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Behind the Artist: Covering 75’s Samantha Lacy

SDM's own Art Director and North County native discusses her inspiration behind the recreation of our June 1961 cover

By SDM Staff

Each month in 2023, we’re asking a local artist to recreate one of our iconic covers from the past 75 years. For May, we tapped our very own Art Director and North County native, Samantha Lacy to reimagine a 1961 cover. You can see her recreation here and learn more about her in the Q&A below:

Tell us about how you found your distinguished style and how you honed your skills?

My mother always said I should be a medical illustrator. Not much money in that, haha, but I’ve always loved old botanical prints and Audobon’s lithographs. I think if I had a different life I’d be happy as an ornithologist. I’m just a bird nerd at heart, and I’ve been drawing plants and animals forever.I love watercolor because it’s buildable, it’s easy to work with, and it has this dreamy quality that I’m drawn to. I think my style has transitioned over the years to become more realistic, but believe me, there’s a surrealist weirdo inside of me, too.

What artists do you admire or look up to? What makes their art or creations so special to you?

I’m totally obsessed with Tiffany Bozic. Her work would maybe be my ideal for myself if I was a studio artist full-time. It’s full of allegory and double entendre, while also subtle, carefully crafted, and just gorgeous. She’s diligent that the Maplewood panels she uses are sustainable, and that she’s as conservative as possible about her paint usage.I also love Walton Ford, and Stephanie Brown, who’s an amazing tattoo artist. There are so many others. I admire artists who use nature to tell us stories about ourselves. We’re nothing without it, yet so often we think we’re something else.

How do you think your art reflects the Southern California lifestyle? How does living in San Diego play a role in the way your art comes to life?

Living in Southern California is incredibly inspiring to me, especially in the art that I do, and would like to do more of. We have this Mediterranean scrub climate, that at first seems static and dry throughout the year. But it’s actually dynamic, full of life and biodiversity, and you can be outside almost every day. I try to notice the subtleties, and the differences around me month to month. It helps calm me down and reminds me that everything changes, life isn’t always going to be what it is right now. Be grateful where you are, and look forward to what’s coming.

What are some of the brands you have enjoyed working with the most?

I’m so grateful to be a part of this team at SDM. We’re ambitious, not afraid to take risks, raise the voices of local artists and thinkers. I think we’re at the dawn of a great thing here, and I’m thrilled to be included. I want to take us to new territories in our visual direction, and always keep growing and learning. I have these two parts of me as an artist: the graphic designer side and the illustrator side. I want to continue to build those passions individually, but it’s been exciting to get to show both in the pages of the mag.

Where do you like to go to get away and relax?

I’m definitely a homebody. Nothing beats an evening in with my wife and my cat and a home-cooked meal. But I also get out and walk the beach in North County, go on a run along the rail-trail or a surf north of Swami’s. Getting exercise and being in nature refills my batteries. 

Where can people find your work to admire you?

People can find my work every month in San Diego MagazineThat’s probably the best place to find me regularly, but maybe one of these days I’ll actually make an art website. My focus is on my work as Art Director here, but I’d love to one day explore more avenues with my traditional art. Stay tuned.

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