Eli Smith

Studio & Gallery

Philadelphia, PA 19104

Please contact artist for purchases, commissions, etc.

3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA


Archived Work

Artist's Biography

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.

Artist's Statement

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.

Selected Exhibitions

Monolithic Silence, St. Asaph's Gallery, Bala Cynwyd, PA

Eli Smith: Spoken in Silence, 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Eli Smith: Moments, 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Eli Smith: Looking for Stillness, Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA

Eli Smith: Control, Class of 1956 Gallery, Newtown, PA

Viewpoints: Members Online Exhibit, 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Winter Blues, 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

All Together Now, 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Back on 3rd, 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

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

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

152nd Annual Exhibition of Small Oil Paintings, The Philadelphia Sketch Club, Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia Community Exhibit, 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

The Members Show, Crane Arts Building, Philadelphia, PA

Summer Invitational Exhibition, Heitmann Atelier & Gallery, Lancaster, PA

Aughinbaugh Art Gallery Senior Show, Aughinbaugh Gallery, Messiah College, Grantham, PA

Annual Juried Exhibition, Aughinbaugh Gallery, Messiah College, Grantham, PA

Annual Juried Exhibition, Aughinbaugh Gallery, Messiah College, Grantham, PA


2009 - 2010
Serafini, Kelly. "Dear Child - A Letter of Hope to the Hurting," Werk Bookbinding, Inc.
Book Illustration


Messiah College, Grantham, PA
Bachelor of Arts, Studio Art
Two-Dimensional Concentration