Brooklyn-based painter Lori Nelson hails from Utah. Throughout her adolescence, Nelson’s primary access to art was found in the family’s Mormon scripture books and the traditional paintings reproduced within. The concept of the “believer” became of particular interest to Nelson, which she has since channelled into her ongoing Cryptotween series. The paintings — featured in the upcoming exhibition Cryptotweens Are Like, on view at Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles from May 28 through July 2 — developed their own mythology, exploring what it means to be young, when our bodies and experiences seem alien, monstrous, and uncontrollable. Nelson’s vintage-style teens and tweens are covered in scales and fur. The kinder-cryptids come of age in a magical realist universe that’s reminiscent of pop surrealist masters like Mark Ryden and a monster-of-the-week episode of The X-Files. “I am drawn to adolescents as subjects because, for a brief time, they necessarily inhabit a land that is neither childhood nor adulthood, but rather a thorny connective forest that all must stumble through,” Nelson says of her work. The Cryptotweens will surely emerge from the other side of the woodland with iPhone flashlight leading the way, but Nelson captures that magical other-space between youthful imaginative vision and jaded adult rationality.