Interview: Jenna Madsen

Today we’re joined by Jenna Madsen (also known as 565mae10).  Jenna is an amazingly talented visual artist whose images left me awestruck.  There’s a picture of a Great Pyrenees (a dog I have soft spot for)!  Jenna plans to study art in college.  If her work is anything to go by, this artist has a bright future ahead of her.  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 do a variety of art but I plan to study illustration or character animation in college. My dream is to be a storyboard artist and get to create something magical for people to enjoy. I draw anime, cartoons, realism, abstract art, and comics! I’ve also recently taken up painting which has been really fun, animation as well. A couple of other odd artistic things I do include playing piano, making origami, and ceramics! I plan to start up a webcomic in the near future, so be sure to be on the look out for that!

What inspires you?

I was greatly inspired as a kid from shows that made me emotional, like Pokemon; I remember vividly when I was around four years old I was watching an episode while doodling and I just thought someone had to animate this, if they could, why can’t I? And well, the rest is history. I’ve also been inspired over the years by creators everywhere from small artists on the internet to studios like Ghibli. Seeing the magic that cartoons can convey to a group of people is what inspires me to continue getting better; I want to make people smile.

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

As I mentioned above I got into art from watching cartoons at a very young age. I’ve wanted to be an artist basically ever since I could hold a pencil, and I was very determined to get better. I used to carry around a bag full of crayons and pencils when I was a little kid and draw everything I saw, I actually copied all 151 of the original Pokemon in a notebook. It’s kinda of silly to think about now, but the passion I felt then is the same as I do now.

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?

Not so much a signature but something silly, I have a little fennec-fox like character that I used to draw everywhere when I was younger that I still use sometimes. His name is Zip and he was kind of my signature character for years, maybe I’ll have to bring the little guy back.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My advice would probably be to practice and never give up no matter how hard it seems. You’ll have those points in your art life where you won’t have any inspiration or you realize that you’re not that good and those moments are when people tend to quit. You have to work through them and realize that with every bad drawing you’re working towards a good one and getting better. I was awful at drawing for so many years but I didn’t let it stop me and now I’m making it into a career. You’ll be okay, don’t let others bring you down and most of all, don’t let yourself bring you down. Just draw because you love it and try to remember why you started in the first place. The artist you’ll be five years from now won’t improve without your effort now and likewise the artist you were five years ago would be stunned at how much you have improved now due to your efforts.

Asexual Me

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a panromantic asexual. I’m still coming to terms with the panromantic part because I was in denial for a long time and I don’t want to be shunned by my family or people I care about, but it’s just who I am and I need to learn to embrace it.

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

Not so much so in my field, but I have definitely encountered ace prejudice. I try to be a voice in the asexual community and help educate through my art on social media, those have received backlash before. Mostly just by people dismissing the idea of asexuality altogether. I handle it by remembering how many people I have helped understand themselves and changed their lives for the better; just realizing that I have affected people that much makes me smile.

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

The most common misconception has to be that we “just haven’t found the right person yet” but that’s not the only one. Here are a couple ones that have been personally said to me:

• You’re broken.
• It’s a hormonal deficiency.
• Asexuality is a mental illness.
• You don’t know until you’ve tried it.
• What are you? A plant?
• Asexuality, isn’t that made up?

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

It’ll be alright, I promise. It can be a magical feeling finding a community that relates to you but also an isolating one realizing that among a majority of the population you’re considered the odd one. Just be yourself and it will be okay, the people you love will eventually understand and if you’re open about it you may help a friend discover they are also asexual. It’ll be hard but I promise you can get through it and once you accept yourself… Everything will feel a little bit better than it did before when you were being forced into society’s mold.

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

Right now my artwork can be found on my tumblr account: 565mae10.tumblr.com

I’m going to try to get a website for a webcomic soon and maybe an online gallery for my artwork but for now you’ll just have to bear with my silly art blog.

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

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