I was born and raised in Lawton, Oklahoma. With a military base close by and a transient population, things never really seemed to happen in this seemingly small hometown. I began to pay closer attention to my surroundings at an early age. With a copious amount of self prescribed solitude, I would spend time outside, far away from anyone. I tuned into the trees, the colors, the sounds and most importantly, the light.


Seeing things from at least two perspectives would lead me to continue to create bodies of work that play with the mind and the eyes. Using Light as my main subject, I am able to capture the subtleties of life, death, color, contrast, texture and emotion. With a full college scholarship for drawing, I was taught to develop my own perspective which would later apply to my life as an artist using a camera. My work is a result of continued hard work and perseverance. Working with designers along the west coast and firms in New York, I never cease to get inspired by the people around me.


Working as a prop & set stylist and design director for some of the best people in the field of design and visual display; Neiman Marcus, Williams-Sonoma and Nike. I gained knowledge and appreciation for the sometimes laborious process and developed my own approach and technique. I was able to walk away knowing more about who I am and what I am here to do. As I continue on my journey, I can only hope my work resonates with the viewer and compels him or her to slow down a little and turn inward.


I would consider myself an artist that uses a camera, as opposed to a photographer. Visual Storytelling is the focus of my work, since "anyone can take a picture these days," as it was explained to me by a gallery in the Pacific Northwest. Changing perspectives is something I continue to open myself up to in regards to conversations, processes and moreover, my artistic approach. 


Photographs which take on the nature of a painting tend to create dialogue with me and the viewer.  My technique generally expresses a sensuality about whatever subject I capture; my work is visual, tactile, aural...and in some cases, what can be smelled and tasted. One cannot fully experience any work of art (visual, musical, or performing) without using most, if not all, of the senses through our visual, aural, tactile, and olfactory capacities.


In Speer's latest creation, The American Scene is perfectly produced by the camera. The figure is not the true subject, but the placeholder that unites the composition and punctuates the empty space. The artist finds value in the very things people usually turn their eyes from like a sort of elation about sunlight as light is an important expressive force for Speer which make the shadows more luminous. The generality of the figure made him more open to narrative interpretation. The figure was not what interested the artist, it was the light streaming down.


Whether we wish it or not, we are all bound to the earth with our experience of life and the reactions of the mind, heart and eye, and by our sensations, but by no means consist entirely of form, color, and design. In this body of work, we share the mood of reverie. Speer's art is inner-directed. Animated by an older American individualism that has no fear of isolation or of standing on it's own simplicity. It is Authentic, Direct, Independent, and Timeless.


Speer has not been seduced by art theory or clever technique...he has no fear of his work standing on its own simplicity - [the art] does not strive to be cosmopolitan. The critics have given him an identity and sometimes he even gives it a push. The work is always about composition, light and emotion. Good composition is like a suspension bridge, each line adds strength and takes none away. In "The American Scene", Speer takes us on a journey of visual storytelling about a man living on Cape Cod.

The American Scene by Curtis Speer
Awards & Nominations:

Attended Cameron University on a 4 year scholarship for Drawing. Pursued a BFA in Drawing, Painting, Sculpture.

Images from the concentration camp, Theresienstadt, have been included in the permanent collection of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.