Organizations* : NWR
Gary Kapp was born in Ogden, Utah. When he was four, his father bought a ranch in Oregon, where Kapp lived until he left for college. He then graduated in 1966 from Brigham Young University in Utah with a degree in Art, although he had gone to study Engineering. “But,” Kapp says, “I kept sneaking art courses into my curriculum as electives.” Finding more joy in art than engineering, Kapp changed majors, and then continued to study art as a graduate student in the evenings. He also spent one summer studying with Kenneth Riley, and spent some time as well with Charles Lee, an illustrator based out of Los Angeles, California.
About this time, Kapp went to work for a motion picture studio, where he spent nearly ten years illustrating filmstrips, visualizing movies, and painting backdrops. This wasn’t quite enough for Kapp, who painted every spare moment after work and on weekends. Finally, in 1976, he stopped doing commercial work and began to paint fine art full time. Of jumping in with both feet, Kapp says, “That first year was rough, but the next was much better and each year since has been even better.”
In the process of beginning his fine art career, Kapp discovered that his formative years on the ranch had had an effect on him: his favorite subject matter was Western. Kapp generally paints “small figures and emphasizes the moody lighting and dramatic landscapes,” in his desire to demonstrate the majesty of the land in which he works. However, Kapp also paints mountain men, Native Americans and pioneers, enjoying “the rich history” he visualizes. His style of painting is realist, but there is a softness of edges and subtle shading, which suggests late 19th century romanticism.
Kapps’ work is widely shown in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah. He is a member of the Northwest Rendezvous Group, winning the Swan Graphics Award in 1982 and the People’s Choice Award in 1999. Major print companies such as New York Graphics, Millpond Press, Swan Graphics, Texas Art Press, and 3-M Company have reproduced several of his paintings as limited edition prints.
Kapp has also been featured in Art of the West and Art West magazines. His work is in such major collections as the Midland Bank, the Arizona Bank, the Sears Tower, Brigham Young University, and the collections of Jon Huntsman, Jack Byrne, Steve Young, and Alan Ashton.
Kapp, his wife Diane and their family live in Provo, Utah, among some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the world and close to Brigham Young University, where Kapp finds many of his models.