Art and computers are naturally intertwined for De Robinson.
The junior at Belleville East High School recently created a piece that allows people to use cell phones to scan a bar code, access a webpage and see his cartoon character come alive.
"I wanted to do animation, but I couldn't figure out how to get it on canvas," said De, 16, of Belleville. "So I thought about (making it interactive)."
De is one of more than 100 students from 16 high schools in Southern Illinois who are displaying their work at Schmidt Art Center at Southwestern Illinois College.
The annual High School Art Exhibition and High School Congressional Art Competition are running concurrently through April 4. The public is invited to an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. today.
The show includes nearly 150 pieces, ranging from sculpture to painting, photography to drawing.
"The quality of work is phenomenal," said Schmidt curator Nicole Dutton. "We've had a lot of good comments. People come in and they're amazed that these are high school students."
De is the son of Matt and Tammy Robinson. He's been cartooning since grade school and plans to study art in college.
"When I was younger, I used to say I didn't want to carry around a briefcase when I was older," he said. "It was almost a fear."
De's piece, "Gravitas," consists of 15 squares that repeat a cartoon drawing of an astronaut with a bubble-like helmet and computer backpack.
A 16th square contains a QR code ("quick response" or two-dimensional bar code).
"You can use an app on your phone or camera to scan it, which will take you to a webpage where the figure is animated," De said.
Belleville East junior Hannah McCoy, 17, created an assemblage, called "Evolve," for the exhibit. She stood a wooden Schweppes crate on its end and filled it with objects, including deer antlers.
"My dad and my sister hunt, and I like deer antlers," she said. "I think they look cool, and we just had some laying around the house."
Hannah lined the bottom of the crate with moss and tacked up old black-and-white photos of Chicago (a city she would like to visit). She hung tiny bottles from the antlers and spelled out the word "EVOLVE" with cardboard letters.
Hannah's favorite part is a verse that she wood-burned into the top of the crate.
"It's a quote form Camp Ondessonk," she said. "It's carved into one of the rocks, and it says, 'This is a reminder to all that pass this way to tell those around you how much you love them before they drift away.'"
Hannah is the daughter of Jeff and Kelly McCoy, of Belleville.
Another eye-catching piece in the exhibit is "Jesse," a close-up drawing of a dog's face by Annie Parkinson, 18, a senior at O'Fallon Township High School.
"We have two dogs, and this one's name is 'Jesse,'" she said. "When you're taking his picture, he just sits still and stares at you."
Annie is the daughter of Susan and Wayne Parkinson. Jesse is a mixed breed they adopted from a shelter.
Annie drew his picture from a photo using colored pencils. The eyes, nose, mouth, ears and whiskers are highly detailed.
"It was maybe 2 1/2 or three weeks of class time," Annie said. "Then I took it home almost every night, just to make sure it was perfect."
At a glance
What: High School Art Exhibition and High School Congressional Art Competition
Where: Schmidt Art Center at Southwestern Illinois College, 2500 Carlyle Ave. in Belleville
When: Opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. today; the exhibit runs through April 4
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays
Information: Call 618-222-5278 or visit swic.edu/sac.