Paramour: Nick Smith

March 18, 2016

A solo-show by Nick Smith
Lawrence Alkin Gallery: 18 March - 16 April 2016
Private View and Press Preview: 17 March 2016 

“Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t” Shakespeare

Following his debut sell-out solo show in January 2015, visual artist Nick Smith returns to London’s Lawrence Alkin Gallery with a new body of work inspired by erotic literature.
Marking 400 years since Shakespeare’s death, Paramour employs Nick Smith’s signature ‘colour-chip’ methodology, combining modern nudes with excerpts from the Bards’ sonnets and plays.

As well as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Venus and Adonis, the works feature racy text from works by DH Lawrence, John Cleland, EM Berens and Sarah Walters. 

Exploring lust, love and appreciation of the female form, Paramour brings classic literature to the modern conscience, telling stories of illicit love through evocative imagery.


Paramour consists of 28 original artworks, including 10 suggestive nudes. Smith explains his move into erotica began in the synonymy with his colour-chip designs and pixels within photography and computer screens. He said: 

“Since the days of dial up, when images loaded pixel by pixel and you’d have to wait for the image to slowly form, I was fascinated with how much information was needed to recognise an image. Even with very little detail and viewed from the corner of the eye, it’s possible to see just as much, sometimes more, than when you look at an image head on. Essentially it began as a sort of personal experiment.”

By incorporating the works of literary greats within Paramour, Smith creates a bridge between his last show, which paid homage to iconic masterpieces of the art world.

However, unlike previous works, Smith’s process has evolved with images being heavily dictated by the content and form of the chosen excerpt of poetry or prose. The meter of a Shakespeare sonnet will inform the size and shape of the image, with a 140-word poem resulting in an artwork made up of 140 colour chips. Smith explains:
“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.”

Paramour also features juxtaposed portraits of classic writers with modern day erotic texts, replacing the name of the main character with the name of the author pictured. 

Smith added: “You can judge a book by its cover, or you can take a closer look and discover other dimensions. Paramour isn’t objectification; it’s celebration of the female form, and of love and desire.”

Paramour runs from Friday 18th March to Saturday 16th April at Lawrence Alkin Gallery, 42 New Compton Street London WC2H 8DA @lagalleryart

For all press enquiries please contact Greta Agar-Hutton / 07880553673 or Jasmin Robertson / 07835878928 

Notes to Editors:

About the artist – Nick Smith
With a background in interior design – Smith has an MA in Product Design and has worked for the past decade as a designer for global brands including Hilton and Virgin. Smith’s first works were created using Pantone colour referencing ‘chips’, the essential tools of his original trade. The artist’s process developed organically; beginning with a desk covered in the colour swatches which Smith arranged into ‘Tetris-like’ patterns and ending with the creation of his first work; a version of the untitled 1967 Warhol portrait of Marilyn Monroe.

About Lawrence Alkin Gallery
Lawrence Alkin Gallery is an independently run, commercial art gallery located in the centre of London. The gallery’s aim is to develop the next generation of artists through exciting and different exhibitions, events and exclusive publications. Featuring contemporary, urban, street and pop art, the gallery embraces visually engaging exhibitions from a hybrid of artistic disciplines.