Drill Baby, A Narratively Tattooed Infant From Jason Clay Lewis.
Artist Jason Clay Lewis, whose unusual work I have blogged about before when I featured his Drop Dead Gorgeous exhibit and his wonderful engraved bullets, has given birth to yet another compelling project.
His "Drill Baby" (the name of which is undoubtedly a nod to Sarah Palin's oddly foreboding rallying cry "Drill, Baby, Drill") is a lifelike infant tatted with the victims and the symbolic perpetrators of the horrendous BP offshore drilling disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
above: Drill Baby and detail, Jason Clay Lewis, 2010. 18 1/4" x 9 1/4" x 6 3/4"
Made with vinyl rubber, mohair, oil paint, plaster and aluminum armature, the hyper realistic-looking newborn seems to sleep blissfully and innocently as the images on his body tell us another story.
The infant has artfully drawn tattoos of some of the tragic oil spill's most innocent victims - Pelicans and Seagulls - along with the clicheéd tattoo imagery of Koi, swimming in blackened waters, aligning his arms.
On his right inner thigh is a clipper ship (a recurring theme in Jason's work representing plagues), complete with floating oil barrels and an idyllic deserted island blackened by an oil spill. An Eagle or Falcon, in the midst of attack made, talons exposed, swoops in on the infants left inner thigh.
Least subtle, is the image of a religious figure (the Virgin Mary is another icon the repeatedly appears in Jason's work) grasping a dripping gas nozzle, the representation of the product that is at the core of the political, economical and ecological tragedy. Notice that the infant's nipple becomes her breast.
Jason Clay Lewis' work often combines fetishes and death with religious symbolism. The artist currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Jason Clay Lewis