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.

image1

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: J.B.

Today we’re joined by J.B.. J.B. is a wonderful visual artist and writer. J.B. mostly writes but also does a lot of painting, woodburning, and sculpting. J.B. is very into creating, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to J.B. for taking the time to participate in this interview.

endgültiges Cover deutsch 1

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Sometimes I paint, sometimes I burn pictures into wood, sculpt or whatever I can lay my hands on.

Mostly I write.

Not because I chose to, but because I do not really have a choice. If each of my creative urges is a voice, writing has not only a megaphone, it is also standing right next to my ear and at the same time, tapping me on the shoulder. Craving attention like a 4-year old who really, REALLY needs to pee and has been hopping on the spot for the last half hour, but does not dare to go alone.

When I write, I sit in front of the screen and my mind goes dormant. Like someone flipped a switch. Pictures form in front of my eyes, words appear like someone is whispering them in my ear. My hands write on their own. Most of the time I have a rough Idea what I have written. The general idea that character A wants to confront B at a certain place.

How the place looks, the characters look and sound and what is around them, I usually do not notice. It appears like in a dream and flashes away as the scene continues. Characters burst through doors or appear suddenly without me ever thinking about them. Without me planning on further Characters. They just step out of shadows, come in and are active.

I never ask why or how. I just watch, while my mind conjures up the images and my hands write.

Only afterwards, when I read through what I have written and correct, I realize the details I had already forgotten. The cat that streaked round the corner while the characters were talking. The rain that splattered on the floor and sounded like applause. Or how one of the two characters was pausing a moment during talk, coughing dryly and then pulling his hat lower in his face, pressing his thin frame deeper into the shadows.

Details like this just come and go. And when an Idea like that appears, I have the choice to either write it down immediately or wait with the scene repeating in an endless circle in my mind, shoving all other thoughts away until I sit down and write.

That is mostly what I do.

What inspires you?

Everything.

It’ not something I can control. When I am outside and hear a rustle in the leaves, a scene might flash up with ear-splitting loudness. Someone being chased, frantic, hiding. Looking behind himself, breathing hard, eyes almost round with fear.

Why? From what? What goal does he have?

Or…. not.

Might be just a normal bird that I hear. I cannot control it.

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

I don’t know if I could call myself an artist. Is it art, if you do not really have a choice? I don’t think I have a choice if writing knocks me down like this. People sometimes call me an artist. Yet I do not think that I could compare with true artists. Da Vinci, Botticelli, Michelangelo. They made masterpieces. But I can’t do what they can. So no.

I neither see myself an artist, nor do I wish to be one.

But if I could continue writing and have other people enjoy what I write, maybe being able to make a living from it… well. That would be something that I really wanted. Just write and see where the story goes. I know the general path. But I want to know what the details are.

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?

Being shackled to the story. Quite literally.

Signature

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I really don’t know. There are a lot of sayings like “follow your dreams” or “do what you want” or whatever. Most of them are hollow to me. They tell you what to do, yes. But not HOW to.

HOW to pay your rent if you follow your dream but cannot live from it.

HOW to know if what you do really has a future. If you are really good enough or maybe should be honest with yourself and just do it as a hobby because maybe you are good, but not good enough.

HOW to constantly defend what you do from critics and still struggle on, doing good work, believing in yourself against all odds and not to fall into the pit of self-doubt.

I am not that good on the advice part.

Maybe that’s the thing about advice though. There is an uncountable number of them. And maybe we all have to pick the ones that suit us an support us best?

Not really sure about that.

T. Hiddleston craft

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Uff, I am not that good on definitions there. Because I hardly ever think about it.

I see myself neither as male or female, I do not really have the urge to define myself there.

I write what my characters feel, that is enough. I do not think about it for myself and that is perfectly all right with me. Most of the time, sexuality is something that I do not think about for myself. I do not feel important enough to think about it and define myself.

Plus, whenever I try to concentrate on it, my mind taps me on the shoulder and says “while you are focusing on that totally unimportant stuff, let me tell you about this AWESOME idea I have…” and then it is gone again.

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

No. I usually avoid discussions about sexuality and people are usually very quick to spot that I do not want to talk about this. If someone insists, I listen, but I do not discuss it for myself.

A wall works best for me.

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

The most common that I have seen so far? I really don’t know. There are so many things that run nose to nose toward the finishing line like racehorses. Sometimes “That is a lie, you just don’t want to talk about it” is in front, then “special snowflake wants to be important” beats it by a millimetre. Only to be immediately shoved out of the way by “so asexuals have no feelings at all?” And when no one is watching, “things that people dream up in their spare time after they have read stuff on the internet” creeps up from behind.

It is a weird mixture of prejudices and false accusations and media confusion. Mix that with the inability to peer into another person’s mind and heart and maybe throw in a little ignorance and you get a mixture that threatens to explode with things I would never have dreamed about.

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

Again the advice thing. The only thing that I can really say and that served me well is:

Tread carefully and keep your secrets to yourself if you want them to stay secret.

I am comfortable to not talk about this to people and kill the unpleasant conversations quickly.

But that suits me. I think, people need to see what fits them best. Maybe some people are best suited with discussing it until they are sure, maybe they aren’t. Everyone is different after all.

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

That is still pretty difficult, if you do not speak German.

So far, my book has not yet been translated into English. I hope it will be soon. But for everyone who speaks German, my book is called “Der Fluch der Dunkelheit” (The Curse of Darkness)

fb logo

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

Interview: Brenna

Today we’re joined by Brenna. Brenna is a wonderful young artist who is quite versatile. She does visual art, writing, and singing. She’s currently studying art in school and is incredibly passionate, 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 do many arts from painting and drawing to singing- but the one I’m most passionate about is my writing. I even go to an arts high school for it.

What inspires you?

Music usually inspires me, but other times it’s dreams or TV shows, movies or books that I really like.

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

I really got into writing in sixth grade, I loved it and I realised that that’s what I want to do for a living. When I was younger I really wanted to be a vet- then I wanted to be a singer, then I wanted to be an actress, so you can say I’ve always been into art- but it wasn’t until the sixth grade that I was sure of which 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’m not sure if I do- I’m sure if you look intently through my recent works you would be able to find something. I usually write first person from a female protagonists view, that female protagonist is usually quite arrogant and sarcastic. That’s all I can notice for now, but I’m positive that there has to be something else.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

To young aspiring artists: Go out there, experience new things, work on your art- because you’ll never be perfect, there’s no such thing as perfect- but you can pretty well damn try.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as heteromantic, demisexual.

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

I haven’t actually experienced any ace prejudice or ignorance in my field, as I said- those in my field that I interact with all go to the same arts school as I, and so we are exposed to many sexual orientations, many genders, many religions- and so we kinda have to go into everything with an open mind. I say I’m very lucky not to have experienced it in my field.

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

The most common misconception that I’ve encountered is that since you identify as somewhere on the asexual spectrum you are also aromantic. It actually gotten tiring explaining it to people when I tell them that I identify as demisexual and then in later conversations say that I want a boyfriend, they’re always like “oh but aren’t you aseuxal?” Yes, I am- but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel romantic attraction.

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

It’s okay if you don’t understand where you identify on the spectrum- you honestly don’t need to put a label on it, no, or ever. It’s okay if you don’t know why you feel, or don’t feel these things- we don’t know either, the best thing I can tell you is to embrace it and move on with your life, it’s a part of you and you can choose what to do with that knowledge.

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

People can find more of my work on Wattpad at: https://www.wattpad.com/user/JazzHz0o0 but I would advise not reading the stories I wrote before 2016, because they are cringey and make me visably cringe when I read them. But you can do what you want with your life, just don’t say I didn’t warn you. Other than that I am working on another story that will come out soon, because it is almost finished- so look out for that.

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

Interview: Morgan Lees

Today we’re joined by Morgan Lees. Morgan is a wonderful artist who specializes in fantasy art and illustration. They’re have an ongoing comic entitled Corner the Maze, which is delightful urban fantasy about a racing driver who winds up in a different dimension. Aside from the comic, Morgan also does a lot of freelance illustration and has done some theater (including stage combat) in the past. Their work is beautiful and the detail is extraordinary, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

mephoto

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw, paint, write, and do theater – some of those things more than the others. I’ve been focusing primarily on my comic of late, and I’m a freelance illustrator. My comic work is done in pen and ink, and I’ve been working with pencil on toned paper a lot lately for other art. I haven’t done much with theater aside from stage combat lately, but I’m hoping to get into it more again when I have more time (which I’ve been saying for years now, so who knows when that will be). I guess the common thread is that I like telling stories with art in one form or another.

My comic is called Corner the Maze, and it follows the adventures of a racing driver who finds himself inadvertently trapped in another dimension after falling into a strange portal during a race. It ties into the same setting as the books I’m writing, and some of the characters end up appearing in both, but I’m making sure that they both work well as standalone things, too.

What inspires you?

Mostly I have a lot of story and character ideas jostling about in my head, and I want to get those out and in some form where other people can (hopefully) enjoy them. I’m also inspired by music, nature, and rather unpredictable flashes of insight coming from seemingly random sources. So, I guess mostly it’s whatever happens to set my imagination off, which isn’t very predictable.

Roleplaying games have also been a big source of inspiration for me since I was really little. A great percentage of everything I’ve ever drawn has been one of my characters or another, either in pen and paper games or from CRPGs, and that probably had something to do with getting me thinking about characterization and storytelling so much as well.

Stylistically, again with the roleplaying games, I always really liked the black and white illustrations found in the RPG books I grew up with – first edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, and then Middle-earth Roleplaying/Rolemaster – and I’m sure that had some effect on my pen and ink style. Same goes for Choose Your Own Adventure type books.

001

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

I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil, but I didn’t get serious about it until I was eighteen or so. For some reason, both drawing and writing as career options seemed out of reach to me when I was younger, but then I decided that I was going to give it my best shot and see if I could make it work. I was actually more focused on theater (directing and lighting design especially) when I was younger, but the amount of travel that would end up being necessary for that put me off in the end – that, and what I really want to be doing more than anything is telling my own stories. That’s what led me to the comic, and what inspired me to get my writing in shape.

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 sign my work with my initials and the date, but that’s about it.

038

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop practicing. Whenever you’ve got time, as much as you can possibly stand it, practice. When I look back and see the difference between where I am with my work and where I want to be, and look at the people who are where I want to be, the single greatest difference is always that they were more dedicated earlier on. I goofed off a lot when I was a kid and a teenager – there were plenty of whole weeks where I didn’t draw at all. There are lots of different ways to learn, and there’s no one piece of advice there that will work for everyone, but practice is universal.

morganlees_nerevarine
Nerevarine

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic and asexual. I’ve simply never had the slightest sort of romantic or sexual interest in anyone else. It took me an oddly long time to realize that’s not how most people are, and once I realized that, it “only” took me another few years to realize the rest of it.

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

The worst I’ve encountered is people thinking I’m weird, but then, the place I’ve generally spent the most time with other people in my life is in the theater – and it is true that people tend to get less flak for being seen as different there than in some other places. I was also home-schooled until I went to college, so overall I’ve had a lot less opportunity to encounter prejudice than many people. I did deal with some in college, but again, pretty mild and not directed at me (I hadn’t yet quite realized that I was asexual at the time). It made me uncomfortable, but that’s about it.

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

I did get a lot of people telling me I would grow out of it when I was younger (although that was only when I expressed a lack of interest, since I didn’t identify as asexual yet), but nothing in that vein for the last six or seven years. Again, I’m probably lucky with my circle of acquaintances in this regard; they tend to be rather reasonable and open-minded people.

morganlees_shadowofmurder
Shadow of Murder

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

There’s nothing wrong with you, and if you’re happy with yourself, that’s what matters. There’s no one recipe for happiness, so don’t let anybody tell you that there is. You don’t need to have a romantic relationship or have sex to have a great life (although of course neither of those things will stop you from it either), and being unusual isn’t worse in any way, just different.

I wish I had more useful advice, but I just went about happily assuming that nobody else actually cared about those things either until I was already in my twenties, so… yeah. I’m kind of oblivious about things sometimes, especially where people are concerned.

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

My comic can be found at http://cornerthemaze.net/ and updates every Tuesday and Thursday, my illustration portfolio is at http://morganelees.com/ (which is also where my writing stuff will be, when I get any of that up again), and I generally post all my art to my DeviantArt account at http://remmirath-ml.deviantart.com/. I try to keep those all just about as much up to date, but if anything’s going to fall behind, it’s usually DeviantArt.

morganlees_turnaway
Turn Away

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

Interview: Vide Frank

Today we’re joined by Vide Frank. Vide is a phenomenal illustrator from Sweden. They’re part of a group made up of asexual and aromantic individuals. Vide was also on a panel about asexual and aro issues at Stockholm pride. Their work is gorgeous and vivid, evoking an incredible amount of emotion, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

final1-details

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a visual artist, which is a very broad term. I paint and draw both digitally and traditionally but have also dabbled around in sewing, sculpting, writing and jewelry making. I mostly stick to painting and drawing though. I use a lot of different mediums, like watercolor, markers, graphite, oil paint, acrylic paint, colored pencils, photoshop and paint tool sai.

What inspires you?

So many things, like music, movies, books, fanfiction, poetry, photos, drawings, paintings and real life. I’m very driven by my emotions though, so it all depends on how I’m feeling in that moment.

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

I guess I always had this fascination with art, I used to beg my mom to draw things for me and I loved to use my hands to create things. Art has always been a part of my life, although I didn’t really try to improve until I was around twelve, and it wasn’t until I was fifteen that I actually thought of making it into a carrier. I don’t believe enough in myself to actually take that leap though, so I’m studying to become an assistant nurse at a gymnasium in Sweden.

untitled

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 really have a symbol or feature, since I think I would grow tired of it and start to hate it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It’s okay if your art look like crap, your dance can be off or you could have fucked up that seam, and that’s okay. Perfection isn’t necessary, it’s just tiring. Keep practicing, keep making mistakes, keep working and someday someone will say that you did well, and maybe that won’t be enough, but maybe it will. Learn to love the journey, not the result (as cheesy as that sounds).

yvfinal-resized2

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demi gray asexual, which means (according to me) that I need to have an emotional connection to a person to feel sexual attraction to them, but it’s still very rare for me to experience sexual attraction.

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

In my field? No, but that’s mostly because I’m not very open about my “queer-ness” around my art. In other places? Yeah, defiantly. I mostly try to keep a calm and open mind when I meet these people, and try to calmly explain my point of view with examples and such. Most of the time they understand or we agree to disagree.

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

That we don’t have sex or that we just need to find “the one”. Both are complete bullshit, I can have sex with a person and still be ace, asexuality isn’t about our actions, but about our attractions.

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

You don’t have a find a label or figure everything out, it’s okay to just be. If the people around you don’t support you there’s always other people in the world, someone out of the seven billion are going to understand.

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

You can find my art on my Instagram at plantrot:
https://www.instagram.com/plantrot/

Or my portfolio http://vide.teknisten.com/

You can also buy some of my works at my Redbubble: http://www.redbubble.com/people/videfrank
(or contact me at vide.frankh@gmail.com)

tattoo

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

Interview: Mike Crawford

Today we’re joined by Mike Crawford. Mike is a wonderful visual artist from Scotland. He specializes in photography, but he also does a lot of drawing and painting. When he’s not creating visual art, Mike also writes poetry. It’s very clear he enjoys creating, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1424857_orig

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is mostly figurative and realist, and includes such things as life drawing, still life, portraiture and landscape.

I identify as ace, but as yet this doesn’t really make an appearance in my art.

I have had long conversations with ace friends about what ‘Ace Art’ might actually be….whether it might be a political statement about our struggle, or whether there is actually some sort of intrinsic ‘Aceness’ that might be detectable in a person’s paintings.

And also there’s the whole question of ‘Ghetto Art’ i.e. ‘Gay Art’, ‘Black Art’, ‘Feminist Art’, ‘Queer Art’ etc. To me, those forms of expressions can be valuable politically, but I think they raise expectations in the minds of the potential audience, so for instance if I had an exhibition entitled ‘Queer Art’ which was made up of naturalistic landscapes, I can almost hear a viewer saying ‘Oh…this isn’t quite what I expected…’ …so the fact that I’m queer and I make art doesn’t perhaps automatically lead to ‘Queer Art’

So I guess I’m still pondering any ‘ace dimension’ that my work may or may not contain.

6000187_orig

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by the world around me, by places I visit and by people I meet.
I’m also inspired by the artists, poets and photographers I love.

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

Yes, from a very young age I was always drawing or colouring in.

In my teens, I was very fortunate to have an inspiring art tutor at school. He taught me how to use a grid pattern to scale up my vinyl album sleeves into posters, so I spent many happy hours in school copying photos of Bowie, Elton John, Roxy Music and Queen. People began to ask me if I could paint a design on their leather jacket or on a drum kit or the petrol tank of their motorbike and I became hooked on the incredibly social nature of art. I’m naturally shy, but art gave me a position within the group, in the same way as the class clown or sporty person… I was the arty one.

Later on, I went to some evening classes to study colour theory and then after I moved to Scotland to live at Faslane Peace Camp (a community which protests against nuclear weapons), I began to stop using photos and other people’s art as my references and to instead draw the people I was meeting and the landscape around me. This was very liberating as I discovered that I no longer needed to be copying other people’s ideas….that I could be original.

During my time at the Peace Camp, I also studied for a Foundation Art Course, which allowed me to build a portfolio of life drawings etc…and to then apply to Art School.

I then spent the next four years studying intently and have basically never stopped learning ever since.

9503396_orig

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 try to begin every artwork from scratch….from first principles if possible. One of the problems I’ve had with using galleries and agents is that they prefer you to be the guy or gal who paints cottages or stormy skies or clowns or whatever. If a painting sells, they want you paint another 20 exactly the same, because that’s how they make money. I don’t do that and I try never to repeat myself.

I don’t really have any recurring iconography in my work, except to say that I love to paint flowers. But no….not a unique symbol as such.

Many of my favourite artists very much DO have repeated objects and themes in their art and I love it….it just doesn’t happen for me in my own work, but if it works for you, I would absolutely encourage you to explore any and all personal symbolism.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

To always be your authentic self and to get as far away from any form of copying as possible. Try every possible medium you can. You might suck at oil on canvas, but be amazing at lino printing, so give everything a try. And also just have fun!

Something I used to teach my students;

Remember two simple things…’What do I want to say?’ and ‘How do I want to say it?’

…in other words, what do you wish your artwork to convey in terms of meaning, colours, politics etc, and also, which mediums will be best suited to tell your story? And of course as you continually revise your ideas, the mediums and methods can change too, so it’s a constant process…a journey rather than a destination.

dee-river_orig

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Just plain old ace is fine for me, as I’m personally not the world’s biggest fan of the ‘spectrum’ concept.

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

Several years ago I was invited by some gay friends to take part in a local LGBT art exhibition. I submitted a painting, but it was returned to me by the organisers with a note to the effect that ‘asexuality has nothing to do with LGBT’ and that ‘there must be some confusion, so we are returning your artwork’.

In actual fact, what upset me the most was not the ignorance of the organisers, but the fact that several LGBT artists I know were happy to continue to submit work to the show without a word of protest about my poor treatment. That experience taught me a lot.

7471309_orig

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

Most of the misconceptions and negativity seem to come from gay acquaintances, who will say stuff about asexuality being a medical problem caused by a hormone deficiency, or that ace relationships are not genuine or are ‘merely friendships’.

I’m not sure why straight friends have never said any of that stuff to me.

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

I would say that you are in a more fortunate position now than folk in my age bracket, who were struggling with their sexuality in a pre-internet, pre-google world.

I know it’s impossible to imagine now, but in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, there was literally no way to meet other aces, and no coherent way to explain to friends and family who you were as a person. Aces in their 50s and 60s often have failed relationships and marriages behind them, and years of suffering blindly, so I would say to young people ‘enjoy this amazing new community’

still-life-email_orig

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

http://mikeyartwork.weebly.com/.

4204927_orig

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

Interview: Eldervine

Today we’re joined by Eldervine. Eldervine is a phenomenal visual artist who enjoys experimenting with different mediums and styles. She is mostly a realistic illustrator, but occasionally dabbles in impressionism and surrealism. Eldervine does both traditional and digital art. She does sculpture/3D modelling and is currently studying game art/design. She’s a passionate artist and obviously has a very bright future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

amadeus
Amadeus

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’ve been drawing pretty much my entire life- I can’t remember when I started but (looking back) by the time I started school I was pretty well practiced for a 5/6 year old. Since then I’ve dabbled in almost every art form; painting (and then digital painting) was my staple for a long time but I’m pushing myself to sculpt more now.

In style I consider myself a realistic illustrator, even though I slide into impressionism and/or surrealism a bit.

What inspires you?

I’m an unashamed lover of beauty whether it’s found in pleasing shapes, rich colours or lush textures. Animals are the best source for me, particularly horses- they’re made of such beautiful shapes (loads of sine curves) and textures and I was totally that girl at school that always drew horses haha

My first degree ended up being in biological anthropology though (through a weird slide from the art school into the humanities, into the sciences), and that did get me interested in how humans work- that and working at my city art gallery made me more appreciative of human (and cultural) beauty. And it seems weird to me but playing The Sims 3 inspired an appreciation for architecture and landscape. The greatest artistic urge I get remains equine though, so I guess it’s true that old habits die hard.

handsdoodling
Hands Doodling

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

Phew, it’s a bit of a twisty ride!

My obsession with horses lead me into playing a ton of the online text-based horse sim games that abounded during the 90s/2000s; they were good because they were targeted just at people that like horses, unlike the modern ones which also have a clear intended age bracket. Those games all eventually died so I found myself joining a forum that used The Sims 3 (in modded form) as a horse game, with picture shows and breed registries etc. hosted on the forum. That then led me into the world of computer game modding, and I found I really enjoyed retexturing things and became interested in learning how to 3D model.

So starting from last year I’m studying game design/game art, and I think it’s the best career idea I’ve had so far! I previously didn’t think I could make a living doing art, but games is a growing industry with heaps of demand for artists. I’ve also found that games is a field that allows me to apply the biggest selection of my broad interests and skills (I’ve found my anthropology surprisingly relevant too), and offers specialist and generalist opportunities in equal amounts so I’ll be able to try a lot of different jobs and/or specialize in whatever I end up liking the most.

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 know about a unique thing (apart from a signature obvs). I’m guilty of the ol’ scratchy sketching that my new teachers (all animators) hate and are trying to beat out of me haha, but I don’t like leaving much lineart in my coloured stuff anyway. I think I certainly have a style which is very different to what everyone else in my class does- mainly, I think, because my artistic influences come from fine art whereas most of them grew up on comics.

mmsculpture
MM Sculpture

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Stop worrying about having a style, it will happen naturally over the course of your life and if you try and force it you’ll just end up limiting yourself as an artist.

Learn the fundamentals of colour, light and anatomy (yes, I mean realism) BEFORE you start stylizing. If you do it the other way around you’re locking yourself in to only being able to do that style, and often not as well. Anime/manga artists are prone to this; the good ones did heaps of life drawing before translating into the style, whereas you can tell the ones that started out in the style because they do some real janky stuff with anatomy and perspective, and it just doesn’t look as good even when considering style.

Also, be intelligent with your art; always ask yourself why you’re doing something or why something looks good to you. It helps you learn about yourself as well as your craft.

ibex
Ibex

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I knew I was asexual when I was 12, and I’m now 100% again, but there were bumpy bits at 22 and 25 where I thought I could be demisexual (thinking back and being brutally honest with myself, the first boyfriend I wasn’t interested in at all and the second one I thought I had found someone who I could be happy with, but they didn’t seem to get what I said about my sexuality and so I just tried my best to be into him sexually too. Spoilers: didn’t last long with either of them).

As far as the romantic scale is concerned, I have no idea. I do overwhelmingly connect better with women than (heterosexual) men, but I honestly don’t know what exactly the difference is between a close friendship and a platonic romantic one. Because I seem to be missing something, my current guess is that I’m aromantic as well. xD

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

I’ve only mentioned asexuality to a few friends so far in the games field, so I’m going to answer from all the fields I’ve dabbled in.

I am conventionally attractive, and my body developed early- my breasts were already fully developed and large at 12. Both things I have had people try to use as evidence that I cannot possibly be asexual, despite my pointing out that what feelings they get from my body are the results of their sexuality. (That and breasts are not actually sexual organs, they’re just sexualized in many cultures).

Apart from that, whenever I do mention it (which isn’t often) people tend to go “uh” and then gloss over it, clearly not understanding/not believing but not wanting to make more of a deal out of it. Which is fine by me actually, except I’m pretty sure my parents still have their fingers in their ears (some crossed) and are looking the other way as well. (I’ve definitely heard the “you just haven’t found the right person yet” line).

yuki
Yuki

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

Apart from the binary fission joke (which every asexual gets I think) and the one where people get their sexuality mixed up with yours, that asexuality is due to trauma.

I did actually have panic attacks – with my first boyfriend, the first week after we became official I couldn’t eat anything or I’d throw it up. Doctor gave me meds to calm the acid in my stomach and then I was fine. With the second boyfriend I woke up one day in abdominal agony, shaking and sweating (making it rain, but not in a good way!) but as soon as he called the paramedic hotline and I was talking and joking to the lady on the line I was better- when doctors later examined me they found absolutely nothing wrong. I had another exactly a week after (and I still feel awful about this one) where we had finished making out for a bit and he went to start on lunch (or something, can’t remember) and he came back to ask me something, and as he sat down next to me/leaned over me I suddenly felt so ill, had to bolt to the bathroom- didn’t quite make it- and was ridiculously, violently sick everywhere.

It was at this point that my mother helped me set up 6 months of therapy with a well-reputed sex therapist. xD Who was actually really lovely, and I enjoyed those sessions with her! It was really nice to have talks about sex that weren’t charged with expectations, with someone who was relaxed and had actually studied sexual health, critiques of sex ed, etc. She didn’t believe though that anyone with any hint of sexual need was asexual (and I did say that I was fine to have sex with myself occasionally) so I didn’t really get the benefit of that discussion. She also thought that my aversion to men (as she saw it- honestly I think guys being the only issue was because no lesbians ever hit on me haha) was due to my developing early and being sexualized by others before my mind was caught up. That boys would pretend to be friends with me because I had the big boobs, she said, lead to me linking sexual desire with dishonesty and so I distrusted it. Now, I still think it’s a really interesting idea and I do wonder if my sexuality would’ve expressed any differently if a)I got boobs later and b)if the world/how we raise boys was different. It’s been a long while now though and I’ve continued thinking about it and reflecting on myself, and while I do think I am put off a lot by how the world at large treats sex and sexuality (and women), I think 13 year old boys being self-centered pricks triggering asexuality for the rest of my life is giving them rather a lot of credit!

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

I used to get so stressed when I was a teenager because I was taking on everyone’s expectations about me and my future, and felt that a relationship and sex was just going to happen to me and I had no control over anything. Don’t stress- I can’t talk for everyone, everywhere in the world or in every situation, but at least in my case, the only thing that was keeping me from feeling secure and in control was me thinking that I wasn’t. Hopefully, this can serve as a reminder for someone else in a similar situation. You don’t have to do shit if you don’t want to. If you’re not in a similar situation, don’t be scared to go looking for help to get that control. It exists.

Having said that, don’t be scared to revisit what you think and try working yourself out all over again- you are what you are, and labels are tools that we can use to try and make more sense of ourselves, for us and for others, but remember that they are tools crafted from an imperfect world and they are clumsy.

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

My Tumblr that I set up to share my game art/schoolwork is eldervine.tumblr.com (you can also find my Twitter through there, which I use to post arty stuff, game stuff, school stuff, news stuff and feminist rants haha)

If you’re interested in seeing the Sims 3 horse art I did when I was a part of Equus-Sims, you can have a look at eldervinefields.tumblr.com (it’s sadly not active anymore but all my stuff, including mods, is still there).

doodle
Doodle

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