CIRCLEVILLE — Local artist Steve Spicer will hold a solo exhibition in downtown Circleville starting next month.
The show, titled “Prints and Drawings by Steve Spicer,” will debut April 1 and run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through April 24, 2022. Spicer said he’s had shows in the past, but none on this scale before.
“I consider it a distinct honor to have been able to do this show with ArtsaRound,” Spicer said. “They were very, very helpful in all the detail work and all the surrounding stuff that they did. It’s a small town version of a big gallery.”
Spicer is known for his watercolor prints and his pen and ink drawings set the scene.
“I turned to printmaking as a major means of artistic expression,” Spicer said. “It is my creative intention to share with you the beauty I see all around me, expressed through the framework of traditional arts and crafts.”
Multi-edition prints are printed from hand-carved linoleum blocks, many of which are hand-watercoloured. Pen and ink drawings are also on display.
Spicer graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in Art Education and after graduation he began his teaching career.
“Early in my college experience, I had a talk with Don Davis, another Circleville resident who was at the time head of the Ohio State Department of Art,” he said. declared.
“He advised me not to pursue fine arts because there were already enough starving artists in the world. He felt that I should get my degree in art education where I could earn a decent living while being involved in the arts. I took his advice and never looked back.”
Spicer said his inspiration came from the artwork of Colonial Williamsburg’s crafts program and the craft traditions of Kentucky’s Appalachians.
“I was lucky in those early days to get a volunteer position in the craft program at what was then the Ohio Historical Society’s Ohio Village,” he said.
It was there that he spent some time in the printing press and learned to engrave type and make woodcuts in the 19th century tradition.
“I was there for five years and during that time I got to know most of the craftsmen especially well, including printer Dale Starr,” he said.
“Dale encouraged me to do more of this child’s work. The prints you see are linoleum block prints. He worked in woodblock printing and I took a course, but I prefer the block linoleum because it’s one of the first processes I learned and one I taught.”
Spicer said he got into his style after one of his students inspired him with his own creation; he later took more influence from Starr.
“Things with lots of patterns and textures really strike me,” he said. “[Starr] done a lot of detail at the print shop and I followed in his footsteps.
“A student of mine did a really nice impression of an old barn with a slate roof and vertical siding that I thought was neat and thought I could do. Those two things started the all.”
Spicer’s craft developed over the years, including crafting dulcimers and banjos and drawing on his background in gunsmithing, which he learned while at the village in Ohio. .
“I make 18th-century style long guns, am a cabinet maker, upholsterer, tinsmith, potter, cooper, stained glass artist, basket weaver, and work on old houses in my spare time,” Spicer writes in the Spring 2020 Pickaway Quarterly.
An Artist Meet and Greet Gala will be held on Sunday, April 3 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the gallery located at 135 Main Street West in downtown Circleville.
“We always love to welcome Mr. Spicer to our gallery.” JP Pennell, Vice President of ArtsaRound, said.
“He’s an accomplished artist and a local favorite. Most people in Pickaway County recognize his work.