As an artist I work between the opposite forces of visual law and the power of self expression. Just as there are laws that govern nature and society, there are laws that effect the creation of art. On the other hand art is creative, inspired, and innovative. Art wants to break away from the mediocre and the mundane. It strives to take the viewer beyond simply seeing an image to the experience of understanding and feeling deep emotion.
I have spent most of my life learning to draw and paint, and embrace the fact that this journey is not over. I have made it my goal to understand and apply the foundational principles of art, but to never let go of what is uniquely my own. I strive to create paintings that are the product of my beliefs and experiences. In each painting I work to bring into harmony my vision of the subject, the emotion I wish to convey, and the lessons I’ve learned from past experience.
“Art exists so that we may say the unsayable”. I hope that a person viewing my artwork will not only find the painting interesting to look at, but will enjoy a personal and emotional connection to the work of art. I hope that when the painting is hung on the wall that it functions as a window that will carry the viewer to another time or place and allow them this experience for a lifetime.
J. Ken Spencer was born in Northern Utah. He began painting at the age of 14, studying with local artists and teachers. Spencer pursued his interest in art at Utah State University (Logan, Utah) where he gained fundamental knowledge in composition and form, he also developed skills such as draftsmanship and paint application while working from live models. He graduated in 1993 earning a Bachelor’s Degree of Illustration.
After finishing his work at the university, he moved his family to the New York Metropolitan area where he worked as an illustrator for book publishers and magazines. It was at that time when Mr. Spencer began developing his fine art career by painting for exhibition in galleries and juried shows. He has exhibited his work in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Virginia, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, and California. He has been included in such shows as the Oil Painters of America (2004 Award), Scottsdale Artist’s School- Best and Brightest, The Harrisburg PA Art Association (winning Best of Show), and National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society (Monteverde Award). After living on the East Coast for seven years he moved his family back to the West where he now pursues his fine art career full time. He and his family reside in the small town of Blackfoot, Idaho.
Mr. Spencer is an avid plein air painter where he faces the challenges and joys of painting in the open air. “Painting on location gives me a chance to see new things, to see different light conditions and to regularly feel the creative juices. When I paint in plein air I see the subtle colors of nature, and with all the information out there, I can make the best design choices for the subject I am working on.” Spencer also works on larger scale paintings in the studio.
Ken has traveled to France, Italy, Germany and the Czech Republic to paint on location and gather reference to paint. He spent time in Paris, Brittany, Normandy, Florence, Venice, Tuscany and the Cinque Terre, Bavaria, Prague and Bohemia. These areas are rich in visual textures and imagery. He spent time painting the small villages, large cites, coastal regions, and the people of Europe. All of these trips have generated many wonderful images and strengthened his abilities as a painter. He continues to travel and search out new locations.
He was featured in Southwest Art Magazine’s “Artists to Watch” column of the December 2003 issue. An article was done about Ken and his work in the May/June (2006) issue of SkyWest Magazine and in November 2007 an article was published about Ken in the American Art Collector Magazine.
Figurative Honorable Mention, Oil Painters of America National Show 2013
Artist’s Choice Award- Driggs Digs Plein Air 2013
Merit Award- Inspirational Art Association 2013
Honorable Mention for Artistic Excellence- Salon International 2012
Inspirational Art Association- 1st Place – Thanksgiving Point, UT 2012
Best of Show, Scottsdale Artists School – Best and Brightest show 2006
William Schneider Award of Excellence, Oil Painters of America National Exhibit 2004
Awarded Signature Member statis- Oil Painters of America 2004
Monteverde Award, National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society 1999
Dunnegan Museum- Bolivar, MO
LDS Museum of Art and History- Salt Lake City, UT
Southwest Art Magazine- “Artists to Watch” December 2003
SkyWest Magazine- May/June 2006
American Art Collector- November 2007