Interview: dressesandcarresses

Today we’re joined by dressesandcarresses. dressesandcarresses is a wonderful fanartist who specializes in fanfiction. When she’s not writing fics, dressesandcarresses enjoys dabbling in AMVs. She has a wonderful enthusiasm, 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 write fanfiction for various fandoms I am involved with. When I have time I also enjoy making AMVs too. I’d love to be able to learn how to draw, but I lack the patience and time to truly develop a proper skill.

What inspires you?

Other movies and songs inspire me. I love writing AUs so when I see a new film or hear about an idea, I like to think how a certain fandom would fit into this new one. There’s nothing better than discussing ideas with friends and getting really enthusiastic about a project.

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

I think the lack of diversity in main stream books is so poor, that sites like A03 and fanfiction.net just allow for a platform of work that is so unique, it’s just a refreshing change that makes you want to get involved.

I don’t think I’d class myself as an ‘artist’, but I’ve always enjoyed making up little stories up in my head, so I guess so yes.

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?

Nothing special.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Your first piece of work will be poor, don’t be too disheartened if your work doesn’t get a lot of views. To excel as something you must truly suck at it first, but with practice you can build a solid foundation of skills. Also have fun, it’s not supposed to be serious.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual and Aromantic

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

The most I’ve encountered is when an orientation needs to be ‘fixed’ and true love will cure all ills. This always leaves a bad taste in my mouth, I try and leave a polite but firm comment explaining that there is nothing wrong with being ace and that are many paths to happiness. This isn’t really for the author’s benefit, but rather for other (preferably younger people) who maybe questioning their orientation and need to see there are other narratives to explore when writing ace people.

It’s also irritating when members of the LGBT community brush aside problems that ace people face. I’m not saying that they are the same problems, but being ace/aro can be incredibly isolating and sometimes lonely existence. Art provides an opportunity to explore new ways to live in this society and when our contributions are ignored or worse belittled, it just makes me angry.

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

That we don’t enjoy reading romance stories. All my stories have some form of romance, as long as they are developed under the right conditions I have no problems with it, its when its forced to fit into the dominant heterosexual narrative that I truly cant abide.

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

I find following a lot of Tumblr asexual support blogs to be really helpful. I don’t actively engage in the community, but just seeing some positive posts on my dash never fails to lift my mood.

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

I’m usually hanging around on A03 in the star wars tags or on Tumblr dressesandcarresses.tumblr.com.

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

Interview: Edea

Today we’re joined by Edea. Edea is a wonderful visual artist who is most passionate about photography. When she’s not out capturing the world in pictures, Edea also does a little visual art. She prefers working in digital media, but does dabble in traditional media as well. She’s an incredibly dedicated artist, 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.

My primary art form is photography actually but I also enjoy drawing very much too. Where photography is more seriously performed (school, courses etc.) drawing is more of a hobby really. Both I do more in the digital field but I also once in a while use traditional ways of creating photos and illustrations.

I also write a little but not very well, it’s just never been as natural as for example drawing.

What inspires you?

Other people for the most part. Although, this depends on which one I’m doing. When I draw its mostly other people’s art that motivates me to draw myself. When it comes to photography it’s more likely that the moment I’m in inspires me to take the shot. I see something pleasing so I take a photo of it.

Also my family is a big motivator; all my siblings are very talented musically, one of them even artistically so they always make me strive for better art.

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

To be honest I’ve always drawn but photography became a part of my life when I got depressed in high school. It was a way of releasing stress; beauty has always had a positive effect on me.

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

Not really, but I often use black and a vivid shade of red (blue) in my paintings. They are very recognizable – or at least that’s how I like to think about it-.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t let other people tell you that you can’t improve. Do you! Try things that seem difficult. Challenge yourself.

And please do not worry about likes/follows/reblogs. They are not that important, the main thing is that YOU are happy with what you’re doing.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a biromantic asexual.

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

Well, I don’t talk about it that much but when I do people mostly tell me how sad things must be for my boyfriend and that they couldn’t be with someone like me. Many have also told me to get “professional” help.

I’m bad at ignoring it but also too fed up to educate everyone on the issue. Mostly it gets to the point where I have to but sometimes people who have no will to even try to understand just make me so angry that I leave the matter be.

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

That one is somehow sick or that too immature and that’s why they identify as asexual . Often people also think that one is incapable of love.

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

If you have somebody that you can trust, then try to talk with them if you’re insecure or afraid. It might take some time that you yourself are comfortable with who you are so in the meantime try to make things as easy as possible. Just remember, you aren’t broken, there’s no need to ‘fix’ your sexuality.

It’s going to be okay.

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

The most active I’m on Twitter, Patreon, and Instagram.

But you can also follow me on DeviantArt, YouTube, and pixiv.

Oh and Tumblr too! I’m always happy to talk with you about art and everything else so don’t hesitate to contact me!

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

Interview: Bridgett Cains

Today we’re joined by Bridgett Cains and she’s the 500th artist interviewed by Asexual Artist (YAY!). Bridgett is a phenomenal dancer from Australia who dances in a variety of styles. She has been all over the world, dancing with various troupes and in a variety of venues. She also teaches dance and choreographs too. Bridgett loves to share her passion for dance and I could not be happier to feature her on this blog. 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 freelance dancer, choreographer and teacher working in a range of styles, but generally fusing contemporary dance, belly dance, and contortion. I’ve been performing and teaching for the past fifteen years without any real plan other than to take chances and make opportunities wherever I can, which has taken me on some unexpected adventures. I’ve worked in Australia, the US, and Europe in a range of contexts including performing in dance projects, arts festivals, outdoor events, music videos, belly dance troupes, circus cabarets, experimental theatre shows, burlesque shows, body art competitions, fashion shows, and corporate events.

Although I’ve pushed myself to become confident in improvisation, I’m a choreography geek at heart, and as a teacher I love nothing more than to give my students the skills to create their own original choreography.

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What inspires you?

I find inspiration in people who haven’t followed straight paths, or who put their own spin on their genre. People like Garry Stewart, Marion Motin, Cera Byer, April Rose, Henry Rollins, Mike Patton, Amanda Palmer, Tim Minchin, Rachel Brice, Noel Fielding, Martin Martini, Diana Vishneva, Tom Waits, Tanja Liedtke, Philippe Petit, Aya & Bambi, Heston Blumenthal… (I keep a running list here). When I’m looking for inspiration for a specific project, I try to look outside of dance so as not to accidentally steal anything, and instead turn to circus, sideshow, music, theatre, books, stand up comedy, film, visual art, and whatever else I’m surrounded by at the time.

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

I took my first ballet lesson when I was three and continued in regular classes well into my twenties, but never dreamt of being a professional ballerina, instead alternating between wanting to be a librarian, a scientist, a teacher, and an author. When I was fifteen I saw a contemporary dance performance that permanently shifted my focus to dance, and I started taking my training much more seriously. A few years later while I was recovering from a hamstring injury during full-time training, I took up belly dance and contortion which have taken my work in directions I’d never dreamt of, and introduced me to some of the most incredible people.

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?

With over twenty years of ballet and ten years of belly dance in this body alongside all the other styles I’ve dabbled in, I’ve accidentally developed a signature style that’s mangled them all to the point where I definitely don’t look like a ballerina or a belly dancer. Whenever my work is reviewed or audience members comment on my performances, they always mention my hands, my flexibility, and my lines, so I guess they’ve unwittingly become a signature in my choreography.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Try to explore things that challenge you to question your understanding of your artform. For me, setting foot in a belly dance studio for the first time after only ever having trained in ballet, jazz, and contemporary taught me entirely new ways to approach my work. It was terrifying at first, but now I’m hooked on taking classes in styles I’m not familiar with, and going through the humbling experience of being a beginner over and over again.

Being open to new things has taken me on so many adventures, including volunteering at a circus school in the Hawaiian jungle, running the dance program at a summer school in the UK, teaching at a performing arts camp in New York, working with burlesque performers in London and San Francisco, learning flamenco in Seville, taking belly dance lessons in Albuquerque, and taking Butoh and Irish dance lessons in Dublin. None of these things would have happened if I’d followed the plan of my fifteen-year-old self; to get a degree in dance and perform with a local company for the rest of my life, and I’ve since developed an aversion to long-term plans.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic and asexual. I flirt subconsciously and regularly develop crushes, but I have no interest in sexual or romantic relationships.

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

I usually work alone, but it’s never come up when I’ve worked on collaborative projects.

The only issue I’ve faced is in marketing my work, because I’m uncomfortable with the idea of anyone finding me attractive, but simultaneously love the way I look and need to promote the idea of people watching what I do with my body. It’s definitely a struggle to present myself well and with confidence without people projecting sexual undertones.

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

I’ve had a few people insist I’m just going through a phase, or I’ve just not found the right person yet, and that they’re willing to wait for me to change my mind or grow out of it. I also find a lot of people assume that asexuality stems from some kind of fear or a traumatic experience, and that I must be an easily offended prude.

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

Build yourself a network of supportive people you can trust. Talk to people, keep a journal, and even make art about what you’re feeling if you need to. It’s difficult to understand and process it all when you’re in the middle of it, but if you can get it out of your head it’s a lot easier to step back, start making connections, and understand what it is you’re experiencing. I’ve only recently (in my thirties) realised that asexuality and aromanticism explain so much of who I am and what I’ve experienced, and I came out to close friends and family who generally seemed to have figured it out before I did, even if they didn’t know that these things had names. Most importantly, know that you’re not alone, you’re definitely not broken or dysfunctional, and that working on being comfortable in yourself is a very important thing.

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

BridgettCains.com
Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest (at) BridgettCains
bridgettelizabeth.tumblr.com

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

Interview: Brandon

Today we’re joined by Brandon. Brandon is a fantastic author who is a prolific writer who has written a novel and is currently working on the sequel. Aside from writing novels, he’s also working on short stories. When he’s not writing, Brandon enjoys singing and has begun to dabble in visual artist. It’s very apparent he’s an incredibly passionate artist. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My main artistic interest is in writing, specifically narrative work. At the moment I’ve got a 250,000 word novel waiting in the wings, I’m starting up on the sequel and I’m bouncing around ideas for a new (shorter) story which I’d like to get published as my debut to help get my foot in the door of the novel-writing world. I’ve dedicated the past three years to two writing-related major goals – completing my novel and earning my Bachelor’s degree in English and Writing. Like I said, I’ve completed the former (sort of, bar the publishing thing) and I completed the latter last year – I’ll be graduating in May and hopefully moving on to do a Master’s degree in 2018, focusing on narrative features of video games.

Besides that, I also love to sing. One of my major projects for a paper in my final year of my degree allowed me to write a creative non-fiction piece on a topic of my choice, so I decided to write a piece on barbershop after reminiscing about the several years I spent singing bass in a chorus during high school. I also recently joined the internationally ranking chorus, Vocal FX, which has rekindled my love of performance.

I’ve found that I enjoy visual art but I’m not particularly good at it since I only recently got into it. My favourite part is always coming up with the ideas for a scene rather than drawing it. I suppose given my writing habits that wouldn’t be surprising.

What inspires you?

A friend of mine has been with me every step of the way since I started working on my novel and she’s been the one who encouraged me at all times. She’s one of the few people in the world who’s read my novel (I sent it to her chapter by chapter or sometimes scene by scene whenever I finished a draft I was satisfied with) and she’s the only person other than me who knows the upcoming plot as well as I do. I can never thank her enough for her help and for putting up with me constantly needling her with sad plot points, and for her willingness to bounce ideas back and forth which often gives me better ideas than I started with. She is without a doubt one of my biggest inspirations simply because her genuine enthusiasm helps spark that creative flow that I need to get going better than anything else.

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

I think the first piece of creative writing I can remember doing was when I was only six or seven years old. I remember it quite vividly because it was basically a butchered plagiarized fanfic that smashed together Lilo and Stitch and a video game called Impossible Creatures, where the protagonist was one of Jumba’s experiments which was basically this horrific monstrosity of numerous combined animals. It landed on earth and ended up being worshipped as a god and had to defend its people from other creatures that came to harm them. I’m surprised my parents didn’t put me into therapy for that. I also labeled it as ‘a true story’ because I had no fear of being sued for false advertising. I also remember having a dragon phase (didn’t everyone?) and writing a series of short stories about dragons which I think I still have lying around, as well as a phase after buying the game Spore in which I wrote a lot about aliens.

So, long story short (hah) I’ve always loved to write, but when I got older I started worrying that it wouldn’t be a viable career. I initially planned to study my second love (zoology) at university, but not long after I finished high school, I started my novel, and I decided to hell with practicality, I wanted to pursue my dream. Now I’m here with a completed novel, a bunch of ideas, and my fingers crossed that I strike lucky with publishing.

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

I think the biggest feature of my work is more in the background, in the worldbuilding, particularly when it comes to fantasy wildlife. I spent a very, very long time on the worldbuilding of my novel before I started writing on it and by far enjoyed coming up with creatures, their habitats, and their behaviours the most (I once had an hours-long chat with a couple of my friends about the territorial and communal habits of trolls in my novel despite them never having read it). I think this translated well to the plot, given that one of my main characters has a troll for a companion and their interactions with each other and those around them added a significant and special dynamic to the story.

Can you tell trolls are a major thing in this book?

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Troll Art Commission by padalickingood

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Inspiration won’t always be there for you. Honestly, in my experience, it’ll barely be there for you at all. But that shouldn’t stop you. If you have it, seize it with both hands at every possible opportunity. If you don’t, push forward regardless. Write something that you know you’ll just rewrite later. Draw that sketch you don’t feel confident about. Practice that song you hate. You never know when inspiration will rear its head, and if you’re lucky, all the hard yards you put in without it will force it out of hiding and allow you to make something incredible.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify most closely with demisexual but I’ve come to feel pretty lax with the specifics. I’m not sex-repulsed but I definitely don’t have any particular urge for it, and god knows where I am when it comes to gender identities I’m attracted to. Throw a dart at the Kinsey triangle and I might be somewhere near that.

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

I’ve never dealt with any prejudice directed towards me for being an ace writer specifically. I mean, every ace person has probably had to put up with an acephobe at some point, but when it comes to writing I’ve never had an issue. As a viewer/reader, though, I’ve noticed ace-spec characters aren’t really that common – even just implied asexuality doesn’t show up often. And even in the event that it does, a lot of the time it’s full of misconceptions or just poor writing, including the good old ‘but sex is so great / sex brought you into the world why don’t you like it’ talk that I’ve come to hate with a burning passion.

As for how I deal with it, I just think the best thing to do when confronted with lack of representation is to fix the problem. Be the change you want to be and write your own ace characters. Headcanon characters as ace. Nobody can stop you from seeing yourself in a character that already exists, and remember that no matter what people may say, headcanoning a character as ace is not ‘stealing’ them from another community – gender attraction and level of sexual attraction are two different things, and you aren’t harming anyone by headcanoning a character as ace or aro regardless of their gender leanings. Just be considerate to others if they express concern and keep their points in mind so long as they treat you with a similar respect.

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

This is honestly hard to pick from because I’ve heard a lot (nothing malicious but people have a habit of really not getting how asexuality can work) but I think the biggest thing is people think I don’t like physical intimacy or that I would never have sex. They could not be more wrong about the first point and I’d probably say they’re wrong about the second.

I love physical intimacy. I’m a human teddy bear, I crave contact from certain people. I love hugs, I love kisses, with the right people I could be down for anything. All I ask from people is that they respect my boundaries for each individual person, because they vary. This isn’t even a uniquely ace thing – everyone has certain levels of comfort with physical affection – but I’ve heard people cite my asexuality a lot when they express uncertainty about it.

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

Finding a label or a category can be satisfying, but it’s not a necessity. It’s fine to not know where exactly you fit in the spectrum, and in fact sometimes it’s easier to be flexible with it. That being said, if you do find something you identify closely with and it means a lot to you, take pride in it. You are who you are and nobody has the right to question that or take it away from you.

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

I do have a sideblog dedicated to stuff from my novel series – the username is chroniclesofandrasfar – but I haven’t used that very much lately. If any big news comes up, you’re sure to find me raving about it on my main blog, mythicfictionist.

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

Interview: Kyle Etges

Today we’re joined by Kyle Etges. Kyle is a phenomenal musician who specializes in quite a few styles. He’s a saxophonist who plays with the band Contraband. He’s a composer (some of his music can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/kyle-etges-463890162). Kyle is an incredibly passionate and dedicated musician, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a saxophonist, educator, composer, and bandleader. I have been playing music professionally for the past 12 years in the Denver area, and have been writing music for probably even longer. I’ve led or helped lead 6 bands in that time, and I’ve written several pieces for all of them, particularly my Afrobeat band- Contraband. I also work for commission, and have arranged music for a few funk bands in the area, as well as a handful of guest entertainers with Celebrity Cruises.

If I had to characterize my writing, it would be an eclectic mix of jazz, funk, and reggae with a touch of classical. I like writing large through-composed works that leave a lot of room for improvisational interpretation from my band members.

What inspires you?

Oh boy… it’s different every week, it seems like. Right now I really like Snarky Puppy, and have been trying to emulate their sound in my writing. I’ve also been incorporating some hip hop elements into my music as of late, and have been checking out a lot of Hiatus Kaiyote, D’Angelo, Kendrick Lamar, and Brotherly. I really like music that grooves hard and gets people dancing, and I especially like Snarky Puppy’s (namely their primary composer, Michael League’s) ability to transition and weave through several different grooves in one tune.

I’m also heavily inspired by a jazz composer named Maria Schneider, especially when it comes to writing in solos. Many composers will just have a soloist play with the drums and bass, maybe with a few backgrounds thrown in. But Maria Schneider always paints these beautiful tapestries of sound that take the soloist and listener on a journey on their own. It’s something I’m still trying to master in my own writing, but I’m already pretty good at nerding out about it.

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

I knew I wanted to do something in art since I was very young. I loved visual art when I was a kid, and I also got into theater from a young age. Music sort of took a side seat until I was 12, when I began listening to jazz and decided I wanted to pursue that full time. I think I was attracted to the idea of jazz more than the music. I like the image of being in a smoky club at three in the morning, surrounded by my friends calling out tunes to play. It all has a romantic quality to it, and I’ve been fortunate enough to experience that on multiple occasions.

As for writing music specifically, I think video games probably played the biggest hand in my interest. I was raised on Nintendo, and grew up listening to pieces by Koji Kondo. I’ve been told some of my pieces sound like overworld themes from a Zelda game, and I can’t say I’m surprised. I still get goosebumps when I put in Twilight Princess

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?

Hmm… I kind of do, but it’s difficult to explain. Do you ever have a tune stuck in your head, but you’re not sure what it is or where it came from? I get those all the time, and naturally as a composer I eventually get to thinking, “is this a song already, or did I make this up?” I had this one a few years ago that was driving me nuts, and it became an inside joke amongst the band that it was every/any song. We started throwing this little melody into our solos, and eventually I started throwing it into my pieces.

I’ll try and upload a picture of it, but in solfedge it would be do-me-sol-^do-te-sol-me-fa-sol do-me-le-sol-me-do-re-me. I know it shows it’s face in 3-4 of my pieces. I guess I should make it more of a thing!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

One of the biggest lessons I had to learn -or perhaps am still learning- is to foster discipline for your art. Many people are inspired to make art, and some of those people are even motivated enough to go through with it and create something beautiful. But I believe a true master is marked by daily regimen and improvement, even in the absence of motivation. In short … to truly master something, practice it every day, even if you don’t want to. Between inspiration and daily discipline, discipline always wins- hands down. It’s the only way to ensure growth improvement in your craft. No matter what, you always need to strive to be greater. Keep going!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Panromantic Demisexual, but usually I just say Asexual for simplicity’s sake.

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

If there has been any prejudice, I haven’t heard about it directly. There are of course many musicians who don’t understand what it is, particularly musicians I met when working on a cruise ship. For most people, it’s a simple matter of educating them on the subject.

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

My asexuality is a recent self-revelation, and a big part of my self-acceptance was upon meeting another asexual, with whom I proceeded to get into a queerplatonic relationship. For that reason, many people think my asexuality is a choice for the benefit of my partner (now fiancé!). It’s true that she played a huge role in helping me realize and accept this aspect of myself, but the truth is it’s always been a part of my life, and it’s dictated all of my past romantic relationships. Still, many people still tell us that our relationship ‘isn’t fair to me’ or in one case ‘is a waste of my penis’ (I really hate the guy who said that one). However, the truth is I’m happier than ever to be in a relationship that finally makes sense to me!

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

No matter how weird or different you feel, there’s at least one person out there who feels the same way. You are probably not as special as you think you are, and that’s not a bad thing! Find like-minded people and connect with them. I would not recommend trying to fit in by doing things you don’t want to do. I did that for an embarrassingly long time, so take it from me- it doesn’t work out!

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

Follow my Facebook page for now: facebook.com/etgesmusic. You’ll hopefully see some information soon about my website launching!

Contraband can be found at contrabandco.com or facebook.com/contrabandco

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

Interview: Anya

Today we’re joined by Anya. Anya is a phenomenal up and coming writer who is working on her first novel. She has written a variety of forms: short fiction, poetry, and fanfiction. Anya has also written a little non-fiction. She’s an incredibly passionate writer who has a great love for the written word, as you’ll read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an aspiring writer. Or, more accurately, I am a writer aspiring to get published. I used to mainly write short stories, but I am now working on my first novel! I sometimes write fanfiction, and I dabble in poetry and non-fiction occasionally, but my true love is – and probably always will be – fiction. I do various different types of fiction, but I do tend to lean towards the dramatic and fantastical.

What inspires you?

Honestly? A lot of things. I don’t even know what brings it on. The strangest things inspire me. I’ll be reading the newspaper and come across an article that sparks a story within me. Or I’ll be talking to a friend and it will fan an idea I had into a full blown flame. I think what really encourages me to write is the idea of putting myself into other people’s heads. I tend to write about characters that are very different from me (though a lot of them do tend to be acespec) because I like to use writing as a way to explore people, as well as situations I might not generally get to experience.

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

I’ve been a total bookworm since I was a little child, so the desire to be a writer happened very organically. I had to write a diary for school, and that diary turned into a book full of short stories, and I never stopped writing since then. I think I’ve always had that need to be a writer within me. I don’t think I’m a writer because I want to be one, I just think I never really had another choice. Throughout my life whenever I strayed from writing, there were always things that brought me right back to it.

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

I don’t really know if I do. I think my writing style has developed and now reflects my voice, in a sense, but I’m not sure if I do anything unique. I know I tend to be kind of indulgent, and so sometimes there are certain tropes that appear in a lot of my works.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Writing sucks. It may seem easy, but you will spend hours hating yourself and hating your work, and thinking you’re never going to make it big. You’re going to be stuck on a word for hours, and even days sometimes. People are going to think what you do is a hobby and treat you like you don’t know anything about the real world. Knowing all of this, if you still want to be a writer, then my friend, I promise you have it within you to succeed.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m still figuring it out, in a sense. I go back and forth between demiromantic demisexual and grayromantic graysexual. Or some mix of the two… I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

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

All the damn time. I’ve always sort of fancied the idea of writing for TV, and I think part of it is because sex and romance are such a staple on TV. I want to prove that you can have characters that are openly proudly asexual and acespec and interesting in TV shows. I want to show that you don’t necessarily need sex for a story to be interesting. I don’t know if I will ever get into television, but I know I will write my book one day, and I currently have an asexual main character and a demisexual supporting character. I hope exposing people to characters like them will teach them about this sexuality. I don’t quite know how else to handle it. While aro-spec, I am heteroromantic and grew up in a culture where we were not exposed to the LGBT community as much. It was through TV shows that I learned I had a skewed view of the community. I want to use my books in order to do the same thing with asexuality.

That is another factor too, actually. I’m from India, and I remember once reading an advice column, and there was a boy who’d written in. He was describing how he wasn’t interested in girls so… maybe he was gay? But he also wasn’t interested in boys. He asked the person writing the advice column if there was a name for what he was. The man wrote back “The name is ‘cute’.”

That really pissed me off. I know asexual awareness isn’t going to happen anytime soon in India where the LGBT community is treated appallingly. So I think this is my way of sort of reaching out, helping people like that boy. I know he’s probably not going to pick up my book and see the ace protag and realise holy shit, I’m not broken, but I hope it will help people like him. Also, I sometimes like to believe he will too. Who knows? Stranger things have happened.

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

That we just haven’t met the right one. People keep telling me that I’m wrong about myself, or that if I keep going on dates with whichever guy I’m seeing that I will develop feelings and want to have sex with him. That I’m just making up labels.

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

You’re not broken. Sometimes it’ll feel like it. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re all alone, but you’re not. There are tons of acespec people out there, and a lot of people just don’t talk about it, but we’re out there, and it’s normal, and it’s OK.

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

You can find my fanfiction here, but there isn’t much explicit ace representation in it unfortunately. A lot of my fanfiction actually has acespec characters, but since most of my longer pieces were written before I knew the terms and before I fully understood that what I was writing were demi characters, there’s some badly phrased explanations of sexual identities. My newer ones are all one-shots. Though if you want fluffy pieces where characters don’t have sex, and tend to fall in love only after knowing the other person for a while, then check it out!

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

Interview: Kit

Today we’re joined by Kit. Kit is a wonderful writer who writes a bit of everything. She writes a lot of speculative fiction with queer characters and aspires to be published one day. When she’s not writing, Kit enjoys fanart and dabbles in cosplay. She’s got an incredible love of her craft, as you’ll read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I write speculative fiction of just about every kind you can think of — high fantasy, urban/contemporary fantasy, occasionally sci-fi or Twilight Zone-style horror — with plenty of queer characters. I have been known to write the occasional fanfiction, and I cosplay as well! I love making cheap/DIY and “closet” cosplays. In this picture I’m playing DC’s John Constantine, with an embarrassingly bad temporary dye job.

What inspires you?

Everything. I’ve gotten sparks of inspiration from everything from my own day-to-day life, to History Channel documentaries and Wikipedia rabbit holes, to binge-watching Shadowhunters. I believe in actively seeking inspiration from the world around me, because it really has so much to offer!

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

I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since I started reading, which was at the age of 3. It took a little longer before I learned how to write, but in the meantime I made stories with crayon drawings and Little People dolls. I’ve always been a storyteller.

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?

All of my main characters have some kind of physical scar or injury. I’m a self-harm survivor, so showing characters with scars that they don’t hide, that they consider part of their story, is really important to me.

Also, this is more of a recurring theme, but I love writing “roguish” characters — “outlaws with hearts of gold,” as the saying goes. Characters whose hearts and intentions (and hair) are good, even if sometimes they do bad things. I’m a sucker for guys/gals/NB pals like that.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just go for it. Seriously. You will think, “Oh, I’m not good enough,” “Oh, no one’s going to read this/like this,” “I’m just going to get rejected,” etc, but don’t listen to that. Yes, you’re going to write stuff that isn’t good, you’re going to write stuff that no one likes, you’re going to get rejected, but you’ll also write stories that people love. That will make it worth it, believe me, and you’ll never get there if you don’t JUST START.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demisexual (I go back and forth between that and greysexual, I’m still questioning, but for now I think demisexual fits best) and bi-romantic.

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

I wouldn’t consider it prejudice, or even ignorance, but there is a very pervasive, and kinda frustrating, idea in modern publishing (especially YA) that a story isn’t ~interesting enough~ without romance, and the sexier the romance the better. I think it’s important for both ace and allo readers to see that, first, you can have a perfectly good story with no romance, and second, you can have a perfectly good romance with no sex!

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

A surprising number of people — including my parents! — don’t really “buy” that I don’t experience sexual feelings (or, more accurately, don’t experience them outside of people I already have romantic feelings for), because I’m a teenager and aren’t all teenagers always thinking about sex?? (Well…no, actually. I have to go with no on that.)

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

No one gets to define asexuality for you except you, just like no one gets to define your romantic orientation, gender identity, etc. Whether you’re completely sex-repulsed or you still want to have sex one day, whether you consider asexuality a huge part of your identity or NBD, whether you experience romantic attraction or not, you are ace and aces totally rule, ergo you totally rule!

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

I write under the name K. Noel Moore at https://www.wattpad.com/user/K_Moore13, most stories there have also been published on inkitt.com, and I sometimes post flash fiction on my personal (well, my only) blog at http://gayamericanoutlaw.tumblr.com. I’m also working on selling my first short story (a ghost story set in the 1930s with a gay narrator), so if you follow any magazines in the vein of Apex or Nightmare (by which I mean fantasy/sci-fi/horror-centric stuff) keep an out for me!

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