Today we’re joined by Annie O’Quinn. Annie is a phenomenal visual artist who mainly paints for fun. She mostly does digital and fanart at the moment, though Annie is also a painting instructor. When she’s not doing visual art, Annie also writes. She hasn’t published anything just yet, but is currently working on a couple books, which feature asexual characters. It’s clear that she’s a very talented artist with a 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’m a fairly new artist, as far as finding my style, but I currently do illustrations for fun and I work as a painting instructor at one of those paint and wine places.
What inspires you?
STORIES. More than anything. I’m a writer as well, actually. Is it weird to say my own stories inspire me to draw? Although books, TV shows, movies — if they have a good story, I’m inspired for sure!
Also, of course…. Aesthetic. If it’s pretty, I want to draw it.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
From a young age, yes! It’s actually kinda funny because, hah… I had a friend who did art and I wanted to be better than her. But I was a little kid, okay! I continued because I realized I loved it. However, I was barely able to do it because I kept being told it wouldn’t make me money. (Which might be true for now, but at least I’m happier even through the struggle!)
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?
Hah! I should say I’m not willing to reveal it just to cover up the fact I don’t have one.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Don’t let others force you into other fields, but also don’t put so much stress on making money off of your art that you lose your inspiration in it. Never give up on a goal because someone out there is supporting you, no matter the struggle.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m panromantic asexual! I have zero sexual attraction, but I’m not repulsed by the idea. I’m in a great asexual relationship now!
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Definitely ignorance. At work, I had a girl who actually almost started crying because I said I was actually okay with never being with anyone romantically, if that was how life took me. I had another girl tell me that I’d change my mind when I met the right person. Growing up, I had people tell me I was a prude and stuck up for not being active. I had a guy offer to help me “get to know the city” in school when he found out. The list goes on. I call them papercuts, but they can add up. Learning the term, which was just a few years ago, really helped me in accepting myself and the fact I didn’t have to compromise that part of myself to be with someone. But before I knew? Before I found a good support for it? I didn’t handle it that well. I ignored it and made sexual jokes or let people assume things without corrections. I don’t put up with it at all anymore, though. And I write about it a lot, actually!
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That is means I can’t have a relationship with someone. I’m on the aromantic spectrum somewhere probably, but even that doesn’t mean I can’t have one. Along with people thinking that I’m judging them for loving sex. I am definitely not! If you have that attraction, great! It’s a pretty common thing to have and excuses aren’t needed. I would say those are the two things.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
You don’t have to figure it out right now. You don’t have to rush it. It might even be different depending on the person you’re in a relationship with, your current live situation, or the phase of the moon… That’s okay. My mom discovered she was asexual and genderqueer when she was sixty-two. Just listen to yourself above what others tell you.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you, Annie, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.