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Student Artist Spotlight: Lucy Spangler

Lucy Spangler is a journalism major at Emerson College, graduating in 2025. This interview was conducted by Saela Phillips, a VMA major and marketing fellow at Emerson Contemporary.

1. What is your medium?

My mediums are copics and micron markers. Copics are alcohol-based markers, and they blend really well together and have a lot of vibrant colors. I also use micron markers, which are a type of pen that comes in different sizes, and they don’t bleed into the copics when I use them. 

2. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I get a lot of my inspiration from manga artists like Junji Ito, Shuzo Osashimi, Hajime Ueda, and Ino Asano just with the styles and the way that they incorporate psychedelic/horror imagery in an uncanny valley sort of way. There’s a few others but those are the main ones. 

3. When did you start your artistic journey? 

I’ve been doing art pretty much my whole life. When I was a toddler, my mom would put me in front of a kiddie easel, and I’d just paint for hours. In elementary school she put me in art classes and that was when I really got into it. I kind of fell away from art for a while in high school, but in my junior year, I started falling back into it, and I’ve been drawing pretty consistently ever since. I had a really good art teacher who taught me everything I know about drawing profiles. Aside from that, it’s just practice and then a lot more practice after that.

4. What does your creative process look like when working on a new project?

Usually if I’m not making a fan art or some form of commission, my process can be very informal. Most of the time what happens is I’ll be feeling a lot of stress or negative emotions, and I’ll start working on a sketch as a way to get some of it out. Sometimes I’ll use Pinterest as a source for reference photos, but other times I’ll use myself as a reference and go from there. Once the sketch is done, I’ll go over it with micron pens and ink it. Then once that dries, I work with the copics slowly in layers. If I’m being honest, sometimes I just see something cool on TikTok or Instagram and think “That’s cool. I’ll draw it.”

5. Tell me about the meaning behind your work.

Usually it’s either just me drawing out whatever I’m feeling at the time of the sketch, or just an image popping into my mind. It’s pretty vague, but I really above all else just want to make cool shit and have a good experience working on it. If I end up with something that makes me happy to look at then that’s all I care about.

6. Who is your audience for your work? What do you hope they feel, take away, learn, etc. from your work?

Honestly my audience is mainly just me. I guess technically I do share my work on social media, and I have an audience there, but besides that I don’t make it for anyone else—unless I’m doing a commission, but I don’t do those very often and only for friends. I think the main thing I want my audience to take away from it is just to appreciate the amount of time and effort I put into what I make. I really spend hours, and I’m a total perfectionist when it comes to my stuff, so if people can see that through the final results that’s what matters to me. Also, this is a bit selfish, but it would be cool if people were inspired to get more into art because of seeing my stuff, but I doubt that it goes that far.

7. Is there anything else the Emerson community and beyond should know about you or your work?

Above all, my work is really just a coping mechanism for my anxiety. I’ve struggled my entire life with anxiety, and unfortunately, the older I get, the worse it seems to get. If I didn’t have art as a tool to soothe myself, I’m not sure what I would do. I think more people should use art to cope with mental health, because for me, I feel like it takes the things that I can’t talk about and makes them less scary. Honestly, it makes me sad whenever someone says that they can’t do art or that they don’t have the talent. Because for me, it’s not like some sort of magic gift, it’s something that I worked on for so long to get good enough at it. That’s something that anyone can do. It doesn’t make me special, and that is one of the things that I love so much about art.

Cigarette Boy by Lucy Spangler

Self Portrait by Lucy Spangler