In plain sight at the Upstairs Artspace

Published 11:11 pm Thursday, September 26, 2013

Artist Keith Spencer

Artist Keith Spencer

Spencer unveils the process

With the possible exception of en plein air painters, it’s not often the public is granted the opportunity to voyeuristically watch an artist at work, particularly in the privacy of the studio.

But this Saturday, Sept. 28, on the closing day of the highly successful 100 x 100 fundraiser at Upstairs Artspace, artist Keith Spencer will generously provide a glimpse into the creative process when he converts a corner of the downstairs gallery into his personal studio. The normally solitary artist will be painting on-site, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., to create a work from start to finish. The finished painting will then be available for bidding during the silent auction closing event beginning at 6 p.m. that evening.

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While many local patrons are familiar with Spencer’s artwork, most will have never seen him at work. He has been a very private and solitary artist, working out of various local studios for the past 23 years. From first painting in an attic room in his Gowensville farmhouse, to his custom designed studio in Tryon, he has consistently been true to his process and commitments to the galleries that represent him throughout the southeast. His has been a long and successful road from managing a horse farm in Kentucky, to employment as a graphic artist, while enrolled in figurative art studies at the Greenville Museum of Art, to his long-term involvement with the local arts community.

Spencer has been a regular contributor to the Upstairs Artspace having shown in numerous exhibitions, generously donated dozens of paintings for fundraisers and volunteered his time and experience consistently. He has served on its board of directors twice and chaired several committees. He has worked as a full-time artist since 2000 and his artwork is included in numerous collections throughout the U.S. and abroad.

During the time that Spencer is painting at the Upstairs Artspace this Saturday, viewers are asked not to interrupt his work. As a highly intuitive artist, a great deal of focus and attention is required to complete his work, and music is an integral part of that process. He will be happy to address the audience only during breaks and once the painting is completed.

Silent bidding on the completed painting will begin at 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28, and the bidding will close on his work and two collaborative works in the upstairs gallery at 7:30 p.m., at which time collectors of 100x 100 fundraiser artwork can take their purchases and discover the identity of the artists who completed them. The closing reception will last from 6-9 p.m.

Upstairs Artspace is located at 49 S. Trade Street in downtown Tryon. For more information, visit the website at or phone 828-859-2828.

– article submitted by Tom Madison