About Mike Caplanis

A career in advertising was great for a man whose Big Life Plan was to eventually chuck it all and paint. I knew the day would come when there wouldn’t be a lot of choice in the matter and the “need” to paint would overcome the simple desire. Actually, that day came some years ago when I began to show and sell my work at L Ross, a pre-eminent little gallery in Memphis. Early success there allowed me to think that I could continue this change-up in careers, and so I have.

Doing what you are compelled to do has a bracing effect. There’s a great freedom in filling your hours with acts of creation, borrowing from nature and hoping that what results when the brushes and pens are set down, is something like a mark of the face of human history.

I can muse about that sort of thing when working because for this painter, painting itself is a strangely non-cognitive process. That is, I can fill my mind with things not related to the work, because the process is what’s doing the heavy-lifting.

I do very little planning before I begin a work and that’s key. I’m an impulse painter and all my drawing is very sketchy—get in, get it down, get out. My best work looks tossed off. It isn’t and I have to work very hard to get it to look that way.

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