa Dawn also has an author website: http://lisadawnbooks.wixsite.com/lisadawn

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

Interview: Desdemona

Today we’re joined by Desdemona. Desdemona is a wonderful writer who specializes in fanfiction, mostly involving m/m erotica. When she’s not writing m/m erotica, Desdeomona collaborates with her father to write fantastic queer sci-fi stories and she also enjoys writing tales involving strong women saving the world. It’s clear she’s a passionate author with a wonderful creativity, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I am most known for my m/m erotica of the fanfiction
variety. I like to write a whole range of genres, from comedy to angst to smut
to action/adventure. I like it best when I can mix more than one, which is most
evidenced by my current story, in which a vampire king of an imaginary country
tricks a feisty little prince from a neighboring country into marrying him.

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

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

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Kedreeva

Today we’re joined by Kedreeva. Kedreeva is a phenomenal author who specializes in the speculative genres. She has recently found that she enjoys writing abstract horror. Kedreeva enjoys exploring the different aspects of magic and immortal creatures. It’s clear she’s an incredibly imaginative and creative author who enjoys what she does. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I am a writer, mainly in the fantasy/sci-fi/supernatural
genre, though I have to say I’ve recently found gently abstract horror to be
alluring. I thoroughly enjoy writing very long, involved stories that hurt a
lot along the way but ultimately end happily. I also do a lot of shorter,
off-the-cuff bits as warm-ups or on days when I just need to get something
done. I LOVE writing about immortal creatures and the technical side of magic
systems and twisting already known lore in interesting ways to make something
new.

Some of my more recent works involve a collection of shorts
advising one how to survive in The Void (a horror landscape), a story about a
person lost in interconnected liminal spaces looking for a way home, a “road
trip” type fic traveling through an apocalypse, and a story about a world where
Roman-style coliseum fighting of supernatural creatures against one another is
the mainstay of the world’s culture that must be brought down by the hands of
the main characters.

I used to do a lot of artwork, but I mostly set that aside
in favor of writing. Recently, I have started to explore doing artwork with one
of my pets, a peahen named Artemis (who also “helps” me write sometimes). It’s
never too late to start learning something new!

What inspires you?

You know that feeling when you’re out in the middle of a
field in the middle of nowhere and you can look up and see all the stars
brighter than in the city and there’s that pale, cloudy, white stripe through
the night sky that’s actually an arm of our Milky Way galaxy stretching out
into the mind-boggling vastness of outer space and for just a moment everything
has a sort of eternal presence, and the void of space is looking back at you
and you are comfortingly insignificant? Yeah, that. Also spite. I’ve done a lot
of work out of spite for people telling me I can’t do something.

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

I don’t know that anything got me interested, I think it
never really occurred to me not to be what I am. I’ve been writing stories
since I could hold a pencil, and telling them for longer than that. If I had to
pick something, I guess I would say that the way I felt listening to other
people’s stories made me want to tell my own.

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

I don’t know if this counts as a signature, but my friends
tease me about using the word “sluice” whenever I find an opportunity. It’s a
good word. Maybe my favorite one ever.

I think that in seriousness, and it’s something a lot of
folks have talked to me about or thanked me for so I guess it’s noticeable or
different, I write my stories as though differing sexual and romantic
alignments are just… normal.  I’ve almost
exclusively written about queer characters through my life and despite writing
dozens of different relationships and first times, the problems are never about
those characters’ sexual or romantic alignments. Nothing in any of their worlds
forces them to see themselves as abnormal or a problem in that respect- because
they’re not. That’s the kind of world I want to live in – one where I get to be
a person, not a problem – so that is what I write.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Do what makes you happy, and do it as much as you can stand
to, and then let yourself rest. I would also say, like, take care of yourself
such that you can continue your craft. Sometimes that means eating enough,
sometimes that means sleeping occasionally, sometimes that means you have to
find a different job for a while to pay the rent or whatever. The world needs
you and your creations.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Probably the most common species, Asexual asexual. I don’t experience sexual attraction but I also
don’t experience sex repulsion. You know, the sort of asexual that finds
dragons more interesting than sex.

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

I’ve never had any prejudice directed at me, specifically,
that I can recall. I’ve seen a little of it here and there not related to my
field, but that’s usually when I go looking for it or someone drags it into the
spotlight. There’s a little bit of ignorance floating about, and a little bit
of curiosity (though usually that’s been polite in my corners of the net), but
I tend to ignore it. Humans are ignorant of all manner of things; asexuality is
just one number on that very long list and I have better things to do with my
time that fight about that.

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

There’s two I normally see a lot of- the first is that
asexuality can somehow be, like, “cured” if someone finds the right person who
is patient and sexy enough. I’ve seen a lot of new writers trying to write
stories with asexual (and I don’t mean Demisexual, that would be different)
characters “making exceptions” so to speak for another character- ie: sex
repulsed asexuals suddenly becoming Into It with enough coaxing and patience
from their partner. Which, you know. Not great. The other is that I’ve seen
folks speaking like asexuality is a lack of sex drive rather than a lack of sexual attraction, which usually leads to them thinking ace folks are all
sex repulsed (or the opposite, tying into the first point, that we are all
capable of sexual arousal just for the Right Person or whatever).

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

Honestly, life is short and there are better things to do
than worry about sex and attraction. That seems a little harsh written down,
but it’s so true on the other side of the struggle. I had never really had a
struggle to begin with, until someone else made me struggle. I knew I was ace,
I told people “I’m equally unattracted to everyone” right up until someone, a
good friend at that, told me “that’s bisexuality, because that means you’re
equally attracted to everyone” and I let that cause me a problem for years
before I realized I was struggling for no reason. I knew who I was. There were
better things for me to spend my time worrying about than whether I was right
or wrong about knowing who I was. If I was wrong, I’d find out eventually. If I
was right, then there was no sense in worrying about it further. I know how
Devastatingly Important it can seem, and it IS important to examine, but my
friend, there are stories to write, art to make, creations to create.

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

I use the same name, Kedreeva, everywhere- Tumblr, Twitter, Archive of our Own, etc.,
but AO3 is where folks can actually find my writing for now.

Thank you, Kedreeva, 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.

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: Imogen

Today we’re joined by Imogen. Imogen is a phenomenal performance artist from New Zealand. She does a bit of everything: acting, singing, dancing, and was even in orchestra for a bit. When she’s not performing, Imogen loves to write. She’s currently writing a novel and recently, a play that she wrote and directed was performed. It’s clear she’s a talented and dedicated 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 suppose
that my art is in storytelling, or presenting. I am a performer, in all areas.
I did ballet for 12 years, did singing, was involved with the school choirs and
orchestra and I am currently writing a novel.

I act
whenever possible, and often say that ‘I am most myself when I am on the stage,
pretending to be someone else.’

Recently I
wrote and directed an original play called “Evil Con!” It was fun play about a
bunch of villains hanging out, and a henchman (Bob) who ruined their time.

What inspires you?

Death.  Both the character (mainly the Discworld
version) for his … belief in humanity for lack of a better description, and the
act itself. We are all going to die eventually, and this life is all we have,
so we should try and make it to our deaths alive.

It sounds
contradictory, but that is what inspires me. The fact that we will one day die
inspires me to live, and to do what I love – Reading, Writing, Shopping, Dancing,
Singing, Acting.

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


Everything I suppose.

I’ve always
loved performing, and when I started dancing; I fell in love with the
discipline it requires and the freedom and emotions it allows you to express.
The same with writing. You have to be disciplined to keep writing, and writing
allows you to explore and understand everything that there could possibly be.

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 not
sure if anything I do is unique or special, but I suppose that there are
constants of my works. My writing is very character driven with simple
plot-lines. My movements are infused naturally with the twelve years of ballet,
I find it very challenging to NOT have perfect posture.

I also like
to use and mock clichés. A friend once said “Clichés are cliché for a reason;
it’s because they work.” She was right. I like using clichés because they do
work, but I also like to mock clichés … because they are cliché. It makes for
an interesting balance within my work.

I don’t
want to mock too much to make my art into a parody, but nor do I wish o be too
serious in my use of clichés as that could take away from the worlds I’m trying
to create.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

The same
advice that any artist gives. “Don’t give up” and “Create the Art you want”.
Write the stories that you want to read, draw the images you want to look at,
make the music that you want to hear, produce the shows that you want to see.
And whatever else you do; don’t give up. This is the advice given by any
successful artist, and it is true.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Greysexual.
I think of it as – on a scale of 1-10 (0 being absolutely Asexual and also
Sex-Repulsed, and 11 being Nymphomaniac/Sex Addict) I am a 2; occasionally a 3.

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

I am quite
lucky in that I haven’t personally had ace prejudice directed towards me. I
actually believe that everyone should be involved with community theatre at
some point in their lives; yes, there are a couple of divas, but most people
are really awesome, open-minded and accepting of everyone else. It’s definitely
a place where you can be free to be yourself.

I have felt
prejudice in life though.

Whenever I
see those arguments online about “Girls do actually only wear make-up and
form-fitting clothes because they do actually want attention – even if it’s
only subconsciously.”

Those
arguments are completely frustrating. They infuriate me – not just as a girl
who likes to wear makeup, but also as someone on the ace spectrum. It
completely disregards the fact that some of us have no interest in finding a
‘sexual partner’ but like to look nice – I don’t wear makeup and formfitting
clothes because I’m “trying to find a mate”, but because I’m Vain, and I like
looking at myself in the mirror! I don’t need to be interested in sex to be
pretty.

I usually
deal with it by trying to ignore it, and by remembering that there are
intelligent people in the world who don’t share the above opinion.

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

Possibly
the whole ‘just need the right person’ thing.

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

The same
advice I’ve seen on these awesome interviews. That you’re not alone and that
you are definitely not broken. You are you, and as long as you are okay with
that, then that is the only thing you need to be.

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

Unless in
NZ people probably won’t be able to find my work, but I do have a couple of
fanfictions written under the name ‘Aslansphoenix’.

Although if
you give me a couple of years and hopefully my novel will get published and
enjoyed.

Thank you, Imogen, 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: Reggie Morrison

Today we’re joined by Reggie Morrison. Reggie is a wonderful writer who has just started working on her novel. She has dreams to publish one day and that’s always a great thing. The world needs more openly asexual authors. It’s clear Reggie is 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 primarily consider myself a writer, but I am currently
unpublished. I’m working on my first serious novel that I hope I can one day
publish. I also do some redecorating type projects regarding mostly shelves at
this point; meaning I clean, repaint, and then paint details and designs on
them.

What inspires you?

I wish to be able to inspire and relate to an audience with
my writing. So far, my novel has themes of over-turning societal expectations
and figuring out who one is internally and externally. I had my own
self-identity issues and faced some people who deemed my asexuality fake, so I
want to write characters who are also ace and be able to portray other minority
groups accurately as well to represent more people.

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

I’ve always been much more invested in my English and art
classes throughout school. I started by writing fanfiction my freshman year of
high-school which wound up being a large mash of pretty much any fantasy idea
I’d ever seen or had. It’s safe to say it was not good, but it was my start.
After that, I wanted to write something more cohesive and thought out. I am
also tired of reading the type of books that typically wind up having straight
white characters “find love” or finding love being a “correction” of a
character.

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

I don’t necessarily have a trademark of sorts, but I hope to
have unique, realistic characterization. Even in side characters, I want them
to be just as complex as real people, not just a comedy relief.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Make sure you do what you love for yourself and it’s never
selfish to want to keep some of your talent and energy to create recreational
pieces. Do what you enjoy for a job, but also make sure you don’t burn yourself
out before you can create for yourself.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I ID as Asexual and Bi-Grey-Romantic.

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

It wasn’t in my field because I haven’t been in my field
exactly, but I have come across people otherwise who didn’t understand
asexuality.

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

Most tend to think that if I’m asexual then I’m a “pure
innocent bean who knows nothing about sex” or it means I have zero sex drive.

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

Reach out to other asexual people and talk about how it
makes you feel and how to correct others. Some may not want to be corrected so I
would ignore them if you can. If you can’t, you may be able to take it up with
an authorial figure.

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

My only social media is Tumblr at Generic-Ginger and Snapchat, but
I’d like to keep that for personal friends.

Thank you, Reggie, 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.