works by artist Simeon Spearman on display at the Lander Fine Art Gallery until November 17 | Relax

Greenwood-based freelance portrait and portrait painter Simeon Spearman says he can create for hours at a time when inspiration strikes.

His exhibition entitled “Manifestations” is on display at the Lander Fine Art Gallery until November 17th. Discover charcoal portraits, works made with Conté pencils or sticks, and even two-dimensional pieces on wood, created using wood stains and finishes.

“For those, I’ll use different dye colors like other artists use paints,” says Simeon, noting that the subjects include family members and others.

Simeon is a family man, grandfather and great-grandfather and an active member of the artistic community. His skills include art direction, tattoo design, portraiture, and painting, to name a few. He lives in Greenwood alongside his wife, Towanda “MiMi” Spearman.

MiMi is also Simeon’s artistic agent.

“His family tells me he’s always been artistic,” MiMi said. “He is a jack of all trades and a master of many. We met as adults when we both lived in Pittsburgh. Her favorite medium is charcoal. In addition to portraits of people, he is also good at drawing animals and landscapes. He really is in the details and the realism.

Siméon, 53, works in construction and day carpentry. He says his love of art solidified after a final year art class he took while a student at Greenwood High School. He graduated from GHS in 1986.

“My dad wanted me to go to engineering school,” Simeon said. “But, I was a rebel and decided to take an elective art class. I fell in love with art. I decided that I wanted to go to art school and I also wrote poetry.

Simeon then attended and studied at the Art Institutes of Atlanta and Pittsburgh, then Lander College, now a university.

Simeon said he did not graduate from any of the art programs, but succeeded as a freelance artist in the commercial art arena.

Simeon worked as an illustrator and art director for the Taylor Media Marketing ad agency and worked freelance with the Pittsburgh area magazines historically owned by black people in their early twenties, “Renaissance” and “Renaissance Too”.

“I did the art direction for a wedding cookbook,” Simeon recalls. “I did illustrations on how to fold napkins and things like that.”

Simeon’s freelance work also allowed him to work on coloring books, government contracts, greeting cards, and portraits for service commissions for memorials and funerals.

“If a family had a photo or picture they wanted on a service order, I would do an original illustration,” Simeon said. “People had seen some of the black greeting cards I had designed and portrayed and it took off.

“Back then, we weren’t using computers for artistic design,” Simeon added. “We were doing copy and paste, photographs and drawings printed on a press. It was the old school.

Simeon’s first art exhibition in Greenwood was held in 2001, shortly after returning from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

This show was alongside artist Jeffery Callaham, based in Plum Branch, in what was then the former Greenwood Arts Council location on Waller Avenue. Simeon was also artist in residence at the Greenwood Museum in 2011.

For years, Simeon said he continued to create art and share his love with his grandchildren, four of whom lived with him and his wife for some time.

“My art exhibited at Lander has now been created from 2007,” Simeon said. “I had a much larger inventory, but much of it was sold or auctioned off to benefit charities such as Greater Greenwood United Ministry.”

A number of Simeon’s works have also been exhibited recently at The Mill House restaurant in Greenwood. It was this exhibition that piqued Lander’s interest in scheduling an exhibition of his works.

Contact Sainte-Claire Donaghy at 864-943-2518.


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