Spencer’s journey as an aspiring artist may at first appear wholly inimical to achieving that end, though significantly the challenges he faced are far from unique to most aspiring artists. In seeking to find a voice of one’s own the obstacles are myriad, and often many succumb to the inevitable pressures of life and abandon their practice. Spencer’s life story and his practice are indelibly linked, thus the works he has created are a highly personal meditation on the journey Spencer Reinhard experienced.
Spencer was born in 1984 in Lexington Kentucky. As a child he drew and painted and his abilities led him to consider a career as an artist whilst at High School. Having concluded that the next logical stage of his development was to study art in college he enrolled at Transylvania University in Kentucky. Like many aspiring art students Spencer believed that the academic community he was joining would inspire and enlighten him, exposing him to new experiences and methods. The reality however was rather more mundane, he sensed that his studies were little more than a continuation of his high school. The banality of assessments, passing courses for the sake of progression and limited intellectual stimulation meant that Spencer’s time at university was far removed from his hoped for experience.
It was during his studies at Transylvania University that Spencer became aware of John James Audubon’s work, The Birds of America. This ultimately led to the life changing events chronicled in the 2018 film American Animals.
Spencer elected not to consider his consequent incarceration as the ‘loss of his best years’, but rather sought to salvage his fledgling artist career by utilising his time to develop his practice and to consider new methods and media. Indeed one might consider these years to be a catalyst with which he could find his unique vision.
His work and practice demonstrates not only the redemptive power of art but the struggle of all artists to articulate and convey their voice and message in an increasingly noisy and distracted world. Whilst Spencer’s life path may have been unorthodox at times one can only but admire what it has led him to.