Interview: Cassandra Wolfe

Today we’re joined by Cassandra Wolfe. Cassandra is a phenomenal artist jack of all trades. She’s predominantly a fantasy writer who is working on a novel that sounds absolutely fascinating. When she’s not writing, Cassandra enjoys photography, particularly wildlife. She’s incredibly passionate, 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 bit of a jack of all trades really but my main focus at the moment is my writing (funny considering I’m trained as an art teacher). I work mainly in the fields of urban fantasy. I am currently working on the final drafts of what I hope to be my first novel featuring a bunch of werewolves living in modern day Australia along with a few short stories that I’m working on getting published in some online anthologies.

Outside of writing I’m trained in painting but I find that these days most of my work tends to utilize photography as a medium, with wildlife being one of my favourite subjects. I’ve also dabbled in both ceramics and sketching.

What inspires you?

I get most of my inspiration from the natural world and folklore. I grew up in a family that loved nature so I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time in the African wilderness which made me fall in love with the wonder that is wildlife. There’s a certain thrill that comes with getting up close to wild animals and it hasn’t faded now that I’m dealing with kangaroos instead of springbok. I’m rather proud of the fact that I can and have gotten within meters of hartebeest, bat-eared foxes, snakes and lizards. Reptiles are my absolute favourite subjects to shoot simply because they’re so chill that it makes approaching them a piece of cake.

The folklore that inspires me comes through mainly in my writing where it combines with my love of the natural world in the form of critters that are closer to that world than most people are. I tend to include a lot of shape shifter lore in my work and the fae are never far behind! I also enjoy including aspects of my religion into what I write in terms of how I shape the magic and witchcraft that is 99% guaranteed to be a part of my fictional work.

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

I was the kid who always wanted to sit down and write stories when asked what I wanted to do; it used to drive my sister up the wall. I actually entered a writing competition when I was pretty young and got to meet a whole bunch of authors at the close of it which helped drive my passion even if my story for it wasn’t what you’d call great. I still own the signed copies of one of Fiona McIntosh’s series and every time I feel disheartened by my writing I find reading that ‘keep writing’ on the front page keeps me going. Reading that little handwritten quote inspired me to be published one day when I was all of ten years old and that dream has yet to die on me.

My passion for Visual Arts came later in life even if, like most kids, I liked to draw when I was young. I actually originally planned on going into the equestrian industry with hopes of training race horses one day and even got a job as a groom at a show yard but unfortunately I had a bit of a tough time of it there. I ended up being rather over worked and on top of a couple of injuries I received I was slowly wearing my body out. I found that at that time the one thing that got me through it all was my art. I was doing some writing at the time but what really distracted me from my sore legs, ankle and back was painting. I bought a couple of canvas boards and some acrylic paint and Bob’s your uncle, I was falling in love with art all over again.

When I finally accepted that working in the equestrian industry wasn’t going to be possible going into art was the obvious choice. And since I had no desire to try and live purely off of my art I felt that being an art teacher was a perfect fit for me.

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 so much in my drawings and photographs per say but I do have a few in my writing. One of the big things is ‘circles’, I love having little tidbits here and there that circle back and link to another part of the story. Half the time they’re completely irrelevant to the plot and very subtle in their implementation but I just love including them. Eyes would another one, I fully believe that eyes are the window to the soul and as such the eyes of my various critters tend to tell a tale in themselves. It’s one of the reasons why all of my shifter characters retain their human eye colour when in animal form.

On a larger scale you can expect to see a bunch of diversity in what I write, half of my characters end up being some version of queer (often less well known sexualities) and I try to limit the amount of cis, straight, white males in my writing since they’re over-represented in fiction.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to experiment; try different mediums and genres, play around, try something that might not work for the hell of it. It’s the only way to grow no matter what your field is. And above all, persevere. It doesn’t matter if what you made didn’t come out the way you wanted it to, you still made it and the next time it will be even better. Even your worst mistake is better than not having tried in the first place.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demisexual and homoromantic.

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

Most people haven’t heard of it to be honest, I’ve only heard it mentioned once. That time there was a bit of confusion about it but I didn’t exactly feel comfortable explaining more since I was just a prac student at the time. As a whole the Australian education system is generally anti-LGBTQIA+ with a recent program designed to teach high school students about the various genders and sexualities and why it’s wrong to discriminate being muzzled and defunded by the government over fears that it was sexualizing children. I find that being an art teacher makes it easy enough to get around that prejudice however as half of the artists I teach experienced some form of discrimination.

I haven’t really encountered anything in terms of my writing but if I get published it’ll only be a matter of time considering Wolf Moon and its sequel currently feature at least two lesbians, an ace-aro, and two non-binary folk.

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

That it’s the same as being straight. That’s the big one online at the moment and it drives me demented considering that most of the people spouting it refuse to be swayed from their position by the experiences of actual ace and aro people. It’s especially frustrating because of the impact it has on the ace (and aro) communities as both are made to feel unwelcome in both straight and LGBTQIA+ spaces.

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

Ignore the current online discourse; it’s not reflective of real life LGBTQIA+ spaces at all. Most of the people in those spaces have no issues with aces or aros and those who do aren’t worth giving a damn about if you ask me. Whatever your orientation you are valid, it doesn’t matter if things change down the line or if you don’t have the exact word to describe your orientation, you and your experiences remain valid. Just hold your head up high and be proud of who you are.

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

Those interested in my writing can find it at http://cassandrawolfe.tumblr.com/ I tend to post drabbles, and writing advice there as well as keeping people updated on the progress of my bigger works there. My art can be found at http://thepaintedwolfe.tumblr.com/ with the vast majority of it being wildlife photography.

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

Interview: Clara Quinion

Today we’re joined by Clara. Clara is a phenomenal science fiction writer who is quite prolific. To date, she has written three novels, a number of short stories, and some poetry as well. It is quite apparent that she has an incredibly bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write science fiction. Also bits of art, photography, and craft.

What inspires you?

Everything. I’m a highly sensitive introvert with synesthesia. I take in more sensory impressions than most people, spend a long time mulling them over, making connections, and come out with some interesting thought-experiments.

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

I used to draw all the time when I was a kid. During my teens I got more into photography, and thought that would be my career. That didn’t work out. I got into writing by serendipity: having failed to get into any arts courses at university, I applied for a bunch of other creative courses through clearing, and got into an English with Creative Writing degree.

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 write in a multiverse called The Sustained World: all worlds capable of sustaining intelligent life lined up, separated by the Void, yet transversible. The denizens of The Sustained World are called Eltoids, which is a wider definition than humanoid, and means creatures capable of intelligence, communication, and manual dexterity, the symbol of which is a three-noded triangle. I’m also working a lot with black crow imagery: in The Sustained World, the Reapers who take the spirits of the deceased to the Void take the shape of crows.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do your own thing. Not what’s popular. Not what you think will sell. Not what everyone else is doing. Your own thing. You don’t have to be the best at your medium. Being authentic is much more important.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual and biromantic/panromantic. And queer, as far as I think that gender roles are arbitrary rubbish.

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

Nothing comes to mind. In the past I haven’t actually spoken much about not wanting to have sex. Just kept quiet and nodded along when people bring such things up. I have a pretty filthy sense of humour and I don’t mind talking about sex at all, but I always get uncomfortable if I see sexual imagery.

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

Not directly, but I feel that it’s been indicated to me that being sexually active is like a further step in developing towards adulthood. Probably by the same sort of people who think getting drunk is a sign of maturity. Knowing yourself and what you like and don’t like is a great step in your development.

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

There is nothing wrong with you. Sex is not a fundamental need like eating and sleeping. It’s more like an interest. I have no interest in sex just as I have no interest in sports. We are all different, and that’s what makes us beautiful. Do your thing, and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re wrong because you don’t like what they like.

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

http://thesustainedworldatransverse.tumblr.com/ and www.facebook.com/ClaraQuinionWriting

Thank you, Clara, 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.

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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.

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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.

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Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I 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.

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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.

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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’

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

http://mikeyartwork.weebly.com/.

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

Interview: Edea

Today we’re joined by Edea. Edea is a wonderful visual artist who is most passionate about photography. When she’s not out capturing the world in pictures, Edea also does a little visual art. She prefers working in digital media, but does dabble in traditional media as well. She’s an incredibly dedicated artist, 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.

My primary art form is photography actually but I also enjoy drawing very much too. Where photography is more seriously performed (school, courses etc.) drawing is more of a hobby really. Both I do more in the digital field but I also once in a while use traditional ways of creating photos and illustrations.

I also write a little but not very well, it’s just never been as natural as for example drawing.

What inspires you?

Other people for the most part. Although, this depends on which one I’m doing. When I draw its mostly other people’s art that motivates me to draw myself. When it comes to photography it’s more likely that the moment I’m in inspires me to take the shot. I see something pleasing so I take a photo of it.

Also my family is a big motivator; all my siblings are very talented musically, one of them even artistically so they always make me strive for better art.

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

To be honest I’ve always drawn but photography became a part of my life when I got depressed in high school. It was a way of releasing stress; beauty has always had a positive effect on me.

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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?

Not really, but I often use black and a vivid shade of red (blue) in my paintings. They are very recognizable – or at least that’s how I like to think about it-.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t let other people tell you that you can’t improve. Do you! Try things that seem difficult. Challenge yourself.

And please do not worry about likes/follows/reblogs. They are not that important, the main thing is that YOU are happy with what you’re doing.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a biromantic asexual.

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

Well, I don’t talk about it that much but when I do people mostly tell me how sad things must be for my boyfriend and that they couldn’t be with someone like me. Many have also told me to get “professional” help.

I’m bad at ignoring it but also too fed up to educate everyone on the issue. Mostly it gets to the point where I have to but sometimes people who have no will to even try to understand just make me so angry that I leave the matter be.

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

That one is somehow sick or that too immature and that’s why they identify as asexual . Often people also think that one is incapable of love.

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

If you have somebody that you can trust, then try to talk with them if you’re insecure or afraid. It might take some time that you yourself are comfortable with who you are so in the meantime try to make things as easy as possible. Just remember, you aren’t broken, there’s no need to ‘fix’ your sexuality.

It’s going to be okay.

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

The most active I’m on Twitter, Patreon, and Instagram.

But you can also follow me on DeviantArt, YouTube, and pixiv.

Oh and Tumblr too! I’m always happy to talk with you about art and everything else so don’t hesitate to contact me!

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

Interview: Keelan

Today we’re joined by Keelan. Keelan is a wonderful visual artist who hasn’t met a medium he doesn’t like. Right now, he’s focusing mostly on ace pride/positivity and autistic pride/positivity, both of which are greatly needed in today’s world. His work is so beautiful, brimming with color and life, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is mostly fanart, sketches and positivity/pride drawings. I have also done a bit of costume design and costume making for some local theatre. I’ve experimented with a variety of mediums such as oil paint, acrylics, chalk/charcoal, photography and ink + bleach but I mostly stick to pencil and digital drawings because it is what I am most comfortable working with, and what I have the most access to. In the past year or so my art has been focused mostly on asexual/a-spec and autistic positivity because they are both important parts of my identity and I want to express that and my love for the two communities. I’ve been drawing with pencils for a long time, but digital art is still very new to me because I only started exploring it last year.

What inspires you?

Other artists and their work are a huge inspiration to me. Seeing the beautiful work other artists create inspires me so much and motivates me to keep on practicing and improving. Sometimes they inspire me to try new things as well. I probably wouldn’t have begun to explore digital art if I had not seen and been inspired by the progress of other artists on social media. I am also inspired a lot by the communities I am a part of, such as the online asexual and autistic community. They have given me the confidence and inspiration to express myself more through my art and take pride in my identity through it.

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

I’ve wanted to be an artist ever since I was little, and I began to put effort into learning and improving my art when I was around eight and wanted to be able to draw my original character properly. That goal from when I was a kid has been motivating me for years to keep on trying. Unfortunately, because my main focus was being able to draw a character that meant that for years I didn’t explore anything outside of drawing people in pencil and pen. I only began to pick up exploring other things such as colour and different mediums when I chose to do Art in GCSE when I was fifteen. Even though my career goals are a little different from when I was younger, I still want to continue being an artist as a hobby.

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 used to have a habit a few years ago, of signing all my art with my initials. I don’t do it as often anymore; however, I try to keep it up (inconsistently) with any art I post online. In all my autistic art I make an effort to include the neurodiversity symbol; a rainbow infinity symbol.

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Dai Li Agents

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep on trying. It can be difficult and very frustrating but the thing about art is that you are always learning. Even those artists who seem to have mastered it all are still learning and making mistakes and improving. Art takes practice and time so its fine if you struggle with and take a long time to learn something (such as how to draw hands or animals). Looking back on your old art might make you cringe but that’s only proof of your progress. Its proof that you have grown a lot and will probably only continue to grow and become more skilled.

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Proud Ace

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am panromantic asexual, though I also identify with demi-romantic.

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

I have encountered a little. In my life offline I experience it less because not as many people know I am asexual. I have received some ignorant and slightly insulting comments from people who do know, or from people who don’t know I am asexual but have heard of it. It always hurts and frustrates me a bit to hear it. I tend to either speak up about it or let it slide depending on the situation and how well I know the person. I don’t handle confrontation well so I admit I tend to avoid it even when it might be best to speak up.

I have definitely experienced more prejudice and ignorance online. I am fairly open about my sexuality online and I post most of my asexual positivity art on my blogs and it has caused me to receive some unpleasant comments as a result. I find it is best to delete the messages, block the sender and not let it bother me. In fact it usually motivates me to draw even more ace positive art.

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

That asexuality is just a lack of interest in having sex or a form of celibacy. It’s a misconception that frustrates me a lot because I have seen it be used against asexual people to invalidate them or make incorrect claims based on that misinformation. It is also, I suspect, where the comments from my family that I “just need to meet the right person” or that I am a “late bloomer” come from.

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

You aren’t broken and you are not alone. There is nothing wrong with being asexual and there is a wonderful community out there for asexual and aromantic people. It’s okay if it takes you a long time to come to terms with being asexual and it’s okay if you aren’t sure of your orientation.

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

I post a lot of my art on my Tumblr main: keelan-666.tumblr.com under the tag #keelan-art and on my side blog: autistic-space-dragon.tumblr.com under the tag #space-dragon-doodles. However neither blogs are purely art blogs so a lot of other stuff is posted there too. I also have an Instagram: keelantheace.

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Ace Positivity Post

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

Interview: Lisa

Today we’re joined by Lisa. Lisa is a phenomenal hobbyist who loves to draw and take pictures. Her photography is beautiful, showing everyday life and various scenes she comes across. For drawing, Lisa mostly does illustration. She works with both digital and traditional medium. Lisa is an incredibly enthusiastic artist with a creative soul, 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 someone with a lot of hobbies who takes some of them a tad too serious. First of all I draw a lot on paper and digitally but I’ve experimented with acrylics, watercolor, oil paint, clay and probably a lot more things. I tend to stay with illustration though, because, well, it’s in my comfort zone. And then there’s the photography thing. I try to take my camera anywhere I can and usually end up taking lots of photos, sometimes even with good result. I’m also mostly interested in street photography. I also enjoy learning about the technical aspects of optics and photography.

What inspires you?

For photography of course other photographers (on Flickr, Instagram etc.) but also the places I go to and the architecture of the city I’m visiting that day, although I don’t feel like I have the right lens for architectural photography though. (Lenses are insanely expensive, did you know that?)

As for my art, well, other artists of course! Following a bunch of artists (pros or not) has helped me grow a LOT. Also seeing art from my friends all the time motivated me because it made me want to improve.

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

I was in kindergarten and in class, minding my own business and enjoying myself with a coloring book when I overheard some girls say to each other that I was bad at coloring. I was so upset that from that day on I decided to practice drawing and I basically never stopped. (don’t worry though, I take criticism well these days) There was a period of a year or so that I was determined to go to art school as well, but my fear of financial instability eventually creeped in and I convinced myself to choose another career.

I only ever started photography when I decided to buy a DSLR because some of my high school friends had one at that time (it was also a trend I believe). But being extremely competitive by nature when it comes to these things, I wanted to make sure I was better at it than them so I learned about photography theory for two months before finally buying the camera. (I had some money saved up from my job, luckily)

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 think I have any to be honest!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep doing what you love and don’t beat yourself up over your mistakes. You will improve and learn new things your whole life which is something you should be excited about. Treat art like a lifelong adventure! 🙂

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an asexual and that’s all I know. I guess I’ve had crushes on all kinds of people but I never wanted it to get serious. (commitment issues, probably? : ))

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

Well I wouldn’t know since most people don’t know. Or rather: I talked about it to some of my friends but some of them don’t seem to take it serious at all or don’t even believe it exist. I even have one friend who mocked me publicly a few times which was very painful. She is still very dear to me though, but it kind of made me wary. I’m not planning on ever speaking ‘irl’ about my asexuality again because I’m uncomfortable with it now. It’s just a tiny inconvenience in my life and we all have to live with those, right?

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NGE

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

That asexuality is just a medical issue that should be able to get fixed with the right treatment.

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

Take your time with it I guess! I’m still struggling with it myself so I wouldn’t know what else to say other than, well, there’s more people out there going through the same thing so you’re not alone!

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

I post my photography (and sometimes some stupid sketches) on my Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lisnano/

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Yael

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

Interview: James

Today we’re joined by James. James is a phenomenal visual artist and writer. He draws and takes amazing photographs, capturing the complex beauty of the world with still images. He also draws people and has such a talent for capturing emotion in his art. James also has a passion for writing and aspires to be published one day. It’s very obvious he’s an incredibly passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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December Morning

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is quite varied, I think. I am both a visual artist and a writer, and I occasionally dabble in photography as well. The style and mood of my art changes with my own mood and with the things happening in my life.

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Life

What inspires you?

The world around me. For all the ugliness in the world, there is also joy and beauty and happiness, and I try to capture that in my art. Or, occasionally, I’ll try to capture the ugliness. It really depends what I’m trying to convey.

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So Depression Fucking Sucks

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

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, and it was encouraged by my family. I’ve never felt as though I was good enough to make a career out of it, but it’s one of my favourite hobbies. I do want to be a published author one day, though I am well aware of how difficult it is to get there.

Being autistic, art is a great way for me to convey my emotions without struggling to use words

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Tumblr 3 Year Anniversary Pajamas
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Boy Version

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?

Well, I’ve tried a few different signatures. I’ve tried using my Tumblr URL, I’ve tried using an icon to represent my Tumblr URL as well. But then I’d change my URL, so it was all kind of useless. Recently I’ve started signing my work with my actual signature instead.

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Aesthetic Picture of Goldfish Crackers

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t give up. Even when you think you’ll never be as good as anyone else, keep going. Stop comparing yourself to others and instead compare your progress against where you started.

When you think you’re finished with a drawing, keep going. There’s always room for improvement, even when you can’t see it. Don’t stop until you’re truly satisfied.

If you look back on your work and hate it, that’s okay. That’s even good. If you hate it, you’re seeing all the places you went wrong, and now it’s time to fix those mistakes. Make it better. Make it something you’re proud of.

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Dan Howell in a Squid Suit and Fishnets

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a transgender biromantic grey-ace. I used to think I was aro-ace, and identified that way for almost a year before getting a crush on two boys at once. It was quite the sexuality crisis, as I hadn’t had a crush since about ten years previously.

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Okanagan Lake, British Columbia in the Fall

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

No one knows what ‘asexual’ means in my town. I’ve gotten very used to explaining what it is. I say, “I am attracted to any gender romantically, but none sexually.” That seems to explain it well enough to satisfy their curiosity, even if it is not the full story.

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The Sun as Seen from Behind a Tree

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

Everyone assumes that just because I am not attracted to anyone sexually, I must not want sex. Mostly, I am indifferent, but it’s annoying when people assume I won’t understand sex jokes or read smut or have anything to do with the subject at all.

Additionally, I’ve been asked if my parts work. Generally, I’m in a good mood when asked this, so I will calmly explain what asexuality actually is. If i were in a bad mood, however, I might just ask if their parts work.

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Night Sky Between Trees

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

It’s okay to be asexual. It doesn’t mean that you’ll be alone forever, or that you can’t satisfy your partner or make them happy. You will find that person one day, and they will love you for who you are and they will respect your sexuality.

And it’s okay if you don’t want to have that person, too. If you’re happy on your own, there is absolutely no reason you should go out of your way to change that, no matter what anyone else says or does.

A lot of the asexual community is very out and proud in visible ways, like making bracelets or drawing pride flags, or wearing ace rings. You don’t have to, if you don’t want to. Being asexual is a part of you, but it’s not a part you have to flaunt if you don’t want to flaunt it. You don’t need an ace ring, or a pride flag, and you don’t even need to come out, either, if you don’t want to. Just be yourself, and you will be okay.

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Nat

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

You can find me on Tumblr at jamesisagiantpeach and at persadiala, and on FanFiction as Persadiala

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Jasmine Cephas Jones as Peggy Schuyler Lineart
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Dan Thumbs Up

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