EHS senior wins honorable mention for cartoon drawing

Published 3:39 pm Saturday, May 9, 2015

NW0510 EHS Art Winner

Creating art has always been a relaxing pastime for Elizabethton High School senior Gareth Smith.

Smith was recognized recently for his creative talents when he received an honorable mention in the 2015 Congressional Art Competition in the 1st District of Tennessee.

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Smith’s winning art piece was a cartoon concept featuring a character he created named Slim, who moved to a big city and is struggling to adjust to the new way of life. Slim is a somewhat unusual character; he is an anthropomorphic slime that is an outdoorsman. He then moves from his small town to a bigger city.

“Everyone thinks he is off,” Smith said. “For him, though, it is normal — kind of like how it would be if someone like us moved to a big city.”

Smith entered the contest on the suggestion of his art teacher, Lisa Malone. He also entered the contest last year but did not place, he said.

“Everyone said it was OK,” Smith said of his artwork last year. “To me, the sense of scale was off. I did better this year because I placed.”

Smith has been interested in art for most of his life. He particularly enjoys drawing and said it helps to relieve the strains of his daily life.

“Drawing helps get rid of most of my stress,” he said.

It was a combination of drawing with video games, Smith’s other favorite thing to do, that led to the start of his lifelong hobby.

“When I was real young, I learned about Sonic (the hedgehog),” Smith said. “I was obsessed with him, and I kept drawing him trying to get it right. I have gotten pretty good at drawing him.”

His favorite art subjects are characters he creates — knights and fantasy and futuristic inventions, such as hover cars and hover boards. When working on his art, Smith makes sure to keep his content family-friendly.

“Almost anything today, even cartoons, has mature content,” Smith said. “I make sure my humor is something anyone can understand. It is just good, clean humor. I was born and raised in a Christian family, and that is what I feel is right.”

Smith plans to keep pursuing his hobby as he enters the workforce after graduation. Smith is the son of Michael and Gwen Smith.

The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 and is held in the spring. The contest is sponsored by members of the U.S. House of Representatives and is open to all high school students. This year, 15 schools in Tennessee’s 1st District participated, submitting more than 70 entries.