Today we’re joined by Frank Odlaws. Frank is a remarkably talented freelance illustrator. Their work is really beautiful as you’ll see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
Well! I’m an illustrator, so aside from my commission work and stuff hmm. I like to consider myself a surrealist? My art can be very experimental and dark at times . . . a lot of heavy-handed religious iconography and symbolism, a lot of Mexican and Latin themes. I love to tell stories about underrepresented people, I love capturing intense emotion, I love capturing fear and confusion 🙂
What inspires you?
Aaah so much! My culture is VERY important in my art. I am a first generation Mexican-American, I grew up in a very small poor immigrant community in California and I am very proud of my family and upbringing, I have a very hardworking family. My sexuality, gender and neurodiverence is also VERY important. But uhh aside from that . . . I’m a huge history nerd. I study art, film, and music, etc. from varying cultures and time periods. 😀
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I really can’t think of a time in my life where I didn’t want to be an artist ahaha.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?
Uhh . . . I don’t know. I’m really picky with composition . . . like … the space distribution in all of my pieces needs to be . . . perfect . . . ahaha. Even if I have to crop out stuff I’ve spent time drawing or I have to completely redraw chunks of a drawing . . . I love the harmony of a piece with perfect composition . . .
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Work constantly!!!! Be your own biggest inspiration!!!! Experiment!!!!!!!!!!! Love yourself!!!!!!!!!!!
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I am aromantic asexual! I’m very romantically/sexually repulsed! n_n Ahaha and I’m also agender, a . . . everything.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
A lot of the projects I work on center around asexual characters in sort of . . . hypersexual or scary environments? I am a horror artist and I love to play with my sexuality in my art. But a lot of people seem to assume that I’m just drawing people together? Like drawing two sexual people being together. They ship my characters and or want them together when it’s like… I’m drawing a character in obvious distress and unhappiness, this is some very heavy symbolism, they’re having an existential crisis, they’re in an environment that disgusts them, so it just really rubs me the wrong way.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Oh gosh! There’s a few. What’s more tired than the “boring serious” asexual stereotype! Or the “all asexuals are asexual because of abuse they’re broken” or the “asexuals are just confused!” I could go on.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Be whatever you are! Don’t listen to anyone that tries to put down your identity! Being asexual is not limiting or abnormal. There are no rules to being asexual! If you feel you’re asexual! You! Are! Asexual! Be proud of it!
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Here is my artblog! odraws.tumblr.com
Here is my portfolio: frankodlaws.com
Here is my personal blog: odlaws.tumblr.com (I guess this blog is very social justice, but also sometimes I post memes or doodles or whatever sorry)
Thank you so much, Frank, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.