Thursday, December 31, 2015


David Xavier Harrigan, aka Tomata du Plenty (stage name DePonty) (May 28, 1948 – August 21, 2000) was the singer of the late 1970s Los Angeles electropunk band The Screamers. painting. Tomata du Plenty was born as David Xavier Harrigan on May 28, 1948, in the state of New York, of Irish immigrant parents. His family moved to Montebello, California, when he was 9 years old, and Tomata ran away to Hollywood at the age of 15. In 1968 he hitchhiked to San Francisco, California, where he met members of the Cockettes.
From 1972–1974, Tomata joined friends Gorilla Rose and Fayette Hauser in New York City to bring guerrilla comedy to CBGB's and other East Village clubs, working with then-unknown bands like the Ramones and Blondie.
Returning to Seattle in 1975, Tomata formed a band called The Tupperwares with Melba Toast (later Tommy Gear). The band re-formed in Los Angeles in 1976, picking up drummer K. K. Barrett and keyboardist David Brown, and a new name, The Screamers. As much theater as rock band, The Screamers eschewed guitars and featured two keyboards, one drummer and assaultive lyrics mostly written and sung by Tomata.[
From 1977–81 The Screamers were L.A.'s leading punk band, and one of the city's leading club draws. They played consecutive sold-out performances at L.A.'s top music venues, including the Whisky a Go Go, the Starwood Club and the Roxy Theatre, but despite several offers never signed a record deal.[5]
Tomata began his art career in 1983 with a one-man exhibit of watercolor portraits at the Zero One Gallery in Hollywood.[8] Three years later, in 1986, his first paintings on canvas were exhibited at L.A.'s Cheap Racist Gallery at a show called Whores, Sluts and Tramps (at the opening party, guests appeared dressed as their favorite low-life heroes). In 1987, he won the L.A. Weekly's Best Set Design Award for his work on John Fleck's one-man stage show, I Got the He-Be She-Be's. An exhibit called "Knock Out!," featuring portraits of boxers, appeared in 1988 at the Zero One Gallery in Los Angeles. That same year he was the regular art critic on the cable television series, What's Bubbling Underground, and he guest lectured at the Fashion Institute of Los Angeles. In one of his last stage performances he appeared in The Loves of Edgar Allan Poe with Gronk, Fayette Hauser, Janis Segal and Styles Caldwell at L.A.'s Casa Confetti.
Tomata continued his painting career after moving to Miami's South Beach in 1989. His exhibits—in bars, restaurants and small galleries around the country—were often arranged around a single theme, saluting his favorite poets, TV stars, country/western singers and boxers. Tomata painted people he admired, from historical figures to friends from the punk world, in a style that was emotional, provocative and accessible. He was proud of his status as an outsider artist; he once observed he would rather sell 100 pictures for $25 than one picture for $2,500. In the mid-1990s he moved his studio to New Orleans, Louisiana. Several times a year he would hit the road for exhibits in California, New York and Florida. In January 1999 he appeared in a CNN interview, along with series of paintings featuring Lucille Ball, Elvis Presley and other pop-culture icons.
On August 21, 2000, while in San Francisco, Tomata died of cancer at the age of 52.[9] His remains were cremated, and his ashes were stored at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, in a crypt at the Chapel Columbarium.
(excerpted from Wikipedia)

This painting was a gift by the artist to my late spouse, John Callahan. John used to recount that Tomata directed John to pick any painting he liked. “I picked this one; I kind of liked it. There was something interesting about his (the character in the portrait) eyes”.
 I inherited this watercolor by Tomata from Stuart Timmons after his 2008 stroke. It could well be one of Tomata's early works. 

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