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Ashara Taylor

It's FanArt Wednesday again! This week’s chosen artist is Ashara Taylor from Northeast Scotland. You can connect with Ashara on DeviantArt, Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram. You can check out her X-Files gallery here. She also has several prints for sale on Redbubble and Society 6.

Here's a little about Ashara:

1. When did you become an X-Phile?

I'm a newbie! The X-Files has been on my list since I hopped on the Breaking Bad bandwagon in around 2010. I knew that Vince Gilligan had also worked on The X-Files, and decided to watch it at some point. However 9 seasons (and 2 movies) are quite a commitment to make, so I only really started ploughing through them in the summer and autumn of 2015. Thanks are also to my friend B whose thirst for anything and everything Duchovny helped lure me in!


2. What is the first episode you watched?

I started at the very beginning and went chronologically. One thing that was fantastic about binge-watching the first 9 seasons was watching the wardrobe and hair styles changing over time.

3. What was your favorite part of the revival?

I really liked that they stuck with the formula. For some shows a miniseries has often meant a change in tone or subject - for me, Torchwood's "Children of Earth" and "Miracle Day" are notable positive and negative examples of this, respectively - but The X-Files stuck with the tried and tested format. There were MOTW episodes, funny episodes, and mytharc episodes: even though there were only six of them, it felt like a proper season. The fans wanted the familiarity of Mulder and Scully doing spooky stuff whilst Skinner rolls his eyes in the background, and that's exactly what they got. There are some aspects of the revival I wasn't too keen on, but overall I thought it was a solid season. I think you could tell it was made for the fans rather than the cash grab, and I hope we'll see a season 11 sometime soon.

4. What inspired you to create X-Files fanart?

Prior to binge-watching The X-Files, the time I'd been spending on portraits had diminished greatly. I had reached that point I think a lot of artists find themselves at, where their eye has improved faster than their penmanship. I knew my portraits didn't look the way I wanted them to, but I didn't know how to fix it, and so I was practising a lot more still life and nature in the meantime.

Watching The X-Files really inspired me to try more portraiture. It's thanks to the actors: Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny are able to convey such depth and variety of expressions that as an artist, I have a lot to work with. Most of my drawings of Mulder, for example, have been practice studies that I kept going with because they were so enjoyable to draw. The finished pieces I upload are a small fraction of the amount of drawing I've done for The X-Files. In fact, in my DeviantArt X-Files folder, you'll be able to see some of my scrap/unfinished X-Files work, including a hilariously wonky Travolta Mulder and an Ed Miliband Mulder.

5. Who is your favorite character?

100% Scully. She's so incredibly badass. I love that she's not defined simply by her opposition to unscientific spookiness. It would have been very easy for Chris Carter and co. to pitch the idea of 'The Mulder Show (feat. Feisty Cute-yet-Shrewish Companion)' to FOX, and I'm so glad that they didn't. Instead, she's a harsh critic and a good friend, a medical doctor and a fierce fighter. She's funny and vulnerable and above all well-rounded. One of my favourite Scully-centric episodes is "Never Again" because it highlights some of these facets of her character.

6. List your top 5 episodes.

I haven't had a chance to rewatch the series yet, but here are five that really stood out to me. In no particular order:
* Bad Blood: in a lot of people's top fives, and for good reason. I really love how the characters retell the events of the episode from their (unreliable) perspective trope. Luke Wilson is great in the episode as well.
* Millennium: I haven't watched the series Millennium. I remember precisely zilch about The X-File in this episode. (I'm going to cast a wide net and hazard that either graveyards or aliens were involved.) Despite that, this episode makes the list thanks to "the world didn't end"/"No, it didn't"/"Happy new year, Scully", which has to be one of my favourite moments of any show ever. It was simultaneously understated and blindsiding. I thought the whole scene was perfectly pitched.
* Monday: this was a really cute episode. You'll notice from this list that I'm an easily-pleased watcher who loves all sorts of weird and wonderful tropes, Groundhog Day being amongst them. Two particular points from this episode: it was nice to see Mulder being the one to suffer for once; also glad to spot Northern Exposure alumn Darren Burrows.
* Død Kalm: I think this is the first X-Files episode where I was genuinely creeped out. I love bottle (or mostly bottle) episodes, especially when paranoia and horror get thrown into the mix. I should also give a shout out to "Triangle", another 'I'm on a boat' episode which sees 1940s Scully punching people in the face while wearing a stunning dress. Goals. Also, Mulder's first impulse on finding himself a stranger in a strange land is to crack jokes he knows no one will get, which is fantastic. I think if I had to show someone two episodes to sum up what The X-Files is all about, it would be these two boat episodes, which are bizarre, scary, corny, gorgeous, and kickass all at once.
* Memento Mori: this episode is an emotional wrecking ball. Gillian and David absolutely killed it. The thing that absolutely broke me, though, was Skinner desperatetly attempting to bargain for Scully's life.

7. Favorite X-Files quote.

Mulder gets a lot of good lines, but I can't choose among them. I think I'm going to go with a cop-out and choose the iconic opening music. Definitely something that causes a little frisson when you hear it.

8. How has The X-Files impacted your life?

I feel like one of those people who've only just read Harry Potter or LOTR: I didn't know what I was missing until I got sucked in. As a fan of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, it was incredibly cool to look back on Vince Gilligan's earlier work and spot the actors he'd go on to work with in the future. The same's true for Supernatural with Kim Manners and some of the writers. A massive gap in my fan-knowledge has been filled.

I'm a sucker for learning how episodes were written and filmed. The X-Files broke a lot of new ground in terms of effects, tropes, and overarching stories. It's been really entertaining and inspiring to find out more about the show's impact. The X-Files is a show with a huge legacy, and I'm so happy that the reception to the revival has demonstrated the tremendous goodwill that still exists towards the show.

Thanks, Ashara! FanArt will be back in two weeks. See you next Wednesday with a new FanWorks!