Interview: Ceta

Today we’re joined by Ceta. Ceta is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in drawing cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises). Her work has an extraordinary vibrancy and is remarkably detailed. Ceta has a real love and passion 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 mostly do cetacean (dolphin, whale, and porpoise) art; it is a mix of traditional art and digital. My traditional art include sketches, pointilism art, and completed works in a sketchbook using a 2B pencil, standard pen, and/or Prismacolor Scholar brand of colored pencils. For digital, I use either a Nintendo 3DS with Colors 3D or a Wacom Intuos tablet with the program GIMP. Nothing too flashy but it gets the job done. My art journey started in August of 2005 as a preteen when I started cramming as many poorly drawn dolphins as I could on paper. And now, almost 12 years later, the works shown are the result of those days. I am currently attempting to expand my subjects to other animals.

What inspires you?

I had grown to love the form of whales and dolphins. How they swim elegantly. And seeing the result of what I draw brought me personal joy and satisfaction. Lately though my motivation and inspiration have been dry but I’m still trying to better myself. I want to one day be able to make extra money off of what I do.

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

As a preteen around the time I first started drawing, I read a series of fictional books called the Dolphin Diaries. The covers were beautiful, the stories of travel and adventure were great. As a kid it must’ve impacted me enough to start drawing. As such, from what I recall, I never really saw myself as that big of an artist while going through middle and high school. It was just a hobby that I did in my free time. And as of now, I see it being a side career once I improve myself enough; something to do to earn extra money on top of a main career.

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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?

All I do is my general signature, either my online name or first name. However, I recently discovered an art thief on Twitter took one of my older pieces and claimed as their own so I’ve cracked down harder on the signature, adding my username, real name, and date strategically placed in a way that’d be difficult to remove without ruining the entire pic.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

DON’T STEAL OR TRACE OTHERS’ ART!!! Seriously, it takes years and years to get art to look decent. By thieving, you’re taking away those years of frustration and hard earned work in a matter of moments. If you want to establish yourself as a good artist, start now and have incredible patience. Artists aren’t made overnight. Professional sports players aren’t born. Anything good you want in life you have to work for it yourself and take no shortcuts.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am fully asexual, but not repulsed or averse, and aro spectrum, somewhere between aromantic and heteroromantic (I think).

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

I prefer to stay away from conflict so I haven’t had anything firsthand. But I have seen posts on Twitter even just last night where posters say stuff like “I’m done with men/women, I’m turning asexual” and every similar post makes me roll my eyes and think to myself that that’s not how it works. I tend to ignore it though and move along.

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

That it’s celibacy/aces cannot date. Or that asexuals don’t have sex ever. The latter is a common viewpoint even among the ace community, and it kind of dismisses the neutral and favorable aces who do belong as well as demisexuals and graysexuals.

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

Be the asexy hottie that you are! There is a whole world outside of sex. You don’t have to have sex to be happy, and you can have sex and continue having sex even though it does nothing for you if making your partner happy makes you happy too. Having sex does not negate your orientation. Continuing to have sex while asexual means you are still asexual. You can date someone who will love you, those people are out there. And for the aro aces? Being a single pringle rocks! There’s no right or wrong way to be you.

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

I post on various sites, including on Tumblr here. The full list of sites to find my art are below:

Tumblr: artbyceta
Deviantart: cetasoul2
Instagram: art.by.ceta
Twitter: ArtByCeta
Colors 3D (www.colorslive.com): (at) art-by-ceta

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

Interview: Vide Frank

Today we’re joined by Vide Frank. Vide is a phenomenal illustrator from Sweden. They’re part of a group made up of asexual and aromantic individuals. Vide was also on a panel about asexual and aro issues at Stockholm pride. Their work is gorgeous and vivid, evoking an incredible amount of emotion, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a visual artist, which is a very broad term. I paint and draw both digitally and traditionally but have also dabbled around in sewing, sculpting, writing and jewelry making. I mostly stick to painting and drawing though. I use a lot of different mediums, like watercolor, markers, graphite, oil paint, acrylic paint, colored pencils, photoshop and paint tool sai.

What inspires you?

So many things, like music, movies, books, fanfiction, poetry, photos, drawings, paintings and real life. I’m very driven by my emotions though, so it all depends on how I’m feeling in that moment.

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

I guess I always had this fascination with art, I used to beg my mom to draw things for me and I loved to use my hands to create things. Art has always been a part of my life, although I didn’t really try to improve until I was around twelve, and it wasn’t until I was fifteen that I actually thought of making it into a carrier. I don’t believe enough in myself to actually take that leap though, so I’m studying to become an assistant nurse at a gymnasium in Sweden.

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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 really have a symbol or feature, since I think I would grow tired of it and start to hate it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It’s okay if your art look like crap, your dance can be off or you could have fucked up that seam, and that’s okay. Perfection isn’t necessary, it’s just tiring. Keep practicing, keep making mistakes, keep working and someday someone will say that you did well, and maybe that won’t be enough, but maybe it will. Learn to love the journey, not the result (as cheesy as that sounds).

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demi gray asexual, which means (according to me) that I need to have an emotional connection to a person to feel sexual attraction to them, but it’s still very rare for me to experience sexual attraction.

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

In my field? No, but that’s mostly because I’m not very open about my “queer-ness” around my art. In other places? Yeah, defiantly. I mostly try to keep a calm and open mind when I meet these people, and try to calmly explain my point of view with examples and such. Most of the time they understand or we agree to disagree.

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

That we don’t have sex or that we just need to find “the one”. Both are complete bullshit, I can have sex with a person and still be ace, asexuality isn’t about our actions, but about our attractions.

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

You don’t have a find a label or figure everything out, it’s okay to just be. If the people around you don’t support you there’s always other people in the world, someone out of the seven billion are going to understand.

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

You can find my art on my Instagram at plantrot:
https://www.instagram.com/plantrot/

Or my portfolio http://vide.teknisten.com/

You can also buy some of my works at my Redbubble: http://www.redbubble.com/people/videfrank
(or contact me at vide.frankh@gmail.com)

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

Interview: Edea

Today we’re joined by Edea. Edea is a wonderful visual artist who is most passionate about photography. When she’s not out capturing the world in pictures, Edea also does a little visual art. She prefers working in digital media, but does dabble in traditional media as well. She’s an incredibly dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

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

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a biromantic asexual.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s going to be okay.

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Adèle

Today we’re joined by Adèle. Adèle is a phenomenal visual artist who does both digital and traditional art. They do a lot of drawing and painting, usually a variety of subjects. Their work tends to have a bit of a surreal flair, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Pretty 3

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I mainly produce physical or digital artwork, the subject matter varying depending on whatever I feel like producing at that particular time.

What inspires you?

Inspiration can come from the weirdest places, for me at least. Sometimes I’ll spend weeks smoothing out the composition for just one piece, and sometimes I’ll see a tree or a bird and think “gotta go sketch, NOW!”. I’ll take inspiration where I can get it, which I think is why my pieces can tend to vary so much.

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

I have always enjoyed painting, drawing- producing any kind of artwork, really. Something about the thought of creating something just from my brain appeals to me. Funnily enough, it wasn’t until after I stopped doing art academically that I realized just how much I loved it.

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Salad Ugh

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?

There’s nothing concrete, aside from my signature I think. I did go through a phase of including odd stripy socks in all of my works a few years ago, but they feature much less often now.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you can find the balance between doing artwork to put yourself out there and doing it to make you feel better, there’s very little else you need to know. Also, don’t let anyone tell you that your form of artwork isn’t valid.

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Zombie Briar Rose

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Aromantic Asexual.

For me this means never feeling sexual attraction towards anybody, and never getting romantic feelings towards anybody either. I wouldn’t rule out dating somebody if I ever wanted to, but it hasn’t happened yet.

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

Very little, and none that couldn’t have been avoided with sheer education about asexual people. I tend to handle it by either trying to provide that education, or just accepting that there are always going to be people who oppose me for various reasons: and it shouldn’t be my responsibility to work at pleasing them.

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

That it’s a choice, or that it’s somehow less valid than other orientations.

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

It’s perfectly okay to take your time with figuring yourself out, and coming out after you do. It took me six months and a whole lot of soul-searching to be okay with the fact that I’m asexual, but I’m perfectly happy with it and myself now. I’d recommend speaking out, if you can, so that you’re not alone in it. Also, should anyone want to, my inboxes are always open and I’d love to help in any way I can.

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

My Etsy shop is here- https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/AdeleSianArtwork
(use coupon code- ASEXUALART for 10% off)
My art Tumblr (where I try to post my works) is here- http://adelesianartwork.tumblr.com/
My main blog, in case anyone did want to come chat, is here- http://excitablesatan.tumblr.com/

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Pretty 1

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

Interview: Lon

Today we’re joined by Lon. Lon is a fantastic visual artist who also does a lot of crocheting and writing. She hasn’t met a medium she doesn’t like. Lon is an incredibly passionate artist who loves creating, 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.

Well I guess I should start out by saying that I draw primarily in traditional style using pencil, ink, and markers. But I do also dabble in digital artwork. I also crochet everything from blankets to hats to fingerless gloves. I write as well and I am currently, working on a novel which I hope to publish.

What inspires you?

My digital artwork is inspired by stained glass windows and my traditional artwork is inspired by old school storybook style artwork.

As for what I draw, I tend to step outside and look at the area around me or look back over old vacation photographs. I live in Iowa near the Loess Hills on the boarder of South Dakota and Nebraska. It’s an absolutely beautiful area; especially in the fall. I tend to pull inspiration for my crocheting from the colors in nature and what kind of patterns I see among the forested area near me.

For my writing I pull inspiration from authors like C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, R.R. Martin, Brian Jacques, Patrick Rothfuss, J.K. Rowling, and Ted Dekker. Each of them unique in their own right and amazing at how they pull all the pieces together. I strive to create as unique and indepth works as they have.

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

I started out drawing traditionally very young. I would see both of my parents drawing and tried to draw along with them. My mother drew mostly with charcoal or oil pastels and though I grew to dislike both mediums simply because I draw more finely I still admire how beautiful her artwork is. My father drew with pencils and ink. His style of more precise and realistic sketches eventually inspired my personally style, although I kept my moms more whimsical and storybook tone in whatever I drew.

As for my crocheting, my mother taught me. I distinctly remember watching her crochet when I was young and trying to copy her for years until my mom decided ihad enough coordination to handle using the crochet hook and string. From there I took off on my own trying to teach myself as I went and learning her more unique tricks and stitches along the way. The style of crochet I use was apparently invented jointly by my mother and my great grandmother and is unique compared to most stitching styles. I didn’t know this until recently when a stranger made thr observation but I am delighted to know that I’ve continued something unique to my family.

The inspiration for wanting to write in general and my writing is more difficult to pinpoint. I would have to say the roots of it started with my dad reading to b before bed. My dad used to read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and later Harry Potter with different voices and brought the stories to life. I would have to say that looking over that period of my life it must have been then that I realized somedayI wanted to create a story that would bring people together and create fond memories as well.

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?

As I touched on with my crochet work I use a unique stitch that I’m quite fond of but for my artwork I tend to combine a storybook style into everything I draw. I rarely use full realism but rather draw in a very stylized way. With my writing I strive to bring in detail without overloading the story. I try to “paint” the world I see in my head fro my readers to see as they read.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice, study anatomy, do your research, and don’t give up. It took me nearly twenty years of constant practice to get where I am on all of my pusuits. Also for crocheting, make sure you’re stretching and holding your fingers/wrists correctly or you’ll hurt yourself.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’ve only recently realized I’m in the asexual spectrum but I’m comfortable in saying that I’m asexual.

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

Mostly I’ve seen ignorance or confusion with the few people I’ve worked up the courage to talk to about it. I’m not “out” quite yet as I’m still learning about it myself.

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

Just from observations on Tumblr and online in general I’ve seen a lot of misconceptions and denial. In person? Again I’m not out yet so I’m admittedly naive of people’s perceptions in my area.

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

Find a community, do your research, and I guess realize ultimately you aren’t broken. You never were.

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

You can find me on DeviantArt at Ecanusiofiel or StarryFeathers. I crocheting stuff will be up on an Etsy shop eventually once I’ve finished a few more pieces to post.

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

Interview: Oliver

Today we’re joined by Oliver. Oliver is a wonderful visual artist who works in both traditional mediums and digital as well. Their style is inspired by cartoons and anime, though they also do realistic drawings as well. Their work is brimming with beautiful vivid colors and wonderful flowing lines, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I love drawing people. I like to draw realistic portraits, but I find a more cartoony/anime inspired style is very fun as well.

The majority of my work is done traditionally, usually an amalgamation of water colour, coloured pencil, and ink is used. But I dabble in digital art as well.

I’m the kind of person who carries around ideas for pieces for years without actually ever putting them on paper. I find it very hard to translate the bigger concepts and visuals I have in my head into real life. So it’s not often my drawings make it past the sketchy pencil stage before I shove them away in exasperation never to see the light of day. Often times I go through these sketches at a later date, going “this is really good! But it isn’t like how I had conceptualized it all” and back into the abyss it goes.  *laughs*

I use art as a personal casual hobby. I often struggle to express myself effectively in verbal and text communication, so sometimes drawing out what I’m feeling, or how much I love something can be really soothing. So in that regard my art is very self-centric, art to me is about showing who you are in a way others can relate to.

What inspires you?

Other artists always! I love storytelling, especially visually, and don’t think I ever would have found the drive to draw if it was not for other artists around me. I specifically know I’ve been rather influenced by Shigenori Soejima, Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt.

I can’t really pinpoint for my original pieces what inspires me, striking visual thoughts or feelings mainly. It’s very abstract. I have whole reference folders dedicated to abstract imagines that make me feel ___ to help me draw that visually.

For fan art pieces, this is always much easier. I just have to try and channel what I love about that character, and then think of a dynamic visual way I can show that love to people.

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

DeviantArt was definitely a game changer for me. Little grade 5 me was introduced to it by one of my older siblings. I formed a close knit community with other artists around the same age and artistic level as me, and I was always pushed to keep producing things and learning and help them do the same. I thrived there for a long time.

I really wanted to be a professional artist, and had a lot of support in early high school to try and make a portfolio to attend a university art school. But I found once I put my nose to the grind stone and lived , breathed , and sweat art for that portfolio , that art wasn’t something I was interested in pursuing professionally. I hated the restrictions of what I could and couldn’t draw. I hated the class time as I often didn’t want to draw past 20 minute intervals. It was around this time I decided to see art as a hobby, because it was the only way I really enjoyed it.

Now with other obligations and just life in general , I don’t get to draw much , and I don’t see as much rapid progress in skill as I did once , but I really enjoy drawing and that’s something I’m really glad has persisted. It’s so relaxing!

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, not really. I have been told I have a very unique line texture by several people though (I’m not sure that’s a good thing though!)

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep drawing what you like, not what other people like!

And if you’re considering becoming an artistic professional give yourself a time line where you will dedicate yourself to you’re art 100% to see if it really is the right fit for you! Evaluate, after that time line and make your choice from there. There is no wrong choice either.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a Nonbinary Panromantic Asexual.

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

I’m actually incredibly lucky to live in a big city, which has a pride center that specifically organizes asexual pride events and casual hang outs.

At my job, I work with several A-Spec coworkers. And the rest are part of the Queer community themselves or are very supportive Allies.

I tend to get flack for other aspects of my identity, more so because it is easier to see upon introduction that I am trans, versus asexual, which is only brought up when discussing sexual activities (which rarely is a work topic, which makes the NSFW acronym pretty relevant *finger pistols)

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

Probably from my family, they are all incredibly sex positive, and so am I, so I’m very open that sex is not something that appeals to me. I have identified as Asexual since I was 13. I am now 21. My mother was a late bloomer and she keeps insisting I’m just a very very veerrryy late bloomer. :/

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

I never really talked about my lack of sexuality until I connected online with other Aces. Foster a community and raise awareness. It’s very hard to feel isolated when you know others are experiencing the same thing as you are. Plus you will make some amazing friends along the way. 🙂

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

My personal art blog is http://p3hero-art.tumblr.com/
My main blog is http://p3hero.tumblr.com/

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

Interview: Carly Ann

Today we’re joined by Carly Ann. Carly Ann is a phenomenal artist who does a lot of visual art and SFX makeup. She works in a wide variety of mediums when she’s drawing. Carly Ann is also incredibly passionate about makeup and it’s truly something she loves to do. Her work shows an incredible attention to detail and it’s very apparent Carly Ann’s a gifted artist. Her passion shines through in her interview, 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 in the visual arts as I never hesitate to take on a new challenge or venture into a new medium. My main focuses tend to be in drawing and special effects makeup, though I even work in costume design and prop making. I’ve been drawing ever since I could hold a crayon and have continued with it as a hobby into adulthood. It has only been in the past couple years that I decided to make it my life’s work, that art is what brings me the most joy. My typical drawing mediums include graphite, charcoal, and ink, though I have even dappled in oil pastels and gouache. Even my subject matters tend to bounce from everything to photo-realistic portrait work, abstract expressionism pieces, and even still life.

As for special effects makeup, this interest has been a more recent development. Upon reaching my teenage years and continuing into the present, I have stepped into alternative fashion. Makeup has always been a means of self-expression for me in this unique lifestyle, from simple dramatic looks to bordering on stage makeup. But I never considered it as a form of artistic expression or a potential career path until two years ago. I hit a state of severe depression about halfway through my sophomore year of college. I was not happy with the career path I was originally on, but too scared to take on art as it is stereotypically thought of as not a reliable income source. One of the few daily activities in my life that kept me going during this time was waking up hours before class to do intense, dramatic makeup. I would watch YouTube videos and teach myself all these creative ways to manipulate your features through cosmetics. After I reached my lowest point in my depression, I asked a friend what they thought I should do and they said I always look my happiest when I am doing my makeup. That was all the convincing I needed to realize that my heart truly was in the arts, thus I became an art major and dedicated my life to it. Since then my work has been focused in sculpture and I have done numerous projects in special effects makeup. Needless to say, I have never been happier or more confident in myself than I have at this point in my life.

What inspires you?

The concept of duality is something that I not only embody in my artwork, but in my life. Contrasting ideas, beauty meets horror, life meets death, dark meets light, have always fascinated me. Much of the artwork that I do for myself embraces these conflicting elements. People tend to fear the darker aspects of our world as they hold uncertainty and the unknown, but I want my art to show that there is no need to be afraid. There is beauty in darkness and just as the shadows can conceal, the light can blind. Finding balance between the two, understanding that life and death go hand in hand, is the root of much of my work.

As for artists I find inspiration in, they range from tattoo artists to special effects makeup artists, both of which are career paths I am looking into for the future. One of my favorite tattoo artists is Ryan Ashley Malarkey, an independent artist from Kingston, Pennsylvania. Her fine line black and grey pieces are simply breathtaking in their detail, and tend to feature many of the dual elements I mentioned before. In special effects makeup, Mykie, also known as Glam and Gore on YouTube, has been an incredible source of not only inspiration, but information. Much of her work does not involve expensive products, which when you’re a poor college student, it’s much appreciated. Not to mention her YouTube channel caught my eye with its contrast. Many of her tutorials marry beauty and blood, from gory Disney princesses to neon zombies. I’ve referenced a number of her videos in order to achieve my own unique looks.

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

I suppose you could say I have always been interested in in the arts. My family has been very supportive, always making art supplies available, signing me up for dance classes, as well as encouraging theatre and music-related extracurricular activities throughout my education. The arts, in all its vast forms, are something I could not imagine my life without. Music and theatre helped my cope with my shyness and social anxiety. Drawing became an outlet for my vivid and creative imagination. Makeup has taken on a form of self-expression, a means of showing the unique individual that I am, inside and out. I even currently work within the costume shop on my college campus, it has already become a means of sustaining myself financially. Though, I never really considered the career path of an artist until recently due to the financial risks society likes to associate with it. There was always this fear that my art would never be “good enough”, that I would not be able to apply it in a way to sustain myself and it could never be anything more than a hobby. But thanks to dedication, practice, and the encouragement of those around me, I have gained a lot of confidence that being an artist is the right field for me.

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

I have actually put a bit of thought into my signature. Writing out my full name can be such a hassle, and admittedly I am not a huge fan of my handwriting. Instead my signature consists of a rather stiff and scratchy looking moon with a star hanging off the top. The intention is for it to not only mimic the imagery of the night sky, but also hold my first and middle initials (the moon for “C” and an “A” hidden within the lines of the star). It’s simple, but unique, and once more embodies the idea of lights in the dark.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Honestly, I feel as if I could write an essay of advice alone for aspiring artists, but to be brief I will touch a few main points that helped me pursue my passion. The first being, do not be afraid of risk, whether that is taking on an unfamiliar medium or dedicating your life to art in general. It’s all a learning experience, and you are bound to make mistakes, but do not let those hold you back or make you believe that your art is not worthy. Practice does not make perfect, practice gives you a better understanding of who you are and how your art is an embodiment of that. All art is “perfect” in its own way as it is an extension of yourself, and you are wonderful. Do not feel pressured to meet the expectations or abilities of those around you, or you run the risk of losing the creativity that is the root of all art. That is when it becomes more of a chore than something enjoyable. Also, it is okay to take breaks from time to time. Do not think that you need to dedicate every waking moment to creating something. There is value in stepping away from a piece and allowing yourself time to meditate on your ideas, as well as recharge your creative energy. Finally, never let anyone devalue your art or the life of an artist. There are those out there who will attempt to discourage you, make art seem trivial, almost juvenile. But they just fail to see how we are all constantly surrounded by art. Art enriches our lives, gives us beauty and even an escape from reality from time to time. There will always be a need for art, your work will always hold value. You will always have a purpose in this world as an artist.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as both asexual and aromantic.

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

Over all, within my work as an artist I have never faced any ace prejudice (outside the field is another story). Since I have only recently taken on the ace/aro terms to describe my orientations (about half a year ago), I have only just begun expressing this aspect of myself openly to a select few individuals in my field, all of whom have been incredibly open-minded. My employer in my college’s costume shop (who identifies openly as both heterosexual and heteroromantic) has spent hours discussing sexuality and the LGBT+ community over our work with me in a completely accepting manner. Any questions she has had have been asked both politely and completely out of curiosity with a desire to gain a better understanding of the ace/aro spectrum. In general my college campus is very friendly towards the non-heteronormative and non-cisgendered community. We even have posters currently up around our buildings welcoming those that identify as agender and asexual to the LGBT+ organization on campus. However, as I am a senior with the intent to graduate in the spring, I am a little apprehensive if that will change once I am involved in the professional art world. But with more light and acknowledgement being shed on asexuality and aromanticism as valid identities, and the spectrum they encompass, I am confident that with time we will all be better understood.

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

The most common misconception that I have personally encountered is that ace/aro individuals are cold-hearted or emotionless. While this has not been expressed by anyone within my artistic field, I have been confronted with it by people in other areas of my life. I have been called a “man-hater” and told that I “do not even count as a girl” because I do not experience romantic or sexual attraction and am personally uncomfortable with affectionate physical contact. In reality, ace/aro people, including myself, hold just as much emotion as anyone else. These aspects of our identity pertain only to our lack of sexual and romantic attraction and by no means imply hatred or devalue our sense of humanity. I have found this to be one of the most toxic forms of ace/aro misunderstandings as it enforces the ideas of being “broken” or inhuman, which simply are not true. Regardless of attraction or lack thereof, ace/aro people are just as deserving of respect and love.

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

Just as I could for aspiring artists, I feel as if I could go on for pages of advice for fellow ace/aros, despite having only come to understand my own identity less than a year ago. The best advice I could give is to love in the way that you feel most comfortable with (and is obviously consensual). As I have questioned my sexuality over the years, trying to put a name to it, I have caused myself an incredible amount of unnecessary stress and grief. Even after accepting my own ace/aro identity, I still find myself dwelling on these unnecessary thoughts. What if it really is just a phase as society tries to accuse? What if it’s rooted in a medical issue relating to libido? What if I never find anyone who will be satisfied with being in a platonic relationship and I spend the rest of my life alone (albeit with a lot of cats)? But in the end I just need to take a deep breath and clear my mind. I need to remind myself that I am human, I am not perfect, but I am not broken. Most importantly, what it all comes down to is what makes me comfortable and happy, whether that is being in a strictly platonic relationship or finding in time that I identify somewhere else on the vast spectrum of sexuality. Regardless of labels, regardless of any changes I may experience as I further understand myself, I am still valuable as a person and deserving of love.

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

Most of my work gets posted on my personal social media; this includes Twitter (necromanticdoll), Instagram (necromanticdoll), and Tumblr (necromanticdoll.tumblr.com). As I build my portfolio and career I may make accounts dedicated solely to my art, but I will be sure to keep things updated on any changes via my personal accounts.

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