Category: writing

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: 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.

Interview: Faith

Today we’re joined by Faith. Faith is a wonderful artist who does a bit of everything. She paints, writes, sings, plays instruments, and draws. She’s most passionate about dancing. Faith loves to dance. It’s clear she’s a passionate and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I do a large variety of different art forms such as dance,
singing, acting, instruments, drawing, painting, and more. I think the one that
I’ve focused on the most would be dance. Dance has been one of those things
that I started super young, 5 years old, and I have continued to do for so many
years. It is like a safe haven for me.
It is a way for me to let go of the world around me and just let my
emotions out. I honestly can’t imagine my life without it.

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

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

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Jenny Prater

Today we’re joined by Jenny Prater. Jenny is a phenomenal author who writes a bit of everything. She writes novels, short stories, poetry, and even fairy tale analysis blogs. She has recently released a poetry book about being ace this past Valentine’s Day. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate writer. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m an author; I write novels, short stories, poems, picture
books, and fairy tale analysis blogs, though mostly only the poetry and blogs
have been made available to read. I’m currently working on starting my own
small press, so I want to wait to release most of my work until I have that
going. I have two larger poetry books published through Amazon, and two
chapbooks that I hand-bind and sell on Etsy. My last one just came out on
Valentine’s Day; it’s called “Dear Somebody,” and it’s a collection of 12 poems
about being asexual.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired mostly by folklore—not just the traditional
stories, but their history. I love the idea of all of these very similar
patterns being followed in so many places and time periods. Folk tales are a
great example of collective storytelling. You can never attribute them to any
author, because everyone who’s heard a story like Cinderella or Beauty and the
Beast, over thousands of years, has heard it and told it slightly differently.
When I write a poem about Sleeping Beauty or a short story based on The Little
Mermaid, I’m participating in an ancient conversation. Story as a reflection of
community is something I just think is really beautiful and inspiring.

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

Always. My parents have videos of me, age 3, wandering
around the house telling stories out loud about princesses and dinosaurs. I’ve
never not had a story running in the back of my head; at some point it just
seemed natural to start writing them down.

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 really don’t! I do so many different kinds of writing,
there’s not really one key feature that would carry through well in all of
them. Though I guess I’ve never really gotten through an entire book without
making some reference to folk or fairy tales, now that I’m thinking about it. I
just don’t really do it on purpose.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Focus on making things before you focus on making good
things. It’s so easy to get caught up in making something perfect and never
actually finish. Finish first. Fix later.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m asexual and, like, a tiny bit heteromantic, sometimes,
depending on the day. Sometimes dating sounds fun, but mostly boys just seem
gross.

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

Not in my field, no. But it’s only been a couple weeks since
I released my first project that deals really directly with asexuality, so time
will tell, I guess.

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

That I’m a late bloomer or haven’t met the right guy yet.
You know, at 25, I’m pretty sure I’m done blooming.

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

You’re not broken. I remember being just so confused about
what was wrong with me, in middle school when all the other girls were starting
to feel things that I wasn’t. It took a long time to figure things out, and
that time was…not pleasant. But everything is fine! You’re not falling behind
and nothing is wrong with you!

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

I’m kind of all over the place. You can find me on most
social media sites under the username “konglindorm,” which is the name of my
favorite fairy tale, but I think the best places to find out about my work are
my fairy tale blog, http://konglindorm.blogspot.com/,
and this page here that has links to all my published books: http://konglindorm.tumblr.com/books.

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

Interview: Kat Lawson

Today we’re joined by Kat Lawson. Kat is a phenomenal writer and visual artist. She’s working on an urban fantasy novel that is filled with diverse and interesting character. When she’s not writing, Kat is a photographer who focuses on perspective and color. It’s clear she’s a very 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’m primarily a fiction writer, specifically urban fantasy
(though I’m not yet published, give me time). My books feature all kinds of
sexualities and gender identities in the hopes that everyone who reads them can
find someone like themselves, as well as a lot of vampires and other
supernatural creatures. I also do a lot of photography on the side, where I
focus on perspective and colour, and how changing your perspective can completely
change what you see.

What inspires you?

I’m most inspired by the world around me. I go on a lot of
nature walks to find inspiration for my photos, and I’ll take photos of
anything that takes my fancy. Anything that holds beauty, even if it’s not
traditional, will find itself my muse. I spend a lot of time down at the local
gardens, the gardens there are themed and so no two photos are the same. I can
often be seen in strange positions trying to get the perfect photo, especially
when I’m playing with the perspective, trying to make a flower look like a tree
or a puddle look like the sky.

My writing comes from the people around me and the stories
they share with me, as well as a life-long fascination with the paranormal and
fantastic. An English teacher I used to have in high school told me to write
what you know and you can never go wrong, and I live by that. How I feel,
experiences I’ve had, and research I have done all contribute to my stories.

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

My dad is a professional photographer, so he kind of passed
on his love down to me. Right from the first camera I got at age ten I knew
that I wanted to be able to share my photography with people and to share with
them the memories that said photos hold.

I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I remember, I’ve
always been a bookworm, and when I couldn’t find the sort of stories that
featured people like me, I decided to write them myself.

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 really have a signature, that I know of anyway.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Never give up doing what you love, and don’t let anyone tell
you it isn’t good enough. As long as you are doing what you love, then there
will always be someone who will recognize it and love it in return.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m one of those people who has kind of jumped around the
spectrum, trying on every label I could find until I eventually found one that
fit me best. I grew up in a super religious household, where it was expected
that I would marry a guy and have kids with him. It wasn’t until a friend told
me (right at the end of high school) that I had other options that I even began
to seriously consider that how I felt was okay and I didn’t have to pretend
anymore. Realizing I was ace was easy once I found the word, I always felt like
the whole sex thing was a joke, I never understood it or why it was so
important in every story I felt. I always thought but why don’t they just not have sex? It was a total mystery to me.
But now, after several years of experimenting with different labels, I’ve
settled on asexual lesbian.

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

The joys of being an independent artist is that I can pick
and choose the people around me. I have come across a few people who haven’t
been able to understand who I am, but I either do my best to either educate
them, or simply ignore them. I’ve never really encountered true prejudice, more
ignorance than anything else. All the jokes about sex and how I’d like it if I
just tried it really grate after a while, but you learn to ignore it.

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

That sex-repulsed aces are the only aces out there. There’s
this whole misconception that sexual attraction must be present for one to
enjoy sex, which I totally disagree with. That, and that asexuality is a mental
disorder, or just flat-out isn’t real.

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

It’s okay to question, and it’s okay to change your label.
Asexuality is hard to figure out, especially when you have nothing to compare
it to. But you’re not broken, and it does get easier. Sexuality is a spectrum,
and you’re allowed to change where you fall on it.

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

As I’m unpublished, you can’t find my writing anywhere (yet,
give me time), but my photography is on Instagram at Lady_Nyx and Tumblr at disaster-gay-beauregard.tumblr.com

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