Interview: Mxnim

Today we’re joined by Mxnim. Mxnim is an absolutely wonderful visual artist who does a lot of digital art and comics. She mostly does character art, but also enjoys writing life comics. Their work shows an extraordinary imagination and their comics are adorable. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

dear boi
Dear Boi

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hello! I make digital art and comics! I make paintings and other crafts occasionally. My digital art consists just of character art and concept art for a comic I want to make. In between, I dabble my own life comics!

What inspires you?

Animated movies/shows and music.

Watching the movies I love really inspires me to create stories and draw! My favorites are some of Ghibli’s movies and the old Disney movies!

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

I wanted to be an animator when I was growing up! I watched Disney movies and Pokemon as a kid and I loved how the pieces of art were moving!! Characters had voices and were so real!! But I slowly realized that I don’t have enough energy for animation so comics were a close second! So I pursued comics to tell my stories and to hopefully bridge the gap between a single piece of paper to a million pieces of paper!

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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?

I draw short haired androgynist people when I’m passively drawing. So if a person were to dig through all of my old art you would see a lot of that! There’s where a lot of my characters stemmed from and became variants.

Also all of my characters at first have a single trait but as I continue to develop them, they become pretty melancholy and thoughtful. I honestly don’t do this on purpose but I don’t mind that it turns out this way.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Even if you don’t think you’re drawing a lot, a circle or a line is sometimes enough!! Keep that up and you’ll be drawing in no time!

Also, you might be compelled to feel bad when looking at other people’s art, but did you know that everyone felt that way! Don’t despair! Just use that really good piece of art as inspiration and a goal to get better (and might even surpass)!

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Music

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual panromantic!

I realized I was asexual when I wasn’t sexually interested in people as my peers, but it wasn’t by choice so I couldn’t say I was celibate. It took me a long time to realize where I fit in, but through some digging through the sexual spectrum I realized that asexual and demisexual existed and there were people like me! It stuck immediately when I found out.

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

I don’t really have people come up to me and ask what my sexuality is. I feel because since I don’t sway Gay or Lesbian, people don’t bother with my indifference.

DOGS ARE THE WROST
Dogs are the Worst

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

People often don’t know that asexuality exist and sometimes when I tried to explain it to my cousin she said “Sounds like you’re celibate”. Which only bothers me because, calling someone celibate erases their asexuality and also implies that sex/being sexual is the default.

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

For those who are struggling, I do hope that you have at least a safe space or supporting friends where you can wind down! Dealing with people who pressure you or refuse to accept your sexuality is tiring and you don’t want to be worn down by that! Always have a “treat-yo-self” day or thing! And one day I hope you get into an entirely supportive community! It’s going to be okay!

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

You can find me on my Tumblr (http://mxnim.tumblr.com/) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/mxnim/)!

space kaddet
Space Kaddet

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

Interview: Ursari

Today we’re joined by Ursari. Ursari is a phenomenal artist from Slovakia who does both visual art and writing. For visual art, she loves to draw and frequently draws original characters, animals, and concept art. She’s also interested in photography. Ursari enjoys writing fantasy and writes both original stories and fanfiction. She is an incredibly enthusiastic and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. 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 focus mostly on visual art – which is a fancy way of saying I like to doodle. But I also (would) like to write and take photos. As for those doodles, I like to portray my, and others’ characters – also animals! – And I also do illustrations and concept art of sorts. I prefer a simple style and find backgrounds too challenging to try to get done despite me being lazy – which might or might not be the real reason why I don’t. And as for writing, both original and fanfiction focuses on fantasy, that is my genre of choice. And some sci-fi on the side.

What inspires you?

Other people’s art – I use stories and pictures to fuel my own muse, and music is also a huge help, it lets me imagine mostly action scenes. Feedback also provides a drive. Any artist would be happy to receive more than just a heart on their work, I think – but even that is great!

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

My family says my grandfather’s genes from my mother’s side and my father’s are responsible for my creative indulgences, but my interest started when I saw my mother drawing a baby for me. That was, I think, when I realized you can put whatever you want on paper. I was so happy when I managed to draw the baby, Kubo, myself, but also disappointed, because that meant I could not ask my mother to do it anymore 🙂

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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?

I don’t. And as for my style, well, that still needs polishing. In drawings, you might notice I am trying for realism and use softer tones, and in writings I have a lot of dialogue and no descriptions. I think. It is hard to judge my own work.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It is OK to never be satisfied with your work – or love it and then not get any likes or notes or positive reviews – it is ok if they say you are doing it wrong, because you are not. Embrace your passion, hear people out, but ultimately, your art is yours. You share the art with people, you are not creating it for them. Let your art show what you feel very passionately about, what you love and what you hate – and also what you just don’t know how to wrap your head around. Let it bring joy, hope and inspiration to you and the others. I mean, these are easy to say… but worth it. Also chill. I know you are pouring a lot of yourself into your work and words can hurt, but they mean nothing. Your art is yours, but the opinions of others are not worth being upset about.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual in general – and demisexual specifically. I am not sex repulsed, but I need to feel the emotional or romantic connection before sexual attraction. I am also biromantic and I just love how the flag colors go together 🙂

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

I have not, actually. Yet. I do think I have an issue with writing allosexual characters with average or higher sex drive, though, so it might turn out to be an issue. Or I’ll just have to only write aces 🙂

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

That asexuals are either freaks, jokes, or just sick. I mean, sure, have your hormones checked just to be sure (it’s true that lower sex drive with a cause is different than asexuality, but it can be a symptom and I think that fact should not be erased, as it might be difficult to tell) – but that is nobody’s business but yours. As for the freaks or jokes mentality, it just shows how people refuse to broaden their horizons and still think in the terms of – either you are like me and with me, or you are against me and a threat. That is why good representation is so important for the community. It’s showing people that different people exist, be it in their gender or orientation or sexuality preferences and experiences.

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

Be patient with yourself and with others. Your experience might be different from the experiences of people who you were raised by and around and you might have little to no point of reference, but it’s OK. You can find information and talk to others and not label yourself – or do – and you can wonder. You owe nobody, but you can tell others or use your experience as an inspiration for your work. This is you we’re talking about and you are in charge. No pressure.

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

Well, other than Tumblr I am Ursari on DeviantArt and Ursar on Archive of our own. What can I say, I love bears.

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

Interview: Hannah King

Today we’re joined by Hannah King. Hannah is a phenomenal visual artist who works in a wide variety of media. They’re currently attending university again to become an art teacher. Hannah hasn’t met a medium they don’t like and has this amazing enthusiasm for visual art. They do illustration, mixed-media fine art, abstract photography, and a variety of other things (as you’ll soon read). There’s an amazing eye for detail demonstrated in the images Hannah sent and it’s very apparent they’re amazingly talented. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I have three different styles I work in. I’m a Fine Artist and an Illustrator, with training in both, as well as a lot of self-directed study in other styles and media.

My first and most often seen style is my illustrative western-comic’s influenced style. With this I tend to do character art, concept art, book illustrations and comics. I use both traditional media – pen and ink – and digital media – anything from Photoshop to PaintTool Sai and MediBang to Corel Painter – to create these images.

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My second is mixed-media fine art, in which I use every media I can get my hands on, including everything from stamping-ink to acrylic, fine-line pens to sewing, dried flowers/leaves to hand-made papers, and even found objects. I work mostly on canvas for this art, but sometimes I use hand-made paper. My fine art is either figurative, architectural or non-representational abstract.

My third is a recent foray into abstract photography, using the medium of Instagram. I have a deep and abiding love for texture, so I collect photographs of those textures I discover in my daily life – often these are crumbling walls, peeling paint, shattered concrete and so on – and I have started using these photographs to create abstract images.

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My passion is the human figure in all its shapes, colours and configurations. So a lot of my work tends to focus on people, whether characters from novels/tv shows/films/etc or models I have had sit for me or drawn/painted from photographs. I have been making myself work on my non-figurative work, though, so I’ve started having fun with architectural art.

I am also a huge fan of fantasy. A lot of my work, including my fine art, incorporates fantastical elements or is fantasy illustration outright.

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What inspires you?

It’s a little cliché to say ‘everything’ but that really is the most correct answer. To get a little more in depth, I guess the human figure inspires me. And well written fantasy. Folk tales. Myths and legends. Painted concrete walls where the weather and age has conspired to peel the paint in interesting ways. Abstract art. Songs with meaningful lyrics. A pretty face. A complicated hairstyle. My own emotions. Ancient, neglected and rusty farm equipment. Weird and wonderful fashion. Tattoos and scars and body modification. I could go on.

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

I come from a fairly arty-crafty family. My mother dabbles in abstract art, sewing, knitting and scrap-booking. My father makes dioramas and scale models of armed forces vehicles. My maternal grandfather was an architect and painter, maternal grandmother was into hand crafting, knitting, crocheting, drawing. My paternal grandfather was an architect, paternal grandmother is into sewing and knitting.

So when I first started showing signs of wanting to be creative it was encouraged. Even when I drew and painted murals on my walls, ceiling and the back of my bedroom door, I wasn’t reprimanded, just told to keep it to my bedroom. My maternal grandmother taught me all sorts of crafty things – like collage and stained-glass painting – and my maternal grandfather got me started on the basics of perspective.

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I first got into comics when I was 11 or 12, and that obsessions lead to my wanting to be a comic artist and an illustrator, which in turn lead to me taking fine art at college and illustration at university. I do now work with a couple of writer friends on some webcomics – not yet published, but looking to get them up soon.

In more recent years I discovered a love for teaching, so now I’m about to go back to university for a post-grad degree in teaching art to 11 – 17 year olds.

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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?

Because I’m heavily influenced by the likes of Klimt, Mucha, Shiele, Yoshitako Amano and comic artists like Dave McKean, David Mack and J.M. Linsner, my work tends to have a lot of idiosyncratic marks in it.

Normally this shows up in my Fine Art or personal illustrative art. Most often, the marks are tiny squares picking out a checkerboard pattern, sometimes it’s circles picked out in tiny triangles, or negative space filled with interlocking circles or even dotwork.

I try not to do this in commissioned character art, but even then, Mucha’s influence shows out strongly in the way I draw hair and folded clothing. Dotwork sometimes also makes an appearance in my commissioned character art, but I try to restrain it.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Life Drawing.

Seriously.

Do as much Life Drawing as you possibly can – not only does it fill out your portfolio and make University professors very happy indeed, it also very quickly builds up your ability to not only draw the human figure but also your ability to SEE.

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Once you know how to draw a person, once you’ve learned the anatomy underlying how the body works, you can start breaking rules and developing a style of your very own. And once you’ve trained yourself to actually SEE what’s there, rather than draw what you EXPECT is there, you can draw just about anything.

Basically, draw from life as often as you can, even if that means taking a sketchbook out to a public place and drawing what’s around you (you don’t HAVE to go to an actual class to do this!)

Draw everything. Draw all the time. Learn how to see what’s there.

You’ll thank yourself for doing it. Trust me.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Celibate Asexual, Pan-Demi-Romantic – I’m sex indifferent and mostly find it boring, but I am willing to have it with a partner if they want it. I have been celibate for 5 years and single – with the occasional date – for most of them.

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

Thankfully not so much prejudice in my particular experience, though there has been some ignorance, mostly in the form of misunderstanding where I’m coming from on certain projects.

I have ended up having some interesting conversations with other artists about the difference between sexual and aesthetic attraction. I think what has helped in my case is that many of the artists I know are also LGBT+ or allies so they have at least some idea of things to start from when they learn of my asexuality.

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

That I just haven’t had good enough sex, or sex with the right partner yet. Which is extremely condescending and annoying. Often when this is said to me I’ll give them an abbreviated list of all my sexual partners and the various fetishes I have tried out with them all. Normally this makes them shut up, so I can then give them a basic Asexuality 101 class.

I wouldn’t recommend this for everyone, I only get away with it because I’m in my 30s and I’m normally talking to other people my own age; I also discovered my asexuality late, after a series of relationships, so I actually have a laundry-list of info to dump on people who say this.

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

I discovered asexuality very late – I was 28 – and it took me both by surprise and as a huge relief, it explained so many things that had been confusing me and causing stress and anxiety for most of my post-pubescent life. It’s been amazing to know that what I experience is actually a thing, that there is a community I can become part of, that there is a name for me to use.

My advice is to own it.

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Read up on it, talk to other asexuals, get to know the community, find your particular flavor of asexuality and own the hell out of it. There are haters – as we’ve seen in the Tumblr community – but they’re not as many as Tumblr makes it look like, I promise, Tumblr’s just a very noisy place, so you can ignore them fairly easily in the real world.

Accept that the majority of the world is sexually oriented, accept that you’ll have to deal with annoying advertising and friend and family comments and opinions. It’s difficult, but it’s not insurmountable, I promise. There are people who get it, who are like you, or who will accept you. There are even people – even non-asexual! – who will date and love you just as you want (if you want! I’ve been mostly single for 5 years now and I have been thoroughly happy!)

There is a place in the world for you, for us, and we are absolutely allowed to take it, on our own terms, whatever they are. So go ahead, own it.

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hannahlkingart/

Website: http://hannahlking.wix.com/hannahlkingart

Tumblr: http://hannahkingart.tumblr.com/

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