Today we’re joined by Alison. Alison is another amazingly versatile artist who does a little bit of everything: sculpting, painting, animation, cake decorating. Her work is spectacular and she has such a wonderful enthusiasm for her work. She’s currently working on a game for her senior project. It’s obvious that this artist has a very bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I do a stupid variety of stuff – painting, sculpture, 3D modeling and animation, drawing, jewelry making, decorating fancy cakes, etc.
I usually just make whatever I’m in the mood for, but I’m looking to get more into sewing so I can fill my dorm with little stuffed foods. I also make cosplay stuff for people sometimes, but I’m really too cheap to make it for myself with any frequency – that stuff is expensive!
Recently, my time’s been taken up by making Mirrors of Grimaldi, a game for my senior project (semi-shameful plug: we’re actually looking for play testers now, if you have at least 2 Xbox controllers, you can download our alpha build here: http://51standfire.com/play-now/)
What inspires you?
I draw inspiration from the things other people have done as well as nature and the random stuff around me. In my most recent batch of paintings, I’ve taken an interest in the screenshots I perpetually take of my boyfriend and his cats while we Skype – they’re quite funny.
(see below paintings 1-2 for examples of screenshots turned into paintings; fun fact: they’re the same guy in both paintings…)
I also do a bit of writing, which often involves ace characters. In the coming weeks I’m actually going to be writing a series of short pieces about asexual experiences in relationships (both commonly encountered and personal) and the miscommunications and misconceptions that often arise. I’ll be posting about that later on my blog if anyone is interested…
Mostly though, I just kind of do whatever I’m in the mood for whenever I start doing something, though I often times have kind of a morbid flair to my stuff
(see below cakes 1-2 for example of morbid cakes)
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve been into crafting ever since I was little – my mom and granny are both pretty crafty and my dad was pretty into woodwork for a while. Presently I’m studying 3D Animation (until I graduate and am released into the real world in a few months – a truly terrifying thought) but have realized I want to take my “career-art” into a more game-based direction. For my hobby art I prefer the more traditional mediums like paint or charcoal… usually just whatever I’m in the mood for when I reach for my art supplies.
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 that I can think of. Sometimes I’ll put little spades in my stuff, but that’s usually in my personal stuff or blatantly ace-related artwork. The stuff I make to sell I usually put any signature marks into except my actual signatures.
Though, like I said before, I do have a tendency to make my stuff kind of morbid or unsettling sometimes. I don’t really know why, but it’s satisfying to hear people go “eww” or “wow that’s weird” when they look at my stuff.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Find the type of art you enjoy doing and a style that works for you. If you’re just arting for the sake of arting, just have fun with it! If you want to make a living off you art, learn to promote yourself – set up internet shops, go to local events, brand yourself. And, while it’s always good to go for what you really want, make sure you have backup plans because making a living as an artist is bloody hard.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I identify as plain ‘ol asexual. Also aromantic-ish (I’ve stopped trying to work out a label for the romantic side of things 😛 )
Suffice it to say I don’t mind being in romantic relationships or having sex with my significant other if I super-trust them and it’s a thing they want/enjoy.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
In my field? Not really… It doesn’t really come up that often though. That being said, I actually know other 2 other ace peeps in my major/year (which is a pool of 12 people :P). I was in a 4 person group once and 3 of us were ace so we were joking that the other guy was the token sexual person on the team. It was quite funny.
I have encountered a fair bit of not-great reactions from guys I’ve dated in the past or random people I’ve explained it to, but in general most of the people I surround myself with are super cool about it.
If I’m faced with prejudice or ignorance I usually just try to stay calm and explain what asexuality is. Normally that works pretty well if people are open to what you have to say… Though if they’re not, then I usually just agree to disagree as long as we can behave respectably towards each other. However, if people insist on being obnoxious about asexuality (or most other things) I tend to respond with intelligent snark (I hope it’s intelligent).
One thing I will say though, if you’re dating someone and they refuse to accept your asexuality or give you a hard time about it, it’s a good sign the relationship is probably not going to work out… At least that’s been my experience…
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Apart from confusion about what it is, I guess just curiosity about sexual interest/practices or that ace can’t do relationships with non-aces. I’ve gotten a lot of random questions about how much I masturbate (from my roomie’s boss!) to questions about whether or not my boyfriend cares that I’m ace…
I think the biggest thing I encounter is people having a hard time believing asexuality exists or that people can survive without being interested in the sex, which, frankly, isn’t terribly surprising given how sexualized the media is these days.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
You gotta make peace with who you are. If you want to identify as ace (or anything really) go for it – how you choose to identify/describe yourself is your choice and nobody else’s. It’s not always easy, but then nothing in life really is…
Just know that how you choose to identify or how you feel doesn’t mean your broken, so don’t let anyone tell you that you are. They’re not worth your time.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
This’ll be a list… aight…
Here’s all the places where you can find pics of my stuff…
Portfolio Website: http://alison.friedlander.me/
A giant amalgamation of my best works in almost every medium I work in
Tumble Blog (Too-Asexy): http://too-asexy.tumblr.com/.
‘Dis is just ma tumblr blog 😄
Mirrors of Grimaldi (game I’m working on): http://51standfire.com/
OK, one more semi-shameful plug for my team’s game! Hope you guys don’t mind!
Here are the places where I actually sell things:
Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackBunnyCrafts
Paintings, wire wrapped jewelry, polymer clay jewelry
Shapeways Shop: https://www.shapeways.com/shops/grumpyalison
Ace rings (sizes available upon request), a triforce ring, keychains. More coming soon!
Red Bubble: http://www.redbubble.com/people/grumpyalison/shop
Ace shirts, other misc shirts. More coming soon here too!
Thank you, Alison, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.