David J. Eichenberg

David J. Eichenberg


February 9, 2015


Meet David Eichenberg, an accomplished local painter whose work is highly recognizable. If you have been in Toledo for years, you may have seen some of his work on the fiberglass frogs that dotted the city in 2001. More recently one of his paintings received a 1st Place Award in the Toledo Area Artists Exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art. David's journey currently has him focused as a full time painter.

Tell us more about some of your past projects?

In 2005 (after 8 years of entering without success) I finally made it into the Toledo Area Artist (TAA) Exhibition at the TMA. I was honored with winning 1st place for my painting “Pitiful Me”. In 2009 I was a finalist in the Outwin Boochever National Portrait Competition (OB) at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. with my painting “Duchess of Toledo”. After the success of the OB I was looking for the next big thing when the BP Portrait Award came to my attention. The BP Award is a traveling exhibition (it has a 1 year duration and travels to 3 museums across the UK). It’s first stop is the National Portrait Gallery in London, UK) it is considered the most prestigious portrait exhibition in world. It is an annual show that pulls in entries from across the globe. It usually receives somewhere around 3,000 entries and around 50 make it into the exhibition. It is often referred to as the Oscars of the painting world. I entered a piece titled “Tim II” and was honored with a third place award. I was also included in the BP Award the following 2 years with two other paintings “Jade - The Rehearsal (2011) and “Devan” (2012).
In 2013 I was invited to submit to the Figurativas 13’ at the Museum of Modern European Art in Barcelona, Spain. My painting “Little White Lie” was accepted as one of 100 pieces for the show out of 2700 paintings that were submitted. Simultaneously I was fortunate to be awarded 1st place at the National Contemporary Realism Biennial at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. My most recent accomplishment was a local one. After seeing the revisions that the Toledo Museum of Art had done to the TAA. I found myself intrigued enough to submit once more to the show. I was once again honored to receive a 1st place award for my piece “Doug” in the 2014 TAA.  

What current projects are you working on?

I am currently in an exhibition at the National History Museum in Chisinau, Moldova which is in conjunction with the Italian Embassy and is being curated by Italian hyperrealist painter Giuseppe Muscio. I am also working on a new piece for submission to the Figurativas 15’. 

What advantages does being in Northwest Ohio/Toledo offer your efforts?

One of the biggest pluses for any artist living in Toledo is the unlimited access we have to the Toledo Museum of Art and it’s collection. To be able to walk into such a collection to study from those that have come before us is priceless. Toledo also offers a community very receptive to the arts. Something we might overlook since we are all part of the local scene. The number of people who turn out for arts events here in Toledo has always impressed me. 

Tell us about one of your greatest successes.

Locally, I would have to say that it was my involvement in the “It’s Reigning Frogs” project back in 2001. The project was such a huge success which put over $100,000.00 into the local arts scene. It brought so many people into downtown Toledo to walk the streets to see all the fiberglass frogs that were placed around downtown. It was a great collaboration between the arts and local businesses which were teamed up with artists to create frogs for them. It even received International attention when former Mexican President Vicente Fox and President Bush showed up in Toledo and signed one of the frogs at a press conference “Uncle Amphibian” (it was an added bonus that the frog they signed was the frog that I myself had made for the project).

Outside of the Toledo area I would have to say that it would have to be the connections that I have been able to make within the art world. I mention this because with the ease and access to the social media any artist from Toledo can get their work in front of people outside the area. My biggest success outside of the area was to land representation at the Bernarducci Meisel Gallery in New York (BMG). The BMG is one of the premier photo-realist gallery in NYC. I have also been able to gain gallery representation at the Fairfax Gallery in Tunbridge Wells, UK, GoFigurative Gallery in London, UK as well as The Robert Lange Studio Gallery in Charleston, SC.

Tell us who or what gives you inspiration?

People who are not afraid to express themselves. People who show compassion for others above all else and people who still know and understand the meaning of “integrity”.

Tell us about your background.

I grew up in Sylvania. I went to the University of Toledo and graduated with a BFA in Studio Arts (1998) (Majored in sculpture and minored in painting). After graduating from UT I went to work at Daedalus Art Foundry in Petersburg, MI. I worked there for three years before returning to work in Toledo. I then went on to teach adult bronze casting classes at the Toledo Museum of Art. In 2001 I took on the job of “Visual Coordinator” for the It’s Reigning Frogs public art project. I was the the head of all the technical, logistical and artistic side of the project. I also worked at the Center for Sculptural Studies at the University of Toledo, as a studio technician. In 2005 I was hired as the Studio Glass Manager for the soon to be Glass Pavilion at the TMA. I oversaw the the transition of the old facilities at the Glass Crafts Building into the new studio spaces. I also went on to oversee the glass studios at the Pavilion for another two years. In 2008 I left the TMA to pursue painting full time and that is what I have done ever since. 

Do you have a motto or favorite quote you try to live by?

“Never put anyone on a pedestal”. This is not from anyone but something I learned a long time ago and still live by today.

Toledo’s “best kept secret” is . . .

The Art Supply Depot on St. Clair St. Not only is it super close to my studio but it is so nice to have a art supply store that offers high quality art supplies, which can not be found at large craft supply stores.  

My favorite natural space in the Toledo area is . . . 

Swan Creek Metropark.

When I’m not working hard, I can always be found at . . . 

It seems like I spend most of my free time at soccer fields, school gymnasiums, YMCA gymnastics center thanks to my two wonderful daughters who fill my spare time to the max with their love of sport. Oh and I also spend a lot of time at the Wolf Creek YMCA fitness center but this is for my own enjoyment.

If you could change anything about the current landscape for creative, progressive people . . .

There needs to be more attention placed on the arts, not only here in Toledo but in the United States as a whole. There needs to be more public funding for the arts to begin with. Funding for exhibitions, performances and concerts. 

Name one person (living or deceased) who you would love to collaborate with.

Writer Stephen King

Name a CD, book or website you can’t live without.

That would have to be Facebook. I do a lot of networking with galleries and other artists on Facebook. We live in a time where networking is king. 

Give us 5 Desert Island Album picks.

Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin
Mad Dogs & Englishmen by Joe Cocker
Essential Etta James by Etta James
The Singing Mailman Delivers by John Prine
Essential Leonard Cohen by Leonard Cohen

My biggest vice is . . .

Chewing gum, I chew a lot of gum.

I’d like to see _________________ in Toledo.

More art galleries. I have a slightly different idea of what constitutes an “art gallery” than most people I have talked to about this topic, here in Toledo. When I talk about “art galleries” I mean galleries that have a standing group of artists that they represent not only to collectors here in the Toledo area but also to collectors outside of our geographic area.

My most inspiring moment was/is . . .

The births of my daughters.

I want my last meal to be . . .

meatloaf and mashed potatoes


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