Interview: AJ

Today we’re joined by AJ. AJ is a phenomenal multimedia artist. She’s into illustration and is currently working on a story with illustrations that sounds quite exciting. She has the most wonderful imagination and it shines through in her drawings. She’s an artist with an incredible amount of passion and a bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Please, tell us about your art.

Well, it’s something I got serious about just this year but technically I’ve been doodling for a long, long time. What inspires me to draw is the desire to one day be able to bring my imagination to life in a form that other people can experience. Now, most of my art is related to a multi-media story type deal I want to make someday! As far as my story goes, I’m way farther in the writing portion of it than with the illustration part of it. Right now I am just trying to work out character designs. Most of the stuff I draw now is with Sketches II and IOS app that has a lot of good functions for free and some other ones for about 4$. Which is just what the doctor ordered when you’re a broke college student.

What inspires you?

I don’t know how to describe it in terms most people would understand but when I encounter it, I call it imagi-fodder. Imagination fodder. Sometimes I see and experience things that makes my mind go places I’ve never been and want to explore. It’s kind of like that feeling when you look up at the sky, or hear your new favorite song or when you were a kid and wanted to be a Pokemon master. A weird otherworldly kind of wonder that makes your heart beat fast and excitement fill you. I want other people to see these places that pop up in my head and explore them with me. Sometimes I see other artists work and it gives me an intense imagi-fodder feeling and I want my work to one day do that for other people.

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

Ironically, I hated arts-n-crafts with a passion growing up. When I was little I would go to a youth center and certain days you would have certain activities. There was the game room, computer room, arts-n-crafts room, the gym and the playground. I was all about sports, gaming, music and most of all, competition. Due to me being competitive and since there were always better artists than me who got praised for their work, I naturally just started to dislike it. I think one day my hate-switch just turned off and I tried to draw something out of a manga. Then I ended making friends who were artists and with me being competitive for no reason at I wanted to be better than them. Eventually I chilled out and realized I liked art after all and a lot of different media like animation and music. Everything just kind of fell in line.

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?

Lol, Do my messy lines count? Not yet as far as art-style but I always put an AJ on my work, which are my initials. One day I want my signature to be the otherworldly imagi-fodder feeling people get when they look at my work.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Please for the love of God, Do not stop drawing. Even if you don’t feel like it. Do it. DO NOT get comfortable because the minute you do it’s hard to improve. I got real comfortable doing the head and shoulders thing and now doing full-body anything is a struggle for me. DO NOT compare yourself to others because you may not have the best art but boy howdy is it a wonderful thing that you, an artist, has made and literally no one can tell you different so don’t let em. All you can do is improve on whatever you are drawing if you keep going. My last piece of advice is follow my blog realize that every drawing you do you are just that much closer to doing what you’ve always dreamed of accomplishing with your art.

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Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Grey-sexual for sure and grey-romantic (TBD)

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

Yea, I told my cousin and she was like no, you just don’t put yourself out there and it’s because your house is so protective yada, yada, yada. So I calmly gave her the evidence (my brother)  that it isn’t the environment or my personality. It’s me, that’s how I am. Even when I told her this, she still seemed a bit doubtful but I let it go. It’s my identity and I’m so glad to have found it that I honestly don’t feel the need to prove to others it’s worth something. Living in the environment I did growing up helped me hone this skill.

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

Ugh there are so many! I guess this one is the biggest one.

That we don’t exist and need to find the right one who will “awaken” our sexuality.

Which umm no! I think dirty thoughts, I have feelings, I have the ability to flirt and the “right one” can’t awaken my sexuality. Trust me, that’s not how it works and I’ve tried to force myself to feel these things, which didn’t work in the slightest. It just gave me regrets. What people don’t seem to understand is that asexuality is defined by a lack of sexual attraction directly towards people (at least in my case, aside from some incredibly rare exceptions).

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

I know it’s hard. I grew up wondering why I didn’t have any feelings like that to anyone or why I’d rather eat dinner then have a boyfriend. Or the loneliness that comes from wanting a boyfriend but wondering if they would accept your sexuality or just not having those feelings for anybody but wanting the comforts of a warm body next you.  I’ve dealt with my parents and their friends constantly asking me about a boyfriend when I come home from college. If it’s other people accepting you that you struggle with, I think the best thing you can do is hold your head up high and be proud of who you are because absolutely no one can do that for you. Realize that NO ONE determines your sexuality but you and there isn’t a deadline for that sort of thing. Despite Tumblr culture and it’s often problematic ways you don’t have to stay stuck in this one box or figure our instantaneously who you are. So you identify as ace. That’s great! Oh you happen to have a foot fetish along with identifying as ace?? Guess what you’re still ace bud! You aren’t repulsed by sex yet you still want to identify as ace? Heck MCFREAKIN yea you are ace!! Just like everything else, ace is a spectrum and it’s complicated in a sexualized world. You got time, just figure it out at your own pace.

Finally, you are valid. You are so freaking valid we could give ya a membership ID card. Join the club buddy, you have made it and we love you. Let’s talk about our Asexual head-cannons and crack ships and all that jazz.

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

The blog for my story (which will soon be active) is earth2gaia. The prologue to my story is available there.

The blog for all of my art drawer-v-artist, where I post the all good bad and ugly things I draw.

My regular blog is tongue-tied-ties where I post everything I think is worth reblogging.

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

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