Like Icarus, son of Daedalus—the mythological craftsman and artist—maybe she flew too close to the sun. The sun in this metaphor being the combined social consciousness of a conservative audience, which turned on her artwork. Her art was deemed too provocative for the masses. Unlike Icarus, she did not tumble and drown in the cacophony of criticism labeling her art obscene.
This is a portrait of the artist: Loryn Spangler- Jones.
O, the wild rose blossoms
On the little green place.
“I don’t set out to create a painting to piss somebody off, or to offend or insult,” says Loryn. “I set out to create a painting to discover more of myself and, even bigger than that, I want to make people feel something.”
Years before her recent series “Collateral Candor” challenged viewers and was removed from an exhibition, Loryn was a woman lost in her early 20s when she found her artistic stroke.
“I was in a bad way, with my own self, my mental health, the whole kit and kaboodle,” she says. On the surface Loryn looks like a person who would never use the phrase kit and kaboodle. But, it’s a fun thing to say, kit and kaboodle, and the emotion the Lancaster artist presents the most is happiness. Her smile is wide and her eyes are electric. As she recounts the early days of her art, her countenance turns serious, but only slightly. “I needed to figure out a way to fix me.”
She turned to pencils and paint brushes as a mode of self-expression. A fire lit inside her and art became her life’s endeavor, but this switch was not welcomed by all. Rejected, she dropped the brush for seven years until she needed to find it once more to communicate her feelings and further unlock herself.
Loryn was back and now, eight years later sitting in her stark gallery on King Street, her pride in her accomplishments exude from her as if from a thousand suns. Colorful stories (filled with colorful language) detail her creative process, her inspiration, and what art means to her and society. By trade, Loryn is a selftaught, mixed meda artist who has entered into a minimalistic period favoring black ink and graphite. Inspiration from her life—good or bad—fuels her art.
“I’m no longer that damaged, broken woman I was many years ago,” says Loryn. “The inspiration (for my work) comes from me diving into myself and learning more and more parts of who I am. It only gets harder because I have to dig deeper every single time.”
She operates LSJ Studios, appropriately a bit off of Lancaster’s Gallery Row. She paints, teaches, curates. She was formerly the resident artist and lead art educator at Annex 24 where I first met her and knew immediately she had a talent unlike any other I had seen in Lancaster City. Most of her completed works hang in private collections. Retreat, from the 2015 collection titled “UNveiled,” resides with the Elmwood Gallery for the Arts in Buffalo, New York. “Collateral Candor,” which drew the ire of some viewers turned out to be the most successful body of work Loryn has created. When I spoke with her four months after her art had been—in her words—censored, only eight of 22 pieces remained unsold.
“I look at my work and think it is beautiful. But what somebody else attaches to it is on them,” says Loryn, who is now well past the threeweek funk caused by the criticism. “I was pretty destroyed by that.”
She relied on her friends and her team at LSJ Studios to navigate the “shit storm” surrounding the forced removal of her artwork. For now, the censorship is her crowning achievement; it has catapulted her career.
It turns out Icarus has nothing on Loryn Spangler-Jones. You can fly close to the sun. You just can’t let it burn your wings.
“Who I am is definitely my figurative work, every single figurative work is, to some degree, a self-portrait.”
– Loryn Spangler-Jones
Visit LSJ Studios at 110 West King Street #101, in Lancaster or on the web at www.lsjstudios.com.