Spence Townsend was born on the outskirts of New Orleans and grew up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He earned a BFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2005. After graduation, he spent a few years experimenting with painting outside of academia and pursuing music. He also worked for six years as a professional screen printer in Hattiesburg, MS. Townsend earned his MFA in Painting and Drawing in 2016 from the University of Georgia. After completing his MFA, Spence served as the 2-Dimensional Artist in Residence at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach, FL. He went on to work as the Director of the Armory Art Center’s 2-D Department from 2017-2018. Townsend has been an Assistant Professor of Art at Mississippi Valley State University since August of 2018. He teaches courses in drawing, design, illustration, animation, printmaking, digital art, and art appreciation.
Spence Townsend’s paintings, screen prints, and multi-media sound pieces have been shown nationally, including solo exhibitions in: Athens GA, Hattiesburg MS, Oxford MS, Jones College in Ellisville MS, and the Pensacola Florida Museum of Art. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions throughout the Southeast, as well as the Rouge Space in New York City and the Little Hati Cultural Complex in Miami during Art Basel of 2017 and 2018. In addition, his animated works have been exhibited at the Icebox Project Space in Philadelphia, PA. His illustrations have appeared in the 2016 American Illustration almanac, the Georgia Writer’s Resource, and a self-published illustrated collection of Aesop’s Fables. His painting, “At the Train Station”, was awarded Best in Show at the 2019 National Juried Painting Exhibition at the University of Southern Mississippi. In 2020, he completed two large murals in Hattiesburg, MS and Raleigh, NC. Townsend has also performed music nationally and recorded numerous albums within various musical projects.