Spencer J. Harrison

canoe floating on still water which blends into the horizon

Waiting, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 13” x 23”

About the Artist:

Spencer J. Harrison is an artist, activist, and educator who has been practicing professionally for 30 years. Harrison’s work has been exhibited locally, nationally and internationally. Of special significance is his project Would You Beat this Man? or more affectionately, The Fag Project, which was shown in several cities across Canada and addresses the issue of homophobia. The project is known widely as The Queer Project.

He has a Masters degree in Canadian Heritage and Development Studies from Trent. In 2014 through the Ontario Institute for Studies in education (OISE) at the University of Toronto Harrison became the first Ph.D student to complete his dissertation through artwork. The first painted Ph.D in Canada, titled The Freak Show, was exhibited in a solo show at the Art Gallery of Peterborough this past spring. This work bears witness to his experience growing up in rural Ontario using the vernacular of the circus freak show to discuss both exclusion and inclusion. Harrison lectures nationally on issues of homophobia and transphobia.

Harrison is currently an instructor in the Department of Drawing and Painting at OCAD University and the Director of Camp fYrefly, a camp for LGBTQ2S&A youth. This past summer he opened the first Ontario Camp fYrefly at Trent University. His work is held in public and private collections including the Trent University Art Collection and the Art Gallery of Peterborough.

painting of empty canoe floating on still water which blends up to the horizon

Spencer J. Harrison, Waiting, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 13” x 23”

person on right viewing painting of canoe floating on still water


It’s All About ARTISTS Preview Exhibition

Jane LowBeer, String Theory, 2015, monotype on paper, 22" x 28"

Not a Freak Show: Growing Up Gay in Rural Ontario

Spencer J. Harrison, Not a Freak Show. Photo: William J. Harrison