Our artist spotlight this month is on Eric Kaplan. Not only is Eric a really good friend of ours, he is an amazingly talented artist as well. Our resident social media chick Brandi recently sat down with Eric and his wonderful girlfriend Theresa for a candid interview at their adorable house in Lakewood, Ohio. Cupcakes were eaten, wine was drunk, and many swear words ensued.
Eric Kaplan is a really nice guy. Like super nice. He also has a certain look about him. If you saw him out at a store chances are you would assume that he was a sea captain, a cowboy, a biker or a tattoo artist. One of those assumptions would be right.
Some of Eric’s earliest memories are of drawing. He says has pretty much been drawing since he was very little. When I asked him about it, his girlfriend Theresa added, “Your mom said you refused to go to kindergarten unless you had a new picture drawn everyday for your teacher. Didn’t you run into an old teacher who still had the pictures you had drawn her?” Eric laughed and nodded in agreement. Clearly he made an impact on his teachers even at a young age. He eventually attended school at Youngstown State and graduated with a degree in Fine Art.
Eric is also a tattoo artist at Voodoo Monkey tattoo in Cleveland, Ohio. When asked if he always knew he wanted to be a tattoo artist, he said no. Originally he thought he would go into character design for an animation/special effects studio. When he started to get tattoos early on he would draw his own designs and bring them into the shop to his artist. It dawned on him that he could also get paid to tattoo his own designs on other people and the rest is history.
When asked about his style of artwork, Eric definitely says his work is more comic book and cartoon oriented. Some lowbrow humor is thrown in there for good measure. In his own words about whether he thinks his art could be considered contemporary he replied, “You know, I just draw the shit I draw. I almost failed art history, I am not someone who walks around and knows the names of all the different styles of art.”
When asked why Breakneck? Eric responds, “Aside from the fact that the owners are two of my best friends?” He laughs, “They let me turn in art super late! But seriously, all the shows are fun; it’s not some snooty gallery. Artists can be fucking pretentious, man. There, little kids can run around and look at art. It’s down to Earth.”
Eric’s artistic inspirations come from stuff he knows. Comic books, his pug Quincy, Predator and Alien movies, cowboys, movies, mostly Sci Fi, and lots of tattoos artists.
As to the medium he prefers? Skin or Canvas? Eric thinks there is a certain aesthetic for each medium. It depends on the idea at the time. “There are certain tattoos I would never paint. If it came down to it and I had to choose one, I would choose tattooing. There is an immediacy to it that I like. 2 to 3 hours and it’s done. Painting and drawing, particularly painting, I second guess and evaluate everything the more I look at it. With a tattoo, maybe you never see it again.”
So, would he give it all up to be a sea captain? “No. I recently found out I don’t handle boats well. Now if I could be a cowboy . . .”
Artist (alive or dead) Eric would work with if he had the chance?
Jim Henson. “I love doing tattoos of little animals. I think the idea of working/collaborating with him to make a character with someone like him would be fucking awesome. “
Art supplies he can’t live without:
Micron Pens and Prismacolor Colored Pencils
See more of Eric’s work at our upcoming show Distorted Portraits on Saturday, August 31st, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
For info on Voodoo Monkey, and to see more of Eric’s tattoo work check out: