About the artist

Profile image of featured artist, Lee Spangler

This week we meet Lee Spangler. Lee is a photographer and mixed media artist, working exclusively on her iPad Pro. The iPad has become her studio with all the tools she needs, allowing her to express herself by creating art wherever she is.

How did you first get into digital art and why did you choose it?

I’ve always loved manipulating images. I started years ago with SX70 film and a Polaroid camera and moved on to using photographic oils to hand colour silver prints. I enjoyed both processes but they were somewhat costly and not easily accessible. I’m also impatient and tend to lose interest easily.

Digital art was too good a thing for me not to try. The spontaneity of the process is a great fit for me; I can create whatever and whenever I want and mistakes are no longer costly — which definitely caused limitations working with film.

Which artistic styles most appeal to you?

That’s a hard question! It depends on which day of the week you ask me. If I had to narrow it down, I’d say minimalism and simplicity in design gets my attention, both in subject matter and colour palette. Abstract landscapes and self-portraits top the list.

Tell us about the process you use to make your art

I generally start with an image from my camera roll. I have a good selection to pull from but will often settle on a recent picture — I get tired of endlessly scrolling — and then start blending with other images to see if anything interesting appears.

Other times I will pick a photo and alter it significantly using an app like Procreate or Adobe Fresco, before adding another image; if I decide to do so. Sometimes I stay with the original image and continue working. This process can happen quickly and without me paying much attention to what I am doing, as I’m afraid I’ll lose the momentum if I think too much. I image it’s a bit like washing a painter make decisions on whether to add more paint or cover up what was just done.

I save the images frequently during their creation as they can often serve as jumping off points for new ideas. It’s really just about being surprised by an outcome and seeing where it leads me. I never plan the image I’m making, I just wait to see what happens. For me, that’s the best part.

What inspires you?


What is your motivation?

I create for the sake of creating. The process itself is my motivation.

If you could only take two of your images to a desert island, what would they be and why?

Only two? I’m not sire that I have any real favourites, they are all meaningful in different ways.

Describe your work in three words.

Quirky. Colourful. Spontaneous.

Have you had any memorable comments about your work?

None that I can think of. Receiving a lovely compliment is always greatly appreciated.

Name three artists who inspire you.

I couldn’t narrow it down to only three!

How do you think you’ve improved as an artist compared to when you first started?

I have dozens of apps that I no longer use. By simplifying my workflow, my work has a more consistent feel than it did early on.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to when you started making art?

Simplify. Don’t think too much; just let the process happen. It always works out better when you do that! Every. Single. Time!

What devices/equipment do you use to create your art?

I use an iPhone, an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil.

What software do you use to create your art?

I mostly use Procreate, iColorama, Adobe Fresco, PaintFX, Distressed FX and Pixelmator.

Do you use images from stock sites in your work?

I haven’t yet worked with stock sites for images.

And finally, do you think digital/new media art is still to be recognised as a valid form of art?

Digital art is very much a valid form of art. Digital artists make the same choices that traditional artists do to determine the end result of the art they create.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and art with us, Lee!

Artist directory

Find links to more of Lee’s artwork in her entry in our Artist Directory.

Products mentioned in this interview

Apple iPad Pro: https://amzn.to/2RPRC7n (affiliate link)
Apple Pencil: https://amzn.to/2RLqsyr (affiliate link)
Procreate: https://procreate.art/
Adobe Fresco: https://www.adobe.com/uk/products/fresco.html
iColorama: https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/icolorama/id490528854
DistressedFX: https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/distressed-fx/id585702631
PaintFX: https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/paint-fx-photo-effects-editor/id421532754
Pixelmator: https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/pixelmator/id924695435

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