Dreamy Watercolor Paintings of Amateur Porn Thumbnails

Los Angeles-based artist Ali Silverstein’s work was featured in the The Chronicles of LA’s inaugural chapter of experiential pop-up stores and exhibits—this one installed in the now vacant Barclay Hotel. There, 60 artists, designers, performers, and musicians shared their perspective about sex. It was a resonate setting for Silverstein who describes her process as evidence-gathering — a way to parse and unravel the mystery of sensations, experiences, and emotions.

We instantly fell for Silverstein’s series of dreamy, erotic watercolors called X-Rated (Amateur), sourced from online amateur porn thumbnails. The artworks are the same size as the thumbnail images on the computer screen. The smaller scale leaves the viewer to distinguish between nude bodies, abstract painterly marks, and soft washes of sun-scorched color. The raw, white border and its fleshy texture complements the unrehearsed subjects within and further complicates our view of the most desirable part of the image.

“I like the cinematic nature of the images,” Silverstein writes on her website. “They feel like moments in a real drama, rather than staged formulas. As a documentary filmmaker, that aspect of real-life observed drama is very interesting to me.”

Follow Silverstein on Instagram. See more of her work at an upcoming show titled Movers and Shapers with artist Justine Hill at Brooklyn’s Victori + Mo on January 5.