BYOA Opens Saturday

BYOA (Bring Your Own Art), a community exhibition, opens tomorrow at The Showroom.

What started as a call for artists became an online application process, then this past week, the HUB-BUB offices were filled to the brim with art and today, Stephen Long and the AiRs – Mark Rice, Steve Snell and Eric Kocher – spent the day curating and hanging this year’s awesome BYOA show. It’s very gratifying to see the work of 30 Spartanburg area artists on The Showroom walls. Please join us tomorrow night (Saturday, October 8) for the opening reception, 7:00-9:00pm. If you are unable to make it tomorrow, please pop by the gallery next week to check out the talent of our friends and neighbors.

Whose work will you find at BYOA? Check out the artists’ bios below.

Ben Abrams
Ben Abrams is an eighteen-year-old native of Spartanburg. Without any formal training, he manages to convey his ideas precisely and imaginatively. He works with any medium he can get his hands on, even building the frames that surround his work. He is a member of the art group “The Local Colors,” alongside Tess Ellis. Although none of his pieces here are for sale, you can view and contact him to purchase other work, including prints of the works present at:
Elizabeth Bagwell

A native of Spartanburg, Elizabeth Bagwell, has been creating from the moment she could grasp a pair of safety scissors in her hands. A graduate of Presbyterian College with degrees in history and art administration, Elizabeth has been crafting since the age of three. She has a passion for design, calligraphy, fine stationery, 20th century American social history, Alfred Hitchcock, ballet flats, Nancy Drew, layers of pearls, Shiny Brite Christmas ornaments, and bacon. Her recent obsession includes simple silhouettes in bold colors incorporating upcycled materials. Inspirations: Martha Stewart, Picasso, Coco Chanel, Van Gogh, Pollock, Monet, Carew Rice, and Jonas Gerard.
Michael Carroll
Michael Carroll is a lifelong painter and a longtime professional photographer of invasive plant species who has recently been trying to capture the most elusive subject, the human form in all its beauty. Michael spent his childhood on a ranch in rural Colorado as a real cowboy and spent many nights alone watching the herds and gazing at the night sky. These images seep into his work, especially his paintings. Now in the Upstate, as he prefers shoveling rain instead of snow and horse stuff, he is a self-avowed active environmentalist. He enjoys many mediums, even some minimums and is a glass-half-full kind of person, though he is convinced there is a leak somewhere.
Elizabeth Clark
Elle Clark is a native Georgian who relocated to the Upstate in 2005 and is currently in 5th grade at Buena Vista Elementary in Greer. Her favorite class is art, and she wants to be a professional artist. She has a big brother named Price at the University of NC and a big sister, Abigail, at Winthrop University. She also has two cats named Snowball and Nick. Elle draws and paints all day long, usually cartoon characters. She loves human anatomy drawings, intricate designs, and mixed media and has been expressing her feelings through art her whole life. She believes as the philosopher Horace once said, “A painting is a poem without words.”
Emily Clarke
Emily Clarke was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, but grew up outside of Atlanta. She first started making art with her mother and two sisters at the kitchen table. She attended Furman University, with a major in Studio Art and completed her Master of Science in Art Therapy from Eastern Virginia Medical School. Currently, Emily spends most of her time painting in her downtown Greenville studio, and teaches high school studio art and art history at the Upstate Home School Co-op.
Peg Demarest
Peg Demarest is originally from New Jersey. She relocated to Spartanburg in 1990. Peg received a Masters in Fine Arts from Mason Gross School of the Arts – Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ) and a Bachelor of Arts from State University of New York (Potsdam, NY). Peg interned with artists Lowell Nesbitt and Jackie Windsor and also was an apprentice at the Paula Cooper Gallery. Peg studied under Leon Golub at MGSA. She has been influenced by feminist art critic, Lucy Lippard and the art of Louise Nevelson, Lee Krasner, Linda Benglis and many others. Peg’s most recent work is made by wrapping and layering materials to make figurative objects that are fragile, worn and bound.
Tess Ellis
Tess Ellis was born in Laurens, SC, but moved to Spartanburg at the age of thirteen. She has enjoyed painting all of her life, but in the last two years has dedicated much of her time to it. She enjoys exploring multiple media, including acrylic, watercolor, sculpting, sewing, and jewelry making, and draws influence from nature and music. To view and purchase her art and creations, please visit
Suzanne Goodwin
Suzanne Goodwin was born and raised in Spartanburg and now resides in Boiling Springs. She is totally self-taught and has just returned from a mentoring trek in Bar Harbor, Maine. Suzanne photographs weddings, but her favorite work is of elderly people and children. She loves black and white, and does hand coloring. Suzanne remembers looking out the window of the back seat as a young child on long trips and blinking at everything she thought would be a good picture, using her “blinks” like a shutter on a camera.
Nadia Gossett
Nadia Gossett graduated from the University of Fine Arts in Iran-Tehran in 1991 with a BA in Painting and Illustration. She has exhibited her work at different galleries and participated in art exhibitions in many countries. Nadia moved to Sweden in 1996 and started her professional career as an artist and art teacher. In 2002, she relocated to Spartanburg where she continues her studies and shows in Greenville and Spartanburg. Nadia Gosset’s work is exhibited and sold in Iran, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, England, USA, Turkey, and China.

Sara Hamilton
Sara came to Spartanburg from Columbia and has now called the Hub City home for six years. She is a 2010 graduate of Converse College with a BA in Studio Art. After more than a decade of interest in art and environmentalism, she synthesized those passions into a new body of work composed of litter from the local landscape. In addition to playful creatures, Sara is beginning to explore nonrepresentational composition.
Stacey Hettes
A native of Pennsylvania, Stacey has been teaching biology at Wofford College since 2003. She began studying ceramics during Wofford’s Interim Program, with Ann Gleason, MFA.  She has continued her studies at the Spartanburg Art Museum School, Penland School of Craft, and Alfred University. Her pots are influenced by an odd combination of passions for biology and ceramics as she looks to natural forms and textures for inspiration. She has discovered that hands-on learning, in both the science lab and art studio, is an immensely valuable educational experience. She strives to encourage students to learn by doing in both arenas.
Kris Inman
Kris is a native of Spartanburg and has studied art throughout the area. Fascinated with line and color, Kris incorporates these tools in his art to create his expressionistic style of painting. Kris likes to paint on recycled wood panels, canvases, and even the occasional bar napkin.
Joshua Jackson
Joshua Jackson is a nineteen-year-old aspiring artist from Spartanburg. He is a 2010 graduate of Dorman High School where he excelled in the advanced art curriculum. His preferred medium is charcoal, with which he creates portraits and landscapes, but he also enjoys working in various other mediums. Joshua is active at the Chapman Cultural Center where he volunteers as well as gives individual art lessons to young ambitious artists-to-be. Joshua also volunteers at the Salvation Army Community Center. His work has been on display at the Chapman Cultural Center, The Showroom, The Upstairs Art Space in Tryon, NC, as well as many other venues.
Shelley Johnston
Shelley Johnston of Shelley’s Family Jewels, an Asheville area jewelry designer, was inspired to reinvent vintage costume jewelry after experiencing the glamour of the Biltmore Estate. She envisioned new life for the old discarded vintage jewelry she frequently spied in thrift shops. The pieces were beautiful, yet in need of modernization and in many instances complete overhaul. Shelley gleans at antique shops, estate sales and auctions for chains, brooches, shoe clips, screw back and clip earrings and other fragments from the past that can be updated. She redesigns the “junk” jewelry of the past into artwork that fits perfectly with today’s fashion trends.
Pat Kabore
Pat Kabore is an award-winning printmaker and mixed media artist from Detroit, MI, whose work is in public and private collections. In Detroit, she was an appointed Michigan Mentor Artist, and the founder of an all women’s art organization, Kindred Souls. Pat’s work has been in the last eight years’ Washington Printmakers Original Print Art calendars, which are in the permanent collections of many national and regional museums. This past April, Pat was invited to be an artist-in-residence by the Artist Relocation Project in Paducah, KY. She says her art is her voice and the visualization of her spirit.
Jeremy Kemp
Jeremy Kemp has been drawing since he can remember and took art in every school year growing up. He started airbrushing as a teenager and continues to do so full-time sixteen years later. Jeremy has used the line art technique of pinstriping for almost eight years now and continues to create pinstripe panel art to display for friends and family. Hot rod culture and 1960’s psychedelic rock poster art is a definite influence in Jeremy’s art.
Shannon Kemp
Shannon Kemp is mother, wife, and graphic artist who likes to hang out with her kids and husband and create things. As long as she can remember, she has been creating things. She gets inspiration from nature and the innocence of her kids’ drawings. Shannon is a lifelong Spartanburg native and has no plans to leave.
Leslie Lehman
Leslie Lehman is from the northwest suburbs of Chicago. After living in Florida and Arizona, she has been enjoying life in Spartanburg for about four years. She has been painting since childhood and was influenced by the unique artistry of her mother, Caryn Tuchman. Leslie is self-taught, and her imaginative art is inspired by her three children; Darby, Dexter, and Delaney. Her art is abstract, whimsical, and fun, and she also expresses her creative/artistic side on the yoga mat as a yoga instructor in Spartanburg. Yoga has influenced Leslie’s creative expression on and off the mat and artist canvas.
Maria Maier
Maria Maier was born in Germany and has lived in Spartanburg for the last ten years. Her passion for painting follows her passion for practicing and teaching the ancient art of belly dancing. Color, movement and symbolism become the exuberant translation of her visual art.
Deb Massa
Deb is a self-taught artist from Los Angeles currently residing in Greenville. Having the good fortune of working from her home studio, she is able to practice daily with new ideas incorporating experimentation and interplay of materials without getting caught up in any limitations of medium, style or discipline. One can see acrylics as a basis for liquid metals; hardware cloth scrubbed into a painting, salvaged and found objects worked into a sculpture. When she’s not working in her studio, or perfecting her farmer’s tan, Deb can be found gleaning the nooks and crannies of the world for inspiration.
Ron Melick
Ron Melick was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1954 and began painting in oils as a child. He attended the Columbus College of Art and Design for one semester in 1976 but is otherwise a self-taught painter. Ron switched to acrylics as his main medium in 1989 and since 2004 has focused on creating small landscapes and genre scenes, usually on Masonite panels. His paintings have been included in numerous juried exhibits and are in private and public collections nationally. Since 2005, he has resided in Taylors, South Carolina.
Ted Moore
Ted Moore is originally from the mountains of North Carolina but has lived in many other places. His last move was from Sumter to the Upstate ten years ago. Ted has been working with wood to make functional furniture and decorations since he was young and decided two years ago to branch out into creating art with this familiar medium and started turning wood. Ted credits his dad and grandfather with showing him the basics of woodworking and PBS for getting him hooked on turning chunks of wood into art-like bowls, plates, jewelry and other items.

Shawn Plummer
Born in Passaic, NJ, and raised in Inman, Shawn Plummer graduated from Boiling Springs High School and moved to the Charlotte area where he studied drawing with pencil, charcoal, pen and ink. After graduating from Winthrop University and majoring in general studio art and biology, Shawn moved back to the Spartanburg area to be close to family in 2003. Shawn has been drawing ever since he could hold a pencil and has integrated his biology background into all many different media over the past five years. Leaning more toward sculpture and mixed media with reclaimed materials lately, Shawn tends to let the piece emerge from the reclaimed medium.
Christina Ramsey
Christina was born into an artistic family and has been creating since the age of three. The art she creates reflects her love and interest for the natural world, with themes of biology and astronomy often present in her work. Christina’s colorful expressions are born from chaos and refined with precision.  Her paintings portray a strong sense of movement with an emphasis on texture and form, as each painting is built up with layer upon layer of color. She hopes you see the same expression of joy in her work that she feels when she is creating it. Find her at
Julie Roberts
Julie Roberts is a longtime resident of the Upstate, after moving here from the New England area with her parents in 1982. She currently resides in Moore, SC, with her husband Andy. Julie holds an undergraduate degree in visual arts and a graduate degree in mathematics education from Furman University. She started her art journey, however, as a young child with oil paints and encouragement from her parents. Julia’s work is both realistic and abstract, encompassing a variety of subjects, and demonstrates her command and fearlessness of a dynamic color palette.
Neftali Sandoval
Neftali Sandoval was born in December 1972 in Guadalajara, Mexico. He started his journey in art in 1976 when he was able to hold a piece of chalk and draw his whole family in the dining room. He never hesitated to follow his dream of being an artist, like his older brother who is an engineer. Neftali continued to draw through his childhood and in the 1980’s started experimenting with different techniques like charcoal, spray paint and acrylic paint. In the late 1990’s, he earned his degree in architectural design and moved to the United States. Neftali now works with oils and charcoal and is also a tattoo artist in Spartanburg.
Larry Seiler
Larry Seiler became a true art lover while standing in front of a night scene by Gerrrit Jan Honthorst at the Bob Jones University Art Gallery in the fall of 1970. Then from Charles Russell to Frederic Remington in the Denver Art Museum, and the three panels from the Baptistery doors by Ghiberti in the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, he as enjoyed a universal language that can describe atmosphere (such as dreams) where words fail. His talent and interest lies in drawing, which is more an art of values than hues. His passions are visual art and art history.
Brian Swift
Brian Swift was born in 1962 in rural southeastern Michigan and developed interests in drawing and painting. Career choices brought Brian to South Carolina and when he saw an episode of Bob Ross’ “The Joy of Painting,” he regained an interest in art. When he became a father in 1992, he willingly traded in his palette for the occasional plea from his daughter Natalie, “Daddy, please draw me a horse.” Since locating to Roebuck in 1998, he has found a new outlet for his artistic cravings in the form of woodworking. “Wood offers so much naturally occurring beauty; even the smell of it as you work is gratifying. From exotics to 100 year-old barn woods, it’s art before it’s ever touched.”
Victoria Wilson
Victoria is a native of Tryon, NC, and now lives in Spartanburg near Camp Croft. She has a studio in her home and plans to open it to the public at some point in the future. A self-taught artist whose journey began with a reoccurring, nagging thought that she must paint, Victoria began to explore and, after much resistance and a second trip to Paris, picked up paintbrushes for the first time in her life. An immediate passion and connection to the process allowed her to produce work with a major emphasis on capturing emotions through color, stirring the senses, and enhancing the imagination.


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