For the last eleven years, D. Dominick Lombardi has been working obsessively on the series “Post Apocalyptic Tattoos.” It began in 1998 as many artists’ projects do--with doodles in a sketchbook.
Quickly, those doodles came to resemble characters-- and as Dominick fleshed them out, they soon demanded their own world. Over the next ten years, his project mushroomed to encompass drawings in charcoal and India ink; reverse Plexiglas paintings; silkscreen and woodcut prints; and sculptures and bas reliefs assembled from pigment and papier-mache applied over junkyard detritus. He has also generated countless working drawings made with ballpoint and felt-tip pen on scraps of paper, or graphite on newsprint. Lately, Dominick has been focusing more intensively on the creatures’ environment, exploring it in the series-within-a-series he calls Graffoos--graffitti paintings made on new and old canvases.
Creatively, the project was born one night as Dominick was worrying about the fate of the universe. Its mutant creatures embody his fears and hopes for a future world, distorted by pollution, transgenic mutation, and apocalyptic events. These new people include Blue Boy, whose innards spill down his legs; his sweetheart, the rubbery-boned, turquoise-lipped Twister; Big Foot, who perambulates on a single massive foot; and Clown, who dies early on in the story from an enlarged hair follicle on his tongue. Central to the tale is the unseen Tattoo Artist, a character who chronicles his world by producing all these drawings, paintings, and sculptures.
“Are you the Tattoo Artist?” I asked Dominick once. “No,” he said. “I’m the vehicle for the Tattoo Artist who’s sending these images to me.”
Yet despite all this impending gloom and doom, Dominick’s characters pursue their distorted lives with so much spirit and joie de vivre that their universe never seems bleak. And Dominick himself has pursued the project with a zeal, intensity, and joy in craftsmanship that suggests life is truly worth living.
- Carol Kino