Today we’re joined by Amy Valentine. Amy is a phenomenal visual artist who does a lot of art journaling. She uses mostly colored pencils, watercolors, and various markers. She’s also an art student, so she works in a variety of mediums. When she’s not creating visual art, Amy also writes quite a bit of fanfiction. It’s clear she is a dedicated and passionate artist with 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.
On my free time, I do a lot of art journaling, which is basically having a sketchbook expect I put more effort in decorating the pages to fit with my current mood. I also enjoy writing, mostly fanfictions, but I’m very eager to write something of my own someday.
I’m also an art student, so at school I also do paintings, photography and whatever else, and hopefully after school I could practice painting at home, too.
For art journaling, I like to use watercolors, color pencils and different kind of markers. Sometimes I just glue things in.
What inspires you?
Music is a big inspiration for me, because I’m almost always wearing headphones. I also get a lot of ideas from movies – When there is a scene that is just so pretty to look at, I always want to draw my own version of it.
I also take a lot of inspiration from my own feelings, since art journaling is kind of something that you do to express your emotions.
I also draw a lot of women’s nude bodies as a way to start learning to love my own body, so I guess they also give me inspiration. Don’t know what to draw? I’ll draw a torso. The headless statue of a woman is always there to save me from art block.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Yes, definitely. As a kid, I loved drawing comics and other cute things. I was really into manga back then. I would always be sketching at the edge of the test paper, even if the teacher told me not to.
At school, we also wrote a lot of our own stories, and I was always told that the stories I wrote were good and unique, so I got more inspired to write every day. I guess I can safely say I have always wanted to be an artist/writer. At this moment, I think I’d want to be a writer more than an artist.
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?
At the moment, I don’t think I yet have my own style or my own unique thing. In art, I’m still figuring out what I want to create and what kind of a style fits me the most. In writing, I’m trying to experiment a little to see what kind of stuff I want to write and how. So, for now, no unique signatures or anything.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Practice, practice and practice. And do not compare yourself to others. I did that and only felt worse about my skills. The first 6 months at art school were rough because I kept thinking everyone else was better than me. But when I learned to just focus on my own work and did my best, my drawings ended up looking a lot better. So just don’t give up. We’re all at different skill levels here, so just focus working on your own thing.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’d say I’m somewhere between being a demisexual and asexual.
I did just find the term ‘aegosexual’ that fits me quite well, but, I’m still trying to figure myself out. And that’s okay.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
When I told my parents, both of them were confused but supportive, thankfully. Before I tried to get into art school, I told my school nurse that I felt like I was close to an asexual, and they said to me ‘I WILL find the right one’, and if I wouldn’t, I should seek medical help. I also told my friends that I was in the ace spectrum, and they said that wasn’t possible.
I’ve also been in two relationships before and in both of them I felt like being asexual was wrong. I felt like saying ‘no’ to sex was wrong, and that was used against me. I’m still healing from that.
I think the best way to handle any kind of prejudice is to know that you aren’t broken, and that there is nothing wrong with you. Also, calmly explaining to them what asexuality is can help them understand it better. And honestly, never, EVER, do something that feels uncomfortable to you just so you could please someone else. Listen to your own feelings.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Probably the one where they think that if I’m in the ace spectrum, I can’t feel any kind of sexual pleasure, or that I can’t have sex, or that I can’t include sex scenes in my writing, and so on. Asexuals aren’t 100% sexless – some can be, but some asexuals are okay with having sex for their partner, and some asexuals masturbate. Some people don’t seem to get that.
The other misconception is people thinking asexuals can’t experience romantic feelings. And the third one that my school nurse one suggested – that being asexual meant you were afraid of sex.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
It’s OK to not be sure where in the ace spectrum you are, and it’s OK to change labels later on, and it’s OK if you’re still searching for yourself. Just know that there is no rush. You are what you are, and even if you aren’t 100% sure what your label is, then that’s alright. You don’t have to put yourself into a box if you’re not ready yet. Just take your time with your inner self, love yourself.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you, Amy, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.