Artist Spotlight

Artist Spotlight: Haley Strassburger

In the Artist Spotlight series of blog posts, The Layered Onion highlights an artist in the community. We’ll get a chance to learn more about them and their work.

In this post we are featuring Haley Strassburger (they/she), a mixed-medium journaler. Haley has taken bullet journaling to the next level and has made both her daily tasks and powerful messages pop and come alive as art. She also is not afraid to mix in different materials to create what she calls “spreads.” It brings the work three dimensional – and sometimes engages your additional senses (note the olfactory addition in the below)!

Haley did a Q&A with The Layered Onion, talking about her art:

Can you describe your art style?

I consider my art style to be a mix of function and freedom— I love utilizing my bullet journal to keep up with day-to-day tasks, but I also love having a chance to be creative through a variety of colors, mediums, etc.

What’s your favorite part about journaling?

I think my favorite part of journaling is just how versatile it is; there’s no wrong way to create anything, and the ways in which journaling mixes writing, drawing, scrapbooking, and so many other activities really allows you to be as creative or rigid as you’d like. I’m physically disabled, and though my journaling isn’t nearly as precise as it used to be (I have hand tremors and mobility issues), I can still find new ways to express myself.

You have an extensive collection of stickers. How do you choose them and which spreads they belong in?

Haha, I love stickers, and I won’t lie when I say my collection is growing a bit out of control! At first, I mostly picked stickers up from Amazon and other big-box retailers, but lately I’ve started supporting a bunch of small businesses that I’ve discovered on Instagram and Etsy! I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a couple of small creators, like @bluemoon.paper, @noellepapershop,,, and more— I have discount codes available in my bio on Instagram (@spoonie.bujo). I also am affiliated with my two favorite journal companies— @archerandolive and @notebook_therapy— and I have affiliate/discount codes in my bio as well.

Overall, I like to select stickers that fit my themes, whether that’s based on their colors, imagery, shape, or other factors. As I mentioned before, I’m physically disabled, so I also often use stickers to cover up shaky lines or other “mistakes”— or to insert artistic visuals that I can’t create with my own two hands!

 What kind of markers/pens do you use?

Just like with my stickers, I tend to pick up pens and markers from everywhere! Lately, I’m a really big fan of @archerandolive’s Acrylographs and Calliograph pens, but I also just love a good fine-tipped colored pen from Staedtler. I’m left-handed, so I have to be very selective with my pens to avoid smearing or ink staining, and all of these options work great!

 You have a good eye for color. What inspires you from a color perspective?

Thank you so much! I have synesthesia, which is a perceptual phenomenon in which colors often become associated with sounds, sights, sensations, and more; basically, if I’m listening to music, I often see a color appear in my mind that somehow connects to the music I hear! It’s considered an overlapping of mental processes (visual/auditory processing), and though it can be frustrating at times— because my brain can get a bit overstimulated!— it also allows me to have infinite color and stylistic options in my creations.

You are an extensive reader. Any recommendations for the crew from your recent readings?

I largely read poetry and nonfiction, particularly because I’m often really busy with my gender studies masters degree program— but I’m also a big fan of the classics (like Dracula and Les Miserables)! I’d definitely encourage checking out Dracula Daily, which is a new multimedia reading experience for Dracula (in which emails are sent out each day, in correlation with the book’s timeline!). My all-time favorite read is Crush, a collection of poetry by Richard Siken.

Haley gives us a great example of how art can be accessible and part of how we go about our daily lives. You can see more from Haley on her Instagram – @spoonie.bujo!