Growing up in West Philly, Spear attended the University City New School, where his buddy, Hiroshi, introduced him to Japanese folding Art. Later Joe attended the Tyler School of Art, where he began experimenting with Origami created with metals rather than paper. Joe's process utilizes fabrication and casting of metals like Aluminum and Bronze thru the lost wax process.
Spear studied under and worked with acclaimed artists such as Winifred Lutz, Jude Tallechet, Joe Tiberino, Melvin Goldfield, Bruce Wolfe, Larry Ludtke, Star York, Estella Loretto, and David Pearson. Meeting Ruth Asawa in San Francisco was an honor, as she was a master Sculptor and the primary pioneer of Metal Origami.