Piece description from the artist
This painting has been recycled entirely from images gleaned from the Internet. The use of "found" images for constructing visual compositions acts as a casting call for diverse characters, plots, and backdrops which are ripe for interpretation.
The contextual glue that adheres these disparate cast members together can be discovered in the manner in which the paint is applied. In order for the images to function within the confines of the composition, all subjects are given a similar make-up by painting all details in the same deliberate manner. All color and value are reduced to small pools of color; similar to the way one would go about creating a paint-by-number painting.
Smithenry explores the notion that while we engage in a search for significance online, most of us have to live with the stark fact that neither fame nor notoriety will ever find us. His work asks us to consider how our technology consumes and distracts us from our off-line pursuits that ultimately make us the "somebodies" we are.
Smithenry’s traveling exhibition, Coming Out Online, an installation of paintings that document the online testimonials of queer teens, garnered an article in the Chicago Tribune, was discussed on Chicago Public Radio’s news magazine 848 and continues to tour in various academic venues. His work has been reproduced in Harper's Magazine and The Common Review. He was a featured artist during Chicago Artist’s Month in 2009 and received an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Grant Recipient in 2005
Having grown up on a dairy farm in South-Central Illinois, Smithenry now resides in Highland Park, Illinois, with his husband and their two children.