It’s no surprise that Saudi Arabia-born, Arizona-based artist/teacher Nathaniel Lewis was once a toy designer. Yet, although some of his newer sculptures have the bright, primary color schemes and wooden textures of old-school toys for children, the themes of series like “Little Terrors” are decidedly more complex. Depicting a TSA line, with workers, equipment, and explosives, Lewis confronts a common source of tension, anxiety, and frustration for adults.
His “Pin-Ups” are more obvious in their target audience, as he sculpts nude figures that are pinned to walls. These characters can appear submissive, distressed, or a peace with their fate. Though the repeating men inserted into faux-outlets seems to be taking the worst of it.
All are suggestive of the artist’s knack for humor and quirkiness, but perhaps display those notions more than “Untitled Hot Dog in a Deck Chair #1,” which is exactly what it sounds like. From the character’s wild expression to the ketchup bottle-as-sunblock addition, there’s something both hilarious and unsettling at the sight.
Lewis offers several snaps and perspectives on his work on the above linked site, but he also offers shots of works-in-progress on his blog. These include snaps of sketchbook ideas and the gathering of materials to execute future, often-zany works.