Interview: Kris

Today we’re joined by Kris. Kris is a phenomenal filmmaker who specializes in short films. She has done both narrative films and documentaries. Currently working on a feature length script as well as a webseries, Kris is an enthusiastic and dedicated filmmaker who has an incredibly bright future ahead of her. 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 filmmaker. These days that is mostly writing and directing, though when friends have projects on the go sometimes I’ll produce or be director of photography. While most of my films are fiction, I do the occasional documentary when the right story presents itself. To date I’ve done exclusively shorts. I do really enjoy the medium of short film, the challenge of getting an audience hooked, engaged, and happy with the resolution all in 10-15 minutes is very satisfying to me. Lately though I’ve been branching out. I’ve got a feature length script that I’m working on, and also a 9-episode web series that I recently started to write. I also do a bit of photography, but that is much more as a hobby to entertain myself.

What inspires you?

Life. The world. When I first started taking photographs as a teenager it was all about looking at the light, looking at the world and thinking, “wow” and wanting to capture it. When I became a storyteller, it was sort of that, but with people. I love being out in the world – at a coffee shop, at a museum, at a park – and just watching people, listening to how they talk to each other, seeing what kinds of things make them go “wow.” I love playing the what’s your story game. Seeing someone, especially when they do something unexpected, and thinking who are you, and what’s going on with you that made you do that. And because I make fiction I can just make up an answer.

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

I always wanted to be behind a camera. I can remember the first time I ever took a photograph. It was with my Dad’s big heavy SLR shooting slide film. I still have that slide in a box in my attic. There was always art going on in my family when I was a kid, but I can’t draw so it started out as a way to make a picture. But then it became a way to capture a bit of the world and share it with people. And then I went from photography to video in college because it seemed like a better way to make a living.

I have always been creative, but I don’t think it’s accurate to say I always wanted to be an artist. I loved having a camera in my hands, I loved making things. But for 20 years the things I was making professionally I didn’t consider artistic. I was making training videos and other corporate/industrial stuff. But after a while I thought, I want to tell my own stories. I started doing film as a hobby. Getting my friends together and goofing off in my back yard, or making silly videos of my dog. The more I did it the better I got until I thought, you know maybe I could do this creative stuff for real. Now I’m a professor and it’s part of my job description to keep making films. It is possibly the coolest thing ever.

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 went through many years where my dog would get a role, or at least a cameo in most of my films. Usually one of the extras would be walking her. She died while I was in film school though, so in my thesis film there’s just a photo of her. My new dog isn’t trained well enough yet, so for the time being it’s likely to still be pictures of Blue hiding among the set dressing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Ira Glass has the best advice, which is to make a lot of work, especially if you feel like the work you’re making isn’t good enough. It will never get good enough without a boatload of practice. And that’s true no matter what kind of art you do. Also, it’s important to get out in the world and have a life. My students often ask me if they should go to film school and I always tell them not right away. Go and experience a bit of life first because that’s what’s going to give you your stories to tell.

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Sarah and Esther working on the step afternoon

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and aromantic.

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

I haven’t. On set we’re busy working and it would be unprofessional to be discussing our sex lives. And it’s really easy to be invisible as an asexual, which is both good and bad. I am unlikely to get harassed on the street because you can’t tell by looking. I’m not holding hands with the wrong person or whatever. People will assume you are like them until proven otherwise (about all sorts of things) so if I don’t bring it up it doesn’t come up.

Lately I’ve been realizing that invisibility is also bad. That it has a lot to do with why I spent decades trying to be something I’m not. Why it wasn’t obvious to me that there was nothing wrong with me. So I’ve started kind of coming out at work, identifying myself as a queer filmmaker. Universities tend to be supportive of that kind of thing though so nobody has given me a hard time about it. Maybe it would be better to battle the ignorance if I identified as an asexual filmmaker, but a) I don’t really have the energy to have to define it every time I say it, b) it’s not actually my colleagues’ business what flavor of not-straight I am, and c) I would really like to broaden the definition of queer film and queer filmmakers. We shouldn’t have to only tell coming out stories or dying of AIDS stories. I should be allowed to tell whatever stories I want and still be free to be myself.

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

The common problem is that it’s not a word your average straight person knows. We come so far down on the alphabet soup of the acronym that people give up trying to figure out what all the letters mean before they get to us. So if I use the word then I’ve got to explain it and then you get that little head tilt of “huh, I didn’t know that was a thing.” And if I don’t actively explain it then the misconception is she’s just single and eventually Mr. Right will come along and solve that problem. Or, among my sister and the rest of the lesbians in my home town, then Ms. Right will come along. But nobody ever thinks she’s single and that’s how she’s happy being.

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

There is Nothing Wrong with you. Many people won’t get it, but they don’t have to. You just be you and they can figure themselves out. For me the best part of being asexual is that nobody else really has to get it. The only people who need to understand the details of my sex life are the people involved in it, which, by definition, is nobody. All the well-meaning but annoying people who insist that there is someone out there for you, you can feel free to ignore them. Unless you actually want that, some asexuals do and that’s fine, you be you. But be unapologetically you. You don’t owe anything to anyone else.

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

If you’re interested in my work my company website (https://heronmedia.wordpress.com/ ) is the best place for that. New work has images and trailers, when things are on the festival circuit I keep that up to date on screening locations and times, and when they finish the festival run I put them up entirely.

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

Interview: Jonah S

Today we’re joined by Jonah S. Jonah is a wonderful artist who specializes in film and music. As a dedicated filmmaker, they enjoy making short films and do a lot of editing and directing. When they’re not working on film, Jonah also enjoys creating music and plays a variety of instruments. They have an admirable amount of enthusiasm and love for art, as you’ll 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.

My favorite medium to work in is film. I love editing and writing, but I have also directed a few short films. I’m still working to develop a distinct style of film, but I pay a lot of attention to the color palettes of my work, as I feel they are just as important as the story itself to the work as one cohesive unit.

I have played classical piano for quite some time, but I have recently gotten into writing electronic songs in Ableton Live. This past summer I released my first album, Songs For Summer Days, in which I sampled sounds from commonplace objects and made a song out of them every day. I also play ukulele for the band Maniac Foxy, but we’re still working on writing songs to perform.

What inspires you?

As a current environmental science major, I’d have to say that nature is a big inspiration for everything I do, from film to music to (the very occasional) visual art.

For each film project I work on, I seek out usually one or two specific genres or artists to sort of guide the visual development of the film. I usually end up using this music to score the film in the end! For example, my first film “La Vie En Rose,” is inspired by French new wave films, so I scored it with some avant-garde jazz, which I thought is pretty much the musical equivalent of the new wave’s freeform-ness. Another project I directed, “Run For Your Life,” has politics at the center of the narrative, so it draws heavily from anarchist folk-punk music like Defiance, Ohio.

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Cliche

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

I work in film because it’s an intersection of basically every art form, so I don’t have to choose one to work in! There’s really no more to that, I’ve just always been interested in film.

My interest in music is more complicated than that, but I think that it stems from the fact that my grandmother is an extremely talented soprano singer who used to perform in operas and the Houston equivalent of Broadway. As a result, I’ve grown up surrounded by quite a lot of music.

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’ve tried to have an extra wear my red hoodie that says “Vampire Weekend” in the background of every film I’ve made. I haven’t kept up with it but it’s there sometimes!

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you’re entering film, don’t compromise your vision to accommodate the limiting standards that the film industry has put in place. Retain a clear divide between the art that you do for yourself and any professional film experience (internships, PA jobs, etc.). That way, you’ll gain a lot of experience while not succumbing to the limitations of mainstream film.

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Mercury Bob

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and I prefer not to specify a romantic orientation (I’m like almost aro though).

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

I haven’t encountered any in the film or music scenes, but that would be because I’m just not that involved publicly. I do know that there’s a lot of pressure on writers to introduce romantic subplots into their screenplays, and I tried that a few times, but eventually I was like “I am never doing this again”.

Additionally, there is a severe lack of asexual representation in mainstream media (along with nonbinary representation), so I hope to help remedy that.

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

I’ve heard a lot of really nasty rhetoric coming from aphobic people on Tumblr who post about “ace discourse” but I don’t really want to go into that.

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

Someone once told me that if you think you aren’t cis then you probably aren’t to some degree and I think this definitely applies to the asexual and aromantic spectrums as well (and to some extent pretty much any LGBTQ identity). There’s nothing wrong with “questioning” and there’s nothing wrong with deciding not to identify as anything in particular.

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

I have put together a film portfolio here: jonahshaukatfilm.weebly.com
The good ones are at the top and they get progressively worse as you scroll down.

Also, here is a link to the album I released this past summer: https://maniacfoxy.bandcamp.com/

Should any of y’all wish to drop by and say hi, my Tumblr is http://topitmunkeydog.tumblr.com/.

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

Interview: Kaitlyn Shepley

Today we’re joined by Kaitlyn Shepley. Kaitlyn is a phenomenally talented animator and musician from Canada. They’re an incredibly versatile artist who has dabbled in quite a few mediums. Their work is unbelievably gorgeous and totally adorable, as you’ll soon see. I was totally in awe of the animations they sent along. Kaitlyn is just a delightful artist who has a lot of enthusiasm for their work, as you’ll soon see. 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’m a full time animator working in children’s television, mostly shows for Disney or Nickelodeon. I like doing personal stuff after work at home. My dream is to be able to get to a point where I can work on my own stuff full time. I do illustration, short films, gifs, comics, music composition, fashion design, cosplay and sewing! I think my friends would describe my style as either cute, funny or, when I’m being serious, whimsical.

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What inspires you?

My friends in animation are all very talented artists and I think we spur each other on. I also get really inspired by indie developers, musicians and animators. Seeing them taking on big projects by themselves and getting it done makes me want to get my own ideas out there.

AroAce Drip Tee
AroAce Drip Tee

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

I’ve been drawing and making comics for as long as I remember. I loved Sailor Moon and Cardcaptors when I was younger and my interest in animation just grew with me. Things like Akira, Mind Game and Perfect Blue make me excited about being an animator.

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Silent Moon

I wrote my first song when I was 14 and made albums for my friends to listen to. I had been puttering away on my piano since I was very young. I would watch my dad play and he’d tell me how great his dad was at playing by ear. I found it became the best emotional outlet for me in high school. Now that I’ve switched to electronic music it’s just a fun creative outlet.

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Stun Fisk

I didn’t get into fashion until I was 17. There was a fashion show every year at my school and I’d been watching other people do it for 3 years until I told myself: I’m going to go for it. I made 3 designs from scratch that year and have continued to sew to this day. My biggest reason for sewing is to have more control over my fashion. Stores don’t usually sell what I want, so I make it myself!

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Bats Leggings

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 think my friends would say that my unique signature is the noodle people I do for my comics as well as my silly sharks. I really like drawing things that make people laugh.

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Devil Jho

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If there’s something you want to do, just do it. Don’t wait until you’re good enough. Don’t wait until you go to school for it. Start now. The sooner you start, the better you will get. Webcomics, as an example, are a great way to up your art skill. It demands you to approach lots of different angles and expressions and challenges you to make sure your characters stay on model. It’ll keep you drawing on a schedule and challenge you to work through artist’s block. It’ll also let you physically see your improvement over time. Don’t redraw old chapters. Just keep going!

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Big Boss Di

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m panromantic asexual! I also identify as agender.

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Earthbound

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

I’m largely invisible in my field. To others I appear heterosexual, especially because I work with my cishet partner. Co-workers have made a lot of uncomfortable assumptions about me. I try to come out and break the assumptions whenever I feel like the situation is appropriate. Co-workers so far seem curious and open minded. They might say offensive things, but not intentionally. Once I talk them through it, they seem to be still perplexed but understanding.

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Darth Kaethe

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

I think due to low visibility it’s really common for people to think that you just haven’t had good sex yet. They might think you were abused, or that you’re a late bloomer. Once people understand that it’s a thing, it’s common for people to ask me personal questions to learn more about asexuals. Aside from being invasive, these questions don’t help them to learn about how versatile asexuality is. By bringing the conversation away from me and telling them all of the different ways an asexual could feel about something, I think they end up learning more while I get to keep my privacy.

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Pastel Goth 1

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

It’s so easy to second guess your orientation. People will give you a million reasons why you can’t know for sure yet. Especially if someone’s pressuring you to have sex, nobody tells heterosexuals that they have to have sex with someone of the same sex before they can know for sure that they don’t want it. Don’t make yourself do anything you don’t want to do. Don’t be afraid of your label changing too. All you know is what you know now. You don’t have to know everything that will change in the future.

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Pastel Goth 2

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

My favourite spot is Tumblr: http://www.kaitlyn-shepley.tumblr.com, where I post art, animation and comics.

I’ve got a Storenvy: http://www.kitkatkatu.storenvy.com/, where I sell clothes and my electronic music is on Soundcloud: http://www.soundcloud.com/kitkatkatu.

I also put art and art updates on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kitkatkatu/, Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/kitkatkatu, DeviantArt: http://www.kit-kat-katu.deviantart.com/, and Blogspot: http://kaitlyn-shepley.blogspot.ca/.

I’ve got my cats and outfits on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/kitkatkatu/.

Don’t be shy about messaging me about commissions or to talk!

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Dark Souls

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

Interview: Chuang Wang

Today we’re joined by Chuang Wang, who is also known as millenniumfae online. Chuang is a phenomenal versatile artist who works in a number of fields. They mostly do digital illustration and animation, but they’re also working on a short film and do a lot of painting and drawing. They also happen to be a fellow Guillermo del Toro fan (be still my heart). Chuang demonstrates an amazing amount of talent and there is so much emotion and beauty in their work. I was amazed at how they use color and lines to draw the viewer’s focus in. This is an artist with an incredibly bright future. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Ace Survivor

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a fourth-year full time student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, working primarily digital illustrations and animations. I make movies, paintings, comics, and drawings, and I write my own scripts and stories. I’m currently making a short film called The Amber Witch, which has been over a year in the making, and will be finished within the next six months. I’ve also worked with phone game app developer teams. You might have also seen one of the pop-up ads that I’ve animated.

What inspires you?

Not any one thing. I’ll definitely say horror has always been a fascinating genre and source of inspiration. Good horror is successful because it’s entertaining enough to capture an audience, and terrifying enough to stick with someone after the story is over. Horror is a great catalyst for critical thinking and audience interest.

So my visual and storytelling style definitely draws from Konami’s Silent Hill series, manga artists Nakayama Masaaki and Junji Ito, Guillermo del Toro’s horror films, and others. Real life definitely offers the most inspirational horror – decay, corpses, and death particularly terrifies me.

My current Amber Witch film, a story about a witch that preserves ‘beautiful’ fresh corpses within orbs of amber, was inspired by National Geographic Johannes Bojesen’s photograph of a sheep corpse frozen in a pond. The top section of the sheep’s body had decayed to bones, and underneath the ice the sheep was perfectly preserved.

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

I didn’t take art seriously until my first few years of high school. On a whim, I began making fanart of my favorite video game and decided to join an internet forum fandom community. A pre-teen submitting their beginner art to an online forum of not-so-friendly adults went … as badly as you could imagine. I dedicated myself to improving out of pure spite. I quickly developed a work ethic, and decided to take my art skills to college, and beyond that.

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?

In every comic I’ve ever printed and distributed, there’s at least one onion sitting somewhere. Don’t tell anyone, but that onion is my avatar persona. Because I have an unholy love for onions. Especially raw and eaten like apples.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

‘Constructive criticism’ is 98% garbage. The only way to truly improve is to make and make more art, and to keep sight of your enjoyment. You develop a working rhythm within days, and that steady level of production is what’ll give you skill. Correct anatomy doesn’t actually exist, color palette and theory changes from person to person. ‘Good art’ goes in and out of fashion like everything else.

Not every artist draws every single day and works themselves to the bone while subsiding on cigarette smoke and pinot noir. I never did, and neither do my professional associates. This isn’t the Olympics. Improvement is sometimes just this one new technique that you decided to try on a whim, sometimes it’s you drawing this exact same pose over and over, until you couldn’t possibly mess it up ever again.

It’s not cheating if it works. Selling and crediting stolen art as your own is one thing, but using Photoshop filters, drawing aids, tracing and copying, anything that shaves off time and energy is what art has always been like, and what your idols and role models have always done. You’re only shown a carefully picked collection of finished art, and not the piles of garbage that led to it.

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I Knowing Me

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Panromantic asexual. My agender identity definitely muddles the ‘romantic orientation’ part, which has caused me enough drama to last my sad, queer little life.

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

Definitely not in my field of art … but my asexuality has been a rocky road from start to finish. Me being a young, brown (then-identifying bisexual) teen led to years of self-neglect. I had no reason to say no, so I always said yes. As far as I knew, my strange neurosis and underdevelopment could be solved if I ‘powered’ through it.

I knew asexuality existed, but never thought it could possibly apply to my life. What possible benefit was there in being asexual? There’s no role models, no pride, no happiness in that life. It was a tough time. I ignored my body’s various aches and pains, and it ignored me. Then I made that conscious effort to reclaim asexuality, and that fog finally began to clear. My asexuality was my way of growing into myself, in a completely different way than what I was taught.

My asexuality definitely affects my art, though. One of my popular, earlier stories was about a mythical figure called The Crypt-Delver’s Maiden, whose physical appearance was designed after the famous Xiaohe mummy, which is known for its long, curly hair and beautiful eyelashes. The Crypt-Delver’s Maiden was a story about falling in love with an emancipated (sentient) mummy, and now that I look closer, this character was very much designed in an asexual light. There’s no hint of her body or her figure, and she emits no sexual energy. Falling in love with no sexuality in the relationship almost seems like a learned skill for most people, but for me, it’s all I’ve ever known.

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

That it can be changed or compromised. I can predict these kinds of responses the minute before it happens. Sometimes, people voice some plan to change me. Sometimes, it’s subtle actions like invading my private space or belongings, or trying to ‘guide’ my thoughts and opinions. Sometimes, people get angry, because I ‘lied’ to them, or that I’m not involving them.

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

Keep it positive. Distance yourself from anything that rubs you the slightest wrong way. You aren’t owed any explanation, or behavior. Your comfort and safety is that much more important.

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

I’ve got an artblog on Tumblr, millennium-fae-artblog. I also offer art commissions, and I’m currently making various Ace pride merchandise to be sold on Redbubble and Storenvy, so keep an eye out for those!

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Fenharel

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

Interview: Devyn

Today we’re joined by Devyn. Devyn is a phenomenal up and coming screenwriter, who also occasionally directs. She writes the scripts for films and mostly focuses on short films. Devyn is interested in independent filmmaking and is currently growing a production company with a friend. Judging from the passion and enthusiasm in her interview, we’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I’m a screenwriter. So, I write screenplays. I focus mainly on short films, so far the longest thing I’ve written is ten pages. I’m not sure if I want to do the Hollywood thing and write features for studios. I’m pretty sure I’m going to stay in the independent market with a friend of mine. We’re growing our own production company as of right now. We have a pretty sweet deal set up actually haha. I write the movies, I get a say in casting, then she directs. I’ll never have to be on set, which is what I greatly prefer. Although we might end up co-directing a lot of things, which I could learn to be okay with.

What inspires you?

This seems like it would be an easy question, but it’s actually somewhat complicated. I draw different kinds of inspiration from different things. My story ideas can come from anywhere. My latest film, Just the Usual started as a fanfic. Another script I’m currently working on is based on a dream I had a while ago. Ideas for characters more often than not come from my friends, and other people in my life. Sometimes they’re based on random people I’ve passed on the streets.

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

Alright kids, buckle up! It’s story time!

Art is basically in my blood. That can happen when you have strong Italian roots like I do haha. My great-grandmother was a dancer, singer, and huge supporter of theatre and opera, my grandmother and great-aunt were both in choir and theatre in high school, and my mom danced for a good portion of her life. So it was pretty much assumed that I would be some sort of artist.

Originally, I thought I was going to be an actor. I fell in love with musical theatre in high school and that’s what I wanted to pursue. I started in the theatre program at my old community college. However, after two years, I ran out of acting classes to take (including a summer workshop where we got to build a small demo reel). Still needing financial aid (once you enroll at SBCC, you can never leave SBCC) I decided to try my hand at film. The demo reel workshop taught me the basics of video editing, which I liked and seemed decent at, so I figured, why not? During that class, I came to like editing more and got into screenwriting.

Fast forward a year and I’m applying to my current school. Obviously, I was interested in their musical theatre program, but I also decided to apply for the film school because I liked film as well. I had everything for my film application and portfolio, so I submitted that first. A few days later, I got an email saying I was accepted into the program, I just had to get into the school. So which program I went to depended on whether or not I got into the musical theatre program. Well…by the time I got everything together for my video audition, it was like three days after the submission deadline. Film school it was! I became a film student and never looked back. So far, it’s totally worked out haha. I do still act every once in a while, though.

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 yet. I’m still just starting out and trying to figure out what my “signature” is.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Allow yourself to make shitty first drafts. No matter your art, it doesn’t matter if your first attempt doesn’t turn out how you want it to. That’s why it’s only your FIRST attempt. It’ll get better. But you have to let the first one be bad. If you get lucky and your first try is amazing, that’s awesome! But more often than not, the first try isn’t going to be great. And that’s just fine!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Biromantic Asexual

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

To be honest, not very many people in my department know, with the exception of a few friends haha. I guess the one sort of thing that upset me was something that happened last year.

I was talking with a friend (we are no longer friends and this is a small part of why) and we somehow got on the topic of relationships and stuff. She told me she was bisexual, but she usually just told people she was gay because that was easier for them to understand. I told her that I was asexual. The first words out of her mouth were “Oh I could never date an asexual person.”

Like, okay, I understand liking sex and yeah, someone with a high sex drive should probably think twice before dating an ace. But I don’t think that should be the first thing you say to someone who comes out as asexual to you. I can guarantee that’s already a thought in the back of their head. Anyway, it really upset me but I didn’t really do anything about it either. It just left a bad taste in my mouth and after that it was hard to be around her. Especially since I had a crush on her at the time. Let me tell you that ended real quick haha. Anyway, I’m rambling, I’m sorry.

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

“It’s just a phase. You’ll change your mind when you meet the right person.” Ugh!

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

Don’t worry too much about putting a label on yourself. If labels make you feel better, great! If not, then don’t label yourself. But if you do decide you want a label, try it out first. Say it to yourself in the mirror. Keep trying things until something feels right. That’s what I did.

Also, YOU DO NOT NEED TO COME OUT IF YOU DON’T WANT TO! It is nobody’s business who you are (or probably in this case, aren’t) sleeping with! If there’s only a handful of people you want to come out to, only come out to those people. If you want to be out and proud, be out and proud! Whether or not you come out and how you come out is entirely up to you.

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

I don’t have a lot of work out right now, since I’m still starting out. I do have some stuff on my YouTube channel though. If you look up the user TheWickedMizfit, you should be able to find me. I made that channel when I was in high school OK? Cut me some slack haha. It’s only 4 videos and they were made a few years ago when I was still at my old community college. I am in a MUCH better school now and, thus, will turn out better work haha. Though I am actually kind of proud of the Axe commercial. I came up with the concept, someone else actually put it on paper, then I edited it. I WISH I could take credit for the music choice, but I cannot. Also, with Memories (the other one I wrote), we had a checklist of all these different shots, lighting techniques, and sound effects we had to incorporate into the film. So, if something doesn’t make sense, assume it was on the checklist haha. The other two I just edited.

Now the biggest thing I have going is my short film, Just the Usual, which I wrote and directed. We hope to submit it to several film festivals so that over the summer and in the fall, we can get a decent festival run. So be on the lookout for that!

If you want to know anything about my videos on YouTube or any other projects I’m working on, or you just want to say hi, feel free to contact me on Tumblr: http://ace-spiringscreenwriter.tumblr.com/

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

Interview: Maddie

Today we’re joined by Maddie. Maddie is an awesome young artist who is quite versatile. She works in a number of different media. Mostly a visual artist, Maddie is also learning to play the piano and she’s also a filmmaker. Her drawings show an amazing attention to detail and emotion. It’s clear that she has a very bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Emma
Emma

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make a range of different art in my spare time, but mostly drawing. I tend to draw fan art a lot but I also like to try making original works because those feel more personal. I have a few smaller art-related hobbies, I like having lots of ways to express myself because sometimes one method feels better than another. I used to make a lot of small animations, I am teaching myself how to play piano again through YouTube tutorials, and lastly I love making short films. For the most part I make “term videos” of all the things my friends and I have done in each term at our school, and I’ve made several short films for school projects, my final one for my last year of high school is going to be a documentary, but I’m actually not allowed to say what it’s about ‘cause it’s a secret! I upload all my films to my YouTube account so it’ll be up there sometime next year.

What inspires you?

I’ve found that I’ve always been inspired just by other artists. I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil, so when I was a kid I’d just copy the drawings I saw in picture books so I could make my own, whenever I’ve started a new style of art I’ve always taken inspiration from artists in that field so I can try to gradually find my own style, this was especially helpful when I started drawing manga.

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

I’ve definitely always wanted to be an artist, for as long as I can remember it’s all I’ve wanted to do but I don’t really remember why. Growing up my relatives were all really trying to get me into tennis but I always preferred to spend my time drawing in my room. I’ve always loved movies so that’s how I got into making short films and animations, I also love music so that’s why I started playing piano. As for manga drawing, I have my best friend from primary school to thank for that, she first showed me the art style when we were eleven, and I’ve been drawing it ever since.

Kamala Khan
Kamala Khan

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?

Unfortunately, I don’t but I’m hoping to think of one sometime in the future, I love when artists use their own unique symbol in their work, my favourite being Gabriel Picolo’s cat that he includes in every art piece, I hoped I would have come up with one by now but I think I should just wait for it to come naturally rather than force it for the sake of having one.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t worry if your art isn’t as good as you want it to be, every artist, no matter how good they are, struggle with the feeling that it’s just not good enough. But you need to remember that you’re not making something for it to be perfect, and you’re not making it just to please other people, you’re making it for yourself. So make art that you want to see and don’t worry if it doesn’t come out the way you want it to. We’re lucky to be able to express ourselves through art so we should appreciate having that ability, because it is very special.

Punk
Punk

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Apothisexual, which is just a more specific term for “sex-repulsed asexual”, although when asked I just say “asexual” so as not to confuse anyone who wouldn’t be familiar with the topic. I also used to identify as demi-romantic but I’ve found that hetero-romantic fits better. Romantic and sexual orientations can be very fluid sometimes so I’m happy to switch between whatever feels best.

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

Since I’m not very “out” I thankfully haven’t experienced much personal prejudice, the only person who I’ve talked to about my sexuality in person is my sister, and recently the topic came up again and I mentioned how I used to be terrified of relationships and she said “yeah you thought you were asexual for a while!” as if it was silly that I identified that way, so I just said “… I still do!” and left it at that, so that really hurt me to hear my sister laugh about it that way. Apart from that incident it’s mostly just hearing relatives talk about how I’ll definitely have kids one day, and people acting like you need sex to have a fulfilling relationship, so I’ve learned to just give myself reassuring words during those times and remind myself that I’m still valid and that there are people who will accept me along with my sexuality. As long as you can support yourself you can get through any of the ridiculous things people will say to you!

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

I’d say the most common one is that we’re all aromantic as well by default, I feel like I have to remind people sometimes that I can be romantically attracted to people and that I do want a relationship in the future. I’m glad people recognize aromantic as valid, that’s for sure, but it’s very frustrating that people think if you won’t have sex with someone then you don’t want a relationship either, they don’t go hand in hand, you can have a loving relationship without sex, but a lot of people seem to struggle with that concept.

Skeleton Girl
Skeleton Girl

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

Just remember that you can be loved regardless of your orientation, whether that’s romantically or platonically, and you don’t have to do anything for anybody just because their orientation is different, your comfort is what matters most to you. And if you’re a relatively young asexual like me, remember that sexuality can be fluid, and if one day you find you aren’t on this spectrum anymore then that’s totally okay, always do what feels right with you.

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

I’m mostly on my Tumblr account ‘chibi-choo’, my Instagram ‘chibi_mads’ and my YouTube channel Chibi Choo: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClXY6SgR91jw5Tu_f2SSkZA (They all have chibi in the name because that used to be my favourite style of manga ‘cause it’s very simple.)

I’m also going to be launching an art store on Society6 soon so stay tuned for that on my Tumblr as I’ll announce it there.

Winter Soldier
Winter Soldier

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

Interview: EJ Oakley

Today we’re joined by EJ Oakley.  EJ is another remarkably talented and remarkably versatile artist.  They do just about everything, from painting and drawing to music to filmmaking.  My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

5

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I dabble in a lot of different types of visual art. I used to solely draw manga but I branched out from that and changed my style a lot when I started taking Visual Arts as a serious school subject. Now I do anything and everything from painting canvases to digital art, and I still find time for the occasional sketch or two.

Personally I love making glitch art and collages. I’m probably going to sound really pretentious but I really like how you can make something beautiful out of an error, or out of fragmented pieces of things that could come from many different places. I also like drawing with charcoal because I was born messy.

I also make short films documenting the times when I go out and do interesting things, which is not very often because I’m quite boring. I like filming things that people normally just pass by or don’t really appreciate, because it’s “trash” or it’s something that they’re so used to passing through every day, like a bus stop or tube station.

On the side; I’m the bassist and co-frontman in a band called Drop Bear. We don’t have anything up yet but I’m really excited for when we start recording.

What inspires you?

Other people. We have life drawing classes at school and I always get really excited whenever I find out we’re going to have a session because the human figure really fascinates me. It’s really interesting to see the body as how we all know it and then capture it and represent it on paper as something else, something different.

3

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

I did sort of always want to do something related to art. I used to really want to be a comic book artist. That was my burning desire throughout my childhood until I was about fifteen when I then realised I probably wasn’t good enough. Now I want to be a graphic designer, which is probably as much of a long shot, but hey, kids can dream…

In terms of my current “field” (if one could call it that) I guess I really got interested in it when I realised that people could actually make money doing what they liked, and I always liked the idea of representing thoughts and concepts in a visual, graphical way. Whether it involves drawing it out or chopping up a couple of pictures and pasting them together on Photoshop. In my current school and the school I was previously at I was (and am) head layout designer for several magazines in circulation around the school, and it’s a fantastic job.

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

I work with a lot of classical figures and busts. The sculpture sections at the British Museum and the V&A are two of my favourite places; you’ll probably find me there most weekends I’m free actually. I like contrasting these really pure, smooth images of human beings against glitches and errors and static, because that’s what life is really like; nobody’s that perfect in real life.

first

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t do what I do, which is basically look down at your work and think, “Oh, great, that’s shit, I’m never making art again.” (I have to stop myself from doing this and give myself the following pep talk on regular occasions.) Art is a process and a journey, not a fixed thing. Make art regularly and don’t worry about consistency, you could produce a couple of sketches or a massive painting, as long as you’re keeping yourself moving down the path and on this journey.

You’ll constantly be improving all the time as you practice. Your style may change. You may change as a person and start to draw different things, or get better and worse at different mediums. It doesn’t matter. People change. Just keep going and keep moving and you’ll be all the better for it.

chilli

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am biromantic; I (sometimes) experience sexual attraction towards those who identify as male but only experience romantic attraction towards those who identify as female. I’m not even sure if I’m describing this right.

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

A lot of people I’m friends with just do not know what asexuality is. Either they’re unaware it exists or they think it’s something other than it actually is. (I once heard someone say that they thought asexuals hated children. Although I do dislike small, loud children; I’m very sure this is not true of all asexuals.) If I try and explain it to them things generally work out, though. I’ve never been bullied or been the butt of discrimination because of my sexuality, thankfully.

hannibal

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

Whenever I mention asexuality to someone, a response I get a lot is, “what, like plants?” Several people have also asked me if asexual people reproduce by splitting themselves into two. This is a real thing.

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

If you’re unsure why you feel a certain way, don’t worry. You unconsciously know what you want and what’s best for yourself, even if you can’t or won’t consciously admit it. Go with what you feel, and don’t try to change yourself, because that will make you feel even worse. And if you don’t know where you fit on the spectrum, it’s okay. You don’t even have to try and label yourself, or feel uncomfortable if you don’t fully fit under one umbrella or another. You won’t ever be asked to sit down and describe your sexuality in three words or less. That doesn’t happen. Really, it doesn’t.

Mind Mischief

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

My work is scattered all over the Internet:

My “official” art portfolio (for bidniss only aaiiight?) is at http://waterjump.tumblr.com

My art/personal Instagram (for sketches and small stuff, this is updated more often than the portfolio) is at http://instagram.com/doyjivision

My Instagram for photography is at http://instagram.com/totalstrifeforever

I have a YouTube account for films at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCF4oDxHbDSHd68zAkXDRcbA

And I also have a YouTube account for covers of songs I like at https://www.youtube.com/user/snowpatrolling

I have a Bandcamp for the previous band I was in (which is now broken up but you’re still welcome to enjoy the tunes) which is at http://thefountainkings.bandcamp.com

And I have a mostly abandoned Wattpad account (which I might revive soon, but if you’d like to read the half-finished story on there that would be brill) at http://wattpad.com/user/hallidays

If you want to follow my main (music-oriented and sometimes personally-oriented too) blog you can find me at http://roryloveless.tumblr.com

pudsey

Thank you so much, EJ, for taking the time to participate in this interview and this project.  It’s very much appreciated.