Casey Jex Smith – Blessed Curse


Pen and pencil on paper
7.5×7.5″, 2018





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, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Josée Bienvenu Gallery, Yancey Richardson Gallery, Roberts & Tilton, Honey Ramka Gallery, Galerie Polaris, and Allegra LaViola Gallery. His work has been reviewed in Art Review Magazine, Artnet France, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, Rhizome,, Artcritical, and Bloomberg.

I use the structures of role-play-gaming and religious ritual to create allegorical drawings. Leveling up, character creation, quest items, mythical beasts, and battles are used to mirror real life scenarios where the individual is manipulated, controlled, or squashed by a superior force. I contrast the reward system in gaming that is finely tuned to balance work with pleasure to the reward system of global capitalism that can feel arbitrary and cruel. My drawings are fantasy power simulations.

My visual style draws largely from the study of master etchings, Dungeons & Dragons manuals, isometric turn-based video games, scriptural narratives, Where’s Waldo, and indie comics.