Alum’s artwork featured in 2021 film, ‘Candyman’

VCUarts alum, Cameron Spratley, recently contributed his talents to the feature film, Candyman. Spratley, who received his bachelor’s degree from VCUarts in 2016 with a major in Painting and Printmaking, was selected alongside fellow Black artist, Sherwin Ovid, to create the artwork featured in the film. Spratley’s work on Candyman has been highlighted in various news publications including Variety and the Chicago Tribune.

Spratley created seven pieces that are seen on-screen. When he received early drafts of the script, there was mention of nooses depicted in Anthony’s paintings, so Spratley researched art that showed a negative mental state and had allusions to death, going to galleries around Chicago. “I was looking at what people were doing and what that work looked like,” he says. One painting that appears in the film has a yellow noose on a body with a fist clutching it. “Instead of putting that noose in an abstract space, I wanted to put it on the actual body of a person so it was instantly recognizable,” he says.

Jazz Tangcay, Meet the Artists Who Contributed to the Art of ‘Candyman.’ Variety. August 27, 2021.

“It seemed critical that there was actual artists in the film, and works that had social relevancy,” said producer Ian Cooper. The film draws together work from artists like Arnold Kemp, Cameron Spratley, and Sherwin Ovid, who is responsible for some of the more horrifying portraits Anthony paints in the film once his sanity begins to slip.

Maggie Boccella, ‘Candyman’ Featurette Looks at the Art Created for the Film and the Artists Behind Them. Collider. August 19, 2021.

“There’s a lot of movies and TV shows with artwork in them, and a lot of the time they’re just prints — decoration,” said recent School of the Art Institute graduate Cameron Spratley, hired to create artist McCoy’s early work. “But so many Chicago artists contributed to this movie.” The producers brought Spratley out to Chicago from Virginia and rented him a studio for two months to paint.

Michael Phillips, Chicago’s haunting Cabrini-Green legacy that inspired director Nia DaCosta’s ‘Candyman.’ Chicago Tribune. August 25, 2021.

Lead Image: A still of Spratley’s work in Candyman, 2021. Photo courtesy of Cameron Spratley.