Overview

Born in 1976 in Michigan

Lives and Works in Provo, UT 

 

Echoing the delicate lines of traditional engraving, Casey Jex Smith's intricate pen and ink drawings unravel into phantasmagorical visions, populated by sprites and anthropomorphic flora. The influence of these psychedelic parables are rooted in the artist's devout Mormon upbringing. "At the centre of Mormon belief is an expanded narrative built around the Garden of Eden" Smith explains, "When you attend temple ceremonies, you watch films that go into this narrative in great detail, and they tend to be made using elaborate Hollywood-type sets of the biblical garden as paradise. It's a place I want to be in. Unintentionally it's also a sexually charged place where you and your perfect mate tromp around in the nude, eat fruit, and pet goats." ¹


His illustrational style can also be traced to the more low-brow influences of his adolescence, like the detailed drawings found in the earliest editions of Dungeons and Dragons. The artworks of in-house illustrators like David A Trampier, David C Sutherland III and Erol Otus were fantastically detailed and often bordered on the naive - they left their mark on the young artist. "The drawings were a little bit better than what the teenagers who were playing the game would have made themselves," ² states Smith. Though the mythical universe created by Smith is one of an accomplished draftsman, its true power resides in its visual density and a seemingly limitless imagination.

 

Casey Jex Smith received a BFA in Painting from Brigham Young University and an MFA in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute. He currently resides in Provo, Utah with his wife and fellow artist Amanda Smith and their two children. His art has been exhibited at The Drawing Center (NYC), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (SF), Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UT), and Spring Break (LA). His work has been featured in ArtReview Magazine, The Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, Rhizome.org, Wired.com, ArtMaze Magazine, and New American Paintings.

 

1, 2. Sharma, Manu. "Casey Jex Smith speaks of his sublime and fluid realms." Stir world, Feb 03, 2021.
Works
Installation shots