Rainey Bailey King

By: Liv Jackson

Rainey Bailey King’s artistic process is abstract and fluid, and it allows for an exciting array of very different pieces to come to fruition. An excellent representation of such creations is his piece entitled “Fake News”.


King submitted this piece to Columbia Art League’s exhibit “Truth”, which challenged artists to experiment with their definition of the word and examine how truth perpetuates throughout everyday life.

“When I saw the little back story for the “Truth?” exhibit I thought it would be a really good one to submit, so I kind of wrapped it up and got it framed up and everything,” says King.

This was only his second time bringing a piece to Columbia Art League. He explains that he brought another piece in in 2017, but that his artistic style differs so much from one work to another, one may not know the two were made by the same person at first glance.

The background of “Fake News” was created with spray paint. King makes his backgrounds separately and will set them aside until he discovers what belongs on top. The creation of the base of the canvas is often emotionally driven.

Background of
“Fake News”

What he chooses to layer atop the passionate backgrounds may vary totally in content matter. For this in particular, he printed out a photo of Donald Trump’s open mouth giving a speech, cut it out, and applied it to the corner. From that sprouts a speech bubble, filled not with words, but with a golden spot.

King had noticed an uptick in the usage of the term “fake news” by politicians and the media, but the gravity really resonated with him when he saw it tattooed across his friend’s knuckles. These observations led to the creation of the visually intriguing piece.

The piece has controversial undertones, but leaves interpretation up to the viewer.

“You can’t just look at it and really know the direct opinion,” he says. “It’s very questionable, and I like that.”

Another stylistic decision was very intentionally made by the artist concerning the framing. The colorful piece hangs inside a very ornamented, gilded gold frame. King says this was a decision he made to evoke a sense of the era of High Renaissance.

“[This was the] highest point where, politically, there was a lot of control, [relating to] church and state stuff,” says King.

This tone of the “border of control that is politics” shines through both the framing and the content of the painting. It also plays with the interesting theme of “Truth?”, asking the viewer to posit their own opinions of the current climate surrounding free speech in the United States.