Keith Allyn Spencer

Artist Interview: Keith Allyn Spencer


Keith Allyn Spencer was born and raised n the desert southwest border town of El Paso, Texas. Along w/ his wife and older son, they are fairly recent transplants to tha New England area with the exception of their toddler boy who was born in Rhode Island – an unavoidable, yet acceptable detriment to their proud Tex-Mex identity. Spencer has showcased his works n various group exhibits such as New American Talent 20th Exhibition, the 2009Texas BiennialBoston Young Contemporaries, various “pop-up” spaces, coffee shops, bars, blogs and academic art galleries. Most recently, Spencer has held solo exhibitions at various venues including: Oliver Francis GalleryBurlington Coat Factory, Walmart,US Post Office, Home Depot, Women and Infants Hospital, the Center for Obstetrics & Gynecology, SpeeDeeOil Change, and others.


What's involved in your process of art making?

I always b workn’ with what s at hand. Preferably, materials find me: paint tubes abandoned from students r used as pigments, t-shirts left behind on basketball courts utilized as canvas, and plywood boards covering potholes r scavenged for stretchers.

The process has to reveal something -- an element of surprise. I completely completely coplmetey welcome unexpected consequences… w/ some strategy involved, of course. It’s not enough to just roll that boulder down tha hill and fully embrace what’s left of it w/out determining which hill and which boulder to use 1st. The ol’ saying goes, “Beauty is n d eye of the boulder”, no?

A big chunk of my process, however, is to legitimize what I m doing while the ills of the world go round. I have 2 forcibly ignore my guilt n order to merit my art making. I must constantly re-instill faith that making these artworks is beneficial for societal woes instead of doing something like volunteering at the local Boyz and Girlz Club, spending more time with my kids, or even adopting a highway. It is just simply not enuff for tha paintings to sit and look pretty/ugly.


What are you excited about right now?

Documenting the works has started to take on a path of its own. The paintings n a way have bcome subject for working w/ photography, rather than my use of photography as a mere means for documentation. Are these images art? Are they recordings? Is what I m doing distracting from the paintings? Or, maybe, the paintings r distracting from what I m doing in the fotographs. I dont kno. I have no idea wha’ ‘tis happening o will happen, and that s pretty exciting stuff.


What's next?

Getting my work out s constantly n the back of my mind. There’s nothing wrong with tha formal gallery setting and I’m always willing to exhibit when/wherever, but I truly like the interventionist aspect of impermissibly installing and leaving my paintings in places -- Disrupting the everyday – Not waiting for an invitation to engage others-- Doing graffiti w/out doing graffiti.  Perhaps, ‘tis time to go bigger and better than 1-offs here and there, or Maybe it s time to ask permission.