Today we’re joined by Sâmi Mariano Vacari. Sâmi is a phenomenal visual artist who does illustration and animation. They’re currently studying animation at uni. They do some Overwatch fancomics and have an original webcomic entitled Dead Hearts, which is currently on a temporary hiatus while they finish up at uni. Sâmi’s work shows an incredible attention to detail and color, as you’ll soon see. It’s clear they have an incredibly bright future ahead of them. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I love designing characters and digital cut-out animation, but I also do illustrations and comics! I create mostly Overwatch fancomics for my art blog, at least they are the most popular thing I do and I try to keep them frequent. I’m an animation undergraduate in my last year of uni, I’ll be working on my conclusion short film for a year, and I hope I can create something very good to add to my portfolio!
I also have a webcomic project that’s currently on hiatus so I can focus on uni, it’s called Dead Hearts. The main character is an aroace trans woman, and it’s something that doesn’t follow her all the story but it has a big impact on how her life plays. It’s a project I’m hoping to go back to as soon as I can!
What inspires you?
What keeps me going forward is mostly the fact that I see so little of myself in animated TV shows. I’ve seen a growth in them the last years, but I see a lot of ace and non-binary characters alike being portrayed as robots or aliens. Very hard to find them as just common human beings who happen not to have sexual attraction. I try to create stories I would like to see myself.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I grew up with anime, specially magical girl animes. I’ve always loved Sailor Moon, it’s still my number one show! My first serious piece of illustration was a Sailor Jupiter fanart when I was in fifth grade, and I’ve never stopped creating since then. When I discovered I could go to university and get a degree in animation, I didn’t think twice!
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 guess my work has a very cutesy feel to it, my color palettes all have pink in it somewhere. I’m fascinated by that fantasy sunset color palette with a pink-purple-blue gradient so they are pretty recurring in my work.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
I guess, most of all, you need to be having fun with what you’re doing. I see many friends starting out and worrying too much about technique, and I see that hindering them from finding a style they can call theirs. You gotta have a base too but you can’t forget the creativity when creating.
Also, animation has a very interesting concept that is, why is your film important? We are asked this question when presenting ideas to producers and studios. Creating content for others isn’t only you fulfilling your artistic need to share your ideas, but it also has a big social impact when it is experienced by other people, an impact we sometimes undermine. I carry this very close to me when creating my work. What will others experience when they see you work? It can change your perspective.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m pan-demisexual/romantic, I have always been, it’s just easier to put it in words now.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
My animation classmates have been the best. I didn’t disclose me being ace to all of them, but the ones I did, were very understanding. But I also understand they are all pretty much outliers, and many others I know wouldn’t be too welcoming to it.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
I see the whole “humans can’t be asexual, they reproduce, they’re not plants” a very lot and it’s very annoying by the sheer plainness of argument. Also the whole “asexuality is just a phase” be it someone thinking that you’re just a late bloomer or anything else.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Take pride in what you are. It’s you and if you’re ace, it’s great! It’s not just some phase and it’s something very real for many people all around the world.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you, Sâmi, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.