Emerging Artists | David Eichenberg

Keeping it real

David Eichenberg, Aimee in Hoodie, oil/colored pencil, 15 x 12.

David Eichenberg, Aimee in Hoodie, oil/colored pencil, 15 x 12.

This story was featured in the February 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art February 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

While some figurative artists like to dress their models in fanciful, period costumes, Ohio painter David Eichenberg prefers his models outfitted in their everyday clothes—“something that says who they are,” he explains. His mission as an artist, he says, is to capture contemporary American culture. The models, mostly fellow artists whom Eichenberg already knows, may show up at his studio with colorful tattoos, lip rings, and hoodies. Occasionally this means he is faced with some real challenges to his artistic skills. Take the model for AIMEE IN HOODIE. She arrived wearing her favorite sweater, a complex patterned, knitted hoodie. “It was a total nightmare to paint,” Eichenberg says. “I never know what I am going to get, butthere is something about this process that keeps it real and genuine.”

As this story was going to press, the International Guild of Realism announced that Eichenberg’s painting DEVAN IN SCARF, a quintessential example of his work, had won the Best of Figurative Award at the organization’s annual exhibition, held at Robert Lange Studios in Charleston, SC. Also, for three years running, one of Eichenberg’s figurative works has either won a top award or been selected as a finalist in the annual BP Portrait Award competition, which includes the opportunity for the artists’ paintings to be shown in the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Eichenberg graduated from the University of Toledo in Ohio with a major in sculpture and a minor in painting. He spent several years working at a foundry, where he focused on bronze casting while also creating his own pieces. Eventually he decided to shift to painting, first working in an abstract expressionistic style and then moving toward tight, realistic portraits. Eichenberg’s influences today are miniature works by Corneille de Lyon, a 16th-century Dutch portrait painter, and works by George Catlin, because “he chronicled a people and a culture of his time—Native Americans.” When Eichenberg sums up the faces and people he is capturing today, he says, “Usually they wear themselves on the outside. And never dress themselves up.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff

Bernarducci Meisel Gallery, New York, NY; Robert Lange Studios, Charleston, SC; Go Figurative, London, UK; Fairfax Gallery, Kent, UK.

Featured in the February 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art February 2015 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

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