Today we’re joined by Al. Al is a wonderful visual artist who has her own style and characters. She is a self-taught artist, who creates some absolutely beautiful imagery as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’m a cartoonist. Overall though, I like doing my own thing. Own style, own characters, and own stories to go with them.
I’m more or less self taught, I enjoy drawing both digitally and traditionally, and I also animate. Usually on my DSI and 3DS though, as I don’t own the appropriate tablet yet.
I mostly draw my characters and occasionally I don’t know, draw a tree or something.
What inspires you?
The idea that someday, I might be able to put my ideas and creations out there and they will be forever immortalized so that when I die, they will continue on without me.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Oh, I’ve been interested since I was a little kid. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, even before I hit preschool. My parents seemed to like what I created with my grubby little hands- so being the attention seeker that I was, I just kept drawing and drawing, until I eventually started to really like it and here I am.
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?
Sure. I have an art logo I created a few years back, and although it’s not in all of my art, it gets some cameos here and there. It’s of a dead fish, looks like this-
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Practice. Practice a lot and stop comparing yourself to others and belittling your art just because you don’t think you’re good enough. No artist improves at the same rate or the same way, and the only thing that will happen if you keep drawing is that you get better and better, until you become absolutely fantastic. The worst thing you can do is give up.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
For sexual orientation, I just call myself ace/asexual. On the romantic side, I’m grayromantic.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Honestly, I never really got anything bad directed towards me in terms of my asexuality. There was one time where a person believed that it was the same thing as celibacy, saying that being ace is a choice and if you have sex, it automatically makes you well, not ace. But y’know, it’s just ignorant words coming from an ignorant person.
As for parents/family, I hinted it at them a few times but I’m pretty sure they just think I’m some sort of late bloomer or saving it for marriage or something. They’re no doubt just waiting for me to suddenly wake up one morning and be like, “HEY!!! I’M NOT A SQUEAMISH SISSY ANYMORE!! I’M GONNA HAVE SEX LIKE A NORMAL PERSON!!!”.
It never really bothered me though. The worst kind of prejudice/ignorance I’ve seen is from Tumblr itself, but it’s not exactly personal so, I just get angry for a second and then move on.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Oh, there’s a lot. “Only girls are asexual.” “If you have sex, you’re not ace.” “It’s just a phase.” “I wonder what made you decide to be asexual?” etc. Yknow, the usual ace myths.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
First, don’t beat yourself up for how you feel. Not only is it possible that other people are already hurting you for being ace, but now you’re hurting yourself, and that just makes things ten times worse. Your lack of sexual attraction is fine and normal, and if you’re gonna take the word of someone else about how YOU feel, then you’ll be as misguided as they are.
Second, if along the way, you end up discovering you aren’t as ace as you thought, don’t beat yourself up about that either. You’re not a fraud. You just learned more about yourself, or changed over time and that’s perfectly fine. And don’t feel obligated to keep calling yourself something just because that’s what you already told others. Like I said, labels can change and you should accommodate them to describe yourself.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you, Al, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.