Today we’re joined by Freya Murphy. Freya is a phenomenal dancer from England who does ballet with a bit of contemporary thrown in. She has been dancing ballet for fifteen years. When she’s not dancing, Freya enjoys doing visual art and has worked in a wide variety of mediums. She mainly does charcoal drawings, oil paints, sewing, and ink painting but has also recently gotten into nail art. It’s clear she’s an extraordinarily passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
My art is mainly twofold: dance and the more traditional art of creating physical pieces. When it comes to dance, I’m mainly a ballerina with a little bit of contemporary added in here and there. My physical art is a mixture of all sorts – charcoal drawings from Life Class, clay sculptures, ink paintings, and some sewing. My main and most favourite medium however is oil paint. Oh, and I love doing my nails – I’ve done the ace flag on my nails several times whenever I’m attending LGBTQ+ events.
What inspires you?
Mainly my problems or difficulties in life haha. I find it so much easier to create based upon my own personal experiences, as I find it more interesting and like it’s my own. So far, I’ve done projects on insecurities (more as a concept than any one specific insecurity), my eczema, my less than usual sleeping position (and my lack of sleep), and my bad eyesight. Seeing all of the amazing art that other artists have created and seeing what new and exciting directions that they have managed to push their art, certainly inspires me to try ideas even if I’m not certain of the results.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
When it comes to ballet, I’ve been doing it for just over 15 years, since I was three years old. Over time, I’ve come to realise that it helps me with my social anxiety – I can perform in front of anywhere from 3 people to 400, and I only get the normal nerves, rather than the crippling anxiety I would normally get doing anything in front of any number of people. I also just love the beauty of ballet, and the free feeling I get when dancing. It has become such an intrinsic part of me.
For my physical art, I have taken it throughout school, all the way to A-level. It was only at GCSE that I realised I had such a love for it, as that was when we were given so much more freedom to do what we wanted and make it very personal. However, looking back, I’ve always been creative in some way, and I have a very vivid imagination – often too vivid! I’ve also loved museums for as long as I can remember, always needing to visit at least one museum whenever I went to a new place. In the past four years or so this has expanded to include art museums and galleries as well.
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 so far, as I’ve just started to explore all the many possibilities of art that are out there, when you’re not restricted by trying to get the most marks in the exam! I’m excited to find out where it goes next.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Experiment! Try things out! Art is one of those special places where you can try whatever you want, just to see what happens! Also, write down any ideas you have, or anything you find interesting. In school we were given ‘visual diaries’ to write down anything relating to our art. I have found it massively helpful, sometimes to just visualise your ideas, or sometimes to come back to when you’re struggling for an idea, or just to be nostalgic. I write everything in it, from the numbers of photos I want to print out, to artists I want to research or just like, to sketches of final pieces or about what materials or techniques did or didn’t work. When your brain is always going 1000mph like mine and many others’ are, it helps to have something written down that you can physically flip back to, so that you don’t have to stress about forgetting it.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m a biromantic asexual. I’ve identified as asexual for the past three or four years, but only just discovered about myself that I was biromantic in the past two or three months, so that part of me still feels very new to say and acknowledge.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I’ve never experienced any when it comes to my art, thankfully, but then again, my work has never involved my asexuality – maybe that could be what my next project is about…
In my personal life I’ve experienced more ignorance than prejudice. Most people tend to be accepting once they understand it, but it takes some people a while to wrap their heads around the idea for some strange reason. Luckily close friends who don’t understand it have been accepting straight away, even when confused! And I encourage them to not be afraid to ask me questions about it, as I always love to help people in any way – and I’d rather they asked me, than sat there confused and accidentally said something rude or ignorant to someone else.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That we don’t want romance, or that a romantic relationship with me would be ‘boring’ (direct quote from a close friend). Not all asexual people are aromantic, just as not all aromantic people are asexual. Actually, a lot of people don’t realise that your romantic and sexual orientation can be different, and not just amongst aro/aces. I should hope that a relationship with me isn’t boring (my boyfriend seems perfectly happy!), or if it is, then it’s due to my personality or something, and not my asexuality.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
I’m still relatively new to discovering my asexuality, so I don’t have any major advice, but probably never let anybody tell you who you are, or that who you are is wrong. Only you truly know who you are, better than anybody else, even if you’re still figuring it out. They can help you on your journey by providing advice and support, but at the end of the day it’s yourself that you’re figuring out. Oh, and don’t be afraid to try out different labels to work out which one fits you best – AND you don’t have to end up with any labels at all, if that’s what feels right to you! I went through a period of about half a year where I tried out different labels internally to figure what felt right, from homosexual to bisexual to demi sexual, to homoromantic to heteroromantic before I finally settled on biromantic asexual, and that might even change in 10 years’ time once I get to know myself even better than I do now! It’s also fine if it takes you time to figure out who you are, as it can be a complex thing – we are all complicated simply by being human!
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Well I’ve just set up a new Tumblr blog for my art and ace things (along with newbie witch things and the occasional jacksepticeye reblog) where I’m going to start posting my art in the next week or so. It’s called freya-the-ace-artist.
My art account on Instagram is also very very new, but it’s called freyas_ace_art.
You’re welcome to have a look, it would be greatly appreciated
Thank you, Freya, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.