Liam Spencer

If you are interested in any of Liam’s work, please contact the gallery for more information.



Liam Spencer was born in Burnley in 1964. He studied Fine Art at Manchester Polytechnic, graduating in 1986. After living and working in Manchester for many years, he came to public attention in 2000, with an exhibition “Urban Panoramas” at the newly opened Lowry arts centre in Salford. In 2006 he exhibited “From Manchester to Shanghai” at Manchester Art Gallery, and was the subject of a 30 minute documentary on BBC NW, “A Picture of Manchester.”

Liam Spencer finds beauty in what others might consider banal, from canals and chip shops to motorways and modern buildings. In his hands, a drab and dreary city scene on a wet and miserable day can appear beguiling and beautiful.

Liam Spencer is particularly attracted to modern urban landscapes, and he’s renowned for transforming humdrum scenes into eerily beautiful portraits of light, colour and movement. Liam finds beauty in surprising places, from bleak industrial wastelands to everyday images of urban street life. “I’m always looking for beauty in unexpected places,” says Liam. He has an ability to make unattractive places such as petrol stations, cafes and urban motorways look appealing.

“I suppose over a period of the last few years, I’ve been painting more expansive landscapes where you can see the sky and the light and the changes.

“And it’s only more recently that I’ve been able to zoom in and find more intimate things like a chip shop or a burger bar. I suppose it’s still about light and colour, and that’s what really appeals to me really.”

Mancunian images

Liam Spencer is often most frequently associated with images of Manchester, but he doesn’t see himself as primarily a Mancunian artist. After completing an arts foundation course at Burnley College, he went to Manchester Polytechnic to complete a fine art degree.

Whilst studying he became more aware of his surroundings and the beauty of the urban landscape and he was inspired by the city’s deserted canals and its gritty industrial scenes.

“I think what struck me most really were all the warehouses, and the mill buildings, to a lesser extent – these wonderful, red brick structures. That made a big impression.

“I like the fact that the canals run right through the heart of Manchester and they’re slightly hidden, although less so now, and you just had this linear oasis through rough parts of the city like Ancoats.”

Liam has always been attracted to water so canals were an obvious subject in his early career.

“Water’s always an attractive subject – it’s got the illusionism and the reflections and the movement – and it just creates lots of dynamic rhythms.”

Comments are closed.