Interview: Barbara

Today we’re joined by Barbara. Barbara is a phenomenal artist who does a few different things. She’s a visual artist who does drawing, painting, and carving. Aside from visual art, Barbara is also an enthusiastic dancer. If that weren’t impressive enough, Barbara is also an acrobat! She has just started training in aerial silks, which is super cool. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Okay. Starting with the visual arts I have been learning how to make visual art such as drawing painting and carving since I was just a few years old so I can say I have been learning for over 10 years. I am going to start an official art school next year. I started dancing 4 years ago and 2 years ago I went to my first aerial silk training (it’s an air acrobatic technique mostly performed in circus). I’ve improved my skills especially in the last 2 years and I am going to perform my first solo choreographies (acrobatic and dancing) in April and June of 2017

What inspires you?

Well, mostly it’s other people. I love the way we are all different and my definition of beauty is the opposite of perfect. Every mark, every scar, wrinkles or freckles- that’s what makes people so amazing and extraordinary. And I love stories. They inspire me a lot, and by stories I mean books and movies of course, but also biographies and little facts from everybody’s past. For example every time when I discover a new artist or author or a band or anything like that – I try to find information about their past because it’s the past that makes us the way we are, and we think, and we create.

I am also very inspired by other people’s art. That includes music, drawings, literature and stuff like that.

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

As I said I was really young when I started drawing. Into dance and acrobatics I got mostly because of my mom who’s a dancer and owner of the dance school where my adventure started. I think that a lot of motivation to become an acrobat came from that one time when I saw Circue di Solei live, it’s an experience that I will hopefully never forget.

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?

My signature is always visible on my visual art, I also always wanted my symbol to be a simple drawing of moth but I am still working on the project, do that’s something more for future.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I am only a beginner and don’t know much about life yet but my best advice is – practice a lot. Nothing makes you improve your skills more than practicing. Also don’t give up easily. Even if you lose a big opportunity or miss some chance. There will be another one – I promise.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as heteroromantic and asexual (or at least on the asexual spectrum because I am really young and I know some things can change but I don’t think they will to be honest)

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

Well, I haven’t come out to my parents because they don’t even seem to believe in such thing as asexuality. I am sure I will come out to them someday but by now I prefer the save option. Honestly most people in my country probably doesn’t know much about whole LGBTQIA community which is sad and it’s caused by an incredibly small amount of representation in media. I wouldn’t call it homophobia, it’s more like overwhelming ignorance. It isn’t that bad after all, I don’t think most people hate LGBTQIA community – especially younger ones.

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

The fact that we don’t actually exist is surprisingly common. I also saw people calling it a disease once or twice.

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

I don’t think I’m ready to give any advice. I discovered my own sexuality quite recently. I started identifying as asexual only about 6 months ago. From my experience I know that it really helps when you come out to someone. Just make sure it’s a person that you really trust.

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

My Tumblr: https://verysassywitch.tumblr.com/

My Pinterest (a lot of inspirations and some of my art as well): https://pl.pinterest.com/verysassywitch/

My DeviantArt: http://verrysassywitch.deviantart.com/

Thank you, Barbara, for participating in this interview and this project. It is very much appreciated.

Interview: Rayah

Today we’re joined by Rayah. Rayah is a wonderful writer who has written a few stories, including one for an anthology that’s soon to be released. Rayah works for a publishing house that specializes in LGBTQIA+ work. She has a great deal of passion and enthusiasm for writing, 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 am a writer. I have been published with two short stories so far. One of the anthologies still hasn’t come out yet though. It’ll be out soon.

What inspires you?

My stories inspiration generally comes from real life experiences, and I kind of elaborate and imagination “what ifs” from there. I also draw inspiration from other writers and their works.

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

Well, I have my BA in English, and since a very early age I have been an avid reader. I’ve always been drawn in by stories and devoured them with enthusiasm … and I guess it was only natural after a while to want to write some of my own. Over the past year, I have started managing a small publishing house with my best friend. That’s given me more drive and motivation to pursue more published works.

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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?

Those that know me can usually tell that I have a character that sort of like me within my stories. I can’t help it. I also write furry stuff sometimes. The publishing house that I manage has a large base of furry writers that we publish and work with. It’s by no means all that I do, but it’s what my currently published story falls under.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

For aspiring writers, I encourage you to be avid readers of the genres you are interested in. Explore others styles, learn the rules and norms of the writing through reading. It’s really the best way to learn.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as heteromantic asexual… and I’m also exploring the idea of polyamory.

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

Not so much prejudice. Perhaps a bit of ignorance. There’s a lack of visibility for sure. It’s difficult for people who are not asexual to imagine it, and that also makes it hard to write it. Even as an asexual, I often struggle to know how to write an effective and complex asexual character. It’s definitely something that I feel like writers are still trying to figure out.

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

That I will never have a fulfilled relationship without sex or that I never will have sex. Neither are necessarily true.

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

Try to surround yourself with understanding people and friends if possible. I actually didn’t even realize what I was until a friend pointed out I could be demisexual (upon later research I learn I am actually asexual) … and after that conversation is when I did my research, and I realized that I wasn’t broken like I had always though. That felt liberating. I came out as asexual for the first time to the same best friend who suggested demisexuality. I knew he’d be a safe place to do that, and it really help me just to be open about it with him. It helped me to explore it by doing the research too. I also had the chance to go to a local pride event during this time of figuring out I was asexual, and even though I was too shy to talk to anyone, I saw individuals wearing ace colors and that made me feel less alone.

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

They can find the book I am currently published in here… https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Deadly-Sins-Furry-Confessions/dp/1945247096/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491185017&sr=8-1&keywords=seven+deadly+sins+furry+confessions (This is a pretty dark and rated R book. My piece is not sexually explicit though, but beware if you are sex repulsed or you don’t like dark stuff. Not all of it is sexual in nature, but all of it is dark. This is not a book for everyone….)

For updates about my writing and my work they can follow me on Twitter at rayahbunny. I am working on some stuff that’s not quite as niche as this first work, and I am always editing and managing fun books through our publishing house, thurstonhowlpublications.com, so I am always involved in the writing and creating process.

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

Interview: Rachael Peabody

Today we’re joined by Rachael Peabody. Rachael is an amazing visual artist who specializes in digital art. She’s a comics artist and is currently working on a romance comic that features an asexual character. She is incredibly passionate about her art, which always makes for a great interview. 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 mainly work with digital art (predominantly Adobe Illustrator) and create comics. I’m not professional but I am very passionate about comics and their creation. Currently I am working on a romance comic. This was more of a challenge until I thought it might be nice for it to feature one of the main characters as an Asexual. This will come into play in the second book since he hasn’t realized it yet.

What inspires you?

I get the biggest source of inspiration from music, but following my favorite creators on social media is always a great place to get strength. A lot of artists are willing to share their thoughts and ideas online. Granted no one should make their work a checklist of things to impress their role models, but you can see the world from a much broader perspective which is definitely something a creator needs. And, to be completely self-centered, hearing from my readers really gives me a boost to continue.

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

When I was little I actually wanted to be an Entomologist but my heart wasn’t in it. I fell into drawing and writing to deal with some issues going on with my family. While I was in college getting my BFA I started to pour hours and hours into comics. It went from a coping mechanism to an obsession and then a drive. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t create.

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?

Uhm, I’m not sure. I’m always trying to add something to my work to make it stand out. I’d like to be someone who could be recognized by their style like some of my favorite comic creators. I have made it a point to never add highlighting to black areas other than hair (this is a leftover flip-of-the-bird to a really awful drawing professor I had in college who told me pure black doesn’t exist). I’ve been told many times that my expressions are awesome but no one has been able to pinpoint it, including myself.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

The best advice I ever got was when I was stuck in a rut with a previous story. I was talking to a comic writer at a comic convention. He said: “You’re a creator. Some people aren’t. There’s no reason you can’t just create something, even if it’s terrible. That’s something only you have and can control 100%. So do it.” There will be times when you feel blocked and miserable and guilty about not creating, or maybe you just can’t find the time with Life happening. It’s okay. You’re a creator. You will find the time and the place and when you do, breathe life into something. Until then, just take care of yourself.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I came out as a Hetero-romantic Asexual a few years ago to my friends and online mutuals. I had been dealing with some very serious depression for my whole life; most of it was centered on my inability to find a partner because while I knew I wasn’t gay, my dating experiences ranged from brief and confusing for the guy to awkward and uncomfortable for me. I felt some weird need to prove to the planet that ‘hey look at me a normal functioning heterosexual beep boop’. I discovered an ocean of orientations being talked about online and suddenly the word Asexual hit me. I fit it so perfectly. When I found out who I was and that I was not broken my life became so much more enjoyable. Even my depression is easier to deal with.

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

So far only one person has given me any guff for it, but they are in their 60’s and pretty resistant to new information. It’s just strange that this individual is also a Homosexual – I had kind of hoped he’d be more understanding or accepting. This is partially the same reason I haven’t come out to my parents. When it comes to comics, however, people are wide-mouthed and ready for diverse characters, creators and situations. I want to be able to create an Ace character to help with representation just like the creators who are making Gay, Trans, and Nonbinary stories. If I had had exposure to the concept of Asexuality when I was in my teens I have no doubt that things would’ve been much easier for me.

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

The biggest issue I have with coming out to people is that I’ve never had sex or a serious relationship and they seem to think I need those experiences to PROVE to them that I’m Asexual. While I do desire a close relationship with another person romantically or at least affectionately, I have had only bad experiences with Heterosexual men. There is an expectation that I can’t fulfill. My body goes into panic mode, alarms are going off, I immediately go into a flight response and, in about a week, there is a very frustrated and angry guy calling me a tease or a Lesbian. You don’t need to have sex or even a long-term relationship to know your own body. The idea that you need to be clawed to pieces by a tiger to know you don’t like being clawed to pieces by a tiger is just as stupid.

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

If you don’t feel like you fit any one aspect of the Ace spectrum, please know YOU AREN’T BROKEN. And you DEFINITELY don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Join or at least follow as many Asexual information sources that you can. Consider that you might change at some point. If you do desire a relationship find someone who loves you and not your junk. Be comfortable and open about who you are because you might, without knowing it, give strength to someone who is just as lost as I was. Follow some Asexual humor blogs, too – sometimes they have the best comebacks for people who are being really intolerant about your orientation.

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

My main Tumblr blog is tlaloc4kids.tumblr.com and my comic is posted on ilikeyoucomic.tumblr.com. I also have a Twitter where I post random sneak peeks of the finished pages and other odd things. You can find me there (at) rlpeabody.

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

Interview: Alice Marie

Today we’re joined by Alice Marie. Alice is a phenomenal visual artist who is currently studying sculpture at uni. When she’s not sculpting, Alice enjoys singing and songwriting. She’s got a wonderful enthusiasm and love for her art, 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’m a sculpture student currently in my second year at Camberwell, UAL. My practice has always been a bit sporadic – with the constant thread of connection being my sense of humor, and my habit of making elements a little cryptic, often leaving sculptural pieces as an in-joke with myself, and moving recently into outright baffling video works. I also earn sporadic money as a singer/songwriter, pandering to different fandoms at different times, but ultimately it was Destiel that taught me to write about love.

What inspires you?

I look very much to my own experiences, largely being media that I consume – be it an actual television show, a Netflix original, a meme, but then also folktales and Shakespeare, anything that I’ve found funny or engaged with on a more intense level will ultimately end up included somewhere. My music started off literally written for and about fandom, could literally not be divorced from the original content, but in the last few years I’ve moved on to more mythological themes, which are much more socially acceptable for some reason.

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

I’ve gone from singer, to chef, to actor, to comic book artist, to fashion designer growing up. But creativity is a real part in all of those careers, so I knew from early on that the creative process was an innate love. Ultimately it was my parents’ support that meant I could choose GCSEs and A-Level qualifications for purely what I enjoyed, and not what I thought necessary to succeed in a specific career, and I could never get away from Fine Art.

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 always like having humor, if a project isn’t amusing to me in some way then I tend to drop it very quickly and move on to something more entertaining. My art is very self-indulgent, it’s a purely selfish process of ‘what do I want to do?’ and never what I ‘should’ do, because that gets very boring very quickly.

I also like there to be levels – either by different things combining in strange ways, or different intellectual levels to understand something – though I always talk about them on the most accessible level in public, because sometimes a floral plushie stingray pushing a shopping trolley full of tuna is literally just that.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Look at art, talk about art, just sit and work on your practice, and build up a file of images or text that grabs your eye! Even a blog, instagram, any form of documentation of ideas is invaluable because when you are lost you can always look back at something to reflect where you started from. But also, be open minded about everything – having a position is an attractive thing in any discussion, but learning is more important.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual, hetero-romantic… But with the added bonus of not being terribly attached to my gender, but not with strong enough feelings to go through the hassle of talking about pronouns, so I’m just staying under the umbrella of the female binary for now. Which means that yes, still hetero-romantic. I want to lean back into someone with more masculine body temperatures when having a movie-marathon.

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

My field so far has been as a student, and studying any Fine Art at Uni means that absolutely nobody cares as long as anyone involved is a fully informed and consenting adult. Ignorance, yes, because not every student arrives at Uni fully educated about the ace spectrum, but no prejudice. I’m normally quite patient with people worth the time, but I’ve been known to say ‘please Google it, sleep on it, see me in the morning’.

I could write essays on what I’ve seen online, but it’s only ever been observed as petty discourse squabbles. Everyone in direct communication with me has been at worst ignorant, and never malicious unless I already knew they were rotten eggs to begin with, in which case they’d be malicious about any personal information I revealed. So, Tossers.

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

The assumption is either that I have no sex drive and can’t get turned on (which hey, is one hell of an assumption to make after knowing me for the duration of one conversation) or that I am happy to be alone, completely solitary in my existence, for the whole of my life.

It gets so old, so fast, as I’m sure anyone else has said before and will say again. I now just, when asked about my sexuality, say ‘nah’ and make vague shrugging gestures until they take the hint.

The amount of times people have asked ‘do you wank?’. I normally ask ‘Does your mother?’ and go from there.

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

Just remember that any healthy relationship, of any kind, should be based on a mutual trust and respect. If you don’t have that, then nothing will work. But also that you don’t have to know – you can just agree to yourself to do what feels right if and when the time comes. If you want to go on a date, or kiss someone, or just hold hands, or just hang out, then do it, because if you are honest with yourself and the people around you then any crap they give you is their crap, not yours. Don’t play a part and then be confused when you feel like it’s not real, because you can’t make feelings happen, they just do.

One day you might – like I did – find a word on tumblr that resonates with you, and makes you think ‘oh, yes actually, darn, yes very much, the whole of 2010 -15 makes sense to me now, oh gosh, so many interactions could have gone so much better if I knew’. I never would have asked that guy to prom.

Even then, don’t worry about finding a word/label if none of them fit. You are a complete individual. Have a cup of tea. Pet a dog. You’re good.

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

I have a Tumblr where I post music related things at Alicemariemusic, I have a more personal Tumblr where I reblog funny things at Plamplamp.

I also have an Instagram when I remember that photography is fun at Alicemaarie

I also have a YouTube that has some songs, some educational videos, and some art videos at Hitstereo, but you could find it under Alice Marie too.

I have a Soundcloud at alicemarie-e, and my Bandcamp is alicemariemusic.bandcamp.com!

And then, because the social media presence and links never end, I have an official website (shiny, new, never been used) at goodsardine.wixsite.com/alicemarie.

Please, if you have any ideas you want to share for collaboration, music or art or literally anything, I always love to hear from people! Even if you want to chat about Diabetes or having a cleft lip, asexuality or the weather, I’d be happy to see a new name in literally any inbox from any of these sites, except maybe soundcloud ‘cause I’m rubbish at checking that fellow.

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

Interview: Lex

Today we’re joined by Lex. Lex is a wonderful writer who mostly writes fanfiction although they are getting back into writing original fiction as well. When they’re not writing, they love to sing and also write songs. They’re incredibly passionate about their creative endeavors, as you’ll soon read. 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 write fanfiction and am trying to get back into general fiction writing; I have a short story I’ve been wanting to expand for a while now. I also write songs and sing.

What inspires you?

A lot. With music, I’m inspired by lyrics, God, other artists, and strong emotions. Emotions are probably my biggest inspiration since I write to either express myself or the emotions of someone else. With writing other stuff, I’m inspired by life in general and situations I and friends/family have been through. I pay attention to either unique phrases people say or anecdotes about their lives (and even mine) and wind up putting those in the stories I write.

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

I’ve always loved music. When I was younger, I would loudly sing the Gospel songs my mom played in the car (or attempt to; I didn’t understand all the words, which my mom found hilarious); I’d even dream of singing in front of huge crowds. I’m not sure when I started to love writing, though. I remember writing random poems during class in middle school and getting excited whenever there was a creative writing assignment. I guess I have always wanted to be an artist (although I’ve mentally changed career paths many times), but I didn’t really know for sure until college. My passion for music really surged when I joined choir my senior year of high school, and songwriting kinda came along with that. My passion for fiction writing got stronger in college, too.

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 really. I guess the unique features of my art would just be how I tell the stories I write/how I word the songs I sing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop or start now. It doesn’t matter if other people have years of experience in your field; there’s only one you. You have a unique story to tell/work to create, and no one else can do it the way you can. If you have a passion for art that just won’t go away, don’t ignore it. Pursue it. We need more beauty in this world, and you can definitely add to it.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a heteroromantic asexual.

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

Personally yes, but not really in my field. There’s definitely a lack of positive ace representation in fiction, though, which is probably due to ignorance. As far as dealing with that, I spread awareness on my blogs (mainly my ace-centered one). I haven’t written really written anything with ace characters yet, but I’ll be sure to present them positively when I do.

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

I think generally people just expect everyone to either have or want sex at some point in their life. Some of the people I’ve told were shocked and thought that something was wrong in a way because I don’t want sex. It’s like you’re abnormal for not wanting something supposedly everyone wants.

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

Remind yourself that your asexuality is valid, wherever you fall on the spectrum. It’s okay not to want sex. It’s okay if you become sexually attracted to someone later in life. It’s okay for your orientation to fluctuate at times. You don’t have to figure your sexuality out right now. You’re enough. Learn to love and accept yourself for who you are. You matter, and being ace is okay. You’re not broken, and nothing’s wrong with you. You’re just ace, and being ace is pretty great.

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

You can find me on Tumblr at musewriter777 (personal blog) and at theacestofspaces (Christian ace blog I run). My fanfics can be found on fanfiction.net and AO3, both at Musewriter777 (my better fics are on AO3). I haven’t published my songs yet, but following either of my Tumblrs is a pretty safe bet for any updates on that. I also have a personal website that showcases some of the other works I’ve done; you can check it out at lexicolelewis.wixsite.com/muse-writer.

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

Interview: Jo

Today we’re joined by Jo. Jo is a fantastic young writer who is just starting out. She writes fantasy and YA, most of it dedicated to fighting stereotypes. It’s very obvious she’s incredibly enthusiastic and dedicated, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer, mostly in the fantasy and young adult genres, depending on the topic. My topics and characters are oftentimes designed to fight certain stereotypes and beliefs and to normalize things that aren’t talked about as often as they should be.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired both by experiences I’ve had myself in the past such as dealing with depression and things that I don’t necessarily have experience with but think deserves a spotlight. My friends who are incredibly supportive help me stay inspired and motivated.

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

I haven’t always wanted to be a writer. I can’t put an exact time on when the interest arose, but I would estimate around age fourteen (it’s been two years). There have always been books that inspired a yearning in me to create something as meaningful and timeless. What really pushed me to write, though, I think, would be that I wanted to create that which I wanted to read, but couldn’t. For the most part, I only ever saw sexuality and romance given one very specific narrative in literature, and since I was such an avid reader, I wanted what I was reading to reflect me in ways that the books I was reading just didn’t. In the past I looked for validation of who I am by finding myself in the characters I fell in love with, but I never found it. When I became more confident in my identity, I wanted to write them myself, both for myself and for others, so they can see themselves succeed and be happy in literature too.

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 anything of that nature.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep doing what you do, even if you suck. It’s okay to suck at first. Work on your art even when you don’t feel like it, or you’ll stop altogether for a long time, and that’s a hard hole to crawl out of.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m heteroromantic asexual.

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

Not really. I’m young and not published. Perhaps that will change if I ever publish a story idea I have where asexuality and accepting it in oneself is the main topic.

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

For the most part, I’ve only come out as asexual to a group of close, very accepting close friends. The only negative comment I’ve gotten about it, a friend telling me I’d grow out of it when I was fourteen, didn’t bother me a whole lot.

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

It’s okay. No, really. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re not going to be single forever if you don’t want to be because of this. There are days it will absolutely suck to not “get it”, but there’ll be a day when you’re so comfortable with who you are that it won’t bother you at all.

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

Right now, I don’t have anything published or a website. I’m presently working on my first novel, having started in late December and hoping to have the rough draft completed by the end of 2017, at which time I’ll hopefully be able to get beta readers. When I need them, I’ll likely post a request on my Tumblr, blackholeunderyourbed.

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

Interview: Gilbert

Today we’re joined by Gilbert. Gilbert is a wonderfully passionate crafter who loves crochet. He loves to speak about the evolution of handcraft and is incredibly enthusiastic about his art. Gilbert’s energy is positively infectious, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an avid crocheter! Crochet itself is able to convey positivity so well, as an art as well as just simple craft.

What inspires you?

I know some amazing crocheters – mostly through Instagram – who churn out some of the most amazing things in their spare time. I have a local hero near my town who has done some incredible yarn bombs (that is, large crochet instalments in public spaces), she has trees and benches awash with colour and messages like ‘breathe’ ‘you are enough’ and ‘love is love’ – complete with rainbow yarn (a bold move in a conservative neighbourhood, unfortunately it was taken down within days). It reminds me that crochet has a unique role in giving voice to peacemakers and activists: it shouts to the public that we live in the same world as you, and that we care enough about issues to dedicate hours creating something beautiful for it.

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

I never considered art as something could get into before I started crocheting: I picked it up as a hobby for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was my final year of high school at the time so I wanted something that could take my mind away from the stress of finals and big assignments. I also wanted to be constructive during my downtime, and crochet allowed me both of those things – it was the ultimate procrastination. I found myself coming up with some really creative and thoughtful ideas for people, starting from Harry Potter scarves to really personalised gifts that I knew would suit my friends. In the end I noticed that people are so touched by personal gifts, and I love seeing that in my friends. Nowadays I never really need to make birthday presents, if I have enough time and creativity to make something!

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 really. I do make sure that whoever receives my crochet knows that it was made with love 🙂

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would tell young artists and beginner crocheters to make sure you give yourself room for mistakes and for failure, because they are all a part of the learning experience. Lack of skill should never negate the thoughtfulness behind your work!

4oou

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a heteroromantic asexual.

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

Yes indeedy. I have only come out to a handful of friends, they all at some point interpreted it as me being gay, but that I haven’t admitted it to myself yet. With at least one of these friends i got to settle this and reassure them that I really am asexual. The other is really complicated, because this particular friend (who is gay himself) was really accepting and positive at first and we were glad we could come out to each other, respectively. At one point, however, he decided that overstepping my personal boundaries a little was Okay because it’s not like my boundaries Matter because I’m Ace, right? It hasn’t escalated into a serious problem – yet – but it’s very obvious in his body language that he wants me to enjoy his close company. When I next see him I’ll definitely confront him about it, I hope he’ll understand like he did before.

I really hope that fact that I crochet has nothing to do with this trend: the whole narrative of “uh this guy loves crochet and feminine things therefore he’s gay” disgusts me: there is nothing about crochet that is explicitly feminine other than the weight society puts on it.

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

From said experiences above, I haven’t come across many misconceptions other than “do you masturbate? Because asexuals don’t masturbate”. ha ha. I love it how that suddenly becomes a question that is okay to ask. I feel this might be a common one encountered by male asexuals.

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

You don’t need anybody else do validate your sexuality, besides yourself! Also, be careful where you go looking for answers about asexuality on the internet.

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

Unfortunately crochet is not digital, but I do have an Instagram at www.instagram.com/gilb.e/

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