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Artist InFocus: The Brilliant, Incredible, Ineffable Genius of Spencer Thorne

By: Julian Duvivier ‘22, Arts and Technology Reporter

What is creativity? What drives unique artistic expression? For artist and aspiring filmmaker Spencer Thorne ’22, creativity is about expressing his love for the world. Spencer has been drawing since he was quite young, and his style encapsulates a childhood of inspiration. Manga and Anime are inseparable from his art, a style that arose from watching Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, and other films by Hayao Miyazaki. While Spencer’s work demonstrates these stylistic influences, he has clearly made it his own in both his technique and subject matter.

(Sevag Yepoyan '20)

Spencer’s art ecompasses many mediums: pencils, traditional ink pens, fine tipped Copic markers, watercolors, and digital mediums. The subject of this art is life and the many aspects of Spencer’s world that he wants to express. He phrases it well, saying, “My inspiration comes from manga, but also from the movies that I watch or things that I see on TV. Sometimes I’ll just be drawing a scene from a film, but often I draw things that mean something to me, anxiety or Canada or Catholicism or music [sic] like the Gorillaz.” For Spencer, inspiration is a spontaneous process, and his art is often an impromptu portrait of his thoughts. From 2-D, the lead of his favorite virtual band The Gorillaz, to Eleven from Stranger Things, Spencer draws what he knows and loves.

In film, Spencer’s most dedicated pursuit, he is either working on or incubating numerous short and long term ideas. Describing a short film that is currently in progress, he says, “Without giving too much away, It's basically a live-action short film franchise that I will release on YouTube. It represents anxiety as a physical entity and is a mix of two-dimensional animation and live action.” He follows this up, saying, “When anxiety hits my character the most, it transforms into a world of 2D animation, trippy animation that I really enjoy.” Spencer seems particularly excited for this project as an exploration of himself and the art that he loves.

Spencer, as an audience member, has developed an appreciation for horror films. However, Spencer the filmmaker wishes to explore many paths. As he shares, “It's tricky. I do like horror and think it’s my favorite genre; however, as a filmmaker, you have to see everything because you can’t be a filmmaker by just watching a single genre.” Yet, when looking towards future projects, Spencer’s mind remains set on horror. He enthuses, “I really like messing with people’s heads through film. I really like scaring an audience, and I love them [sic] being confused and frightened at the same time.” Spencer feels that certain recent movies have failed to capture this, and he wishes to bring originality to the genre. In this vain, he has an idea for an eventual film, a Catholic horror film that he describes as “a psychological, thriller, horror film about someone who doesn’t know that they are in purgatory and has to figure it out.” He sees purgatory as the “state worse than hell because you are confused and can’t enter heaven,” which is an intriguing setting for such a film.

Outside of art, Spencer is an accomplished competitive swimmer for Friends’ Central Aquatics. He makes clear that while he appreciates swimming, he feels that it has inhibited his artistic output: “It can be tricky to manage, especially with school. Sometimes it feels like swimming and school get in the way of my creative pursuits.”

The swimmer/student/artist recognizes the importance of all of his responsibilities. At the end of the day, though, film and drawing remain Spencer’s true callings. Spencer is clearly zealous about entering the film industry after he finishes high school, and we can all look forward to his future successes.

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