The Painter Who Bares The Vulnerable Side Of A Dirty Love

Reuben Negron’s artwork proves naughty encounters can also be tender.

Midnight cravings.
I can't shake the ache
to have you near me again.
Take me to a private place
where we can practice passion
without fear.

Let's take off our clothes in the wilderness.
I'll kiss you,
and I'll keep kissing you until you open for me
the way a morning glory opens for a sunbeam.

"Fantasia” by Emily Von Shultz

It’s amazing to be head over heels, devoted, and intensely passionate for someone, surrendering to our most intimate desires, and yet being vulnerable. Well, at least that’s how it’s supposed to be, right? Sadly, the dirty element of love has been reduced to just that. Nowadays being naughty seems to mean detachment. Rough sex, but no feelings. As if being kinky with your partner does not allow the space for vulnerability and vice versa. The truth is both factors are part of the same, because naughty love entails being passion driven and at the same time emotionally open. Fascinated by this condition, contemporary artist Reuben Negron has found a way to depict the way it really feels to be vulnerable and "dirty" at the same time.

Born in Orlando, Florida and currently residing in Asheville, North Carolina, Negron attended the Maryland Institute College of Art (BFA) and the School of Visual Arts (MFA). As a pictorial artist, he found in watercolor a very realistic and smooth way to show the most intimate side of everyday people’s lives. Using a visual yet very personal narrative, Negron approaches complex topics we all can relate to, including sexuality, mental health, identity, and relationships.

Among his most popular work, he has portrayed how couples experience intimacy in very kinky but sweet scenes. Since the nature of his topics tend to include NSFW content, his work has been constantly banned and removed from digital platforms. Nevertheless his soothing and arousing watercolor paintings have gained the recognition they deserve. His series Dirty Dirty Love and This House of Glass have been exhibited all around the globe, and most recently, his work has been through the United States, stopping by New York and San Francisco.

Something truly admirable about Reuben Negron’s work is that, beyond the particular technique and talent behind it, he also offers valuable content through a visual storytelling. He takes inspiration from real people, revealing intimate situations that are often left untold. His artwork shows a side of love that’s not as glamorous as what we’re used to watch in art. This way, by focusing on the simplest parts of life, his work manages to speak on an intimate level to all of us.

Attempting to portray the reality of intimacy, Negron has developed his watercolor series Dirty Dirty Love and This House of Glass. The first one is a pictorial exploration of everyday circumstances that revolve around individual sexuality and relationship intimacy. The artist reveals his subjects in vulnerable moments that challenge standard perceptions of sexuality. The results are beautiful and realistic presentations of who we are when no one’s watching.

As for This House of Glass, an artistic evolution of his previous work, Negron goes deeper into intimacy issues and looks into the inner self, the side of us we even keep from ourselves. By interviewing his models at their own home first, Reuben tries to understand them little more and by doing so, the duality between their public face and their private life. This way, the narrative on each watercolor turns into a personal visual storytelling full of reality and vulnerability. As Negron said himself:

“I seek out beauty in the ordinary and commonplace, the dilapidated and the underappreciated”.

Normalizing these topics through art creates a powerful and self-explanatory statement. Because through his watercolor paintings, Reuben has managed to expose how dirty love is experienced in real life: through both intense passion and tender vulnerability. Affection, arousal, dirtiness and devotion, all of them are so human and so relatable. In a way, his work humanizes the way intimacy is lived by many, and how we should see it from outside.

Photo credits: Reuben Negron


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