Aro-Spec Artist Profile: Pauline

Handdrawn watercolour-style image of a sparse forest of redwood trees growing among grassy hills, with a white and orange fox sitting in the grass at the base of a tree on the viewer's right-hand side of the image. Scene is overlaid with the dark green/light green/white/grey/black stripes of the aro pride flag. The text Aro Worlds Artist Profiles sits across the image in a black, antique handdrawn type, separated by two ornate Victorian-style black dividers.

Our next aro-spec creator is Pauline, known here on Tumblr as @the-rose-owl but best known to the aro-spec community as one of the super talented mods on @arostuck!

Pauline is a queer, bigender and aromantic original and fan creator specialising in digital art. Aside from populating much of this blog’s homestuck tag, you can find his super cute work on @rosey-arts, DeviantArt and YouTube. She creates fanart for Homestuck and Steven Universe along with a heap of gorgeous OCs. I’m in non-romantic love with this gorgeous draft-horse centaur girl and this sleepy plant-themed dog!

With us Pauline talks about aro pride, his journey to aromanticism, art as building self-esteem and her passion for the aro-spec community. His words are just so brimming with positivity and enthusiasm, so please let’s give her all our love, encouragement, gratitude, kudos and follows for taking the time to explore what it is to be aromantic and creative.

Can you share with us your story in being aro-spec?

I really found a home in the arospec community, and it’s very important to me as an identity. I’m proud of being aro, and of being part of this community. I at first identified as bi because of a lack of romantic preference, then later on as greyro and finally aro! I initially simply gave it no thought, assuming I was just too young for romance, but one thing led to another and I found out that my friend (similarly aged) had a crush on me. This forced me to re-examine my complete lack of interest and understanding of romance in order to best explain to them why I couldn’t reciprocate. I’d actually seen the aromantic label before questioning, which made figuring it out a lot easier in the end!

Can you share with us the story behind your creativity?

My art brings me a lot of joy, and that outlet to be creative is something I feel is essential to me. It helps my self-esteem a lot, seeing actually finished works and having visual proof that yes, I do have valuable skills and I am capable of doing things. I’m not planning on going professional with it, but it’s still something that’s really important to me and is a big source of happiness! Creating art also helps to connect with other artists, and it’s nice to be part of a community like that.

Are there any particular ways your aro-spec experience is expressed in your art?

My works in general don’t really have any narrative between them, and as such it’s kind of hard for any specific part of my identity to be represented in my pieces? But I do in general focus more on platonic relationships rather than romantic ones in my art. And, as mentioned earlier, I’m a part of an arospec-specific art blog/community, so me being aro gives me that extra outlet on top of my usual work!

Also, and this is just tangentially related, but for this year’s arospec awareness week I made the arrow-with-yellow-roses art, and it got a really great reception from the community! I feel like I’ve made an actual meaningful contribution to the arospec community in this small way and it’s something I’m really happy about.

How do you connect to the aro-spec and a-spec communities as an aro-spec person?

As I said earlier, I really found my home in the arospec community, so it holds a big place in my heart and I feel a strong connection to it. I feel like I can actually relate to so many people, and that we share the same ideas and passions. That’s something that’s been rare to find for me, so it’s really important to me that I feel like a meaningful part of this big group. While I may not personally know every other arospec person out there, there’s a feeling of solidarity and connection there for sure. It was the first time I’d ever really felt completely belonging in this way! I’m not acespec myself, so there’s less personal connection to the more general a-spec community, but I still feel moderately involved in it, and there’s a nice sense of arospec/acespec solidarity there too, even if they don’t always overlap.

How do you connect to your creative community as an aro-spec person?

Generally it’s a positive experience, but sometimes it does feel a little alienating because of the overwhelming focus on romantic relationships and barely any content depicting platonic/familial ones. This is why I’m really excited to find other arospec people creating content like that, with all the nuance and depth in depicting those platonic relationships that a lot of alloromantic people just gloss over!

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