Paint swatchs used to create erotic artworks

A few weeks ago at the Lawrence Alkin Gallery in London, visual artist Nick Smith showcased a new series of artworks that were inspired by erotic literature.

His series titled Paramour was created with his signature ‘colour-chip’ methodology, where he creates his own paint swatches. It combines modern nudes with excerpts from Shakespeare’s sonnets, plays and other racy text from DH Lawrence, John Cleland, EM Berens and Sarah Walters. The series explores love, lust and appreciation of the female form, combining it with classic literature to tell stories of illicit love through evocative imagery. All in all, the exhibition  or erotic artworks showcased 28 original designs, including 10 suggestive nudes.


According to Nick, his colour-chip erotic artworks were inspired by the days of dial up, “when images loaded pixel by pixel and you’d have to wait for the image to slowly form.”

Nick was especially intrigued with the idea of how much information was needed to recognize an image. For Paramour, his erotic artworks were heavily dictated by the content and form of the chosen excerpt of poetry or prose. The depth of a Shakespearean sonnet gave him the size and shape of the image that he used. Thus a 140-word poem would result in an artwork made up of 140 colour chips.


As Nick explains it: “I’ll start with an idea of both the text and the image I want to use, but say I choose an excerpt of 551 words, that will mean I have to create an image made up of 19 x 29 colour chips. Some images will work, some won’t; there’s a bit of alchemy involved and that’s all part of the process. The eureka moment comes when I find the image and text that works together and only then can I start creating it.”



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