Gary Kapp: Mormon Artist
Gary L. Kapp is a successful Western and religious artist as well as a former commercial artist.
He was born in Ogden, Utah, in 1942 and raised in Vale, Oregon. He is one of four children, including sister Janice Kapp Perry born to Jacob and Ruth Kapp. No art classes were available in his small-town school, but an eighth grade teacher encouraged him to draw. He admired the work of artists like Arnold Friberg and yearned to be a successful artist too.
Kapp began taking formal art classes at Brigham Young University along with his engineering classes. A fellow student helped him understand figure drawing. He set aside his studies to serve as a Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He continued to study at BYU after his mission and graduated in 1966 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
While studying at BYU, he intended to apply for a job as a projectionist, but serendipitously went in the wrong door where a job was available for a cartoonist. He created a portfolio of drawings over night and the next morning was hired to draw a filmstrip series. After his graduation, he was employed by the art department in BYU’s Motion Picture Studio and painted backgrounds for movies. He studied art as a graduate student. He lost his job in 1976 when the studio downsized. He decided to become an independent artist at a time when Western art was in demand. When that waned, he began painting religious art. A portrait of Jesus Christ and a portrait of the Prophet Joseph Smith graced the covers of two of Janice Kapp Perry’s projects. His illustrations for the Church of Jesus Christ increased. He also received significant commissions to paint scenes from the Book of Mormon. His sister Janice commissioned him to paint the First Vision, which now sits in the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple.
Kapp’s work is shown in the Altermann Galleries in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Wilcox Gallery in Jackson, Wyoming; and Williams Fine Art Gallery in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is a member of the Northwest Rendezvous Group, winning the Swan Graphics Award and the People's Choice Award.
Kapp married Diane Perry and they are the parents of seven children. They live in Provo, Utah.