I work with oil paints, mostly without the use of any medium so as to create very opaque rendering. My goal in creating art is always concentrated on the end product and because of this I’ll spend as much time prepping a piece as I will actually putting paint to surface. I tend to view the process of painting as just that, a process. I am most interested in how the work looks when it is finished, and not so much in the actual “experience” of the painting process. This is because of my focus is on how the imagery itself will affect the viewer, with whom I am interested in creating a connection.
During my school years I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Tourette Syndrome. Because of this, I have struggled with the need to control both my mind and my body. A large part of gaining control was through the help of therapy. The big turning point came when I got to meet other kids in a group session who had the same conditions I had. This was an incredibly cathartic experience, in which I got to meet first hand other people who struggled in the same way that I do. My goal is to create this same sense of solidarity with those who view my work. As such, my goal as a painter is to elicit a sense of understanding through emotion.
Being fascinated with the human figure's ability to express emotion, I am determined to create through the rendering of form and posture bold imagery that cannot be ignored. I believe that the connections we make with images can be powerful, becoming a way to accept how we feel and the need for healing.
My hope is that my paintings can be a source of therapy through recognition and empathy.
Eli Smith is a Philadelphia based artist working in oil paint. Most of his work deals with the human figure, with an emphasis on form eliciting emotion.
He draws much of his inspiration from his experience growing up with mental disability, specifically his Tourette Syndrome and OCD, as well as his brothers' Autistic Spectrum Disorder and ADHD. He uses this personal history as a starting point for creating his imagery.
2008 Messiah College, Grantham, PA Bachelor of Arts, Studio Art Two-Dimensional Concentration
2009 - 2010 Serafini, Kelly. "Dear Child - A Letter of Hope to the Hurting," Werk Bookbinding, Inc. Book Illustration
2019 Monolithic Silence, St. Asaph's Gallery, Bala Cynwyd, PA
2018 Eli Smith: Spoken in Silence, 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2016 Eli Smith: Moments, 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2015 Eli Smith: Looking for Stillness, Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA
2012 Eli Smith: Control, Class of 1956 Gallery, Newtown, PA
2020 Viewpoints: Members Online Exhibit, 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2019 Winter Blues, 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
All Together Now, 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Back on 3rd, 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2018 Perspectives, 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Outside In, The InLiquid Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
D'Arrigo Family Gallery Showcases 3rd Street Gallery Members Exhibition, Salus University, Elkins Park, PA
2017 22nd Annual Art Ability Exhibition & Sale, Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, Malvern, PA
6th Annual Juried Show, Artists of Yardley, Yardley, PA
Red, 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA Invitation exhibition and fundraiser for The American Heart Association
2015 152nd Annual Exhibition of Small Oil Paintings, The Philadelphia Sketch Club, Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia Community Exhibit, 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2013 The Members Show, Crane Arts Building, Philadelphia, PA
2009 Summer Invitational Exhibition, Heitmann Atelier & Gallery, Lancaster, PA
2008 Aughinbaugh Art Gallery Senior Show, Aughinbaugh Gallery, Messiah College, Grantham, PA
Annual Juried Exhibition, Aughinbaugh Gallery, Messiah College, Grantham, PA
2007 Annual Juried Exhibition, Aughinbaugh Gallery, Messiah College, Grantham, PA