by PAUL BICKLEY
photos by RODNEY MARGISON
“I don’t want to be pigeonholed,” says David Ebbinghouse, 70, who graduated from the Indiana University School of Fine Arts in 1971. The multimedia artist has created sculptures, drawings, and paintings; graffiti; installation, performance, and situation art; silkscreen and mono prints; apparel; and jewelry. Whatever the medium, Ebbinghouse says he wants his art to bear “sociological value—to inspire others to be creative in their everyday lives or to learn about art and art history.”
Many Bloomingtonians remember the stenciled and brightly colored graffiti of Tom Cat Spray, Ebbinghouse’s 1980’s alter-ego. “As Tom Cat, I saw myself as a provocateur,” Ebbinghouse says. “The graffiti started conversations about issues and the art. I used to sit in the Runcible Spoon and hear them.”
One strategy was to present an image and a phrase, merely referencing a social issue—like pollution or gun control—encouraging viewers to make their own associations and even respond with their own graffiti. Other graffiti were “reappropriated” images from ancient or avant-garde art.
Ebbinghouse’s necklaces, created with Michael Winsten, his bead-importing partner and goldsmith, are “in-spirit reproductions” or “reanimations” of ornamentations affluent
Egyptians, South Americans, and Saharan peoples wore thousands of years ago. “We’re trying to create modern, wearable jewelry that represents the art, technology, trade, and religions of the original cultures,” Ebbinghouse says.
“Tom Cat Spray has nine lives,” Ebbinghouse says. “A different life for each of the different worlds he inhabits.”
Ebbinghouse will have a show at the Brick Room Gallery, 107 N. Walnut, every Friday in October.
For more, visit davidebb.wixsite.com/davidebbinghouse.