Discarded photos, documents live on in Jerrod Smith's art

Worn photos and family albums discarded in estate sales or sold to thrift stores: Jerrod Smith sees art in these aged images of past generations.

"They have a preexisting life to them, which I like," Smith said. "It's been touched before, it's been held before. I've found photos and birth certificates in thrift stores. I don't know why something like that would be dropped off at a thrift store, and I'm sure that the person is long gone, so I use them in my art out of sympathy."

His work is not just a collection of artifacts and old pictures, but also painting. He's in his final semester at the University of Central Oklahoma, and has studied oil painting, photography and other media. Rather than concentrating in one discipline, he found himself drawn to incorporating them all.

"With mixed media, there are no restrictions to recreating the image in my head," Smith said. "I was always told I'd have to be great in one of those areas. I didn't understand being a good craftsman in just one medium. Why would I want to tie myself down like that?"

He sees sympathy in the connection people have with images of the past, especially when he can view the bumps, scratches and tears of age in his materials.

"It's clear someone has cared for it and carried it around," Smith said. "That's what a lot of my art comes from, mimicking that love of a photo you'd carried around in your wallet."

"?Charles Martin

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