Spencer’s art creations have a strong influence from the coast. The ocean has certainly influenced and have weaved their way into many of his art pieces. His art work grabbed us due to his unique style and vivid colours, with one of our favourites being one that utilizes the grain from it’s wooden background to create texture. His father was a gifted creative while his mum gave great encouragement for Spencer to follow his creative side. Spencer grew up on the Southern Oregon coast where the ocean is cold and often rough and at a young age Spencer was captivated by the sea and finally persuaded his parents to let him bodyboard at the tender age of 10 years old.
Naturescapes, surf scenes and waterscapes can be purchased from his website. It’s also worth checking out some of his completed commissions which use his unique style. In our MY Coast interview we delved into his memories from being on the coast and we discover Spencer’s affection for the sea and coast.
Which beach do you feel most connected with and why?
I feel most connected to a local beach in my hometown of Brookings, Oregon called Harris Beach. It’s a scenic spot where I spent most of my youth. It’s an odd and fickle wave, but I feel like a part of my soul resides there.
What are your favorite activities to do on the beach and in the sea?
Surfing is my favorite activity. I don’t have much time these days to search for a perfect spot, so I take a variety of boards to the beach. I’ll typically bring a shortboard, longboard, bodyboard, and swim fins.
Does your family have the same affinity with the beach and sea?
My wife and son love the beach, but my love for it runs deeper than theirs. My son is only six, so it’s possible he’ll eventually love it as much as I do.
Is there a beach that you aspire to live by or visit anywhere in the world and why?
My quick answer is I’m already doing it. However, I’m always excited about the prospect of doing a surf trip and finding a non-crowded spot. Some sort of magic happens when you encounter that. I was surfing Oregon in the 80’s and Washington in the 90’s, and the surf was almost always non-crowded then. Visions of Doug Fir trees and empty beaches are always in the back of my head.
What’s your first memory of being at the beach?
I don’t remember this, but my Mom often tells me how much I liked the beach as a baby. My grandmother came over one day and said they were going to a town north of us called Gold Beach, I heard beach and started saying “Go Beach, Go Beach!” I also remember my first time on a bodyboard. I was ten, my brother took me to a place called Crissey Fields and had me riding the shore break whitewash. I remember feeling like I was flying up the beach so fast! I was hooked from that point.
Has the ocean taught you anything in life?
Oh yes, probably in ways I’m not even aware of since I’ve been into it for 33 years. Just recently I was trying to teach my son about the elements. How you need to respect them. They give us life and we use them in amazing ways, but they can also take life too. The ocean in the Pacific Northwest is a beautiful and dangerous thing, it demands respect. Every year we lose people either unaware of how dangerous it can be, or who make a living from it and have to be out in it at some of those dangerous times.
My dad is an artist. He’s really talented and has never had a lesson. He was the first person to get me drawing at a young age. My brother got me into reading Mad Magazine and a comic called Cartoons (which had cool drawings of cars and some sort of storyline). Around seventh grade T&C Surf t-shirts became popular. They had surfing cartoon characters and I loved them. It was about that time I started drawing waves. In High School I started airbrushing and kept on that into the early nineties. I did my first oil painting in 1991 during community college. Now I only sketch and oil paint.
What do you enjoy about creating art pieces?
I think I feel true freedom when I create art. I have a certain amount of control when creating that doesn’t exist for me in real life. Even when things don’t go as planned, I’m usually able to make it something interesting. People sometimes still want to tell you you’re doing it wrong, but you can ignore them. It’s also neat to see my art lifting someone’s spirit. Maybe they feel a bit of that freedom when they look at it as I did creating it.
What has been or would be your dream project?
My dream project is spending all my time refining my gallery Semi Aquatic. I want there to be lots of little details for people to explore. I want them to feel like they’re visiting Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I also like that the gallery is in a small/remote town that’s near to my heart. I think people can sense when something is genuine and from the heart. The local community is starting to take pride in my gallery being there, and that means a lot to me.
Are you working on anything at the moment?
This year hasn’t been what I thought it would. I got a lot of commissions early on, probably more than I should have taken on, and now I’m trying to get through them. When I have time, I’m also trying to make t-shirt designs for the gallery. One commission that I’m beginning is going to be a large painting of open ocean swell.
If you surf, why do you surf and how has it changed your life?
Surfing is part of my core being. With that being said, if for some reason I couldn’t do it anymore, I’d still mind-surf. It’s hard to say how it’s changed me, because the ocean was in my life from the beginning. It’s the only perspective I have. I sometimes try to stop drawing waves and they always find their way into my art. Nothing I can do about it except embrace it.
What brings you the most happiness at the beach?
Probably my accumulation of memories that are centered around the beach. Most of my best friends and favorite experiences are because of the beach. Now I get to pass that onto my son.
Do you support any causes or organizations related to the beach/ocean and which ones?
I do support a variety of causes, nothing consistent, when I can. If I can take a moment to be honest I’ve just started to be able to somewhat support my family on what I make from art. My wife has spent most of her time working for someone else and now she’s working for me more and more. It’s rewarding to create something that can support those you love! But they come first, then the causes.
Who, either friends, family, famous who have connections to the sea most inspire you and why?
My favorite artists who paint surreal, stylized ocean scenes are Chris Lundy and Rick Griffin. I really enjoy both of these guys’ imaginations. They took their art to new places that I hadn’t seen before. One of my best friends is Joe Curren. He has a great eye for photography and a great aesthetic. His photography has a distinct look and feel that I enjoyed even before we were friends. And the biggest influence of my creative philosophy is David Lynch, who has nothing to do with the ocean. There’s too much to unpack with him and his influence on me, so I’ll just leave it at that.
You can visit Spencer Reynolds website here where you can discover more about him, his collection of art work and unique hats.