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Drawing by Mark Vallen
Drawing by Mark Vallen
Drawing by Mark Vallen
Drawing by Mark Vallen

Tomata du Plenty
Vallen 1978
Pen on paper

Tomata 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.

I'll 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.

With 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.

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