Interview: Silivrenelya

Today we’re joined by Silivrenelya. Silivrenelya is a wonderful singer and songwriter who sings with a pop/rock band. She’s been performing with her band since 2012 and they’re currently working on their debut album. We’ll likely be seeing quite a lot more of Silivrenelya in the future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hi! I am a singer-songwriter in a pop/rock band. We’ve been playing together since 2012. We are currently recording our debut album, as signed artists, since 2015. Our main influences are The Killers, The Beatles, Paramore, Arctic Monkeys, Queen, The Kooks, and The Struts.

What inspires you?

Beautiful and powerful stories inspire me. Everything that can make me feel something strong inspires me. Soulful and talented people inspire me. Soothing landscapes and music made with passion inspire me.

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

I think I have always liked singing and telling stories. Growing up, I went through crucial moments in my life that strengthened my desire to do this as a job. I remember feeling so good and like I belonged when I first sang in front of people, and when they expressed their enjoyment, I felt great. I managed to make people feel something, and that was it. I loved this feeling and I wish to keep it for as long as I’m able to provide it.

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 particularly! I really like to write stories that have a double reading or “double entendre” in them though. I personally love it when a song has different meanings, like levels of understanding, and the deeper you search the deeper the meaning is, and thus the song becomes even more relevant.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would say, if you’re really passionate about your art, about what you’re doing, then burn your bridges that would take you backwards and go forwards, always straight ahead. Have a goal, no matter how tiny or huge it is or seems. One step at a time. Never regret what you’ve done, only learn from your mistakes, there is no such thing as failure, it’s only new data to analyse and try to avoid or improve for the next time. Try to be indulgent towards yourself. It is always the hardest part, but it can actually save you from so many dark times. And sleep!

I am still a young artist myself though, so it is just what I gathered along the way. I still have a lot to learn.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify myself as asexual (and panromantic).

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

I realised only recently that I belonged to the Ace spectrum, so I am not out to everyone, but my closest friends know. At first they were just really confused because I used to be very active in relationships – but they didn’t realise I was doing this to try to figure out what the hell I truly felt about all this. After then they all didn’t know what was asexuality, so I tried to explain to them, using some quotes from different aces’ testimonies, and also with the 4 sides of attraction: that proved to be the most efficient and clear explanation so far for ignorant people.

I always try to remain calm and open when explaining it, because in my country (France), it is still not very well known and clarified, and all I wish is for asexuality to be better understood and handled.

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

The common misconception about asexuality that I’ve encountered is that of the sexual trauma or sexual hate. While it may be true for some, it is not for all. And people often think that you are ace because of some awful past experience, or because you haven’t found where you really belong. But… That’s not how it works. At all. They often don’t understand why you wouldn’t have any sexual attraction or intercourse. Sex is such an inherent part of society – it forced itself so hard in it – that for us to say that we are not receptive to this side of the system is often seen as a form of – rebellion? Weirdness? Marginality even. People simply don’t understand (yet) why we are like this. But they will eventually, I have hope!

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

Just like “It’s okay to be gay”, it’s totally okay to be ace! And it’s okay to be afraid of who you are at first. I mean, it’s frightening when you don’t know what you are, why you’re feeling what you’re feeling. And even if you’re not 100% sure about what you are, guess what? It’s ALSO okay. And, please, don’t worry about whether people will still like/love you if you’re ace. They will. The right people will always love you, no matter who you are.

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

For now there is nothing public that I can give away, but as soon as there is, I will let you know!

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

Interview: Alice Marie

Today we’re joined by Alice Marie. Alice is a phenomenal visual artist who is currently studying sculpture at uni. When she’s not sculpting, Alice enjoys singing and songwriting. She’s got a wonderful enthusiasm and love for her art, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a sculpture student currently in my second year at Camberwell, UAL. My practice has always been a bit sporadic – with the constant thread of connection being my sense of humor, and my habit of making elements a little cryptic, often leaving sculptural pieces as an in-joke with myself, and moving recently into outright baffling video works. I also earn sporadic money as a singer/songwriter, pandering to different fandoms at different times, but ultimately it was Destiel that taught me to write about love.

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Georgia Evans

Today we’re joined by Georgia Evans. Georgia is a phenomenal musician. She’s most passionate about singing, but she also plays the piano, violin, and guitar. Georgia also composes music and is a very dedicated songwriter. She’s got an incredible enthusiasm for music, 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 musician so my art is incredibly versatile and eclectic. I play piano, violin, and guitar all self taught but I am, above all else, a singer. Vocals were the first thing I trained myself in and I have been singing longer than I have been playing any instrument. I am a singer songwriter and a performer. This means that I write my own songs and then I perform my own work at any opportunity. I have posted a few online but in the last six months I have gone into pre production for my first CD in the hops of getting my music onto platforms like iTunes and Spotify. This means that not only have I written the songs themselves but that I am now in the process of writing all the other instrument parts for them, including bass, drums, strings and harmonies. Adding dynamics, adding effects and filters and writing out the parts for other musicians to play when it comes time to take the songs into the studio. This stage of making an album can take months and months. It is all of the preparation of setting everything up just so, so that you have to spend minimal time in the studio. Because here’s the thing, studio time, costs a lot of money and session musicians (the guys and gals who come in and play the parts written for instruments I cannot play myself) have to be paid for their time as well. Then you have to pay the tech who runs the desk and the techs who set up the rooms and the producer who mixes and masters your tracks for you. It gets expensive if you’re still writing parts in the studio, so you get it all done before you go in.

When I’m not working on this though I like to learn new instruments and do covers of songs that I like. I have a Facebook page where I post videos of some of these, which has gotten me a lot of positive attention as an artist. I gained an invite to the Wollongong RAW festival this March and an invite to a sit down with the creative director of Fire Entertainment in the Surry Hills.

The most important thing about this art form for me though, is that through it I can reach out to people and make them feel something. I can make people feel less alone in their mental illness with my songs. Music is my safe place, my release and I can use it to impact people in a positive way which I think is beautiful.

What inspires you?

A lot of things inspire me, to be honest. Some of the time I write songs about my own feelings and experiences. Other times I write about my family and their experiences and how they make me react emotionally. Then there are the days when something happens or I see a friend struggling and I am inspired to write something that tells them that they are not alone and that I am here and I understand and I see them. A lot of people with mental illnesses (like myself) I think feel invisible and unseen by the music industry, which is so focused on love songs and sex and fighting the establishment. That’s what sells you see. It was Jared Padalecki and his AKF campaign that helped give me the courage to start writing songs about a subject that’s, thus far, still quite taboo. No one talks about it and so those of us fighting these kinds of things end up feeling isolated and alone. I want to write music that brings us into the light again, humanizes us and unites us so that we no longer feel so alone or forgotten or like we have to blend in in order to be a part of the society that we live in. I want to make people with mental illnesses, young and old feel like they are seen and heard again finally. We have been silent and invisible for so long. It’s time for a change.

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

I cannot remember a time when I didn’t want to be a famous singer. I used to get told off for singing along when my mum sang lullabies because I was supposed to be sleeping. I grew up, luckily, with a mother who was incredibly supportive of this dream and who did everything in her power to give me the tools to make it come true.

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 the signature is the content and the actual sound of my voice… I’m not sure how I’d share that aside from saying, have a look on my Tumblr for some of my videos. There might even be a link there for my Facebook page if you’re lucky.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Being a professional musician is hard. It is rewarding and amazing and it can be great fun, but it’s hard work. You will be turned down for gigs, you will be sent away from labels. There is no talent scout just waiting around the corner, you have to go out there and perform, and practice, and learn new things. You are the only one who can make yourself successful.

People will tell you, you have to have talent to be a musician. They’re wrong. You have to be strong, and determined and willing to work immensely hard.

And above all else, you need to love what you do and have faith in yourself. Be a musician for the love of the music and the people who hear it. Make music to bring joy and music will bring you joy in return.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m not actually sure how to answer this. I only learned what asexuality is a year ago during my recovery from a relationship that had turned abusive. I hadn’t realised that I was allowed to feel the way I do. That it was normal and dint mean there was something wrong with me as my partner at the time inferred regularly. I have always felt that if I am in a relationship then the other person is going to want sex and I’ll have to give them that because society taught me that love=sex. In the last year I have started to learn that they are two very different things. I can love someone and never want to touch or be touched in that way and that is OK. Because I was ignorant I allowed terrible things to happen to myself, which means that I am still confused about where I sit on the spectrum and where I belong. I know I will figure it out eventually but at the same time even if I never do I know I can still identify as ace and take each situation as it comes to me. I have met a lot of lovely people who are in different places on the spectrum and they have all been lovely about helping me to recover and understand myself a lot more.

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

Most people try to tell me I just haven’t met the right person yet and then once I explain that I have had encounters and decided I still identify this way they try to convince me it’s because the other person was doing it wrong. Men regularly seem to think that they have magic in their genitals that will make me like sex if I just try it with them. I try to stay calm but often I end up laughing in their faces and walking away. Sometimes they follow me which means I have to find a crowd (which I hate, crowds are scary) or find someone I know to scare them off. Other times people are less aggressive and more ignorant. “So… you’re like a plant?” is a common phrase. So I try to educate them. It’s like this; imagine that sexuality and sexual attraction is a fridge full of fruit. Lets stick with apples and oranges for now, (I know there are more genders but the metaphor will get too messy to understand.) Some people like apples, some like oranges and some like both. Someone who likes apples can go to the fridge, get an apple and be satisfied. Someone who prefers oranges can go over, get an orange and that’s that. Someone who likes both is spoiled for choice but they can pick either one and be satisfied. Now imagine staring into the fridge only to realize, you don’t like apples or oranges really. Even worse, imagine you’re hungry and realizing this fact.

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

That it’s not a real thing and that there aren’t many of us. I have met dozens of aces from all over the place. Admittedly that’s mostly online here on Tumblr but the point stands, we are out there, we are real and we are valid.

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

It’s OK to be unsure. You are allowed to take your time with this kind of thing and it is 100% OK no to realize that you might be asexual till later in your life. It is also 100% OK to know and be sure from a young age. As we grow up and learn new things our perceptions of ourselves change. I went from straight to lesbian to bi before I realized that it was OK to not really be attracted to either. Now I am proudly asexual and Bi romantic. The label doesn’t define you, you define the label.

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

The easiest place to find my stuff is on my Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/georgiamusicofficial/

Alternately you can search the tags #music #original #songwriting and probably a few other music terms or song names on my Tumblr, heck even message me and ask for a tag and I’ll find the posts for you.
https://keepingcalmisoverratedgoddamnit.tumblr.com/

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

Interview: Abigail Brown

Today we’re joined by Abigail Brown. Abigail is a wonderful young singer who is just starting out. She’s incredibly enthusiastic and hopes to tell stories through song. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I don’t really think I have any art yet, to be honest. I’m just starting out as a singer and I haven’t done anything real with it. I want to write and sing songs that tell stories; whether they’re honest emotional stories (like “Sandcastles” by Beyoncé) or stories with a plot (like “Story 2” by clipping).

What inspires you?

Mostly things that are happy or beautiful. That’s what I want to put into the world, so I try to draw inspiration from those sources.

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

I’ve wanted to be a singer ever since I was in 7th grade and I had my first ever solo in our spring play.

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?

Like I said, I don’t even really have any work yet.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t give up. I know it can feel tempting to give up because it’s hard or others don’t support your goal and take it seriously (I’m there right now), but the reward of your hard work will pay off in the long run.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual. Just your garden-variety ace, really.

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

I’m barely in my field tbh, but I have experienced it in my personal life. I try to just give the definition of asexuality and answer their questions, but if they’re being rude or disrespectful I ignore them. I’m not sacrificing my mental health to try and educate people who don’t want to be educated.

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

That it doesn’t exist. But we’re out here!

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

Definitely talk to people. There are so many ace blogs out there that provide information and answer questions! Everyone has been confused and struggled at some point with their orientation, so there’s no such thing as a stupid question. My favorite thing about the ace community is that we’re all here for each other!

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

I upload songs to my SoundCloud account (https://soundcloud.com/abbysings68).

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

Interview: Jordan

Today we’re joined by Jordan. Jordan is a wonderful and versatile artist who does a bit of everything. Her main passion is visual art and she specializes in digital mediums. She does both original work and fanart. Aside from visual art, Jordan is also interested in theater and music. She’s got an amazing amount of enthusiasm, as you’ll soon see, and her work is beautiful. 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 visual artist. I mainly work digitally but I do a lot of sketches traditionally. My program of choice is Paint Tool SAI. I do a lot of fanart and pieces of my original characters. My favorite thing to draw is people & characters.

Besides visual art, I also participate in community theatre, I act and also have an interest in costume design. I also love music and I sing, and play the ukulele. I’ve also started to write songs. I don’t do it very often, but I write poetry and sometimes, rarely, short stories. I’m currently trying to put together a script for a webcomic based around my original characters.

I have a lot of hobbies, but visual art is the one thing that has been a constant throughout my entire life.

What inspires you?

A lot of stuff inspires me. I follow a lot of artists on Tumblr and Instagram who influence me a lot. Some webcomics such as Ava’s Demon and Lackadaisy Cats, as well as mainstream Marvel & DC comics offer me a lot of inspiration as well. The movies and TV shows I like to watch offer a lot of inspiration, especially Star Wars. Music inspires me in all art forms. I have an eclectic music taste, but I would say the most inspirational music for drawing and writing is classical, movie soundtracks or instrumental, and for acting it would have to be musical soundtracks.

I have a lot of friends who also draw, write or act and they offer me a lot of inspiration. For example, my best friend who I met in an acting class actually, her older sister who has a webcomic of her own, and another friend who has lately been furiously writing a novel. They inspire me to keep working at my craft and to pursue new interests.

Telling stories is probably the reason I would say I do most things. Stories are really important to me and I love to read and see and listen to them. Visual art, writing, music and theatre are all different ways to tell a story and portray emotion.

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

Well, when I was around 8 years old I was really into neopets. I feel a little silly admitting that but I used that site for years. I was fascinated by the art people would create for their virtual pets. They took the time to create characters and character designs that were completely different from the source material. And their styles were almost always influenced by anime/manga which I didn’t really get into until much later. But I picked up lots of books on how to draw in that style, and sifted through lots of tutorials artists put up on DeviantArt. About visual art, it’s something I’ve definitely always loved to do and I don’t think I’d want to ever stop.

I didn’t develop a particularly deep interest in music until I was older, but I grew up singing in church and school choirs. Once I got older, and I guess, a little sadder, I began to really relate to and rely on and love music more than when I was younger. Acting wasn’t even something I considered until my junior year of high school, I’d always thought it was frightening. I took an acting class, the one where I met my best friend, and it turns out that it was something I really enjoyed. I’ve always said I wanted to publish a novel ever since I was younger, my love of visual art comes from a love of stories and characters and so I was also interested in writing. I always felt my visual art and writing went hand in hand.

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 on my art has changed a lot since I was younger. It used to be more definitive but now it’s simply my name and a year. I really like to use interstellar objects as symbolism or features in my art.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Love what you do. So many people will tell young visual artists that they have to draw every single day to get better. Acting in general is stressful and requires a lot of hard work, and certain people you interact with can be less-than-pleasant with personalities that don’t quite jive with your own. Writing can be extremely stressful for me personally and so I don’t do it often, but once in a while I’ll find the inspiration to pursue it again. I’ll find the joy I found in it once more.

What I’m saying is, if you want to explore an art, make sure you like it. Don’t force yourself into it. Take a break if it’s causing you stress. It should be fun and you should enjoy what you do, everyone deserves that from life.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as biromantic demisexual

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

I haven’t seen anything specifically in any art specific communities or settings but I’m also not particularly public about my sexuality outside of my personal Tumblr.

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

I’ve seen a lot of crazy things on this website recently. A lot of bad stuff going around. Besides that, I’ve always seen people claim demisexuality is made up, so that’s never fun to encounter.

I think a lot of people just don’t realize how diverse asexuality is as a spectrum, and how people experience it in so many different ways.

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

You’ll figure out what labels best fit you over time, don’t be afraid to change them as you come to know yourself better. Your identity is your own, and no one else can tell you how to identify. Discovering your sexuality and using a label should be for yourself and no one else.

You’re valid. You can count yourself as a member of the LGBT+ community if you want that, and no one should tell you that you can’t. If a romantic or sexual relationship is something that you want, your identity will not prevent you from finding that. The right person (or people) will be able to respect your boundaries. And if it’s not something you want, you aren’t weird or broken because of it. As well, the right friends and people in your life will respect your identity, and if they don’t, you’re not obligated to keep them in your life.

Do what’s best for yourself, you’re amazing. Go live life to the fullest.

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

I have about a million places where people can find me, I’m kind of ridiculous.

Art Website: http://joniha.weebly.com/
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/junebugjo
Art Blog: http://junebugjo.tumblr.com/
DeviantArt: http://joniha.deviantart.com/
Personal Blog: http://aahsoka.tumblr.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/forgivenessiscompassion/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jordieha

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

Interview: Noxaura Cille

Today we’re joined by Noxaura Cille. Noxaura is an incredibly young ace who has an enthusiasm for writing. Xhe writes both stories and songs and also sings a bit. Though xhe is young, Noxaura is serious about art. Xhe submitted a story to a competition in xhyr state, where xhe wound up winning second place. My thanks to xhyr for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, alright. I’m a writer/authoress and singer/semi-songwriter (I use authoress because I prefer to deviate from the norms and it sounds more sophisticated, don’t you think?). I write stories, usually what I call/consider “Tragic/Dark Sci-fi”, though I am also working on a satirical story. Tragic Sci-fi is sci-fi, but it messes with the feels so badly that it can’t even be considered normal sci-fi any longer. I am proud to bear the title of the only Tragic Sci-fi writer, as I am the one who made the term up. I prefer to write alone, though I will sometimes ask for the opinion of a family member or classmate. I am my own editor as of this point in time (OCD helps with that), though I suppose I will have to have a professional edit my work once it is completed. Oh, that’s another thing about me: I only have fanfiction and unfinished works as my claim to the title. I get bored easily (I happen to have ADD), so almost as soon as I start a project, I get another idea and move on to another, leaving a trail of unfinished/unpublished works that I worked hard on.

If someone could give me a prompt I could have a pretty decent story written in a few minutes if anybody is interested? I am willing to look through comments/responses to find any.

Anyway, because of this, I am currently unpublished, but that doesn’t make me any less of a writer/author.

On to my second field: singer!

I have been singing since I was three and could form the sounds properly. Fun fact: up until I was nine years old, I literally listened to nothing but country music. When I was nine, I was on Charter On Demand and looking through the music, and I have a strong memory of Beyoncé. That’s right. Beyoncé.

My parents were shocked and exasperated. It is an odd sight to behold, the mix of exasperation and shock.

I sing in a high soprano (I prefer a neutral tone. You’ll know what I mean if you ever hear me), though I can always go higher, to the pitch of a tenor. My mom tells me my voice has a “tinkling/bell-like quality”. I sometimes have trouble finding the correct octave for a song, especially country songs, because my brain says “GO LOWER” while my voice says “DUDE I CAN’T DO THAT LOW! THE LOWEST I CAN GO IS, LIKE, G-FLAT/F-SHARP!” (Fun, fun fact: my vocal cords are 2 ⅓ inches tall/long) and the argument ends up kind of in-between, where I go from, like, G-flat to E-sharp, and it sounds funky because I keep switching. Sometimes I have to completely drop out because the singer goes below C4 and I can only go up to A5 because I’m a soprano. Duh.)

Oh, I just remembered something. When I was around six, my cousin (she was around 5 at the time) said she had a passion for singing. I told her that, no, she can’t have a passion for singing because that’s my passion and she wasn’t gonna steal it.

Ah, six-year-old me was still a little chienne.

I have been writing songs since I was about nine. Now, I’ve always dreamt of writing my own songs and playing guitar and being a famous singer. Well, I can’t play guitar, but I’m alright at piano.

Back to the topic at hand.

I used to think that I couldn’t write songs, simply because every attempt came out unorganized and unending.

At one point, I gave up completely.

And then my grammy told me that I could actually do it.

So I tried again… and failed.

However, I started asking myself what I was doing wrong. I began looking at song structure, and soon, I could write a song that seemed decent to me.

But my mom told me it sounded like I was going to commit suicide.

And I, being me, took that personally.

And began working and working.

And now, I can write songs with semi-ease and they make sense. I’m proud that I’m closer to my dream…

Maybe. But America is full of dreamers.

(A little-known fact about me is that I am great at memorizing songs. All it takes is hearing it once or twice and it is forever engrained. I also do this in my sleep. I am not joking.

I remember hearing a song on the radio that I thought I’d never heard before, and then proceeding to sing along, word for word.

It can get pretty freaky sometimes)

What inspires you?

The only answer is anything and everything has the ability. I can, however, assure you that the result of my inspiration will be dark. Sorry that I’m not sorry.

Oh wait.

No I’m not.

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

As a child, my parents would read me stories, as some parents do.

However, even at age three, I had a decent grasp on the English language.

Sometimes, I would take the book from my parent and read the book.

As for singing, well…

I was a troubling child. I didn’t eat anything but oatmeal, I was severely malnourished… (my birth parents’ work. My grandparents raised me and are, essentially, my parents. Oh, and they adopted me around two years ago. So…)

So I would have a radio playing country music (the only music my then 40-something year-old parents liked) every night.

Now, I don’t sleep well without it. Or some other form of music.

And, actually, the first thing I wanted to be was a paleontologist. Three-year-old me could pronounce that, too. She—my agender identity is a very new and fresh thing. Younger me identified as she, so she was she—could also read books with words like dinosaur and she could count all the way to one hundred, just like a big girl! Aren’t you proud, person I’ve never met before?

I stopped wanting that when I turned around seven and realized I would have to go outside and work with bugs (I have entomophobia. It’s actually pretty bad).

But I have always loved to sing, and my imagination is still so wild. It helps me write, but doesn’t help me sleep, if you catch my drift.

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?

Besides my sign-off? Um… Let me see…

I already mentioned how it is tragic, yes? Well, another key point in my work is that I am both a poet and a narrator.

I use metaphors a lot. And I mean, a lot. Most are very, very extensive and last a long time.

Oh, and character names are usually something unusual and unique for the first name, followed by something completely normal for a surname, but sometimes with an odd spelling.

I like using animals, and nature.

I just really like these things.

Oh, and femininity is a prevalent factor. Despite my agender identity. I also enjoy writing about children. Small, small children…

And storms. And snow. I LOVE writing about snow. You don’t want to know what I can do with the simplest prompt of “snow” or even “rain”. *evil laughter*

I’m tempted, so tempted to show you…

It’s on Wattpad, if you care enough. *sticks tongue out*

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You can do it.

Probably.

I’m not gonna lie; you will have to actually get off your cul and do stuff. Maybe learn a new language or two.

Expand your grammar a bit. This works in both writing and songwriting, which is a subcategory of writing, in my opinion.

Oh, and don’t plagiarize. That isn’t cool and nobody likes it.

Be original or you can just give up now.

And it’s probably gonna take a while for anything to happen.

But quitters don’t make it in this field. You have to have the drive to create and then you have to have the guts to act on that drive.

And always keep trying.

If at first you don’t succeed… by God, you keep at it until success hunts you down and hands you a pure diamond plaque that doesn’t have sparkles, but shines in the right lighting.

(Yes, I did pull that quote right out of my brain. Thanks for noticing)

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I currently identify as an agender female aromantic-biromantic sex-averse asexual with an apathromantic mindset.

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

Weeellllll… no, not really. And there is a simple reason for that: my fields are very specific but also very inclusive at the same time.

Acenegatives hardly ever find me because… I’m a writer, a singer and songwriter that goes (mostly) unnoticed, and an unpublished authoress. I don’t broadcast my asexuality to the world (in my field). Heck, I barely go into the world. I can do my job right here from my bedroom.

Well, at least I didn’t broadcast it until I started writing my latest (and only) satirical nonfiction book. *wink*

However, I have a feeling that the backlash will be large (or at least significant).

Now, recently, I posted a rant to my Tumblr about the ace discourse and my writing style just so happened to leak through… And I dealt with the acenegativity the way I deal with all people that get on my nerves.

I blocked the acenegative.

I also replied, saying that they were a perfect example of what I was talking about.

(The post, their reblog, and my reply to the reblog, are on my Tumblr [noxauracille]. Finding it may take a bit of scrolling, but you should find it within about five minutes, probably less)

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

This is kinda difficult…

“It’s a phase”, “are you sure it isn’t a phase?”, “[you’ll]* grow out of it”, “how do you know you don’t like it?”

The second to last was said by someone I considered an acquaintance, as we sometimes talk about school and other stuff while our parents work.

But she said that with such certainty…

My main problem is that this ties in with “you’re too young to know” and “how can you know it if you haven’t tried it?”, which can also lead to things like corrective behaviors (because I am positive rape is not the only “corrective” tactic) and generally a lot of confusion and hurt.

*Her original words were “she’ll grow out of it”, as she was talking to my mom.

She couldn’t even say it to my face.

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

This is going to sound really cheesy, but…

You are not broken, and you are not alone. Just be yourself and don’t listen to what everyone else tells you about you. In the words of Rihanna and T. I., live your life.

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

Once again, I’m unpublished and therefore I don’t have a lot of places for this. However, I am NoxauraRiddle13 on archiveofourown, NoxauraCille on FanFiction.net, and Noxaura_Cille on Wattpad.

Wattpad is where I post songs I write (most of the time), and my non-fanfiction (and some fanfiction that I can get by with) stories. If you want my “serious” projects, go there. Hopefully, in the future, I can get even more organized, finish my novel, and then I can get my website fixed up.

Man, that sounds so awesome…

Maybe I can even do the coding myself! (Anybody got any pictures they will let me use for it? Heh, I’m kidding. Creative Commons should work… Though it would be really helpful of anybody has a picture of a night sky, preferably with some stars, maybe some moonlight… Perhaps the moon itself, solitary and alone? Just some ideas for what I’m looking for…)

…sorry for the little ramble on coding a website and pictures…

I just love the sound of keys. I love it so much that my Kindle notification is a person typing on a computer.

I’ll wrap this up now. Bye!

~Nox

(I’m also bipolar)

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

Interview: Lynn

Today we’re joined by Lynn. Lynn is a young artist who is just starting out, but displays an incredible versatility. She dabbles in a bit of everything and shows an incredible enthusiasm for her art. The world could always use more of that and I have a feeling Lynn is an artist with a very bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

R7

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m very much an amateur in all forms of my art. I’m a singer, I’m learning how to play the drums and piano, I’m a traditional and sometimes digital artist, I love to cook and am taking a culinary class, as well as an animation class and theatre class. I love to perform and present my work. It gives me something to talk about, a way to interact with people, especially since I’m kinda shy and awkward when I don’t have a set topic. I’m young, only 16, and haven’t been doing these things for very long, so I’m nowhere near professional level in any of these categories, but I absolutely love doing these things. Being an artist is absolutely my passion, and I even plan on learning video game design in the future.

What inspires you?

It depends on which medium you’re referring to. When it comes to acting, my friends who build me up and I courage me are my inspiration, when it comes to singing, it’s the songs I love that drive me, traditional and digital art comes from seeing other people’s works, talking to my friends about shows and movies we enjoy that give me a picture in my head that I want to draw.

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

My dad is a musician; a professional pianist. He mostly used to play at churches and do arrangements of songs for church bands and big companies, but since he was fired from Christ Fellowship in Florida after nine years of working there, things got a bit shaky and he was less constant with it. He still plays at churches sometimes and arranges music, but now he’s mostly doing gigs with a band called Southern Sky. My dad (and my mom who is a beautiful singer) got me into music and I love it.

I’ve always been drawing as far as I know, but it wasn’t until around 9th grade that I started actually getting good at it. I was mostly mimicking anime styles, though, but it wasn’t until around mid 9th grade to 10th grade (I’m an 11th grader now) that I started developing my own styles and started getting into more western cartoonish styles. Animated shows and movies are definitely my biggest inspiration for traditional and digital art, and the reason why I aspire to be an animator.

And as ashamed as I am to say it, anime dubs are the reason I wanted to get into acting in the first place. At least as far as I can remember. I wanted to be a dub actress for a while, so I took a theatre class my freshman year and actually performed Fiddler on the Roof that same year. (I was Tzeitel.) Do I still want to be a dub actress? Not so much now. I love theatre, I love performing in front of people, I love expressing and projecting – something you can’t really do in voice over works. They’re very different mediums.

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 do not unfortunately, unless you count the style in which I draw as a feature.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never stop. Whatever it is you’re passionate about, even if you’re horrible at it, you just keep practicing. Talk to people who are better than you, get advice and feedback from peers, and if you get insults, you take them and you make your work better. In my experience, even though being told “That’s fantastic!” or “You were great!” feels really good, being told “You need to improve x y and z” is more beneficial and helps you grow more as an artist. I’ll tell you the truth, I’d rather be praised than criticized, but the more you’re criticized now, the more you’ll grow, the more praise you’ll get in the future.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

100% asexual, and I’m also aromantic.

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

No, not really. I’m not really out though, and no one really talks about asexuality so I just kinda let it be.

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

I’ve never been through this personally, but I imagine the most common misconception is that asexuals are lonely, asexuals are bitter, asexuals just need to get laid, that crap. And I’m sure there are plenty of asexuals that are bitter and lonely, but that’s not because they’re asexual.

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

Being acespec can be hard. You’re dealing with questioning yourself, wondering if there’s something wrong, asking why you’re not getting what sexual attraction feels like or why everyone’s so hypersexualized and why everyone’s sexualizing themselves and that’s okay. Being any sexual orientation other than straight is really hard, and there are people out there who seek out ways to put you down, but as long as you keep faith in yourself and trust that other acespecs have your back, it makes feeling the way you do a lot easier and I’m here for you.

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

I tend to post most of my stuff on my blog, papyrus-throw-me-a-bone.tumblr.com, but not all that often. Sometimes I spam people with drawings though and ask for drawing suggestions, but it’s mostly memes and social justice….

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