PDX: Art Reception

5th season art show 023

Where there is BLUEMAN, there is life… Thank you to everyone who came to my art opening in the beginning of December and who wished me well. I am happy with the turn-out and the conversations which have been generated by my work. The physical arrangement of the pieces is even better than my conception of it. Thank you to Billy and Emily for helping me hang the show.

The Blueman has had quite the impact. At first, I worried this entity would overshadow the rest of my pieces; but has served to enhance and cohere the show in great un-imagined turns. The addition of the BLUE-MAN-I-FESTO, (see my earlier Artword blog entry) posted underneath his form on the wall, has been an excellent starting point of explanation and exploration for people. Overheard: conversations about childhood, the environment, spirits coming to others in their dreams, creatures in the ocean, growing older, nostalgia and the ultimate complementary question in an artists’ life, “What is ART?”.

A big thank you must go out to Anja, the owner of Miss Zumstein for hosting my artwork and lovely reception, complete with snacks! I really appreciate the support of all my friends and neighbors. Most of the work you see here is for sale, (some sold). Please leave a comment for me if you are interested in purchasing. Any photo you see on my website, film or digital, can be enlarged to your specifications, matted, custom framed etc. Feel free to inquire. A humble thanks, again.


Trashlines: Nomadic Shadowbox

I am pleased this week to release photos of my newest sculpture, “Nomadic Shadowbox”. The number of fun materials I have collected for this piece are maybe too numerous to site, but I am going to try to list them anyway. I mostly appreciate this catharsis because of the record, for me, about the myriad of locations the “stuff” came from. After the gallery, please seek the aforementioned list!

Like many of the sculptures from my series “Trashlines”, I incorporate found objects, trash, (my own and others) and building with salvage materials. The reason for including the word “nomadic” in the title is simply because many of the items which went into the piece are from so many different places, collected over the past year or so. I also think this piece represents a sense of the “nomadic”, as I like to define it as a label for myself. I love the torn Tibetan Prayer Flag in the background, the musical, playful and resourceful aspect of the home-made flute, the various types of wood and eclectic trash. The sentiment one gleans from the orange peels is of a path for where one has gone and the excitement of where one is going next. Always, my favorite part of the story of Hansel and Gretel, is when the children leave a path of stones to follow home. I appreciate the subtleness of the fishing line and the delicateness of the split pine corn, versus the fence-post chunk and hard bamboo and plastic. More so than the traveler, I feel a “nomad” really has the unique distinction of getting to know a place–usually staying for at least a season before moving on. In this way, more intimacy is created with the people, the lands, the spirits, the other creatures–even one’s own thoughts. I like that while working on this piece, I also felt a sense of “getting-to-know-you” about it.


*plywood backing: salvaged from a camp kitchen built from salvaged materials in New Mexico, traveling 8,500 miles on a road trip in 2014, ultimately being re-purposed in Portland, OR

*pine wood sides of shadowbox: part of cupboard, salvaged from the trash on NE Ainsworth Street, Portland, OR

*bottle cap, marble, Lego piece, red plastic pieces, purple plastic pieces, green plastic pieces: Lake Harriet, Mt. Hood National Forest, OR

*all bamboo, including home-made flute: salvaged from the neighbors backyard

*mobile bracing: salvaged from trashed dish rack, Portland, OR

*fishing line and tiny swivels: Big Eddy Picnic Ground, Clackamas River, OR

*Mepps fishing lure: my favorite, gifted from my father, Michigan

*orange peels and pistachio shells: compostables created on a trip to Hideaway Lake, Mt. Hood National Forest, OR

*ceramic broken egg: found in a carton of eggs bought at a farmer’s market, Portland, OR

*split pine cone: Two Rivers Picnic Area, Clackamas River, OR

*torn Tibetan flag: torn by the wind, found in our backyard

*9mm bullets shells, white plastic ring: found at Hideaway Lake, Mt. Hood National Forest, OR

*walnut: courtesy of the squirrels in our backyard

*champagne topper: remnant of a celebration of job-quitting, Portland, OR

*wind chime wood oval: found on my street after a storm

*green thread: stolen from my mother’s sewing table, at age 18, Michigan

*hemp twine: courtesy of the barn in El Morro-ville, New Mexico

*metal pressure washer and key ring: found in New Mexico

*wine cork for “flute”: remnant of a celebration for Billy’s birthday

*finishing nails, screws: salvaged from wood found in the ACME (artist’s music studio) during remodel

*fence post chunk: landscaping business remnant

*store-bought glue

Welcome to LifeofSpence: ArtWord

Greetings! Welcome to my new website. I consider myself to be an environmental artist. Primarily a photographer and sculptor, I also draw, paint, write poetry and music. I focus on using salvage material and/or found objects whenever possible to cultivate relationships which emphasize our connection to the Earth as co-creators and tenders. I love being outdoors and use inspiration from my backpacking and fishing adventures to create art. Some of the things you see here on the website are for sale, such as photographic prints, and I am open to commissions and collaboration. (Please contact me to inquire about ordering). I am also currently looking for a publisher for my poetry manuscript, “Cactus Blooms”. Thank you for visiting and supporting the livelihoods of artists!