Interview: Lana

Today we’re joined by Lana, who also goes by Deact. Lana is a wonderful visual artist and writer. She does a lot of portraits of women and girls, as well as mermaids. She uses both digital and traditional mediums. When not drawing, Lana also dabbles in writing and tends to write a lot of short stories. It’s very obvious she’s a dedicated artist who enjoys what she does, 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 predominantly deal in drawn visual art and short story writing. My art is mostly self-taught and usually involves portraits of women/girls and a lot of mermaids. I use both traditional and digital methods (although not together) and I have recently picked up watercolour painting, but I tend to stick with line art and block colour. My writing is very vague and laconic and feedback usually deems it unsettling. I prefer short stories because the reader never really finds out what’s going on (also I can’t seem to stick with a long term story for more than a fortnight).

What inspires you?

With art, I’m inspired by colours, light, and biologically plausible mythology (e.g. mermaids coming in different fish species and the way the human part of the body would adapt to the sea). With my writing, I write mostly about the places I’ve been or have knowledge of, or situations and places that everyone has experienced (e.g. train stations, restaurants etc.). The familiarity of these places and the subversion of safety is a common theme in my work. Writers like Angela Carter, Daphne du Maurier, and Stephen King all contributed to the short story element of my writing style. The mangaka Junji Ito and the manga Fuan no Tane also inspired me due to their simple-yet-scary art.

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Restaurant Gothic

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

I think I probably got myself into art, and I think my first dream job was ‘novelist’. Not a lot of people around me growing up considered art a big part of their lives. I have always enjoyed creating things and learning new techniques. Handing impressionable thirteen year old me a stack of manga pushed me to copy the style and then develop my own further down the line. I tried to pursue art seriously, but disliked the way my education system taught Fine Art and dropped it in favour of Classics. The story’s pretty similar with writing too, only I have always excelled in literature classes regardless of my interest level, whereas art classes felt a little too restricted. A tiny part of me is always going to want to be a successful artist, 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?

Winged eyeliner, and I try to draw different noses!! Noses are pretty cool but it’s easy to fall back into the acute angle shape. In writing I tend to use short sentences and the second person ‘you’.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Draw what you feel and don’t worry if it doesn’t have a deeper meaning. Also use references and take specialised classes for your art form if you can.

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Reddd

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual. I’m not going to pretend to understand what my romantic orientation is doing, but I’m not worried about it either.

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

I study Translation. The first person I came out to was in my language class, who told me on three separate occasions that I would find someone later in life I’d want to have sex with, that I should wait until I’m twenty to decide, and that they thought I was “just afraid of men”. I wasn’t sure how to handle it as I’m a fairly reserved person, so I just never brought it up again. Another person who previously identified as grayace realised they weren’t (and y’know, there’s zero problem with that), and tried to convince me relaxing in a club would make me want sex. I don’t think I’ve talked to them since, as their insistence kinda pressured me to say I would sleep with someone if I loved them enough (which I felt very uncomfortable saying).

Luckily the majority of people I’ve told have been super accepting (shoutout to my cheer team for accepting me in a pub, of all places), and when they haven’t understood they’ve asked for clarification.

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

That I’ll meet someone and my feelings will change. I think it hurt the most coming from my mother.

Also ‘lol is that like a plant’

A friend once asked me if chickens were asexual as if a) I was an expert on chickens and b) I knew every asexual being that existed. Bless her.

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

Take your time. Try things out if you want, or don’t if you don’t want to. Never let someone else try to dictate your feelings to you. Don’t think there’s some sort of hierarchy amongst ace communities either – whatever you feel is what it is.

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

My Tumblr.
https://imdeactivating.tumblr.com/

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

Interview: Claire Greenhalgh

Today we’re joined by Claire Greenhalgh. Claire is a wonderful visual artist who is a freelance artist and university student. She does a bit of everything: digital art, fanart, and original work. Claire is versatile when it comes to style but she tends to favor cartoon/comic visuals and digital painting. She’s very enthusiastic, 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’ve been a traditional artist, favoring pens and wet ink, for most of my life, but once I started using my graphics tablet in earnest for a university module in 2015, I’ve been completely hooked on digital work. I still love to draw on pen and paper, but working digitally has a lot of advantages and is much more cost effective in the long run.

I’ve been told I have either a talent or a curse for managing to make almost everything I draw cute, even when it probably shouldn’t be, which I’ve embraced (though I’m still trying to get better at drawing less friendly looking monsters)

What inspires you?

My inspirations change over the years, but the things that seem to have stuck in my head most in the past 5 years or so are sea creatures (specifically octopi) and magical girls. I draw a lot of inspiration from the video games I play and the anime I watch, and since I like to have music on whilst I draw, I’ve got numerous playlists of music to suit different themes, characters and overall feelings that help me feel inspired as I work.

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

I’ve been drawing for longer than I can remember, but I know when I was very young, we’re talking about 5 here, I wanted to be a vet or a zookeeper, something that involved working with animals. This was before I understood what allergies were, or why I always seemed to get sick near furry things.

My first inspiration for my art, my interest and eventual study in video games, that all gets traced back to Pokémon. I watched the anime so much as a child, the whole concept of a world with magical sentient animals was enthralling to me, and my art started developing properly with me copying the style of the show and expanding on that. Learning that there were Pokémon games too is what got me into video games, and that turned out to be a form of media I was never going to fall out of love with. Now I’m a few months away from having a degree in Graphics For Games.

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

Well aside from my watermark, my work often includes a lot of glowing sparkly things. The ability to draw things which are emitting light so much more easily is one of the things which solidified my working with digital art more frequently than traditional. It’s one of the reasons why I set so many of my compositions, and the bulk of my current project’s story, at night, to make the glowing parts stand out more.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Experiment and persevere. Observational drawing is good groundwork to build your skills and understanding of the basics, and there’s not much better practice for drawing people than life drawing. But try using as many different forms of media as you can, paint, ink, pencils, sculpture, various digital methods. Try out every technique you can, see what gels well with you and feels right, and don’t give up, if it feels like your work isn’t getting better, you’re probably just getting better at analyzing artwork and your skill at drawing itself will catch up soon. You’re not going to improve if you don’t keep trying.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m demisexual and biromantic.

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

Ignorance certainly. My field currently consists mainly of the other games, animation and visual effects students at my university, most of whom aren’t unpleasant people, but they don’t seem to know much about any orientations other than straight and gay and the occasions I’ve mentioned that aro and ace spectrum identities exist it was met with confusion and dismissal. Hence why I’m only half out to most of my peers, I don’t really feel like having some guy from class interrogate me or try and convince me my orientation doesn’t exist, or should be ‘fixed’ by now because I’m not single.

I’ve tried coming out about my demisexuality to my parents but they just laughed at me and told me I was confused and that ‘every woman waits before she sleeps with someone’. That at 17 I was too young to know, which is an argument I will never understand. They didn’t want to listen to me when I tried to explain that it’s not a matter of choosing it’s a matter of feeling nothing at all before a bond is formed, so I’ve avoided talking to them about my orientation since.

Hence why as far as I’m aware they don’t know I’m also bi. Unless they’re reading this. They’re not homophobic people I just get the impression a lot of the time that I keep disappointing them by being myself and I’m not sure whether that’d extend to my not just liking dudes, so I’ve avoided having that particular conversation with them.

Most of the outright prejudice I’ve faced has been online. I’ve gotten death threats and some very unpleasant anonymous messages to the effect of ‘you’re lying, asexuality is a fake orientation so that fat ugly cows like you don’t feel so bad about never being loved.’

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

Well there’s the plant thing as you might imagine. Personally I’ve had people ask me repeatedly how I can be ace and still have a boyfriend, seeming to be confused as to how he hadn’t ‘fixed’ or ‘cured’ me. Thankfully, my boyfriend himself is a very understanding person who doesn’t exhibit these misconceptions and prejudices.

There’s the assumption that asexuality is a sickness, or tied to mental illness, which whilst yes, for some of us there is a connection, but as a neurodivergent woman myself, I don’t like people to assume that that’s the case for absolutely all of us, or that asexuality is any kind of illness or disorder in and of itself.

That and the idea that someone under the age of 18 can’t know they’re ace, or that ace and aro spectrum identities are somehow inappropriate for children and teenagers to know about or identify as. My childhood and teens would have been much less miserable if I’d known I wasn’t sick or broken before all my classmates suddenly started taking an interest in sexual things and started ostracizing me for not being able to relate to them, rather than about 4 years after that started.

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

Particularly with young aces struggling to feel at home with their peers, it’s tough, there’s no denying that, and people won’t always be accepting of who you are, but your orientation doesn’t make you any less worthwhile as a person. You don’t ever need to feel like you have to ‘try’ anything to be sure that it’s not what you want, you can live a happy and fulfilling life without ever feeling sexual attraction, or wanting sexual contact with anybody. Sex repulsion is a real chore, I’m lucky that I only experience it periodically rather than all the time, repulsion can be frightening and deeply unpleasant to go through, but you’re not sick and you’re not broken, you’re you, and you don’t need to conform to what others want you to be to be a good person.

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

My art blog, where you can find my recent work, my commission information, and where you can submit drawing suggestions, can be found at: http://cgreenhalghart.tumblr.com/

I also have a Redbubble, which I also take suggestions for, you can send those to my art blog’s inbox as well should you wish: https://www.redbubble.com/people/Mewsa/shop?asc=u

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

Interview: Lizzy

Today we’re joined by Lizzy, who also goes by Demonartis. Lizzy is a phenomenal visual artist who enjoys a lot of traditional mediums. She has done a lot of drawing and painting, but also engraving, calligraphy, and sculpting. Recently, Lizzy has started dabbling in digital art and enjoys it a lot. It’s very clear she’s incredibly passionate about art, which makes for a great 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.

Well my work consists mostly of traditional mediums of visual art, from drawing and painting to engraving, calligraphy and sculpting, I’ve done a bit of everything. And work in every one of them pretty much in equal proportion. (Which is to say not nearly enough, lol.) Recently I have been dabbling in digital art and have taken quite a liking to it. I just really love doing stuff with my hands and I feel it’s a great way to put what’s in my mind out in the open, not only so other people can see it, but also because it helps me understand my own way of seeing things and reminds me that I am here and have a valid perspective on things.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by emotions, both mine and those of other people, the intense dark or strange feelings that you can’t very well explain, the slightly creepy lovely things that are all around our world and the worlds of books and stories that I read and of course the shows that I watch, fan art is important. I’m also really inspired by other artist that are around me, my friends in art school are a really great bunch of people and I think new artists are a great source of inspiration.

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

From as far back as I remember I have been drawing and have always loved art of every type but I couldn’t pick. I took singing lessons, and guitar lessons, and dance lessons; I tried a lot of things before finally settling on visual art. But I think that yes, in the bottom of my heart I’ve always wanted to be an artist.

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 sign my work with my real name, whether in a corner or hidden in the drawing somewhere. Nothing else that I have noticed.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Whatever type of art you do, do it with feeling, put a bit of you in it. As long as you love what you do, it’s absolutely worth the while. Try everything and don’t worry about having to work with one medium forever, or having to do one type of art forever, mix and match just, free yourself in art because there are no rules there. If there are things you can’t do, work within your limits don’t strain too much, but don’t give up, you have so much to offer to the world and to yourselves!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Quoiromantic Asexual.

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

I’ve found a lot of ignorance related to asexuality, it’s virtually unknown to everyone I’ve talked to, but people in my field seem to be very open to the idea of being educated in such matters and I try my best to give them information as long as they want it.

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

That it’s not real and we just “haven’t found the right person” seems to be the most common here, also that we’re all just “late bloomers”.

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

It’s perfectly fine to be confused about your aceness, or to be confused on your romantic orientation, don’t push yourself into anything you don’t want and feel free to explore and change you labels, learning about yourselves take a lot of time and a bunch of trial and error, so its fine if you don’t get it all right the first time.

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

I can be found on Tumblr and Instagram as: Demonartis, and can also be found on Facebook as: Art of Demonartis.

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

Interview: Rae

Today we’re joined by Rae. Rae is a wonderful visual artist who does both traditional and digital art. She does a lot of fanart but also enjoys doing original work as well. She’s incredibly passionate about 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 do a lot of fanart as well as my own original creations. I do both traditional and digital art. My favorite thing to do is character design, and I’m always coming up with random stories in my head and developing characters to go in them.

What inspires you?

I find a lot of inspiration from my fandoms and the internet. Just browsing around random sites, I suddenly get interesting ideas. I also have weird dreams that make me think, “hey, that could be a cool story,” and I just kind of roll with it.

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

I always drew as a kid, but I was never really into it. I started identifying as an artist in 8th grade when I took my first art class, and I’ve just been in love with it ever since.

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

No, nothing in particular.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Remember, there will always be someone better than you. But just because someone might have “better” art doesn’t mean yours isn’t still amazing. Follow your dreams and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not “good enough” to be an artist.

shadows_of_doubt
Shadows of Doubt

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a demiromantic asexual. I also think I might be sex-repulsed, but I’m not 100% sure.

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

Fortunately, not much. Mostly, people just don’t know what I mean when I say i’m asexual and I have to explain it to them.

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

That asexuality is a biological term and can’t be applied to humans.

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

It’s okay to not know. I was questioning for a long time, and when I heard about asexuality, I was still confused. Keep searching until you find what works for you.

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

You can follow me on Tumblr at http://lemurart.tumblr.com/ or DeviantArt at http://linkachu72.deviantart.com/

bubbles
Bubbles

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

Interview: Dib

Today we’re joined by Dib. Dib is wonderful young visual artist who mostly draws fanart. They do occasionally draw some original work. They use both traditional and digital mediums. They’re incredibly dedicated and passionate about their art and are constantly drawing. It’s very apparent they’re enthusiastic, as you’ll soon 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.

I am mostly a fanartist but occasionally I try to do original work. I do both traditional and digital art and I draw almost every day, I work very hard trying to improve and develop my style.

What inspires you?

My friends and other artists inspire me. I draw for my own enjoyment and the idea of improving and watching my progress and bringing my wonderful drawings into the world!

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

Since I could remember I’ve always loved to draw, I was in love with creating and showing everyone what I made, and I still am! However, I’m not sure I want to pursue art as a career.

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 almost every piece of work that I sign I write my name (DIB) and enclose it in a heart, other than that I’m really inconsistent with my art.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never give up on yourself, keep creating in the good and the bad time, even if you face rudeness and evil people, and don’t be afraid to experiment! Try something new, step outside your comfort zone and don’t care what other people think! Create for yourself and no one else.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as sex-repulsed asexual panromantic.

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

I have experienced prejudice and ignorance in general but not specifically in my “field”. Aphobia is especially prominent on Tumblr and it’s practically everywhere, to be honest it has a large negative affect on my mental health so I try to avoid it at all costs.

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

I think the most common misconception I see is that asexuality is a choice, like abstinence or something, or that asexuals don’t face discrimination (which we do, the idea that we don’t is really harmful and ignorant).

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

I know it may be hard to come to terms with your identity, it’s taken me a long time to accept who I am, but trust me there’s nothing wrong with you, you are not broken, you are not unnatural. Love and accept yourself because you are perfect, you are strong and wonderful.

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

My blog is (at) dogs-run. You can see my work under the tag #my art but I don’t post my art super often. I blog about Homestuck and Steven Universe mostly and just a bunch of random social justice things. It would be awesome if some of you checked me out!

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

Interview: Linda Burgess

Today we’re joined by Linda Burgess. Linda is an extremely talented and versatile visual artist. She works in both digital and traditional mediums. Linda is incredibly passionate about animation and hopes to be an animation director. Judging from the quality of her work, I’d say she definitely has a 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 do traditional art, digital art, character design and animation. Most of my work I’ve sketched out traditionally and then scanned and finished digitally. For my animation, I used to do all of it traditionally, but have recently started experimenting with it digitally.

I tend to stick to cool colors with my paintings, and for that reason a lot of my work has night skies as backgrounds, I don’t know why-but I’ve always hated painting with warm colors, it’s something I have to work at growing out of in the future.

Probably my favorite field of work is character design and animation (even though I’ve been focusing on my improving my digital painting the past few months). It’s one thing to draw something, but a whole other thing to breathe life into it.

When I draw out character designs I get to take an original character I’ve thought up and dive deeper into who it is as a person, I draw out the same character hundreds of times, in different poses, with different facial expression, through this process I can began to decide and form who I want the character to be as a person.

And then the best part is animating it. The first time I ever animated something I literally started crying, it was an extremely special moment in my life. I’ll never forget watching one of my drawings-who had always stared up at me blankly from a sheet of paper-now jumping around and waving up at me. I felt like I had given life to something, and it was at that moment I knew: this was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

My goal is to become an animation director one day, and in truth, I’ve fallen in love with every aspect of movie making. Animation is the closest thing I’ve come to finding magic in the real world.

What inspires you?

A lot of things inspire me: cartoons, comics, music, and definitely the work of other artists. But the thing that inspires me the most is animated films. There’s something about going to a theater to watch a movie in 3D and immersing yourself in the experience of the film. Laughing, crying and cheering the protagonist on through their journey and feeling like you’re right there alongside them through their journey, it always makes me feel like a kid again. It’s my favorite thing in the whole world to do.

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Flight

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

My father is an artist so I’ve been making and learning about art since I could hold a pencil. But I didn’t consider pursuing it as a career until I was fifteen. My father is what you would call a starving artist, I grew up in a small town and even though he is an amazing painter there really wasn’t that much work, so I never knew you could actually make any real money from it unless you were famous.

So for the longest time, I had plans to pursue a degree in English literature. It was the moment I made my first animation, that I decided I wanted to make animated films. The more I learned about animation, the more I decided I wanted to tackle and improve every aspect of my art I could. I bought a drawing tablet, started painting, learned how to write out storyboards and draw out character designs and started animating more and more. I came to love each day more and more, because I knew I could pursue and improve the thing I love the most.

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 don’t sign a lot of my digital work (which I should), but instead print them off and sign them by hand when I sell them at anime conventions. Most of the time it’s just my name in cursive, or just my initials.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Always pursue what you love. Don’t make art to impress others, make art to impress yourself. When you start drawing, draw because you love art for what it is and that’s: taking nothing and making something beautiful out of it. I think that’s why a lot of artist’s give up early on, because they compare themselves to better artists and become depressed and think: I’ll never be that good. None of that matters, everyone starts somewhere, do art because you love it and for nothing else.

Ladybug [2]
Ladybug

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I definitely identify as asexual and probably aromantic. It’s incredibly hard for me to be attracted toward someone and I think it’s only happened one time in my entire life.

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

Mostly just the: “You’re too young and you’ll do it one day when you’re older.” But I just ignore these replies, I’m eighteen (almost nineteen), I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out whether or not I want to do it by now.

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

Most people I know have absolutely no clue what it is in the first place, so when I have to explain it to them they just look at me like I’m some kind of mythical creature.

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Moon Glow

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

You aren’t broken, you aren’t ill. You are an amazing, wonderful person who just happens to have a different preference from most people. I know sometimes it can be scary, but you were made this way for a reason. Always love and believe in yourself, never let society decide who you should and shouldn’t be.

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

You can find my website here, which has most of my work: http://lindakburgess.weebly.com/
Also my Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/Linda-Burgess/100009533223660
And Deviantart: http://lindaburgess.deviantart.com/
And my Tumblr where I spit out a bunch of random fanart, comics, ship art and other sketches I don’t post anywhere else: http://lindakburgess.tumblr.com/

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Spirited Away

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