Interview: Cassandra Wolfe

Today we’re joined by Cassandra Wolfe. Cassandra is a phenomenal artist jack of all trades. She’s predominantly a fantasy writer who is working on a novel that sounds absolutely fascinating. When she’s not writing, Cassandra enjoys photography, particularly wildlife. She’s incredibly passionate, as  you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a bit of a jack of all trades really but my main focus at the moment is my writing (funny considering I’m trained as an art teacher). I work mainly in the fields of urban fantasy. I am currently working on the final drafts of what I hope to be my first novel featuring a bunch of werewolves living in modern day Australia along with a few short stories that I’m working on getting published in some online anthologies.

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not so much in my drawings and photographs per say but I do have a few in my writing. One of the big things is ‘circles’, I love having little tidbits here and there that circle back and link to another part of the story. Half the time they’re completely irrelevant to the plot and very subtle in their implementation but I just love including them. Eyes would another one, I fully believe that eyes are the window to the soul and as such the eyes of my various critters tend to tell a tale in themselves. It’s one of the reasons why all of my shifter characters retain their human eye colour when in animal form.

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

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demisexual and homoromantic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Keelan

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

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

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Dai Li Agents

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

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Proud Ace

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ace Positivity Post

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

Interview: Elliot

Today we’re joined by Elliot. Elliot is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in digital art. He’s working on developing his own style and shows a great passion for vibrant colors. He’s obviously quite enthusiastic about visual art, which you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Del

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I mostly do digital art, though I have a handful of sketchbooks around my room right now. I’m trying to develop a cartoony style and portray a lot of colors, but for the most part I really just do my own thing and whatever makes me happy! Fanart is pretty rare, so most of my art is original characters or just random folks I happened to scribble down.

What inspires you?

Sometimes everything, sometimes nothing. Watching other artists (speedpaints, doodles, sculpting) inspires me a lot of the time. Music is a pretty big one as well! Every Saturday I get a rush of inspiration from Arin Hanson/Egoraptor’s #cutiesaturday on Twitter.

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

Watching anime as a little kid helped a lot. Both of my parents were artists in their own right (my dad was a musician, my mother a… whatever she felt like that week), so that helped. I specifically remember watching Sailor Moon with my big sister every day after school and that really got me into art.

I haven’t always wanted to be an artist, though. There was a short time where I was in denial of it, even. I completely stopped drawing aside from the occasional doodle and convinced myself I’d never pick it up again. Years later, I still regret not practicing during that time.

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?

Ah geeze, my art is always developing, so not really. Hopefully one day I’ll have something special!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Art is tough! You have to practice all the time, but it’s worth it. Even if you don’t see improvement when you look down at the paper in front of you, try and do a side by side of something you drew months or years ago. It’ll really help to see how far you’ve come! Also, never be afraid to look at references. Everyone does it at one point, no shame in it!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am 110%, black as coal asexual.

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

Oh gosh, yeah. I’ve had people tell me I could never sell my art because I won’t draw nsfw things. I’ve even had the joy of people telling me that it was “unnatural” for an artist to not be hyper-sexual, which is ridiculous. I generally just ignore those people, or roll my eyes, shrug, and tell them that they’re wrong.

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

The biggest? But there are so many!

I think my favorite so far is when people compare me to a plant.

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

It’s alright if you aren’t 100% sure of your orientation. You’re allowed to experiment and change labels, anyone that says otherwise is being ridiculous. Do what makes you happy, as long as you aren’t seriously hurting anyone. Also, asexuality is a pretty big spectrum. So don’t worry if you don’t fit into anyone’s concrete definition.

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

My art blog over at http://slobberingcolors.tumblr.com/ is where I post my art the most often!

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

Interview: Red

Today we’re joined by Red. Red is a fantastic YouTuber and a digital illustrator. Her YouTube channel is called “Overly Sarcastic Productions” and according to the channel, is dedicated to “sarcastic, yet informative, summaries of classic and not-so-classic literature and mythology, as well as major historical events!” Who isn’t interested in that? Aside from the YouTube channel, Red is also a dedicated visual artist who draws some truly adorable characters, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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A Very Asgardian Christmas

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a YouTuber with plans! My art is mostly digital illustration and comics, but I also write, sing, and am trying to get into voice acting. My channel is separate from most of the other visual art I do, which is mostly sketchwork, comics and illustrations for the worlds I’m writing in at the moment – currently my focus in that dimension is fantasy, but I’m planning on branching out. My YouTube channel is devoted to education, and is an attempt on my part to make stories and texts typically considered “boring” interesting for an audience with my attention span – that is to say, short. It’s also great practice for voice acting, sound design and music, and the number of frames I have to draw for a single video also means I get in a ton of linework and painting practice. I’m currently focusing on improving my digital painting and my voicework, and am planning on starting a webcomic if I ever find the time.

What inspires you?

Mostly other people’s art, heh. It drives me to improve my own work and experiment in new directions. Also cartoons! It’s a great way to learn and absorb a lot of voice-acting.

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Jttw

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

Both my parents are artists – my dad is a writer, and my mom is a painter – so yeah, I’ve pretty much always wanted to do art in general. The voice acting specifically, though – I can’t remember what specifically got me interested in it, but it’s definitely a more recent development.

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?

Nope

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Mermaid

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice, practice, practice. It’s the only way to improve. Look at other people’s art in terms of what it can teach you, not how much better or worse it is than your own. Don’t be afraid to try new things, and REALLY don’t be afraid to mess up.

And remember – perfection doesn’t exist. Your work will never be perfect, and that’s okay! Just strive to improve, and realize that improving doesn’t mean you were bad before you got better!

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Powerhouse

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual, but pretty solidly romantic. Recently I’ve started questioning exactly what my romantic orientation is; currently I’m sticking with “panromantic” as it seems closest.

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

Er, not really? The closest I’ve gotten is the occasional plant joke.

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Shard

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

That it means you don’t want a relationship. It’s a little rough being written off as a non-viable partner just because you’re neutral on the subject of sex. I’m not a robot, I just like cuddling!

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

Don’t be afraid to get it wrong. I went through a lot of labels before I clicked with “asexual” and am currently trying to settle on a romantic one – there’s nothing wrong with saying “I’m not sure yet!” or even “I’m picking a new one!”

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The Crew

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

My YouTube channel is my biggest endeavor right now, so by all means check it out! It’s called Overly Sarcastic Productions (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCodbH5mUeF-m_BsNueRDjcw), and most of it is summaries/retellings of old books and myths.

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The Tempest

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

Interview: Shelby

Today we’re joined by Shelby. Shelby is a phenomenal visual artist who also dabbles in fanart. She specializes in drawing things from the fantasy genre and is inspired by various things. Her work demonstrates a vivid imagination and an incredibly good eye. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art usually is part of the fantasy genre, although I do lots of portraits of everyday people. Most of the time I will draw Elder Scrolls characters.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by Natalie Hall, Maya Brisa and other great artists as well as David Bowie. I find great beauty in nature; especially trees.

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

My dad always used to draw and show me how to when I was little. I’ve always wanted to become an artist for the sense of freedom of self-expression and the opportunities to meet amazing people.

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

I don’t always sign my work, but I do have this character I made up. I draw him quite often. His name is Vernox and is sort of my way of expressing myself.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’d say that no matter what anyone says, you know yourself more than anyone else does, so don’t let anyone tell you you’re not asexual. Be who you are and what you desire and strive to be; not something others tell you to be.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual. Plain and simple.

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

Not very much, no. Although I have been called a plant quite a few times. Really the biggest part of it is that people don’t think it’s real and so are sometimes ignorant to such things.

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

No one can tell you who or what you are. Be you. You are perfect. I used to struggle with the same thing and I can tell you that it gets better and you’ll soon have all the answers.

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

You can find more about my work on my blog, wasitallinvain.

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

Interview: Sarah

Today we’re joined by Sarah. Sarah is a phenomenal artist who does a lot of original work and fanart. Her art is mostly a creative hobby, but she’s incredibly dedicated to it. She writes, draws, and does some cosplaying as well. It’s clear that she’s an incredibly enthusiastic artist. 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’ve been drawing for years, and jumping from style to style pretty much randomly. More recently, I picked up writing and making cosplay. I’m not a professional in any capacity, and these are all forms of relaxation and hobbies for me. I love drawing, and it’s something cathartic for me. More often than not I’ll get an idea in my head and draw all through the night (sometimes neglecting my homework or responsibilities). I also draw constantly in school, all of my papers are covered in little doodles and sketches. I’m a disorganized mess, with half full sketchbooks and craft supplies all over my room. I usually just sketch in pencil, and I’ll occasionally ink and color the pieces I like.

As far as writing, I write a lot of fanfiction, but I also have my own ideas all plotted out. I think creating new characters and rich worlds is one of my favorite things to do. Putting together the mythology and culture and history and politics of a fantasy world is so interesting, and it really adds to the story. Needless to say, most of my writing takes place in fantastical settings with a lot of complex background.

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What inspires you?

The work of other artists, mostly. Lost of my art inspiration comes from pictures I see, or from lines from songs and poetry. I take ideas from my stories and apply them to my drawings, and vice versa. I like to draw beautiful or pretty things, and I mostly do portraits of people in various styles. I’ll gather pictures of clothing or hairstyles, and then use those to create new people in pictures.

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

I never really wanted to be an artist, or considered myself one until recently. I always thought that I was more of a hobbyist than anything. My creation is on and off, because I never want to have to create art on other peoples terms, so I’m stuck writing and drawing in between my other responsibilities. I have loved drawing since my childhood, and it’s something I’ve practiced a lot to get good at. My early style was heavily anime-based, but I’ve really tried to grow out of that. Fanfiction is actually what initially got me into writing, and I got started writing short oneshots of fanfiction. Ive grown since then, and I now have multiple different, long stories plotted out, with tons of world building each. I’m excited for when I eventually compile all the scraps of characterization and plot together, though it might not happen for a while.

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

Not really, my art style changes often and I’m prone to experimentation.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Doing a little every day works wonders. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, drawing something you saw, or an outfit you think is cute, or a dog or a pretty flower. It doesn’t matter if you write some haiku’s or just a little characterization or dialogue. You’re always getting better, even on the days when nothing seems to come out right. Make sure that you’re doing it for you, and don’t get discouraged if you’re in a rut, even if you can’t manage for a day or a week, pick back up when you can.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an asexual aromantic.

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

I’ve encountered a lot of ignorance, people who generally don’t believe that asexuality is real or that I’m just trying to seem special. I try to explain myself sometimes, but honestly a lot of time I just refrain from being out because I don’t want to have to teach an impromptu class on sexuality. Calmly explaining has actually worked for me a surprising amount, I’m currently out to most of my school.

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

I’ve seen some people who assume that asexual aromantic is the only way to be ace, which is simply not true, and I’ve seen some invalidation of demisexual and grey-ace people. People are generally just uninformed about what it means to be asexual. I can’t count how many times I’ve said ‘wow they’re attractive,’ and gotten a response of ‘wait aren’t you ace?’

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

For a very long time, I struggled with the feeling that I was ‘broken’ or somehow missing some essential part of the human experience. Sometimes I still feel that way. I find that when I’m upset, I vent to someone (I use websites like blahtherapy a lot) and I read fiction that doesn’t focus on romance. I also try and normalize my sexuality in the eyes of the people around me by bringing it up, making jokes about it, and just generally treating it like a normal part of life. Having people around me who accept my sexuality as something integral to me and natural really helps me to normalize it in my own mind.

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

Most of my work isn’t published online, but my fanfiction can be found at https://archiveofourown.org/users/Umidunnostuff.  I also have a Tumblr, umidunnothings, (creative, I know) and an Instagram at s_rose_k, where some of my art can be found.

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

Interview: Rachel Staton

Today we’re joined by Rachel Staton. Rachel is a phenomenally talented visual artist. Her work is truly gorgeous and resembles stained glass. Rachel specializes in abstract pieces and her work shows an extraordinary complexity. It’s very clear that she truly loves what she does. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is a mix of colored pencil and paint pen abstract pieces. I started out using just lined paper but as I became more invested in my drawings I moved onto canvas and multimedia drawing paper. I usually draw and sketch in a sketching book and am working on my second one now, the first having exactly 100 different pieces.

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What inspires you?

Emotions are one of my main inspirations. When I read a book or hear a song that makes me incredible happy or sad or whatever I usually come up with an idea and just go with it. Sometimes I like to think that the things I draw are memories, because some of them are of places, things, and subjects that I have never seen or been to, but I can visualize them perfectly in my head.

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

In school I was very antsy, and honestly still am, so in order to pass the time I started doodling on random pieces of paper. It wasn’t until college that I actually started to take it seriously though. I guess that you could say that boredom got me interested in art.

Honestly, I had no idea that I would ever be considered an “artist”. Right now I just sketch and draw what I like, but I’m sort of running out of places to put everything, and the people who have seen my work like it a lot, so I may start branching out, seeing if anyone wants to actually own what I create, which is terrifying and exciting in itself.

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

The pieces that receive the most attention tend to be my “doodle” pieces, which are basically pictures made up of hundreds of different swirls. Despite having ADHD, I am able to focus for long periods of time to complete these pieces, which I’ve been told is something that not many people to do, so I guess you could call that my “signature”

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you enjoy what you do, then do it for yourself, not to impress others. Once I tried to put my art out there, but I went too fast and it turned into a chore to impress those around me rather than something I loved. Wait until you are comfortable to start sharing your art, and do it at your own pace. Also, if you think that your art is subpar, remember that you are your biggest critic; only you know the mistakes that were made, so to everyone else, it looks exactly the way it is supposed to.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual, plain and simple.

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

A lot of people who know that I’m Asexual and in a long term relationship don’t really understand how it works. I just don’t feel sexual attraction, plain and simple, and anything I do feel I can shut off very quickly. A lot of my friends will think that I’m grossed out by sex and stuff, but that’s not really the case, I just don’t understand what makes a person “sexy”. (Luckily I have my boyfriend to help explain things, he’s very supportive and I love him for it!) Usually I ignore it, since having them not talk about sex is easier for me, even though its for the wrong reason.

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

That I can’t love someone, or have a real relationship, or even have kids. Being asexual doesn’t make you sterile, and there is SO much more to a relationship than just sex. I’ve been in my relationship for almost five years, and we still have so much to discover about each other, so much to do. And the best part? He is willing to wait for me to be comfortable with anything, even if it takes years, he won pressure me. If you find someone like that, don’t let them go.

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

Don’t listen to what other people say. Everyone else has their own identity, sexual experiences, and lives. If you identify as asexual, then you are asexual. Other people can’t tell you what you feel or don’t feel, it’s your own body and your own mind.

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

The only place I have my art up publicly right now is my blog; http://soul-sketches.tumblr.com/

While I haven’t posted anything in a while, I think I may start doing that again. Also, if you want a custom thing done, message me, because that is something I am exploring now.

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