Interview: Orion

Today we’re joined by Orion. Orion is a wonderful visual artist who does both original and fanart. They’re currently doing a lot of work with ink and watercolors. Their work has a delightful sense of whimsy and playfulness to it. Their characters are so expressive, as you’ll soon see. 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 like to try many different types and styles of art, though at the moment I’m focusing on inked and watercolour fanart and original visual art.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by my desire to see more positive representation of LGBT+ people in art and media. And by the desire to continue to develop my artistic skills.

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

My grandfather is an artist. Throughout my childhood I loved to visit him, I’d look through his hobby room at the artworks on the walls, the huge painting station, the sketches and canvas spread throughout and I loved it. I’d draw with the art set (a plastic half oval case filled with pencils, crayons, etc.) he had for his grandkids and a drawing I had done as a child of a girl in a dress (me? I cannot remember) was always proudly displayed in Grandpa’s study.

I’ve been interested in art since childhood thanks to Pa’s influence, and messy drawings with crayons slowly turned into something better.

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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 have any intentional things like that, though at the moment, binders have been featured in a lot of my works.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Be a good consumer of art.

Learn to give reviews to other artist’s works, even a short sentence explaining what you like about it. It helps to encourage a culture of interacting with art and sharing it rather than just letting it go by unnoticed and it’s a nice thing to do for the artist.

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Additionally, if you learn to see what makes an artwork good (e.g. “Hey! This is a great work and I really love the detail put into the hair and freckles!”), you’ll know what to put into your own work to make it better (e.g. Detailed hair/freckles).

And keep practicing, create as often as you can, and, if you feel comfortable with it, show as much of your work as you can to the world.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am an asexual nonbinary person. The romantic part is slightly more complex as I go by many terms, grey-biromantic, aromantic, and cupioromantic.

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

I’ve gotten hate mail and death threats on Tumblr for being openly ace but overall most people are okay with aces and if they’re not (or send hate mail) I block them immediately.

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

That asexuals just don’t like sex or haven’t found ‘the right person’.

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

Understand that if the issue is figuring out where on the asexual/aromantic spectrum you lie there’s no rush. There’s no real reason you need to have that figured out by a set date, just let yourself explore and eventually you’ll figure it out.

And if it’s becoming comfortable with your orientation that is the issue, firstly try to find other aces to talk to about it and then try to remind yourself that there’s absolutely, 100% nothing wrong with being asexual.

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

My Tumblrs: orioart.tumblr.com for original artworks and orionsfanart.tumblr.com for fanart.

Or my Deviantart: amazingacearmy.deviantart.com

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

Interview: Chika

Today we’re joined by Chika. Chika is a phenomenal visual artist who also dabbles in writing and fanart. Though she started out in traditional mediums, Chika has been focusing mainly on digital art. When she’s not sketching, she does some cosplay and has started to get into tattoo design. Whatever she does, she puts her heart into it, as you’ll soon see. 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’m kind of all over the place in my interests, but lately I’ve been focusing a lot on digital art and writing. Even so, my roots are in traditional drawings so I still do a lot with traditional media (character sketches/drawings and watercolors, yay art degree teaching me to appreciate wet media!) and I’m a cosplayer when my schedule allows for it. I’m also starting to play around with tattoo designs

The majority of my works are fan-based, usually revolving around my friends’ and my fan characters. Even so, I’m trying to get some of my own stories scribbled down so I can give them proper attention too

What inspires you?

Music is probably my biggest source of inspiration – especially emotional music, like instrumental or metal. My family also has a huge impact on my art, and on my characters especially. (they’ll sometimes find themselves in situations similar to what’s happening with my family in real life. Oops!) Researching gets me in a creative groove too – researching anything! Myths, cultures, history, medical journals, unusual animals, genre tropes, what have you.

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

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, though I put it aside for a few years in my young teen years and didn’t push myself to really improve my artwork until I got back to it at age 15. Even then, it was actually my sister who got me back into it, bursting into my room not a month after we discovered anime and saying that I should learn how to draw it.

Even when I wasn’t drawing, writing was a constant hobby of mine. And as I got back into drawing, I realized that my passion wasn’t just drawing or just writing, but it was in creating stories that I could share with the world – and now being able to express these both visually and in writing? Young me was stoked! Heck, older me is still stoked.

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?

After a nasty bout of art theft in my main fandom, I usually sign my deviantART handle on my drawings. Aside from that, I’d say my “signature” is probably just the fact that 90% of my works involve my characters

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep going! I know there are days that the going gets rough, especially if you’re not at the level you want to be at, but you can get there someday if you just keep your chin up and eyes on-target. And if you can, surround yourself with people who will encourage you, give you tips, build you up as an artist and a person. Having a positive atmosphere around you will make every aspect of your life better, and your art will especially benefit from that positivity!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a cupioromantic asexual, though often I’ll just say I’m aro ace if I don’t want to go into the full explanation of what being cupio means (I have yet to master explaining “I lack the attraction but still want the relationship” without just leaving folks more confused than they were to begin with)

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

Thankfully I haven’t run into a lot of prejudice, and my online circle of friends have been incredibly helpful and understanding, but I’m met with a fair bit of ignorance in my daily life. Unfortunately, up until recently I didn’t combat it at all because I didn’t feel safe coming out in public and I wasn’t sure I could discuss it and not out myself. But of late I’ve been providing definitions and explanations when needed, to the best of my ability. It’s not always easy, but if someone is going to listen and take it in when they voiced confusion, cool! If they don’t, then that’s not on me – I did all I could

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

That asexuality is just a fancy word for sexual immaturity. Seriously, if I had a dollar for every time I heard “oh you just haven’t found the one yet,” “what was your childhood like,” “you’re just too young to know,” etc. then I wouldn’t have to take out student loans to pay for school

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

Nobody knows you better than you do. Don’t let others assume that they know you better than you know yourself; and don’t let someone else’s perception of you negatively impact your life. You’re too complex and interesting and cool for that!

You’re learning something new about yourself, and that’s really exciting! If you don’t find a box that you fit perfectly into, that’s perfectly fine. If you do, that’s okay too. And if your understanding of yourself changes over time (like your orientation changes), then that’s totally cool as well. The important thing is that you stay true to you

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

You can find me here on Tumblr at knightlychika, though a lot of my drawings don’t make it on here. You can find them all on my deviantART page, though!

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