Shared from the 7/6/2017 The St. Augustine Record eEdition

Painter, jewelry designer masters sand sculpting

St. Johns native thrives as award-winning artist at SCAD


ABOVE CENTER: “Brooch #3,” made with silver, copper and stainless steel.

MIDDLE: “Swirl Series Rings,” made with silver.

BELOW: “Hers #1,” oil on Canvas.


Spencer Kohl’s family, friends and mentors always encouraged his passion for art.

Kohl’s mother, an artist, fostered his interest in many types of art from the time he was young.

Art teachers at Fruit Cove Middle School and Creekside High School — Raina Greening, Nikki Rakov and Rachel Kurtz — “really pushed me forward,” Kohl said.

At the Savannah College of Art and Design, Kohl said he has “a plethora of opportunities,” enjoys a “career-oriented,” engaging curriculum and has a network of friends who have fun creating art together.


Kohl created “Double Knuckle Ring” from silver, tourmaline, CZ and copper. He double majors in painting and jewelry. Kohl painted“Together Alone” with acrylic paints. He enjoys painting with a variety of media.


Spencer Kohl sculpted “Zoiberg” at SCAD’s Sand Arts Festival May 12 with classmates Madison Ellis, Samantha Greene and Julia Chamberlain. The team won first place in the sand sculpture division, bringing home $1,000.


“I’ve had such an amazing group of people supporting me,” he said. “I think without them, I would never be where I am today.”

Kohl’s experiences and support system provided a promising start and strong foundation. However, his impressive portfolio and numerous successes as a college senior are the product of his own hard work and enthusiasm.

Kohl earned first place in the sand sculpture division of the Sand Arts Festival May 12 in Tybee Island, Georgia, along with teammates Julia Chamberlain, Madison Ellis and Samantha Greene. It was the third consecutive year the group championed the division.

Kohl also worked with three of his best friends for the SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival April 29. He said working with his friends is part of what makes festivals enjoyable.

“We just like to have fun,” Kohl said. “I think the fact that we genuinely enjoy hanging out helps, and these two SCAD festivals, which are a longstanding university tradition, are a chance for us all to channel our creative energies together.”

Kohl’s painting on a sidewalk of SCAD’s campus in Lacoste, France, won the Landmark Award at the SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival in 2017. Additionally, he placed first in the ring design category at the Atlanta Jewelry Show this year. He has entered paintings, jewelry, digital art and sculptures in exhibitions in the Southeastern United States, and he also participated in the Lacoste Open Studio Show, an international exhibition, in France.

Kohl won $1,000 for each of his first-place finishes in the Sand Arts Festivals and is awarded money in other exhibitions, as well. He said he usually invests his winnings into his work.

“I think (art festivals) are an exciting way to meet people and bring the public into a creative environment,” he said. “The atmosphere is so much fun, and you never know who is going to walk up and start a conversation, and between chatting and making the art itself, the time flies by.”

I’m not just making something to look pretty on the wall anymore. I’m trying to share some of my experiences as a physical object.”
St. Johns native, SCAD student

Kohl’s talent is multifaceted — and that might be an understatement. He’s an award-winning sand sculptor, and he occasionally sculpts with other materials as well. His jewelry creations are diverse: He’s made pieces from metal and glass, and using a 3-D printer, he made a plastic ring. He paints realistic, abstract and expressionist pieces with oil, acrylics and watercolor on not only canvas, but also on sidewalks and other surfaces. His drawing materials include charcoal, pencil, ink and more. He also makes digital art, enjoys screen printing and creates his own useful art pieces, including a laptop sleeve made of yarn and sneakers colored with marker illustrating a sunset at the beach.

“I really pride myself on my ability to work across many media,” Kohl said.

Kohl does not have a favorite media to work with, as he appreciates the potential each type of media offers.

“I think they all have benefits and drawbacks, and I prefer whatever speaks best to what I am trying to explain with that piece of art,” he said. “Painting is very fun, colorful and expressive. I think what draws me into the jewelry making process is that when I make something in metal, the processes and tools are always changing.”

Kohl gained experience in many art forms before and during high school, but college is where he learned how to fashion his favorite pastime into a career.

“It doesn’t feel like I am learning for short-term information retention, but rather for the goal of being able to create for a lifetime,” Kohl said. “The main lesson I have learned at SCAD is how to think critically about what the object I am making represents. I’m not just making something to look pretty on the wall anymore. I’m trying to share some of my experiences as a physical object.”

Kohl double majored in painting and jewelry and will graduate in the spring. Afterward, he said, he hopes for a job in the jewelry or arts industry “in a small town, the big city or even internationally.” Kohl said he is interested in becoming a studio assistant, art handler, jewelry designer or creative consultant, but his longterm dreams are bigger.

“My end goal is to become a gallery-represented contemporary artist because my interests and what excites me continue to grow and change,”

Kohl said. “I believe that if you put in the time and work hard, things will work in your favor.”


To see some of Kohl’s work, view his Instagram account


See this article in the e-Edition Here