TO VALLEN'S PUNK PORTRAITS
Pen on paper
du Plenty was
the frontman for the Los Angeles based techno-punk band,
the Screamers. I did this pencil sketch of Tomata during
a performance at L.A.'s Whisky A Go-Go in 1978. Highly theatrical
and avant garde, the Screamers were one of the first rock
bands to eschew the electric guitar. Instead they used synthesizers
to produce their aggressive angst ridden noise - no one
had ever sounded anything like the Screamers before.
never forget the band's final performance, the "Palace
of Variety" cabaret style concert at the Whiskey a
Go Go in 1981. The band had set up banks of video monitors
on stage to play self-produced tapes while they performed.
At the time, very few people had video cassette players,
and there were no video rental stores. So to see
this technology introduced on stage was exhilarating. That
evening the Screamers introduced us all to the future.
the final demise of the band in 1981, Tomata devoted his
life to painting, and in the 1990's he became relatively
successful as an "outsider artist." His style
was naive, but energetic, and he would paint oil portraits
of just about everyone he came across. Sadly, Tomata succumbed
to cancer in August, 2000, at the age of 52.