J. Ken Spencer was born in Northern Utah. He began painting at the age of 14, studying with local artists and teachers. Spencer pursued his interest in art at Utah State University (Logan, Utah) where he gained fundamental knowledge in composition and form, he also developed skills such as draftsmanship and paint application while working from live models. He graduated in 1993 earning a Bachelor's Degree of Illustration.
After finishing his work at the university, he moved his family to the New York Metropolitan area where he worked as an illustrator for book publishers and magazines. It was at that time when Mr. Spencer began developing his fine art career by painting for exhibition in galleries and juried shows. He has exhibited his work in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Virginia, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, and California. He has been included in such shows as the Oil Painters of America (2004 Award), Scottsdale Artist's School- Best and Brightest, The Harrisburg PA Art Association (winning Best of Show), and National Oil & Acrylic Painters' Society (Monteverde Award). After living on the East Coast for seven years he moved his family back to the West where he now pursues his fine art career full time. He and his family reside in the small town of Blackfoot, Idaho.
Mr. Spencer is an avid plein air painter where he faces the challenges and joys of painting in the open air. "Painting on location gives me a chance to see new things, to see different light conditions and to regularly feel the creative juices. When I paint in plein air I see the subtle colors of nature, and with all the information out there, I can make the best design choices for the subject I am working on." Spencer also works on larger scale paintings in the studio.
Ken has traveled to France, Italy, Germany and the Czech Republic to paint on location and gather reference to paint. He spent time in Paris, Brittany, Normandy, Florence, Venice, Tuscany and the Cinque Terre, Bavaria, Prague and Bohemia. These areas are rich in visual textures and imagery. He spent time painting the small villages, large cites, coastal regions, and the people of Europe. All of these trips have generated many wonderful images and strengthened his abilities as a painter. He continues to travel and search out new locations.
He was featured in Southwest Art Magazine’s “Artists to Watch” column of the December 2003 issue. An article was done about Ken and his work in the May/June (2006) issue of SkyWest Magazine and in November 2007 an article was published about Ken in the American Art Collector Magazine.